FISCAL FOCUS QUARTERLY
QUARTERLY • JANUARY 2003 ISSUE
STATE OF ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER
Member benefits from state-sponsored retirement systems
are financed with state contributions combined with employ-ee
contributions and investment earnings. Inadequate funding
over the years had left these retirement systems with large unfund-ed
pension liabilities. A 1996 plan to amortize much of this debt
plus double digit returns on investments significantly improved
the financial picture of the pension systems by the end of fiscal
year 2000. Unfortunately, the poor performance of investments
during the past two fiscal years has again left the state facing a large
unfunded pension debt. Further, the serious financial crisis faced by Illi-nois'
General Funds may lead to pressure to temporarily reduce pension
contributions to free funds to meet other pressing needs.
There are five retirement systems for which the State of Illinois is responsi-ble
for the employer contributions – State Employees Retirement System
(SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), Downstate Teachers'
Retirement System (TRS), Judges Retirement System (JRS), and General Assem-bly
Retirement System (GARS). The state also provides a portion of the employer con-tribution
to the Chicago Teachers' Retirement System (CTRS), but Chicago is respon-sible
for the employer liability and contribution through a locally imposed property tax.
Comptroller Hynes’ office strives to assist taxpayers
and the people of Illinois. This report is designed
to provide fiscal information of general interest.
COVER STORY continued, page 5