SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Two dozen legislators aren’t signed up for a pension

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013

* This trend is obviously not a positive one for public employee unions

A review of candidate campaign pledges and data from the General Assembly Retirement System shows at least two dozen of the 177 members of the House and Senate have opted out of the General Assembly pension system.

One of the things that the unions rely on is legislators voting to protect their own pensions and benefits. But the more opt-outs we get, the fewer legislators who will care.

* Even so, some legislators who’ve opted out are still eligible for other pensions. For instance

State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, decided not to take a legislative pension when he first took office in the mid-1990s.

“What motivated me to do it was I didn’t want people to think I was doing this for the money,” Luechtefeld said.

Luechtefeld, a former teacher and basketball coach, is a member of the Teachers Retirement System. He said his TRS pension is not large.

“It may not have been the best financial decision, but I’m certainly going to get by. I’m happy. I’m satisfied,” Luechtefeld said.

People have been predicting a Luechtefeld retirement for years. We may now know at least one reason why he’s decided to stick around. Luechtefeld is 72.

* For some members, no pensions might mean even less turnover if they simply can’t retire. Simple “solutions” never produce simple results.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


34 Comments
  1. - Billy - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    Does not matter! The legislation they put forth will go to the courts, and it will be ruled unconstitutional! Only an agreement with the unions, will avoid a negative ruling by the court!


  2. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:25 pm:

    Most that refused are already receiving a pension or are in line for one.


  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===Most that refused are already receiving a pension or are in line for one. ===

    Out of two dozen refuseniks, Lee Newspapers reported that three were getting another pension. That ain’t most.


  4. - cassandra - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:28 pm:

    Not good financial planning, I think. I’d be surprised if pension participation would be a deal breaker for most voters. The size of the pension, perhaps, given the decline in private sector pensions in the US in recent decades.

    But I’m wondering-if they change their minds, can they buy back in?


  5. - Eileen left - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    I wouldn’t vote for anyone dumb enough to refuse a pension. I wonder what their family thinks about refusing a benefit that would be of significance for them down the road.


  6. - Rat - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    I am a State employee. Give us the money back that we paid in and let us opt out of our pension system. This pension system is a big Ponzi scheme. I don’t see this as one of our choices. Why not?????


  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:46 pm:

    ===I am a State employee. Give us the money back that we paid in and let us opt out of our pension system. This pension system is a big Ponzi scheme. I don’t see this as one of our choices. Why not????? ===

    I’m pretty sure you can do that today. Cash it in, opt out of the system.


  8. - Fred's Mustache - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    ===Only an agreement with the unions, will avoid a negative ruling by the court!===

    Don’t think the unions have anything to do with it. The contractual obligation to pay pension benefits is not limited to union employees.

    ===I wouldn’t vote for anyone dumb enough to refuse a pension. I wonder what their family thinks about refusing a benefit that would be of significance for them down the road.===

    Maybe some are refusing the pension because it WOULDNT be of significance down the road, and the political benefit of refusing the pension outweigh the benefits of accepting it. Legislators may have other business on the side or have other wealth to cover their families’ needs.

    ===I am a State employee. Give us the money back that we paid in and let us opt out of our pension system. This pension system is a big Ponzi scheme. I don’t see this as one of our choices. Why not?????===

    Why in the world would you want to? Cmon man, look at what you put in over the years, and what you would serve to get at retirement from the system. Even IF your pension benefits are significantly reduced, your pension income would be far greater than the income you would gain from investing your returned contributions yourself.


  9. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    Rich,

    It depends on the system. If it’s one that allows self-directed or “cash balance” (believe that is only SURS and, maybe, TRS), the employee can opt to participant in that version of the state retirement fund. Don’t believe they can opt out completely while still employed.

