Alton, IL

Local Governments Ponder Pension Problems

Story by WBGZ Radio

The new year could be the year local governments find out what happens when they can't meet their local pension promises.
In 2016, hundreds of cities and towns struggled with exploding pension payments. Many raised taxes and some cut spending on other services.
Brad Cole, Director of the Illinois Municipal League, isn't sure if towns and cities can do that again.
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"The mission of any local government is to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of its residents," Cole said. "It's not to make pension payments."
Cole said local governments in 2017 are going to have to choose between Cole says local governments in 2017 are going to have to choose between basic services like plowing roads and police and fire services, or paying for pensions.
"The bill is starting to get lopsided on the backside," Cole explained. "At some point, many of the small communities throughout downstate Illinois are going to have trouble making both payments."
Cole said lawmakers need to give local governments pension reform, including a new retirement plan for new workers.
Some of the state's 650 local pension funds could run out of money in the next five years.
(Copyright WBGZ /


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