NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 26, 2006

By almost any measure, the Illinois government pension system is the nation's worst, plagued by debt and scandal, says the Heartland Institute.

Recent developments include:

  • Three political insiders allegedly engaged in a multimillion-dollar kickback and extortion scheme against the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) pension fund, which represents 330,000 current and retired teachers.
  • A guilty plea by one of the three TRS political insiders, Chicago attorney Joseph Cari. He admitted much of the money collected through bogus investing contracts went to the political campaign of a person identified in the contracts as "Public Official A." Several news organizations identified Public Official A as Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).
  • Lawmakers' diversion of some $4 billion of scheduled pension fund payments to other spending through 2010, including a combined $2.3 billion in 2005 and this year.
  • A total unfunded liability of $38 billion. This is the nation's largest unfunded liability, says State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), who served on the Governor's Pension Commission.

Candidates for governor from both major political parties are slamming Blagojevich and state lawmakers for the pension situation.

Source: Steve Stanek, "Illinois' Pension System: Woefully Underfunded, Scandal-Plagued," Heartland, March 2006.


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