The Moline Dispatch offers a glimpse at a major reason why Illinois is in such a pension mess. The newspaper reports that in 1989, then-state Sen. Calvin Schuneman, R-Prophetstown, predicted trouble for the pension system as legislators passed perk after perk to make their retirements more rewarding. One of the major perks he opposed was a cost-of-living increase, which went from 3 percent annually to retirees using a simple interest formula to a 3 percent annual COLA using compound interest. Read the story here.
The Dispatch offers this sample of cash benefits for some Illinois pension recipients:
• Former Gov. Jim Edgar: $134,853 annually; $1.252 million total to date. His total contributions: $164,657.
• Former Gov. James Thompson: $131,031 annually; $2.023 million total to date. His total contributions: $84,966.
• Former Attorney General Roland Burris: $129,162 annually; $1.743 million total to date. His total contributions: $134,680.
Rich Miller of Capitol Fax noted, perhaps with tongue firmly planted in cheek, that the system may have caught a break with its previous two governors, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, now in prison and ineligible to receive their pensions.