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Congresscritters who draw state pensions

Thursday, Feb 23, 2017

* The Roskam example is particularly interesting, considering the context

Six term Wheaton Republican Peter Roskam is a powerful figure in the U.S. House, where he chairs a key panel on tax policy and wants to delay Medicare and Social Security benefits for millions of Americans by raising the eligibility age.

But Roskam - who has criticized his home state as a “fiscal basket case” and marshalled opposition to a federal rescue for Illinois’s troubled pension funds—began collecting his $37,452 annual pension from the state for his years as an Illinois lawmaker at the first legal opportunity last year when he turned 55.

Roskam is one of three members of Congress from Illinois who had previously served in the Illinois General Assembly and are now getting pensions from the state for their years in Springfield. Like Roskam, all began cashing in on their 55th birthdays under generous rules established by the state legislature long ago for its own members.

One of them, Republican Mike Bost of Downstate Murphysboro, in 2012 threw a tirade over a pension reform bill on the floor of the Illinois House. It was so spectacular that a video of it went viral on You Tube. The other, Evanston Democrat Jan Schakowsky, once used her congressional office to urge against a reduction in annual benefit increases for public pension recipients in Illinois—of which she was one.

Bost, 56, gets $73,018-a-year in retirement pay from Illinois while Schakowsky, 72, gets $27,888. And that comes on top of the regular $174,000 salaries paid to all members of Congress. Schakowsky and Roskam also have qualified to receive federal pensions after they retire from the U.S. House, while Bost has three years to go in office before reaching that landmark. […]

Expressing concern for long-term solvency of federal programs for retirees and the elderly, Roskam also backs proposals to raise the age of eligibility for drawing Social Security benefits as well as qualifying for Medicare.

When it came to drawing his own Illinois pension, however, Roskam wasted no time taking advantage once he became eligible after turning 55 in September 2016. For his 13 years of service in both the Illinois House and Senate, Roskam recently began collecting an Illinois pension that starts at $3,128-a-month but will grow over time with automatic cost of living add-ons that kick in once he turns 60.

In Congress, Roskam frequently holds up Illinois’ fiscal crisis as a cautionary tale illustrating the need to bring pension entitlements under control.

In 2011, Roskam organized a letter signed by Republican leaders in the U.S. House as well as all GOP U.S. House members from lllinois warning then-Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois legislature that financial help to resolve the state’s pension crisis would not be forthcoming from Washington.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Roman - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    The DCCC mail plan is starting to write itself in the Roskam race.

  2. - Highland IL - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    Ahhh, the ol’ do as I say, not as I do platform.

  3. - Grand Avenue - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    Obama turned 55 last year - is he collecting?

  4. - Under Influenced... - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    Ooooo how I love these deliciously hypocritical baby boomers.

  5. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    I was a Republican committeeman for years. Of all the pretentious jerks that ran and run for office I always thought Roskam number one. He is a me first hypocrite of world class order. So glad I was gerrymandered out of his district

  6. - Anon221 - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    From the BGA Article: During her time in Springfield, Schakowsky made $47,897 in individual contributions toward her pension, state records show. She received all of that back and more within three years of retiring in 1999, collecting a total of $388,000 in pension benefits.

    This is where I have a real problem with pension programs like this. At some point, there should be a cap on how much can be made if the initial investment was so low. And, probably a stupid question, if they are collecting at age 55, is this income taxable as retirement income in Illinois, or is it exempt?

  7. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:27 pm:

    Do officials who get a state pension now and a federal pension after they leave Congress qualify as “double dippers”?

  8. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    “He is a ‘me first’ hypocrite of world class order.”

    Pete learned at the feet of the master.

    – MrJM

  9. - Liandro - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    Eliminate legislative pensions so this particular problem is solved going forward.

  10. - Robert Montgomery - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    Another agenda item for the Roskam tin cans and a string tele town hall!

  11. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    I may be the outlier but I do not see it as hypocritical to follow the rules as they exist today even as you advocate to change those rules. You could say the same thing about a tax deduction. Should I pay more in taxes than my neighbor because I think the mortgage interest deduction should be eliminated? No, I will continue to claim that deduction. Does that mean I cannot advocate to eliminate that deduction? I do not think so.

  12. - cal city - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    There’s a fourth Illinois MOC who served in the ILGA that I’d assume is a recipient of some sort of pension? And a fifth who isn’t old enough to receive one yet.

  13. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    It’s a little hypocritical but the only complaint seems to be that they’re collecting now. I mean, it’s all legal.

  14. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    “Generous rules established by the state legislature for its own members” says it all.

  15. - Truthteller - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    Schakowsky has been a consistent supporter of retirement income for everyone, while Roskam and Bost are all too willing to cut anyone’s retirement income except, apparently their own
    I don’t begrudge them their pensions, but I do resent their unwillingness to keep their hands off social security

  16. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    And that’s why meaningful gov pension reform will never come to Illinois in addition to the state constitution’s protection. This fiscal calamity has gone past the black hole’s event horizon.

  17. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    Proving again that the “G” in BGA stands for “Gotcha.”

  18. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    The question of legality is irrelevant. It becomes an issue when a legislator thumps his chest and claims the high road of fiscal responsibility then collects over $200,000 per year from taxpayers.

  19. - BBG Watch - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:27 pm:

    And you want to know why there is a pension problem in Illinois? It’s not the average state worker creating the problem!

  20. - DuPage - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    Roskam is in a safe Republican district. It pretty much does not matter what he says or does, he will be re-elected.

  21. - Whatever - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    ==And, probably a stupid question, if they are collecting at age 55, is this income taxable as retirement income in Illinois, or is it exempt? ==

    It’s exempt.

  22. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    Roskam and Bost, two career politicians who get fat off the taxpayer dime while accomplishing exactly nothing in their careers.

  23. - Telly - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:35 pm:

    - DuPage -

    Roskam should be safe, but Hillary did win his district. If 2018 is an anti-Trump wave elections, he’s gonna have to work a lot harder than he’s used to.

  24. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:59 pm:

    I guess Roskam is too busy counting his money to show up for Towns Halls.

    –Expressing concern for long-term solvency of federal programs for retirees and the elderly, Roskam also backs proposals to raise the age of eligibility for drawing Social Security benefits as well as qualifying for Medicare.–

    And voted more than 60 times to repeal ACA and boot one million Illinoisans off of health insurance.

  25. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    For those yesterday who had the indecency to invoke Gabby Gifford as to why the likes of Roskam won’t face his constituents, here’s what the lady has to say about that:

    “To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” she said. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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