Five-Million-Dollar Pensions Enjoyed by Illinois State Cops– Part 2

“There are 3,500 employees in the Illinois State Police Department, but only 2,000 are certified troopers. We were astounded to find more than 35% of these 2,000 Illinois state troopers had salaries in excess of $100,000 per year,” said Jim Tobin, President of the Illinois Taxpayer Education Foundation (ITEF). “No wonder some state cops receive literally multi-million dollar, gold-plated pensions during their retirement.”

“Even more outrageous, we have discovered 17 Illinois State Police employees retired at age 50 and now have lavish pensions greater than $100,000 per year. A fifty year-old state cop with a $100,000 pension, including a 3% automatic annual increase, will receive more than $5 million in pension payments over his 31 year life expectancy, despite contributing only about $200,000 in pension payments.”

“Below is a comparison of a private-sector employee in the Social Security system making the same salary over his career as an ISP employee, both ending at $125,000, except the private-sector employee works until age 62. Illinois State Police employees have pension plans worth 5 to 10 times that of their taxpaying peers in the private sector.”

  • Age at Retirement
    • ISP Employee: 50
    • Employee in SS System: 62
  • Pension at retirement
    • ISP: $100,000
    • SS: $22,000
  • Total Employee Contribution
    • ISP: $200,000
    • SS: $150,000
  • Lifetime Payout
    • ISP: $5 million
    • SS: $630,000

“State employees should be on Social Security and 401K retirement plans, and work until at least age 62, like the rest of us. Just because they are government employees doesn’t make them more privileged than employees in the private sector.”

“Pension and retiree health care payments for suburban and downstate government school employees and state employees will be $5.5 billion this year, compared to $2.2 billion if they had been on Social Security, Medicare and 5% employer 401K contribution like the rest of us. That $3.3 billion would go a long way towards balancing the state budget without a state income tax increase.”

“If each government employee were required to contribute an additional 5% toward his or her pension, it would reduce the pension funds’ unfunded portions by 27%. A mandated 10% increase in contributions would reduce the unfunded portions by 54%, and long-term, requiring all new government hires to fund their own retirements with 401(k) plans would eventually eliminate the current state pension system and its problems.”

Click here to view “Troopergate” Part 1

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26 Responses to “Five-Million-Dollar Pensions Enjoyed by Illinois State Cops– Part 2”

  1. Tough Love says:

    Here’s a much better way to go ………………. time to get rid of the trash called unions. No unions = No union dues = No money to bribe politicians = no reason for politicians to give the unions workers excessive pay, pensions, and benefits !

    Indiana has the best approach …decertifiying Indiana’s public-employee unions ….now we’re talking. Time magazine story.

    Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a budget czar in the free-spending Bush administration, has proved an efficiency fiend at the state level, privatizing bureaucracies, selling a poorly managed toll road, even harvesting the paper clips from state tax returns for reuse in government offices.

    Daniels took the controversial step of decertifying Indiana’s public-employee unions, a move that may endear him to Republican voters should he decide to run for president in 2012.

  2. Libertarian Party of Lake County (LPLC) says:

    That is sickening.

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    In California, public safety retirees (at 90% of high salary) receive the following payouts, based on their actual retirement salaries and lifetimes:

    Total Pension Payouts
    Pension
    $100K–10-Years: $1.1M | 20-Years: $2.5M | 30-Years: $4.1M
    $150K–10-Years: $1.7M | 20-Years: $3.4M | 30-Years: $6.2M
    $200K–10-Years: $2.2M | 20-Years: $5.0M | 30-Years: $8.3M

    Police and Fire Department employees are routinely drawing over $100K in the larger California cities. In another decade, or so, the public sector will totally bankrupt the private sector with their pension demands. Non-public safety employees can retire at 75%-80+% and teachers at 72% (at 30 years of employment).

    When CalPERS fails to produce these lavish payouts, the taxpayers are required to fund them through higher taxes/fees/fines. Pensions of this magnitude are simply unsustainable to the taxpayers.

    The current system is designed to pay government sector employees perhaps twice what they made when working (over 30-40 years of retirement). The current system makes multi-millionaires out of a growing number of government sector retirees. (Palo Alto has about 40% of this full time employees making over $100K this year. Other Bay Area City payrolls are similar.)

