Online Staff Report
CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) proposal to add roughly 200 additional state police will cost Illinois taxpayers $1.5 billion, conservatively, over the troopers’ expected lifetime — a cost the bankrupt state and battered taxpayers can’t afford, according to Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America.
“Gov. Patrick Quinn (D) is ‘concerned’ that too many state police officers are retiring,” Tobin said. “And why wouldn’t they retire? They can retire in their 50s and get millions of dollars in retirement benefits over a normal lifetime. Getting paid not to work is a terrific deal.
“Using a conservative estimate of $80,000 annual base pay over 25 years, these 200 additional state troopers will cost taxpayers at least $400 million in wages alone,” Tobin added. “After working for 25 years and retiring, if they live to age 85, they will cost taxpayers an additional $1.1 billion in pension benefits. Contrary to popular belief, actual employee contributions to the pension fund average only about 3 percent of their total, lifetime pension payouts. The total tab to taxpayers will be about $1.5 billion.
“They will be paid more not to work, for more years, than they will be paid to actually work.
“Besides handing out speeding tickets and doing politicians’ dirty-work, the state police contribute little to the state’s quality of life,” Tobin alleged. “Only the state crime lab is essential. The state troopers are superfluous and expensive.
“We sent a letter to Gov. Quinn asking for government pension reforms that include raising the retirement age to 67, increasing employee pension contributions 10 percent, requiring all members to contribute 50 percent to their health care premiums, ending cost-of-living increases, and immediately replacing defined pension benefits with contributions made by all new hires,” Tobin said.
“We need a hiring freeze of all state government agencies whose employees participate in the crippled Illinois government pension system until comprehensive government pension reform is implemented,” Tobin concluded.
Posted May 2, 2013