Cook County Gov Retirees’ Millionaire’s Club

Cook County Gov. Retirees’ Millionaire’s Club

Val Zimnicki (312)-427-5128 – (312) 307-4415

November 28, 2017

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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Cook County government retirees.
“One look at these excessive pensions tells you why Cook County is in dire financial straits. Government bureaucrats have created a tight little millionaires’ club of their own,” stated TUA’s director of outreach, Val Zimnicki.
There are nearly 500 area Cook County government retirees collecting annual pensions of at least $100,000. The median family income is only $56,851 and 16.1% of residents live below the poverty level.
“That puts a $1,374 liability on every man, woman and child in Cook County.  Add to that the per capita liability from the 5 state pension funds of $19,607, and every Cook County resident is on the hook for $20,981,” stated Zimnicki. Moody’s Investor Service puts Illinois’ state pension fund liability at $251 billion.
As of December 31, 2016, the Cook County Pension Fund (CCPF) has a stunning $7.2 billion unfunded liability. That means the CCPF is only 56.7% fundedA healthy pension fund has at least an 80% funding ratio, although the American Academy of Actuaries argues that pension funds should be 100% funded.
“On average, these government pensioners who collect more than the median household income for Cook County, contribute only about 7.5% to their own retirement fund. In the private sector, employees pay 15% of every dollar they earn into Social Security for an average pension of only $15,000!”
“Cook County government bureaucrats are desperate to steal even more tax money from hard working taxpayers, so desperate in fact that Cook County Board president, Toni Preckwinkle imposed a tax on sweetened beverages that hit the low and middle income earners the hardest!”
“The tax, which TUA opposed, was a $200 million tax increase on county taxpayers, which would have gone into the lavish, gold-plated pensions of retired county-government employees.”
But the Cook County Board was forced to repeal the tax when angry citizens testified at the County Board Hearing. TUA’s own, Val Zimnicki was one of many who testified on behalf of taxpayers at that hearing. “Preckwinkle and one other board member voted to keep the beverage tax. She should be thrown from office.”
“It’s so hypocritical of Cook County Democrats to preach about tax reform that protects the middle-class when they bombard the working class with new and higher taxes on services and products most used by this group of taxpayers,” added Zimnicki.
“If there’s any justice, the pending lawsuit, Bargo v Rauner et al, will break the Constitutional protection of the government employees. This protection creates a special class of citizens that directly violates the Illinois Constitution.”
“Just look at what some of these retired government bureaucrats are raking in from taxpayer funded pensions.
Hernan M. Reyes collects an annual pension of $359,613. Assuming he leads a normal life of 85 years, that annual pension will accumulate to $5,846,235. That multi-million dollar payout only cost him $329,637!
Then there’s Subhash Patel. Collecting a current annual pension of $217,045 will provide an outrageous estimated lifetime payout of $7,887,410. Keep in mind that retirement came at only 59 years of age! “Click below to view the top 200 pensions for Cook County Retirees:

“Overpromising benefits to government employees is pervasive throughout Illinois. Without regard to the taxpayers who must fund these excessive pensions, these bureaucrats just keep increasing salaries and benefits, burying the rest of us in debt.”
“The worst part of this financial nightmare is that no steps have been taken to correct the course of Illinois’ fiscal demise. We have proposed solutions that could have an immediate affect on the problem: Immediately place all new hires into 401(k) style retirement savings accounts, increase member contributions to their retirement fund, increase retirement age for full benefits, and increase member contributions to 50% of health care premiums. Anything short of these reforms will do nothing to permanently solve the problem. If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to revise government-employee pension benefits, then we need to get that on the ballot as soon as possible,” concluded Zimnicki.

Northwest Herald | Local anti-tax group protests in Chicago, gets chat with governor's staff

Illinois Tax Revolution and Taxpayers United of America held a property tax protest in downtown Chicago on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, which was covered by Northwest Herald.

About 45 McHenry and Lake County residents braved a cool and occasionally rainy day Wednesday to protest in downtown Chicago for lower taxes.

Members of Illinois Tax Revolution, a new group that has made headlines by members paying their high property taxes with dollar bills, took their message to the plaza of the James R. Thompson Center, which houses state government offices. Members engaged in an hourlong protest, their third after protests in front of the McHenry and Lake counties treasurers’ offices.

Most of the protesters took the train downtown from the Pingree Road Metra station. Among them were group co-founders Bob Anderson and Joe Tirio.

