Debt in Cook County, Illinois

The Cook County Treasurer estimates that the average Chicago household owes $62,525 largely to cover pension liabilities for public workers. The treasurer herself was surprised noting, until recent debt disclosure documents were required, they weren’t fully aware of the cost. In reading Illnois’ budget I am struck by one passage concerning the pension system which the state admits is in bad shape, “significant long-term improvements will come from additional pension reforms, refinancing the liability and seeking a federal guarantee of the debt, or increasing the annual required state contribution.”

It seems an explicit strategy of Illinois at this point is federal intervention of some sort.