SenateFloorSPRINGFIELD – It is not uncommon for local governmental officials to have access to taxpayer-purchased vehicles or receive vehicle allowances for use in conducting city business. But several suburban officials have the ability of using their vehicle allowance perk to boost their pension payments when they retire – a practice State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) thinks should be ended.

“Why should taxpayers be expected to pay for an increased pension for a mayor or other local official because they received a vehicle allowance?” Morrison said. “It doesn’t make sense and it needs to end.”

Current Illinois law allows certain allowances received by public officials to be counted as pensionable earnings. Morrison passed Senate Bill 701 out of the Senate this week, which would exclude vehicle allowances from the definition of earnings, prohibiting the perk from increasing a future pension.

Morrison is also working on a plan that would prohibit individuals employed by a private employer from receiving credit in a public pension fund. Senate Bill 363 would close a loophole that currently allows certain employees of private entities to purchase service credit in a state pension fund.

“Decades of the state failing to make necessary payments and the endless addition of pension sweeteners are what has hampered the state pension systems,” Morrison said. “It’s important to ensure a select few are not benefiting to the detriment of the entire system.”