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Old 12-04-2013, 11:17 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Siestatime View Post
The fact is the $146 billion liability is not due in one year. It's the payments due to retires over their lifetime. Therefore, the $30,569 per household payment, if made over the next 30 years, is much more doable. In fact, IF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS MADE THEIR REQUIRED CONTRIBUTIONS OVER THE YEARS, THIS WOULD NOT EVEN BE AN ISSUE.

Put the shoe on the other foot! What if your employer wanted to pull the rug out from under YOUR retirement? Don't blame the workers!
Please calm down. I'm not 'blaming the workers', I'm just trying to present some numbers.

Sure, the liability does not need to be paid off in a single year. But it isn't about it being due over the retirees lifetime, that is the current value of the shortfall needed for future payments. But a $30K liability per household is still a big number. And if I understand this right, that is the current liability - so wouldn't it grow if not paid today? So that $30K would have compound interest attached to it if we stretched the payments out?

The shoe is on the other foot, I have a pension. And as I've mentioned before if my employer (any private pension) went belly up, the PBGC kicks in (paid for by insurance payments made by my employer). For someone retiring in 2013, at 65, their pension would be capped at $57,477. No COLA.

And many municipal retirees go earlier. The PBGC caps for some other ages are:

60 37,360.20
55 25,864.80
50 20,117.04

So these 'reforms' are capping the amount COLAd to $25,000 - there is no cap on the pension itself. Big difference in shoe size, no?

And if IL made their contributions, they would have had to raise taxes at the time, and there would be more transparency. I won't go further as it gets too political.

-ERD50
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:22 PM   #62
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Well for starters ADM wants to collect employees income tax withholding and join Sears, Navistar, and others from paying their fair share to stay in Illinois. I don't know the numbers but I know they are just facts.
True, and part of this is due to IL not being an attractive place for business. So businesses are in a position to ask for favors to stay in the state.

Look at the number of IL posters in this forum who are thinking seriously about getting out - businesses are doing the same, and they have the power of numbers to try to swing these deals. Maybe you and I think that sucks, but it is a reality.


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Old 12-04-2013, 11:27 PM   #63
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Just the beginning. Stockton, Detroit, Illinois, maybe some police and fire in Texas next. What is promised or fair or deserved is not really relevant. In the end it will be what is affordable. ".
Your post is confusing in light of what the Illinois politicians are saying. They are advertising the legislation they just passed as a solution to the Illinois pension problem. Retirees take a significant trimming to their already earned pensions. Employees earn benefits at less generous rates and retire later. New hires, since 2011, are on completely different plans with smaller benefits. The state "promises" to contribute to the pensions fund in accordance with the terms of the legislation which they say it can afford to do given the lower payouts.

Why do you say Illinois is still in trouble? Is it that you think the politicians will (again) break their promise and not contribute? Or?

Gov Quinn gives his word that the funds will be up to snuff by 2045, and all obligations between now and then will be met, given the legislation passed Tuesday. Do you doubt him?
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:00 AM   #64
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Sure, the liability does not need to be paid off in a single year. But it isn't about it being due over the retirees lifetime, that is the current value of the shortfall needed for future payments. But a $30K liability per household is still a big number. And if I understand this right, that is the current liability - so wouldn't it grow if not paid today? So that $30K would have compound interest attached to it if we stretched the payments out?
I think you're missing the point that the pension funds will be fully funded by 2045 under the just passed legislation. The annual contribution the state will now be making is significantly smaller and much more affordable. No households will be writing a check for $30k and sending it to Springfield.
Quote:


So these 'reforms' are capping the amount COLAd to $25,000
Actually that is not correct.
Quote:
- there is no cap on the pension itself.
Actually they did cap the amount of salary that can be used in the pension calculation which de facto caps the pension itself.
Quote:

And if IL made their contributions, they would have had to raise taxes at the time, and there would be more transparency. I won't go further as it gets too political.

-ERD50
It really doesn't get all that political beyond what is already on the table. Yep, when Blago found work-arounds to avoid making the state pension fund contributions, he was able to do it in a way that avoided transparency and kept the public from being correctly informed of the consequences. Blagojevich had a number of "interesting" skills and traits and some peculiarities too. It took an extensive investigation involving wire tapping to finally put him away. I wonder if he has a private cell?

But in any case, the legislature just passed legislation with shared sacrifice to fix the problem. Gov Quinn assures us it will work. I have my doubts as to whether the state will actually go back to making annual fund contributions, even the new reduced amounts. But we'll see.

