On Wednesday, October 20, WREX reporter Bob Schaper stopped by the NTUI office to interview president Jim Tobin and research contributor Bill Zettler about the bloated Illinois government retirement system. Armed with the 2009 edition of NTUI’s Illinois Top 100 Government Pension Payouts (download here), Jim and Bill exposed the vast discrepancy between government employee retirement benefits and what is available to those in the private sector.
Read the text of this televised segment.

Quotes from the segment and the NTUI response:
– “The average pension is between $20-25,000 per year.”
This figure is meaningless because government teachers can retire with a pension for as little as 5 years of service. The current average for those who retire with full service credit is $62,000 for the Teacher Retirement System and $160,000 for the State University Retirement System.
– These pensions are “not overly generous compared to other states.”
The fact that teachers are overpaid in other states does not justify overpaying teachers in Illinois. Pensions are disappearing fast in the private sector and should be phased out equally in the government sector.
– “Good pensions draw good teachers.”
There is a huge surplus of certified teachers in Illinois due to excessive compensation vs. the private sector. Lavish pensions draw and retain teachers who are in it for the money, not the students.
– “It’s not a benefits issue, it’s a revenue issue.”
Budgets can be balanced by increasing revenue (i.e. raising taxes) or decreasing spending (cutting government employee benefits). NTUI advocates cutting government employee compensation to match that of employees in the private sector.