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Tax Breaks for Illinois’ Biggest Employers Cost Taxpayers Dearly

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CHICAGO – Illinois’ effective corporate income tax rate of 9.5% is contributing to the state’s financial woes, according to the president of Taxpayers United of America.
“Illinois has the country’s fourth highest corporate income tax rate and rather than helping the state’s crisis level financial woes with increased revenue, it is compounding the problems by chasing away businesses. Unless, of course, those businesses are large enough to hold the state hostage by threatening to move their operations to a more business-friendly state,” stated Jim Tobin.
“Illinois lawmakers don’t have the economic good sense to lower the corporate income tax rate to a level that will attract and keep businesses. Instead, they engage in a damaging corporate welfare program that rewards those very businesses that threaten to leave.”
“Large corporations like Sears and CME have already siphoned money away from small businesses and individual taxpayers with their tax discount deals that resulted from the threat of leaving Illinois. Now there is a string of corporations trying to get their turn at the corporate welfare trough.”
“Office Depot, who recently merged with OfficeMax, is threatening to move the Naperville, IL, headquarters of OfficeMax to Boca Raton, Florida, home of the former’s corporate operations. Their leverage is the 2,000 jobs that would go with them. Decatur stands to lose a major employer in Archer Daniels Midland. They are citing the state’s burdensome income tax as the reason to leave Decatur and Illinois unless they receive a tax cut.”
“It’s time to say no to these corporations and end corporate welfare and lower the 9.5% corporate tax rate for everyone. Not only would we retain the large corporations and the revenue, we would retain the thousands of small businesses and the tens of thousands of individual taxpayers who have silently protested paying the state income taxes of the larger and richer corporations by leaving the state.”
“It’s no secret that Illinois is functionally bankrupt. Illinois and its flagship city of Chicago have been spanked for their reckless spending and borrowing by having their credit ratings repeatedly downgraded. Illinois now has the worst credit rating in the country. These spankings were, effectively, punishment for not reforming the state’s sinking government pension funds; however they did nothing to force Speaker Michael Madigan (D), and Senate President John Cullerton (D), to provide the necessary leadership to finalize even minimal reforms.”
“Instead of reforming their spend lust and a bankrupt government pension system, the Illinois General Assembly is considering at least three resolutions that would pave the way for a referendum to amend the State Constitution that would allow a graduated or progressive income tax. The proposed changes would increase the income taxes of 85% of Illinois’ taxpayers. The top rate for the individual income tax could be as high as 11%. But even worse would be the estimated 12.8% corporate income tax rate.”
“And we can’t forget that Springfield Democrats passed a temporary 67% increase in the personal income tax rate along with a 30% increase in the corporate income tax rate in a structured vote, literally in the last minutes of the 97th Illinois General Assembly. This ‘temporary’ increase didn’t make a dent in the state’s indebtedness as it was supposed to.”
“Such an irresponsible increase that will be sold as a tax increase only on the rich, will force even more back-room deals for the big corporations that will be paid for by individual taxpayers and small business – that is until they quietly take their jobs and their money to tax-friendly states.”

Yes, Pres. Cullerton, Impending Bankruptcy IS a Crisis!

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CHICAGO—Ill. Senate President, John Cullerton is putting Illinois at risk of going under by denying that the state’s pension systems are in crisis, according to the Executive Director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“Illinois’ five government-employee pension plans have a deficit of at least $100 billion,” said Rae Ann McNeilly, of TUA. “Due to decades of reckless overspending on lavish, gold-plated pension benefits of retired government employees, the plans have passed the point-of-no return. It is mathematically impossible to tax your way out of this crisis. The 67% increase in the state personal income tax and the anti-business 9.5% corporate income tax rate passed two years ago, every dollar of which is being pumped into these pension funds, didn’t even make a dent in the state’s unfunded liability. Unbelievably, Ill. Senate President, John Cullerton has been quoted recently stating that the Illinois’ pension system is not yet in crisis.”
“The so-called ‘reform’ plans of Ill. House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and Ill. Senate Pres. John Cullerton (D) do nothing more than provide political cover for these career politicians, falling critically short of the necessary reforms.”
“While they play Russian Roulette with Illinois’ finances, the number of government retirees making more than $100,000 in annual pension benefits has grown to more than 10,000 and the unfunded liability grows, conservatively, by $5 million each day that passes without real pension reform.”
“Immediate and sweeping pension reform can stop Illinois’ downward spiral but will take serious political courage. Will you step up to the plate, Pres. Cullerton and Speaker Madigan? Or will you turn your back on Illinois as you ride off into retirement, leaving the state in virtual ruin?”
“Reform must include ending defined benefit pensions for all new government hires in order to permanently eliminate new, unfunded government pension liabilities. New government hires should plan for their own retirements by being placed in Social Security and 401(k) plans, like those in the private sector.”
“Each current government employee must be required to contribute an additional 10% toward his or her pension, saving taxpayers $150 billion over the next 35 years.”
“Finally, requiring Illinois government employees and retirees to pay for one half of his or her healthcare premiums would save an estimated $230 billion over current projections.”
“If these reforms are not put in place soon, Illinois will become a larger version of Detroit.”

