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IL Taxpayers to Foot Bill for Far-Off Estimates on Pension Plan

(KWMU file photo)
(KWMU file photo)


Springfield, Ill. – Governor Rod Blagojevich says Illinois taxpayers will be stuck paying billions of extra dollars for an early retirement program.

The governor also wants an investigation into why cost estimates were so far off.

State budget director John Filan says the budget includes only $70 million for the program, but he now believes it could cost up to $380 million this year.

When lawmakers approved the early retirement program in 2002 under former Governor George Ryan, it was supposed to cost a total of about $620 million.

But late last year, a revised estimated pinned it at nearly $2.5 billion.

Governor Ryan's former budget director Steven Schnorf says he finds it hard to believe the numbers were so far off and welcomed a review of the process.

Filan says the state will honor the pensions of those retirees, despite the cost difference.