Is it true that former Rep. Rich Brauer started taking his state pension in 2015? Why is he taking a state pension and working for Gov. Rauner?
Brauer was our Republican state representative in the 87th house district from 2003 to 2015. The district includes Sangamon, Tazewell, Logan, and Menard counties. Three months after his 2014 re-election, Brauer was appointed by Gov. Rauner to serve as Illinois Department of Transportation’s assistant secretary. He resigned in February 2015 and Rauner immediately appointed Tim Butler to fill Brauer’s vacancy.
Typical politics as usual but that’s not the worst of it.
Search the Better Government Association’s public pension website and you’ll find Richard A. Brauer’s name. If the BGA is right, Brauer began taking his $42,990 state pension in March 2015 – less than one month after he resigned from office. Brauer also takes a $127,739 annual salary as the assistant secretary to the Illinois Department of Transportation, a 63% increase from his puny $78,000 salary as a state rep. That’s quite a haul – at least $171,000 per year!
Gov. Rauner made pension reform the cornerstone of his campaign for governor. He promised us he would “shake up Springfield” and “bring back Illinois” and we believed him.
“One out of every four dollars taken from taxpayers by the state goes into a system that is giving more than 11,000 government retirees tax-free, six-figure pensions worth as much as, in one case, $450,000 per year,” said Rauner in February 2015.
That was the same month Brauer, Rauner’s appointee, started his double dip pension dance. Are there other members of Rauner’s administration double dipping on public pensions? Aren’t the 63% increases in salary enough?
Maybe Rauner never meant what he said about fixing Illinois’ corrupt pension loopholes. Maybe it was just a put-on. It wouldn’t be the first time a politician said something just to get elected.
Today, things are even worse in Illinois than they were in 2014.
Public pensions in Illinois are exploding. The BGA lists Leslie Heffez as the top state pension earner with $547,000 per year. If he lives another 22 years, his payouts will exceed $1 million per year – tax-free! Heffez’s total contributions to the state retirement system are only $768,000. $768,000 in contributions and the potential for a $22 million pension payout?
No wonder Illinois is broke. Unfortunately, double dippers like Brauer are part of the problem too and it’s not what Rauner promised us.