Power Structure Turns Back Riverside-Brookfield School District 208 Electioneering Lawsuit

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CHICAGO—The president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) condemned the unresponsiveness of the legal system in Illinois, which denied an appeal by taxpayers who sued Riverside-Brookfield Sch. Dist. 208 for illegal electioneering.
“It’s mindboggling the extent to which local judges protect the status quo, even in the face of convincing evidence that a local government-school district engaged in illegal electioneering in trying to pass a property tax increase referendum,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President.
Representing homeowners, TUA had joined with Anthony J. Peraica & Associates in appealing the decision of Judge Leroy K. Martin’s July 17, 2012 ruling, in which he dismissed with prejudice their lawsuit against Riverside-Brookfield Sch. Dist. 208.
Plaintiffs Peraica and TUA had charged that the school district used illegal electioneering in its failed attempt to pass a property tax increase referendum in the April 5, 2011 election.
The appellate court affirmed Judge Martin’s dismissal of the lawsuit on Oct. 31, 2013.
“While we are disappointed in the appellate court’s decision, we were successful in defeating the April 5, 2011 property tax increase referendum despite the shady tactics of Sch. Dist. 208,” said Tobin.
“Our efforts on behalf of taxpayers against devious school districts led to the most important reform legislation in the 97th Illinois General Assembly: SB3314, introduced by St. Sen. Don Harmon (D-39 Oak Park), which was the direct result of the lawsuits filed by TUA against Oak Park D-97 and Wilmette D-39 school districts for using ballot language that purposely mislead taxpayers by understating by 300%, the property tax increase resulting from passage of a referendum. SB3314 makes this practice of duping voters illegal.”

Wisconsin Government Pension Multimillionaires Protected by Secrecy Law

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Madison—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of its study of the Wisconsin State, University of Wisconsin, Madison Municipal, Dane County, and Dane County Government school employees.
“The State of Wisconsin refuses to release actual pension payments, hiding behind a secrecy law, the huge subsidies from taxpayers. Because we have a right to know just how much ‘public servants’ get paid not to work, we estimate the pensions of current employees.” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA.
“While Wisconsin has made some important reforms to its government employee pension system, taxpayers won’t be protected until retirement savings accounts replace pensions and put an end to unfunded liabilities.”
“Wisconsin boasts a 99% funded pension system but the government standards for this calculation are far more generous than private sector standards. When those more accurate standards are used, Wisconsin government pensions are only about 54% funded.”
“75% to 80% of local taxes go to pay the salaries and pensions of government employees. Taxpayers have a right to see the details of those payments. How can taxpayers understand exactly how much their government employees are being paid in total compensation, salary plus benefits, without access to the actual payments to retirees? We have a right to review, evaluate and make decisions about those payments.”
“That is precisely why we are here now, releasing the salaries and pension estimates for the Wisconsin government employees.”
“For example, David C. Villa, a board executive for the state, makes a stunning $669,145 in annual salary. Assuming he meets the criteria for a full pension, he would collect an estimated annual pension and Social Security payment of $494,401*. Those annual payments would accumulate to $10,382,430* over a normal lifetime.”
“University of Wisconsin Athletics Director, James K. Aagaard  gets an annual salary of $500,000. His estimated annual pension with Social Security is $376,000* and his estimated lifetime payout is $7,896,001*.”
“Dane County government school employee, Jane Belmore gets an annual salary of $201,438 and fringe benefits of $36,588. Her estimated lifetime pension payout is $3,507,139* based on her annual estimated pension and Social Security payment of $167,007*.”
“Wisconsin taxpayers who are on the hook for unfunded liabilities get an average ‘pension’ from Social Security of about $15,000. Private sector taxpayers don’t enjoy nearly iron-clad job security and struggle with average unemployment of 6.7% and in some areas, over 10%.”
“While our pension estimates are a very useful education tool, I encourage Madison and all Wisconsin taxpayers to demand the right to review pension payments. I have written letters to Governor Walker and every member of the state legislature, urging them to stop hiding pension payments from taxpayer review.”
“Wisconsin needs not only to be more transparent, but to continue with pension reforms that will bring its government employee benefits in line with those of the private sector. Specifically, government pensions need to be replaced with 401k-style retirement savings accounts where taxpayer contributions are made when the conditions allow it. Government employees need to increase their contributions to match the level of the private sector, and government retirees and employees need to pay for at least half of their health-care premiums.”
Click below to view pensions:

*Gross wages provided by government administrator and may include overtime or PTO that would not be eligible for pension calculation.
Annual Pension Estimate Assumptions:
1. Assumes employee retires one year from now and this salary would be the second to last salary.
2. Assumes 41 or more years of employment, retirement age is 65, and pension is 70%
3. Plus Social Security assuming 4% salary increases over last 35 years.
Lifetime Pension Estimate uses IRS Life Expectancy Table (Form 590) at age 65 = 21 years

Red-Light Cameras Rake In Money For Cities As They Increase Accidents

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CHICAGO—Red-light cameras are a scam whose only purpose is to generate millions of dollars for cities and towns, and, furthermore, actually increase accidents, not decrease them, according to Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America.
“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel must have felt a tingle go up his leg when he announced last week that red-light cameras would be coming Jan. 31 at 18 Chicago intersections,” said Tobin. “He is looking forward to the additional millions of dollars that will be funneled into city coffers to fund the lavish, gold-plated Chicago government-employee pensions.”
“Emanuel stated that such cameras have reduced accidents, but this is either a sign of ignorance, or a lie.”
“One report after another has shown the reverse is true: Red-light cameras increase accidents. But they also increase revenues for municipalities, which is why politicians love them.”
“The National Motorists Association website has a sampling of these studies.”

“Taxpayers are being nickel-and-dimed to death by greedy politicians, except we’re not talking about nickels and dimes. In addition to having to pay out big bucks, motorists are suffering increased injuries caused by rear-end collisions. Only politicians and orthopedic surgeons are benefiting.”