Pension Reform

Stunning Champaign and Decatur Government Pensions Crush Taxpayers

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Champaign—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of a new study of the pensioners of the Cities of Champaign and Decatur, Macon and Champaign County government schools, Richland Community College, Parkland Community College, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
“Hundreds of retired local government retirees are getting multi-million dollar pensions,” stated Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of TUA. “This is not what they are getting paid to provide any kind of service to taxpayers, but what they get paid to do absolutely nothing.”
“Taxpayers’ portion of the stunning pension payouts has increased by 427% since 1998 vs. 75% for the government employees over the same period, according to a report by Illinois Policy Institute. And if recent ‘reforms’ survive a court challenge, the taxpayers will be transferring even more of their wealth to the overpaid government retirees.”
“Not only is the taxpayers’ share of those lavish pensions disproportionate to the government employees who will benefit, but the average government lifer pension is higher than 68% of the working taxpayers’ full-time annual pay. Keep in mind that the average Social Security pension for taxpayers is only about $15,000 a year. This is the income inequality that we really need to be focused on.”
“Although ill-conceived from the beginning, government pensions were never supposed to make multi-millionaires out of retired ‘civil-servants.’ Government is robbing taxpayers blind, in many cases causing people to lose their own homes in order to fund the salaries and benefits of the government employees. As a general rule, about 80% of local taxes go to fund these government salaries and benefits.”
“It is past time to bring government pay and benefits in line with private sector compensation because simple math tells us that we can’t tax our way out of the financial debacle that the government employee defined benefit pension cartel has created.”
“Here’s what some of our local ‘civil servants’ are raking in from their taxpayer subsidized pensions: retired University of Illinois Urbana Champaign employee Craig Bazzani gets a lush annual pension of $281,767 that will accumulate to a stunning $9,431,462 over a normal lifetime. Retiring at the age of 55, Bazzani contributed only about 3.2% of his own money to his estimated lifetime payout.”
“Retiring from Mahomet Seymour CUSD 3 at only 54, John W. Alumbaugh collects a sweet $166,414 this year. He will realize an estimated $6,482,530 in lifetime payments having invested only 2.7% of his payroll to that huge payout.”
“Decatur government school district 61 retiree, Elmer B. McPherson will get $163,916 in pension payments this year – just about the same amount of his own money that he invested in his estimated lifetime payout of $5,784,519. Having retired at 56, his own pension contributions are only about 2.8% of those millions he will collect.”
View the complete list of pensions here:

“These are shocking amounts for taxpayers to be on the hook. And while these represent the highest pensions, it does not diminish the fact that every local taxpayer pays about four times more toward the city government pensions than the very government employees who will collect.”
“Illinois’ government employee pensions are in dire trouble with no end in sight. Government employees, like the vast majority of taxpayers, should save for their own retirement. Taxpayers simply can’t afford to pay so many, so much, to do absolutely nothing and retirees can’t afford the inaction of Illinois lawmakers who are afraid to alienate the special-interest money that keeps them in office.”
“I have analyzed pensions of government employees in 19 states and have personally visited 17 of those states to disclose the government pension largesse across the country and these Champaign and Decatur pensions are some of the highest I have encountered. And everyone knows, or should know, that Illinois has the most friable pension systems in the entire country. As a direct result of the government pension crisis, Illinois also has the worst credit rating. Desperate politicians at every level are exacerbating the problems by raising taxes and forcing productive taxpayers, and the jobs they create, out of the state.”
“TUA supports complete government pension reform that would place all new hires into retirement savings accounts like 401(k)s, increasing existing employees’ contributions to their own pension, raising the retirement age to 67 for full benefits, and increasing retiree and employee contribution to their own healthcare to 50% of the premium.”
“If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to implement these changes, then let’s get it on the ballot at the next opportunity. It’s time the union bosses and government bureaucrats provide truthful options and education to the rank and file, of the crisis state of Illinois’ pension systems.”
“If they knew the truth, members would be the first in line to support pension reform. If they knew just how tenuous their own pensions are, they would be the cheerleaders of reform.”
*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% compounded COLA and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590).