If it turns out they need to do more, the next step is to ratchet down further the pension plans for new hires. They did create a "Tier II" less generous plan in 2011 for new hires, but they can go further. There seems to be little downside to this as any recruiting problems created by the lack of having either SS or a pension plan can be overcome by simply increasing salary. And current salary issues are totally transparent and not likely to build up into a mess like the pension situation became.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:18 AM   #65
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True, and part of this is due to IL not being an attractive place for business. So businesses are in a position to ask for favors to stay in the state.

Look at the number of IL posters in this forum who are thinking seriously about getting out - businesses are doing the same, and they have the power of numbers to try to swing these deals. Maybe you and I think that sucks, but it is a reality.

-ERD50
Actually the incentive for them to stay are pretty good now especially with the reform going forward. The grass is greener on the other side does not apply here.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:29 AM   #66
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Just for reference, the kinds of pensions that many of these public sector employees get in Illinois puts them more in the top 5% income area, not the middle class. I know a couple of retired, married teachers - their household income from their pensions is ~ $130,000 - $150,000, and before this law that was all 3% COLA'd for life.
IIRC, these people are not part of the SS system. It's still a good pension, no doubt , but part of it is a substitute for the SS they never get. And, of course, the Illinois taxpayers never had to pay the SS taxes for those employees. That is a considerable savings to the taxpayers, 12% I believe.

That said, I think the best future system for all concerned is a payment into a personal retirement account for each employee that can't be touched by anybody but the employee and is controlled solely by the employee.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:36 AM   #67
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In fact, IF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS MADE THEIR REQUIRED CONTRIBUTIONS OVER THE YEARS, THIS WOULD NOT EVEN BE AN ISSUE. !
Shhhhhh..... We aren't supposed to remember that.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:24 AM   #68
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For someone retiring in 2013, at 65, their pension would be capped at $57,477.
Actually, that's not correct.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:12 AM   #69
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An extremely important distinction is that Illinois refuses to declare bankruptcy, fully open their kimonas, and allow the courts to reorganize state finances as would happen with a private company before turning over pensions to the PBGC. Maybe some day in the future.......
.
Illinois doesn't have the option. States aren't eligible for chapter 9.

I hope that gets changed at some point. Illinois will need the option eventually.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:57 AM   #70
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So you got your retirement and NOW there should be reform? OK then.
No, there should have been reform years ago, but the politicians continued their irresponsible pandering for the public worker vote. How many retirees receive a guaranteed 3% COLA; it's unrealistic.

The main problem states face with real pension reform is they need the current worker contributions to pay current retiree pensions. Transitioning from the current Defined Benefit Pension Plans to a Contributory 401K type of Pension Plan creates another set of fiscal issues and tax increases.

Don't you think it's time for reform, or do you think we should continue piling up the unfunded liabilities?
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:22 AM   #71
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Just a question to some that know more than me....

From what people are saying, it appears that Ill has not paid anything for awhile (IOW, their share)....

If that is true, then why would anybody think that they can afford this new lower level of payments If they could have afforded it, then you would think they would have been making it over the years.... at least paying some of what was owed....
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:46 AM   #72
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Just a question to some that know more than me....

From what people are saying, it appears that Ill has not paid anything for awhile (IOW, their share)....

If that is true, then why would anybody think that they can afford this new lower level of payments If they could have afforded it, then you would think they would have been making it over the years.... at least paying some of what was owed....
But this time it's different! And I really really really mean it...
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:02 AM   #73
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Broad, simple look at the issues:
Illinois Constitution:
Once someone is in a retirement system, they've entered into an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

Unions read it as:
..an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

The legislature position:
"contractual relationship" allows benefit reductions if they offer something in exchange to employees — a legal concept known as "consideration."


The state wants the case to come before the State Court, which is thought to be weighted 4 to 3 in favor of the state.

The unions are likely to push past the state decision, to go to the Federal Courts... citing a provision in the US Constitution that declares states may not impair contractual rights.

Quote:
Article I, section 10, clause 1. It states:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
That last sentence could be the sticking point that could lead to a Supreme Court challenge. This goes very far beyond Illinois.
Bankrupt Cities, Municipalities List and Map

My unschooled opinion only.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:42 AM   #74
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Hopefully I got the multi-quoting right here, any editing was meant for brevity only...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
... But a $30K liability per household is still a big number. ...
-ERD50
I think you're missing the point that the pension funds will be fully funded by 2045 under the just passed legislation. The annual contribution the state will now be making is significantly smaller and much more affordable. No households will be writing a check for $30k and sending it to Springfield.
I understand that - my $30K/hh number was referring to the pre-'reform' status. So if the math and assumptions hold up (always tough for anyone to know the future - but I think this is based on 8% returns which is questionable), and IL makes its contributions per the plan, and the plan isn't already calling for more taxes, and a 2045 date for full funding is acceptable to 'the market' (bond buyers and business) then this covers that previous $30K/hh debt. Time will tell.

