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Disclosure News Online | WHO’S COLLECTING THE BIGGEST ILLINOIS PENSIONS?

Taxpayers United of America’s recent study of the top 200 Illinois pensioners was cited by Disclosure News Online.


discartBefore getting into the list of individuals with the biggest pensions in Illinois, here’s a look at the average pension payout in the state’s five pension systems and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (you can view the rest of the fast facts and figures here):

  1. Judges’ Retirement System (JRS) – $128,628
  2. General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) – $56,520
  3. Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) – $51,288
  4. State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) – $38,025
  5. State Universities Retirement System (SURS) – $37,248
  6. IMRF – $13,278*
*The average annual pension figure is from IMRF’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the latest available. The 2014 report will be published in June.

Taxpayers United of America, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to tax relief and “fighting government pensions,” released its updated study of the top 200 Illinois pensioners who, as of Feb. 1, 2015, receive more than $200,000 a year in pension benefits.
“There are now 12,154 Illinois government pensions over $100,000 and 85,893 over $50,000,” TUA President Jim Tobin said. “Those are staggering numbers considering the taxpayers who fund these pensions get an average Social Security pension of about $15,000 a year.”
Of the state’s 200 biggest pensioners, 81 belong to TRS and 111 to SURS. A Better Government Association investigation in 2013 revealed many of the top annuitants were University of Illinois at Chicago employees who retired, began collecting their pensions, and then were rehired after waiting the required 60 days in order to work part-time for a smaller salary.
Listed below are the top 25 pensioners along with their current or previous titles and employers. A data table follows with all 200 individuals who are receiving the most in Illinois pensions. Last year’s report can be viewed here.

*Estimated lifetime pension payout includes the 3 percent compounded cost-of-living adjustment and assumes life expectency of 85 (IRS Form 590), according to TUA.

1. Tapas Das Gupta (SURS)

  • Title: Professor, Head of Department of Surgical Oncology, Chief of Service (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $466,409
  • Employee Contribution: $475,331
  • Age at Retirement: 72
  • Pension Collected to Date: $4,256,321
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $5,203,131*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 9.1%

2. Edward Abraham (SURS)

  • Title: Orthopedic Surgeon (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $453,164
  • Employee Contribution: $535,165
  • Age at Retirement: 66
  • Pension Collected to Date: $3,198,430
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $9,002,459*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 5.9%

3. Mahmood Mafee (SURS)

  • Title: Clinical Professor of Radiology (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $404,463
  • Employee Contribution: $562,570
  • Age at Retirement: 64
  • Pension Collected to Date: $3,038,008
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $8,778,156*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 6.4%

4. Herand Abcarian (SURS)

  • Title: Professor of Surgery, Division of Colorectal Surgery (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $370,140
  • Employee Contribution: $628,987
  • Age at Retirement: 67
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,092,580
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $6,833,263*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 9.2%

5. Ronald Albrecht (SURS)

  • Title: Associate Professor of Anesthesiology; Chief, Anesthesiology Service, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $368,742
  • Employee Contribution: $462,077
  • Age at Retirement: 70
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,554,786
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $5,380,260*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 8.6%

6. James Ausman (SURS)

  • Title: Former Head of Neurosurgery at UIC. Currently Professor of Neurosurgery at UCLA
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $338,630
  • Employee Contribution: $418,471
  • Age at Retirement: 70
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,143,866
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $5,155,075*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 8.1%

7. Jacob Wilensky (SURS)

  • Title: Professor of Ophthalmology (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $315,649
  • Employee Contribution: $410,791
  • Age at Retirement: 62
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,822,676
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $7,302,378*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 5.6%

8. Phillip Forman (SURS)

  • Title: Professor Emeritus in Health Policy & Administration Department (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $307,702
  • Employee Contribution: $376,541
  • Age at Retirement: 67
  • Pension Collected to Date: $3,237,873
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $4,871,504*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 7.7%

9. Lawrence Wyllie (TRS)

  • Title: District Superintendent
  • Employer: Lincoln-Way HSD 210
  • Annual Pension: $302,991
  • Employee Contribution: $398,488
  • Age at Retirement: 75
  • Pension Collected to Date: $461,651
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $3,155,952*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 12.6%

10. Joel Sugar (SURS)

  • Title: Professor of Ophthalmology; Cornea Service Vice Chair; Clinical Operations (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $299,512
  • Employee Contribution: $446,643
  • Age at Retirement: 59
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,732,588
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $8,303,189
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 5.4%

