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Michigan pension debt reaches $4.5 billion as Illinois pension debt surpasses $4 billion

By LYNN KINNEYKUELKA and KENNETH BASSSTANKAAssociated PressWASHINGTON (AP) A state pension system that had been under strain as its liabilities rose, while Illinois’ pension system has seen its debts rise to $4,500 billion as a result of the financial crisis.

Michigan’s public pension system, meanwhile, is on track to spend nearly $3 billion more than it took in last year, and the Illinois Pension Fund has said it expects to exceed $3.5-billion in expenses this year.

The state’s debt total is nearly twice the $1.5 trillion statewide that was declared in fiscal year 2011, according to the latest data from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Illinois’ pension debt rose to $6.9 billion from $5.4 billion in fiscal 2013, the latest fiscal year available.

The state’s public debt has more than doubled since 2008, when the nation’s worst economic downturn hit.

It now has about $12 billion in debt, up from $9 billion in 2009, according the most recent figures available from the state.

The Illinois Department of Human Services said the total number of people in the state’s Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to low-income residents, reached about 740,000 in fiscal 2014, up more than 40,000 from fiscal 2013.

The Illinois Department on Thursday reported that the number of children enrolled in Medicaid rose more than 300,000.

The Department said Medicaid enrollment was expected to reach about 4 million people in fiscal 2020.