Local Legislators: Getting your money’s worth?

by:  Diane Benjamin

According to the state Comptroller’s website:  http://ledger.illinoiscomptroller.com/index.cfm/find-the-salary-of-a-state-employee/find-state-employee-salary-sql/

Salary paid through 11/30/2012

Dan Brady  $75,123.95   (annual: $81,953.40)

Bill Brady  $77,382.03  (annual:  $84,416.76)

Keith Sommer  $68,355.10 (annual: $74,569.20)

GARS = General Assembly Retirement System

This information was obtain under the Freedom of Information Act:

Dan Brady has served 11 years and 11 months.  He has contributed $104,906.38 to the GARS system

Bill Brady has served 18 years and 7 months.  He has contributed $136,713.69 to the GARS system.

Keith Sommer has served 13 years and 11 months.  He has contributed $110,979.49 to the GARS System

Members of the General Assembly are covered by health, life and dental insurance.

As previously reported (http://blnnews.com/2012/12/14/springfield-and-pensions/), the State reports this fund is 21.2% funded, Moody’s rates it at 13.6% funded.

The GARS is described here for employees:  http://www.state.il.us/srs/PDFILES/GAhandbook02.pdf

Page 6 describes the benefits payable FOR LIFE upon retirement:

If they retired today, rounding the years of service:

Dan Brady = 45% of salary ($81,953.40 x .45)  $36,879.03 pension per year

Bill Brady = 80% of salary ($84,416.76 x .80) $67,533.41 pension per year

Keith Sommer = 55% of salary ($74,569.20 x .55) $41,013.06 pension per year

In addition, 3% is added per year based on what was paid the previous year. To illustrate why all the pension funds are in trouble:

Bill Brady:

Year 1:   67,533.41

Year 2:   69,559.41

Year 3:  71,646.19

Year 4:  73,795.58

Year 5:  76,009.45

Year 6:  78,289.73

Year 7:  80,638.42

Year 8:  83,057.58

Year 9:  85,549.31

Year 10:  88,115.79

It only took 10 years for a pension of $67,533.41 to grow to $88,115.79.  This is a pension Bill Brady contributed just $136,713.69 as of 11/30/12.  The state contribution must vary because the risk of the market is on taxpayers.  If the pension fund does not earn the projected income, the state has to make up the difference for the under performance.

Keep in mind, being elected to office in Springfield is classified as a part-time job.  Is your 401K and Social Security going to allow you this kind of retirement?

Also remember, this is just one small Illinois pension plan.   It’s obvious why Illinois has no money.

Maybe Illinois needs more elected actuaries and accountants.  At least a math test should be required.  If any of these guys plan on retiring with these benefits, they had better do it now.  Receiving a pension for life is now extremely questionable, but then they can always raise taxes again.  67% wasn’t nearly enough.

2 thoughts on “Local Legislators: Getting your money’s worth?

  1. I am appalled at the salaries of almost ALL state employees. How can a highway worker knock down 85,000 a year, or a corrections supervisor make 125,000 per year. The numbers boggle the mind.

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