Illinois State Senator Chris Lauzen made three simple suggestions to solving Illinois’ $83 billion unfunded pension liabilities: end abuses of the present system, raise the retirement age to 62, and limit cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) to 2 percent a year. What he failed to mention is how to get these changes implemented.
Lauzen has served in the Illinois state legislature beginning in 1992 when he ran on a promise to “work hard, stay honest, and use common sense.” Now that he is retiring he decided to spell out what was needed to bring order out of chaos in Illinois. He said that, if successful, his plan, “The Lauzen Plan,” could be applied to other states facing similar daunting challenges. And if it works there, it might even, he says, apply to Europe’s problems. First, Lauzen recognized the size of the problem. According to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) the total unfunded liabilities of all the states is at least $3 trillion, possibly more.
Many states, according to AEI, are in denial about that number, relying on old and outdated methods and assumptions used to calculate those liabilities. The interest rate assumptions and proper valuing of the assets held to provide the future benefits may be off, perhaps way off. As noted in an article in The New American, liabilities could be as much as