Pension Reform

Medill Reports Chicago|As state’s finances sink, anti-tax group lets barbs, blame fly

Taxpayers United of America’s president, Jim Tobin, was quoted by Medill Reports Chicago about the latest data release of the top 200 Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System pensions..


Taxpayers United of America President Jim Tobin called Wednesday for Illinois taxpayers to oust Speaker of the House Michael Madigan in the upcoming March primary.
As lawmakers continue to grapple with the state’s pension system, which currently has more than $100 million in underfunded obligations, the TUA released its annual analysis of the Illinois’ Teachers’ Retirement System, tabulating the top 200 pension for former state teachers.
“He’s the biggest problem we have in this state,” Tobin said, referring to Madigan. “He’s the biggest single enemy of Illinois taxpayers.”
Madigan, along with the Democratic supermajority in Springfield, and Gov. Bruce Rauner, who Tobin supports, continue to spar over the state’s financial situation.
Madigan has represented the 22nd District on Chicago’s South Side for 45 years but faces an up-start primary challenger, Jason Gonzalez, 41, a Harvard-educated, first-time candidate. Although the TUA does support candidates, the organization has not endorsed Gonzalez.
Tobin said taxpayer anger has existed for sometime, but incumbents like Madigan have remained in office because no viable opposition has emerged. Tobin said he hopes Gonzalez can finally unseat Madigan.
“Boss Madigan has had the Illinois taxpayers in his death grip for far too long,” Tobin said. “There’s no accountability.”
Tobin has his own critics, too.
“Mr.Tobin’s opinions of TRS and other state government agencies have been consistently incorrect for at least 30 years,” David Urbanek, spokesman for the Teachers’ Retirement System wrote in an email. “His criticisms are false and without merit.”
TUA has compiled the annual list for the last decade. Tobin criticized teachers for collecting substantial pension payments and called for Illinois to adopt similar reforms as other states, including Arizona and Wisconsin.
The highest-compensated teacher on the 2016 list is Lawrence Wyllie, a 56-year veteran of Lincoln Way Community High School in New Lennox. Wyllie’s annual pension is about $312,000.
The average annual compensation for the top 10 teachers on the list is $289,900.
The Illinois primary is set for March 15, 2016.

Madison Record|Taxpayers' advocate says under-funded Judicial Retirement System rife with conflicts of interest

Taxpayers United of America’s president, Jim Tobin, was quoted by Madison Record about the latest pension data release of the Illinois Judicial Retirement System.


Most of the state’s public pension systems are perilously under-funded, and the Illinois Judicial Retirement System (JRS) is no exception.
Taxpayers United of America (TUA) recently analyzed JRS data and found these startling statistics:
– The average amount that judges contributed to their own pension fund is $124,387, or 4.5 percent of estimated lifetime payout.
– The average estimated lifetime payout is $2.8 million. Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3 percent compounded cost of living adjustment and assumes life expectancy of 85.
– The average years of service is 17.8.
“Our analysis of JRS reveals more of the same taxpayer abuse that we have found across the state’s government pension system,” said TUA President Jim Tobin, in a press release that provided JRS pensioner data.
“Not only do these judges benefit from the redistribution of taxpayer wealth, they also rule in their own favor to protect the Illinois pension cabal when practical, necessary reforms are challenged in the courts.”
Retired judges in the state’s Fifth Judicial District on average will make at least 20 times – or 2,000 percent – more in lifetime benefits than they paid into their pension fund.
A review of 39 of these judges’ benefits shows that the total of their contributions into JRS was $6,920,809 and their estimated lifetime benefit will be $150,543,282. The total paid to date to these judges is $33,096,062.
The current annual amount paid to them is $5,534,401, with an average annual benefit of $141,908.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Philip Rarick of Troy is the top recipient with an annual benefit of $203,859. He served 29.83 years on the bench, having retired from the high court at age 64 in December 2004. He contributed $179,998 into JRS, and his contribution of lifetime benefits is estimated at 4.5 percent.
He was paid $173,261 annually at the time he left office.
Rarick has so far received $1,913,508 in retirement benefits, and at the age of 85 will have received $3,984,528.
Fifth District Appellate Court Judge Gordon Maag receives an annual benefit of $111,084. He served 17.92 years on the bench, and at age 55, was not retained by voters in November 2004. He contributed $232,112 into JRS, and his contribution of lifetime benefits is estimated at 5.9 percent.
He was paid $163,070 annually at the time he left office.
Maag has so far received $947,139 in retirement benefits, and at the age of 85 will have received $3,931,995.
Recently reitred St. Clair County Associate Judge Ellen Dauber began receiving benefits at the beginning of this year. She will receive $154,037 annually. She served 25.42 years on the bench and retired at age 55. She contributed $282,290 into JRS, and her contribution of lifetime benefits is estimated at 3.8 percent.
Her annual salary when she retired was $181,212.
Dauber has so far received $12,836. At the age of 85 she will have received $7,341,213.
Former Madison County Associate Judge Duane Bailey began receiving benefits last July, after his term expired and he was not re-appointed. He receives $73,264 annually. He served 8.33 years on the bench and was 59 years old when he left. Bailey contributed $118,698 into JRS, and his contribution of lifetime benefits is estimated at 4.4 percent.
His rate of pay when he left office was $177,667.
Bailey has so far received $42,737. At the age of 85, he will have received $2,713,879.
In TUA’s press release issued Monday, it also found:
· Total number of JRS pension beneficiaries is approximately 1,121.
· 751, or 67 percent, collect pensions in excess of $100,000.
· 1,011, or 90 percent of retired judges, collect pensions in excess of $50,000.
· The average JRS pension is $117,473.
· The average age of retirement is 62.
· In fiscal year 2015, taxpayer contributions to the fund were $134,039,684 or 90 percent of total contributions.
· In fiscal year 2015, judges’ contribution to their own pension fund was $15,431,105.
· The net investment return was only 5.1 percent or $36,009,150.
· As of the end of fiscal year 2015, JRS had a 35.4 percent funded ratio with a $1.5 billion unfunded liability.
Tobin stated that the JRS pension system is “ripe with conflicts of interest and corruption and it is protected at every level of a government that chooses to serve itself rather than the constituents it was intended to protect.”
He said the JRS “has been stealing taxpayer wealth since 1941.”
Tobin blames Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan,
“The ever powerful boss Madigan has supported and promoted the passage of legislation to make these government pensions so very lucrative,” he said.
“It’s past time for the elite ‘ruling class’ to do what is right for taxpayers and to quit padding their bank accounts with the sweat of the working-class. It’s time for boss Madigan and these judges to make government pension reform a reality.”

