There is a terrible misconception floating around the state during this primary. It seems that the taxpayer is being fed the notion that state employees have an outrageously lucrative pension system. Those in office want you to believe that this tremendous pension obligation is what is driving the state toward bankruptcy. And those running for office are using this misconception as a basis for their political platform, assuring the taxpayer that, if they are elected, they will stop this obviously misuse of state funds!
Nothing could be further from the truth! The present pension system originated from the rewrite of the Illinois constitution in 1970. It was not an extremely lucrative system, just a standard, run-of-the-mill, pension. It was a self-sustaining system that would have, if funded as originally planned (and this funding was a contractual obligation, both for the State of Illinois and the employee!), actually paid for itself, not needing any funding from the state general fund! The employee was supposed to invest 4% of his or her salary into the system, with the state matching this. Mathematically, 8% invested each year, with compound interest, would make this system self sufficient. I have actually run through the boring calculations long-hand, and it works!
What the hell happened? Pure and simple -- the State of Illinois broke the law, initially during the Edgar administration, by not funding their share for a few years. Unfortunately, after these first few years, they actually quit funding their share, period! To add insult to injury, one year the State decided to give each employee a 4% raise (I’m not sure, but I think it was in the 1980’s) by saying they would now fund our portion, too. Guess what? They didn’t put that 4% into the kitty, either! With no money going into the fund (which was, and still is, illegal,) the pension fund ran out of money!
(DUH! I WONDER WHY!) Today, the pension obligations which, by law, still have to be paid, now come from the general fund.
Those greedy, grubby, worthless, crooked politicians (both republican and democratic) illegally quit funding the system and wasted that money on anything their little hearts desired. Now they are using your taxpayer dollars to illegally fund the now bankrupt system! How do you like them apples?
They broke the law, continuously, for probably 30 years with no consequences. Where were the checks and balances? Why didn’t the attorney general, the state treasurer, or the state comptroller stop these lawbreakers? Oh, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, They are also greedy, grubby, worthless, crooked politicians!
I’m really surprised that the media didn’t pick up on the state’s failure to legally fund their pension obligations and question how they planned on funding those legal obligations with no money going into the fund. News media, you dropped the ball on this one. Makes me wonder how much you were paid to keep your mouth shut!
Frederick J. Sherer, Humboldt