CHICAGO
11/29/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Taxpayers Could Cover Government Pension Shortfall

Illinois taxpayers may soon be called on to bail out what is arguably the best-funded public pension plan in the state thanks to $3.6 billion in fund losses caused by the spiraling economy.

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund covers about 177,000 active employees of local governments and about 85,000 retirees. The good news for them is their retirement benefits are guaranteed no matter what the economy does.

The same cannot be said for the contributions from the 2,900 units of local government who use local tax dollars to fund the majority of the IMRF benefits. All of those governments will be hit with a call to increase their contributions in 2010 to recapture IMRF's losses. Governments without the cash to handle an increase might turn to taxpayers to fill the IMRF collection bucket.

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