    Pension Payouts For Some “Miscellaneous” Santa Clara County Employees:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/32579238/A-Look-At-Santa-Clara-CA-Pension-Payouts

    This mess needs to be cleaned up pronto!

  4. Bill Zettler says:

    Wayne Martin is right on the money – we are looking at financial Armageddon.

  5. [...] The views represented do not necessarily represent those of the Chicago Daily Observer.] Here is an eye-opening comparison of the salaries and retirement benefits granted to Illinois state police, compared with private [...]

  6. Rafael Chagin says:

    Yes! Government employees are now the privileged class. With our taxes, we even pay their health insurance! As we pay theirs, we cannot afford us!

  7. Louisa Lomanto says:

    Mr. Tobin, thank you to you and your great researchers for exposing how our dollars are being wasted. Now I know why they want to raise our state income tax, to pay for these pensions and to pay for the salaries of these useless state troopers.

  8. Bob says:

    Say you start at $50,000 per year and promote up to $100,000 over the course of 25 years and pay in around 10% per year. If that investment returns an average of around 11%, your contributions will be enough to pay for 25 years of a $100,000 per-year retirement without costing the state a red cent.

    My question to conservatives is, why are you hell-bent on taking retirement away from some people just because other people don’t have it? Why aren’t you working on getting that retirement plan for everyone? What’s your next step if you succeed, is it to attack the next level of retirement benefits until there are none left?

    • Doug says:

      Where’s that 11% return coming from? Anyone getting that in a 401k for the last 10 years, or was that based on the 1990s tech bubble continuing forever? Did you forget to factor in inflation? What was that employee paid 30 years ago, bet it wasn’t $50k. How about COLAs on the $100k pension going forward, did you include those? So your 11% is unrealistic, and includes inflation, yet your $50k assumption for the start is not inflation-adjusted. Go back and re-run the numbers either entirely without inflation and using real (after-inflation) returns, or run them with inflation of 3-4% but be sure to set that starting salary at, say, $25k, since that would be about the same 30 years ago as $50k is today. Then put in a realistic rate of return, say 5% (that’s 2% + inflation), or if you want to be batshit crazy go ahead and use 7%. Finally, let the employee spike that $100k final year’s pay with overtime, sick leave, etc, up to $140k to set the baseline for his/her pension. Yeah, now you begin to see the problem.

    • doug says:

      And where are the 11% annual returns supposed to come from over those 25 years? Since 1998, the S&P is basically flat! And Interest rates? 1% if you are lucky. Get a clue dummy! It is unsustainable!

    • Matt says:

      Why are you addressing your question to conservatives? A majority or the public think this is sick. Conservatives or liberals. I think the point of the story is that these public sector jobs have retirement plans that are not sustainable. If that makes me a conservative so be it. So you think this should be the idea retirement plan for all? Who’s going to pay for this? You my friend are a socialist! Go hug a tree you liberal flower child.

  9. David says:

    I have to agree somewhat on the outrageous pensions here. The cause of this is the way the ISP takes retirement withholdings out of overtime checks. Because of that, the overtime worked during the last three years is counted as a part of their salary, so many officers work every overtime detail, at time and a half, to increase their average salary. This results in the increased pensions that you are referring to. It would be a simple change in policy to stop this issue, which also happens in other state agencies as well. Quit taking retirement contributions out of overtime checks and they will no longer count towards retirement. Everyone should retire at the salary of their permanent rank on the last day worked, period.

  10. steve king says:

    if we abandon the teachers , state workers pensions and any new hires go on 401k’s, how would we pay for our commitment to existing pension draws?

    writing from the stste of illinois.

  11. bill lett says:

    i hope someone is keeping track of all of illinois residents comments…retired military who have done many tours in combat dont even get any where near these pensions. i have been in the military,,,combat..local police dept..years with a top secret clearance,,retired, i live in the ghetto compared to these guys.i would like to know just what they do to collect that amount of money, we need to cut the number of state police and there pensions.