My point was, w/o 'reforms' this was the amount the taxpayers were potentially looking at. That appears to have been eradicated now.



Quote:
Quote:
So these 'reforms' are capping the amount COLAd to $25,000
Actually that is not correct.
Ah, you're right. I re-read the article MB linked, $25,000 was their example number. The cap is $1,000 for each year of service. And I left out the detail that the $1,000/year is increased 3% each year. Is that right?


Quote:
Actually they did cap the amount of salary that can be used in the pension calculation which de facto caps the pension itself.
But not for existing retirees. right? I didn't see that in the article MB linked, but maybe another source has that?



Quote:
But in any case, the legislature just passed legislation with shared sacrifice to fix the problem. Gov Quinn assures us it will work. I have my doubts as to whether the state will actually go back to making annual fund contributions, even the new reduced amounts. But we'll see.
Agreed!

Quote:
If it turns out they need to do more, the next step is to ratchet down further the pension plans for new hires. They did create a "Tier II" less generous plan in 2011 for new hires, but they can go further. There seems to be little downside to this as any recruiting problems created by the lack of having either SS or a pension plan can be overcome by simply increasing salary. And current salary issues are totally transparent and not likely to build up into a mess like the pension situation became.
Also agree. My daughter is an IL teacher in the 2011 plan. Even though she is in the higher demand STEMs arena (Math specifically), graduated with high honors from U of I Champaign, and had excellent experience and references and presents herself well - she really had to compete for the jobs she got. They clearly did not need to offer the previous level of generosity in pensions to attract talent, and it was fiscally irresponsible to do so. And as you say, if the market gets tight for workers, raise salaries if needed. That's transparent and no future promise concerns.

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Originally Posted by youbet View Post
Quote:
For someone retiring in 2013, at 65, their pension would be capped at $57,477. No COLA.
Actually, that's not correct.
It seemed higher than I recall, but that is the number I get from the PBGC website. Am I misinterpreting this?

Maximum Monthly Annuity Guarantees, Pension Benefits

Maybe the detail that I'm missing is that would be age 65 for a plan terminated in 2013. So it's not just the year they retired to consider, but the termination date of the plan. Or something else?

-ERD50
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:06 AM   #75
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OK, I searched and I could not find state-wide data in a usable form. No way to sort out and get pensions more representative of state workers with a full career. But I found a site that ranked IL household income by school district, so I picked the first I saw near the middle that had a sizable population, Round Lake SD 116.

Illinois Median Household Income School District Rank Based on ACS 2006-2010 data*

Rank Median HH Income School District / Population
422 $54,438 Round Lake Community Unit School District 116*/ 35,961

So near the reported $56,576 IL median HH Income I had from another source. So then I went to champion news, sorted their TRS pensions for years of service 25+ and the median pension was $66,211. Pretty close to the $70,975 of our 'high class suburban Chicago' District.

And that is a single number, there may be another earner/pension in the household, bring that number higher.




Yes, as haha pointed out, do we expect pensions to compare to earnings of a household? But I was just trying to answer another poster who brought up the middle class.

As far as the rest of that comment (that I didn't quote above), I think my view would get too politically 'hot' for this forum or some posters. Maybe if things cool down and I can find a soft way to phrase it I'll try later.


-ERD50
Public pensions in several states are different pension animals than you are familiar with in the private sector. In my public pension, I paid 5.4% more of my wages into my pension than a person pays into SSI.

Comparing average pension to average income doesn't give the whole story.

Edit: and I am going to add that many public employers used the retirement benefits to recruit good employees. Today, the public pensions have asked the public employers to stop including a promise of a descent pension in their recruiting.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:41 PM   #76
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Ah, you're right. I re-read the article MB linked, $25,000 was their example number. The cap is $1,000 for each year of service. And I left out the detail that the $1,000/year is increased 3% each year. Is that right?
Nope. But I give you credit, you get closer and closer with every iteration!
Quote:




But not for existing retirees. right? I didn't see that in the article MB linked, but maybe another source has that?
According to a TRS report issued this morning, a retiree receiving the average pension lost 18.6% of the value of the pension they will receive over the next 20 years. So, a significant haircut for the typical Illinois retiree.
Quote:








Also agree. My daughter is an IL teacher in the 2011 plan. Even though she is in the higher demand STEMs arena (Math specifically), graduated with high honors from U of I Champaign, and had excellent experience and references and presents herself well - she really had to compete for the jobs she got. They clearly did not need to offer the previous level of generosity in pensions to attract talent, and it was fiscally irresponsible to do so. And as you say, if the market gets tight for workers, raise salaries if needed. That's transparent and no future promise concerns.
Actually, they absolutely did need to offer the Tier II pension to your daughter. But not as an incentive for her to accept the job. The system needs her pension contribution NOW to stay afloat! Did you note that while they mandated your daughter contribute to a Tier II pension, there is no particular likelihood they'll actually pay her that pension as it is currently structured? Why should they? The precedent has clearly been set. But the flow of contributory dollars from the paychecks of new Tier II employees, like your daughter, is essential. The need to pay her a pension later, not so much.

