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CHICAGO–The most outrageous pensions in all the Illinois state pension funds are to be found in the State University Retirement System (SURS), according to Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“If you want to see why the pension funds in Illinois are lurching toward insolvency, look no further than the State University Retirement System,” said Tobin. “The pensions are so mind-boggling that if I didn’t have our list of the Top 100 SURS pensions, no one would believe it.”
Click here to download the Top 100 SURS pension amounts (PDF). “The highest of the ‘Top 100’ list again is Tapas Das Gupta, of the University of Illinois-Chicago, whose annual pension is an absolutely astounding $426,885 (as of 4/1/12). Each month he pulls in $35,574. His monthly pension is about the same as the median full-time annual wage in Illinois, which is $35,256.”
“Since 1/1/98, Gupta’s total pension payout is $3,001,481.”
“Number two on the Top 100 list is Edward Abraham, also of the University of Illinois-Chicago. His annual pension is $414,709. That’s $34,559 each month. Since 1/1/98, Abraham has collected a total pension payout of $1,979,314.”
“Number three on the Top 100 list is Riad Barmada, also of the University of Illinois-Chicago. His annual pension is $397,919 — $33,160 a month. His total pension payout since 1/1/98 is an astronomical $4,627,975 — the highest total pension payout of the Top 100 SURS pensions.”
“Who says teachers are underpaid?”
“The way to fix the broken pension system is to replace pensions for all new government hires with social security and 401(k)s, and increase current employee contributions. This is the only way to eliminate the unfunded liabilities that plague taxpayers.”
“In addition, voters should kick all Springfield Democrats out of office on November 6, 2012. They are the ones who approved the temporary 67% state income tax surcharge, all of which is being put into the state pension programs.”
This release is the third in a series. To see the first, click here: Pension Millionaires Draining Lifeblood from TRS Pension Fund. For the second, click here: State Troopers & Corrections Officers Quick to Capture Lavish Pensions.
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Former administators do bring in a ridiculously high pension, this should have been controlled with their salaries. The State of Illinois knew they were not upholding their end of the contract to our retirement program(s) as they promised under contract to us. The fight should not be against former university and/or state employees like myself. I contracted with the State of Illinois in September of 1987 allowing them (of course I had no choice but to agree to this) to withhold funds from my paycheck with their promise to pay that back to me at the time of my retirement. I did not have the option to keep the money I worked for every two weeks. I worked for 26 years in one of the largest and most world reknowned departments/colleges, ECE. During this time period I processed faculty and academic professional (AP)appointments. First, AP appointments are created where they never should be and some of the salaries are ridiculous and many of the appointments are pure fluff. Many AP’s make a fine salary for work being done by newly appointed and/or favor driven AP’s or civil service staff. Many civil service staff leave employment at the University of Illinois making under $50K and if under 30 years of service make below poverty level per month in retirement annuity. Politicians should hold very carefully when making decisions that can overload an already abused welfare system. Many state employees will fall to these services which will further drive Illinois down. The state welfare and unemployment systems are severely abused and should be more closely monitored. It IS NOT fair to people who have served the State of Illinois with trust and good faith to reward others in this state by allowing these services to continue to be abused. It is very hard to drive down the street to pay your bills and see people that could clearly be working, these people are living now like many of us will be forced to if State of Illinois steals our retirement like they did the money they took during our years of service.
Here’s what happened.
1. A pension protection clause was ADDED to the Illinois State Constitution at the Constitutional Convention in 1970 stating state pensions cannot be diminished or impaired. Note there is not Social Security Protection Clause in the US Constitution. State of Illinois Pensions are better protected than social security.
2. The clause did not say benefits had to remain at the same levels. In other words, the clause did not prevent benefit levels from being increased. Isn’t that great. Benefit levels can increase. But once increased, they can’t be decreased!
3. So over the ensuing 40 years, in exchange for campaign contributions and votes from public sector unions, politicians increased benefits. For University Professors. For public school teachers. For State employees. For Judges. For Legislators. For Fire and Police.
4. In summary. Guarantee Pensions. Increase the Benefits. The sky is the limit. Benefits can be increased but not decreased. It’s all legal. It’s in state law and the state constitution. You the taxpayer have the choice of paying taxes to support the benefit increases, moving out of state, or attempting to advocate for change. In which case you advocate for reducing the benefits of Fire, Police, teachers, professors, judges, politicians, state workers. Benefits that have been increased. But the unions members and employees don’t explain that benefit levels have been increased. Union members and employees only claim they are being “attacked.”
5. It’s no coincidence that public sector unions advocated FOR the 1970 Constitutional Convention, then during the convention advocated FOR adding the Pension Protection Clause, and have subsequently advocated AGAINST holding a constitutional convention. To be more precise, using citing Wikipedia, Article XIV requires that Illinois voters be asked at least every 20 years if they desire a constitutional convention. In 1988 and 2008 the measure failed. So an option is to wait till the 2028 election to attempt to repeal the pension protection clause, or try to get a measure on the ballot before then.
6. Collective Bargaining Rights in State Law were enhanced so unions had more power negotiating pay increases. Again favorable legislation in exchange for campaign contributions and votes. Higher pay means higher pensions, because final pay is a key factor in determining the pension amount.
That’s Illinois politics for you. Why hasn’t anyone been able to explain this to the general public not receiving these juicy pensions?
Gee, My pension is about 400.00 pr month and SS is about 484 pr month. Try and live on that? OF course I was just a lowly BSW (janitor) and cleaned your toilets so I deserve so little.
AFSME in their wisdom did not help me at all and now because of them and the legislators in Springfield the Govenor (idiot) has complete control over SURS and our health insurance!I don’t live in Chicago and I have had Carle for my Dr.’s for over 40 years. Now I get told, no more. What does the idiot have against Carle????????? and downstate retirees?????