Trying to improve
Although the General Assembly has made attempts at fixing the pension system, it has only gotten worse. In 2000, the unfunded liability (the amount of money missing from the account) was 15 billion dollars. 15 billion dollars seems like a lot but compared to the 111 billion dollars in unfunded liability today, it seems a tad bit more manageable. More recently, the pension system debt has more than doubled from the amount it was just 7 seven years ago in 2008. There has been feeble attempts at reforming the pension system, but none have been successful due to the lack of attention that is paid to the pension system. No elected official wants to make the unfavorable decision to cut education, corrections, or health care. That's why they would just avoid making the correct amount of payments to the pension fund. Something needs to be done to help get out state out of this deep debt to our former and current state employees.
What is being done to help this issue?
Currently, large payments are being made from the General Revenue account to try and make the pension fun healthy again. This places more pressure on the budget because there is much less freedom with spending for other organizations. There was another attempt at lowering the debt by reducing benefits for everyone, even those already retired. It was proposed in the Bill known as Senate Bill 1, which has been ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Circuit Court.
What our group believes should happen...
We think that the state should make good on its promise to current and former state employees, even if that means raising taxes. It is unfair to tell these people that they will receive one thing, and then, because the government made poor decisions, strip them of those benefits. Besides being morally wrong, taking these incentives from people also goes against the Illinois Constitution. Another solution could be to create an even further Tier 3. This would mean that those employees that qualify for Tier 1 would get what they were promised, as would those who are considered to be a part of Tier 2. However, Tier 3 would be created for new hires and would offer again lower benefits.