The taxpayer-funded Illinois growth industry – $100,000+ public pensions – here are just the top 100


By Bill Zettler

The top two pensions in 2007 were $379,000 and $368,000, giving Illinois the dubious distinction of having two retired public employees with pensions over $1,000/day.

That means these two former state employees receive a DAILY pension greater than the average MONTHLY Social Security payment of $977. To give you an idea of what that pension is worth think about it this way: in order to receive $379,800 in interest each year you would have to buy a CD worth at least $7 million.

In 2007 the State of Illinois continued to make 10,000’s of pension millionaires out of retired public employees with the taxpayer picking up the tab. Here are some more disturbing pension facts:
  • In 2007 at least 2,535 former public employees had pensions of over $100,000, up more 35% from 2006, 1,847. Next year we should easily cross the 3,000 mark.
  • $100,000/yr public pensions is one of Illinois few growth industries. Based upon current growth rates we will be paying for over 10,000 by 2012.
  • Last year 28 former public employees had pensions greater than President Clinton. Despite a nice increase for Clinton, this year total is 33.
  • For the first time you need a pension of at least $160,000 to even make it into the Top 100.
  • 93 of the 100 were University or K-12 employees meaning they probably spent the majority of their careers working 9 months a year with tenure.
  • Only one was a former politician, Arthur Berman.
  • Over 535 state pensions had MONTHLY payments greater than average Social Security ANNUAL payment of $11,000.
Another way to look at it is the top pension is 34 times the amount the average Social Security recipient receives and 12 times the median wage of the average full time Illinois worker ($28,806).
Why do average people, most of whom do not have enough money for their own retirement, have to pay taxes to buy the equivalent of a $7 million CD for one public employee?
If these former Illinois Public employees had been on Social Security and a 401K program during their working years (like the rest of us) taxpayer liability for their pensions would be zero as opposed to $312 billion in taxpayers will have to pay in taxes over the next 39 years for public employee pensions. That’s $312 billion they will not have available for their own pensions.
Illinois Top 100 Pension Payouts 2006-2007 Fiscal Year
33 Illinois Public Employees Have Pensions Greater Than the President of the United States!
2,535 Former Illinois Public Employees have Pensions of Over $100,000/yr Paid For by the Taxpayer
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.