If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Chicago Sun-Times)   Chicago's debt is now over $10k per resident, and only one of the city's four employee pension funds is more than 50% funded. This was before the recent triple downgrade of the city's bond rating. But there's no way they're the next Detroit   (suntimes.com) divider line 195
    More: Scary, bond credit rating, Chicago, debt service coverage ratio, Chicago Police Department, local taxes  
•       •       •

4215 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Jul 2013 at 5:28 PM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



195 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-07-27 02:54:36 PM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the books on 2012 with $33.4 million in unallocated cash on hand - down from $167 million the year before - while adding to the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers, year-end audits show.

Last week, Moody's Investors ordered an unprecedented triple-drop in the city's bond rating, citing Chicago's "very large and growing" pension liabilities, "significant" debt service payments, "unrelenting public safety demands" and historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel.

The 2012 city audits explain why. They show that an unallocated balance that was $167 million a year ago because of Emanuel's aggressive cost-cutting efforts has dropped to $33.4 million.

Budget Director Alex Holt blamed the $133.6 million drop on "honest" budgeting and ending the long-standing practice of carrying "ghost" vacancies.

"We're trying to be more transparent about what we're really spending and taking in - not just carrying a bunch of people who took up money in the budget and left money on the table at the end of the year," Holt said.

"Let's be straightforward about what we've got to spend and not pretend we're gonna hire for a position we haven't hired for, who know how many years when those resources are need to provide other services. ... This is about matching revenues with expenses. You don't want to over-tax people."

In last week's report, Moody's noted that the city's total fund balance at the close of 2012 was $231.3 million and that Chicago has just $625 million in "leased asset reserves." Had the city fully funded its $1.5 billion "actuarially required contribution" to its four under-funded city employee pension funds in 2012 alone, "these two reserves would have been entirely depleted," Moody's said.

The "unassigned" balance is $33.4 million. Experts recommend a cash cushion of at least $200 million for a budget the size of Chicago's, according to the Civic Federation. The city ended 2009 with an unallocated checkbook balance of just $2.7 million.

The new round of borrowing brings Chicago's total long-term debt to nearly $29 billion. That's $10,780 for every one of the city's nearly 2.69 million residents. More than a decade ago, the debt load was $9.6 billion or $3,338 per resident.

Last year, now-retiring City Comptroller Amer Ahmad argued that the city's debt load was not "troubling" because, "We still have a very strong bond rating. Our fiscal position is getting better every year and we are aggressively managing our liabilities and obligations."

He can no longer say that after the triple-drop in Chicago's bond rating.

The audits by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche provide a treasure trove of information about city finances and operations.

Interesting nuggets include:

■ The number of "physical arrests" by Chicago Police officers declined again - from 152,740 in 2011 to 145,390 in 2012. That continues a six-year trend that coincides with the hiring slowdown that caused a dramatic decline in the number of police officers. Police made 227,576 arrests in 2006. The number of arrests has been dropping like a rock ever since.

The Chicago Police Department has long argued that it doesn't measure the success of crime-fighting strategies simply by the number of arrests.

■ Emergency responses continued their steady rise - to 472,752. That's up from 300,971 in 2006.

■ O'Hare Airport operating revenues were up by $23.2 million, a 3.3 percent increase, thanks to rising terminal rental and use charges. Operating expenses rose $19.1 million because of rising personnel and contracting costs. Airline ticket taxes known as "passenger facility charges" generated $154.5 million in 2012.

The number of passenger "enplanements" rose by a modest 37,000 - to 33.24 million. That's despite a continued decline by O'Hare's two largest carriers - from 8.7 million passenger boardings in 2011 to 7.4 million in 2012 at United Airlines and from 7.6 million to 7.2 million by American.

In 2003, United and American together accounted for 67.7 percent of O'Hare enplanements. Now, it's just 44 percent.


■Budget-oriented Midway Airport is thriving, spelling potentially good news if, as expected, Emanuel chooses to revive the $2.5 billion deal to privatize Midway that collapsed for lack of financing.


Midway boardings rose from 9.45 million in 2011 to 9.78 million last year. Operating revenues were up just $462,000 because of decreased landing fees and terminal use charges. That's even though concession revenues rose by $1.8 million due to an increase in parking, restaurant and auto rentals. Operating expenses rose by $4.2. Ticket taxes generated $43.9 million.


■The 55 percent subsidy to retiree health care that Emanuel wants to phase out and retirees are suing to maintain cost the city $97.5 million in 2012.


