From the campaign of John Bambenek for State Senate (52nd District)…
Bamenek Calls on Sen. Frerichs and Legislators to Take Initiative on Reform
CHAMPAIGN, IL (September 20, 2012) — John Bambenek, the 52nd District State Senate Republican Candidate, today pledged to refuse to accept the General Assembly pension if elected, as well as the additional retiree healthcare coverage that legislators are entitled to after serving. Both programs have contributed to the state’s fiscal problems. In making this pledge, he is pushing current legislators towards reform.
“If elected, I will refuse the General Assembly Pension. I will also refuse the free retiree health care which legislators get after four years of service, and I call on Sen. Mike Frerichs to do the same, “Bambenek stated. “I would sponsor legislation to end the General Assembly pension system and not allow any more benefits to be earned in that system.”
Mr. Bambenek’s call to reform comes as the state continues to suffer from one of the most underfunded pension systems in the nation, and after lawmakers for years have padded their own pensions. Currently, the General Assembly Retirement System is also underfunded as retiring members, due to their legislative increases, have allowed members to draw more in pension funds than they have in legislative salary. In May, the Chicago Tribune reported that retired State Senator Emil Jones Jr. was one example of this widespread padding, as courtesy of his 1989 legislation, he was able to collect an annual pension of $122,000, far greater than what he received as State Senate President.