Do not publish before
You’re welcome to republish our articles and graphics for free under Creative Commons license CC BY-ND. We ask that you observe the following ground rules. Let us know if you republish our stories; it makes us happy!
Here’s what you need to know:
- You can’t change the story in any way except to change references to timing (say, “today” to “yesterday”) or to suit your in-house style rules (“Rockford” to “Rockford, Ill.”).
- If you have space constraints and want to shorten the story, we’re happy to consider your request. Please contact our Editor in Chief for approval. We will occasionally provide a shortened version of stories, which you would find below.
- You can republish provided photos and graphics as long as you’re running them on the stories with which they originally appeared and include original credits. You are not required to publish provided photos and graphics.
- Publish the author’s name using the following format: By Danish Murtaza and Patrick Judge , Better Government Association. Link back to our home page, bettergov.org, in that credit line.
- At the end of the story, when possible, please add the following: This story was produced by the Better Government Association, a nonprofit news organization based in Chicago. (This is automatically included if copying from HTML textarea.)
- Include our logo.
- Don’t resell the story to someone else.
- Don’t sell ads against our story. Feel free, however, to publish it on a page surrounded by ads you’ve already sold.
- If you publish our story online, please try your best to include all of our internal links. Don't apply
rel="nofollow"to any of these links.
- If we send you a request to remove the content from your site, you must agree to do so immediately.
Tracking our stories:
Because the Better Government Association syndicates our work for free, we often have trouble tracking down how many people read BGA stories on our partners’ sites. We’ve implemented a tracker called Pixel Ping to help measure this audience. If your CMS allows, please assist us in this effort by including the code snippet below anywhere in the story's HTML. The tracker captures views only; no other information will be gathered.
How to do this:
If you copy the HTML in the textarea below, the script is automatically included.
Otherwise, please manually insert the following script into your source.
<script async src="https://pixel.bettergov.org/pixel.js" crossorigin="anonymous" data-bga-canonical="https://www.bettergov.org/news/statewide-police-and-fire-pension-fund-database-how-much-does-your-town-owe/"></script>
When sharing republished BGA content, please include attribution to BGA social media accounts in your post:
Have questions? Please contact Ronnie Ramos, Editor in Chief, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statewide Police and Fire Pension Fund Database: How Much Does Your Town Owe?
Illinois has the most police and fire pension funds in the country, and many are underfunded. Use our tool to see how your town's funds measure up.
Copy article content:
You are viewing the original version (547 words).
If you live in Illinois, chances are strong you live in a town that manages its own police and fire pension funds. Think your public safety departments are too small for their own funds? Think again. State law says that any city, village, or town with a population between 5,000 and 500,000, that employs at least one full-time police officer or firefighter, must have a pension fund. In 2016, there were 356 local police pension funds and 297 local firefighter pension funds in Illinois -- up from 346 police and 286 firefighter funds nearly 10 years ago.
Illinois is unique. According to a 2012 Marquette Associates report, the United States in total had 1,511 public pension plans and Illinois made up 43 percent of that total. Pennsylvania, which came in second, had only 137 funds.
If you live in Illinois, chances are also strong that you live in a town with poorly funded police and fire pension funds. A common way to judge pension fund health is by its funding ratio, that is, take its assets (how much money the fund has) divided by its liabilities (how much money the fund needs to pay out all its benefits). For example, if a pension fund has $90 million in assets and $100 million in liabilities, it would have a funding ratio of 90 percent. There is no official standard to what is considered a “healthy” public fund, but in the private sector, a fund generally is considered “at risk” when it’s under 80 percent funded. In 2016, the aggregate funding level -- the combined average of all police and fire funds in Illinois -- came to 57.6 percent.
Use the BGA public safety pension tool below to find out how relatively healthy or unhealthy your funds are. After all, you and your fellow taxpayers will need to foot the bill for any pension fund shortfalls in your community. If you have any questions or concerns about your town’s specific police/fire pension fund, you can go to the Illinois Department of Insurance's website to find the fund’s financial documents and get more information.
Database: Funding Ratios for Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funds, Statewide
The funding for these local public safety pension funds has varied over time. From 1999 to 2009, funding levels dropped year after year. Starting at 77.3 percent in 1999, aggregate funding levels bottomed out in 2009 with a funding ratio of 51.1 percent.
In 2011, a new law went into effect to attempt to bolster funding. The law required all public safety funds to have a funding ratio of 90 percent by 2040. With the new law and a better economic climate, public safety pensions have started to regain some funding footing. But, each fund is managed independently and funding levels can vary greatly. More than one hundred funds have more money on hand than they owe, with one locality reaching a funding ratio of 515 percent. On the flip side, there are a few jurisdictions that have no funding for their pensions at all.
There are proposals currently being considered in Springfield that would consolidate public safety funds in one form or another. We’ll examine those plans more in future posts. Stay connected with the BGA for more information and analysis of Illinois pensions, proposals that address funding problems, and more.
This story was produced by the Better Government Association, a nonprofit news organization based in Chicago.
|Download police-fire-db.png (318.41 KB)|