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Pensioners don’t deserve the blame

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

It is unfortunate that people like Vern R. Klenz [“Sweeteners have been the pension problem,” The Reader’s Voice, Jan. 8] blame the underfunding problems with the Illinois pension systems on the retirees, and fail to acknowledge that for many years, the administrations and the Legislature did not pay into the systems what they were called upon to do by the pension actuaries.

If you short a fund over many years, eventually you will have to make larger payments to make up for those underfunding decisions.

But if you are the Illinois Legislature, you can simply say, We will make those victims pay to correct our years of shorting those systems by taking away future increases promised them.

If proof of where the fault for these problems is necessary, you need to look no further than a comparison of the state pensions (with their pension holidays), and the pension system that city and county retirees have (that made annual payments) in one system. We have a huge, unfunded liability, and in the case of the local governments’ plans, a well-funded system.

I also would like to ask, Who benefited from all the money that was supposed to go into the pension systems that the Legislature spent on other programs? Do they bear any responsibility to correct the problem?

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