Wehrli Refuses Legislative Pension Supports Eliminating General Assembly Members from GARS Participation

Naperville, IL…After being sworn into the 99th General Assembly, Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) kept his promise to residents of the 41st House District by refusing to accept his legislative pension and healthcare benefits.

After refusing the pension and benefits, Wehrli took an additional step in providing solutions to the state’s broken pension systems by signing on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 138, a bill prohibiting any new members of the General Assembly from collecting a taxpayer-funded pension.

“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,” said Wehrli. “I made a promise to my district’s residents that I would refuse a legislative pension, and that’s what I did.”

When a new member of the General Assembly is inaugurated they can choose to either accept or refuse the pension and healthcare benefits. Once a decision is made to refuse a benefit; the legislator is no longer eligible to enter the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS).

HB 138, as proposed, would eliminate the GARS opportunity to any new member of the General Assembly after the 2016 elections. “Illinois is on a path to destruction and it will only worsen if something is not done,” said Wehrli. “Our pension systems are failing and in order to protect the pensioners and taxpayers responsibly we will have to make tough decisions.”

As a former Councilman in the City of Naperville, Wehrli championed this same concept and was able to eliminate elected official pensions in one of the largest cities in Illinois. “If we are applying these concepts at the local levels to attain financial stability, we should certainly take a lesson and apply them to the state level,” said Wehrli. “I was sent to Springfield to be a public servant. Somewhere along the way we lost our path. We are here to serve the people, not ourselves.”