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Old 03-01-2019, 06:39 AM
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Mary Pat Campbell
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
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Retirees object to governor's pension holiday plan

The Illinois Retired Teachers Association is critical of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to pay more than required into the pension system for Chicago teachers while underfunding the pension system that serves the rest of the state's retired teachers.

Pritzker proposed changing the state’s payment schedule for its underfunded public retirement accounts. In exchange for paying more in years ahead, he’s proposing shorting the required contribution for teachers outside of Chicago by $500 million.

“Delaying pension payments just kicks the can down the road again and costs future generations of Illinois taxpayers (if any left) billions of dollars,” Illinois Retired Teachers Association President Roger Hampton said in a statement.

Association Executive Director Jim Bachman said Pritzker's promise of higher payments later is not new. Teachers have heard it before from both Democratic and Republican governors.

“This is the same road that we’ve gone down many times,” he said.

During the campaign, Pritzker repeatedly said he wanted to pay more into pensions. He said that to Crain’s Chicago Business and repeated it during the debates.

“He said it was his intent to be putting more into the system, if possible, to reduce that debt, but in lieu of that we went the opposite way,” Bachman said.

The association said that while Pritzker is proposing a $576 million pension holiday for the Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois, the Chicago Democrat is also proposing a nearly $20 million increase to contributions to the Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago.

“You’re fulfilling your thoughts or promises to the Chicago teachers, but you’re not doing that for downstate,” Bachman said. “This worries me that we’re going to continue to do this.”

In total, Illinois has more than $135 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. If the state maintained its actuarially required contributions for the coming fiscal year, it would amount to nearly a quarter of the state's budget.

There has been a debate about whether or not to classify the state’s pension underfunding as a “crisis.” Bachman said the amount of money TRS controls will allow the system to continue to make payments to its 417,000 retirees, but he said he thinks the cost to future generations is the real crisis.

“Somebody in the future is going to have to pay for it,” he said. “In that sense, yeah, it is a crisis.”

The IRTA endorsed Pritzker over former Gov. Bruce Rauner in last y

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