CHICAGO - Monday, a Chicago Tribune editorial congratulates the growing number of state lawmakers - both Democrat and Republican - who've chosen to reject lucrative pension plans offered to legislators.
Some of these legislators already have state-funded pensions through teacher or state and municipal pension plans, but to voluntarily reject thousands more hard-earned taxpayer dollars is notable and admirable in a system that faces bankruptcy.
The 22 who have declined pensions: Reps. Kelly Burke, John Cabello, Katherine Cloonen, C.D. Davidsmeyer, Scott Drury, Brad Halbrook, Josh Harms, Jeanne Ives, Dwight Kay, Stephanie Kifowit, David McSweeney, Thomas Morrison, Martin Moylan, Pam Roth, Ron Sandack, Sue Scherer and Kathleen Willis, and Sens. Melinda Bush, Thomas Cullerton, David Luechtefeld, Andy Manar and Julie Morrison.
Most of them are freshmen. Had they signed up for pension benefits, they would start contributing 11½ percent of their paychecks toward their retirement accounts. With a minimum eight years served in the Legislature, they could retire between ages 62 and 67 and collect up to 60 percent of their final salary. Their retirement income, on which they don't pay state income taxes, would increase each year by 3 percent or half of the consumer price index, whichever is lower.