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Illinois to delay pension contributions with ongoing budget stalemate

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The continuing budget impasse in Illinois means the state will delay its November pension contribution, state Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced on Wednesday.

The state has been operating without a budget since the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1 and has been required to pay its bills during that time despite a $5 billion revenue shortage projection.

Due to the shortage of revenue, Ms. Munger said the $560 million monthly payment to the state’s five retirement systems will be delayed, but she said the retirement systems will be paid in full by the end of the fiscal year.

“This decision came down to choosing the least of a number of bad options, and it saddens me that we’ve reached this point. But the fact is that our state simply does not have the revenue to meet its obligations,” Ms. Munger said. “We will use every available dollar in the higher-revenue months this spring to catch up with our commitments and ensure that our retirement systems are paid in full.”

Illinois’ five state defined benefit plans’ liabilities totaled $111.2 billion, with a funding ratio of 39.3% as of June 30, 2014, the worst of any state in the country.

Rob Kozlowski writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Business Insurance.