Friday, October 30, 2020

A Letter from Bob Lyons Regarding TRS of Illinois

“The TRS Board has asked for a contribution of $5.69 billion from the state for Fiscal Year 2022, an increase of 10.7% over the current year’s $5.14 billion. Our return on our investments was finally calculated for FY 2020 ending on June 30 at 0.55%. Halfway through the fiscal year on December 31 we were up 13.4 %, but the effect of COVID-19 on the market brought us down to just above breakeven.

“The system’s unfunded liability increased by $2.6 billion to a total of $80.7 billion. Total liability – all benefits to all TRS members for all time is calculated to have increased by $4.1 billion to $135.6 billion. We ended the fiscal year with $51.6 billion in assets.

“Despite the growth of the unfunded liability in FY 2020, the funded status of TRS remained relatively stable at 40.5 percent compared to 40.6 percent in FY 2019.

“Since the start of this fiscal year our fund has grown and in mid-October our fund had improved to over $54 billion. The stock market of course has been down with the current increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations. What is important for all of us that are currently retired is we are covered, that there is more than enough money to pay our pensions.

“If the Fair Tax Amendment passes on election day, the state next year will have several billion more in revenue. If Biden is the new president and the Democrats control both houses of Congress, Illinois will get additional help from the Federal Government. If the constitutional amendment does not pass and/or the Democrats are not successful on the federal level, the State of Illinois is going to be looking for new sources of revenue.

“Even with the last year where we barely showed a profit TRS has shown positive returns for every year in the last decade and has a 40-year average of annual returns of nine percent.”

-Bob Lyons, former TRS Trustee


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