You can tell who is serious about pension reform and who is not with the comments when the actuarial analysis showed the following:
It turns out pension reform could save $15 billion less than legislative leaders initially anticipated. An actuarial analysis done by the pension systems affected by this bill say the real savings will be $145 billion, rather than the $160 billion originally advertised. That’s because the analysis plugged in data from 2013. Legislative leaders acknowledged that their estimates were based on numbers from 2012.
Rep. Dave McSweeny is serious about reform. Here are his comments.
“$160, $160 $160 is what they kept saying,” said State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills). “The implication is we are saving $15 billion less than we thought. That’s a big number.”
“There are more accounting gimmicks in these numbers,” said McSweeney. “If the 2013 data was so much better, why did leaders use 2012 numbers as the basis of their estimates?”
There’s a missing $15 billion in there,” McSweeney said.
GOP Leader Jim Durkin is not serious about reform. His statements are:
“The latest actuarial analysis is positive news for taxpayers and the health of the systems,”
“These latest actuarial findings confirm 100 percent funding of the four reformed pension systems in the next 30 years,” said Durkin.
Steve Brown, spokesman for Speaker Michael Madigan is also on the non-serious side:
“We used the documents that were available at the time,” said Steve Brown, a spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Madigan. “We got a bill passed, and signed into law, that makes significant improvements in the way pensions are going to be funded in Illinois.”
One of the most interesting things about Durkin’s statement about the system being 100% funded is the documents he shared shows the state still owes $205 billion:
A table attached to Durkin’s letter explains the discrepancy in numbers. If using 2012 data, the state would have owed $380 billion without pension reform and $220 with it. With 2013 data, the state would have owed $350 billion without pension reform. Now, it owes $205 billion.
In a related article, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno called this “good news“. This was in regards to a release by Gov. Pat Quinn:
Actuaries project that the state’s unfunded liability will be reduced by $24 billion over 30 years, $3 billion more than expected. The state’s pension contribution also will be lower. That’s due largely to better than expected returns on investments.
It is obvious someone is not telling the truth here. The releases don’t match up. The state cannot be 100% funded and yet only reduce the currently over $100 billion unfunded liability back down to near $80 billion. It appears that the people not serious about pension reform are those not telling the whole truth.