Cook County's pension fund has seen a 30% drop in its funded status over the last 10 years and without action will be insolvent by 2038, according to a new county analysis.
The report does not feature new figures about the county's pension funds but does mark the first time a county commissioner has conducted an analysis of the system.
Commissioner Bridget Gainer, chairwoman of the county board's pension oversight committee, said the report shows the county has to act now in order to solve the problem without raising taxes, according to local reports.
Gainer launched a new website, openpensions.org, to accompany the report.
The county's unfunded pension liability, which totals $5.2 billion, increased nearly 700% in nine years, according to the analysis. The system's funded status is 60.7%.
"As the pension unfunded liability grows and the funded status decreases, Cook County could receive lower and lower bond ratings," Gainer said in the report.
The unfunded liability increased more than $1.5 billion between 2008 and 2009 as a result of the global market crash, the report said.
Gainer has proposed a variety of solutions, including considering a hybrid plan that combines defined contribution and defined benefit features, as well as a moratorium on early retirement and reducing the amount of time to vest in the plan to five years from 10 years.