New Report Looks at Illinois’ 5 Public Pension Systems

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) — As members of the Illinois General Assembly prepare for a lame duck session that could include discussions of changing the state’s pension systems, the Illinois auditor general’s office is out with an actuarial review of the systems.

Not to be confused with the underfunding which is blamed for the problem, the actuaries say the boards of the five systems are using reasonable assumptions in calculating the returns.

While the governor says a solution must be together by the time the new General Assembly is sworn in Jan. 9, Dave Urbanek, spokesman for the Teachers’ Retirement System, puts the problem a different way.

“Every teacher who is retired right now will get their pensions for the next 20 years. It’s the teachers who are starting their careers right now; we can’t look them in the eye and say, ‘You’re going to get your pension when you retire in 30 years,” says Urbanek. “We have to fix that.”

The state is required to put $6.87 billion into the five pension systems during the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2013. About half of that is for TRS.

The other four systems are: General Assembly Retirement System, State Universities Retirement System, Judges’ Retirement System, State Employees’ Retirement System.

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