Today, Truth in Accounting releases its annual report on the fiscal health of the City of Chicago. This year’s report found that Chicago owes $36.4 billion, the majority of which can be attributed to unfunded retirement promises for municipal employees.
Chicago’s CAFR is due, according to state law, within six months of the fiscal year-end. Chicago’s fiscal year ends on December 31. On June 30, 2020, the date on which it was due, the 2019 fiscal year CAFR was not publicly available on the city’s website but appeared a few days later.
The level of Chicago’s indebtedness assessed from the CAFR can be difficult to contextualize, which is why TIA calculates this number as a Taxpayer Burden™, or the amount of money each city taxpayer would have to contribute to city hall for the city to be debt-free. Chicago’s Taxpayer Burden is a staggering $39,400, which worsened by $2,300 from the previous fiscal year largely due to increases in pension liabilities.