In the letter, Mr. Harmon suggests that Illinois is making progress on addressing its pension debt, but that the coronavirus pandemic is causing difficulty because of revenue losses to the state. He writes:
$10 billion in pension relief, directly for the state's retirement systems:
Illinois largest liabilities are its unfunded pension liability at $138 billion and other post-employment benefits liability at $54 billion. Illinois law has put the state on a path to fund the pension liability in a manner that is actuarially sound, and the state has been following the payment plan set out in that law. In a normal year the size of those payments crowds out funding for services and programs. Clearly this will not be a normal year and that crowding out effect will be exacerbated by significant revenue losses.
I would ask that the federal government:
1. Provide direct cash assistance to the pension systems; or
2. Offer a low interest federal loan to aid Illinois in our efforts to restore and maintain retirement security for public sector workers, many of which are on the frontlines of this pandemic battle.