10/03/2014 12:11 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2014

Illinois' Retirement Benefit Liabilities Are How Much?

Illinois' pension crisis and efforts toward pension reform are no secret.

Bill Bergman, director of research at Truth in Accounting, writes:

Today, we may be on the cusp of "learning" more unlearned lessons. And this time, we aren't just exposed to a few autumn leaves falling to the ground, or a few twigs or limbs falling in a storm. This time, we may be looking at a rotting core - the trunk and roots of our society -- in our governments themselves.

We are already starting to see a few more leaves and twigs on the ground lately -- in Detroit, Stockton, and elsewhere. But they could have a lot of company.

Looking at the 50 states, Truth in Accounting's most recent analysis calculated that the state governments are facing employee retirement benefit liabilities in excess of $1 trillion - and more than 80% of them are still not included on the state governments' balance sheets. This is just at the state level; many (hundreds?) of local governments are facing similar circumstances.

Read the rest Bergman's thoughts on government employee retirement at Reboot Illinois.

In Chicago and Cook County alone, all 10 public pension funds are now under 60 percent funded, according to a new report by the Civic Federation. That means that all Chicagoans would owe $20,000 today to pay off their shares in city, county and state pension liabilities. Why has the funding of these 10 systems in particular dropped so dramatically in the last 10 years?