  12. RETIRED COP says:

    NO OF YOU REALLY GET IT DO YOU! COPS AND FIREFIGHTERS DON’T GET PAID FOR WHAT THEY DO. THEY GET PAID FOR WHAT THEY MIGHT HAVE TO DO. WHAT IS THAT YOU MAY ASK? IT IS THEY MIGHT HAVE TO GIVE UP THEIR LIFE TRYING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE!

    NO OTHER PROFESSION IN THE WORLD REQUIRES PUTTING ON A BULLET PROOF VEST EVERY DAY IN ORDER TO GO TO WORK. (WHICH BY THE WY ONLY WORKS IT THE BULLET HAPPENS TO HIT THE VEST AND NOT THE COP’S HEAD WHICH WILL MOST LIKELY KILL HIM/HER, THEIR THROAT WHICH WILL MOST LIKELY KILL THEM AND AT THE VERY LEAST PARALYZE THEM AFTER SEVERING THE SPINAL CORD, OR HITTING THEM IN THE THIGH SEVERING THE FEMORAL ARTERY AND BLEEDING TO DEATH!!!!!!

    HOW MANY OF MY CHILDREN’S OR SPOUSE’S BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, DANCE RECITALS, AND BASEBALL GAMES DID I MISS BECAUSE OF THE JOB? HOW MANY TIMES DID I HAVE TO LEAVE ONE OF THESE EVENTS BECAUSE I GOT CALLED INTO WORK TO PROCESS A CRIME SCENE FOR EVIDENCE, INVESTIGATE A SERIOUS ACCIDENT INVOLVING THE DEATH OF A CHILD RIDING THEIR BIKE ACROSS THE STREET, OR SOME ONE COULDN’T COPE WITH THEIR LIFE TRAGEDIES AND KILLED BY SHOOTING THEIR HEAD OFF WITH A SHOT GUN!

    YES, I TOOK THE JOB AS A POLICE OFFICER KNOWING THAT I WOULD HAVE TO DEAL WITH THESE THINGS AND THEN GO HOME TO MY FAMILY AND HAVE TO PRETEND THAT EVERYTHING WAS PEACHES AND CREAM. I MADE A MODEST SALARY. I KNEW I WOULD NEVER BE RICH BEING A POLICE OFFICER; BUT I DID KNOW THAT SOCIETY WOULD REWARD ME WITH A PENSION FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE AFTER DEALING WITH THIS.

    I ALSO TOOK THE JOB KNOWING THAT SOME DAY I MAY HAVE TO KILL SOME ONE IN ORDER TO STOP THEM FROM KILLING YOUR WIFE, YOUR HUSBAND, YOUR THREE YEAR OLD CHILD AS THEY BEING HELD CAPTIVE WITH A KNIFE TO THE VICTIM’S THROAT. FORTUNATELY, I NEVER HAD TO KILL ANY ONE, BUT I WAS WILLING TO DO IT FOR YOU AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOUR NAME!

    I DON’T SEE ANY ONE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE COMMISSION A REALTOR GETS FOR SELLING A HOUSE. WHAT DO THEY GET? 6% OF $500,000 IS $30,000. NOT BAD FOR ONE MONTH OF WORK. OH, I KNOW THEY MIGHT HAVE TO SPLIT THAT WITH ANOTHER REALTOR. SO THAT’S ONLY $15,000. SELL FIVE IN A YEAR AND THAT’S SOME PRETTY GOOD CASH TO BRING HOME. LET’S NOT EVEN GET STARTED WITH WHAT A STOCK BROKER MAKES. I’M SURE THAT YOU ARE THINKING, WELL THAT BROKER IS UNDER A LOT OF PRESSURE DEALING WITH ALL THAT MONEY. I WILL REFER BACK TO A PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH ABOUT PRESSURE, REMEMBER THE KNIFE TO YOUR THREE YEAR OLD CHILD? THAT’S PRESSURE!!

    THE AVERAGE COP AND FIREFIGHTER DOESN’T LIVE TO BE 80-85 LIKE YOUR LIFE EXPECTANCY IS. RUNNING INTO BURNING BUILDING OR PATROLLING THE STREETS AT THREE IN THE MORNING WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING IN YOUR NICE WARM BEDS TAKES YEARS OFF OF OUR LIVES!

