ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team has been looking into a mind-boggling statement made by the Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday.
"One out of every four dollars taken from taxpayers by the state goes into a system that is giving more than 11,000 government retirees tax-free, six-figure pensions worth as much as, in one case, $450,000 per year," Rauner said.
Government pensions in Illinois are tax-free by Illinois, one of the few states that does not tax government pensions. Federal taxes are not exempt.
The person receiving a $450,000 pension went unnamed, but the I-Team has learned he is a man named Tapas Das Gupta, a doctor retired from University of Illinois Chicago Hospital. Currently taxpayers are footing his annual pension of $452, 843, but what the governor didn't mention is that the No. 2 top pensioner also makes about that much.
According to state pension records obtained by the I-Team, there are dozens of retired state workers with pensions of more than $200,000 per year, several at more than $300,000, and two atop the list at more than $400,000. The tax-free money is subsidized by taxpayers.
No. 1 is the UIC doctor, Tapas Das Gupta, a surgical oncologist schooled in Calcutta, India and who retired at 72.
Runner-up top state pensioner is Dr. Edward Abraham, a UIC orthopedic surgeon educated in Beruit, Lebanon, who retired at age 66 and receives a $439,000 a year pension.
Even as he receives that pension, Dr. Abraham has been hired back here at UIC part-time. It's double dipping that is perfectly legal in Illinois and that other state pensioners take advantage of.
According to state records, Abraham is projected to receive more than $9 million in pension payouts from the State of Illinois during his retirement.
And there are dozens of retirees whose lifetime payouts are expected to be between $5 and $10 million.
The top-grossing state pensioner is expected to be a former kindergarten teacher, now retired school from his job as superintendent of Lincolnshire District 103, Larry K. Fleming. After retiring recently at age 55, Fleming is projected to receive $11, 535, 660 during the rest of his life.
Nearly all of the biggest state pensions are being paid to university medical doctors, local school administrators and teachers. In his speech Wednesday, the governor said those retirees- and all current state pensioners- will get everything they were promised, but that changes are needed for future state retirees.