Ugaste rejects state pension for work in House
Now that he is actually a lawmaker in Springfield, newly minted state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) wants to practice what he preached on the campaign trail.
“I feel it would be hypocritical for me to take a pension after talking so much about the huge debt we have and the crisis the state faces with pension systems,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter after announcing he will not be taking pension or health care benefits. “I don’t want to contribute the problem, because I certainly believe our current pension system is unsustainable.”
Noting in a press release that Illinois’s General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) is funded at only 14.9 percent, Ugaste said he is primarily focused on advancing the kinds of solutions needed to put the cash-strapped state back in order.
“To the voters in the district, hopefully my decision reaffirms how serious I am about taking care of the problems,” said Ugaste, who won the 65th District in November's general election with 52 percent of the vote. “Across the state, I hope this helps residents realize just how serious these problems are.”
Ugaste said he has heard all the talk about doing away with pension and health care benefits for all part-time legislators as a rule, and he is not sure where he stands in terms of going that far.
“What I will say is changes definitely need to be made to the pension system,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure what’s provided in terms of health care benefits, because I don’t participate. In the end, I’m hoping to save the state and as part of that we need to revisit what we need with pensions and come up with something that’s sustainable.”
The 65th House District includes Batavia, Burlington, Dundee, Elgin, Geneva, Grafton, Hampshire, Plato, Rutland and St. Charles.