836 DuPage County Government Teacher Pensions in the top 6.6% National Income Level

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Chicago—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of a new study of the pensioners of Naperville municipal, Naperville Police and Firefighters, and DuPage County government teacher pensions.
“836 of the DuPage County government teacher pensions are over $100,000 which places them in the top 6.6% income level nationally,” stated Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of TUA. “This is not what they are getting paid to educate our youth, but what they get paid to do absolutely nothing.”
“The average retirement age for these $100,000 pensioners is only 57. Not only does that exceed the area’s average household income of $73,000, but the average Social Security pension is only about $15,000 and in most cases, you must wait until you are 67 to collect full benefits.”
“Although ill-conceived from the beginning, government pensions were never supposed to make multi-millionaires out of retired ‘civil-servants’.”
“The Illinois 5 state pension funds are critically underfunded. Conservative estimates put that unfunded liability at about $187 billion. These do not include the pensions for local police and fire. Naperville police and fire pension funds are only about 62% and 67%, respectively, funded. That means about $700 for every man, woman, and child residing in Naperville for the police and fire unfunded liabilities alone. Combined with the state pension liabilities, that’s about $15,200 of liability for every man, woman, and child in the city.”
“The burden on taxpayers for these unfunded liabilities is unconscionable. While those who stand to receive millions in taxpayer subsidized pension payments argue that they ‘earned their pensions and are entitled to them’, so too are the taxpayers entitled to keep their homes which they worked all of their lives to purchase. But those very homes will be taken away if the property taxes that fund these lavish pensions are not paid. 80% of property taxes go to fund salaries and benefits of government employees.”
“It has never been clearer that the job-killing policies of raising taxes to prop up the gold-plated government pensions, and the union votes that follow, are more important to these government bureaucrats than the future of Illinois itself.”
“Between the state pension funds and the local police and firefighter pension funds, taxpayers are being taxed to death despite the fact that it is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of this problem.”
“It is past time to bring government pay and benefits in line with private sector compensation.”
“How did we get to such mind boggling pension liabilities? Retired Community Unit SD 200 employee, Gary T. Catalani, is enjoying a cool $284,674 annual pension that will accumulate to a stunning $10,345,806 in estimated lifetime payouts because he was able to retire at the ripe old age of 56. His personal contribution to that payout was only a little more than $289,000, or 2.8% of his estimated lifetime payout.”
“Then there is the infamous double-dipper, Robert Marshall who retired from the police force with a comfortable annual pension of $104,129 which will accumulate to about $4,035,726 in estimated lifetime payments. Apparently, when he ‘retired’ at the age of 54 he wasn’t quite all worked out because he was rehired as the Naperville police chief and draws an additional salary of about $155,000 per year. He is drawing from taxpayers about $259,000 a year…..while he builds a second taxpayer funded pension!”
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“These are shocking amounts for taxpayers to be on the hook. And while these represent the highest pensions, it does not diminish the fact that every Naperville taxpayer pays about four times more toward the city government pensions than the very government employees who will collect.”
“Illinois’ government employee pensions are in dire trouble with no end in sight. Government employees, like the vast majority of taxpayers should save for their own retirement. Taxpayers simply can’t afford to pay so many, so much, to do absolutely nothing and retirees can’t afford the inaction of Illinois lawmakers who are afraid to alienate the special-interest money that keeps them in office.”
“I have analyzed pension of government employees in 19 states and have personally visited 17 of those states to disclose the government pension largesse across the country and these Naperville and DuPage County pensions are some of the highest I have encountered. And everyone knows, or should know, that Illinois has the most friable pension systems in the entire country. As a direct result of the government pension crisis, Illinois also has the worst credit rating. Desperate politicians at every level are exacerbating the problems by raising taxes and forcing productive taxpayers, and the jobs they create, out of the state.”
“TUA supports complete government pension reform that would place all new hires into retirement savings accounts like 401(k)s, increasing existing employees’ contributions to their own pension, raising the retirement age to 67 for full benefits, and increasing retiree and employee contribution to their own healthcare to 50% of the premium.”
“If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to implement these changes, then let’s get it on the ballot at the next opportunity. It’s time the union bosses and government bureaucrats provide truthful options and education to the rank and file, of the crisis state of Illinois’ pension systems.”
“If they knew the truth, members would be the first in line to support pension reform. If they knew just how tenuous their own pensions are, they would be the cheerleaders of reform.”
*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% compounded COLA and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590).

