According to the QWI data based on unemployment insurance wage records for the third quarter of 2020 (the most recent national data), women in the United States earned 30% less than men and that pay gap increased with age.
QWI Explorer provides easy access to national data on earnings of women and men. Figure 1 shows a gap in monthly wages of almost $4,000 for women compared to men with a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
The tax on pensions moved many retirees to flee the state for no-tax states like Florida. I attended one of Dale Zorn’s town halls shortly after his 2011 vote. I told him the huge cost to my pension that I didn’t expect after I retired. He told me they, the Republican Party, will revisit this at a later date. IT NEVER HAPPENED! Since 2011, the Republican Party controlled both houses and could easily have voted to repeal this tax they passed in 2011. It incredulous how they have spun this issue.
Now Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pushing to repeal this tax this year in her State of the State speech. She knows with inflation pressures how seniors are being affected. She knows this will free up disposable income to be spent in local communities across the state. She knows its good for small business.
Newcomers to the state of Illinois may find it odd to see the word “bipartisan” show up anywhere in reference to Illinois, but they forget that the state’s history includes jailed governors from both political parties.
Nothing especially persuasive emerges from these studies, except for one: “Polarization and Policy: The Politics of Public-Sector Pensions,” by Sarah Anzia and Terry Moe, published in 2017 at Legislative Studies Quarterly.
Their main argument: before the Great Recession, in those states with un/underfunded pensions, both parties were the cause of the underfunding. Simply put, the public at large simply had no interest in pension funding, but was very much interested in a high level of government services and a low level of taxation. There was therefore no incentive for politicians of either side to fund pensions.
And a review of the history of Illinois’ pension funding is a case study in how this pre-Great Recession bipartisan pension funding indifference played out. The whole history was outlined in great detail in a 2014 report by Eric Madiar, who at the time served as Chief Legal Counsel to Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton; while the objective of much of his document is to argue a political point, his history lesson is extremely helpful, and starts with a 1917 report by the Illinois Pension Laws Commission lamenting that pension plans were not being funded and calling for the legislature to begin to fund pensions when benefits are earned. Throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s, dire reports were issued by similar commissions, to no avail, with the result that the Illinois constitution of 1970 essentially treated the pension protection clause as an alternative to funding pensions.
So there you have it: a century-long legacy of unfunded pensions in Illinois.
According to the U.S. Treasury, in fiscal 2021, the amount of interest paid on the national debt was $562 billion including government transfers. The amount actually paid out to holders of U.S. securities was $413 billion.
That figure alone, which is over 20% of what we paid in income taxes in FY 2021, should be alarming when compared to other government expenditures.
Compare the $413 billion we pay in interest to holders of these securities to the annual budgets of other parts of the government. The State Department annual budget is “only” $35 billion and the Justice Department $39 billion.
Interest rates are still near an all-time low. According to the Monthly Treasury Statement, in 2001, interest paid on the national debt was an average of 5.4%, about 3½ times what it is now.
If we get back to that rate, which is far from inconceivable, interest on the debt would cost American taxpayers $1.4 trillion, based on our present level of national debt. That is twice the budget of the Defense Department.
Members of the board of Pennsylvania’s $73 billion school pension fund won’t be required to sign nondisclosure agreements before hearing on Monday the long-awaited findings of an internal investigation into the mammoth plan.
The Public School Employees’ Retirement System is still asking the board to sign the secrecy pacts but is not insisting upon it, the plan’s spokesperson says. Her statement clarified a previous controversial email from the board’s chairman, who asked members to sign NDAs without saying they had the option to refuse.
A law firm is to unveil the results of its investigation at a closed-door session for the PSERS board Monday morning. But the board has yet to decide whether, how soon and how completely those findings will be made public after the meeting.
Author(s): ANGELA COULOUMBIS, JOSEPH N. DISTEFANO AND CRAIG R. MCCOY
If you play Wordle daily, or the French version LeMot, you might want to practice more often. For fun, I created an Excel version that you can download, WordXLe. It has sheets for both English and French versions. The dictionaries are:
English main (for validation) c.12000 words from the SOWPODS dictionary; for play c.1100 words.
It uses Conditional Formatting for colouring, Data Validation to enforce some letter entry rules, no VBA macros, just formulas. The sheets are protected, but it’s easy to unhide things in Excel if you really want to so I’ll leave that as a challenge.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has approved a $100.5 million bail out of the Local 408 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America Pension Plan. It is the fifth plan approved by the PBGC under the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) program, which was enacted under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).
The Union, New Jersey-based plan, which covers over 1,000 participants in the transportation industry, was certified to be in critical and declining status in the plan year that began in 2020 and became insolvent last September. The plan was required by law to reduce its participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee level, which was approximately 60% below the benefits payable under the terms of the pension.
Struggling pension plans are required under the SFA program to demonstrate eligibility and to calculate the amount of assistance per ARP and PBGC guidelines. Funds provided under the program may be used only to pay plan benefits and administrative expenses, and plans receiving aid are also subject to certain terms, conditions, and reporting requirements.
It is Super Bowl time which, for some of us, means that the new 5500 for the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan (EIN 13-6043636) is out and we get a better idea of how much Joe Burrow really has in common with a Cleveland Iron Worker.
At 25.53% funding (a massive decrease from last year) are the actuaries setting up the next play for this plan to be a Hail Mary?
In 2019, the state of Illinois introduced a pension buyout system that allowed pension plan holders to receive a lump sum of cash now as opposed to keeping their money invested in the pension system. The payments are funded by a state bond issue of $1 billion.
Now, however, politicians are concerned the funding for this program will run out of money. Illinois state Representative Bob Morgan introduced a fast-tracked bill that is currently pending in the state House to renew this program for another two years and authorize another $1 billion in funding.
With over $130 billion in unfunded liabilities statewide, the state of Illinois has been actively searching for ways to help alleviate its financial burdens.
Nearly 27% more people ages 18 to 49 in Illinois have died in each of the past two years than in each of the three years prior. COVID-related deaths in that age group account for just a minority of the excess deaths.
Data the Illinois Department of Public Health provided The Center Square show 29% more fatalities in 2021 and 24% more in 2020 when compared to the average for the three years prior for those ages 18 to 49. Combined for 2020 and 2021, the total number of deaths among that demographic is 21,511.
COVID-related deaths in the past two years totals about 1,700 for that age group. Subtracting the 1,700 COVID deaths from the excess death total of 4,467 leaves 2,767 excess deaths for 2020 and 2021 that are not categorized by IDPH, meaning the causes of death for the excess 2,767 are not described.
While COVID-19 is listed as the third leading cause of death in Illinois for all ages in 2020, the leading cause of deaths IDPH lists for those 18 to 44 is accidents, assaults, suicides and heart disease. COVID-19 is not listed as a leading cause of death at all for ages 18 to 24. COVID-19 does show up at No. 6 for those 25 to 44, or 370 out of a total of 6,439.
Measuring by the current-day values of the pension fund assets, unfunded liabilities – or the amount of debt the state pension funds owe that they can’t afford to pay – dropped by nearly 10 percent, to $130 billion in FY 2021 from $144 billion in the previous fiscal year. That put the state’s five pension funds at 46.5 percent funded, up from 39 percent the previous year.
That’s the name commonly used to refer to Public Act 88-0593, or the state’s 50-year plan to bring the its five pension funds to 90 percent funded by 2045.
The actual target for that ramp should be a 100 percent-funded pension system within the next 25 years or preferably sooner, according to a letter attached to the COGFA report from its actuary, Segal Consulting.