■ Daily refuse collections declined from 3,983 tons in 2011 year ago to 3,763 in 2012. Last year's 52-ton increase had reversed a five-year trend. The amount of garbage generated by the 600,000 Chicago households was 4,451 tons a day in 2006 to 4,240 in 2008.


■Thanks to last year's record heat and drought conditions, average daily water consumption rose by 23 million gallons - to 793 million gallons - reversing a steady decline. In 2006, Chicago's 1.04 million households were guzzling 884.9 million gallons-a-day. Operating revenues in the city's water fund were up by $122.1 million or 29.6 percent, thanks to Emanuel's 25 percent increase in water rates.


■ Chicago's 165 tax-increment-financing districts had a collective balance of $1.5 billion. Most of that money is uncommitted, fueling an aldermanic demand Emanuel has rejected: to declare a TIF surplus and use the money to reduce some of the 3,000 layoffs at Chicago Public Schools.

■ The condition of Chicago's four city employee pension funds is growing ever more precarious. The firefighters pension fund has assets to cover just 25 percent of liabilities, followed by: Police (31 percent); Municipal Employees (38 percent) and Laborers (56 percent).


■Chicago's historical collections and works of art are valued at $13.2 million.


■ Chicago's principal private employers were: J.P. Morgan Chase (8,168 workers); United Airlines (7,521); Accenture LLP (5,590; Northern Trust (5,448); Jewel Foods (4,572) and Ford Motor Co. (4,187). The 2012 city payroll was 33,708 - down from 40,297 in 2006.

By July 31, Emanuel must release a preliminary city budget. It's almost certain to include another massive deficit - strengthening the city's case in contract talks with city unions - that will have to be closed with more layoffs, service cuts and new revenues.

Emanuel's 2013 budget held the line on taxes, fines and fees - beyond those set in motion the year before and annual increases in parking meter rates locked into the 75-year lease. The mayor also eliminated 275, mostly-vacant jobs while making strategic investments in tree-trimming, rodent control and children's health and after-school programs.

But, aldermen warned that it was the calm before the storm: a painful solution to the city's pension crisis that will require both new revenues and concessions from city employees.

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley postponed Chicago's day of reckoning by balancing his final budget with $330 million in Skyway and parking meters reserves and other short-term fixes. That left just $76 million remaining from the widely-despised, 75-year, $1.15 billion deal that privatized Chicago parking meters.
 
2013-07-27 03:00:38 PM
Damn, Tolstoy, just link the article next time.
 
2013-07-27 03:05:42 PM

Nabb1: Damn, Tolstoy, just link the article next time.


Sun-Times requires registration.

Should have led with that, if it goes green half of the comments are going to flame my Anthony Weiners...
 
2013-07-27 03:24:28 PM

Fark It: Nabb1: Damn, Tolstoy, just link the article next time.

Sun-Times requires registration.

Should have led with that, if it goes green half of the comments are going to flame my Anthony Weiners...


thanks for the full article.

looks like chicago is headed for the coveted 1 hour cop response time competition.
 
2013-07-27 03:54:12 PM

snuffy: Fark It: Nabb1: Damn, Tolstoy, just link the article next time.

Sun-Times requires registration.

Should have led with that, if it goes green half of the comments are going to flame my Anthony Weiners...

thanks for the full article.

looks like chicago is headed for the coveted 1 hour cop response time competition.


It's already 1 hour response time, if they respond at all, in certain neighborhoods.  An acquaintance of mine's family owns a car repair shop in a west side shooting gallery neighborhood.  They're hispanic.  The neighborhood is 100% black and one of the most impoverished in the city.  The police won't show up, even if someone threatens to come back and shoot the place up because they don't like the repair quote.

/ask me what I think about Cook County's proposed "may-issue" concealed carry law before the GA passed shall-issue CC statewide, when Tom Dart said that even small business owners in Chicago wouldn't be allowed to carry on their property and would instead have to hire private security (aka off-duty law enforcement)
//honestly doesn't know which group the CPD is more racist against, blacks or hispanics
 
2013-07-27 04:06:07 PM
Also, the police "misconduct" (torture and brutality) settlements have also cost the city serious money (into the nine-figures for this past year).  Settlements related to the CPD's torture victims under Jon Burge have already hit $70 million.  Two more settlements for high-profile cases of police misconduct have easily pushed the tab for the last couple of years to over $100,000,000.

Meanwhile, the guy who was state's attorney during Jon Burge's reign of terror and became mayor for over 20 years has a huge city pension, city-provided chauffeur, city-provided protective detail, and a cushy job with a politically connected law firm, one he no-bid awarded the city's legal work to while still in office.
 