    PLEASE REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT ME MAKING A LIVING. MAYBE YOU CAN CALL A PLUMBER THE NEXT TIME YOU THINK THAT THEIR A SOME ONE BREAKING INTO YOUR HOUSE AT 2:00AM. OH WAIT A MINUTE, THAT WOULD BE PREMIUM TIME AND WOULD BE $87.50 AND HOUR WITH A MINIMUM THREE HOUR CALL OUT!

    • doug says:

      Hey Cop:
      While I appreciate your “service”, you barely make the top ten most dangerous professions! I bet those loggers and roofers don’t have the pensions you do after 20-25 years! Get off your high horse and get real. If you don’t like your job, quit and grab a chainsaw or a roofing hammer. Then you’ll see real people taking real risks for very little $ and NO pension.

      http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/pf/jobs/1108/gallery.dangerous_jobs/index.html

      I’m tired of paying your huge pension! Do you know why I legally carry a gun? Because I can’t carry a cop!
      When seconds count, remember the cops are only minutes away!

      • bels says:

        THANKS FOR MY PENSION..YOU WILL NEVER GET IT. I JUST BOUGHT A BOAT, HOUSE IN THE KEYS AND HAVE TWO GIRLFRIENDS..THANKS TO ALL..ASSHOLES

      • Rich says:

        What the hell are you smoking. The people of the state of Illinois don’t pay our pensions,,,,,,WE do. The state of Illinois was suppose to match our pension dollar for dollar. That was in contract 20 years ago. Wanna know how much the state has put in our pension fund, ( from the citizens of Illinois),,,,,,,,,,,absolutely 0, that’s right,,,,,,,NOTHING. The state hasn’t matched our funds in over twenty years. The troopers in Illinois have been paying our own F’ing retirement. Wanna know what teachers and judges pay on their retirement,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ALSO 0. Get off our ass’s, you dot pay for our retirement, so stop bitching about what we do get. And by the was, I was a roofer for two years in collage, working outside, enjoying weather,,,,,,,,,,,,real tough!

  13. Also retired cop says:

    Yes but Illinois State Police are not real cops. There only job is to enforce traffic laws. Most of the cowards would not even patrol certain areas in other cities they work in. It is much easier for them to just pull over grandma instead of real criminals.

  14. JOECITIZN says:

    Also retired cop says:
    March 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm
    Yes but Illinois State Police are not real cops. There only job is to enforce traffic laws. Most of the cowards would not even patrol certain areas in other cities they work in. It is much easier for them to just pull over grandma instead of real criminals.

    WOW…Where the hell did you retire from??? Illinois State Police have jurisdiction over the entire State and aside from working with no partners, they work in the same cities that all the crime occurs in. I worked with several troopers on a “State Police” drug task force and can tell you they taught me a lot!! Most of the guys had a ton of experience from the arrests they made while working the highways, pulling over mules trafficking drugs/money/guns. While working that Unit I met Troopers who worked General investigations, Child homicide, Gun units, Auto theft, you name it they did on a bigger level than my department could ever do. I may not have the same pension as they do, but I can tell you we both deserve much more!!!

  15. johnnie law says:

    I don’t know many ISP officers who have lived into their late 60′s much less 70 or 80. Unlike other workers, ISP officers are on the hook for twenty years in order to be vested into the pension. The earliest can retirement is 50, but you must have worked 25 year or more otherwise you must wait until age 55. The employee contribution rate is 12.5%. There are many ISP officers that would like a define benefit plan for retirement, at least that way they know the state if paying into their pension.

    There have been changes to the pension system. New hires must now work until they are 60 to retire. The pensions are capped at 106k per year and they must work 35 years for a maximum benefit of 70% (capped at 106k). Good luck for everyone, who will have to assume the liability of having to cover a 55+ year old officer with a life and death decision while on pain medicine or other medication. I know many ISP officers who have died of organ cancers. I attribute some of those from having to wear a gun belt that compresses your internal organs against each other.

