Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“Consequences of Irresponsible Pritzker Budget Proposal Will Cost Illinois and Future Generations $150B More” (Illinois Retired Teachers Association)


(February 20, 2019 - Springfield, Ill.) - Members of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association (IRTA) are imploring Governor J.B. Pritzker to cease the decades-long practice of not fully funding the pension systems. IRTA members appreciate the difficult fiscal condition that the Governor inherited but taking pension holidays is not the solution.
“The Illinois Retired Teachers Association has serious concerns about the Governor’s proposed pension holiday,” IRTA President Roger Hampton said. “We are supportive of the proposals to infuse additional revenues into the pension funds for solvency, but not to underfund systems by hundreds of millions of dollars or by raiding one fund to give more to another. Delaying pension payments just kicks the can down the road again and costs future generations of Illinois taxpayers (if any left) billions of dollars.”
During his budget address Wednesday, Governor Pritzker proposed allocating $4.237 billion into the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), a figure $576,000,000 too short of what is legally and ethically required to pay for the pension benefits of retired teachers and current teachers. It will result in reduced pension payments to TRS for years to come but will generate a nearly $150 billion in increased costs to Illinois taxpayers, including the 417,292 members of TRS.
“TRS is currently very poorly funded by actuarial standards at 40% of the assets needed for current benefits,” IRTA Executive Director Jim Bachman said. “If Illinois had not taken pension holidays, like the ones being proposed, the cost of TRS would be $1.2 billion. The State is paying 400% more because of statutory underfunding and a history of pension holidays. The Illinois Retired Teachers do not believe that the solution to the poorly funded pension systems is to make them more poorly funded and to continue the tradition that got Illinois in this problem in the first place.”
“The State of Illinois must keep its promises to the people, like retired teachers that have always kept up their end of the bargain,” Hampton concluded. “The State of Illinois must fund its pensions and retiree healthcare promises at levels that are both legally and ethically justified.”
It should be noted that this pension holiday is focused only on teachers outside of the City of Chicago. Pritzker did propose increasing the payments to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund.

1 comment:

  1. Well, well, well... Here's another point of view:

    SPRINGFIELD – The following statement is attributable to Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin.

    "Today marks a new day and a new focus for education in Illinois. It’s refreshing to have a governor not only focused on what is best for students and Illinois’ future, but who is willing to work collaboratively to get the best results.

    "Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proposed an additional $25 million toward K-12 education in Illinois, above and beyond the $350 million new dollars added last year through the new evidence-based funding law. There is also an additional $21 million in funding set aside for special education grants, $5 million for much-needed career and technical education programs for high school students and $2 million to help low-income students pay for Advanced Placement testing.

    "Gov. Pritzker also is proposing an additional boost over last year’s funding for higher education. While this is an amount still below what higher ed needs, it is a step toward fuller funding for higher education and, importantly, a move away from the financial starvation strategy we saw in recent years. It includes a 5 percent increase for community colleges and public universities and $50 million for MAP grants.

    "And, in what is a huge leap forward toward education equity in Illinois, Gov. Pritzker has proposed a boost of more than $100 million in birth to age five education funding. We have seen study after study that shows early education helps level the playing field for students over their entire learning careers and sets students on a path toward successful lives.

    "We applaud Gov. Pritzker for looking at various funding sources because funding has to play a role in the future he’s building for Illinois. A starving state cannot grow.

    "And, we find the Governor’s pension proposal an interesting start to the conversation. We understand this is a huge issue for Illinois and we also understand that any solution should be fiscally responsible, fair and constitutionally sound. We look forward to getting all stakeholders in the room to discuss viable solutions to find a healthy pathway forward."


    The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.