Sen. Haine hopes to skip off to Europe funded by two pensions
State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton), who already receives one of the most generous pensions in the state at $148,042, is retiring from the Illinois Senate with a second, full pension and hopes to go to Europe.
Haine previously served as Madison County State Attorney from 1988-2002 and receives a pension from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund for that job.
When he retires at the end of this session of the General Assembly, which ends Jan. 8, he will be able to draw from the General Assembly Retirement System an estimated pension of $61,200 per year, in addition to the pension he currently receives from the years he spent as a state attorney.
His current salary as a state senator is $67,836. He also receives $111 per diem while in session.
“I’ve had a great tenure in the Senate,” Haine said. “I am proud to be a state senator. Never forget that your duty is to make the law. Godspeed. I will be looking at it from a distance — Europe, I hope. It’s been a joy to be here these past 16 years.”
Currently, there are 63,000 government employees in Illinois with six-figure salaries or more, including city managers out-earning governors across the country. The salaries of the public employees making more than $100,000 per year cost taxpayers upward of $10 billion, according to Forbes.
During Haine's tenure in the state Senate, Illinois' credit rating sank to the lowest of any state in the country on the back of unfunded pension liabilities.
As of 2017, Illinois was on the hook for $250 billion to pensioners such as Haine, guaranteed generous pension benefits for life and protected by the state Constitution. Haine will now personally benefit from two public pensions from his time employed by public institutions in Illinois.
On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate honored Haine with Senate Resolution 2152, which thanked him for his service.
State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said that there was nothing to rebut, there are only accolades.
“You are leaving the best way," Cullerton said to Haine. "You're leaving with your full pension and a happy and healthy family with you.”
Several other state senators from both sides of the aisle expressed their thanks to Haine for his service.
“You meet few people in life truly committed to their journey, family and making things better,” state Sen. James Clayborne (D-Belleville) said. “I would sum my relationship up with Bill Haine as one of loyalty, a man of his word. Even if he didn't agree with you, you knew that Bill gave you his word...his word was his bond.”
Clayborne said while he was honored to become the Majority Leader in the Senate, it took him away from sitting next to Haine, which he missed.
“All of us who have the honor of serving here realize we are going to be replaced,” state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said. “There are very few irreplaceable people but Bill comes about as close as anyone as the historian of the Senate.
Harmon said while the Senate would survive, it would be less without Haine there.
“You have been a mentor certainly to me if not the entire Senate,” state Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “Thank you for what you've done. We're going to miss you.”
State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) jokingly said while records are meant to be broken, he hoped no one ever broke Haine’s record in floor speeches of most often quoting people dead for more than 150 years.
State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) said family is a true testament of the kind of people we are.
“Your family is always around you and by looking at them, they live by you and are raising their children by you and that's a true testament to who you are,” Rezin said.
State Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said while he may not have always agreed with Haine on subject matters, he was always educated by Haine and would come out with a new perspective on many things.
“I knew I wasn't talking to somebody doing it for political advantage,” Link said. “You did everything because you thought it was right. You set the tone that I wish we could live in this chamber for years to come—and that's being able to talk to one another and work with one another and not dislike one another. The whole world looks for that kind of avenue today in government.”
State Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) said Haine was a good man and that he was going to miss him in the Senate.
State Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) said Haine always found a way to bring people together.
“There aren't too many people like you around in this chamber,” Sandoval said. “I wish there were more Bill Haines in this chamber. You're a fighter.”
State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) said Haine is a man of all seasons: a scholar, a statesman, a gentleman and a friend.
“Perhaps most importantly you have inspired me as a man of family and faith,” Collins said. “I thank God for your witness of faith and your sense of justice and fair place. Today I celebrate your heart and humanity, your integrity and your intellect and also your character and your compassion. But most of all I thank God for the gift of you.”
State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) said Haine was a true statesman.
“You’re someone we all admire,” Martinez said. “I am going to miss you and your history lessons. We will miss you greatly. I wish you all the best. I know there is life after Springfield and you're going to have so much time now with your family. I want to wish you, your wife and your beautiful family the best.”
State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) said he will miss Haine’s wisdom.
State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) said Haine is her seatmate and when he wanted to change seats to be in a better spot, Hutchinson changed seats with him so they could still sit together.
“He taught me how to state my convictions on principle,” Hutchinson said. "Whatever decision I came to, to present that with respect because that's the way he is.”
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said it has been a wonderful opportunity serving with Haine.
State Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) said Haine’s style was one he always tried to emulate.
“You taught me about friendship and I've appreciated being your friend,” Nybo said. “You've taught me that the most important thing above all is family and I hope that I am able to surround myself with people like you do.”
State Sen. Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) said his dad always talked about Haine when Jones was growing up.
“I felt like I already knew who you were before I even came to this chamber,” Jones said. “When I came down here, you were one of the few people he told me to get close with. In my first year, you were with me right from the beginning. Your leadership helped me get legislation passed. Enjoy the rest of your time and your family.”
State Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago) thanked Haine for his service.
State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) said Haine had a calling for public service.
“I've learned so much about being a senator from Bill and I think it's made me a better senator and person,” Cunningham said. “We're really going to miss you.”
State Sens. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) and Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park) also thanked Haine for his service.
State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) called Haine a dear friend.
“You have been a mentor to me in times that I don't even know if you knew you were guiding me,” Manar said. “Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your service. I wish you nothing but the best.”
State Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) said Haine was a strong leader.
“That's something I will take away from Bill,” Bennett said. “You always seem to have your district first in your mind.”
State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said Haine was a gatherer of information and ideas.
“You do your homework,” Syverson said. “Your reputation and your legacy will follow after you. Thank you for time here.”
State Sen. William E. Brady (R-Bloomington) said Haine always learned the issues and was a real winner.