News Releases

Rep. Sandack's "Rain Tax" Opens Floodgates to Corruption and Bureaucrat Control

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CHICAGO—The president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today called upon DuPage County taxpayers to fight tax increases allowed by HB1522, sponsored by DuPage County State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-81, Downers Grove) and signed by Gov. Patrick Quinn (D). HB1522 allows DuPage County to enact a Rain Tax on all properties in the county.
“Sandack sandbagged DuPage County taxpayers,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President. “This bizarre bill allows ‘stormwater utility fees’ on all properties in DuPage County, including homes, businesses, schools, churches and forest preserves. This could be the largest tax increase in DuPage County history.”
“In addition to higher taxes, a fee-waiver scheme would ‘persuade’ property owners to install and maintain expensive ‘green’ infrastructures on their properties. To make things worse, once these are installed, unelected county bureaucrats would control these infrastructures and, therefore, that person’s property.”
“One can easily predict the widespread corruption that would result from granting fee-waivers. DuPage County politicians are no strangers to corruption.”
“I urge DuPage County taxpayers to attend the Tuesday, Aug. 27 DuPage County Board meeting at 6:45 pm, at the DuPage County Complex, 421 N. County Farm Road, in Wheaton, Illinois. Taxpayers should let the DuPage County politicians know how strongly they oppose any ‘Rain Tax,’ and that any board member who votes for such a tax will be flushed from office on a tidal wave of votes.”

Shawano City and County Gov. Bureaucrats Work Feverishly to Hide from Taxpayers

Shawano—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of its study of the Shawano County, Shawano Municipal, and Shawano government school employees.
“The State of Wisconsin refuses to release actual pension payments in an effort to hide the huge subsidies from taxpayers. We can’t let them get away with that so we estimate the pensions for current government employees, giving taxpayers an idea of what their ‘public servants’ get paid not to work,” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA.
“The Shawano School Board embarks on its annual meeting, better known as a pep rally for their government employee supporters. As they will shortly present their budgets, you can expect to find holes and unanswered questions regarding exactly how approximately 75% to 80% of your property tax dollars are being spent.”
“This is precisely why we are here now, releasing the salaries and pension estimates for the Shawano government school employees. If you recall, last year, the board intended to increase property taxes to make up for the loss of revenue from the state. In a series of planned procedural moves, they prevented taxpayers from debating the issue at all. They railroaded us into doing what they wanted to preserve their benefits. It is important for you to know how much each of these bureaucrats receives and how much they will cost the taxpayers when they retire with their million-dollar pensions.”
“Even with the recent, positive reforms implemented in Wisconsin, there is a long way to go to fix the pension problem here in Wisconsin. Looking at the top salaries in Shawano and estimating pensions for those employees, it is easy to see that a system that pays so many millions of dollars to people who do absolutely nothing is unsustainable. About 80% of local taxes go to pay salaries and benefits of government employees. As more retirees have to be paid out of that 80%, less money is available to pay current employees for the services we need today.”
“Wisconsin, like all state pension systems, gets away with very loose standards in calculating their pension system’s health. Unlike pensions in the private sector, government pension fund assets are over-stated. But when new accounting standards go into effect next year, even Wisconsin which boasts a fully-funded pension system, will be underfunded by billions of dollars.”
“But typical taxpayers can’t even fathom billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. But when the average taxpayer sees the disparity between the average Shawano wage of about $29,000 per year with 7.5% unemployment and the salaries and pensions of the government bureaucrats they fund, there is no confusion over why government pay and benefits are unsustainable.”

