Taxpayers Oppose Pension-Millionaires-Bill HB 1702

CHICAGO—The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization yesterday urged State Senators to oppose the House Bill 1702 amendment, sponsored by St. Sen. Don Harmon (D-39, Oak Park), which would add more categories of retired state employees to a special pension formula originally reserved for law enforcement personnel.

“The state’s ‘alternative pension formula’ was created for law enforcement personnel,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI). “Purportedly because of the danger and stress of law enforcement, the current alternative pension formula allows them to retire with 25 years of service at age 50, receiving up to 80% of their salary, and annual cost of living increases. Under this formula, over a normal lifespan, the retired government employee often receives over $1 million in total pension benefits.”

“Now, Sen. Harmon would add tollway employees, state auto mechanics and body shop workers, sign hangers and tollway messengers to the formula. This bill would be hilarious if it weren’t for the blatant waste of taxpayer dollars. The state can’t afford this flagrant waste of money. It currently has $42 billion in unfunded pensions.”

“During a normal lifetime, these retired state government employees would receive over one million dollars in pension benefits for hanging signs or tuning cars. This bill is a scandal!”

“Yesterday I contacted members of the State Senate and urged them to vote ‘No’ on HB 1702. This bill is one of the most egregious attempts to waste taxpayer dollars.”

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1 Response

  1. Linda Phillips says:

    I have read your comments about state employees wanting a better retirement. My husband has been a State mechanic for 33 years and has had to deal with the following: working on concrete takes a toll on knees, feet and hips; working in diesel and gas fumes daily is dangerous; working with chemicals in cleaning engines and parts is dangerous; getting a call at 2:30 a.m. during a blizzard that a snow plow is down and needs repaired to be able to get back out on the road; eyes being burned from welding; hernias from heavy lifting; at the present time, having three mechanics to service approximately 600 state vehicles, including state police vehicles that need to stay on the road to keep our state safe. I don’t believe we would quite fit into the millionaire category that you referred to. At $50,000 a year salary after 33 years on the job, I think we would need to live to be way over 100 to ever reach that plateau. Something that really needs your attention as blocking state waste is the increases in salary that the legistators will slide through unnoticed later in the year. (article from June 3, 2008, Champaign News-Gazette). Also, a big waste, would be the daily plane commute from Chicago to Springfield for the governor and his entourage and the taxpayers paying for two residences, one in Chicago and one in Springfield. Surely, with the price increase in fuel, the governor really takes into consideration the cost of the trips? We can only hope so.

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