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CHICAGO—Illinois taxpayers, hammered by some of the highest state and local taxes in the nation, are increasingly venting their anger and frustration toward the State Senate and House Democrats who hold the state in their death-grip, notes Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“The Democrats in the State Senate just voted to raise the already-high state personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, a 32 percent increase. They also voted to raise the state corporate rate to 9.5 percent,” said Tobin. “These tax increases would be retroactive to January 1. All 32 Democrat Senators voted for the increases. Not a single Republican supported these job-killing tax increases.”
“No wonder Illinois has lost more residents than any other state for the third consecutive year. And Chicago, the most corrupt city in the nation, was the only city of the nation’s 20 largest cities to lose population in 2016.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that taxpayers blasted notorious tax-raiser, State. Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-40, Chicago Heights), who helped pass the income tax increase in the senate.
“You dirt bags stop screwing the taxpayers,” posted one person on Facebook.
Another taxpayer commented, “Keep your grubby hands off our tax money you crook.”
“How dare you raise my taxes in this corrupt state. You are ruining people’s lives with your tax and spend ways,” wrote another angry taxpayer.
“Now the state income tax increases go to the State House of Representatives, controlled by Chicago machine boss Michael Madigan (D-22, Chicago). Hopefully, Madigan will come to his senses and kill this fiscally-suicidal measure in the house,” said Tobin. “And if not, we trust that Gov. Rauner (R) will do the right thing and veto the income tax hike.”
“Illinois is bankrupt due to the huge deficits of its government-employee pension funds. It is too late for the state to tax itself out of this predicament. Puerto Rico recently declared bankruptcy, and it looks more and more like this is the only salvation for Illinois.”
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Unsustainable Illinois Govt. Pensions Driving State to Bankruptcy
CHICAGO — Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of its 11th Annual Illinois State Pensions Report. This new report analyzes government retiree pensions from Illinois’ General Assembly Retirement System (GARS), Judges’ Retirement System (JRS), Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
Click below to view the data from TUA’s 11th Annual Illinois State Pensions Report
Surveying the increasing number of government retirees and the growth of their pensions over the past few decades provides a greater understanding of the financial burden facing Illinois taxpayers. Nearly two years ongoing, Illinois’ current budget crisis is mainly due to the exorbitant costs of the government pension system supported by Democrats and Republicans like Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and former Gov. Jim Edgar. Government pension payments now devour billions of tax dollars every year to line the pockets of retired government employees.
TUA’s research exposes the magnitude of Illinois’ financial crisis by examining the vast number of retired government employees collecting lavish six-figure annual pensions. 17,000 former government employees each collect annual pensions of at least $100,000, costing taxpayers more than $2 billion this year alone.
Taxpayers work longer and receive far less in retirement than government employees, who often retire in their early 50s with taxpayer-funded pensions worth multiple times the annual maximum Social Security retirement benefit for taxpayers, which is $32,000 if working until 66.
Based on data collected through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, TUA’s analysis of Illinois government pensions reveals nearly 100,000 Illinois government retirees now collect annual pensions of $50,000 or more, an increase of more than 7,000 additional government retirees since TUA’s 2016 Annual Illinois State Pensions Report.
How much these pensioners paid into their own retirement, in contrast to their generous payouts, is shocking.
For many government retirees, within two years they will collect more money in retirement than they contributed to their own pension. These gold-plated government pensions, subsidized by taxpayers, accumulate to multi-million dollar payouts over a natural lifetime. Using this data to calculate the estimated lifetime pension payout totals for these government retirees underscores the ever-increasing liabilities of defined-benefit government pensions. The system is an untenable burden on taxpayers and increasingly consumes billions of tax dollars in the state budget, worsening with every new hire and retiree adding to the cost.
The Illinois State Constitution’s pension-protection clause – Article XIII, Section 5 – chains generations of taxpayers to an uncontrolled financial burden foolishly created decades ago by politicians in Springfield. It must be amended for a sustainable financial future. Taxpayers are unable to pay this enormous cost, as the budget crisis clearly shows, and without changes, taxpayers will otherwise continue to leave Illinois by the thousands for states with booming economies, while the tax burden increases for those remaining in Illinois.
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Chicago – Government bureaucrats want voters to approve seven property tax increase referenda on the April 4, 2017 ballot, but Taxpayers United of America’s (TUA) president, Jim Tobin, says opposing these measures is best for residents concerned with their skyrocketing property taxes, their homes, and their livelihood.
“Whether the proposal to voters is to enact home rule, which gives unlimited taxing authority to local bureaucrats, or to issue tens of millions of dollars in new bonds and raise property taxes, taxpayers in these six communities must reject these seven referenda on the April 4 ballot to avoid disastrous increases to their property tax bills,” said Tobin.
TUA and local supporters are opposing two home rule referenda in Lynwood and Coal City and government school property tax increase referenda in Berwyn, Evanston, Hinsdale, and Oak Park.
You can download PDFs of our ‘Vote No’ flyers below for printing and distribution.
“On November 4, 2014, sixty percent of voters rejected the last attempt by government bureaucrats to impose home rule on the taxpayers of Lynwood,” said Tobin. “Taxpayers should overwhelming defeat home rule unlimited taxing authority in Lynwood again, and the residents of Coal City must reject it, too.”
According to Taxpayers United of America (TUA), home rule means higher taxes.
“I like to call it ‘home ruin,’” said Tobin. “Why would anyone want to give up their right to vote on property tax increases?”
“Home rule always means higher taxes because it removes the cap limiting the amount that bureaucrats can increase property taxes. It gives bureaucrats a blank check and how many government bureaucrats would you trust with a blank check bearing your signature?”
“Home rule also gives local government authority to tax nearly any product or service they want. What they don’t tell you is that such taxation drives consumers to neighboring communities where the taxes on products and services are lower.”
“Berwyn South SD 100 collected $13.3 million in property taxes last year and seeks to increase property taxes by seventeen percent to steal another $2.2 million from taxpayers,” said Tobin. “Voters have overwhelmingly rejected referenda to raise their property taxes for the government schools as recently as 2014.”
Evanston/Skokie CCSD 65 is seeking to increase property taxes by $450 annually and the board of Education of Hinsdale Township HSD 86 wants to issue $76 million in new bonds, raising property taxes by more than $450 annually, which doesn’t include future property tax hikes to pay $24 million in interest.
Oak Park SD 97 has two referenda on the ballot this year, asking voters to raise their property taxes by $13.3 million and issue new bonds totaling $57.5 million. The two referenda will spike the property tax bill of an average homeowner by more than $700 annually.
“Illinois has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. You have to wonder how many people could have stayed in their homes if the property taxes weren’t so high – the highest property taxes in the country,” said Tobin.
“TUA has defeated 420 local tax increase referenda since 1977. We urge voters in these six communities to tell bureaucrats that they have had enough of government living beyond its means at the expense of taxpayers. Voters should urge their fellow taxpayers to Vote No.”
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4.