A report being released Tuesday says Illinois' plan to save $160 billion ultimately won't make much of a dent in the state's growing deficits.
The University of Illinois' Institute for Government and Public Affairs study says changes to the state's major public pension systems will eliminate their unfunded liability over the next 25 years, but the state's deficit will increase to $13 billion during that time. Institute researchers projected a $14 billion deficit - a $1 billion difference - if the state had not implemented pension reform.
Institute Director Chris Mooney says the study was released as campaigns for the 2014 general election begin to heat up in order to make sure the state's fiscal crisis is talked about.
Washington is borrowing about 25 cents for every dollar it spends, down from over 40 cents just a few years ago.
And the budget deficit is dropping to $845 billion after topping $1 trillion for four straight years. The Congressional Budget Office says the deficit will keep shrinking — to $430 billion by 2015.
That's the good news.
But without a fix, the government's finances will start to worsen again as the three major "entitlement" programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — become more and more expensive and unmanageable under the increasing weight of retiring baby boomers.