Items of Interest

DECATUR DECIMATED BY GOV. PENSION TAX INCREASES

DECATUR, IL – Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its updated study on Decatur area Macon 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:

“Tax raisers in Decatur and Macon County haven’t seen a tax increase they didn’t love,” said Val Zimnicki, TUA Director of Outreach.

“Decatur property taxes saw a punishing increase of nearly 15%, largely to cover IMRF pensions. IMRF pensions are funded by property taxes while the other five state pension systems are funded by the state income tax.”

“Decatur Schools are borrowing about $55 million, at taxpayers’ expense, to improve facilities. This is part of a plan that is supposed to reduce expenses by closing some facilities and expanding others. We will believe the next real reduction when we see it.”

“With one of the most rapidly shrinking populations in the state, Decatur should be making lots of tax cuts. Over the last few decades we heard how they needed more funding because of growth and yet they still demand more money when the population shrinks. Their lust for taxpayers hard-earned money never ends.”

“The Macon County effective property tax rate increased from $1.79 in 2017 to $2.45 in 2018. The county lost 1,009 residents in the same period.”

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

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

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. 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 state income tax. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements and their fat taxpayer-funded pensions in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Macon County 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. And his tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with the latest gargantuan gasoline tax-hike.”

“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.”

Elmer B. McPherson retired from Decatur School District 62 at the age of 56. His current annual pension is $190,024. His payments into TRS for his own pension were $192,724. His estimated lifetime pension payout, over a normal lifetime, will be about $5,759,375.

Lawrence R. Fichter retired from Macon County at the age of 64. His current annual pension is $157,680. His payments into IMRF totaled $211,401. He will realize about $2,645,709 in pension payments over a normal lifetime. Lawrence is also eligible for a social security pension.

Gayle Saunders retired at the age of 62 from Richland Community College. With a current annual pension of $246,881, Saunders will collect about $7,327,987 over an normal lifetime, after having paid into SURS only $342,926.

“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 accounts, 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.

INCREASING CLASS SIZE KEY TO SOLVING CPS FISCAL WOES

school TUA

CHICAGO—The Chicago Board of Education can help homeowners avoid another massive property tax increase by shedding thousands of teachers, according to the president of one of the country’s largest taxpayer organizations.

“Laying-off a few thousand teachers and increasing class size would greatly help balance the books,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).

For the 2018-2019 school year, CPS reported 37,375 staff positions including 21,334 teachers and 511 principals.

“Private schools have traditionally had larger class sizes than government schools, and they have done a much better job of educating their students,” said Tobin. “The teachers’ union wants to decrease class size in order to make more teaching positions necessary. It’s a power grab, and the added teachers will not increase student achievement.”

“In addition to larger class sizes, overpaid physical education teachers should be among the first to go. Gym, art and music classes should be made optional, so that only those students with the necessary talent can take advantage of them.”

“Study after study has established that there is no appreciable correlation between class size and academic achievement. For example, in 2018 the Campbell Collaboration, a Norwegian research group reviewed 127 studies on class size. Their research shows that small class sizes had little to no improvement to student performance.”

“The 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,” said Tobin.

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

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.”

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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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