24 IL Legislators turn down pensions – but wait

by Diane Benjamin

Being an Illinois legislator is supposed to be a part-time job.  Their salary is at least  $66,876, many earn much more by serving as chair of various committees.

It looks like good news that 24 new public servants have decided to turn down a pension.  Part-time jobs don’t come with pensions anywhere else, in fact most jobs outside of government don’t come with a pension at all.

However, this is not good news for members currently drawing a pension or those in the system wanting to receive one.  The pension system for legislators is called SERS.  From the SERS website:

Unfunded Actuarial Liability: The portion of the accrued actuarial liability which exceeds the actuarial value of assets held by GARS.


Unfunded Actuarial Liability as of June 30, 2013:



The State of Illinois has 5 pension funds, this is just one of them.  24 fewer legislators will be paying into the fund.  With less money being paid into the system to support the current retirees, the unfunded liability will increase.

These are the 24 who opted out:  Source: illinoisopportunity.org


The real question is why did they opt out?  At least one person already qualifies for a pension under another system.  I suspect at least a few take their role as “public servant” seriously and chose not to take a pensions on principle.

Is it possible that some see the handwriting on the wall?

The pension systems in Illinois are seriously underfunded.  According to this post I did in December 2012, SERS is the worst funded of all the plans.  http://blnnews.com/2012/12/14/springfield-and-pensions/

Maybe they are just being smart.






12 thoughts on “24 IL Legislators turn down pensions – but wait

  1. It’s time Illinois puts its money where its mouth is and legalizes Marijuana. Colorado is projected to receive $130 million in tax revenue from the sale of legal cannabis in the 2014 fiscal year. Illinois has twice the population that Colorado has, and would definitely receive much more revenue. We already have legalized medical marijuana but that’s the strictest in the nation. We need to put an end to this failed drug war and stop Big Brother’s oppression on non-violent crimes that do nothing but overcrowd our prison system. While legalizing marijuana won’t do everything to solve IL’s pension crisis, it would definitely put a dent in the amount our state owes.

    1. That is exactly what we need! Then new courts, because they will be full of DUI offenders. The hospitals to take care of the injuries in DUI crashes, gee a stimulus package! Of course, nobody will want to work. Have you heard what’s happening in Colorado?

  2. Gee Independent4Governor maybe your on to something here! Legalize marijuana and bring the crime rate down……………..hmm do you want to legalize other crimes like robbery, rape, murder, oh heck if we keep going we could have a completely crime free society! 😛

    1. [Insert Strawman Argument here]

      Provide me with 25 years worth of evidence that legalizing marijuana brings up crime rates from a peer reviewed source.

      If you want all your taxes going to our overcrowded prison systems full of NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS, then be my guest. Otherwise don’t go yapping about being for freedom as a proponent of the tea party when you’re the biggest supporter of BIG BROTHER’s oppressive prison system.

      1. It’s not a non-violent offense to drive under the influence and kill somebody. Users are rarely jailed, only the dealers. You don’t need 25 years experience – look at Colorado.

      2. Okay, then why don’t you provide me with a link showing evidence that Colorado is experiencing higher rates of deaths caused by driving under the influence of marijuana? And it has to be a legitimate source. No BS blog post full of made up accusations like what this website is

    1. Smoking marijuana is much safer than drinking alcohol. Bo one has every died of a marijuana overdose before

      1. hmm…………I figured you meant “no one” maybe your mind was in a purple haze! 😛

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