Retiree Living Standards, Ranked by State
Source: River Bender

How well you will live in retirement will depend on two things: your income and the local cost of living.

A new study that ranks each state based on how many of its retirees can meet a basic standard of living comes up with an interesting combination of places that are financially friendly – or not – to people over 65.

For example, who would expect Mississippi to be in the same company with California?

The cost of living in Mississippi is much lower than in California – and most states. But 31 percent of Mississippi’s retired single people and 24 percent of its retired couples fall into what the study calls the “gap” between being poor and having barely enough income to cover their basic expenses, according to a 50-state analysis by the University of Massachusetts’ Gerontology Institute in Boston.

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POLICE OFFICERS’ Pension Investment Fund
Source: IPPFA

POLICE OFFICERS’ Pension Investment Fund Transition Board

The transition board trustees will oversee the consolidation of local funds over the next year, when permanent board trustees will be elected. The fund boards consist of five members drawn from employees and retirees and four members representing employers.

The following members will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund:

Brad Cole will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Cole has served as executive director of the Illinois Municipal League since 2014. Most recently, Cole was Senior Vice President of Pepsi MidAmerica. Prior to entering the private sector, he worked as Downstate Director for U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, served as Mayor of the City of Carbondale for two four-year terms, which followed one four-year term on the city council, and was Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor George Ryan. He is Chairman Emeritus of Sister Cities International, having served two years as chairman of its global board of directors. Separate from the League, Cole serves as Managing Director of the IML Risk Management Association. Cole is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in a double major of political science and biological sciences, and a master’s degree in legal studies from the SIU School of Law.

Shawn Curry will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Curry has served as a sergeant at the City of Peoria Police Department since 2004 and also serves as the president of the Peoria Pension Fund. Prior, he was a deputy sheriff at the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office, which is where he began his career in 1996. Curry has held various positions ranging in work as a certified correctional officer, police officer, arson investigator, elderly service officer and lead homicide investigator. He received his associate degree in law enforcement from Illinois Central College.

Andrea DiGiacinto will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* DiGiacinto has served as a law enforcement officer in the Libertyville Police Department since 1998. She has held positions including field training officer, evidence technician, juvenile officer, bike officer and public education/DARE officer. In addition, she has worked as a Federally Certified Gang Task Force Member in Lake County, and she has served on Libertyville Fraternal Order of Police Board, Negotiation Team and Grievance committees. DiGiacinto earned her undergraduate degree from Marian College.

Elizabeth Holleb will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Holleb is a Certified Public Accountant and has over 20 years of work experience in municipal finance, including the Government Finance Officers Association, the Village of Northbrook, the Village of Oak Park and the City of Highland Park. Elizabeth oversees the Finance and Information Technology activities for the City of Lake Forest, including development of the annual budget, coordination of the annual independent financial audit, serving as staff liaison to the Finance Committee and the Audit Committee, and administration of a five-year IT Master Plan which guides the City’s technology initiatives. She has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Ball State University where she was a Cum Laude graduate of the Honors College.

Dan Hopkins will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Hopkins is a retired police officer who previously served the O’Fallon Police Department, Shiloh Police Department and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department. In 1987, he started work as a police officer in Collinsville and was elected to the pension board in 1988. He retired from Collinsville Police Department in 2006. Hopkins then continued on the pension board as the retired officer for the Collinsville Police Pension Fund and was elected President in 1998. He was elected a Collinsville Township Trustee in 2017.

Michael Inman will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Inman has served as Mayor of the City of Macomb since 2011. Previously, he was a Master Sergeant in the Illinois State Police, Deputy Sheriff of McDonough County Sheriff’s Department and a security officer at McDonough District Hospital. Inman was also a member of the Macomb Library Board of Trustees and the McDonough County Board of Supervisors. He is a past president of the Illinois Municipal League. He studied mass communication and law enforcement administration at Western Illinois University.

Mark Poulos will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Poulos currently serves as an alderman in the City of Rock Island and most recently worked as Chief of Police in Coal Valley after 33 years of service as a lieutenant at the Rock Island Police Department. For over 30 years, Poulos was a board member of the Rock Island Police Pension Fund. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1973 until 1977 when he was honorably discharged.

Brian Prochaska will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Prochaska is a 19-year veteran of the Joliet Police Department, currently assigned as a detective in their Investigations Division. He also serves as board president at the Joliet Police Pension Fund. Prochaska attended Eastern Illinois University and Moraine Valley Community College.

Phil Suess will serve on the Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund.* Suess was elected as the Mayor of Wheaton in May 2019 after serving on city council for 14 years. He previously worked as a partner and senior investment consultant at Mercer Reinvestment for 31 years. Prior to joining Mercer, Suess was an account executive with the Equitable Life Assurance Association of the United States in the pensions operations field. His also previously served as a commissioner on the DuPage Water Commission, where he chaired the finance committee. Suess earned his Bachelor of Arts in economics from Northwestern University and his Master of Business Administration from Loyola University of Chicago.

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A Meeting of the Illinois Firefighters’ Pension Investment Fund
Source: Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois – AFFI


To Be Held on Wednesday February 12, 2020 1:00 P.M.

Agenda to be posted as soon as it is available.

Double Tree by Hilton Hotel
3003 Corporate West Drive
Lisle, IL 60532

Governor JB Pritzker named 18 members to two interim boards that will manage the new statewide investment funds.

