* Shaw Media…
The Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois announced Friday it had given preliminary approval to a contribution request for $4.56 billion to its pension fund.
The changes in state law made last year for determining actuaries’ estimates for adequately funding pensions have greatly increased the amount of contributions statewide.
The Teacher’s Retirement System said of the projected $4.56 billion contribution, just $974 million is needed to pay the cost of pensions for that year. The remaining $3.5 billion is to go toward the amount owed from previous years.
“Most of the fiscal year 2018 contribution is a self-inflicted wound,” TRS Executive Director Dick Ingram said. “That money could be spent on other priorities today if the state of Illinois had fully met its obligations in the past.”
While next year’s contribution to the teachers’ pensions is an eye-popping figure, it is far short of the actuaries’ ceiling. Using the new accounting standards, the state’s annual contribution should be $6.88 billion to catch up with its unfunded liability.