SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) - Another pension loophole is close to closing, as the Illinois House unanimously passed a bill which disqualifies members of the General Assembly from adding to their pensions by taking higher-paying jobs elsewhere in government. The sponsor, House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), says the bill applies to those who served before 1994; they had been grandfathered in under a previous law.
“We saw another egregious act where somebody, in my opinion, abused the system a couple of months ago and almost doubled their pension,” says Cross, “because they went and worked for the city of Chicago for a month.”
A notorious recent example is Kurt Granberg, who added greatly to his pension with a brief stint as head of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources after he left the House. Cross says he has a separate bill to address a situation such as that of Roger Eddy, who recently dropped out of the House and is in line for multiple pensions. “We have to clean (the state) up wherever we can,” says Cross, “and if it looks like sometimes we’re picking on our friends, it’s not because we want to pick on our friends. It’s more because we just need to clean up the system.”
The House turned back an attempt to end an employment perk for state university employees: half-price tuition for their kids. Sponsoring State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) says it’s an unnecessary drain on tax dollars. But others argued that those students may not be there otherwise; thus, the university would miss out on the other half of the tuition and all of the fees. Another argument for keeping the discount is that it is part of the compensation package to attract employees to campus.
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