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Rahm’s Amusement Tax- Not Funny to Taxpayers who Fund Lavish Muni Pensions

TUA exposing government pensions was featured on WTTW. Click here to view the news article. 
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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Chicago Municipal Government retirees.
“All of the top 200 Chicago pensions for the ‘poor civil servants’ are at least $100,000 a year,” stated TUA’s president, Jim Tobin. “The average retirement age for this group of pensioners is only 58. Social Security requires taxpayers to reach age 67 before they are eligible for full retirement benefits…which max out at about $32,000 a year”, added Tobin.
The Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, (MEABF) is predicted to be insolvent in 8 years, according to its most recent audit. The auditing firm estimated that taxpayers would have to deposit $1,005,456,621 to make the fund solvent. MEABF does not include Chicago teachers, police, or firefighters who each have their own pension system, all separate from the 6 statewide pension funds.
To pay for these lavish city pensions, Mayor  Rahm Emmanuel is increasing and creating new “entertainment taxes.” Included in his proposed 2018 budget, are a measure to increase the current tax on some music and sports venues and a new entertainment tax on internet services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.  The tax-per-seat will go up by 80 percent to 9 percent from 5 percent for tickets to concerts, plays or comedy shows for venues larger than 1500 seats. Victims of this tax increase include Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, and the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls.  There also is a new entertainment tax on major streaming services like Netflix. The tax on streaming services will extract $12 million from these companies, with the cost likely passed on to consumers.
“The state of Illinois is bankrupt. They can’t pay their bills because the outrageously rich government pensions rob the taxpayers blind. And there won’t be a bailout by the state for the city of Chicago – there just isn’t enough taxpayer money. Taxpayers would have to pony up about $1,005,456,621 to make the MEABF solvent!”
“At every level of government in Illinois, bureaucrats are trying desperately to prop up the failed pension funds with more tax increases. You can be sure that the historic increase in the state’s income tax won’t be the last one.”
“Here are a couple of examples of the ‘poor public servant’, taxpayer funded pensions:
Dennis J. Gannon collects an annual pension of $194,638. Assuming he leads a normal life of 85 years, that annual pension will accumulate to $7,791,985. Retiring at only 50, he will collect taxpayer funded pension payments for 35 years…far more years than he actually was employed by the city!
Then there’s Stephen M. Murray. Collecting an annual pension of $146,896 will provide him with an outrageous lifetime payout of $5,107,745. Keep in mind that he retired at only 53 years of age!”
Click below to view the top 200 pensions for Chicago Municipal Retirees:

“These government pensions are legalized theft. Overpromising benefits to government employees is pervasive throughout Illinois. The government pensions are singularly responsible for Illinois’ financial crisis.”
“We support Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to repeal the historic state income tax increase passed last year and resolve the pension problem through a change to pension protection clause in the Illinois Constitution,” concluded Tobin.

