Truth in Accounting Report Outlines Impact of Stock Market on Illinois Pension System

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The U.S. stock market has been up and down this year which is impacting Illinois’ underfunded pension system.   

By the middle of 2022, the stock market had lost approximately 21.3 percent of its value. This is reflected in government finances as a decline in the pensions’ funded status.

A recent report by Truth in Accounting shows how the Illinois pension system is affected by the U.S. stock market. 

Illinois’ public sector pension system is partially funded by the investment returns in certain stocks and bonds. As the U.S. stock market struggles, so does the Illinois’ pension system.

Sheila Weinberg of Truth In Accounting explained how taxpayers are being affected by the happenings on Wall Street.

“The taxpayer liabilities on these are volatile,” Weinberg said. “If the market takes a hit, then the assets are worth less, and therefor in the future, taxpayers could be asked to contribute even more to their pensions to cover the gap.”

The state also has among the most unfunded pension liability in the nation. While the state’s auditor general has Illinois’ unfunded liability at around $140 billion, the American Legislative Exchange Council recently put the figure at $533 billion. Nationwide, the number is $8.2 trillion. 

This leaves many state workers with underfunded pensions and results in the state making riskier investments, according to Weinberg.

“The state will try to lessen the high liability of the system by having more assets, so they have a tendency to take more risk in their investment,” Weinberg. “As we all know the stock market can be very volatile.”

Weinberg said even if the stock market does great, it can not make up for Illinois’ unpaid liabilities.  

***Courtesy of the Illinois Radio Network***

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