CHICAGO—3,597 retired Illinois government employees received over $100,000 in pension benefits for fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30, according to pension researcher, Bill Zettler. This was the 8th annual report by Zettler on the top 100 government pension recipients in Illinois.

“The number of retired government employees receiving more than $100,000 a year in retirement pensions rose 12% from fiscal year 2008,” said Zettler. “These pension millionaires are quickly draining the state’s pension funds, which already are substantially underfunded. The financial burden is clearly unsustainable. The retirement system must be extensively reformed for Illinois to maintain fiscal solvency.”

“Almost all of these multi-millionaire government retirees are educators,” said Zettler. “The top recipient is Tapas K. Das Gupta, whose annual pension for FY2009 was $390,716. That works out to $32,560 a month. And he’s not alone. Sixty-three Illinois government retirees have pensions larger than US President Bill Clinton.”

Zettler asks “Why do most taxpayers pay 15.3% (12.4% Social Security + 2.9% Medicare) for pension and health care at age 65 while government employees pay an average of only 8.8% for vastly superior pension and health care at age 55?”

“The huge financial gap in the state pension funds is the real reason Gov. Pat Quinn wants to raise the state personal income tax up to 67% and the corporate income tax 33%,” said Jim Tobin, NTUI President.

“The Illinois constitution requires us to provide the retirement benefits promised to the 946,000 people already in the system. However, all new state hires should be placed in Social Security and Medicare with the rest of us.”

“Next, existing government employee pension contributions should be increased by 5%, reducing the unfunded taxpayer liability by $20 billion. Requiring government employees to pay 3% of their payroll for retirement health benefits and $250 per month after retirement would save taxpayers another $30 billion. They pay nothing for their healthcare today. Steps such as these will close the pension gap without a tax increase.”

Download the PDF of this release.

Download the 2009 Top 100 Illinois Government Pensions.