“We’re here to continue to build up our coalition, and to bring the message to the people of Chicago and Springfield that the people are tired of the taxes, and we’re looking for citizens and elected officials to take action,” said Tirio, of Woodstock, who is running for McHenry County recorder on a platform of eliminating the office altogether.

Anderson, a Wonder Lake barber and longtime activist for eliminating township government, said he was happy with the turnout. He spent the months leading up to the protest encouraging people and his customers to attend to make their voices heard.

“There’s certainly enough people here to make sure that McHenry County has a strong voice,” Anderson said.

Several members of the group got a 20-minute audience with the governor’s constituent outreach staff, Tirio said.

The group was founded in the wake of the publicity and support created when McHenry resident Dan Aylward, another of the group’s co-founders, went to the treasurer’s office in June to pay the first installment of his $11,468.38 property tax bill in dollar bills. Aylward, who has said he is being taxed out of a home that has been in his family for more than a century, returned Aug. 31 to pay his second installment in singles, this time joined by three other taxpayers who did the same.

Treasurer’s offices don’t decide tax bills. They only collect what taxing bodies charge, a fact the group knows well. But the sheer number of taxing bodies in Illinois makes other forms of protest, or attending more than a small fraction of their meetings to ask for tax relief, a challenge.

Illinois has about 7,000 units of local government, far more than any other state. On top of county and township governments and community college districts, McHenry County property tax bills include school districts – often several of them – municipal government and special units such as park and library districts.

The state has the highest or second-highest average property tax burden of all 50 states, depending on the study; and a Washington, D.C.-based tax watchdog group places McHenry County’s burden as the 29th highest by county nationwide.
A poll released Monday concluded that almost half of Illinois residents want to leave – and the top reason most cited by the 1,000 voters polled was the tax burden. Census data released this year not only placed Illinois at the top for out-migration, but also for the first time put the number of people moving out at more than 100,000 people.
Among the group’s priorities are property tax reduction, pension reform, consolidation of school districts and paring down the number of taxing bodies through either consolidation or elimination.

Tax Protests Spreading to Downtown Chicago

View as PDF Chicago — The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is likely to strike on Tuesday because of the failure of protracted contract negotiations, but disgruntled government union members will not be alone in airing their grievances in the city this week.
On Wednesday, October 12 at noon, a grassroots coalition of taxpayers called the Illinois Tax Revolution will converge on the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago to protest rising property taxes that are increasingly making Illinois uninhabitable for average residents.
The Illinois Tax Revolution is a growing movement of taxpayers concerned about the destruction of Illinois’ communities and economy through skyrocketing property taxes and overly burdensome tax policies.
“Property taxes burden Illinois residents far more than either income or sales taxes, outpacing both by billions of dollars,” said Jared Labell, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “While we are opposed to all of these taxes and any proposed increases, data shows that the property tax hikes are impacting average residents the most, but you don’t need studies to discover that’s the case – just ask your friends and neighbors.”
“Illinoisans’ residential property-tax burden has risen by 76 percent in the last quarter-century. In the span of just a few decades, residential taxpayers now pay more than two-thirds of all property taxes in Illinois, which has the second-highest residential property taxes in the country.”
“Considering Chicago’s historic property-tax hike last fall and other subsequent tax increases, Illinois will soon most likely overtake New Jersey to become the state with the country’s highest property taxes.”
“TUA supports the Illinois Tax Revolution and champions the plight of Illinois’ taxpayers. We are committed to continuing these actions for as long as Illinois politicians threaten our homes and prosperity with devastating property taxes and burdensome tax policies,” said Labell.
“The Illinois General Assembly must rollback property taxes immediately. If you own a home in Illinois for forty years, you effectively pay for it twice – once to purchase the home and then once again to pay the property taxes. It is absolutely absurd.”
“In 1977, TUA’s founder and president, Jim Tobin, led the only successful property tax strike in modern Illinois history. Nearly forty years later, it looks like the time has come for another taxpayer revolt, but this time it will spread far beyond Cook county and the collar counties. We welcome taxpayers to join us in this fight to save our homes, our communities, and our prosperity,” said Labell.
“I urge taxpayers to join us at the Thompson Center in Chicago this Wednesday. As union members and government teachers strike and protest downtown for an even larger share of your property taxes, it is critical for taxpayers to take a stand and simply say ‘NO.’”
WHEN: October 12, 2016, Noon
WHERE: James R. Thompson Center, 100 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601



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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