IEA about retiree health care funding cuts: Don't worry. Be happy.
Fred Klonsky in Retirement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
It was not until the Illinois Retired Teachers Association announced it was going to court did most of us who are retired Illinois Teachers become aware that the state was reducing its funding to the teacher retirement health insurance system (TRIP/TRAIL).
Central Management Services (CMS), an agency of the executive branch, requested a $45 million reduction in funding and the Teacher Retirement System board approved the reduction, which only the two elected retired members voting no.
Meanwhile there was nothing coming from the two state teacher unions, the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
The IRTA said it had its actuarial experts look at the funding and said it spelled trouble for sustaining the retiree benefit for more than four years.
To me this smells like a diminishment of our pension benefit and the Illinois Supreme Court said the state can’t do that.
After the IRTA filed its lawsuit then the unions were forced to say something.
What they said was don’t worry about it.
The IEA has a terrible record on protecting retired teachers. A decade ago when the state legislature voted to reduce our pension and no public employee union, including the IEA and the IFT, did diddly, it was the IRTA that initiated the lawsuit and hired the lawyers that argued the case before the Illinois Supreme Court and won.
So yesterday, IEA Retired Chair Jim Duffy, sent out this message to his 12,000 or so members.
In recent days, complaints have been flying about state funding for TRIP/TRAIL and forecasting dire consequences for the TRIP/TRAIL insurance programs. We (IEA-Retired) sent out a statement about this on Jan. 25. Below is more information provided by IEA Lobbyist Will Lovett. One of Will's primary responsibilities is working with TRS and other pension systems involving our members. He also represents IEA on the TRIP/TRAIL Advisory Task Force.
The Governor’s budget proposal funds TRIP/TRAIL with $106.3 million from the state for fiscal year 2023. That amount is lower than the current year. However, the program is expected to receive $421 million from existing revenues and spend $398 million. If projections hold, the program will increase its end of year cash balance to $47 million. That cash balance is $22.7 million higher than the projections for the current fiscal year. IEA serves on the TRIP/TRAIL Advisory Task Force and firmly believes that the program will continue into the future without any fiscal uncertainty.
IEA Lobbyist/IPACE Consultant
Proud IEASO Member
Apparently Duffy sent out a message that wasn’t successful at calming the concerns of retirees and had so send out another one.
I read Will Lovett’s statement a number of times and the math doesn’t work for me.
Will quickly admits that JB’s budget cuts funding for the current year, but somehow we end up with a balance of $22.7 million higher than this year.
Somebody needs to explain that.
Will saysthat the TRIP/TRAIL Advisory Task Force firmly believes that the program will continue into the future without any fiscal uncertainty.
That’s one hell of a qualifier.
And why does the IEA have a consultant as the representative to the TRIP/TRAIL Task Force and and not a retiree?