A member of our community sent the following email to Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake) and Gov. Pat Quinn.
Subject: 6258 and 4% more the taxpayers will be on the hook for
Mr. Franks, Ms. Althoff, Mr. Quinn,
Although I agree that comprehensive pension reform must happen in Illinois, how can you believe that a taxpayer guarantee for at least 4% investment returns by the pension funds is fair to the people of Illinois?
Teachers union representatives control the board that oversees the Teachersí Retirement System, but neither the unions nor the public employees are responsible for making up the difference when the TRS board makes bad investment decisions.
The TRS board originally projected an investment return of 8.5 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30 but instead managed a paltry 0.76 percent. For the same period, the Standard & Poorís 500 index grew 7.39 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average rose by 7.92 percent. This isnít the first time that TRSí investment returns have been disappointing. Before this year, the five-year average rate of return was only 4.1 percent, and the 10-year average was 6 percent.
Most of us working in the private sector depend on 401(k) plans, IRAs and similar arrangements to fund our retirements. Such plans are largely self-funded and self-directed. If we invest poorly, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN PLANS--we have personal responsibility for our choices.
Current and retired teachers elect six members of the TRS board, the governor appoints six and the state education superintendent is the 13th member. In 2008, Gov. Pat Quinn broke with tradition and appointed an extra union member, giving the unions majority control of the board. None of the board members are directly accountable to Illinois taxpayers.
Isnít it time the ELECTECTED board that oversees the TRS and its beneficiaries become responsible for THEIR decisions? Iím certainly responsible for my investment decisions, public employees should be responsible for theirs.
Regretfully living in Illinois,
P.S. Thank you to the Illinois Policy Institute for some of the cited information included in this letter.