- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2013

A Chicago-based watchdog group said Illinois will have $22 billion worth of unpaid bills within the next few years unless lawmakers reform pension plans.

That’s down a bit from last year’s report, when the forecast was $35 billion, according information on the Civic Federation’s website.

The organization’s president Laurence Msall nevertheless cautioned lawmakers to enact immediate reform or else face “fiscal downspin.”

“This long-range outlook shows just how far the state has to go in order to stabilize its finances,” Mr. Msall said. “Lawmakers need to adopt a long-term mindset and restructure the unaffordable pension systems that are keeping the state in its fiscal downspin.”

Aside from pension obligations, the state is suffering from planned increases in its Medicaid program, the group said.