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13th Annual Illinois Pension Report

Pension Release

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Report Overview

Retired Government Employees Receiving $100,000+ Annually

Chicago — Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released the results of its 13th annual Illinois state pensions report. This new report analyzes government-retiree pensions of Illinois’ General Assembly Retirement System (GARS), Judges’ Retirement System (JRS), Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), state employees’ retirement system (SERS), and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). The report demonstrates that the Pritzker administration has allowed the Illinois pension crisis to worsen.

The unfunded government pension liabilities Springfield politicians placed on the shoulders of Illinois taxpayers have grown. The amount liabilities grew was over $2.1 billion, bringing the new total to $143,593,104,031 for 2019. Keep in mind that these are the numbers the state of Illinois has issued. Moody’s estimates the Illinois pension liabilities to be roughly $100 billion higher.

One look at these gargantuan pensions illustrates why the situation is deteriorating. Leslie Heffez retired from the university of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) at the age of 55. His current annual pension is a mind-boggling $616,624. This former government employee is the first person in the six major Illinois pension funds to rake in over $600,000 a year. Heffez is on track to receive $21,093,181 by the time he is 85, thanks to a 3 percent compounded cost of living adjustment (COLA) Illinois Gov. Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker declines to do anything about.

The compounded cola is the most dangerous part of the Illinois pension scam. The three percent cola can double a single government pension in 24 years. This happens often because the average Illinois government employee retires at 61. The IRS estimates that for a person 65 years of age, his estimated life expectancy is 85. We can expect many government pensions to double by that age.

A central figure responsible for the pension crisis is former Illinois governor James R. Thompson (R), one of the worst tax-raisers in Illinois history. Thompson also retired at age 55 and currently receives an annual pension of $161,152. Thompson was one of the key members of the state government who started the pension crisis. If not for his 3 percent compounded cost of living increase for retired Illinois government employees, the crisis would not be as bad as it is.

An example of the crisis worsening is how the number of millionaire government retirees is growing. There are now 2,572 more government retirees receiving over $100,000 compared to last year. This brings the new total to 22,053 retired government employees receiving over $100,000 a year.

Additionally, there are now 111,809 Illinois government pensioners collecting more than $50,000 in taxpayer funded payments yearly. This is an increase of 4,717 from last year, that total being 107,092. The average annual social security pension for taxpayers in 2019 is $17,532.

The taxes to support these outrageous Illinois government pensions are driving taxpayers out of Illinois. Almost all of the last $5 billion-dollar income tax increase was used to prop up the state pension funds. This is why Illinois governor Pritzker wants to pass the graduated income tax increase amendment, a huge income tax increase for Illinois taxpayers. Instead of seeking pension reform, Pritzker wants another massive income tax hike.

There is no reason to believe this amendment will only affect the “rich.” Pritzker passed a multibillion-dollar regressive tax increase including the recent 19 cent Illinois gasoline tax hike. It is estimated that Pritzker’s gasoline tax will extract from Illinois taxpayers $1.2 billion dollars more a year. These taxes affect Illinois’ most struggling residents disproportionately. There is every reason to believe that future tax hikes planned by Springfield politicians will affect the state’s middle class, and will be used to further prop up the state’s lavish, gold-plated pensions for retired government employees. 

Rather than placing more taxes on the backs of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, and plotting to increase taxes on the state’s middle class, Pritzker should explore significant reforms for the state’s bankrupt pension plans for retired government employees.

Click for top SERS 2019 Pension Grid

Click for top GARS 2019 Pension Grid

Click for top IMRF 2019 Pension Grid

Click for top JRS 2019 Pension Grid

Click for top SURS 2019 Pension Grid

Click for top TRS 2019 Pension Grid

Champaign Government Pensions Take Huge Bite out of Taxpayers

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Champaign, IL – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released its updated study of Champaign County, IL government employee pensions, publishing the top 200 pensions Champaign County Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), the top 200 pensions of the Teachers’ Retirement Fund (TRS), and the top 200 pensions of State University Retirement System (SURS). Taxpayers United of America issued the following statement based on the TEF pension study.

Click to View Top 200 Champaign TRS Pensions

Click to View Top 200 Champaign SURS Pensions

Click to View Top 200 Champaign IMRF Pensions

“Champaign area government pensions take a 50% bite out of property taxes just to fund the IMRF, police, and fire retiree funds,” said Jim Tobin, TUA president.

“IMRF pensions are funded by property taxes but government bureaucrats are more concerned about fulfilling promises made to state government union bosses, in order to maintain and enhance government pensions, than they are about their constituents.”

“Illinois Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker has plans to increase state income taxes. Pritzker has advanced his proposal for an income tax increase amendment. The measure, which will be put to voters on the 2020 November ballot, would change the current flat-rate state income tax to a graduated state income tax that would decimate the middle class.”

“The average retirement benefit of a former government employee in Illinois is a hefty $56,148 – for an average period of 20 years on the government payroll. The average Champaign taxpayer’s Social Security pension is about $17,532 per year, and is funded completely with private money from taxpayers and their employers. But the IMRF pensioners also usually collect Social Security on top of their overly generous Illinois pensions.”

“You may recognize some of these names of the government pensioners with multi-million-dollar payouts:

SURS pensioner Peter Maggs struggles to get by on an annual pension of $445,321. With a 3% annual compounded cost of living adjustment, that will accumulate to

$2,688,656 when he reaches the age of 85 in just a few years.

Michael W. Caine retired from Champaign CUSD 4 and currently collects $186,335 annually. Over a normal lifetime, he will accumulate $5,317,694 in pension payments.

William L. Volk retired from Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit and has a current annual pension of $243,922. Mr. Volk likely gets about $28,000 more per year from Social Security.

There are now 2,572 more government retirees receiving over $100,000 compared to last year. This brings the new total to 22,053 retired government employees receiving over $100,000 a year.

Additionally, there are now 111,809 Illinois government pensioners collecting more than $50,000 in taxpayer funded payments yearly. This is an increase of 4,717 from last year, that total being 107,092.

“Illinois courts have made it clear that they will protect the government pensions regardless of how devastating they are to the state, the taxpayers, and the communities of Illinois. Communities throughout the state are cutting services needed today so that they can pay for services of years past.”

“It is just unreasonable to allow people to retire in their 50’s and early 60’s, pay a 3% automatic cost of living adjustment, and expect taxpayers to foot the bill. Now that billionaire Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker has been elected, government pension reform won’t occur anytime soon. Pritzker will continue to try to tax his way out of this mess,” concluded Tobin.

REMINDER: Fill Up Before July 1!

This is a reminder to all Illinois taxpayers to fill up their tanks with gasoline before Pritzker’s Gas Tax Increase takes effect July 1.

Illinois Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker recently approved massive regressive tax increases on gasoline and other items, affecting the poor and middle class.

Some of the tax increases include:

  • Doubling the Illinois state gasoline tax.
  • Increased license plate fees.
  • Increased driver’s license fees.
  • Allowed an additional 8 cents in county gasoline taxes.
  • State gasoline taxes will be automatically increased every year without future votes.

“Illinois may as well have elected a pirate, seeing how thoroughly Pritzker is pillaging Illinois,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America. “It is newer and higher taxes as far as the eye can see. Not only that, but these taxes are all regressive in nature. Pritzker has already broken his promise to tax only the rich.”

“The $45 Billion in new spending paid for by these new tax increases needs to be a red line for Illinoisans. We are taxed enough already. This policy of continually raising taxes is killing Illinois. Taxpayers must reject and repeal any new taxes.”

“In the meantime, fill up on gasoline while the prices are still lower.”

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DISCLAIMER

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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