Your daughter has a huge advantage. She is witnessing the fact that while having pension contributions deducted from her paycheck is mandatory, there is no likelihood that she'll ever be paid, at least not paid based on the terms she thinks are in place. Therefore she can quickly and easily build alternative retirement financing schemes and have no issues down the road. Current retirees, as compared to new Tier II hires, were blindsided. Most naively thought their pensions were "guaranteed." It kind of reminds me of the concept of having a "guaranteed" annuity.
Quote:



Maybe the detail that I'm missing is that would be age 65 for a plan terminated in 2013. So it's not just the year they retired to consider, but the termination date of the plan.
Yes, that's it. You miscomprehended the clear statement by the PBGC that the PBGC's caps refer to the age of the employee/retiree when the pension plan is terminated or the company is declared bankrupt. It does not refer to the employees age at retirement.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:28 PM   #77
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Your daughter has a huge advantage. She is witnessing the fact that while having pension contributions deducted from her paycheck is mandatory, there is no likelihood that she'll ever be paid, at least not paid based on the terms she thinks are in place.
So if I understand your paradigm, this "contribution" should be compared to protection money a small storeowner pays to be allowed to stay open, or the finder fees the Chinese worker from the countryside pays to all the middlemen who stand between her and the job.

You pay it, or someone else will. If you don't pay it, you will not work.

Good racket for whoever can get on the right side of it.

Ha
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:44 PM   #78
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So if I understand your paradigm, this "contribution" should be compared to protection money a small storeowner pays to be allowed to stay open, or the finder fees the Chinese worker from the countryside pays to all the middlemen who stand between her and the job.

You pay it, or someone else will. If you don't pay it, you will not work.

Good racket for whoever can get on the right side of it.

Ha
Well, the pension contribution is mandatory and is turned over to Illinois politicians. (Oh boy..........) They tell you that you are paying for some retirement benefit, "X," to be paid as an annuity in the future and under certain conditions regarding age, years employed, etc. You must make the pension contribution as a condition of employment. They are free to change the benefit "X" or the conditions under which it is collected as they wish in the future. The public supports this since the pension promise is substituted for a portion of wages in a compensation package. But, unlike wages, the pension doesn't necessarily have to be paid or can be paid at a steep discount.

This is similar to how SS works. Today's workers are paying in to finance today's retirees' SS checks. There is no particular reason to believe that SS will be there, in today's terms, for today's workers when they retire. But because the fed gov't works within a two party system there is some competition for votes and much more transparency, SS reductions seem to be slower in coming.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:26 PM   #79
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I'm really working to try to see how you could interpret my words the way you did. I don't get it....... Perhaps your own agenda........

The pension contributions that Illinois employees pay today are needed to fund the pension funds and keep them from going broke. But the pension terms they are working under may or may not be the terms they retire under. They may receive less than is currently the documented plan. This is just how SS works. Today's working are paying in to finance today's retirees' SS checks. But, there is no particular reason to believe that SS will be there, in today's terms, for today's workers when they retire.
It has nothing to do with any agenda of mine. I completely agree with you that this is also how SS works. You pay, or you don't work; you don't work and you don't make a living. You are paying to be allowed to hold one of these jobs. I see it as being almost identical to the two examples I gave. I have little interest in state and municipal pensions other than as a taxpayer, but I am interested in SS. And they have made it completely clear that though I had to pay, they don't have to pay me.

How is this different? Or maybe I do not understand what you have explained about the new IL state pensions?

Ha
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:44 PM   #80
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It has nothing to do with any agenda of mine. I completely agree with you that this is also how SS works. You pay, or you don't work; you don't work and you don't make a living. You are paying to be allowed to hold one of these jobs. I see it as being almost identical to the two examples I gave. I have little interest in state and municipal pensions other than as a taxpayer, but I am interested in SS. And they have made it completely clear that though I had to pay, they don't have to pay me.

How is this different? Or maybe I do not understand what you have explained about the new IL state pensions?

Ha
We cross posted. I reconsidered my reply and have edited what I previously posted. Yep, SS or Illinois pension contributions (probably others too) are just current taxes you pay in order to have the job. Any future benefit is unrelated to what you're paying in now and subject to the whims of the politicians and the public.
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