The Top 8 People and Actions to Blame for Illinois' Pension Problems

There are many, many people from both major parties at fault over many years for the Illinois pension debacle.

Dave McKinney, former Chicago Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief, dives deeply into them in a special report for Crain's Chicago Business.

McKinney's long look at the more-than-25-year history of pension actions by lawmakers is a detailed and dense, magazine-style exploration of the moves that caused a state to tumble into deep debt.

"For more than a quarter-century, governors and state legislators, Republicans and Democrats alike, made a series of financially toxic moves in the pension systems for state employees and public school teachers," McKinney writes. "Proposals to fix the perennially underfunded pensions were based on botched calculations--or no calculations at all--and were driven by misguided rationales that weren't fully vetted. Everyone was to blame, yet few accepted responsibility. Even the public-sector unions that stood to lose the most sometimes embraced those choices.

"In separate interviews with Crain's," he continues, "one Illinois governor pointed the finger at his predecessors for bad decisions, while an earlier governor said those who followed him messed things up."

Here are the eight people and legislative actions that have led to the state's pension crisis.

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