Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tom Morrison is a Mensch

He's forgoing his pension:

Newly elected state Rep. Tom Morrison raised some eyebrows Tuesday during freshmen legislators’ orientation in Springfield when presented with paperwork to join the General Assembly’s lucrative pension system.

That’s because he opted out -- a move officials can recall happening just once before.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” one administrator asked him.

The 35-year-old Palatine Republican, who succeeds six-term state Rep. Suzie Bassi in the 54th House District, realizes that forgoing his pension won’t make a dent in the state’s $13 billion deficit or $80 billion unfunded pension liability.

But Morrison says he’s a proponent of self-sacrifice and leadership by example, and he wasn’t willing to become a financial burden on a system he wants to overhaul.

The district Tom represents is the one in which Jocelyn grew up (and where her parents still live). I know him personally, and he's a heckuva guy.

Oh, and if you're wondering how the State of Illinois came to be saddled with an $80 billion unfunded pension liability, the article goes on to provide some clue:

After four years in office -- the amount of time it takes to become vested -- a current legislator becomes eligible to receive a pension of 12 percent of his salary, along with 3 percent increases if retiring after age 60.

That pension payout spikes to 27 percent of salary after eight years of in office, 45 percent after 12 years of service and finally the maximum 85 percent after 20 years.

Can you say "unsustainable"?

Another clue is here.

1 comment:

The Dutchman said...

I'm afraid that, just as "amateurism" in nineteenth century athletics was a way of keeping the poor out, the move to undermine compensation for elected officials is just one more way of making electoral politics a rich man's game.

Of course, you know me John, I'm in favor of socializing pensions for all workers.