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The other financial storm threatening to capsize Illinois’ economy
Source: Crain’s Chicago Business

And no, it’s not underfunded pensions.

We’ll soon find out if Illinois lawmakers are serious about easing the state’s unsustainable property tax burden.

As you may know, Illinois has the second-highest property tax rate in the nation, trailing New Jersey by just five one-hundredths of a percentage point. The pain has become so acute for homeowners and landlords across Illinois that Gov. J.B. Pritzker appointed a task force this year to study the causes and recommend solutions. The task force report is due Dec. 31, setting up possible legislative action on the issue when state lawmakers reconvene next month.

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Public Act 101-0610 Short Summary: Consolidation of Fund’s Investment Assests
Source: Reimer & Dobrovolny PC

Public Act 101-0610 Short Summary: Consolidation of Fund’s Investment Assests

December 18, 2019: Signed by Governor Pritzker

January 1, 2020: Effective Date

Consolidates all Article 3 and 4 Pension Fund’s Investment Assets Only.

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Spillovers From State and Local Pensions to Social Security
Source: Center for Retirement Research

Federal law allows certain state and local government employees to be excluded from Social Security coverage if they are covered by an employer pension of sufficient generosity.  Public sector retirement systems have grown less generous in recent years, and a couple of plans could exhaust their assets in the next decade, putting benefits at risk.  If pension sponsors are inattentive to federal generosity requirements when cutting benefits, current and future initiatives to curb costs may conflict with their obligations to the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).  This project combines data from a variety of sources to assess whether state and local governments are currently satisfying the federal standards and whether the standards continue to provide benefits of equal generosity to Social Security.

The paper found that:

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Does Public Pension Board Composition Impact Returns?
Source: Center for Retirement Research

U.S. state and local pension funds manage over $4 trillion in retirement assets for 20 million active and retired plan members.1  Given the significance of these funds, proper oversight is vitally important to government officials, plan participants, and taxpayers alike.  The challenges to effective pension fund governance have been well documented, and significant research has demonstrated that the characteristics of pension boards matter.2  This brief summarizes public pension fund governance, discusses key aspects of public pension boards, and presents additional evidence that a well-designed board relates to better plan outcomes.

The brief proceeds as follows.  The first section provides background on the primary responsibilities and authority entrusted to public pension boards.  The second section discusses key factors that influence board effectiveness – structure, composition, size, and member tenure.  The third section builds a “Board Effectiveness Index” by scoring plans across these factors, and demonstrates a positive relationship between the Index and plan 10-year investment returns.  The final section concludes that public pension funds may be best served by taking a holistic view of the many aspects of a board that contribute to its effectiveness, rather than focusing on any single feature.

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Tax Break for Police and Fire Retiree Medical Insurance Payments
Source: IPPFA

Please be sure your retired members are aware that they may reduce their taxable earnings by up to $3,000 for medical insurance premiums paid during a calendar year. This is allowable under the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety Retirees Act, or the “HELPS” Retiree Act.

To qualify, the premium must be deducted from the retiree’s pension check and remitted directly to the healthcare provider or insurance company.

Note that the $3,000 reduction does not appear on the annual 1099R form that is sent out by the pension fund. The retiree must claim the reduction on his or her personal 1040 tax form on Line 4B.

Instructions on claiming the reduction are included in IRS Publication 575 (page 6), which is available by clicking on the link (IRS Publication 575 (Page 6), Information on HELPS Act) below. As this is not a simple matter, it is recommended that pensioners consult with their tax preparer to properly claim the reduction. If your pension benefits are administered by a pension administration company, you may obtain additional information by contacting that company.

Let’s do what we can to ensure that our retired members can take advantage of this tax break for retiree medical insurance.

IRS Publication 575 (Page 6), Information on HELPS Act


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Gov. J.B. Pritzker rules out constitutional change to address Illinois’ $134 billion in unfunded pension liabilities
Source: The Center Square

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that a constitutional amendment voters will decide next year will help save the state’s finances. He also dismissed any proposal to reduce the state’s pension costs through a constitutional amendment to remove the state’s pension protection clause.

During a wide-ranging fireside chat at the Economic Club of Chicago Tuesday, Pritzker promoted his constitutional amendment for a progressive income tax. Voters next year will be asked the binding question that Pritzker ushered through the legislature. Pritzker also campaigned on the issue of changing the state’s existing flat income tax to a progressive system that has higher rates for higher earners.

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Rep. Chris Miller: Governor’s police and fire pension ‘reform’ not the solution Illinois needs
Source: Illinois Review

OAKLAND – A plan to consolidate 650 downstate pension funds passed the Illinois General Assembly during last week’s veto session, but that plan was met with skepticism from many Republicans that simply don’t trust Illinois Democrat fix-it schemes.

State Representative Chris Miller (R-Oakland) says he voted against the Governor’s scheme to consolidate the 650 downstate police and fire pension funds because giving the state control of local pension funds sounded more like a scam than a reform.

“I have heard from many of my local police and fire departments and the idea of turning the management of their pension funds to the state of Illinois is something they have zero interest in seeing happening,” Miller said. “It may be the greatest reform in the history of reforms, but there is no trust in the state to manage these funds. It is just like what President Reagan said, ‘the nine most terrifying words in the English language are I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

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