Pension Reform

WBBM Exclusive – Illinois’ Cushiest Government Pension Deal

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Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) will discuss with Pam Zekman exclusively, the ‘Cushiest Illinois Government Pension Deal’.
10:00 p.m. news on Channel 2 WBBM TV Today, Monday, April 29
Be sure to tune in to hear Jim discuss the results of our latest government employee pension study – you will be stunned!

Just another $10 Million Government Pension

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CHICAGO —All across the country, millions of government pensioners are contract-bound to receive lifetime pension payouts, each in the millions of dollars, along with taxpayer- funded, premium healthcare insurance, according to Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“There has been a flurry of reaction to the ‘discovery’ of Alameda County Administrator, Susan Muranishi, securing an excessive lifetime annual payment of $423,000. We have completed analysis of government employee salaries and pensions in nineteen states across the country and while Ms. Muranishi’s pay is on the high end of the scale, it just isn’t as uncommon as you might think.”
Peter G. Mehas, retired from the Fresno County Office of Education, annual pension – $241,807; est. lifetime payout: $9,357,534
Tapas Das Gupta, retired from the University of Illinois, annual pension – $426,885; est. lifetime payout: $8,337,549
Frank A. Fairbanks, retired city manager of Phoenix, AZ, annual pension – $246,813; est. lifetime payout: $7,404,386
Irene Mitchel, retired from the Pennsylvania Higher Ed System, annual pension – $332, 017; est. lifetime payout: $9,960,523
“Alameda County, CA (ACERA) had fourteen pensioners receiving eight-figure pensions in 2011, the highest being $17,824,590 estimated lifetime payout to Gary Thuman, based on his annual pension of $396,102. This is what he is being paid not to work.”
“Alameda County government teachers have a real sweetheart deal too. Christine A. Lim, retired from San Leandro Unified and enjoys $239,092 in annual pension payments. Her est. lifetime payout is a stunning $10,436,359. Not bad for ‘civil servant’. The top 100 Alameda County government teacher pensions average $5.5 million.”
“How did pensions ever get so outrageous?” asks McNeilly. “These grotesque pension payments have far exceeded any possible original intent of adequately compensating ‘civil servants’ for meager wages that lean government budgets could barely afford for basic services. No, the pension scam has become the number one tool of corruption for top government union bosses to stay in power and to reelect those that would make such deals with the devil. And to ensure the scam proliferates, lavish pensions have been awarded to the legislators who would vote on this issue. This keeps them protected by the state’s laws, and for judicial certainty, the very judges who might rule on any challenges to the system have themselves been made part of the conspiracy with gold-plated retirement security of their own.”
“Knowing all that we know about the desperate state of government pensions across the country, how then do some states continue to hide their pension largesse behind a shroud of legal secrecy? One might think pensioned judges wouldn’t protect their own pension payments from public review. But consider Colorado, where Denver District Judge Edward D. Bronfin ruled that the state’s own treasurer, Robert Stapleton, could not have ‘unlimited, unfettered access’ to the state’s PERA data, holding that individual names and pension amount are personal. When you consider that Colorado’s PERA has at least a $16.8 billion unfunded liability, it would seem the public will be picking up a majority of that tab and it should be open for review.”
“Colorado is not the only state that still hides pension payments from public review. To give taxpayers an idea of what the current government pension laws allow for, TUA estimated pensions for current employees, assuming they meet the terms of full retirement. The shear magnitude of these estimates explains why government bureaucrats maintain the shroud of secrecy. Consider current Colorado State employee, Robert K. Hammond, a Colorado State employee whose salary is $225,000. Under current PERA rules, assuming he meets all of the criteria, he would be eligible for an annual pension of about $168,750 that could accumulate to a lifetime payout of about $5.4 million.”
“Nevada is another state that keeps individual pension payouts from public review. The state keeps its approximately $11 billion in unfunded liabilities hidden as well. Ricardo A. Bonvincin, a corrections lieutenant, was receiving $435,658 in annual wages. Assuming he met all criteria for full retirement, he would have been eligible for an annual pension of $335,456, potentially accumulating to a stunning $15,961,017.”
“And so the list goes across the country.”
“Cities, counties, government boards are buckling under the shear magnitude of these pension promises — promises negotiated out of corruption and expanded to include all who would challenge them, such as legislators and judges. The current government-employee pension system is indefensible on any level. If contractual agreements are honored across the country, taxpayers will be required to sacrifice all their property to ensure that the ‘new elite’ keep pulling in the big bucks.”
“It is actually too late for pension reform, and time for pension settlement for existing pensioners and pension replacement for new hires. It is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of the government pension debacle, so what is left? Stockton, CA, is taking the bankruptcy path to dealing with its fiscal irresponsibility, which will allow it to reorganize its debt. Does every city, county and state government have to go bankrupt in order to fairly settle the incredible financial burden placed squarely on the backs of taxpayers as a direct result of this ubiquitous corruption?”
“But the debt is only half of the problem. Any city, county, state, or court that manages to survive the overwhelming pension crisis and allows the system to perpetuate under the same set of rules is acting criminally. It is time to end government pensions forever.”
Note: All pension amounts are based on 2011 reports generated on data received directly from each of the respective funds and the pension laws in force at the time of each study.

