Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WI - Occasionally Broke

By Jeff Simpson

Everyone knows that Wisconsin is broke, and that "pension reform" will be coming soon.  (Forgetting the fact for the moment, that when Scott Walker talks reform he means take more money from working WI and redistribute it to his donors).   The problem with the Wisconsin State pension system, it is only broke occasionally(H/T Wisconsin Reporter who also occasionally stumbles on an actual story):

MADISON – The good people of Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District first elected Tom Petri to serve as their representative in the U.S. House in a special election in April 1979.

Times have changed in Wisconsin and national politics, but the 6th District’s representative hasn’t.
Now into his 18th term, Petri, a Fond du Lac Republican, is a fixture of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. He also is the beneficiary of a $174,000 annual salary and will ultimately benefit from what the National Taxpayers Union calls the “single most personally valuable perk to a Member of Congress” – his federal government pension plan.

As it stands, the veteran congressman expects to earn a pension north of $100,000 per year, based on his earnings and what would be his 36 years in Congress upon the close of his latest term.

“Congressional pensions are typically 2-3 times more generous than those offered to similarly-salaried workers in the private sector, and are even more generous than pensions for most federal workers,” the National Taxpayers Union asserts on its website.

But Petri isn’t waiting to draw a federal pension. The long-serving lawmaker came to Congress after a six-year political career in the Wisconsin state Senate.

Last year, Petri collected $14,878 from his Wisconsin Retirement System pension, in which he was vested after five years of public service.

In 2011, Petri received $14,950 in legislative pension payments, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Since 2008, the congressman has pocketed some $64,000 in state legislative pension payments, according CRP, a campaign fundraising and political information tracker. Admittedly, the pension payments are a drop in the bucket for a lawmaker whose net worth, placed somewhere between $9.52 million and $45.41 million, ranks him 22th wealthiest among his House peers, according to CRP.

Petri sees nothing wrong with cashing the pension checks he rightfully earned.

$15K/yr for serving 6 years in the Wisconsin legislature that works  about 3 months a year.  Not a bad gig if you can get it.  Especially when you are worth on the north side of $45 MILLION dollars and do not pay taxes!  

Remember this the next time politicians star attacking YOUR pension.  They need you to take a  pay cut so there is more money for them! 

PS:  It appears that "double dipping" is acceptable for republicans only!


Disclaimer:  1.  Petri is NOT the only person to double dip and pull such large pension payments from the state, he is just one example.   2.  Its not bad pay for someone whose job has devolved into just votin gno on Obamacare!  


  1. This is definitely a story worthy of reporting upon...but I question why Wi Reporter has chosen to seize upon it right now. Beyond WiGOP's desire to dismantle WRS, perhaps it has something to do with the championing of and recent outspoken remarks on Great Lakes preservation policies by the long time rep???

    1. Agreed. every once in a whole the WI reporter puts out a very good story, which always leaves me questioning their motives!

  2. How did Petri, a lifelong politician, get so rich?

    1. Same can be said for Nancy Pelosi. What's your point?

    2. So Anonymous at 11:37 PM, you condone Petri's corruption because you think Pelosi is corrupt. Is that why you excuse Scott Walker's deep corruption?