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Boosting state pension plans


Addressing another pressing benefits-related issue, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has proposed selling bonds and leasing the state lottery, with the proceeds of both transactions shoring up the state's underfunded pension plans for state employees and public school teachers.

The pension obligation bonds and lottery-leasing revenues would put about $26 billion into the flagging state retirement systems, bringing funding ratios to approximately 83%.

The plans currently are only 60.5% funded, with more than $40 billion in accrued unfunded pension liabilities.

The governor's plan also calls for restructuring the pension systems' statutory funding mechanism and boosting annual funding requirements to ultimately achieve 90% funding in 2040.