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Pension Funds

Illinois Teachers board sets FY2020 contribution at $4.8 billion

The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System's board on Oct. 30 gave preliminary approval to a $4.813 billion contribution for fiscal year 2020, a 10.6% increase from the current fiscal year contribution, spokesman Dave Urbanek confirmed.

The FY2019 contribution totals $4.47 billion over 12 monthly installments ending June 30, 2019. The contribution falls below the $7.8 billion required for full funding, but above the $3.07 billion statutory contribution, a TRS news release said.

TRS' funding ratio as of June 30 was 40.7%, with $51.5 billion in assets and $127.7 billion in liabilities, the news release said.

"In fiscal year 2018 the legislative and executive branches lowered the state's contribution three times — by more than 11%. Those unprecedented cuts totaled some $470 million and eroded progress toward financial stability," said Dick Ingram, TRS' executive director, in the news release. "The future viability of TRS is directly dependent on continued state support that adequately meets the cost of benefits and pays off the unfunded liability."

"TRS investments had a good year, but we cannot invest our way out of this problem," Mr. Ingram said. "The unfunded liability is too large and grows every year. The principal and interest we owe on that debt comprises about 76% of the state's annual contribution. Without those costs, the FY 2020 contribution to TRS would be $1.2 billion, not $4.8 billion."