TRS Director Visits Carbondale



Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System Director Dick Ingram traveled to Carbondale to talk about the financial state of the pension system that serves nearly 390,000 people.
 
He says while TRS took in $3.4 billion more than it paid out last year, the system could be insolvent in as little as 20 years. 
 
Ingram says the state has never funded TRS as promised. 
 
“They’ve been chronically underfunded over five or six decades. It’s just that it’s accumulated to the point that the number is so large – the financial challenge is so big – that it takes everybody’s breath away.”

He says TRS has a $55 Billion unfunded liability from the state
 
Ingram says his agency is still responding to information requests from the state’s pension conference committee, so he does not believe a resolution will be reached during the Legislative veto session in Springfield.

Senate President John Cullerton told WGN Radio in Chicago that Illinois’ pension debt is not a crisis and Ingram says Cullerton isn't wrong - at least for now.
 
“He’s right in that it’s not a crisis today. TRS or the other systems are in no danger of running out of money this year or next year or the next decade or two. It’s really an issue of when do you have to act to fix the long-term problem.”
 
Ingram says current retirees have nothing to worry about regarding their pensions – it’s the teachers who are still working and paying into the system who have a problem. Ingram showed four future projections for the pension system, none of which ended with a solvent TRS.

TRS will hold another similar meeting at the Marion High School auditorium Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Leigh Caldwell reporting.

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