The Illinois Governor's Pension Commission today considered raising contributions from all state-covered employees and benefit cuts for new employees that with other smaller changes would save the state $54 billion in cumulative pension contributions through 2045. The commission, appointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich to recommend ways to solve the severe underfunding of the state's five pension systems, also considered extending by 20 years the statutory requirement for them to be 90% funded by 2045, which would raise annual contributions between 2045 and 2065 but reduce the annual contributions through 2045.
At the meeting, Jon Bauman, executive director of the $32.7 billion Teachers' Retirement System of Illinois, Springfield, objected to extending the 2045 statutory funding and said funding needs "grew because state contributions were too low to cover actual costs" and any extension will add to pension costs in the long run.
The commission expects to make recommendations in early February.
"The problem is, will the Legislature follow (any funding plan)," said Roland Burris, commission chairman. "You run into this competition for (state) revenue from every source."