    For the typical SERS employee, as far as I know, there is no way to opt out of the defined benefit plan and keep working; you have to quit. And if you quit and withdraw from the system, all you get back is your original contributions … no interest, no match, none of the money the state was supposed to have been putting away for you. And unless you properly roll the money to an regular IRA, you’ll be paying both taxes and early withdrawal penalities. Definitely not a good financial choice if you have very many years in.

    The only “good” thing about quiting is if you have also been contributing money to the State’s optional Deferred Compensation (457) plan. Last time I checked the rules on it, once you have left your government job, you can withdraw money from it without penalty regardless of age; just have to pay normal income tax.


  10. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    Did not know that about Luechtefeld. That nugget only furthers my respect for him.


  11. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    You can’t deny those folks are putting their money where their mouth is. It might be a campaign tactic, but it’s one that costs you real money.


  12. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:53 pm:

    I kinda like the idea of the part time legislators not being eligible for a pension.

    No other jobs have a pension or benefits for part time positions that I know about


  13. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:53 pm:

    “I kinda like the idea of the part time legislators not being eligible for a pension.?”

    Agreed. Just like any other part-time state or private worker, however in the case of the private company, it really is up to them.


  14. - iThink - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 2:20 pm:

    RNUG,

    As far as I know there is no ‘cash-balance’ plan for TRS, just SURS.


  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 2:23 pm:

    –No other jobs have a pension or benefits for part time positions that I know about–

    You should get busy with the Cicero Township Republican Organization.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-05-25/news/ct-met-0526-cicero-benefits-20100525_1_cicero-president-larry-dominick-cicero-town-trustees-animal-welfare-board


  16. - Allen Skillicorn - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Where can we verify who is enrolled and who isn’t?


  17. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 2:40 pm:

    Not sure if I have this exactly right but… In the case of my new Rep. Sue Scherer, accepting a legislative pension would likely cause her to stop drawing her over $60,000 a year teacher’s pension (because she would be reentering the state workforce, or at least that’s the way it works in any SERS or recipricol government retirement system according to the SERS web site). Wouldn’t her accepting a new pension also make her subject to the tier 2 system and all of the lesser pension benefits, including higher retirement age ? Sounds like she is making the smart financial decision, even though she did tell reporters it was for “other” reasons.


  18. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    iThink @ 2:20 pm

    Thanks. That’s what I thought, but I wasn’t 100% sure.


  19. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    RNUG has it right, Rich. Once on the payroll, any participant in a State pension system-TRS, SERS, and SURS is committed to membership in the System and may only receive one’s contributions by fully terminating service.
    Oldsters may recall the “one-day resignation” game played by a number of folks in the 80s wherein they would resign, go off payroll for a day, withdraw their SERS money, and be reappointed to their job the next day. That loophole was securely closed shortly after the press found out.


  20. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:28 pm:

    AA @ 3:22pm

    Forgot about that trick. If I remember right, they did it by having a gap between their 4 year term appointments.


  21. - Anyone Remember? - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:33 pm:

    Is there an actual list of which legislators aren’t participating, and then cross referenced against ALL public pension plans? (For example, Rep. Saicia is retired from the FBI, and Rep. David Harris is eligible for a military pension.)

    The Reform Party in Canada (they eventually merged with another party) in 1993 had a class of 52 MPs that promised not to take a pension. Only 3 stuck with the promise. Just like the 1990s GOP Congressmen and term limits, this will eventually end (like John Shimkus).


  22. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:44 pm:

    RNUG, many of the one-day people were “4d3 exempt” (which may really show how old AA is) meaning they were exempt from certain provisions of the Personnel Code and were basically at-will employees. I think this predated term appointments, but could be wrong. I’m thinking 1982-83.


  23. - Dirt Diver - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:56 pm:

    Let’s also not forget that many of these new legislators that are rejecting a GARS pension are Tier 2 participants. The Tier 2 GARS benefits are fairly paltry. So the financial benefits that are being forfeit are probably worth the perceived political gain. Let’s see these new members give up other legislative perks that the public and media don’t fixate on.