Green Bay Taxpayers Duped by Government Pension Secrecy

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Green Bay—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of its study of the Green Bay Municipal, Brown County, and Brown County Government school employees.
“The State of Wisconsin, hiding behind a secrecy law, refuses to release actual pension payments derived from huge taxpayer subsidies. Because we have a right to know just how much ‘public servants’ get paid not to work, we must estimate the pensions of current employees,” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA.
“While Wisconsin may have made big moves in improving their government pension system, the state is a long way from stabilizing a broken system.”
“Taxpayers need to listen to economists who know what they are talking about and not the government bureaucrats who are responsible for the fund’s performance. Wisconsin’s pension fund is not 99% funded and if we don’t face reality and plan appropriately, we will be in as terrible shape as Illinois.”
“A government pension’s unfunded liability is calculated by using a rate of return on investment or discount rate to determine the future value of the current value of the asset, or cash balance compared to the total defined benefits that have to be paid out.  Wisconsin pension fund managers are using 7.2% for that calculation when private standards call for a rate of about 3.25%.”
“That may not sound like much of a difference but what it means to Wisconsin taxpayers is about $60 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to the State Budget Solution analysis.”
“75% to 80% of local taxes go to pay the salaries and pensions of government employees. Taxpayers have a right to see the details of those payments. How can taxpayers understand exactly how much their government employees are being paid in total compensation, salary plus benefits, without access to the actual payments to retirees? Wisconsin taxpayers have a right to review, evaluate, and make decisions about those payments.”
“That is precisely why we are here now, releasing the salaries and pension estimates for the Green Bay and Brown County government employees. $60 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities is really hard to comprehend, but when you see what actual people in your community get in salaries and how those salaries become a pension tax burden of more than $10,437 for every man, woman, and child, the problem becomes clear.”
“For example, Yogesh C. Pareek, Brown County clinical director, makes $245,242 in annual salary. Assuming he meets the criteria for a full pension, he would collect an estimated annual pension and Social Security payment of $197,600*. Those annual payments would accumulate to $4,149,592* over a normal lifetime. Remember this is what he would be paid not to work for about 21 years.”
“Brown County government school employee Michelle Langenfeldgets an annual salary of $190,000 plus another $50,000 in fringe benefits. Her estimated annual pension with Social Security is $159,000* and her estimated lifetime payout is $3,339,000*.”
“Green Bay municipal government employee, Edward E. Wiesner gets an annual gross of $108,211. His estimated lifetime pension payout is $2,136,705* based on his annual estimated pension and Social Security payment of $101,748*.”
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“Wisconsin taxpayers who are on the hook for unfunded liabilities get an average ‘pension’ from Social Security of about $15,000. Private sector taxpayers don’t enjoy nearly iron-clad job security and struggle with average unemployment of 6.7% and in some areas, over 10%.”
“While our pension estimates are a very useful education tool, I encourage Green Bay and all Wisconsin taxpayers to demand the right to review pension payments. I have written letters to Governor Walker and every member of the state legislature, urging them to stop hiding pension payments from taxpayer review.”
“Wisconsin needs not only to be more transparent, but to continue with pension reforms that will bring its government employee benefits in line with those of the private sector. Specifically, government pensions need to be replaced with 401k-style retirement savings accounts where taxpayer contributions are made when the conditions allow it. Government employees need to increase their contributions to match the level of the private sector, and government retirees and employees need to pay for at least half of their health-care premiums.”
*Gross wages provided by government administrator and may include overtime or PTO that would not be eligible for pension calculation.
Annual Pension Estimate Assumptions:
1. Assumes employee retires one year from now and this salary would be the second to last salary.
2. Assumes 41 or more years of employment with SS W/H, retirement age is 65, and fully vested with 70% pension
3. Plus Social Security (non-firefighters) assuming 4% salary increases over last 35 years.
Lifetime Pension Estimate uses IRS Life Expectancy Table (Form 590) at age 65 = 21 years

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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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