LaSalle County Largesse Crushing Taxpayers

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Ottawa, IL —Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of a new pension and salary study of the employees of LaSalle County government employees, LaSalle County government teachers, Illinois Valley Community College and Ottawa (county seat) Municipal government employees.
“Illinois lawmakers continue their abuse of taxpayers by ignoring the number one budgetary problem in the state,” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA. “Illinois is in horrible financial shape, and yet taxpayers are still expected to pour their hard earned money into a failed government pension system.”
“At 10.8%, LaSalle County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Decreased home values, a 67% increase in state income tax and a 44% increase in Social Security tax have stripped wealth from LaSalle area taxpayers.”
“But the outlook for LaSalle County could be positive, if government bureaucrats can keep their greed in check and allow taxpayers to enjoy the growth that can result from a booming mining industry in the area. Rather than look for ways to pillage this growth industry, county officials should be encouraging this growth by limiting regulations and taxation.”
“The short sighted greed of the very bureaucrats who put their own high pay and pensions above that of their constituents can potentially stop this boom in mining before it gets started. 80% of all local taxes are used to fund salaries and benefits of government employees. More than 11% of LaSalle County residents are government employees.”
“Across the country, millions of bureaucrats are being paid trillions, to do absolutely nothing! With 3%, compounded cost of living adjustments (COLA), LaSalle County government retirees double their pensions after only 24 years of retirement.”
“For example, Steven G. Schoepf  retired from the LaSalle County government at the ripe old age of 55 and collects an annual pension of $64,053. His estimated lifetime pension payout is a stunning $2,798,059, 2.4% of which was his contribution.*”
“At only 60 years of age, Craig A. Carter retired from La Salle-Peru TWP HSD 120 and has an annual pension of $130,971, with a staggering estimated lifetime payout of $4,672,574. His contribution of the estimated lifetime payout would be only 4.1%.*”
“Seven Ottawa municipal government employees who all retired before the age of 59 and some at the age of 50, will each collect more than $1.5 million in pension payments over a normal lifetime.”
“The vast majority of full-time government employees in this study are paid more than the average LaSalle County wage of $37,604 reported by the US Census. Taxpayers simply can’t afford to pay so many, so much.”
Astounding Top Pensions and Salaries for LaSalle County:

“The Illinois government pension system will collapse by 2015 unless there is sweeping reform: raise retirement age to 67, increase employee pension contributions by 10%, increase healthcare contributions to 50%, eliminate all COLA’s, and replace the defined benefit system with a defined contribution system for all new hires. It’s mathematically impossible to tax your way out of this problem and yet LaSalle County government bureaucrats intend to try.”
*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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Website: https://taxpayersunitedofamerica.org
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