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Letter: Pension problem result of leaders' failings

Published: Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

The current $83 billion unfunded liability of the state’s five pension systems is a sorry situation. I feel the cause of this situation lies squarely in the laps of the decision-makers in Springfield. In 1995, Public Act 88-0593 was passed. The purpose of this act was to establish a payment schedule that should have had the pension systems 90 percent funded by the year 2045.

This was a nice idea and probably would have worked had our decision-makers followed the schedule as outlined. I feel that for the last 17 years they have been underfunding or not funding the pension system at the level outlined in Public Act 88-0593 and using these monies for other public services.

There have been many solutions discussed and publicized on how to fix this pension crisis. It seems to me that most if not all of the suggestions place the solution to this crisis on the backs of the present employees and the retirees when all they have done is faithfully service the state and then retire when their service was completed. One suggestion has materialized as a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution. This amendment appears to me also to place the solution to this mess entirely on the backs of the employees and the retirees.

In closing, it is my personal opinion that suggested fixes for the pension mess, including the proposed constitutional amendment, are an effort by our decision-makers to cover up for their dereliction of not funding the pension systems as outlined in Public Act 88-0593 as they should have.

Marvin J. Bernhardy


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