State Retiree Benefits Fact Sheet – Illinois

  • December 18, 2007
Illinois has double the trouble of most states: a severely underfunded pension system and some of the steepest bills in the country for retiree health care benefits. On the pension side, Illinois has one of the poorest-funded systems in the country. While the state has made a number of reforms, it still is underfunding its annual contributions. On an aggregate basis, the state contributed only about 44% of what its own actuaries deemed necessary in 2005, and only 33% in 2006. Illinois' precarious finances will be further aggravated by what is likely to be a significant liability for non-pension benefits. Illinois offers substantial retiree health benefits to public sector employees, and while the state has not yet determined the long-term cost of doing so (officials say an actuarial valuation is now in progress), the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago has estimated the price tag for state employees at $48 billion.