Yearly archive for 2019

DECATUR DECIMATED BY GOV. PENSION TAX INCREASES

DECATUR, IL – Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its updated study on Decatur area Macon County government pensions, including the top 200 pensions in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), and the State University Retirement System (SURS). Taxpayers United of America (TUA) issued the following statement based on the TEF pension study:

“Tax raisers in Decatur and Macon County haven’t seen a tax increase they didn’t love,” said Val Zimnicki, TUA Director of Outreach.

“Decatur property taxes saw a punishing increase of nearly 15%, largely to cover IMRF pensions. IMRF pensions are funded by property taxes while the other five state pension systems are funded by the state income tax.”

“Decatur Schools are borrowing about $55 million, at taxpayers’ expense, to improve facilities. This is part of a plan that is supposed to reduce expenses by closing some facilities and expanding others. We will believe the next real reduction when we see it.”

“With one of the most rapidly shrinking populations in the state, Decatur should be making lots of tax cuts. Over the last few decades we heard how they needed more funding because of growth and yet they still demand more money when the population shrinks. Their lust for taxpayers hard-earned money never ends.”

“The Macon County effective property tax rate increased from $1.79 in 2017 to $2.45 in 2018. The county lost 1,009 residents in the same period.”

“Let’s be clear: this is not about the children or the roads. This is about pay and pensions for the elite government class. This money may be ‘earmarked’ for buildings or whatever, but in reality, it only frees up pre-increase revenues for pensions.”

“The IMRF pension fund, which gives lavish, gold-plated pension benefits to retired municipal employees, is funded by these punishing property taxes. If that isn’t bad enough, IMRF pensioners, for the most part, also receive Social Security pensions.”

  • Click here to see the top 200 Decatur area TRS pensions.
  • Click here to see the top 200 Decatur area municipal, and Macon County IMRF pensions
  • Click here to see the top Decatur area SURS pensions

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. Democrat Governor Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker and his tax-raising cronies want to stick it to middle class taxpayers by increasing the income tax under the guise of a ‘more fair’ graduated state income tax. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements and their fat taxpayer-funded pensions in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Macon County taxpayers would be decimated by the Pritzker income-tax hike if it passes. There is nothing fair about his ‘fair tax’ that will, by design, siphon even more wealth out of the pockets of the middle-class. And his tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with the latest gargantuan gasoline tax-hike.”

“When you look at what the individual government retirees are actually collecting in taxpayer funded pensions, you can get a better idea of why this theft of taxpayer wealth is so egregious. Keep in mind that the average taxpayer will collect only about $17,500 a year from Social Security, and that most IMRF pensioners are also eligible for a Social Security pension.”

Elmer B. McPherson retired from Decatur School District 62 at the age of 56. His current annual pension is $190,024. His payments into TRS for his own pension were $192,724. His estimated lifetime pension payout, over a normal lifetime, will be about $5,759,375.

Lawrence R. Fichter retired from Macon County at the age of 64. His current annual pension is $157,680. His payments into IMRF totaled $211,401. He will realize about $2,645,709 in pension payments over a normal lifetime. Lawrence is also eligible for a social security pension.

Gayle Saunders retired at the age of 62 from Richland Community College. With a current annual pension of $246,881, Saunders will collect about $7,327,987 over an normal lifetime, after having paid into SURS only $342,926.

“Illinois is functionally bankrupt, and the cause is runaway government employee pensions with unfunded liabilities so huge that it is mathematically impossible for the state to tax their way out of this financial black hole.”

“All Illinois government new hires should be placed in a 401(k) style retirement savings accounts, beginning immediately, and the retirement age should be increased to 65. These measures would at least slow the bleeding until comprehensive pension reform can be enacted.

Kane County Taxpayers Burdened By Lavish Government Pensions

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GENEVA, IL – “Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) released today its updated study on Kane County area government-employee pensions. The study includes pensioners from the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), the State University Retirement System (SURS), as well as pensioners in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).”

“Kane County taxpayers are much smarter than the government bureaucrats who tyrannically tax them,” said Val Zimnicki, TUA Director of Outreach. “Rather than cut spending, these government bureaucrats only have one solution, and that is just to keep increasing taxes.”

