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Research Project

Thinking Differently About IL Retirement Systems, by Amanda Kass, David Merriman, and Robert Bruno

Research Area(s)
Debt and Long-Term Obligations
Government Finance Research
Public Pensions


In the research report, Thinking Differently About IL Retirement Systems, A “Pension Crisis” Mentality Won’t Help, Robert Bruno, Amanda Kass, and David Merriman rethink the conversation about pensions and the state’s finances. The near-ubiquitous claim that Illinois is facing a “pension crisis” has rarely been challenged. The failure to examine this customary framing of the fiscal condition of Illinois’ five state pension systems limits how policymakers conceptualize their funding strategy. This white paper, jointly authored by researchers from the Project for Middle-Class Renewal at the School of Labor and Employment Relations, the Government Finance Research Center, and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (all at the University of Illinois), argues that the “pension crisis” framework negatively influences discussions of policy options. Published: February 19, 2019 View the report here