THE BLOG
08/27/2014 01:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Chicago Transit Authority Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Transport Themselves

A new report by the Better Government Association found that the Chicago Transit Authority's retirement plan and health care trust spent almost $60,000 on trips to pension conferences around the country over the last four years, according to CTA public documents.

According to the BGA:

The newly released records show the agency's expenses include more than $20,000 on a six-night trip to Hawaii for five people in 2010, $4,400 on a three-night trip to New Orleans for two people in 2011, $7,500 on a four-night, four-person trip to San Diego in 2012 and about $12,000 on a four-night trip to Las Vegas for six people in 2013.

CTA officials who went on the trips defended them, saying the experiences were worth the money and important for educating their top officials about what the current best practices are in running pension funds.

According to the BGA:

CTA employees contribute roughly 10 percent of their salaries to the pension fund while the transit agency -- or, in other words, the taxpayer -- contributes about 20 percent of any given employee's salary into the same pot. Investments play into how much the fund grows.

While the CTA tries to figure out how to fund its pensions, everyday Illinoisans are also trying to figure out how to fund their retirements and lives. New unemployment figures for July have been released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the year overall, many Illinois metropolitan areas, including Chicago-Joliet-Naperville and Champaign-Urbana gained thousands of jobs, but others, such as Peoria and Bloomington-Normal, lost jobs over the same period. See the job numbers broken down by county and city at Reboot Illinois.

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