One private lobbyist would receive a taxpayer-funded pension of roughly $227,500 per year if he retired right now. Lawmakers in Springfield are looking to stop this practice.
The west-suburban Daily Herald uncovered last summer that private lobbying group CEO mPeter Murphy had qualified for a pension with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. The Herald says his $360 thousand annual pay qualifies him for more than $227 thousand in annual pension payments. The suburban Chicago paper also says Murphy would make more in one year than he has contributed to his pension over his 35 years with the Illinois Association of Park Districts. IMRF Records also showed that his pay had gone up an average of 9 percent every year since 2005 and he never receive a raise lower than 4.2 percent in that same time period.
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A bill headed to the floor of the Illinois State House of Representatives would keep new members of several private lobbying organizations from getting pensions meant for public servants.
One of the bill's sponsors, State Rep. Peter Breen says they’re trying to lighten the load for some of the most heavily taxed citizens in the country.
“These are certainly fine organizations,” the Lombard Republican said, “but we taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for their pension plans.”
This isn’t the first time legislators have attempted to kick lobbying organizations out of the state’s municipal pension funds. Similar language was in the 2013 pension reform law deemed wholly unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.
The current bill would also exclude certain lobbying organizations from participating in the State University Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System.
Officials with IMRF had no stance on the bill. IMRF contributions are required by law to be paid before the municipality can pay for anything else, including salaries and improvements like road work.