The Cost of State Pensions
Illinois is going bankrupt thanks to its generous pension system for state government retirees. That's from the 12th annual study of state pensions by Taxpayers United of America.
Taxpayers President Jim Tobin says the way the system is set up now state employees and teachers can retire at a relatively young age, and earn large pensions, paid for by taxpayers.
"Most people don't know today in the state of Illinois that over 19,000 retirees, in the 6 state pension funds, get annual pensions over 100,000 dollars a year. And those pensions double after 24 years because they increase 3 per cent on a compounded basis every year."
And that includes 600 retirees living in Rock Island County. One example is the former Moline School Superintendent, Cal Lee, who retired at the age of 58 and is paid 216,000 dollars a year.
"It's just unreasonable to allow people to retire in their 50's and early 60's and expect taxpayers to foot the bill."
And the way local governments and school districts pay for these generous pensions is by raising property taxes.
Tobin's solutions include lowering the benefits for new hires, and allowing local taxing bodies to file for bankruptcy so they can re-negotiate their debts, including their pension liability.
In contrast, he says the average Social Security pension in Rock Island County is about 17,000 dollars a year, paid for by the person and their employer, and not accessible until the age of 67 or higher.