Illinois might create a Distressed Cities Fund

By:  Diane Benjamin

HB 0875 is working its way through the Illinois House.  SB 0170 is working its way through the Senate.

Both bills want the Treasurer is create a Financially Distressed Cities Fund.

Both bills ignore Illinois can’t pay its bills.  Both also ignore why cities are financially distressed.  The biggest driver is pensions that can never be adequately funded.

A few years ago Springfield attempted to reform pensions, but the courts threw it out.  Now Springfield has quit trying:


But today, Pritzker and his party are unequivocally opposed a constitutional amendment to allow for benefit changes like SB-1 or anything else, or municipal bankruptcy that would give local government the option to make changes. (One exception is Chicago Mayoral candidate Bill Daley, who says it should be considered for city pensions.) Not even sham reform proposals like the “consideration model,” which might be constitutional, are being discussed.

The Illinois Municipal League supports both of these bills.  The IML works for cities, not taxpayers.

Links from IML to both summaries:

HB 0875

SB 0170

One more bill the IML supports:  SB 0120:    SB 0120

This sounds broad enough to apply to about everything!


9 thoughts on “Illinois might create a Distressed Cities Fund

  1. A “Distressed Cities Fund” in Illinois? That’s like “backing into a buzzsaw and then trying to figure out which tooth hit you 1st”.

  2. What you’ve highlighted in SB 0120 pretty much stands “of the people, for the people” on our heads and kicks us out into the cold, yet of course taxes will still be imposed and collected at the end of a swat team gun barrel if necessary. More reason to affirm that Illinois government is about as rotten and corrupt as any.

  3. This is the BIGGEST oxymoron I think I’ve EVER seen, read or heard. The WHOLE state of ILlinois is “distressed”.. For God’s sake! This would apply to EVERY town in the state. Next thing you know ole J.B. will tax you for driving over “his” potholes.. And this is from the FAMOUS toilet harvester!

  4. SB0120 – It reads: “…owe no duty of care to individual members of the general public to provide governmental services.” Translation: The State of Illinois is prepared to sacrifice any-and-all government services in order to pay pension promises, regardless of how outrageous these promises are. Pensions are priority #1, even at the expense of government-related services. Use of the words “individual” and “general public” are key. Unions and government employees are groups or organizations, and they are not the “general public” they are a special political class in Illinois. This is clearly setting the stage to under or unfund government services when the various pension funds run out of cash in the bank account. It’s coming…and real quick.

    1. I saw a Facebook comment by a guy in the know stating this law is to prevent people from suing cities over injuries they got from tripping over things like sidewalks that have been neglected. Danville got hit big.

      1. I have no reason to doubt that, Diane, but it seems like this is (or could later be used as) a “hall pass” for politicians to sacrifice local government services in order to make good on pension promises. Let’s hope I’m wrong. Either way, it appears designed to hold local governments harmless.

  5. So with this law taxpayer paid employees would not be required to clean the streets,fill the potholes , police the community or put a fire out.

  6. the good news about this new bill out there is it will give city employee more time to plan and have parties and go on taxpayer funded trips.

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