Republicans are furious after a leaked letter showed Democrats in the Illinois Senate asked members of the United States Congress for a $ 10 billion pension bailout, nearly a quarter of a 41st aid plan. billion dollars for coronavirus requested.
State and local governments, which face depleted tax revenues and limited operating budgets due to the coronavirus pandemic, have been asking for federal help for weeks. Illinois, which generates revenue from personal, corporate and sales taxes, could lose up to $ 14.1 billion in the coming year, according to the letter obtained last week by the research firm Wirepoints.
But Illinois, with a noticeably underfunded public pension fund, has also asked for $ 10 billion in direct cash assistance, along with a low-interest federal loan, for its retirement systems over the course of of the next three fiscal years through early 2022, according to the letter from Illinois. Senate Speaker Don Harmon on behalf of the 40-member Democratic Caucus. The figure equates to about a year of full payment to the state pension fund, or about 2.5 years of normal costs.
He also called for $ 9.6 billion in direct assistance from municipalities to meet the challenges of funding the pensions of police, firefighters and other state first responders.
“So far, federal assistance has targeted costs directly related to the COVID-19 outbreak,” Harmon said in an emailed statement. “The massive negative effects on state and local economies across this country have not been addressed and must be addressed.”
But the request angered Republican lawmakers and other critics inside and outside the state who ridiculed it as both grossly inappropriate and irresponsible for what they see as funds. poorly managed retirement plans.
The Illinois pension fund, which is among the poorest in the country, has unfunded liabilities of $ 138 billion, along with other retirement benefit liabilities of $ 54 billion.
“IL Dems is brazenly using a global pandemic as an excuse to ask the Fed government to get them out of the fiscal disaster they have fabricated over the past two decades,” one reads Tweeter of the Illinois Republican Party.
“It’s maddening. We cannot bail out Illinois’ notoriously corrupt and poorly managed retirement system, ”said Nikki Haley, former Republican governor of South Carolina and former US ambassador to the United Nations on Sunday. “States should not be getting deals. Everything must be repaid.
Sunday, Chicago Tribune Editorial board wrote: “Even by this state’s low standards, ask federal taxpayers from California to North Carolina, North Dakota to Texas – farmers, small business owners, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, bartenders – d ‘helping pull Illinois out of its pre-coronavirus, self-inflicted financial hell is surprisingly cheeky.
Other tax relief provisions in the COVID-19 aid program sought by state lawmakers include a $ 15 billion grant to stabilize the state’s operating budget, as well as $ 6 billion to finance unemployment benefits.