Monthly Archives: May 2016


Only in Illinois, a state on the verge of bankruptcy, can its very own lawmakers accelerate bankruptcy by their very own greed to get what they can before the inevitable event occurs. Yes; Illinois legislators, on both sides of the aisle, passed laws granting themselves golden pensions, for their part-time jobs to represent “we, the people of Illinois.”

In 1995, State Rep. Dave Leuchtefeld (R) was the first to opt out of the General Assembly Retirement System.

Since 2010, Rep. Ron Sandack has advocated for his HB138 legislation that would kill pensions for new lawmakers.

Synopsis of HB138 as Introduced:

Amends the General Assembly Article of the Illinois Pension Code. Restricts participation in the General Assembly Retirement System by members of the General Assembly to persons who become participants before January 1, 2016 and provides that, beginning on that date, the System shall not accept any new participants who are members of the General Assembly. Makes related changes. Effective immediately.

GARS is only 16.8% funded (FY2015). So; it is underfunded by hundreds of millions for a very small number of participants. Taxpayers are on the hook for an even bigger future bill.


#1 HIGHEST GARS PENSION TO-DATE:  Arthur Berman (D) now takes $19,652 a month ($235,824); His pension includes a pension spike via Chicago Public Schools; served as state senator for 31 years; retired in 2000.

Retired Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (D) now takes $132,384/year($11,032/month); with some pension spiking. He served as a state senator for 8 years;

Retired Governor Pat Quinn (D) now takes $133,164/year ($11,097/month).  Years of service in legislator undocumented at this time;

Retired House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R) now takes $81,012/year ($6,751/month). He served as a state representative since 1993; and

State Senator Kirk Dillard (R) now takes $6,831 per month ($81,972/year). He served in the state senate from 1994-2014.

Every single one of the examples cited above have pensions significantly higher that their annual pay as part-time legislators; currently about $68,000 per year; more if committee chairman, etc. It is called greed, and taking care of business for themselves.


RK 5/7/16

Illinois State legislators who have declined a state pension

The following is a list of current (May 2016) legislators who turned down their pension.  Is your Rep on  this list?  If not, ask why.


State of Illinois legislators (38) who have declined to take a state pension:

House (34)

  • Steven Anderson, R-Geneva*
  • John Anthony, R-Plainfield*
  • Mark Brainsick, R-Plainfield*
  • Avery Bourne, R-Raymond*
  • Peter Breen, R-Lombard*
  • Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park
  • Tim Butler, R-Springfield*
  • John Cabello, R-Machesney Park*
  • Katherine Cloonen, D-Kankakee
  • C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville
  • Scott Drury, D-Highwood
  • Brad Halbrook, R-Charleston
  • Josh Harms, R-Watseka
  • Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton*
  • Sara Jimenez, R-Leland Grove*
  • Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon*
  • Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego
  • Dave Leuchtefeld, R-Okawville
  • Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill
  • Karen McConnaughay, R-Aurora
  •  Margo McDermed, R-Frankfort*
  • David McSweeney, R-Cary
  • Anna Moeller, D-Elgin
  • Thomas Morrison, R-Palatine*
  • Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines
  • Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove
  • Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston
  • Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove*
  • Sue Scherer, D-Decatur
  • Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago
  • Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville*
  • Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake*
  • Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego*
  • Kathleen Willis, D-Addison


Senate (4)

  • Belinda Bush, D-Grayslake
  • Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park
  • Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill
  • Julie Morrison, D-Des Plaines

* Denotes current HB sponsors


Non-legislators who advocate against the state legislators’ pension system:

Governor Bruce Rauner (R)

Comptroller Leslie Munger (R)


Note:  Although not in the above list of names; in 2011, former State Treasurer and State Representative Dawn Clark-Netsch (D) paid back $10,000 from her pension to the state.

Current status of  the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS)

Net Present Assets $56,789,460
Actuarial Total Liability $323,379,470
Unfunded Liability $266,590,010
Percent Funded 17.56%
Active Participants 158
Beneficiaries 421
Average Salary $71,114


IL Pension Bicentenial Report 2015

This report contains history, current law and funding levels for Illinois pension funds.   A good reference document. 

For instance page 82 of pdf has details for TRS, Tier 1 (hired prior to 1/1/2011)

  • Basic Rate of Annuity: 2.2% per year of service
  • Maximum Annuity: 75%

It would take just over 34 years to reach the max of 75%

Not listed here, unused sick and vacation days count towards service.  Two years is not unusual.

If a teacher started right out of college at age 22, worked 33 years and cashed in 2 years of accrued sick/vacation days, that would allow him to retire at age 55 with FULL (75% of the average last 4 years of salary) benefits.

This report has data for each state run fund, each Chicago fund, and fire & police retirement funds for each municipality.