TRS Director Richard Ingram.
Earlier this year Richard Ingram created a problem by going rogue and calling for a “new reality” when it comes to pension reform. His new reality entailed benefit cuts rather than funding reform.
At the time, the TRS board remained silent. Sitting on the TRS board is IEA President Cinda Klickna.
Now Ingram is back. While TRS is not supposed to get into legislative proposals, Ingram told Crain’s that TRS COLAs had to be cut.
Again, there has been nothing in response from the TRS board or Klickna.
In an interview with Crain’s editors and reporters, Richard Ingram, executive director of the underfunded Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, said state politicians will have few other options if they want to make meaningful progress on closing the gap between promised pension benefits and the available funding.
“Look at every other state that’s done pension reform – what have they done? They’ve changed the COLA because that’s where the cost is,” Mr. Ingram said, noting that 25 percent of TRS payments are for cost-of-living increases on pension benefits.
In reality, the biggest financial burden related to TRS is the payment on the debt that the state owes.