Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lawmakers Pump Up 'Their' Pensions

How State Lawmakers Pump Up Pensions in Ways You Can't
September 24, 2011 - At age 55, South Carolina state Sen. David Thomas began collecting a pension for his legislative service without leaving office.

Most workers must retire from their jobs before getting retirement benefits. But Thomas used a one-sentence law that he and his colleagues passed in 2002 to let legislators receive a taxpayer-funded pension instead of a salary after serving for 30 years.

Thomas' $32,390 annual retirement benefit — paid for the rest of his life — is more than triple the $10,400 salary he gave up. His pension exceeds the salary because of another perk: Lawmakers voted to count their expenses in the salary used to calculate their pensions.

No other South Carolina state workers get those perks.

Since January 2005, Thomas, a Republican, has made $148,435 more than a legislative salary would have paid, his financial-disclosure records show. At least four other South Carolina lawmakers are getting pensions instead of salaries, netting an extra $292,000 since 2005, records show.

Pension perks aren't unique to legislators in South Carolina. read more>>>

Speakin of South Carolina
Haley's tally rises for trip to Europe
25 September 2011 - The S.C. Department of Commerce spent about $158,000 on Gov. Nikki Haley's economic development mission to Europe in June - an amount $30,000 higher than the figure it reported earlier this month. read more>>>

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