Public employees never missed a payment into their pensions, but politicians in Springfield didn’t make their payments for decades. In fact, the largest share of our pension debt results from our inability to meet our payment obligations. For example, every dollar that the state cuts from the Teachers Retirement System today will require Illinois to spend $3 down the road to replace that revenue because of interest. As a result, we have added enormous debt because of past due pension bills, which has led to fewer funds for critical public services like education and safety.
We need to reassure current workers that the state will fully fund their pensions. Most of our public employees are ineligible to receive Social Security, and many rely on their pensions to live. The average pension payout is only $33,000-$50,000 per year for state employees and teachers.
As Governor, Chris Kennedy will provide a responsible budget plan every year that pays our bills on time and pays down our debt while pursuing a more progressive tax system in Illinois to move us toward a fairer tax system. Chris will not delay necessary payments into the state’s pension funds, which has historically caused severe pension shortfalls in the past and continues now under Governor Rauner.
Today, Illinois is on the brink of financial collapse and everyone is going to need to give a little to get us out of this. Chris would bargain in good faith with our public sector employees on any potential changes to our pension system for future workers and retirees.