11 Pension Questions for the Next Governor

By Bill Zettler

RE: Retirement Benefits for State Employees vs. Non-state Employees.

NOTE: 320,000 of Illinois 6.5 million workers (5%) are eligible for state pension and retiree health care.

  1. Why can 5% of Illinois workers retire with full pension and healthcare benefits at age 55 while the 95% have to wait until 65?
  2. Why do 5% of Illinois workers have a constitutionally guaranteed pension while the 95% have no guarantee with Social Security or 401K’s?
  3. Why do 5% of Illinois workers have superior retirement benefits compared to the other 95%?
  4. Why do 5% of Illinois workers contribute an average of 8.4% of their pay to retire with health care at 55 while the 95% contribute 12% to retire with health care at 65?
  5. Why is 25% of the 2014 state budget needed to fund retirement for 5% of Illinois workers?
  6. Why do the 95% have to guarantee all investment losses for the pensions of the 5% when their own pension investments are not guaranteed?
  7. Why do public employees average 5.5% – 7% salary increases per year while Social Security members average 4% per year?
  8. Would state pensions have a surplus if pension payments were made on 4% salary increase and 12% employee contribution since 1990?
  9. Why do 140,000 state university employees and state employees pay zero for health care while working and during retirement?
  10. Why do the 95% have to pay a $130,000/yr pension for a 56-year old music teacher?
  11. Why will the 95% have to pay $100,000 pensions for the 14,000 public school employees who make more than $10,000/mo when there are 75,000 certified teachers not teaching?

Bill Zettler is a free-lance writer and consultant specializing in public sector compensation. He can be contacted at this email address. Click here to read more by Mr. Zettler.