Thirteen days ago Danielle Rowe issued a press release on pension reform in which she pledged not to take a legislative pension, if elected. Today State Rep. Kent Gaffney has made the same personal promise.
Rowe wasn’t first to announce she would not take part in the legislative pension system, however.
That distinction goes to Dave McSweeney.
He did so in a direct mail piece posted on November 3, 2011. In it, McSweeney called for elimination of legislative pensions entirely.
Here is the press release from State Rep. Kent Gaffney:
Kent Gaffney urges State to pass pension reform now
As part of reform effort, Rep. Gaffney turns down legislative pension
Fox River Grove, IL – State Representative Kent Gaffney (R-Lake Barrington) is urging the Illinois General Assembly to pass comprehensive pension reform now.
As part of the reform effort, Representative Gaffney announced that he will not participate in the General Assembly Retirement System and will turn down his legislative pension.
Representative Gaffney issued the following statement in support of pension reform:
“I support comprehensive pension reform that will reduce Illinois’ unfunded pension liability and ensure the solvency of our retirement systems.
“I urge the Governor and General Assembly to work together to pass a sustainable public employee pension plan. House Republican Leader Tom Cross has proposed a three-tiered pension plan (Senate Bill 512), which would reduce pension benefits not yet earned and offer state workers three options for earning future benefits.
“Illinois has the worst-funded pension system in the nation with an unfunded liability of $83 billion.
“For two of the last three years, the State has borrowed funds in order to make its pension payments. Illinois’ pension payment will balloon by another billion dollars in the next fiscal year. The cost is simply not sustainable.
“We must act now to reduce our State’s unfunded pension liability and shore up the retirement system. This is an issue that will not going away.
“Without changes to the current system, there will need to be deep spending cuts to education and human services in order to make the annual pension payments. The General Assembly needs to take action now to reduce taxpayer costs.
“I believe if we truly want to pass pension reform, we must lead by example.
“Therefore, I have decided to opt out of the General Assembly Retirement System.
“I will not accept a legislative pension.”