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Subject:  Re: California vs Texas Date:  2/13/2013  7:48 PM
Author:  CCinOC Number:  671475 of 807343

California Double-Dippers Rake in Public Money

Then again, Illinois has got to be the stupidest state.

Illinois Is Digging a VERY Deep Hole

Illinois has a $33 billion state budget – and five pension funds that are officially underfunded by almost $100 billion. Remember that sky-high projection of investment returns by CalPERS? Illinois pension funds estimate they will earn anywhere from 7.5% to as much as 8.5%. But the state-employee fund made less than 0.1% last year, barely beating out CalPERS.

(By the way, you can see the projected returns of your state funds in a January 2013 NASRA Issue Brief. Scroll to the bottom. I was aghast to see that much of Texas was looking to make 8%! The Houston firefighters project 8.5%! I keep reading about problems with the funding of liabilities in Houston. As I said, this is a nationwide scandal. California and Illinois are just the easiest to pick on.)

Without 8% returns, the shortfall for the Texas Employees Retirement System (ERS) could be twice the current projections. The system is scheduled to pay out $133 billion between now and 2045. It has $11 billion. For these assets to cover future payouts, ERS would need to see average investment returns of 21.5% per year – or see big-time payouts from the government budget. Think they can find an extra $5 billion a year for the next 20 years? From a $30 billion budget? And get 8%?

But back to Illinois, which has a legal problem. It is one of two states (New York being the other) that in its Constitution is prohibited from impairing promised retiree benefits. This makes for a rather tough negotiating stance.

You can find the same exotic stories about large pensions in Illinois that you do in California; but it seems to me the pension for rank-and-file teachers is not overly generous, considering that they pay 9.5% of their salary into the pension fund, while the state is supposed to fund less than 10% of that amount and then doesn’t even manage to do that. Putting the teachers on Social Security would cost the state a lot more (6.2% in matching funds).

Yes, there are the 28 Illinois