Dec 17 6:19 PM

Chicago’s pension crisis

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
The Stream (Al Jazeera)

While many are familiar with Detroit’s pension crisis, few realize Chicago’s is worse. Funds for city workers are $19.5B short of meeting obligations – a gap of more than $7,000 per resident. For firefighters that means for every $1 owed in benefits, there's only 25 cents in the bank. So with a system that’s only 35% funded, how can Chicago maintain its reputation as a “city that works?” Join us Tuesday at 7:30pm ET.

On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to: 

Elaine Nekritz @ElaineNekritz
Illinois State Representative (57th District)

Anthony (Tony) Martin
Secretary – The Fireman’s Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago

Bob Reed @BetterGov
Director of Programming and Investigations – Better Government Association

Fred Klonsky @fklonsky
Retired k-5 art teacher

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Chicago's four major pension programs are facing a funding crisis. The pension systems for police, firefighters, laborers and municipal workers were short by a $19.5 billion at the end of 2012. Add the $8 billion shortage the city's teachers are facing and Chicago is in the hole more than $27 million. Collectively, Chicago's public employee pensions were only 36 percent funded at the end of 2012. In other words, for every dollar the city owes in benefits, it has just 36 cents in the bank. For firefighters it's even worse with only 25 cents to every dollar.



Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter