Illinois

Bloomington Taxes Take Huge Bite out of Taxpayers

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BLOOMINGTON–Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its updated study on Bloomington-Normal municipal pensions, McLean 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:

“Bloomington area taxpayers have been bludgeoned by government bureaucrats and their lust for taxpayers’ money,” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA.

“I guess the Bloomington government hacks admired Gov. Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker’s doubling of the gas tax so much they decided to follow suit. Bloomington’s gas tax was doubled from $0.04 per gallon to $0.08 per gallon.”

“These gas taxes are particularly hard on the working class as they have less, if any, discretionary income than the elite political class that imposes these taxes.”

“McLean County Unit 5 school district is piling on with a huge tax increase of its own. Property taxes in the Unit 5 district increased 9.21% this year alone. That means an increase in property taxes of about $200 a year on a home valued at $175,000.”

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

“The IMRF pension fund, which gives lavish, gold-plated pension benefits to retired municipal employees, is funded largely by 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 Bloomington-Normal area TRS pensions.
  • Click here to see the top 200 Bloomington-Normal area municipal, and McLean County IMRF pensions
  • Click here to see the top Bloomington area SURS pensions

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. The other five statewide pension funds are funded by the state income tax. Democrat Governor 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 income tax, so they can make it through the next election cycle. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class McLean County taxpayers would be decimated by the Pritzker Income Tax Increase Amendment 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 Pritzker’s recent gargantuan gasoline tax hike.”

“When you look at what the individual government retirees are actually collecting in taxpayer-funded pensions, you 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.”

Clarence Bowman retired from Illinois State University at the age of 60. His current annual pension is $409,747. He paid $410,284 into his own retirement fund, SURS. His taxpayer funded pension will accumulate to a stunning $11,381,414 over a normal lifetime.

Robert S. Nielsen retired from SD 87 at the age of 58. His current annual pension is $204,027. His personal payments into TRS total $267,783. Having retired so young, his pension payments will accumulate to about $6,296,748.

Mark R. Peterson retired from his position at the Town of Normal at the age of 59. His current annual pension is $149,003. He Paid $213,818 into the IMRF. His pension payments will accumulate to about $3,886,516 over a normal lifetime. Mark is also eligible for a social security pension.

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 account, 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,” said Tobin.

Give Chicago Teachers Pink Slips

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CHICAGO—The financially troubled Chicago Public Schools (CPS) should lay-off scores of teachers and significantly increase class size to save money, according to the president of one of the nation’s largest taxpayer organizations.

 “Study after study has established that there is no appreciable correlation between class size and academic achievement,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). CPS is on the brink of financial collapse, and its administrators need to bite the bullet and start laying-off teachers. The resulting larger class sizes will not affect academic performance and will save taxpayers millions of dollars. It is obscene to advocate raising property taxes once more on overburdened Chicago homeowners.”

 Stanford economist Eric Hanushek’s study on class size is the gold standard on this topic. He looked at the best studies and found that 89% of the studies show either no statistically significant advantage or a significant negative effect to smaller classes.

 A Cato Institute study reports that the average American classroom has gotten substantially smaller over the past 40 years (by about 7 students) but achievement at the end of high school is essentially flat . A Harvard study by researchers Antonio Wendland and Matthew Chingos reported in 2010 that Florida’s statewide class size reduction had “no discernible impact upon student achievement,” but has so far cost the state roughly $28 billion.

The Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) has been pushing for smaller class sizes, claiming that smaller class sizes will improve student achievement. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the CTU even authored a report on the topic, asking the Chicago City Council to divert $170 million of the $351 million set aside for charter school expansion in 2012 toward reducing average class sizes from 28 to 20 students.

 “This class-size myth is perpetuated by the union bosses and their legislative cronies to increase the number of union jobs for both teachers and laborers. It is a scam to extract even more taxpayer wealth from the pockets of the middle class,” added Tobin.

 “Chicago homeowners can’t afford another property tax increase in order to swell teacher-union membership. It’s time to lay-off teachers and increase class size. This would be a significant step toward stabilizing CPS finances.”

The Southern Illinois Pension Problem

Carbondale civiv center

Carbondale, IL – Recent information published by the Taxpayer Education Foundation reveals startling information about Carbondale area retired government employee pensions. The release shows over 200 Southern Illinois University SIU retired employees set to receive million-dollar payouts from their pensions. The report also shows many retired employees of the City of Carbondale, Jackson County, and government teachers from various local school districts retiring in their 50s.

Click to view Carbondale TRS pensions

Click to view Carbondale IMRF pensions

Click to view Southern Illinois University pensions

“Even so far from Chicago, Carbondale acts just like any other Illinois city.” Said Matthew Schultz, executive Director of Taxpayers United of America.

“Every single retired government employee in our top 200 State University Retirement System (SURS) list is estimated to become a pension millionaire. In example: John Folse retired from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale will receive an estimated $314,808 in 2019. Through 2019, Mr. Folse will collect $4,584,987 from his taxpayer subsidized pension. In Carbondale, Illinois, the average salary is $39,786.

“Then we have the retired local government employees in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). At the top of that list is Michael L. Wepsiec.  Mr. Wepsiec retired at the elderly age of 56 with a lucrative annual pension of $152,919. By the time Mr. Wepsiec reaches 85 years of age, he will have received a $3,821,412 pension payout funded by local property taxes. Mr. Wepsiec is also eligible for social security.

“Steven R. Sabens, Carbondale CHSD 165 currently receives $179,582 from his Teachers Retirement System Pension (TRS) retired at the age of 61. By the time he reaches 85, he will have received a total of $4,823,476 from his taxpayer subsidized pension.”

“Every retired government employee listed here will receive a 3% compounded cost of living adjustment that doubles their annual government pension in 24 years.”

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. Five statewide pension funds are funded by the state income tax. 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 income tax, so they can make it through the next election cycle. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Carbondale 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. Pritzker’s tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with the gargantuan gasoline tax increase.”

“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.”

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

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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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