“Todd Carlson, who will run at least portions of the school board meeting as the board’s president, has a salary of $135,294*. That salary reflects about a 5.7% increase since our last study here in Shawano. On top of that, he gets about $38,164 in fringe benefits – each year. His estimated annual pension including Social Security benefits, is $123,662** and his estimated lifetime payout is a stunning $2,596,895***.”
“Gary Cumberland, another Shawano government school administrator, gets an annual salary of $110,897 plus $34,538 in fringe benefits. His estimated lifetime pension payout including Social Security benefits is a cool $2,184,464 based on his estimated combined annual pension and Social Security payments of  $104,022.”
“While our pension estimates are a very useful education tool, I encourage Shawano and all Wisconsin taxpayers to demand the right to review pension payments, especially since taxpayers, until the recent changes, have funded nearly 100% of the pensions and healthcare premiums on behalf of government employees. I have written letters to Governor Walker and every member of the state legislature, urging them to stop hiding pension payments from taxpayer review.”
“Lawmakers aren’t even willing to answer questions about the secrecy surrounding pension payments. Wisconsin Reporter Bureau Chief, Matt Kittle said about the statute:
‘Wisconsin Reporter on Tuesday attempted to contact several state lawmakers asking why Wisconsin keeps pension information private while so many other states shine a light. None responded to the question as of this post.’
So not only are they hiding behind a secrecy law, they are hiding from the press to even answer to the public.”
“And here in Shawano County, a government bureaucrat has stalled our legal request for salary information for over a month. Thomas Madsen of the Shawano County administrative office has refused to provide the salaries for county employees in a series of stalls and excuses, designed to make us give up. Mr. Madsen assumed we would get frustrated and go away. We did not. Please give Mr. Madsen a call (715-526-4641, thomas.madsen@co.shawano.wi.us) and let him know what you think about his blatant attempts to conceal the salaries that you, the taxpayers, are funding.”

“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, retirement age is 65, and pension is 70%
3. Plus Social Security assuming 4% salary increases over last 35 years.
***Lifetime Pension Estimate uses IRS Life Expectancy Table (Form 590) at age 65 = 21 years

Chicago Government School Pensions Drive Chicago the way of the Motor City

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Chicago—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of its second study of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF) which reveals many pensioners are on track to collect more than $5 million dollars in lifetime pension payments, benefits that are much more generous than those in the now bankrupt city of Detroit.
“The top 200 Chicago government-teacher pensions are all over $115,000 per year,” – stated TUA president, Jim Tobin.
“Detroit gives us a peek into Chicago’s future and an illustration of what happens when politicians commit future taxpayers to foot the bill for today’s services, in a deal made with union bosses to get elected. This is the future and the bills are due.”
“Chicago is cutting services and laying off thousands of employees that we can’t afford to pay because we are paying so much to so many to do absolutely nothing. Hopefully, Illinois’ government bureaucrats realize that there will be no bail-outs from their friend in DC and will actually do something about the fiscal mess they have created.”
“These government-teacher pensions are a prime example of why Chicago and the entire state are in financial trouble. We are walking directly in the footsteps of Detroit and as we do, more taxpayers will leave to lower tax states, many more government employees will be laid off, and still more will rush to retirement and their lavish pensions. It doesn’t take a genius to understand how that toxic combination of behaviors will accelerate our financial demise.”
“Government bureaucrats need to choose between union bosses and their quid pro quo deals, and the taxpayers who fund the system. They can’t pretend that they didn’t see the crisis coming; we have given them ample warning. Detroit was warned and yet they refused to do what was necessary to protect the taxpayers, bondholders, and the retirees who will be devastated by the irresponsibility of their leadership.”
“Chicago’s government-teachers’ pensions are unsustainable and clearly illustrate why we can’t continue to pay such astronomical amounts to people for, in many cases, more years of retirement than years of active employment. Chicago taxpayers, whose average household income is $47,371, and struggle with 9.3% unemployment need to know how much Chicago’s government-teacher retirees are being paid not to work and the astronomical accumulation of those payments over an average lifetime.”
Top 200 Chicago Government School Pensions
“Manford Byrd tops our list of taxpayer-funded annual pensions at $174,157 per year, a $14,804 increase since our last report in 2011 thanks to the generous 3% COLA.”
“Barbara Eason-Watkins, Herman Escobar, Denise Gamble, Valerie Brown, Maria Rodriguez O’Keefe, Noemi Esquivel, Elizabeth Gonzalez, Miguel Trujillo, and Everett Edwards will all collect over $5 million in estimated lifetime pension payouts! * ”
“Without sweeping and immediate reform, CTPF will collapse and take Chicago with it. It’s mathematically impossible to tax your way out of this problem. Real pension reform must include increasing employee contributions by 10%, increasing healthcare contributions to 50%, eliminating all COLA’s, and replacing the defined benefit system with a defined contribution system for all new hires.”
*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% compounded COLA and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590).

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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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