By Rachel Greszler -
Generous pensions have always been a prime perk of government jobs. Now those pensions are causing government layoffs, reduced services and tax increases.
Take Harvey, Illinois. The city has laid off half of its fire department and 13 police officers so it can meet its obligations to its retired police officers and firefighters — the result of decades of overpromising benefits and underfunding pension plans.
The laid-off first responders are just the first casualties of Harvey’s pension crisis. Residents and other government employees will feel the pain as Harvey cuts services, reduces salaries or increases the workloads of its remaining employees. Harvey’s residents already face a property tax increase. Last year, a court ordered the city to impose a property tax levy specifically for its firefighters pension fund.
Unfortunately, Harvey’s pension woes aren’t unique. Disaster looms for state and local pension plans across the U.S.