Ousted Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan collected his first public pension check March 24 for $7,093, or $85,117 a year, but he won’t have to worry about it becoming a fixed income.

A year from July Madigan’s state pension shoots up to $148,955 thanks to a pension sweetener no longer available to state lawmakers. That 75% bump results from a provision that once allowed lawmakers to “bank” 3% cost-of-living increases while still working for each year of service after 20 years or age 55, whichever comes first. Madigan “banked” 25 years of increases, according to the General Assembly Retirement System.

Because Madigan, 78, retired after Jan. 1, he will receive the benefits boost starting July 1, 2022. The sweetener will also allow former Senate President John Cullerton to retire with a pension that will spike to $128,000 just a couple of years into retirement. The perk was discontinued for lawmakers elected after 2002.

Author(s): Brad Weisenstein

Publication Date: 6 April 2021

Publication Site: Illinois Policy Institute

Editorial: Former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s pension illustrates the broken system



Former House Speaker Michael Madigan, after 50 years as a member of the Illinois House and a contributor into one of the state’s five pension funds, the General Assembly Retirement System, will receive an annual pension of around $85,117, about 85% of his final salary.

In July 2022, his pension will rise to about $148,995 due to padding lawmakers built into the system for themselves over the years. He’ll receive a guaranteed 3% raise on his pension each year, no matter what the actual cost of living is.

During those 50 years in office, Madigan contributed from his own paycheck about $351,000 toward his retirement account. He quickly will start receiving far more than he put in.

Author(s): Editorial board

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: Chicago Tribune





Because of a pension sweetener for politicians that Madigan helped create, the former speaker’s pension will spike more than $66,000 the year after his first full year of retirement, then grow 3% each year thereafter.

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan will start receiving $7,100 in monthly pension benefits starting in March, but just more than a year later his benefits jump 78% to $12,600 per month.

The next year will bring him $66,000 extra thanks to a special pension sweetener available only to politicians, which the former speaker helped pass. It was eliminated for lawmakers elected after 2002.

Author(s): Adam Schuster

Publication Date: 19 February 2021

Publication Site: Illinois Policy Institute

Even if underfunded lawmaker pension system ends, taxpayers still on the hook for $320 million



The Illinois General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, is only 16 percent funded. 

This could be the year lawmakers end it, but that will come with a cost to taxpayers.

Some incoming state lawmakers are opting out of the underfunded pension system for Illinois legislators.

Author: Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 29 January 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square