  24. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 5:26 pm:

    AA,

    Don’t remember for sure when term appointments came in. Now that I think about it, might have been a bit later.


  25. - geronimo - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 6:06 pm:

    It’s all very nice that these people are refusing to take a pension. Obviously, they have other means to support themselves in their later years. In the case of many public servants, if their pensions were severely cut the state would be paying for their financial welfare in a different manner………..food stamps and welfare. Many of these public employees never made enough money to save significant amounts for retirement. They thought that’s what their pension WAS! In my early years, one of my colleagues, whose wife was also employed in our field,——his 3 children qualified for free school lunches. Both parents working. So, most don’t have the luxury of saying no thank you to their earned pensions.


  26. - Makandadawg - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 6:30 pm:

    All this pension talk is not about the money. It is about who has political power over the money. The law is very clear. I earned my pension, give it to me. Remember, I was forced to give up my social security entitlements to join this pension system.


  27. - thunder - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 6:43 pm:

    If the state wants to change there benefit package when they hire someone for a position then, so be it. But, the employees that are already on board and was promised benefits, including a pension, must receive it or pay the consequences through the courts. It is not just for the union employee’s, it is for all state employees. Exempt included.


  28. - Liberty_First - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 6:58 pm:

    You cannot refuse to enroll in SURS as it is automatic.


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 7:51 pm:

    “Cicero Township Republican Organization”

    Oi…. I hope there is a very special place in hell for those who abuse the public purse like these people.


  30. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 8:01 pm:

    –“Cicero Township Republican Organization”

    Oi…. I hope there is a very special place in hell for those who abuse the public purse like these people. –

    It’s a trippy place.

    Lot of hard-working people. Salt of the earth. The homes, in the Bungalow Belt, are magnificent, and will be there after the Pyramids are gone.

    My old mother-in-law was treated like a queen when she retired, the township services were magnificent.

    But the old-school vices are apparent on Roosevelt, Cermak and Ogden, too. Lot of money in those vices.

    And The Outfit, whether it’s Betty, or Fast Eddie, or Larry, rule.

    Don’t expect anyting better from Juan Ochao.

    The Outfit hedges its bets. They can rob the place blind whether it’s Dominick or Ochao,


  31. - wishbone - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 10:57 pm:

    At the end of the day the courts will not mandate the tax increases necessary to meet future pension liabilities. Taxes are the exclusive prerequisite of the legislative branch, and no court will venture there, the state constitution notwithstanding. The pensions will ultimately be shorted by some percentage, there is no avoiding it. The best possible outcome is an across the board sharing of the needed cuts to minimize the pain to any one group of state beneficiaries.


  32. - mushroom in the dark - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:18 pm:

    Legislaters that refuse the pension also can and probably do elect not to pay into the system the 11.5 % of their salary required to be in the system. SURS also has an alternative 401 (k)type system with an 7.6% employer match that allows employees to not be in a defined benefit system.

    So some of those refusing the pension also are not paying into it. This exacerbates the cash flow shortfall into the particular system.


  33. - Smitty Irving - Thursday, Jan 24, 13 @ 12:26 am:

    wishbone -

    State courts, you are probably correct. Federal courts, maybe, maybe not. In 1969 Dick Oglivie had the courage to propose an income tax for Illinois. In PA, Milton Schapp did not, and the courts forced the issue. That was a few years ago, but could happen again.


