15th Annual Illinois Pension Report

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Last year, Illinois taxpayers were funding million-dollar pension payouts for 148,654 retired government employees. That number for our 15th annual pension study has since climbed to 151,391.
These pensions are not small. According to information provided by the pension funds, 124,138 of these pensions meet or exceed an annual payout of $50,000. 27,502 of these pensions also exceed $100,000 annually. This is because the vast majority of Illinois government pensions are subject to a 3% compounded cost of living adjustment. This compounding is the primary reason we have so many pensions turning retired government employees into pension millionaires.

The exponential growth of the six statewide Illinois government pension funds continues unabated. These six funds include the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS), Judges Retirement System (JRS), State University Retirement System (SURS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund(IMRF).
Some of the key statistics regarding how the pension system is funded are as follows:

•Taxpayers are estimated to contribute for 2021 ten billion dollars in order to fund the retirement of government employees. This is a one point three billion dollar increase from 2018.

•Taxpayer contributions are still steadily ramping upwards year over year, despite the recession.

•For the year 2021, estimated employee contributions to their own pensions are down an estimated $35 million from last year.

•The reported net position of the six state wide funds worsened another $4 billion from last year.

Estimated taxpayer payments

Some of the key statistics regarding how the pension system is funded are as follows:

•Taxpayers are estimated to contribute for 2021 ten billion dollars in order to fund the retirement of government employees. This is a one point three billion dollar increase from 2018.

•Taxpayer contributions are still steadily ramping upwards year over year, despite the recession.

•For the year 2021, estimated employee contributions to their own pensions are down an estimated $35 million from last year.

•The reported net position of the six state wide funds worsened another $4 billion from last year.

It is important to remember that taxpayer payments happen regardless of the state budget condition. While taxpayers are losing their jobs and the state coffers run dry during the pandemic, retired state employees retain an iron grip on taxpayers’ wallets. Taxpayers are also the primary source of funding for these massive pensions.

There is a wide spread narrative that the pensions are largely funded by both employee deposits and robust returns on investment. The facts, don’t bear that out. While the state of each individual pension fund is different, some like the General Assembly Retirement System refute any notion of self-reliance. For every dollar from either politicians or investments, taxpayers added an estimated $6.80 to the General Assembly Retirement System. Taxpayers pay more, and will continue to pay more into this broken system for the foreseeable future.

With the current funding requirements, all but the IMRF funding falls extremely short of necessary levels to pay every promised government employee pension.

TRS   40.5%

JRS    37.9%

GARS 16.5%

SERS 38.7%

SURS 42.2%

IMRF 90%

Although the IMRF funding level is in the proper range for a viable schedule of amortization, it doesn’t illustrate the extreme burden that this places on property owners. Illinois statute requires that IMRF pension deposits be paid by taxpayers before any other liabilities.. Under these extremes, taxpayers are being forced out of their homes because they can’t afford IMRF driven property taxes and housing expenses. Additionally, this requirement forces local governments to sacrifice services needed today in order to pay for services rendered in years past.

TEF has and does advocate for pension reforms, included but not limited to:  Place all new government hires into a defined contribution account as opposed to the current defined benefit system. Immediately discontinue the automatic cost of living adjustment and make promises to only increase cost of living in alignment with current financial conditions. Remove all of the loopholes that allow salary spiking during the last years of employment on which pension calculations are made.

Click Here to view Top 200 TRS Pensions

Click Here to view Top 200 JRS Pensions

Click Here to view Top 200 GARS Pensions

Click Here to view Top 200 SERS Pensions

Click Here to view Top 200 SURS Pensions

Click Here to view Top 200 IMRF

Click Here To View All $100,000+ Pensions

POWER HUNGRY LEFTIST GOVERNORS AND MAYORS PREPARE FOR NEW INEFFECTIVE, DESTRUCTIVE LOCKDOWNS

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Ill. Gov. Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker (D) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) are planning new economy-crushing lockdowns because they are addicted to power and micromanaging peoples lives, according to Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).

“Pritzker and Lightfoot are killing the economies of Illinois and the City of Chicago,” said Tobin. “And the real tragedy is that lockdowns do not halt the progress of the COVID-19 virus. The virus is in the wild, which means it cannot be stopped. Only when the population reaches herd immunity, which is achievable only by being exposed to the virus or receiving a vaccine, will the pandemic end. All pandemics end with some type of herd immunity.”

“When even the WHO – hardly a pro-business organization – concedes lockdown orders don’t stop the spread of the virus – one might think that the case is closed,” stated the Issue #160 of the Unleash Prosperity Hotline. Nevertheless Pritzker, de Blasio, Newsom, Lightfoot and other leftist politicians continue to shut down the nation’s economy, including the celebration of Thanksgiving.

According to the newsletter, “Lockdowns are NOT associated with lower death rates. They are NOT associated with lower hospitalizations. Their only effect is to bankrupt small businesses and destroy millions of jobs.”

“Not only that,” said Tobin, but the 10 states with the strictest lockdown policies – I.e., New York, New Jersey, Illinois – still have substantially higher death rates than the 10 states with no or minimal lockdowns.”

“Lockdowns don’t work. It’s time to say ENOUGH! to these left-wing politicians. Open up the country and put people back to work and students back to school.”

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Pritzker Spins His Wheels At Taxpayer Expense

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Chicago – Evidence is beginning to mount that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is burning taxpayer dollars in an ineffectual fight against COVD-19.

While Pritzker’s promises to expand coronavirus testing looks good for the cameras, Pritzker is ignoring reality,” said Matthew Schultz, Executive Director of Taxpayers United of America. “No matter how much Pritzker spends on testing, the capacity to analyze tests has barely increased. Illinoisans are waiting weeks before finding out if they are positive or not, and by that point the test is useless.”

At the start of June, it was reported that Pritzker paid a premium of almost $500 million in taxpayer dollars on over 1 million coronavirus tests. However, by then the state of Illinois was already lagging behind the testing rate. As early as April 2nd Illinois was behind 29 other states in per capita testing.

“Governor Pritzker is disrespecting the billions of taxpayer dollars allotted to him on the federal level,” continued Schultz. “$500 million on useless tests, $286 million on tracking coronavirus patients well after the virus has run its course. It’s all a show to make it look like he is actually making a difference.”

“The Soviet style state lockdown Pritzker instituted, which has shuttered 5100 Illinois business, was a move of desperation due to state resource mismanagement and Pritzker’s inability to act quickly.  Remember, it was Pritzker’s party that lashed out against government anti-coronavirus measures as far back as January.”

Pritzker has blamed the federal government for his sluggishness to act by stating he was expecting more support from DC. What Pritzker has to remember, is that if he had managed Illinois better, he would have more resources to fight a crisis. Instead, Pritzker has given government employees $100 million in pay raises, and had so far refused to deal with the elephant in the room: the Illinois government pension crisis. Pritzker has chosen government employees and government retirees over the health of Illinois as a whole.”

“Even without common sense fiscal reform, Pritzker could be more pragmatic with the billion that has been entrusted to him by taxpayers. Instead of paying for useless testing, use resources to acquire additional masks and launch a campaign to wear masks. Convincing, but not forcing Illinoisans to use masks would significantly reduce the number of COVID cases, and would be a more efficient use of resources.”