Lawmakers in 9 states target own pension perks
By Thomas Frank, USA TODAY Updated 1h 15m ago
Lawmakers in nine states — Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and South Carolina— are advancing legislation to scale back their own pensions by closing loopholes and lucrative retirement plans that have let thousands of former lawmakers earn more in retirement than while in office.
By Alice Keeney, AP
Gov. Nikki Haley said in her State of the State speech, "We need to shut down the General Assembly's own retirement system."
Legislators in three states — Idaho, Iowa and South Carolina — are seeking to end special pension perks that USA TODAY revealed in a September investigation. That story described how more than 4,100 legislators in 33 states were positioned to benefit from special retirement laws they and their predecessors enacted.
Gov. Nikki Haley and nine South Carolina lawmakers are pushing to close the legislators-only retirement plan, which lets lawmakers collect a legislative pension while remaining in office. Haley, a Republican, called for an end to the practice after USA TODAY disclosed it in September, and said last month in her State of the State speech, "We need to shut down the General Assembly's own retirement system."
South Carolina Sen. George Campsen said that passing his bill to close the plan, which pays richer benefits than the pension for ordinary state workers, could make it easier to scale back pensions generally. "People look at the benefits that accrue to state legislators and they're outraged," said Campsen, a Republican.