LETTER: ‘Illinois math’ has led to chronic underfunding of teacher pensions

POST BY:  Chicago Tribune


“As required, Teachers’ Retirement System used Illinois math to calculate the state’s contribution for fiscal year 2018 and came up with $4.56B. Using actuarial math, TRS also calculated that the state’s “full funding” contribution should be $6.88B.

This legal sleight-of-hand has been going on for 78 years — and counting. The deliberate and chronic underfunding of TRS since 1939 is the major reason the system carries an unfunded liability of $71B — one of the largest debts of its kind in the country.

Consistent underfunding is the reason that 80% of this year’s $4.5B contribution to TRS, or $3.7B, constitutes a payment on the unfunded liability. That eclipses the actual cost of teacher pensions for the year: $923M.”

— Dick Ingram, executive director, Teachers’ Retirement System

REALLY, It’s Not My Job!


“[Lawlor] also questioned whether Songer’s day job would prevent her from attending county board meetings.” SONGER’S RESPONSE: My responsibilities as a Lake County Board member will be my full-time priority.  I’m very much looking forward to attending Lake County Board meetings!

In a Lake County News-Sun article, reporter Luke Hammill writes concerning the issue of transporting highly explosive crude oil by rail, “My opponent hasn’t stepped up on our behalf to lobby or communicate related hazards,” [Songer] added, while acknowledging the federal government is responsible for regulating such trains. Lawlor said the issue is important but is “completely the responsibility of the feds.”

“If you want to impact train or rail safety,” Lawlor said, “you need to run for Congress.”

I guess my opponent had better give Karen Darch a heads up!

Karen Darsch, Barrington’s village president, did the following (including, but not limited to):

Darch took determined action against the merger of CN and the EJ&E Railroad by forming a coalition with villages along the corridor as co-chair of TRAC; filing a petition with U.S. safety regulators seeking upgrades for the DOT-111 fleet and real-time information sharing with emergency responders on hazardous car contents; and filing public comment with PHMSA, likening the transport of Bakken crude to “a game of Russian roulette.”

Darch testified before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to discuss legislation about the importance of considering community impacts in a governmental review of railroad mergers (H.R. 6707), and she filed a petition asking a Chicago-based federal appeals court to review new crude-by-rail rules, arguing regulators didn’t go far enough.

Most impressive, she visited the Canadian town of Lac Megantic and talked with officials still coming to terms with the aftermath of a derailment that decimated the core of their village and took the lives of 47 unsuspecting victims.

Darch stepped up when her community needed her. She was in the fight when it began and hasn’t stopped since.

Lake County needs a responsible representative who makes people her priority.  We are human beings, and our lives have value.

What is the public saying about the issue of transporting crude by rail through our neighborhoods?

Lawlor not leading on rail safety

Recognizing the urgency of a problem

JUST FOR THE RECORD:  I’ll consider running for Congress in our next General Election.