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Retired Government Employees Receiving $100,000+ Annually
Chicago – Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its 12th annual report on the Illinois statewide government pension systems. Every year, TEF analyses pension data received through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the 6 statewide pension funds. TEF calculates estimated lifetime payouts for each pensioner based on the state’s laws and IRS actuarial tables.
Based on the 2018 pension data and the annual reports of the specific pension funds, TEF has determined that at least 19,481 pensioners are receiving $100,000 or more in annual pension payments. That level of payout has increased about 15% over the 2017 pension payments. At this rate of increase, the number of pensions over $100,000 will far exceed 21,000 in 2019. Pensions over $50,000 a year are now at 107,092.
The total cost to taxpayers for the 6 statewide funds is $8.7 billion from the state general fund and an additional $933,937,321 from property taxes for the IMRF whose taxpayer deposits are entirely funded through property taxes. This does not include any of the Chicago government pensions or the hundreds of police and fire pension funds throughout the state. For perspective, for every dollar that the government employees have deposited to the statewide pension funds, taxpayers have been forced to deposit $4.50. Put another way, that is approximately $683 for every man, woman, and child in the state for these 6 pension fund payments only.
It would be intellectually dishonest not to consider how pension obligations stack up against all of the other demands on taxpayer money. Nearly 25% of all money collected from taxpayers goes to fund the pensions of former employees. This is money being paid for services rendered sometime in the past, in competition for the services needed today. As this burden for past services becomes greater and greater, thanks to a compounded cost of living adjustment for retirees, fewer taxpayer dollars will be available for education, healthcare, safety, and security.
This Pension Crisis is decimating Illinois. Harvey Illinois was forced to lay off 25% of police employees and 40% of firefighters to pay lavish pensions. Harvey is just the beginning, as many more municipalities are facing the same fate. The state legislature must now allow local governments to declare bankruptcy to save Illinois. It is also imperative that new-hires be placed into a 401(k) style retirement savings account rather than into one of the defined benefit pension funds.
Click for SERS 2018 Pension Grid
Click for GARS 2018 Pension Grid
Click for IMRF 2018 Pension Grid
Click for JRS 2018 Pension Grid
Click for SURS 2018 Pension Grid
Click for TRS 2018 Pension Grid
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CHICAGO—A recent Chicago Tribune article called attention to Chicago’s having lost 3,825 residents last year and 4,879 residents in 2016, and to the fact that Chicago metropolitan area lost residents for three consecutive years.
Illinois dropped from fifth-most populous state to sixth-most populous state in 2017.
The article, Chicago population still tops Houston’s, described the population losses as a “trickle,” and added that “experts are trying to figure out why,” noted Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America, headquartered in Chicago.
“I can tell you why, and so can everyone other than the Tribune. Two reasons: the city’s and state’s high taxes, forcing taxpayers to flee to states with lower taxes, and the realization that the City of Chicago and State of Illinois are bankrupt and that both will go under in the not-too-distant future.”
“The lavish, gold-plated pensions of retired Chicago and state government-employees are rapidly drying-up their pension funds. Here are some facts regarding the Tribune’s host city.”
“All of the top 200 Chicago pensions for its ‘civil servants’ are at least $100,000 a year,” said Tobin. “The average retirement age for this group of pensioners is only 58. Social Security requires taxpayers to reach age 67 to be eligible for full retirement benefits, which average only about $17,000 a year.”
“I would like to inform the Tribune that the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, (MEABF) is predicted to be insolvent in 8 years, according to its most recent audit. The auditing firm estimated that taxpayers would have to deposit $1,005,456,621 to make the fund solvent. MEABF does not include Chicago teachers, police, or firefighters who each have their own pension system, all separate from the 6 statewide pension funds.”
“The state of Illinois also is bankrupt. It can’t pay its bills because the outrageously rich government pensions have robbed the taxpayers blind. And there won’t be a bailout by the state for the city of Chicago – there just isn’t enough taxpayer money, no matter how high taxes are raised.”
“We support the plan by independent gubernatorial candidate William “Dock” Walls to repeal the back-breaking Illinois state income tax.”