2013-07-27 04:43:04 PM
not too funny how the public servant morphs into a over compensated fat cat.

this will not prevail.
 
2013-07-27 04:53:04 PM

Fark It: Also, the police "misconduct" (torture and brutality) settlements have also cost the city serious money (into the nine-figures for this past year).  Settlements related to the CPD's torture victims under Jon Burge have already hit $70 million.  Two more settlements for high-profile cases of police misconduct have easily pushed the tab for the last couple of years to over $100,000,000.

Meanwhile, the guy who was state's attorney during Jon Burge's reign of terror and became mayor for over 20 years has a huge city pension, city-provided chauffeur, city-provided protective detail, and a cushy job with a politically connected law firm, one he no-bid awarded the city's legal work to while still in office.


how many cops lost their jobs over these lawsuits?
none?
SHOCKING NEWS !!

I predict that there will be more police abuse cases.
 
2013-07-27 05:06:22 PM

namatad: I predict that there will be more police abuse cases.


That's a safe bet.

I also predict that the CPD will extract even more generous benefits when their contract is renegotiated, and they will be just as shielded from criminal and civil liability as they are now.
 
2013-07-27 05:30:23 PM
So Obama has ruled out a bailout for Detroit but the USA is sending Israel around 8 million per day in aid. Makes perfect sense.
 
2013-07-27 05:34:51 PM

Fark It: ■Budget-oriented Midway Airport is thriving, spelling potentially good news if, as expected, Emanuel chooses to revive the $2.5 billion deal to privatize Midway that collapsed for lack of financing.


That has boondoggle written all over it.

Privatizing Midway isn't going to help.
 
2013-07-27 05:37:51 PM
another Democrat controlled city.
what a surprise.
 
2013-07-27 05:40:04 PM
 
2013-07-27 05:40:42 PM

Mrtraveler01: Fark It: ■Budget-oriented Midway Airport is thriving, spelling potentially good news if, as expected, Emanuel chooses to revive the $2.5 billion deal to privatize Midway that collapsed for lack of financing.

That has boondoggle written all over it.

Privatizing Midway isn't going to help.


Will the city get money for the sale? Is the airport making the city money or costing?
 
2013-07-27 05:45:32 PM
i invite predictions as to the next five detroits
chicago "appears" to be in 1st place so far

i suggest chicago, denver, seattle, los angeles, cleveland
 
2013-07-27 05:46:28 PM
the debt as our fearless leaders are given to say is a lie built off a lie with compound usury on nothing over many years it is invalid!
 
2013-07-27 05:46:59 PM

uber humper: Mrtraveler01: Fark It: ■Budget-oriented Midway Airport is thriving, spelling potentially good news if, as expected, Emanuel chooses to revive the $2.5 billion deal to privatize Midway that collapsed for lack of financing.

That has boondoggle written all over it.

Privatizing Midway isn't going to help.

Will the city get money for the sale? Is the airport making the city money or costing?


It's a money-maker, but has over $1 billion in debt attached to it.  They're moving to privatize to get rid of the debt and get cash upfront to plug the (nigh unworkable) pension crisis.  It's the equivalent of hawking the family silver and your grandmother's wedding ring at a pawn shop for pennies on the dollar to pay down your credit card, while not making lifestyle changes that got you into credit card debt in the first place
 
2013-07-27 05:47:07 PM

bindlestiff2600: i invite predictions as to the next five detroits
chicago "appears" to be in 1st place so far

i suggest chicago, denver, seattle, los angeles, cleveland


Californian cities will be the kings of BK.
 
2013-07-27 05:47:18 PM
Can't we just burn it down, collect the insurance money and rebuild it?

/ my solution to all public debt problems
 
2013-07-27 05:47:53 PM

tenpoundsofcheese: San Francisco is next


Yeah.  It's the pensions.  Things that made sense when people retired at 65 and died at 66 don't make sense when those same people can retire at 50, and live until 80.

The places that will do best (compared to where they are now) over the next few decades will sadly be the places that either never had pensions to begin with, or successfully manage to screw over old folks before going bankrupt.  High Taxes +  High services can work.  High Taxes + Fark you doesn't.  It sucks for the people who worked for those pensions, but if SF, a high-tax city containing nothing but rich tech workers, can't pay its bills, the rest of the country is farked.

/And personally, I prefer a 401K.  Just give me my money now instead of stringing me along for 30 years before going bankrupt.
 
