Illinois TRS Wants $400M Budget Hike

The Illinois Teachers Retirement Systems will ask the state for more money, an additional 10.6% more in state contributions for 2019 fiscal year which starts July 1, even though its investments yielded more than 8.45% this year.

Here is an excerpt from the report filed in Chief Investment Officer:

The $51.7 billion Teachers’ Retirement System wants about $400 million to be added to the budget, which would see total contributions rise to more than $4.8 billion. The pension fund’s executive director, Dick Ingram, said the organization “had a good year.” And it did, returning 8.45%. But, he added, it simply cannot “invest our way out of this problem.”

That problem is the Teachers’ Retirement System’s 40.7% funding ratio. “The unfunded liability is too large and grows every year,” Ingram said. The plan has more than $75 billion in liabilities, the highest of the $130 billion total among the state’s five systems. The other four are the State Universities Retirement System, the State Employees Retirement System, the General Assembly Retirement System, and the Judges Retirement System.

According to Ingram, the principal and interest on the debt accounts for 76% of the state’s annual contribution to the fund. Absent the debt service, the state would only need to pay $1.2 billion the following budget year.

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