  34. - Health benefits - Thursday, Jan 24, 13 @ 1:22 am:

    …. Now if they agreed to pay $500 - $700. Per month for their state subsidized health insurance as they voted for current retired state workers to do…. Now that would be something to write about.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Question of the day
* The best Ben Bradlee story ever
* Congressional polling and TV ads
* Rasmussen poll: Rauner up 48-47
* "What this state needs is a plutocrat"
* Adventures in tracking
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Et tu, Andy?
* AFSCME claims union "leader" in Rauner ad was forced to resign
* $580 MILLION EXELON RATE HIKE?? That’s the price tag for their nuke bailout…EVERY YEAR!
* Lisa Madigan up with new TV ad
* Frerichs switches to negative TV track
* Tribune poll: Rauner leads Quinn, Grimm 45-43-4
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition: McKinney, cable TV buys, polling report, new TV ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Good morning!
* Oberweis now for gay marriage
* The patented Pat Quinn close has begun
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * TestFlight Beta Testing Goes Live For All iOS Developers
        * Apple's TestFlight Beta Testing Service Now Available for Developers
        * Sony intros LinkedIn for Info-eye camera
        * Humble MoBOOile Bundle offers spooky games for Halloween
        * Ello makes its ad-free promise a legal one, too
        * Chainfire unleashes Sideload Launcher for Android TV
        * Facebook Launches Pseudonymous App “Rooms” That Lets You Create Forums About Any Topic

        * Use the Ladobi Earphones to Listen to Porn – That’s it!
        * Prizm want to build a context-aware music streaming adapter
        * The Best Rechargeable Batteries
        * Bitcasa nixes unlimited storage plan as it upgrades its infrastructure
        * The New Best Day to Book a Flight Is Sunday
        * Sony SmartWatch 3 Goes On Sale At Verizon
        * Facebook Launches Anonymous Community App Called Rooms

        * White Sox AFL class features talented Anderson
        * Nori Aoki: The White Sox Killer of 2014
        * World Series Game 2: Notes and discussion
        * 23 potential MLB free agents as SkyMall items
        * World Series Game 1: Notes and discussion
        * The e-gus off-season plan
        * Reading Room: A wild card of a World Series


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Topic matches for "illinois"..
        * Chicago hotel workers to Bruce Rauner: Give bac.....
        * Big Donors Examined..
        * Quinn gets $1 million in late contributions..


        * Woman admits theft from Quincy community theater
        * Jobless rate falls in all 12 Illinois metro areas
        * New bridge helping ease Chicago rail congestion
        * Report: Cause of crash that killed 3 unknown
        * Grafton gives fish plant 30 days to stop smells
        * Cheaper fuel helps United's 3Q profit take off
        * State of Illinois sets up Ebola task force
        * Chicago jail escapee sentenced to 36 years
        * Durbin, Oberweis face off in 1st US Senate debate
        * Biden in Illinois: Each vote for Democrats crucial

        * Minimum wage increase supporters urge early voting
        * Sun-Times political reporter resigns following Rauner complaint
        * Minimum wage hike supporters urge early voting
        * Federal judge orders court-appointed monitor for IDOT hiring
        * Rep. Raymond Poe to undergo stem cell transplant
        * Bill Clinton campaigns for Quinn, Durbin
        * Quinn, Rauner spar over jobs, taxes
        * Election 2014: Learn about all the candidates
        * What to watch for in third governor debate tonight
        * U of I sees turning point as election nears

        * Sears: Store closure list wrong
        * United's profit jumps, but stock falls on forecast
        * Caterpillar smashes estimates, sees stock jump
        * It's all about the shoes
        * United's profit jumps as fuel cost falls


        * CPS wants to delay new standardized test, even though state already has said 'no'
        * Father Bob Botthof, teacher who became priest after losing wife, dies at 85
        * Scandal or not, Bring on that  federal monitor
        * ‘Narcissistic’ bank robber and jail breaker sentenced to 36 years
        * New archbishop chooses modest rectory over traditional mansion
        * Federal monitor will oversee hiring at Illinois Department of Transportation
        * Critics on Emanuel’s choice for city treasurer: Good person, flawed process
        * CPS wants to delay new standardized test, even though state says 'no'
        * Father Bob Botthof, teacher who became priest after losing wife, dies at 85


