Pension Reform

Dixon & Sterling Government Bureaucrats Still Stealing From Taxpayers

View as PDF Dixon, IL – Lee and Whiteside County area government pensions are decimating area taxpayers according to a study by the state’s largest taxpayer group, Taxpayers United of America (TUA). The study reveals the individual pensions paid to the retirees of Sterling, Dixon, Lee County, Whiteside County government employees.
“Our study shows that Lee and Whiteside County taxpayers are still being robbed blind by government bureaucrats in the form of lavish, gold-plated pensions,” stated TUA’s executive director, Rae Ann McNeilly.
“Dixon taxpayers should have taken back some of the money stolen from them by former comptroller, Rita Crundwell, when they had the chance.”
“Instead, Dixon politicians took the money from one thief and spread it around many thieves by dumping recovered millions into the immoral pension cabal.”
“This is the epitome of throwing good money after bad. This one-time infusion of cash will only slightly delay the inevitable hard-fail of an unsustainable crony system designed to siphon money from taxpayers for the benefit a the few.”
“Dixon and Sterling are increasing the property tax levy by the maximum allowable amount without a referendum or hearing year after year. True to bureaucratic form, Sterling city administrator, Scott Shumer, blames other bureaucrats for making the increase necessary because ‘the cities have no say’ in setting pension benefits.”
“But as the state budget is cut and less money will be sent back to municipalities, bureaucrats like Shumer will continue to reach into taxpayers’ wallets to feed their lust for other peoples’ money rather than cut expenses to balance budgets.”
“For those of us in the private sector, we must reduce our spending if our income decreases; we can’t just go to our employer and demand more money to fund irresponsible spending.”
“Yes, the pension promises made constitute irresponsible spending! Where else can a person get guaranteed payouts of millions on such a small personal investment?”
“Consider the annual pension of $169,467 being paid to retired government teacher, Boyce J. Wolf from Rock Falls TWP HSD 301. His estimated lifetime payout is $5.7 million! Retiring at the ripe old age of 57, his personal investment in that gold-plated payout was a mere $174,215, or 3.1%.”
 
“Then there is Gerald L. Carslon, retired from the Dixon municipal government. He get’s $44,911 in annual pension payments but because he retired at only 55, those payments with compounded annual cost of living adjustments will accumulate to more than $2 million! His personal investment was only about 3.1% or $62,918.”
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“The average Social Security ‘pension’ is only about $15,000 a year and taxpayers pay about 15% of every penny they earn for that modest payout.”
“There are hundreds of area government pensions getting theses lavish, million dollar pensions. Statewide there are more than 11,000 government retirees getting more than $100,000 a year in pension payments.”
“This pension cabal is the single cause of Illinois’ critical financial situation and it is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of this situation.”
“This financial squeeze of paying for yesterday’s services with today’s tax dollars is only going to get worse if Governor Rauner successfully cuts spending in the coming years. Any relief of those spending cuts will never reach taxpayers if municipal governments continue to increase the property tax levies as is happening throughout Lee and Whiteside Counties.”
“The Illinois government has failed us; local governments have failed us. Government employees would rally behind pension reform if their union bosses and the pols they elect were honest with them about the future of their pensions. 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 what are we waiting for?”

It’s What You Didn’t Say, Governor!

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Chicago – Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his first State of the State address to the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday, beginning his inaugural term as governor by outlining his own approach to a number of critical issues plaguing taxpayers.
Taxpayers United of America’s (TUA) director of operations, Jared Labell, said that today’s speech was a mixed bag of positive steps and setbacks for taxpayers. “We’re glad to hear Gov. Rauner supports government reforms that will reduce the size and cost of government by consolidating offices, leveraging purchasing power and returning some control to local government while reducing the more than 7,000 government taxing authorities.”
Labell was also optimistic about Gov. Rauner’s forthright discussion of the government unions’ power and conflict of interest with the taxpayers. “It’s about time a state’s chief executive connected the dots between the union thugs, campaign contributions, and the ever expanding government employee pensions, an issue on which TUA has been at the forefront for nearly a decade.”
“These lavish, gold-plated government pensions are the most critical financial challenge for Illinois. The taxpayers who have their hard-earned paychecks looted to pay for billions in government largesse are really hurting, being forced to work longer and harder, sacrificing their own retirement savings to fund the government retiree lifestyle.”
“My optimism over the implications of Gov. Rauner’s fiscal policy on taxpayers vanished with his glaring omission of how he would pay for the big spending increases in the education and prison systems. Gov. Rauner has made it known throughout his campaign that he supports broadening the Illinois state sales tax to include numerous services, including advertising, storage, and printing. He wants to, and barely mentioned, ‘broadening the tax base’, but has not mentioned lowering the sales tax rate itself,” said Labell. “I guess we will have to wait for his budget speech to see if the governor’s proposal is really just a massive tax increase for average taxpayers, who would be hardest hit by such an indiscriminate tax hike.”
“Raising taxes in any way before addressing the real budget problem, the unsustainable government pension system, is counterproductive and irresponsible. There are steps that can be taken immediately, such as placing all new government hires in retirement savings accounts and increasing employee and retiree contributions to healthcare premiums,” concluded Labell.

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).

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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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