Director of Content and Engagement, Commonwealth Policy Center

The Teachers Retirement System of Kentucky published new numbers indicating that the funding of teacher’s pensions has gone up for the third consecutive year, this time from 57.7% in 2018 to 58.1% in 2019. This trend is encouraging for Kentucky but is only a step in the right direction. Pensions, when underfunded, have contributed to the economic collapse of other states and you don’t have to look far to find one. Illinois has been mismanaged for years and their state pension has played a large part in their sickly state now. Illinois has had to boost taxes to astronomical levels to play catch-up with their underfunded pensions, which has caused the state to lose residents to surrounding states at record levels. We would do well to learn a lesson from Illinois and pursue a solution to our pension’s funding.