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May 16, 2019

Surprise revenue ensures pension payments


On May 7, Gov. JB Pritzker’s Revenue Director David Harris announced in a letter that “Illinois received significantly stronger-than-expected revenues in April.”

More than $1.5 billion more than the administration predicted, in fact.

This means that Gov. Pritzker will not delay payments to the state’s pension funds as previously planned. With the new funds, Pritzker pledged to make the full pension payment in the upcoming fiscal year.

As it stands, the state faces more than $134 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. In introducing his FY 20 budget, Gov. Pritzker had originally said that he would reduce the scheduled payment to the state’s pension systems until the fair tax—which would ensure the wealthy pay their share—gains approval by voters in 2020.

Now that plan has changed, Harris said, thanks to “the performance of the stock market, better federal reimbursement for Medicaid, the elimination of the federal state and local tax deduction and additional changes in the federal tax law that meant taxpayers didn’t withhold sufficient taxes through payroll deductions.”

Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch applauded Pritzker’s decision to use the additional revenue to meet its pension obligations: “Illinois can’t afford to continue neglecting its responsibility to ensure a secure retirement for public service workers.”