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. https://blnnews.com/2012/12/14/springfield-and-pensions/
Maybe they are just being smart.