    I always ask the question, when was the last time someone you knew was in a wreck along the highway or their car broke down. I’m sure when they share the story it’s the most heartbreaking one there is. ISP officers deal with this everyday, all day. Imagine during a snowstorm, rainstorm. There is a risk, a large one. Always mocked about being traffic enforcers (doesn’t bother me), guess what else…..Drunks kill people.

    Sorry for the tirade, I just wanted to share. This month, worked three weekends, missed 2 birthday parties, and left my wife with three young girls home so you can sleep better at night.

  16. johnnie law says:

    For also retired cop;

    I work the chicago xpress ways, this isn’t suburbia. There are plenty of criminals out there.

  17. Sgt. Stephanie Pace, Ret. says:

    I know what it is like to be a single mother needing a job. The ISP gave me a job, and health insurance to cover my son’s medical bills.
    I know what it is like to work on holidays when my son has to stay with a babysitter.
    I know what it is like to have to call the babysitter and ask if my son can stay another day because I have to work overtime, after working a 12 hour shift already.
    I know what it is like to tackle a grief stricken father trying to run back into a collapsing, burning building to save his son, while his wife is stumbling around the yard, her burned skin hanging off her body. Before the fire department got there.
    I know what it is like to have a drug dealer shove a .45 in my face.
    I know what it is like to work a semi vs three car accident with three fatalities on an interstate highway. In 105 degree weather.
    I know what it is like working during blizzards so heavy I couldn’t see out the window, trying to rescue idiots who thought they could drive in it.
    I know what it is like to have frost bite on my toes.
    I know what it is like going into a biker bar by myself (I am a 5’01″ female). And come out with the guy I went in there to arrest.
    I know what it is like to help evacuate buildings, then go in to help find the bomb.
    I know what it is like breaking up bar fights, working homicides, suicides, and having to be present during autopsies on dead babies.
    I know what it is like having to visit co-workers widows.
    I know what it is like going to fellow officer’s funerals who lost their lives doing the “job”.
    I know what it is like hearing someone’s ribs crack under your hands as you are desperately attempting to save a life using CPR.
    I know what it is like to see rapists, murderers, DUI’s and drug dealers get off scott free on plea bargains.
    I know what it is like to run into danger while you run and hide.
    I know that it takes very special people that can do all of these things that I have done, and more.
    I know that if I, and every other police officer had decided to become roofers, or loggers, or alligator hunters or tornado chasers (oh, wait, I had to do that, too), who would have been left to do all of this? To protect and serve?
    I know this: I am a retired Illinois State Police Officer, and I deserve every penny of my pension. Which is NOT anywhere close to $100,000.
    And I know that I am not afraid to post my real name, unlike most of the posters above.

    • T. K says:

      God bless the police. No one outside is able to understand what we do, nor do most care until their family or children have been victimized and then it’s too late. Maybe chaos is better!

  18. Steve says:

    Illinois is broke. The pension plans for state workers is probably the #1 expense that has turned the state upside down! They have tried to raise taxes to pay for this so corporations have left the state taking thousands of good paying jobs with them. Workers seeking decent jobs have now left and are nolonger paying taxes into the state. What we are ending up with are government workers on the one hand and individuals on government assistance on the other! o one left in the state to pay for either one of these two massive obligations. We can’t tax our way out of this mess. We can’t cut those off on public aid and medical cards, so who is left that can stand to be cut and still manager – state worker retirement benefits must be cut to avoid bankruptcy! It is the only option left!

    • Rich says:

      GEEEEEE Steve, news flash, the state of Illinois doesn’t pay for pensions for Illinois State Police,,,,,we do. Twenty years ago the state was suppose to match Illinois State Police pension funds dollar for dollar. Wanna know how much the state has put in during the last 20 years,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,come on you know the answer. How bout F’ing 0, yes that would be 0 with a capital Z. The troopers has been funding our own pension with a 12.5% bite out of each paycheck. Steve, how much do you put into your pension??????? Oh, by the way, whenever the state of Illinois needs extra cash, they just go right ahead and take millions out of OUR retirement, which should be illegal, but they do it anyway. Wanna know what teachers and judges put into their retirement,,,,,,,, yes Steve, that would also be 0. Get off the Illinois State Police officers ass’s, we fund our own

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