Good Illinois pension news doesn’t alleviate underlying financial pressures, report states

Link:https://news.yahoo.com/good-illinois-pension-news-doesn-155356123.html

Excerpt:

The state saw its unfunded pension liability decrease in fiscal year 2021 for the first time in four years, due in large part to investment returns exceeding 20 percent, according to a new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

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.

Author(s): Jerry Nowicki

Publication Date: 10 Dec 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

Federal cash infusion won’t erase Illinois’ chronic fiscal strains

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202104131450SM______BNDBUYER_00000178-cc00-d414-abf8-efa2047e0001_110.1#new_tab

Excerpt:

S&P Global Ratings warns of the pressures posed by the Illinois? burdensome pension tab even as it maintains scheduled contributions despite glaring structural woes cited in the recently published three-year budget forecast from the legislature?s non-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

When applying fiscal 2022 proposed spending levels, the state?s roughly $5 billion bill backlog could jump to $9.9 billion, and $10.6 billion by the end of fiscal 2024, and a $1.2 billion fiscal 2022 deficit rises to $1.9 billion or $2.3 billion if spending grows by five- and 10-year historical rates of 2.7% or 3.2%, respectively.

The numbers look bleaker with the backlog skyrocketing to record levels of between $19.1 billion and $20.5 billion based on a fiscal 2021 spending base.

Author(s): Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 13 April 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income

Economy: Inflation Concerns Are Growing

Link: https://cgfa.ilga.gov/Upload/0221revenue.pdf

Excerpt:

It has been over a year since the COVID-19
recession began in February of 2020. After going
through a brutal loss of 31.4% in the second quarter
and an immediate, rapid rebound of 33.4% in the
third quarter last year, the economy appears headed
for a recovery. Overall, the U.S. economy shrank by
3.5% in 2020, compared to 2019. This was the worst
growth since one year after World War II. In
January, personal income rose 10% and consumer
spending jumped by 2.4%, the biggest increase since
June of 2020, both of which mostly resulted from the
COVID-19 relief payments by Congress. Housing
markets are still robust, partly supported by low
mortgage rates.
However, the employment report in January showed
weaker-than-expected data. The unemployment rate
fell to 6.3% from 6.7% mostly due to a decrease in
the labor force (i.e. people gave up looking for jobs).
The economy gained 49,000 jobs, which was lower
than expected. Inflation, currently at 1.5%, is
persistently below the Fed’s average goal of 2%.
Having said that, the outlook on the U.S. economy
has improved as daily COVID-19 infection cases are
falling and more dosages of the vaccines are being
administered. In addition, $1.9 trillion is ready to be
pumped into the economy once a third COVID-19

relief bill passes Congress. However, the recovery
rate will not be as fast as the rate seen in the third
quarter of the previous year.

Author(s): Julie Bae

Publication Date: February 2021

Publication Site: Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability