Illinois News Network|Illinois’ rainy day fund running dry

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell,  was interviewed by Illinois News Network about the dire financial state of Illinois’ rainy day fund.

States rely on “rainy day” funds to get by during an economic downturn to avoid raising taxes.
The stopgap budget may have come to the temporary rescue of many state-run operations, but the intermediate spending plan is emptying Illinois’ rainy day fund.
Ideally, the rainy day fund should hold between $1.5 billion to $3 billion, financial experts say. The State Journal-Register reported, however, that as of Aug.12 the fund had dwindled to approximately $180 million. The balance is anticipated to reach zero in a few weeks.
“(The money) is mostly going back into the government, while we see the private sector continuing to squeak by,” Jared Labell, executive director for Taxpayers United of America (TUA), said. “This is very dangerous.”
A study released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University earlier this year, revealed that most states aren’t financially equipped to deal with the typical drop in revenue that comes with a recession.
Illinois ranked among the least prepared states because its account has been used to help cover the state’s day-to-day expenses when the amount in the general operating fund isn’t enough to cover the state’s bills.
Illinois’ rainy day fund has had a maximum balance that ranged from $226 million to $275 million in the past; however, the daily balance is often zero, or close, the State Journal-Register noted.
Labell said Illinois is in this financial predicament largely because of politicians.
“Politicians care about the next election cycle,” he said. “If that means they will take money from one fund and sweep it into another, they’ll do that if it means short-term political gain.”
Putting Illinois back on a path to financial success will be difficult “because the political process itself is so bad.”
But there is hope, he added, because taxpayers are more aware than ever because of the disastrous situation Illinois is in.

Alton Daily News|Taxpayers Paying For Congresswoman's Court Case

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell, interviewed by Alton Daily News about taxpayers paying for Duckworth’s court case.

It’s the case that just won’t go away for U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, and it’s Illinois taxpayers who keep footing the bill.

The cost to defend Duckworth in a recent worker retaliation case goes beyond the $26,000 settlement.

Duckworth was sued by two women who said she retaliated against them when she was the head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

A court ruled in June that no laws had been broken, but brokered a settlement with the state that included the costs of the workers’ attorney fees.

Last week the women said they would try to have the settlement voided because they claimed Duckworth broke the agreement by disparaging them publicly, though Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who defended Duckworth, has said the agreement should stand.

Jared Labell, executive director of Chicago-based Taxpayers United of America, said whatever the final outcome, it will be state taxpayers who will be the ones paying for Duckworth’s legal defense.

“In this case, in particular, it cost taxpayers $26,000 to settle with the two employees that had brought the case against Mrs. Duckworth,” he said. “Only government institutions can pay out (settlements); therefore, they’re paying with taxpayer dollars.”

He said there are other costs involved, too — like the cost of Madigan’s office defending the case.

“With some cases that go on far longer, that actually reach trial, costs can be into the millions depending on the different fees and court costs and attorneys’ fees as well,” Labell said.

He said the bill can grow to astronomical amounts when it’s a long-simmering, complicated defense. It can cost even more if the state loses or, in specific cases, fail to appeal.

“And then, of course, depending on what the case is actually concerned with, if taxpayers, so to speak, lose in the case, that can cost millions of millions of dollars,” Labell said.

Dispatches|Report: Severe fixes necessary for Illinois pensions

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell,  was featured on Dispatches with John Biver, discussing TUA’s 10th Annual Report on Illinois State Pensions.

Conservatives have failed so miserably in the information war that this line could be spoken by a policy analyst: “For many of these [government employee] pensioners they’re already recouping all of their contributions barely over a year of retirement. They’ve already made that money back.” That’s Taxpayers United of America’s Jared Labell in the interview excerpted below.
Things will never improve fiscally or economically until conservatives get serious about reaching more of their fellow citizens about the horrendous facts about things like the legalized-theft public employee pension systems. People need to hear the message, and then be rallied into action:

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell, was interviewed by Illinois News Network about TUA’s 10th Annual Report on Illinois State Pensions and the crushing financial impact the unfunded pensions have on Illinois’ taxpayers.
A taxpayer group has some fixes they say are severe but necessary to shore up the state’s growing unfunded pension liability.
Taxpayers United of America released their 10th Annual Report on Illinois State Pensions. The highlights include more than 15,600 state pensioners collecting more than $100,000 annually. More than 92,300 pensioners make more than $50,000 annually.
Taxpayers United of America Executive Director Jared Labell said for the top 400 pensioners the average pension contributions made over an entire career is only about $40,000 more than what the average annual pension is.
“For many of these pensioners they’re already recouping all of their contributions barely over a year of retirement. They’ve already made that money back,” Labell said.
Read more: Taxpayers United of America

Here’s a link to another post over at the Taxpayers United of America website:

Chicago Teacher Pensions Exacerbate City’s Property Tax Hikes
“The pension fund’s own analysis states that in the past decade, the number of retired and vested members now exceed active contributors. Government pension payments to CTPF beneficiaries have increased 77% in the last ten years, jumping from $751 million in 2006 to $1.3 billion in 2015. During that same period of time, the total annual return on investments swung as low as -22% in 2009 and as high as 24.8% in 2011,” said [Jared] Labell.
Read more: Taxpayers United of America