As one of his first official acts as a lawmaker in the Illinois General Assembly, State Representative Seth Lewis (R-Bartlett) has rejected a taxpayer-funded legislative pension. Lewis has also declined participation in the state’s health insurance program.
Paperwork has been submitted to the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) and the Comptroller’s Office stating the new legislator’s wishes to decline a pension and health insurance. “As a legislator I will lead by example and show my commitment to solving the pension crisis,” said Lewis. “I won’t add to these financial burdens. Our pension systems are on the brink of insolvency, and it is an area of reform that will be a priority for me as I begin my tenure in the House of Representatives.”
Illinois’ underfunded pension system has been identified as the worst in the nation, which has led to repeated downgrades in the state’s credit rating. Today the state’s credit rating is barely above junk-bond status. “Our job as legislators is to pass a budget that funds essential services. The pension obligation is crowding out other vital areas of the budget to a point where critical service areas are not receiving the levels of funding they need,” Lewis said. “Finding a fair and Constitutionally-sound solution to the pension crisis that protects and saves pensions for today’s retirees is imperative if we are to get Illinois’ fiscal house in order. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with stakeholders to find the right solution.”
Residents who would like to express their opinions or concerns on this or other policy areas are encouraged to email Representative Lewis through the contact form available at Repsethlewis.com or call his district office at (630) 349-0645.