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CHICAGO—Illinois taxpayers, hammered by some of the highest state and local taxes in the nation, are increasingly venting their anger and frustration toward the State Senate and House Democrats who hold the state in their death-grip, notes Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“The Democrats in the State Senate just voted to raise the already-high state personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, a 32 percent increase. They also voted to raise the state corporate rate to 9.5 percent,” said Tobin. “These tax increases would be retroactive to January 1. All 32 Democrat Senators voted for the increases. Not a single Republican supported these job-killing tax increases.”
“No wonder Illinois has lost more residents than any other state for the third consecutive year. And Chicago, the most corrupt city in the nation, was the only city of the nation’s 20 largest cities to lose population in 2016.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that taxpayers blasted notorious tax-raiser, State. Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-40, Chicago Heights), who helped pass the income tax increase in the senate.
“You dirt bags stop screwing the taxpayers,” posted one person on Facebook.
Another taxpayer commented, “Keep your grubby hands off our tax money you crook.”
“How dare you raise my taxes in this corrupt state. You are ruining people’s lives with your tax and spend ways,” wrote another angry taxpayer.
“Now the state income tax increases go to the State House of Representatives, controlled by Chicago machine boss Michael Madigan (D-22, Chicago). Hopefully, Madigan will come to his senses and kill this fiscally-suicidal measure in the house,” said Tobin. “And if not, we trust that Gov. Rauner (R) will do the right thing and veto the income tax hike.”
“Illinois is bankrupt due to the huge deficits of its government-employee pension funds. It is too late for the state to tax itself out of this predicament. Puerto Rico recently declared bankruptcy, and it looks more and more like this is the only salvation for Illinois.”
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Unsustainable Illinois Govt. Pensions Driving State to Bankruptcy
CHICAGO — Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of its 11th Annual Illinois State Pensions Report. This new report analyzes government retiree pensions from 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).
Click below to view the data from TUA’s 11th Annual Illinois State Pensions Report
Surveying the increasing number of government retirees and the growth of their pensions over the past few decades provides a greater understanding of the financial burden facing Illinois taxpayers. Nearly two years ongoing, Illinois’ current budget crisis is mainly due to the exorbitant costs of the government pension system supported by Democrats and Republicans like Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and former Gov. Jim Edgar. Government pension payments now devour billions of tax dollars every year to line the pockets of retired government employees.
TUA’s research exposes the magnitude of Illinois’ financial crisis by examining the vast number of retired government employees collecting lavish six-figure annual pensions. 17,000 former government employees each collect annual pensions of at least $100,000, costing taxpayers more than $2 billion this year alone.
Taxpayers work longer and receive far less in retirement than government employees, who often retire in their early 50s with taxpayer-funded pensions worth multiple times the annual maximum Social Security retirement benefit for taxpayers, which is $32,000 if working until 66.
Based on data collected through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, TUA’s analysis of Illinois government pensions reveals nearly 100,000 Illinois government retirees now collect annual pensions of $50,000 or more, an increase of more than 7,000 additional government retirees since TUA’s 2016 Annual Illinois State Pensions Report.
How much these pensioners paid into their own retirement, in contrast to their generous payouts, is shocking.
For many government retirees, within two years they will collect more money in retirement than they contributed to their own pension. These gold-plated government pensions, subsidized by taxpayers, accumulate to multi-million dollar payouts over a natural lifetime. Using this data to calculate the estimated lifetime pension payout totals for these government retirees underscores the ever-increasing liabilities of defined-benefit government pensions. The system is an untenable burden on taxpayers and increasingly consumes billions of tax dollars in the state budget, worsening with every new hire and retiree adding to the cost.
The Illinois State Constitution’s pension-protection clause – Article XIII, Section 5 – chains generations of taxpayers to an uncontrolled financial burden foolishly created decades ago by politicians in Springfield. It must be amended for a sustainable financial future. Taxpayers are unable to pay this enormous cost, as the budget crisis clearly shows, and without changes, taxpayers will otherwise continue to leave Illinois by the thousands for states with booming economies, while the tax burden increases for those remaining in Illinois.
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Chicago – Taxpayers Untied of America (TUA) and our supporters once again helped defeat home rule referenda in two communities and defeat another property tax increase referendum on the ballot April 4, 2017, now totaling 423 victories on behalf of taxpayers since 1977.
“The voters of both Coal City and Lynwood were wise to resoundingly defeat these home rule referenda,” said Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America.
“Home rule means granting unlimited taxing authority to local bureaucrats. Why would voters want to cut themselves out of voting on tax increases? Why grant more authority over your hard-earned money?” said Tobin.
“Voters averted more tax hikes from local officials by rejecting to become another home rule unit of government in Illinois.”
Voters defeated Coal City’s home rule referendum by eighty-one percent, 747 to 175.
Lynwood’s home rule referendum was defeated 683 to 221, or by seventy-five percent of voters.
Home rule was last defeated by Lynwood residents and TUA supporters in November 2014, when sixty percent of voters rejected the attempt to have unlimited taxing authority imposed on the community.
TUA and our supporters were successful in defeating Hinsdale Township HSD 86’s property tax increase referenda. The Board of Education wanted to issue $76 million in new bonds, raising property taxes by more than $450 annually, which doesn’t include future property tax hikes to pay $24 million in interest.
Voters rejected the government school property tax hike for Hinsdale by nearly seventy-five percent of voters, or 9,102 to 3,169.
Unfortunately, eighty percent of voters approved Evanston/Skokie CCSD 65’s $450 annual property tax hike. Berwyn South SD 100’s property tax increase barely passed by less than two hundred votes. And Oak Park SD 97 voters passed referenda to raise their property taxes by $13.3 million and issue new bonds totaling $57.5 million. The average Oak Park homeowner will see a spike in their annual property tax bill by more than $700 annually.
Voter turnout was mixed across Illinois, and with the budget stalemate continuing in Springfield, some voters opted for tax hikes in the face sustained campaigns from officials, groups, and other advocates.
But in McHenry Township, TUA can point to other local victories on behalf of taxpayers. The political action arm of TUA, Tax Accountability, endorsed candidates won a number of races. Bob Anderson, Mike Rakestraw, Bill Cunningham, & Stan Wojewski won election as trustees, and Dan Aylward handily won the office of township clerk.
“The budget stalemate in Springfield and the results of these local elections prove how divided Illinoisans are when it comes to taxes and spending,” said Tobin. “More than ever, now is the time to take on the important work of charting new paths for Illinois’ financial future. But our journey won’t be easy unless we consider ways to dump the baggage of the political class which have run the state like the mob for decades.”