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Can We Tax our Way Out

Taxing our way out means increasing the contribution by Cook County taxpayers to the pension fund without any reforms to the current pension benefit structure. In order to be 80% funded by 2040, Cook County contributions would have to increase so that by 2040 the contribution amount would be over $900,000,000.

This contribution increase would come from the property tax levy. The graph below shows that by 2035 over 100% of County property taxes would be paid to the pension fund. Increasing the amount of property tax money to the pension fund will require steep cuts to County public health and public safety programs.

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Cook County budgets its current annual contribution by multiplying the total employee contribution two years prior by a State set multiplier of 1.54. The County has never missed a required pension contribution. County contributions have decreased in the past few years due to reductions in the County workforce.

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