Ted was on WJPF radio this week talking to Tom Miller about the total pension promises made to government workers for the state’s five pension funds.

Highlights from Ted’s interview with Tom Miller on Newsradio WJPF:

“…all you need to do is look at how big, how fast the pension promises have grown over the last three decades to figure out, wow, that’s…where the money has been going, and yet it’s never enough. And it’s forced taxes to go up, faster and faster and faster. That’s why we’re in the hole we’re in.”

“Illinois is a national outlier. It has managed to grow its pension benefits owed to government workers faster than virtually every other state in the country. It far outstrips the ability of taxpayers to pay more money into the systems.”

“It’s a massive debt. It’s impossible to cover.”

“I try to find the balance between the people who get the benefits, the lawmakers who are in between them, and the ordinary Illinoisans who are forced to pay for those benefits, and how do we make this thing work. Because it doesn’t work today.”

 

Read more about solving Illinois’ pension problem:

 

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Poor Taxpayer
15 days ago

The poor honest hard working taxpayer and their families are screwed.
No hope for you or your children.
Pension greed has destroyed Illinois for generations. Kiss it good bye.
Try to change the system and the teachers are in court in a NY minute. They look at the taxpayers as a cat does prey.

David F
17 days ago

BUT – they could cut pay by 10% and direct that to the pension fund. If you want a insane pension PAY for it like the rest of the real world.

James
17 days ago
Reply to  David F

That might work, but there are two obvious impediments. First, that would discourage any potential teaching hires from seeking job where they know full well what has transpired since last year’s starting salaries were in effect. Some may defer those feelings long enough to be hired, but do not think for a minute that they will not forever resent being hired that way. Do you really want teachers hired that way where a pleasant personality and cheerful attitude are just as important as academic credentials and maybe more so as some would say? I don’t think so. Secondly, your local… Read more »

Susan
17 days ago
Reply to  James

Your assertions are based upon 2 factually inaccurate premises: that higher- paying jobs exist as alternatives for those who would be public school teachers, and that property tax rates would not be positively affected by pension entitlements reform. Private sector jobs pay significantly less than public sector jobs, according to BLS: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm “Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $37.73 per hour worked in March 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries cost employers $25.91 while benefit costs were $11.82. Total compensation costs for civilian workers were $13.15 at the 10th wage percentile,… Read more »

James
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Susan, I’m only going to comment on your introductory paragraph and rebut it. First, as to a beginning teacher seeking a job at an income level 10% lower than the prior year’s contract I was assuming–perhaps incorrectly—that would only apply to a person of that beginning-teacher status. If it applies across the board, then it affects him/her less directly but still is a morale destroyer overall. Don’t think you will have equally happy, productive and glad to be there as you had the prior year. So, while the bodies are likelly to be there the will power to be productive,… Read more »

James
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Susan, I should have added a thought about your suggestion were we to have a 10% reduction in salaries (statewide?) from one year to the next that any new teacher candidate would not have an opportunity for a higher starting salary. Perhaps, but not necessarily so. Salaries vary from district to district and from state to state. Or, one can simply grudgingly accept what’s offered as you seem to think is the most likely occurrence. You may be right, but he/she won’t be happy with it, and that will show up from time to time in various kinds of ways… Read more »

Susan
17 days ago
Reply to  James

First, I never said reduce salaries, I would prefer teachers suffer the same benefits and salaries as nurses with the same market risks. In that case teachers might be paid more (although they will be startled to understand the payroll deduction costs that all others suffer in personal responsibility for health insurance and retirement savings). But facts are still facts. You do not present any factual alternatives which pay anywhere near the compensation of public sector teachers. Disgruntled, burned out, unhappy in the job? My god man, grow up. Everyone faces disappointment when becoming a self sufficient adult. You seem… Read more »

James
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Susan, you seem to have a chip on your shoulder since you hostile somewhat repeatedly even to the point of assuming I’m one I’d the dreaded THEM that disgust you so much. Well, you may be wrong, so assume nothing. I offer my thoughts as an interested observer often taking a contrary view, and that’s literally all you know about me. Now, who knows whether any person seeking a teaching job could attain a high salary elsewhere? It’s surely no news to you that a great many college grads do careers not requiring in any immediate way what was learned… Read more »

Susan
17 days ago
Reply to  James

I am sorry that you need to attribute hostility to arguments which are based upon pointing out the terms of compensation packages received by public school teachers in Illinois which are destroying household budgets and devaluing Illinois property.
It seems more hostile to me, as a taxpayer, to be subjected to generalities and arguments that support the status quo because the problem is somehow too complex to be specifically addressed.

Poor Taxpayer
15 days ago
Reply to  James

Most college degrees are worthless and expensive. Students inure lots of debt and worthless job skills. No job opportunities in Illinois anyways.
Leave the state if you want a chance at earning a good living.

JimBob
18 days ago

Has anyone here looked into the possibility that the constitutional provision declaring public pensions to be “contract rights” could itself be unconstitutional … to the extent it’s being interpreted beyond the ostensible original intent to assure that such pensions were not mere gratuities? Would “intent” be a fact question for a jury? Have a look at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconstitutional_constitutional_amendment Apologies for citing Wikopedia but stretching the provision as far as it’s been stretched has undermined the State’s ability to meet other constitutional obligations. [Stretch marks on the soft underbelly of the body politic?] Practicality intrudes if one would have to go back… Read more »

Poor Taxpayer
18 days ago

The 2020 Miami Report released this summer states that an average of 950 people move to Florida every day and a majority come from high-taxed areas like New York, Boston, California and Chicago, according to the New York Times.
Florida residents pay no state income or estate tax and receive a homestead exemption of up to $50,000 on a primary resident and a three percent annual cap on home assessments.

Poor Taxpayer
18 days ago

The only answer is to MOVE ASAP.
If you can find a U Haul, as they are flying off the shelf.

Tom H
18 days ago

Great conversation guys!!! I really liked the comment from Ted about freezing the COLA’s. Have you guys done any analysis on freezes at various dollar levels? For example, freeze all COLA’s above 25k, 50k? If so, can you share? Maybe call it the “Fair COLA” or “Favorable Increase COLA”.

Admin
18 days ago
Reply to  Tom H

Tom, some options on changing the COLA, with savings estimates by actuaries, are coming soon — in Part 4 of our report.

Mike
18 days ago

The credit card with no limit.

Pension hiking state laws were charged to this magical credit card.

The bill comes due incrementally over decades.

Oh what a tangled web we shall weave.