“It is no mystery what is driving economy-killing property taxes increases in this county. One word: pensions. IMRF pensions are funded with property taxes, and state law requires that the IMRF pension bill is paid before all other bills. Taxpayers currently pay $3 in property taxes for every $1 that IMRF members pay into their own retirement fund. Their property taxes have nothing to do with roads, services, or children. Who receives these benefits? The privileged government class.”

“The average social security recipient gets about $17,500 a year. IMRF pensioners can also receive social security.”

“Jack Barshinger retired from the teachers union at age 59. His current annual pension is $258,825. His lifetime expected payout will be $8,269,596.”

“Nick Mavros retired at age 56. His annual SURS pension of $164,171 will accumulate to a total of $4,680,872.”

“Another gold-plated pensioner is Larry Maholland, who was employed by the city of St. Charles. He retired at the ripe old age of 59 and receives $147,218 per year from his IMRF pension. His estimated lifetime payout is $1,757,705.”

Click HERE to view top 250 Kane County government pensions.

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. While property taxes fund the IMRF, the other 5 statewide pension funds are funded by the state income tax. Governor Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker and his tax-raising bureaucrat cronies will try to stick it to the middle class by increasing the state income tax under the guise of a fairer graduated income tax. There is nothing fair about this tax. If it passes, legislators will take away power from Illinois citizens and give it to the tax raisers. When the state goes under, the tax raisers will be long gone.”

“Illinois is functionally bankrupt, and the cause is runaway government employee pensions with unfunded liabilities so huge that it is mathematically impossible for the state and its municipalities to tax their way out of this financial black hole.”

“Wirepoints states that Illinois is the nation’s extreme outlier when it comes to pension shortfalls. The state has a $241 billion shortfall in its five state-run pension funds, according to Moody’s. Illinois’ pension spending equals 28 percent of the state’s GDP.”

“All Illinois government new hires should be placed in 401(k) style retirement savings accounts beginning immediately, and the retirement age should be raised to 67,” said Zimnicki.

“The long-term solution to Illinois’ fiscal woes is for the state to formally declare bankruptcy. This would have to be authorized by Congress, and I believe Congress would do so.”

“While we’re waiting for this necessary measure, the state of Illinois can help its citizens by passing a law to enable any local government to declare bankruptcy. Springfield should also cut state taxes to stimulate its sluggish economy.”

ILLINOIS’ ONLY HOPE MAY BE BANKRUPTCY

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A recent article by Mark Glennon of Wirepoints states that turning Illinois around is vital to the national economy. Illinois is a drag on the national economy, and the state’s GDP has lagged the nation’s significantly for ten years. According to Glennon, “A federal bailout is happening automatically, at least in a small sense, in the form of food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid and similar programs. A fresh start for Illinois would reduce its federal tab for those costs and grow Illinois’ tax base for federal revenue.”

For a state to formally go bankrupt, the U. S. Congress would have to pass legislation enabling that. In Illinois’ case, Glennon thinks Congress would.

David Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who also serves on Puerto Rico’s oversight board wrote that the “constitutionality of bankruptcy-for-states is beyond serious dispute.”

Congress would only be offering states the option of using bankruptcy, just as it has already done for municipalities; nothing would be forced on states.

As for the left’s fear that the power of bankruptcy would reduce pension payments, the Bankruptcy Code would not be expanded “as is” to states. Changes would be made on which all sides could find common ground. For example, a bankrupt government can opt to keep or renegotiate whatever labor contracts it has.

As for bondholders, says Glennon, one should “shed no tears for existing bondholders. They took the risk that bankruptcy law could be changed to impact them.”

“It’s becoming clear that there is no long-term alternative,” said Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “As Glennon points out, “This isn’t about whether bankruptcy is a good option. It’s about whether it’s the only option.”

“Illinois is functionally bankrupt,” said Tobin, “and the cause is runaway government employee pensions with unfunded liabilities so huge that it is mathematically impossible for the state and its municipalities to tax their way out of this financial black hole.”

“Illinois is the nation’s extreme outlier when it comes to pension shortfalls. The state has a $241 billion shortfall in its five state-run pension funds. Illinois’ pension shortfalls equal 28 percent of the state’s GDP. Illinois’ death spiral gets worse and worse, and bankruptcy for the state looks more and more desirable.”

“While we’re waiting for this drastic measure, the state of Illinois can help its citizens by passing a law to enable all local governments to declare bankruptcy. It also should cut state taxes to stimulate its sluggish economy.”

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Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.

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