Concern over teacher's pensions

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Dear Editor,

I'm worried about TRS and teacher's pension.

I am asking you to do FIVE Things! I'm doing them because I'm so worried about the future of TRS.

1. Write both your State Senator and your State Rep. -- Ask them to pay back the money the State of Illinois owes OUR TRS System, ask them to oppose Quinn's Budget "plan"!

2. Call your State Senator and State Rep and demand that the state of Illinois meet its obligations to our TRS System, ask them to oppose Quinn's Budget "plan"!

3. Visit your State Rep and State Senator's Office ... make an appointment and go into to talk with them about the State paying TRS back the money they owe us, ask them to oppose Quinn's Budget "plan"!

4. Ask every retired teacher and current teacher you know to do the same .... Contact every Retired Teacher you know and still working teachers -- they should know what Quinn wants to do to them ..(From 9.4% to 11.4% of their checks for TRS!)!

5. The most of effective thing you can do is to visit your legislator! They will be on spring break soon and back in home district offices!  Bring some teacher friends with you!   Tell your legislators -- You oppose Quinn's plan and if the legislator wants your Vote next election -- YOU will expect them to do some good for TRS funding!

I'm really ... really ... worried about TRS and teacher's pension. Help us fight this destruction of our pension system!

The State of Illinois owes TRS 41 (and Illinois teachers!) Billion Dollars -- that's our money -- we paid 9.4 percent of our salary to TRS and the State matches with about 8 percent of our salaries.

In subsequent E-mails -- I will provide you with details of the State not honoring its commitment to Illinois Teachers!


Every Governor's since Thompson has borrowed TRS funds with promises to pay them back, they have not all paid back our pension $$ back.

Governor Blago was the champion liar, cheater and diverter of our TRS money.

It was under Blago that the State's unfunded liability to TRS -- (money they should have been paid into TRS for the State's legal, agreed upon contribution but was not!) -- grew to 41 Billion Dollars.

Quinn floated a plan last Wednesday to balance the state's budget by slashing the already under funded TRS! Pat Quinn has proposed a  $1.3 billion cut to TRS.  That was a payment for money owed to us from pass borrowing from TRS Funds!

Quinn added insult to travesty by suspending the State's payments to the pension systems as of March 31, 2009, eliminating $362 million due to TRS in the current fiscal year. The proposed cuts would exacerbate the state's $41 billion liability to TRS. Quinn's "plan" perpetuates the broken funding promises that occurred most recently in fiscal years 2006 and 2007 when the state deviated from its statutory funding obligation and cut $2.3 billion in funding to the retirement systems (BLAGO's Train wreck!).

The state's pension debt is mainly a product of insufficient state funding over a period of three decades and not due to overly generous benefits. The average retirement benefit paid by TRS totals $41,500 a year. Public school teachers inIllinois do not receive Social Security; often making their TRS benefit their only source of retirement income.

The funding reductions hit particularly hard because of the systems' recent investment losses caused by extreme volatility in the global financial markets.

For the first time .... I'm worried about TRS and my teacher's pension.

The Governor's budget plan also calls for current active members of TRS to pay an additional two percent of their pay toward retirement. TRS members currently contribute 9.4 percent of their income, which is already among the highest contribution rates in the nation among teacher pension plans. It would go up 2% under Quinn's plan!

Quinn has proposed $174 million in new funding for K-12 education.

However, the money the state will save by demanding teachers pay more toward their pensions' totals $190 million. In essence, teachers will be paying for that increase in education funding out of their own pockets....

Concerned Illinois Citizen

Alicia J. Ives