Government Pensions Hold Freeport Property Owners Hostage

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Freeport—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of a new study of the pensioners of Freeport municipal, Stephenson County governments, Stephenson County government schools, Freeport retired police and fire, and Highland Community College.
“Illinois leaders, Gov. Patrick Quinn (D), Michael Madigan (D), and John Cullerton (D), are taking taxpayers in Stephenson County even further down the rabbit hole,” stated Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of TUA.
“While legislators continue to politicize the pension crisis, Illinois’ government pension liabilities have grown to more than $187 billion.”
“And that doesn’t include the liability for the area’s police and fire pension funds. According to the most recent report, the Freeport Police pension fund is only 49.6% funded and the Firefighters’ pension fund is only 76% funded. These are both overstated since they use a 7% discount rate to determine the future value of the assets. It is also alarming that the number of retirees exceeds the numbers of working members of each of these funds.”
“Stephenson County’s police and firefighters, as well as those from all over the state, should be the biggest proponents of pension reform. Without sweeping reforms that are implemented immediately, these civil workers are looking at a bleak retirement when taxpayers can afford to pay only pennies on the benefit promises that have mounted. We have passed the point where you can tax your way out of the problem; it is mathematically impossible.”
“It has never been clearer that the job-killing policies of raising taxes to prop up the gold-plated government pensions, and the union votes that follow, are more important to these government bureaucrats than the future of Illinois itself.”
“Between the state pension funds and the local police and firefighter pension funds, taxpayers are being taxed to death which hardly seems fair under the current economic conditions.”
“Stephenson County has one of the highest Illinois unemployment rates at 7.7%, and the median household income is $44,572. More than 75% of the backbreaking property taxes go to pay salaries and benefits of government employees.”
“It is unconscionable that we pay so much more to so many government retirees than an entire household brings in. It is time to bring government pay and benefits in line with what taxpayers who fund them can afford.”
“What does $187 billion in unfunded pension liability look like to Stephenson County residents? Retired Freeport teacher, William W. Heitman, is enjoying a cool $130,006 annual pension that will accumulate to an amazing $4,201,296 in estimated lifetime payouts because he was able to retire at the ripe old age of 56. His personal contribution to that payout was only a little more than $118,000, or 2.8%.”
Sidney Fryer retired from Highland Community College with an estimated lifetime payout of $3,389,643 based on a cushy annual payment of $103,564. Sidney Fryer was only 55 at retirement!”
View the Freeport Government Employee Pension Grids:

“These are shocking amounts for taxpayers to be on the hook. And while these represent the highest pensions, it does not diminish the fact that every Freeport taxpayer pays about four times more toward the city government pensions than the very government employees who will collect. That’s just pensions – not payroll or other benefits.”
“Illinois’ government employee pensions are in dire trouble with no end in sight. Government employees, like the vast majority of taxpayers should save for their own retirement. Taxpayers simply can’t afford to pay so many, so much, to do absolutely nothing and retirees can’t afford the inaction of Illinois lawmakers who are afraid to alienate the special-interest money that keeps them in office.”
“TUA supports complete government pension reform that would place all new hires into retirement savings accounts like 401(k)s, increasing existing employees’ contributions to their own pension, raising the retirement age to 67 for full benefits, and increasing retiree and employee contribution to their own healthcare to 50% of the premium.”
“If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to implement these changes, then let’s get it on the ballot at the next opportunity. It’s time the union bosses and government bureaucrats who keep them in power, provide truthful options and education to the rank and file, of the crisis state of Illinois’ pension systems.”
“If they knew the truth, they would be the first in line to vote for the changes.”
*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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