The Ruling Class: Judges’ Retirement System

View as PDF CHICAGO—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of their updated analysis of the Judges’ Retirement System (JRS) of Illinois.
“There’s no question that Illinois has an elite, ruling class that is made wealthy on the backs of the hard-working middle class,” stated Jim Tobin, TUA president.
“Our analysis of JRS reveals more of the same taxpayer abuse that we have found across the state’s government pension system. Not only do these judges benefit from the redistribution of taxpayer wealth, they also rule in their own favor to protect the Illinois pension cabal when practical, necessary reforms are challenged in the courts.”
“This system is ripe with conflicts of interest and corruption and it is protected at every level of a government that chooses to serve itself rather than the constituents it was intended to protect. The following facts about JRS should dispel the myth that the system is fair and that taxpayers need to further subsidize this mess,” added Tobin.

  • The average JRS pension is $117,473
  • The average years of service are 18
  • The average age of retirement is 62
  • Total number of JRS pension beneficiaries is approximately 1,121
  • 751, or 67%, collect pensions in excess of $100,000
  • 1,011, or 90% of retired judges, collect pensions in excess of $50,000
  • The average amount that employees paid to their own pension fund is $124,387, or 4.5% of their estimated lifetime government pension payout
  • The average estimated lifetime government pension payout is $2.8 million*
  • In fiscal year 2015, forced taxpayer subsidies to the fund were $134,039,684 or 90% of total contributions
  • In fiscal year 2015, judges’ payments to their own pension fund was $15,431,105
  • As of the end of fiscal year 2015, JRS had a 35.4% funded ratio with a $1.5 billion unfunded liability

“It is unconscionable that any educated person could actually defend this system and not strike it down for what it is – a grab for taxpayers’ wallets to fund the political elite ruling class of Illinois.”
“As our data indicates, taxpayers have already paid more than their fair share of retirement benefits for these ‘poor civil servants,’, but these very judges have ruled that taxpayers must pay again and again for the mismanagement and unrealistic promises made so many years ago.”

“Tobias G. Barry remains at the top of our list with a very lucrative $210,205 annual pension benefit! The lifetime accumulation of those payments will reach a cool $2.5 million. His payments to that gold-plated pension were only $171,583.”
“Sheila M. O’Brien tops the list for estimated lifetime payouts. Retiring at only 55, she could realize more than $7.9 million in taxpayer funded pension benefits. Her current annual payment is a very comfortable $192,039.”
“Perhaps you remember Peg M. Breslin from our recent General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) analysis. Her annual GARS pension is $112,754. She also graces the JRS list of pensioners with a second annual pension of $73,182. Her total lifetime estimated payout could top $5.4 million. This poor civil servant had to work well into her fifties (56) to enjoy this loophole we like to call double-dipping!”

“Although JRS has been stealing taxpayer wealth since 1941, the really lavish payouts can be attributed to the efforts of Democrat Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael J. Madigan, who has plagued Illinois taxpayers for forty-five years and should be thrown out of office in the March 15 Illinois primary. The ever powerful Boss Madigan has supported and promoted the passage of legislation to make these government pensions so very lucrative,” charged Tobin.
“It’s time for the elite political ruling class of Illinois to do what is right for taxpayers and to quit padding their bank accounts with the sweat of the working-class. It’s time for Boss Madigan and these judges to make government pension reform a reality,” concluded Tobin.
*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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