Abernathy vows to forgo legislative pension, health care benefits if elected
Having previously warned against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “stopgap” budget passed in July by the General Assembly, Republican District 59 state House candidate Dawn Abernathy recently pledged not to accept a legislative pension or health care benefits if elected.
“The stopgap budget did nothing but hurt the financial crisis we are facing in Illinois,” Abernathy said, noting that her election opponent, state Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), failed to act on the issue. "We have a real serious problem with the state's pension systems, and I intend to bring solutions to the table, not add to Illinois' financial shortcomings."
In her reasoning, Mundelein's Abernathy pointed to the state's fiscal condition. “Illinois has the highest unfunded pension liability in the nation," she said.
"We cannot tax, borrow or invest our way out of a $111 billion (and growing) unfunded pension liability,” Abernathy said on Facebook. “Without reform, our pension system will swallow up the state budget."
Abernathy said that if she wins the election, she will also forgo her health benefits in solidarity with her beliefs, adding that the state now spends one-quarter of every dollar sent to Springfield on “unsustainable” pensions.
"We have a real serious problem with the state's pension systems, and I intend to bring solutions to the table, not add to Illinois' financial shortcomings," Abernathy said.
If a newly elected legislator takes office and opts to refuse the pension and health care benefits, he or she also permanently forfeits General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) compensation.
“While my opponent has spent her tenure in Springfield fighting pension reform at every decision point, I understand that we need to take meaningful steps toward ensuring the sustainability of the funds we have promised our state retirees," Abernathy said. “I am going to Springfield to work toward real solutions for all of the families and businesses in my community.”