2013-07-27 05:51:42 PM
So just have everyone kick in $11, 000, then deport everyone who drives a Buick, Lincoln, or Cadillac.  Ta-da!
 
2013-07-27 05:53:39 PM
Hmmmm.

Detroit is full of blacks and other assorted minorities who do nothing but collect welfare, drive up and the crime rate, and scare away 'real' people who actually pay taxes and help the economy.
It went bankrupt.

Chicago is full of blacks and other assorted minorities who do nothing but collect welfare, drive up and the crime rate, and scare away 'real' people who actually pay taxes and help the economy.

I can't see any connection there.

/Go Bears!
//Lions suck! FU Stafford, you overrated biatch.
 
2013-07-27 05:54:08 PM
Politicians who will be out of office and free from significant blame by the time a bad policy boomerangs don't give a shiat about downsides. It's Reagan's economic miracle all over again. If a politician or CEO promises great pensions (etc, etc) but will have been comfortably retired twenty years before it's time to pay up, of course they're going to make that promise.
 
2013-07-27 05:54:33 PM

Speef: So just have everyone kick in $11, 000, then deport everyone who drives a Buick, Lincoln, or Cadillac.  Ta-da!


Then what about the national debt of $148,000 per tax payer.

Article yesterday illustrated it pretty well: if you stack one dollar bills (not end to end, but stack) the national debt would go to the moon 5 times.
 
2013-07-27 05:55:14 PM
I Like Shiny Things: Detroit is full of blacks and other assorted minorities who do nothing but collect welfare, drive up and the crime rate, and scare away 'real' people who actually pay taxes and help the economy.

Trolling or not, that's hopelessly fumblingly stupid. Try harder.
 
2013-07-27 05:56:03 PM

RandomAxe: I Like Shiny Things: Detroit is full of blacks and other assorted minorities who do nothing but collect welfare, drive up and the crime rate, and scare away 'real' people who actually pay taxes and help the economy.

Trolling or not, that's hopelessly fumblingly stupid. Try harder.


he's pretending.
 
2013-07-27 05:56:42 PM
The night Chicago died... da na na.. na na na .... I heard my Mama cry

...Yes indeed
 
2013-07-27 05:57:08 PM

uber humper: Speef: So just have everyone kick in $11, 000, then deport everyone who drives a Buick, Lincoln, or Cadillac.  Ta-da!

Then what about the national debt of $148,000 per tax payer.

Article yesterday illustrated it pretty well: if you stack one dollar bills (not end to end, but stack) the national debt would go to the moon 5 times.


So just have everybody kick in $149, 000, then deport everyone in Washington, DC.  Ta-da!
 
2013-07-27 05:57:30 PM
uber humper: he's pretending.

I remain convinced he could do a better job of it. This is not a charade.
 
2013-07-27 05:58:49 PM
Say Chicago. how did that whole selling of the parking meters thing go?
 
2013-07-27 05:59:25 PM

Fark It: Also, the police "misconduct" (torture and brutality) settlements have also cost the city serious money (into the nine-figures for this past year).  Settlements related to the CPD's torture victims under Jon Burge have already hit $70 million.  Two more settlements for high-profile cases of police misconduct have easily pushed the tab for the last couple of years to over $100,000,000.

Meanwhile, the guy who was state's attorney during Jon Burge's reign of terror and became mayor for over 20 years has a huge city pension, city-provided chauffeur, city-provided protective detail, and a cushy job with a politically connected law firm, one he no-bid awarded the city's legal work to while still in office.


And there's the elephant in the room. Lawmakers will blame unions and the pension problem for the city's financial situation but the pension liabilities are only the tip of the iceberg: decades of mismanagement and corruption are what got Chicago into this mess and they're going to need to clean house if they want things to get better.
 
2013-07-27 06:01:22 PM

RandomAxe: I Like Shiny Things: Detroit is full of blacks and other assorted minorities who do nothing but collect welfare, drive up and the crime rate, and scare away 'real' people who actually pay taxes and help the economy.

Trolling or not, that's hopelessly fumblingly stupid. Try harder.


It worked on you didn't it?

What color is your Prius?
 
2013-07-27 06:03:40 PM
OMG Chicago! We can be BFFs!
 
2013-07-27 06:05:07 PM
I would snark about having moved out of there, but I still own a condo I can't unload any time soon. So I've got ties to the city....for now.

The parking meters were a damn mess. Before I left, they started adding taxes on to some. So you'd be adding amounts in $.50 increments and suddenly your total jumps from $4 to $7 once you hit a certain point.

Love the city and so much about it. But, man, it's a mess underneath.
 
