State Roundup: Moody’s: Regardless of reform, Chicago pension will grow for years

From Illinois News Network

Regardless of the outcomes to legal and legislative fixes for public sector pensions, Chicago’s unfunded pension liabilities will continue to grow significantly. That’s according to a new report from bond ratings house Moody’s.

The report says the expected continued growth will force city officials to make difficult decisions for years to come.

If the current law stands, Moody’s says Chicago’s annual pension contributions will increase 135 percent in 2016. Contributions will grow eight percent annually from 2017 to 2021 and then three percent per year for four years after.

The report says without increased payments mandated by law the plans will approach insolvency and that increases risk to the city’s solvency. Chicago is currently rated Baa2 negative by Moody’s

Caterpillar announces layoffs

A weak mining industry means there will be 150 fewer jobs in the Decatur area as Caterpillar announced layoffs set to take effect later this month.

A statement from the heavy machine manufacturer says the move will bring production in line with demand. The statement also says the Decatur facility produces products for the mining industry which continues to see weak market conditions.

Caterpillar says they’ve already taken measure to adjust operations but more permanent measures must be taken in the near term. The full-time production roles will be on indefinite layoff beginning May 11th.

Rauner signs Obama presidential library measure

President Barack Obama has announced Chicago to be the home of his presidential library, something Governor Bruce Rauner approves.

The Governor signed a measure that provides legal protections for the planned presidential library, but that’s not the only institution the law will secure. The measure that passed the General Assembly last month would also allow for the George Lucas museum to be in Chicago. Rauner says the deal is good for the state and for the country.

“It will be a wonderful institution for the people of our great state and to help drive economic development and tourism and visitors from all over the United States. This bill will also facilitate land availability for the Lucas Museum as well which can be a wonderful economic driver, development, for the people of Illinois.”

President Obama’s library will be hosted by the University of Chicago, but the Chicago Tribune reports it’s unclear where the location will ultimately land.

Auditor: IDOC employees improperly used leave time

Employees at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) used leave time for their regular shift and then worked another shift at the overtime rate on the same day, according to the Illinois Auditor General.

In a report about the audit of IDOC, the Auditor also says overtime paid to employees was not adequately documented leading to reporting errors. There were also significant fiscal controls lacking over managing the department’s Offender 360 Project.

The report also says compensatory time for employees was paid and accrued in violation of federal law and union agreements. There were also issues concerning inaccurate inventory counts.

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