Why are local governments funding pensions?

by:  Diane Benjamin

Local governments across the state are buried in unfunded pension debt.  Pouring millions of dollars into pensions funds will not solve the problem.  It is more than obvious pensions are an outdated idea abandoned by the private sector decades ago.  Local pensions are controlled by Springfield.  If they don’t fund their pensions, why should taxpayers fund local pensions at the expense of roads, fire, and police protection?  When is government going to realize pensions are unsustainable?

“As of June 30, 2013, the five State funded retirement systems were at a 39.3% funded ratio using a five year ‘smoothing’ valuation of assets with $100.501 billion in unfunded liability.”

We’ve long known about the dangerously low funding of the five pension systems, which led to the passage in December of a major pension reform bill. But Topinka’s report makes it official that Illinois has surpassed the $100 billion mark in unfunded pension liability.

This will be good news to editors and reporters across the state who no longer will have to describe the state’s long-term pension obligations – previously pegged at $97 billion — as “nearly” $100 billion.

Read the whole article here:






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