11. Edward Andersen (IMRF)

  • Title: Former President & CEO, currently Senior Advisor
  • Employer: CGH Medical-Sterling
  • Annual Pension: $298,123
  • Employee Contribution: $312,570
  • Age at Retirement: 64
  • Pension Collected to Date: $561,267
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $8,049,191*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 3.9%

12. Henry Bangser (TRS)

  • Title: District Superintendent
  • Employer: New Trier TWP HSD 203
  • Annual Pension: $294,524
  • Employee Contribution: $275,366
  • Age at Retirement: 57
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,156,709
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $9,554,224*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 2.9%

13. Gary Catalani (TRS)

  • Title: District Superintendent
  • Employer: CUSD 200
  • Annual Pension: $293,214
  • Employee Contribution: $289,151
  • Age at Retirement: 56
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,890,723
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $10,299,070*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 2.8%

14. Craig Bazzani (SURS)

  • Title: Former Vice President for Business Affairs, currently Senior Advisor for Foundation Advancement at the University of Illinois Foundation
  • Employer: U of I Urbana-Champaign
  • Annual Pension: $290,220
  • Employee Contribution: $298,686
  • Age at Retirement: 55 (Retired under a pension formula intended for police officers and firefighters)
  • Pension Collected to Date: $3,070,262
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $9,385,910*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 3.2%

15. Laura Murray

  • Title: District Superintendent
  • Employer: Homewood-Flossmoor CHSD 233
  • Annual Pension: $288,472
  • Employee Contribution: $298,591
  • Age at Retirement: 57
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,676,100
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $9,948,462*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 3.0%

16. George Honig (SURS)

  • Title: Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics (Current)
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $288,017
  • Employee Contribution: $401,027
  • Age at Retirement: 67
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,712,912
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $4,919,828*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 8.2%

17. Joel Milner (SURS)

  • Title: Professor Emeritus, Psychology (Current)
  • Employer: NIU
  • Annual Pension: $285,635
  • Employee Contribution: $429,142
  • Age at Retirement: 63
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,978,988
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $6,859,441*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 6.3%

18. Mary Curley (TRS)

  • Title: District Superintendent
  • Employer: Hinsdale CCSD 181
  • Annual Pension: $280,172
  • Employee Contribution: $248,708
  • Age at Retirement: 55
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,806,626
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $10,362,182*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 2.4%

19. John Folse (SURS)

  • Title: Chair of Department of Surgery
  • Employer: SIU Carbondale College of Medicine
  • Annual Pension: $279,703
  • Employee Contribution: $288,201
  • Age at Retirement: 67
  • Pension Collected to Date: $3,356,496
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $4,221,029*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 6.8%

20. James Schuler (SURS)

  • Title: Surgeon, Division of Vascular Surgery
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $277,703
  • Employee Contribution: $564,913
  • Age at Retirement: 59
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,330,531
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $7,928,160*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 7.1%

21. Gerald Moss (SURS)

  • Title: Dean of UIC College of Medicine
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $274,386
  • Employee Contribution: $475,674
  • Age at Retirement: 70
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,251,535
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $3,708,289*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 12.8%

21. Henry Gmitro (TRS)

  • Title: District Superintendent
  • Employer: CCSD 93
  • Annual Pension: $273,573
  • Employee Contribution: $282,750
  • Age at Retirement: 56
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,314,213
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $10,192,462*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 2.8%

22. Reginald Weaver (TRS)

  • Title: President
  • Employer: National Education Association
  • Annual Pension: $273,113
  • Employee Contribution: $264,894
  • Age at Retirement: 69
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,576,733
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $4,351,312*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 6.1%

23. Maureen Hager (TRS)

  • Title: District Superintendent
  • Employer: North Shore SD 112
  • Annual Pension: $271,653
  • Employee Contribution: $277,774
  • Age at Retirement: 58
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,353,397
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $9,143,454*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 3.0%

24. Melvin Lopata (SURS)

  • Title: Professor Emeritus of Medicine
  • Employer: UIC
  • Annual Pension: $270,174
  • Employee Contribution: $417,772
  • Age at Retirement: 62
  • Pension Collected to Date: $2,625,165
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $6,085,494*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 6.9%

25. Stephen Rugg (SURS)

  • Title: Comptroller, Vice President for Planning and Administration
  • Employer: U of I Urbana-Champaign
  • Annual Pension: $266,138
  • Employee Contribution: $318,649
  • Age at Retirement: 63
  • Pension Collected to Date: $1,773,886
  • Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $6,321,201*
  • Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 5.0%

