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Cause of the problem

To the Editor:

I am inspired to write by Sen. Pam Althoff’s comments about the “broken pension systems.” Her comments ignore the cause of the problem. It seems she feels that it just happened, kind of like catching a cold. It just happened and she does not know how.

The pension systems were established in Illinois asking the employees to contribute during their working years while the state also would pitch in. The retirement system would then invest the money and, through the magic of compounding, there would be enough assets for the retiree to receive an ongoing annuity based on years of service for life. The system was designed to be self-perpetuating with enough funds to avoid any burden on future taxpayers.

Had the state of Illinois acted responsibly, the pension system would not be “broken.” Although the employees always paid their share, the state has not fully paid its promised share in decades.

Please, Sen. Althoff, realize the retirees are not the problem. They are the victims of the irresponsible behavior of the state Legislature. Now, many years down the line, the retirement systems have not benefited from the compounding that would make them financially secure. The legislators caused the problem.

If I did not pay my bills for decades, it would not be right for me to go to my creditors looking for them to solve my problem. The state should not look to the retirees to solve the state’s debt.

Larry Krengel

Marengo

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