A detailed review of teachers union spending, 2013-2018View Report
According to recent data, Illinois spends nearly double the national average on pensions, measured as a percentage of all state and local government spending.
A former Edwardsville university administrator and a retired judge each have collected more than $3 million in pension payments. Too little paid in with too much taken out is the heart of Illinois’ pension crisis.
The average six-figure retiree contributed just over $160,000 toward their own pension over the course of their career.
Six years into retirement, Ron Guenther’s annual pension is more than $470,000 and is set to rise even higher, thanks to 3 percent yearly increases.
Illinois universities are blaming the recent budget impasse for their declining enrollment and financial problems. But the problems in higher education started long before the budget fight, and are largely self-inflicted.
State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, has proposed a plan that would give all state workers access to retirement plans that offer portability and flexibility – and an escape from Illinois’ broken pension system.
Nearly 38 percent of Illinois Teachers Retirement System assets are in so-called alternative investments.
Since 1998, more than 20,000 state university workers have opted into a 401(k)-style plan instead of the traditional pension plan.
In 2010, the unfunded debt related to pensions and retiree health care costs for local and state government workers across Illinois was $203 billion, the equivalent of more than $43,000 per household. In just six years, the total debt Illinois households are on the hook for has jumped to $56,000, or 31 percent. That’s a $13,000 increase for each household. Total unfunded debt for state and local governments in Illinois now totals $267 billion.
More than 50 percent of the state’s $4.1 billion budget for public universities is spent on retirement costs alone.