The Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its study of the Lake County area government-employee pensions, highlighting the top pensions in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). Taxpayers United of America (TUA) issued the following statement based on the TEF pension study.
“It is no mystery what’s driving the economy-killing property tax increases in Lake County,” said Jim Tobin, TUA president. “It’s the state’s lavish, gold-plated pension plans for retired government employees.”
“The perpetual tax increases that plague Illinois residents have nothing to do with children, roads, or services. They are about pensions for the privileged government class. This money may be ‘earmarked’ for buildings or whatever, but in reality it only frees up increased taxes for government pensions. It’s a shell game.”
“Those of us in the private sector must reduce our spending if our income decreases; we can’t just go to our employer and demand more money to fund irresponsible spending. That’s not true for the political class.”
“The IMRF pension fund, which gives lavish, gold-plated pension benefits to retired municipal employees, is subsidized by property taxes. If that isn’t bad enough, IMRF pensioners are also eligible to receive Social Security pensions.”
“When you look at what the individual government retirees are actually collecting in taxpayer-funded pensions, you can get a better idea of why this theft of taxpayer wealth is so outrageous. Keep in mind that the average taxpayer will collect only about $17,500 a year from Social Security.”
“Here are some egregious examples.”
“Dwight Magalis retired from the Lake County government at the age of 52! His current annual pension from IMRF is $172,303. He will receive $3,030,251 in total pension payments over a normal lifetime. He also is eligible for Social Security. ”
“Henry S. Bangser retired from New Trier TWP HSD 203 at the age of 57. His current annual pension is $331,489. For a total contribution he made to his pension of only $336,612, he will accumulate $9,557,306 in taxpayer funded pension payments over a normal lifetime. What a racket!”
“Girard Weber retired from the College of Lake County at the age of 66. His current annual pension is $304,266. For a total contribution he made to his pension of only $314,282, he will receive $7,015,970 in total pension payments over a normal lifetime. Wow!”
“Linda L. Yonke retired from New Trier TWP HSD 203 at the age of 63. Her current annual pension is $263,645. She will receive $7,484,592 in total pension payments over a normal lifetime.”
Click here to view all top Lake County Pensions.
“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. The other five statewide pension funds are partly funded by the state income tax. Democrat Governor Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker and his tax-raising cronies want to stick it to middle class taxpayers by increasing the state income tax again. They placed, on the November 2020 ballot, another statewide income tax increase.
What does a statewide income tax increase mean for you? It means stealing from you to subsidize government pension millionaires.”
“The federal graduated income tax was sold to taxpayers as ‘a tax cut for the middle class.’ How did that turn out?”
“The state government employee pension system is the single cause of Illinois’ critical financial situation and it is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of this situation.”
“The Illinois government in Springfield has failed us. It’s in everyone’s best interest to solve the pension problem before the system completely collapses. It is no longer a matter of ‘if’ it will collapse, but when.”
“All new hires should be placed into 401(k) style retirement savings accounts. Member contributions to their retirement funds should be increased. Retirement age for full benefits should be increased to at least 65, preferably to 67, and contributions for health care also should be increased. Anything short of these reforms will do nothing to permanently solve the problem.”