Monday's Sun features a report about the Illinois Teachers Retirement System. It's $22 billion underfunded. That's money the state owes it, but hasn't yet paid, because Illinois has a tendency to balance its budget the only way it knows how--by deferring mandated payments to retirement systems (the state also drags its feet reimbursing health care providers). Overall, the state's running a $42 billion deficit in pension funding.
TRS and teachers' unions say their pensions are not excessively generous, that only a few administrators get the golden-parachute deals we hear about. And that recent laws have curtailed excessive end-of-career raises that bump up retirement benefits. The average annual benefit TRS pays out is about $40,000 a year, or $3,344 a month.
What do you think? Is this entirely a state problem? Are teachers' pensions too low, too high or just right? What other laws should be enacted to curb abuses of the pension system?
(Editor's note: an earlier version of this entry incorrectly reported the amount of the state's TRS deficit.)