        * 'Suspicious package' found at Hoffman Estates High School
        * FBI: Joliet man charged with Orland Park bank robbery
        * 'Flyover' aimed at cutting rail congestion
        * Police: 2 shot on Chicago's South and West sides
        * Prosecutors want to bring out other alleged wrongdoing by commander
        * Archivists find 1840 document with Lincoln-related information
        * Quinn gets $1 million in late contributions
        * Skokie school remains closed as police continue threat investigation
        * Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney quits, cites possible retaliation over Rauner article
        * Tribune poll: Rauner, Quinn in dead heat


        * Oberweis Would Back Federal Same Sex Marriage Law
        * Wild Bison Return To IL
        * Scary Story: The Diviner by Susan Vondrak
        * Artist Profile: Local Troubadour Tom Irwin
        * Real estate and religion: The tale of Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist
        * Suspicion lingers over Ebola treatment
        * Judge Orders Court Appointed Monitor For IDOT Hiring
        * 13th Dist. Candidates Talk NAFTA, Ebola During Springfield Debate
        * Attorneys Due In Court For Quinn Hiring Lawsuit
        * Small Campaign Contributions Amount To Chump Change


        * Our Opinion: Frerichs has the expertise to be Illinois treasurer
        * Robert Kaestner: Good education policy is good health policy
        * Eugene Robinson: Warren makes the case for a presidential run
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Local Rauner ad leaves out ‘everything Springfield isn’t’ line
        * Minimum wage increase supporters urge early voting
        * George Will: In Kentucky, a constitutional moment
        * Sun-Times political reporter resigns following Rauner complaint
        * Federal judge orders court-appointed monitor for IDOT hiring
        * Our Opinion: Choice for Illinois comptroller comes down to experience
        * Rep. Raymond Poe to undergo stem cell transplant


        * Brothers wielding fake knives banned from campus
        * Man killed in crash with Centreville police car
        * State assisting Beardstown for new $2.9 million pool facility
        * Attorney general advice won't impact election day procedures in Champaign County
        * Today's chat: Of McClain, recruits and a backup center
        * Accident at Rantoul plant results in man's death
        * Road closure in Marion
        * Alma Mater vandalism can be repaired
        * 10-23-14 Penny for Your Thoughts: Turpin, Steigmann, McCuskey, and Dey
        * 08-14-14 Penny for Your Thoughts


        * Man held on $50,000 bail for Fox Lake bank theft Wednesday
        * Naperville settles with would-be electric monitoring provider
        * Lockdown over at Hoffman Estates High School
        * See partial solar eclipse, if skies don't cloud over Thursday afternoon
        * Sears remains on target for original 130 store closures

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Sends Letter...
        * Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage b...
        * Reps. Schakowsky and Waxman Introduce Bill...
        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning An...
        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
        * Representatives Quigley, Duckworth, Schako...

        * Topic matches for "illinois"...
        * Oberweis: Would support federal marriage e......
        * Oberweis: Would support federal marriage e......
        * Oberweis: Would support federal marriage e......
        * Senate candidates square off in only TV de......

        * Marco Rubio, Mark Kirk Warn John Kerry on ......

        * The Waukegan board is out to lunch.
        * A bloat of hippos.
        * Let The Sunshine In!
        * Changes Afoot At Sheridan & Lawrence
        * Quinn, Rauner To Debate Tonight In Chicago
        * Illinois Unemployment Rate Ticks Down To 6.6 Percent In September
        * Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely To Vacate Post
        * Poll: Illinois Governor's Race Neck-And-Neck
        * Oberweis Reverses Marriage Equality Position During U.S. Senate Debate
        * National Survey: Many LGBT Youths Face Hostile School Environments


        * New Ad: Labor leader backs Rauner
        * Jewish Newspapers Endorse Rauner for Governor
        * TV Breaking News: Ethics blow for Pat Quinn
        * Federal judge deals Quinn ethics blow on IDOT patronage hiring
        * Rauner Statement on Federal Hiring Monitor at IDOT




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller