McSweeney: New legislators should not get state pensions
State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) holds us his own refusal to join the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) as Exhibit A.
“I’ve long said that legislators in Springfield should not be receiving a pension while we need to be cutting spending,” McSweeney told the McHenry Times. “It’s time we led by example when it comes to this issue.”
McSweeney’s introduction of House Bill 293 is meant to do just that, proposing that all new members of the General Assembly be prohibited from receiving a pension beginning as early as 2020.
As it stands, lawmakers who enter into GARS are eligible to receive pensions of up to 85 percent of their salary as of their last day of service, compared to Tier 1 teachers across the state, who are only eligible for three-fourths of theirs.
“I’m hopeful that enough lawmakers are willing to try to do something to clean up this mess to make a difference,” McSweeney added. “I already don’t receive a pension. That’s how committed I've always been to come up with a solution.”
McSweeney said the state’s problems don’t end with its pension-related issues.
“As bad as the pension problems are right now, the biggest thing we have to overcome is this jobs tax proposal that our new governor (J.B. Pritzker) is trying to sell as a progressive tax,” he said. “It’s essentially a tax on small business, and nothing about that is in the best interest of this state.”
McSweeney, who has served in Springfield since 2013, formally filed the bill on Jan. 10, and it has gained several co-sponsors over the last several weeks. The legislation has been referred to the House Rules Committee with an Executive Committee Hearing date of Feb. 6.