Reports: Growing number of $100,000-plus public pensions in Illinois cost taxpayers

Way too few hard-working and over-taxed (especially property taxed) Illinoisans know this important fact about the number of $100,000-plus public pensions:

Two recent studies of public sector pay and retirement benefits show tens of thousands of retired Illinois public employees making six figures or more in all levels of government, dwarfing figures from states with more people.

Two organizations that reviewed and released the information hope it encourages taxpayers to seek change.

Illinois has more than $130 billion in unfunded pension debt for its five state-run pension systems. Adding in other post employment benefits, that number climbs to more than $200 billion. Municipal governments in Illinois also are struggling with unfunded pension liability. Some report using most, if not all, of their share of property taxes to pay pension costs.

Taxpayers United of America said Illinois’ public sector pension plans are too expensive. To highlight the problem, its annual pension report of all public employees in Illinois shows nearly 19,500 government retirees getting a pension of $100,000 or more. That’s 2,500 more retirees than last year.

The group’s founder, Jim Tobin, said that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“The pensions are just out of line,” he said. “We’ve got one guy here who’s getting an annual pension of almost $600,000 a year and he’ll get $22 million if he lives to be 85. It’s ridiculous.” founder Adam Andrzejewski said Illinois has more educators in the so-called $100,000 Club than more populous Texas, which has 7,300 educators making that much or more.

“Just on salaries, Illinois has nearly 20,000, so it’s three times worse, yet Texas has twice the population,” Andrzejewski said.

Andrzejewski’s research shows overall, 23,000 retirees got $100,000 or more in annual pension payments. Adding in the 71,000 employees at every level of government making at least that much in pay, and the number is 94,000 current public employees or pensioners making $100,000 or more a year. That costs taxpayers $12 billion a year.

Read more: Illinois News Network