Dupage Policy Journal – December 5, 2019
A Pew Charitable Trust analysis recently found that pension funds across the U.S. remain woefully underfunded despite taxpayers being forced to double their contributions over the last decade.
Here in Illinois, Republican congressional candidate Jay Kinzler has seen enough of what he says is a lack of accountability.
“In Illinois, politicians and public-sector workers are contributing far too little into the taxpayer-funded pension system compared to what they are taking out,” Kinzler, a Glenn Ellyn surgeon, said in a Facebook post. “Pension payouts make up over 25 percent of the total Illinois budget, and this is increasing. It must be reformed because it is not sustainable. The taxpayers cannot afford it.”
Pew found that only four states in the U.S. have pension funds that are at least 90-percent funded, and at just 40-percent funded, Illinois is nowhere in that vicinity. Even with the U.S. having amassed some $1.4 trillion in unfunded pension liability overall, researchers noted that Illinois is worse off than most, with data showing the state spends more on benefits than any other state at 8.71 percent – nearly double the national average.
With pension debt swelling here as fast as anywhere else in the country, Illinois set a record in 2018 for state pension debt as a percentage of state revenues, at 601 percent. Kinzler, running in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District against incumbent U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove), insists the need for change is critical.
“We need to amend the constitution, reform the pension system, protect the retirees, give relief to taxpayers and stabilize state and local finances, all of which will revive the Illinois economy, improve property values and stem the exodus of taxpaying producers from our state,” Kinzler said. “First step is to get rid of career politicians and replace them with citizen legislators.”
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