Pension Reform

5 NEW HOME RULE VICTORIES AND NEW CHALLENGES

Last night was a series of mixed blessings for taxpayers.

Yesterday taxpayers resoundingly turned down home rule from entering their communities. Beach Park, Lemont, Winthrop Harbor, Prospect Heights, and Zion all voted “No” on adopting Home Rule. By rejecting Home Rule, taxpayers have refused to give local politicians unlimited taxing power.

“I am happy for all of our local advocates,” said Taxpayers United of America (TUA) President, Jim Tobin, upon hearing of the victories. “TUA has warned for years that Home Rule means home ruin. This shows we are being heard loud and clear. I am hopeful this overwhelming victory discourages other power hungry local politicians, but governmental greed knows no limit. We have defeated 431 local tax increase referenda since 1977.”

However, the battle for the Illinois statewide government ended on a less rosy tone.

J. B. Pritzker ran over incumbent Bruce Rauner for Illinois Governor in an unsurprising victory. Rauner, who refused to sign a Tax Accountability taxpayer protection pledge, ran an ugly Republican primary campaign against Jeanne Ives. Representative Ives had scored a perfect 100% while Rauner only scored a 92% in our TUA Tax Survey of the 99th Illinois General Assembly. Representative Ives had also signed a taxpayer protection pledge.

Rauner’s attack on a committed taxpayer advocate combined with the tens of millions in funds for the Pritzker propaganda machine sealed the fate of the Republican governor.

Now with a committed tax raiser back in the governor’s seat and a Democrat majority, it falls to taxpayers to resist the Income Tax Increase Amendment, a graduated income tax increase for middle class taxpayers.

Gov. Pension Burdens Crush Rock Island County Taxpayers

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Rock Island, IL – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released its updated study on Rock Island County, Illinois government employee pensions, publishing the top 200 pensions for Rock Island County Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), the top 200 pensions of the Teachers’ Retirement Fund (TRS), and the top 200 pensions of State University Retirement System (SURS). Taxpayers United of America (TUA) issued the following statement based on the TEF pension study.

“Rock Island County local governments are ripping taxpayers out of their homes,” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA.

“As property taxes increase in the area, more people are forced out of their homes through foreclosure. The quad cities still rank in the top 20 metropolitan areas in the country for foreclosures. Rock Island homeowners pay crushing property taxes in comparison to other cities in the country.”

“Property taxes in the city of Rock Island increased 9% in 2018. The city of Moline has a 2019 budget that increases property taxes 2.5%. Foreclosure rates can’t improve when the government sucks up so much of our hard-earned cash.”

“IMRF pensions are funded by property taxes but government bureaucrats are more concerned about fulfilling promises made to union bosses in order to maintain and enhance government pensions than they are about their constituents.”

“But J. B. Pritzker and House Speaker, Democrat Michael Madigan have plans to increase state income taxes if Pritzker wins the gubernatorial election next week,” added Tobin.

“Priztker advocates for an immediate income tax increase and also supports the Income Tax Increase Amendment, which would change the current flat-rate state income tax to a graduated state income tax. He and his buddy Madigan plan on placing the amendment on the November 2020 statewide ballot.”

“If the amendment passes, you can expect the state’s middle class to be decimated. Here’s why: House Bill 3522, filed by state Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, would tax incomes between $7,500 and $15,000 at 5.84 percent. For incomes between $15,000 and $225,000, the rate would be 6.27 percent. And for incomes over $225,000, the rate would be 7.65 percent.”

“Illinois taxpayers would be crushed. Some politicians are whispering about a maximum rate as high as 9.85 percent,” added Tobin.

“The pension data speaks for itself. The average Rock Island County taxpayer’s Social Security pension is about $17,000 and is funded completely with private money from taxpayers and their employers.”

“These IMRF pensioners collect Social Security on top of their very generous pensions so taxpayers are forced to shell out an additional 15% of the local government employee salaries.”

“SURS pensioner Dorothy Beck enjoys a cozy $123,824 annual pension. With a 3% annual compounded cost of living adjustment, that will accumulate to a really cozy $2.8 million.”

“Calvin D. Lee retired from Moline USD 40 and currently gets $216,170 in annual pension payments. Over a normal lifetime, he will accumulate $7,288,962 in pension payments. Poor old Calvin retired at the age of 58!.”

“ Marshall E. Douglas retired from Rock Island County government with an annual pension of $152,390. Those annual pension payments will accumulate to about $2,725,025. Mr. Marshall likely gets about $28,000 more per year from Social Security.”

“If Pritzker gets elected, he and Illinois tyrant Madigan will see to it that these pensions are protected. The pension promises bring in the thousands of union and government employee votes. Taxes will increase at a devastating rate and more and more Illinoisans will leave the state, driving up the tax burden for those of us who stay.”

“It is just unreasonable to allow people to retire in their 50’s and early 60’s and expect taxpayers to foot the bill, but if Madigan gets his way and Pritzker wins the governor’s race, government pension reform won’t occur anytime soon,” concluded Tobin.

Click to View Top Rock Island IMRF Pensions

Click to View Top Rock Island SURS Pensions

Click to View Top Rock Island TRS Pensions

Evanston To Close Fire Station and Lay Off Police To Pay Lavish City Pensions

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Evanston – ABC 7 News has released a report on the City of Evanston’s financial woes. The city has reported a massive deficit of over $7 million dollars causing a budgetary crisis. Searching for a solution, the city is looking to drastically cut back on police and firefighters.  The cuts resemble those made in the city of Harvey, which also made drastic cuts to police and fire.

In the ABC report, the local fire union also expresses deep concern the cuts will have for public safety, “The proposed cuts are drastic, they’re significant. We’re adamantly opposed to the cuts. They pose an immediate safety risk to the citizens of Evanston, and firefighters as well,” said Billy Lynch, president of Firefighters Local 742.

Jim Tobin of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) agrees with Mr. Lynch that public safety is paramount, and calls for Evanston to immediately reform the City pension system. According to TUA research, property tax payments to IMRF, police, and firefighter pensions equal almost $20 Million which account for 68.17% of all city property taxes.  All new hiring should be put into 401K style retirement plans to avoid new unfunded pension liability. In addition, Jim Tobin also calls for the Illinois General Assembly to pass legislation allowing local governments to declare bankruptcy to restructure their debts.

Click here to view our October 17 Springfield City Pension Statement.

 

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DISCLAIMER

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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