Killer Taxes Choke the Life Out of Will County

View as PDF Chicago, IL – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Joliet municipal, Will County, Will County government schools, and Joliet Junior College retirees.
“Across the 5 state pension funds, there are more than 12,154 government pensioners collecting six-figure pensions and over 85,893 pensioners collecting more than $50,000 where the local per-capita income is about $30,377 and the state debt per capita is $24,959,” said Jared Labell, TUA’s director of operations.
“266 Will County government teachers are drawing more than $100,000 in annual pension payments and 2,092 are getting more than $50,000! On average, these government pensioners contribute only about 5.5% to their own retirement payout.”
“Until 2011, Joliet was the fastest growing city in the region but that growth has slowed to just .85% in 2014. Government is the problem – government is the largest employer in Joliet and government payroll and pensions come from taxation. Government jobs don’t create wealth or growth – they simply siphon more money away from individual taxpayers.”
“The Joliet police and fire pension funds are in abysmal shape, each funded only about 50%.  Worse yet, Joliet’s IMRF liabilities are only about 35% funded. This is putting services in jeopardy, as pensions for services rendered in the past are competing for tax dollars needed for current services.”
“Taxpayers already are contributing four times as much to the pension funds than the government employees themselves, so for every dollar an employee puts into the fund, you and I put in 4.  Forcing taxpayers to pay such a heavy portion of someone else’s retirement is criminal.”
“It is time to protect the future of taxpayers who have been scammed by politicians and union thugs into going along with a system that creates and constitutionally protects a special class of government elite.”
“It’s also time for union leadership to have a frank discussion with the rank and file, educating them on the inevitable collapse of an unsustainable crony system designed to siphon money from taxpayers for the benefit of the few. The unions should use those dues forced from members to bail out the pension system rather than use those funds to elect political cronies who keep them in power.”
“Take a look at John R. Harper who retired from Plainfield SD 202. He gets $239,019 in annual pension payments. Retiring at only 54, his taxpayer funded pension payout will accumulate to more than $11 million! And his personal investment in that payout? A mere 3.2%.”
 
“Then there is Daniel T. Tapper, retired from Will County government. He gets $122,126 in annual pension payments and because he retired at only 50, those payments with compounded annual cost of living adjustments will accumulate to $6.4 million! His personal investment was only about 2.6% or $166,905.”
Click to view pensions for

 
“The average Social Security ‘pension’ is only about $15,000 a year and taxpayers pay 15% of every penny they earn for that modest payout.”
“This government pension system is the single cause of Illinois’ critical financial situation and it is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of this situation. 80% of local taxes go to fund government employee pay, pensions, and benefits.”
“The Illinois government has failed us; local governments have failed us. It is in everyone’s best interest to solve the pension problem before the system completely collapses. It is no longer a matter of ‘if’ it will collapse, but when.”
“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, then we need to get that on the ballot as soon as possible!”

The Register-Mail|Pension problem riles watchdog

Taxpayers United of America’s Jared Labell was quoted by The Register-Mail on the pension crisis in Illinois


GALESBURG — The privately-funded watchdog group Taxpayers United of America released its findings on problematic pensions in local governments Wednesday.registerart

Director of Operations Jared Labell isolated two retired educators in Knox County with pensions he said are an example of the out-of-control system in Illinois. Labell put the cause of the problem on lawmakers in Springfield and hiring practices of local governments.

“I certainly don’t put the blame on the individuals being hired in these positions. … I think the fault is with the politicians locally, with the politicians statewide and I think the blame needs to be passed on them first and foremost because they are also part of the pension system,” Labell said.

However, in Galesburg and Knox County, local elected officials have little control over pensions, most of which are negotiated at the state level. Galesburg Mayor John Pritchard said the city has very little influence on pension rates.

“We get a bill from IMRF and we pay it,” Pritchard said. “As for the fire and police pensions, the establishment of those are set by state law.”

At the state level, pension reform legislation is currently being reviewed by the Illinois Supreme Court. The legislation would change the cost of living adjustment rate to keep pensions from ballooning over time. Labell said that legislation is a good start but it doesn’t go far enough.

State employee unions have opposed the legislation, saying it takes away money promised to the workers. Labell said the unions should help pay to ease the situation.

“The unions should use those dues forced from members to bail out the pension system rather than use those funds to elect political cronies to keep them in power,” Labell said.

To help combat the pension problem down the road, Labell said new hires should be switched to a 401(k)-style retirement plan and contribute more toward their pensions while they are still employed.

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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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