Legislative Change Means $670 million More for Teachers’ Pensions
September 22, 2012 § 3 Comments
The state will have to come up with another $670 million for the teacher pension system in the next budget after a retirement fund panel crunched the numbers and adjusted its assumptions.
The Teachers’ Retirement System lowered what it expects from investments from 8.5 percent to 8 percent. The pension fund’s leadership also increased a variety of other assumptions, including how long it expects retired teachers to live. The fund covers teachers outside Chicago. …
The state is paying $2.7 billion into the fund in its current budget. Without any adjustments, the state would have owed about $2.89 billion in the new budget year that begins next July 1.But the changes approved Friday increased that price tag to $3.37 billion. All told, the state will have to pay $670 million more than this year.
via Chicago Tribune.
Consider, we’re going to pay $3.3 billion into the teachers pensions and another $3 billion on debt service. That’s $6 billion next year that could have gone to pay for services for the poor and the elderly but instead are going to the politically connected and union members (… I realize that’s redundant.)
But this may be the best line of all:
Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, both Chicago Democrats, recently suggested that changes to the pension system would have to get done in January at the earliest. That’s a post-election period when more lame ducks are freer to take politically risky votes, and the bar to pass legislation with an immediate effective date drops from three-fifths to a simple majority.
Allow me to translate: Fixing the pensions is going to be very unpopular and thankfully our experience is that voters have short memories. We also don’t care how much more money this costs the state (after all, all the bond holders and the teachers unions are our buddies.) We’re also not sure that we can get all the Democrats to go along. So we to avoid any embarrassment — and to make sure the unions make the campaign donations they promised before the election — we’re going to put this off until next year.
The Machine is like a casino… the house never loses.