2013-07-27 06:09:07 PM

Popcorn Johnny: So Obama has ruled out a bailout for Detroit but the USA is sending Israel around 8 million per day in aid. Makes perfect sense.


Not to mention the BILLIONS to Egypt - to a government that HATES the USA.
 
2013-07-27 06:12:49 PM
WOW...you democrats are AWESOME at running things.
 
2013-07-27 06:13:51 PM
Bailouts are just a reward to the people who screwed up in the first place.
 
2013-07-27 06:16:08 PM
JUST TAX ALL THE BUSINESSES AT 50%!!
 
2013-07-27 06:16:39 PM
Fark Chitcago.
 
2013-07-27 06:17:17 PM
Oh good. I was looking forward to more culturally enriching people of crime migrating to my not yet destroyed part of the country.
 
2013-07-27 06:20:45 PM
Meh, all they have to do is raise taxes and other city/state fees.  When people cut back to try to save money, just raise them a little more to make up the difference.  That seems to be the modus operandi for the government and businesses these days.
 
2013-07-27 06:25:38 PM

MBrady: Popcorn Johnny: So Obama has ruled out a bailout for Detroit but the USA is sending Israel around 8 million per day in aid. Makes perfect sense.

Not to mention the BILLIONS to Egypt - to a government that HATES the USA.


Its called an investment.

Isreal has money and a lot of smart people who know how to bring in new money. (even tho most of them suck and should be shot)
Egypt is full of dumbasses who will suck 'till the day the die, but they already have cash. Because they are stupid, they are easy to exploit.

Detroit is full of losers who don't have intelligence or money and never will.

How do magnets and economics work?

You aren't allowed to reply to this and complain if you voted for Obama.

/damn...won't get any bites on this one
 
2013-07-27 06:27:10 PM
hey, retired SF COBOL programmer here! F-You. SF is in great shape and the pension system is rock-sollid.
I get about 5,000 per month and pay around 1,000 per month in health/dental for a family of 4.
the new SF budget just passed is hiring MORE cops, firemen, social services and etc.
New hires have to pay more pension costs and health care costs
 
2013-07-27 06:30:31 PM
Hm.  Maybe it's time for the states west of the Mississippi to start building a wall, so as to keep out those undesirables from Illinois and Michigan.   True, they could always fly over, but the United Western Defense Forces  (call them that for now) could put some antiaircraft guns on top of the barrier.
 
2013-07-27 06:31:35 PM
More aggressive money saving measures and accounting practices could have prevented this.  Instead of saying, "I'm allocating a million dollars to this project, we'll probably get more money in the future to pay it off." is like a homeless guy buying a BMW and saying they'll just get a job to pay it off and that they're totally good for it because they also just bought a house.  No money down on either, skyrocketing interest rate, no income.
 
2013-07-27 06:34:43 PM

meyerkev: Yeah. It's the pensions. Things that made sense when people retired at 65 and died at 66 don't make sense when those same people can retire at 50, and live until 80.


Something else just happened that people seem to willfully ignore.

Pension funds are often required to only buy AAA rated investments.

Very recently, the Banks were fraudulently selling toxic waste as AAA rated investments.

Then we got things happening back around 2008 like this:

Florida pension fund plummets

The State Board of Administration, which manages many of Florida's public investments, has seen its assets plummet by $62-billion, a third of their value, in the last 13 months.
 
2013-07-27 06:41:41 PM
But lets keep listening to liberal ideas on fiscal responsibility.
 
2013-07-27 06:43:20 PM

meyerkev: Yeah.  It's the pensions.  Things that made sense when people retired at 65 and died at 66 don't make sense when those same people can retire at 50, and live until 80.



It's not the pensions, it's mismanagement.  In 1995 the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) was over 90% funded so the City of Chicago, struggling with financial problems, sought and received approval from the Illinois General Assembly to divert property levies that were earmarked for CTPF to pay other expenses.

From 1996 to 2005 the City of Chicago has taken $3.2 billion that was earmarked for the CTPF and now finds itself up shiat creek. The City of Chicago and CPS caused this problem back in 1995 by taking the tax levy funds away from the CTPF and now Rahm Emanuel and CPS wants to cry wolf? Give me a break!
 
2013-07-27 06:44:03 PM
What do you expect?  They lost their Community Organizer.
 
2013-07-27 06:45:38 PM

IamKaiserSoze!!!: Say Chicago. how did that whole selling of the parking meters thing go?


Privatization of government services always results in better service at lower costs. Chicagoans couldn't be happier.
 
Displayed 50 of 195 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report