ALEC: Illinois unfunded pension liability of $533 billion; $8.2 trillion nationwide | Granite City News


According to a new report, Illinois is ranked near the bottom of a list of states with the highest unfunded pension liabilities.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has published “Inexplicable and unaffordablewhich brings the total unfunded liabilities of pension plans to $8.2 trillion. Illinois liabilities were the second worst at $533 billion. The ALEC report also shows that Illinois has the 2nd highest unfunded pension liability per capita, at more than $41,656 per person. This ranks 49th in the nation ahead of only Alaska.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tennessee’s retirement liabilities are around $8,500 per person, the lowest in the country, followed by Indiana at just over $10,000.

The report examined 290 state-administered government pension plans and their assets and liabilities from fiscal year 2012 through fiscal year 2020. An example of government pension plans in Illinois would be state employees, teachers, university workers, legislators and judges.

“This report does more than just raise alarm bells; it offers a roadmap for states to get their fiscal house in order,” said ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson.

The authors said benchmarking state pension systems is a valuable tool for state legislators as they work to deliver on promises made to retired public employees while protecting taxpayers through responsible pension reforms.

ALEC chief economist and executive vice president of policy Jonathan Williams said unless there is new leadership statewide and constitutional change, there will be the same for Illinois.

“Raise the bills, and then Illinois looks to the federal government and the nation’s taxpayers to bail out these underfunded systems,” Williams said.


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