Wilcox rejects legislative pension
With Illinois still in dire financial straits, new state Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) says, he did not feel comfortable taking advantage of a luxury he argues only a spattering of people across the state can still lay claim to.
“I looked at the state of Illinois and came away feeling like part-time workers, like most state legislators, shouldn’t be taking advantage of a troubled pension system,” Wilcox told the McHenry Times. “Something about that hasn’t sat right with me since my days as running for the county board.”
A retired Air Force colonel, Wilcox recently announced he will make good on a campaign promise to not take a state pension, joining a growing group of legislators that now exceeds 50 members.
“I think it’s a movement among lawmakers that are truly in Springfield to serve the public,” he said. “It’s really refreshing. For way too long, we’ve let the situation deteriorate to the point most voters now believe most politicians are there just to make things better for themselves.”
According to Wirepoints, the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) that lawmakers in Springfield belong to is just 15 percent funded, prompting Wilcox to insist he would be in favor of a system in which part-time legislators would not be eligible for state pensions.
“I would fully support such a measure, though I’m not sure if it will happen any time soon,” he said. “Right now, about 56 lawmakers in Springfield have declined pension benefits, which is only about one-third of the full body that’s there. I would like to think that we can get a few more senior lawmakers moving in that direction, but that’s really hard to gauge.”
Running against Democratic challenger Mary Mahady in the 32nd District, Wilcox based his campaign on a platform of property tax reform and greater fiscal responsibility from government.
Senate District 32 includes Lake and McHenry counties, Woodstock, McHenry and Crystal Lake.