Cook County Gov Retirees’ Millionaire’s Club

Cook County Gov. Retirees’ Millionaire’s Club

Val Zimnicki (312)-427-5128 – (312) 307-4415

November 28, 2017

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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Cook County government retirees.
“One look at these excessive pensions tells you why Cook County is in dire financial straits. Government bureaucrats have created a tight little millionaires’ club of their own,” stated TUA’s director of outreach, Val Zimnicki.
There are nearly 500 area Cook County government retirees collecting annual pensions of at least $100,000. The median family income is only $56,851 and 16.1% of residents live below the poverty level.
“That puts a $1,374 liability on every man, woman and child in Cook County.  Add to that the per capita liability from the 5 state pension funds of $19,607, and every Cook County resident is on the hook for $20,981,” stated Zimnicki. Moody’s Investor Service puts Illinois’ state pension fund liability at $251 billion.
As of December 31, 2016, the Cook County Pension Fund (CCPF) has a stunning $7.2 billion unfunded liability. That means the CCPF is only 56.7% fundedA healthy pension fund has at least an 80% funding ratio, although the American Academy of Actuaries argues that pension funds should be 100% funded.
“On average, these government pensioners who collect more than the median household income for Cook County, contribute only about 7.5% to their own retirement fund. In the private sector, employees pay 15% of every dollar they earn into Social Security for an average pension of only $15,000!”
“Cook County government bureaucrats are desperate to steal even more tax money from hard working taxpayers, so desperate in fact that Cook County Board president, Toni Preckwinkle imposed a tax on sweetened beverages that hit the low and middle income earners the hardest!”
“The tax, which TUA opposed, was a $200 million tax increase on county taxpayers, which would have gone into the lavish, gold-plated pensions of retired county-government employees.”
But the Cook County Board was forced to repeal the tax when angry citizens testified at the County Board Hearing. TUA’s own, Val Zimnicki was one of many who testified on behalf of taxpayers at that hearing. “Preckwinkle and one other board member voted to keep the beverage tax. She should be thrown from office.”
“It’s so hypocritical of Cook County Democrats to preach about tax reform that protects the middle-class when they bombard the working class with new and higher taxes on services and products most used by this group of taxpayers,” added Zimnicki.
“If there’s any justice, the pending lawsuit, Bargo v Rauner et al, will break the Constitutional protection of the government employees. This protection creates a special class of citizens that directly violates the Illinois Constitution.”
“Just look at what some of these retired government bureaucrats are raking in from taxpayer funded pensions.
Hernan M. Reyes collects an annual pension of $359,613. Assuming he leads a normal life of 85 years, that annual pension will accumulate to $5,846,235. That multi-million dollar payout only cost him $329,637!
Then there’s Subhash Patel. Collecting a current annual pension of $217,045 will provide an outrageous estimated lifetime payout of $7,887,410. Keep in mind that retirement came at only 59 years of age! “Click below to view the top 200 pensions for Cook County Retirees:

“Overpromising benefits to government employees is pervasive throughout Illinois. Without regard to the taxpayers who must fund these excessive pensions, these bureaucrats just keep increasing salaries and benefits, burying the rest of us in debt.”
“The worst part of this financial nightmare is that no steps have been taken to correct the course of Illinois’ fiscal demise. We have proposed solutions that could have an immediate affect on the problem: 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 to revise government-employee pension benefits, then we need to get that on the ballot as soon as possible,” concluded Zimnicki.

TAX SURVEY OF GOV. RAUNER AND THE 99TH ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY RELEASED

James Tobin |  President

(312) 427-5128 | (773) 354-2076

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 15, 2017

TAX SURVEY OF GOV. RAUNER AND

THE 99TH ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY RELEASED

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CHICAGO—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released its 17th biennial Tax Survey of the Ill. General Assembly.
Click here for exclusive access to our 17th biennial Tax Survey
“Our survey examines the tax and spending bills of the 99th Illinois legislature from January 2015 to January 2017,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President. “Our analysis provides data on how the legislators voted on bills featured in our tax survey. For 41 years, TUA has educated taxpayers while publicizing all significant tax and spending increases voted on by the Illinois General Assembly. TUA has used the same methodology to evaluate each lawmaker’s record since publishing its first Tax Survey in 1983.”
“The 99th General Assembly has been a huge disappointment in the Ill. Senate,” said Tobin. “Not a single member of the Senate – no Republican or Democrat – received a passing score of 70% or more on this Tax Survey. The Republicans scored better in both chambers with average scores of 41% in the Senate and 66% in the House, whereas the Democrats achieved only 4% in the House – and only 1% in the Senate!  That brings the total number of Democrats that scored zero to 91.”
“Some turncoat Republicans in the Illinois house voted for the record-breaking state income tax increase in the 100th General Assembly. Republican House members who voted for this job-killing measure could not be counted among ‘Taxpayer Friends,’ regardless of their score in this edition of the TUA Tax Survey.”
“Notably, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) outclassed his predecessor, disgraced former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who received a sorry 10% on TUA’s 16th biennial Tax Survey. Gov. Rauner is the first Illinois Governor to score above 70% on the TUA tax survey, achieving a score of 92%, and we are pleased to feature him on the list of Taxpayer Friends.”

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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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