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posted: 7/15/2013 5:00 AM

Illinois pensions too good to be true

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The pension benefits in 1970 when pensions were guaranteed in the Illinois Constitution were very limited compared to the costly pension enhancements since 1970.

In 2011 alone, 19 teachers in Illinois retired with pensions exceeding $100,000. Illinois is currently paying at least 7,500 teachers over $100,000 a year.

Illinois issues twice as many teacher certificates as there are positions available Teachers work 170 days a year, the average private sector worker works 235 days a year. Illinois is one of only a few states that allows teachers to strike.

In addition to the pension obligation based on inflated salaries and expanded benefits, recent Illinois governors have added pension bonds. Illinois assumed an 8 percent interest rate when the actual earnings were less than 3 percent. Even the proposed solutions get us deeper into debt.

The teachers union has proposed yet another early retirement program. Currently they work 35 years and get 75 percent of their salary. The new plan would be even fewer years worked and higher percentage of salary. How does this improve the pension debt?

Why do Illinois teachers have so much power over Illinois taxpayers? Their unions have given over $50 million in Illinois political contributions. In addition, the lobbyists for the school districts are exempt by law from reporting although they are taxpayer paid.

Is there any wonder every 10 minutes over the past decade a household leaves Illinois?

Cheryl Puhl

Pingree Grove

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