President and Founder of Taxpayers United of America’s, Jim Tobin, was quoted by Morton Times-News about the recent pensions analysis of Pekin and Tazewell County released by TUA.
A Chicago-based tax reform group found no surprises when it studied pensions that retired Pekin-area government workers receive, its top official said Tuesday.
Just “the same blood-sucking system (as) all over Illinois,” said Jim Tobin.
“For every $1 (public) retirees put into their pensions, taxpayers are putting in $3.76,” Tobin said.
The small non-profit watchdog agency has revealed pensions of retirees from police and fire departments, municipalities and school districts throughout the state for the past 10 years. It’s focused on 28 cities over the past two years, Tobin said at a news event in East Peoria.
Its recent analysis of Pekin and Tazewell County school districts, including Illinois Central College, shows former top officials of those entities receive pensions that, in some cases, could exceed what they earned while working, Tobin said.
Former ICC presidents John Erwin and Thomas K. Thomas take in about $188,000 and $206,000, respectively, each year. Yet Thomas contributed only $148,054 and Erwin $318,251 to their pension funds, the TUA study revealed.
Top pensions for former Pekin employees go to former Police Chief Tim Gillespie, at $95,362 a year, and former Fire Chief John Janssen, at $88,750, according to the study.
Most former city employees and teachers receive pensions between $55,000 and $20,000, the study showed. Tobin acknowledged that many among them do not receive Social Security.
“The bottom 100 are pulling down about $1,000 or so” a year. “Many of them worked one or two years. Why they get anything at all” surprises him, “but that’s part of the system.”
It’s one of “legalized theft,” that must be corrected if the state is to ever become solvent, said Tobin, who taught economics at Elmhurst College and served as a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank for about 20 years.
While the Pekin City Council and other local governments can do little at their level to stem the flow of tax dollars to pensions, Tobin said they can join with others to pressure for reforms in Springfield and support Gov. Bruce Rauner, “who’s trying to do the right thing.”