Illinois' October pension fund contribution will go out as scheduled, although delays in future months are possible.
According to bond offering documents released Tuesday, Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger “has said that some delays in the monthly payments are possible.”
A spokesman for Ms. Munger said in an e-mail Thursday that the October pension contribution, totaling nearly $600 million, will be paid as scheduled and that Ms. Munger is “doing everything she can to make all the November pension payments. … Pension payments are a priority for Comptroller Munger,” the spokesman said.
Illinois owes its five pension funds $7.8 billion in fiscal year 2017 ending June 30, according to the Civic Federation, a non-partisan government research organization. Despite any potential monthly delays, Ms. Munger expects the retirement systems will be paid in full by the end of the lapse period for the fiscal year, according to the same bond sale documents.
Monthly pension contributions are not required. “All that is required is for all the (contributions) to be made within the fiscal year,” Ms. Munger's spokesman said.
If the full contribution is not received in a timely manner, the retirement systems “may be required to sell more assets than they planned to pay benefits as they become due,” the bond sale documents warned.
Illinois has been operating without a full budget since July 1, 2015. On June 30, a temporary six-month budget was passed for fiscal year 2017.
Ms. Munger issued warnings about potential monthly delays last year due to the budget stalemate. The state's November 2015 pension contribution was delayed due to the budget stalemate but paid before the end of the fiscal year.
As of June 30, 2015, Illinois' five retirement systems faced about $111 billion in unfunded liabilities combined.