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Annual Report Show Unfunded Pension Balance

The annual report by Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability continues to show unfunded balances. The red ink is in State-backed, State-managed pensions created by law for Illinois public-sector employees. The retirement plans are funded by payments due from State general funds and are, ultimately, borne by Illinois taxpayers. The principal beneficiaries are teachers and administrators in public school systems, other personnel in public schools, State employees, and State university employees.

Many Illinoisans are already familiar with the fact that, throughout the entire life of these pension systems, the State has not acted with prudence and has not put in enough money to keep up with the compounding cost of these obligations. This was especially true for a series of years starting in Fiscal Year 2004. Currently, as of the end of Fiscal Year 2022, the projected unfunded liabilities of the five State-managed pension systems was $137.7 billion. Despite significant investment gains in FY22 as worldwide equity markets increased in value, Illinois pension were still deep in the red. Even with heavy continued contributions by Illinois taxpayers to reduce these accumulated deficits, the projected unfunded liabilities of the combined plans are projected to still be $32 billion at the end of FY45, almost twenty-three years from now.


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