The Daily Journal front page article dated Monday, March 15, 2021, has good news for the City of Kankakee. Hopefully, for the taxpayers in the City of Kankakee also.

Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly and Kankakee Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong presented several ideas on how to distribute this US taxpayers’ provided “windfall” of $14.5 million.

I would hope that the fire and police department pension deficits haven’t gone unnoticed, again. Lee Provost, reporter for The Daily Journal, wrote an article titled ”Kankakee pensions continue downward trend” on Feb. 12, 2020, which had some valuable information exposing this real problem. A reading of this article and any updates would be beneficial for all.

I am not personally involved with the success or failure of these pension funds because I am not, nor do I have any family members enrolled, in either of the pensions.

The last report I saw (from 2019?) stated the City of Kankakee taxpayers’ annual funding of the pensions was at or close to $3 million. It would be nice if the “windfall” the city’s representatives receive would take some of the burden off the backs of the taxpayers of the city. Since it wasn’t included in the several ideas of the distribution of this “windfall,” I would hope that it could be. It would be wonderful to have this albatross removed from the necks of the city’s taxpayers.

If all pension providers would have been included in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), this problem would probably not exist. However, US Congress in its usual passing of legislation exempted all governments (federal, state, county and local). The federal law sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established retirement and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans.

Actually, it makes very good sense — fiduciary sense. It would have a beneficial effect on any public pensions as well, but that’s been ignored since 1974.

David Cox

Kankakee