Yesterday I observed that no accounting of the health of Wisconsin's pension funds would be complete without totaling up the borrowing the state and its municipalities engaged in to finance the system. Now comes a study from the Illinois Policy Institute that totals the Prairie State's retirement obligations, including borrowings to fund pension contributions and liabilities for retiree health benefits. The number's a whopper, as the graphic below shows.
And the state may not be through piling on the debt just yet. As the institute's Collin Hitt notes:
Altogether, there's at least $17B in outstanding principle on state and local POBs [pension obligation bonds] and OPEBOBs [other post employment benefit obligation bonds] in Illinois, part of our $203 billion retirement nightmare. We're seeing more localities prep for benefit bonds, and there is some chatter that the state may explore OPEBOBs to stabilize its sinking health insurance trusts for teachers, university and state workers.