Study: Illinois Among the Worst at Pension Funding

April 8, 2010

A study released Thursday shows Illinois among the worst states in the country when it comes to funding pension systems.

The report by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence examines a sampling of pension systems from each state. Funding levels for Illinois teacher and state worker pensions ranked among the lowest in the country in 2009.

And researcher Joshua Franzel says the short-term outlook is dim.

FRANZEL:States are going to continue, at least for the next one or two years, to have financial problems. In a lot of cases, these plans are just going to have to continue to hope that the market goes up, and that they get a decent return on their investment going forward.
 
The sample of Illinois' teacher pension system was funded at just 52 percent, while the state employee pension fund was at 44 percent. Franzel says 80 percent is considered a healthy funding level.

Illinois' multi-billion dollar pension burden is often blamed as a primary reason for the state's $13 billion dollar budget deficit.