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Illinois State Police blocked a Taxpayers United of America (TUA) news conference at the Illinois State Capitol from taking place on Monday, Sept. 15, 2020, reports Jim Tobin, economist and TUA president.

“We have been issuing analyses of state government pensions for 14 years,” said Tobin, “and TUA Executive Director Matt Schultz and I traveled from Chicago to Springfield to report on the lavish, gold-plated government pensions as they affect Sangamon County, which has some of the highest taxes in the country.”

“I had reserved a block of time at the state capitol press room, which I have been doing for 44 years. When we arrived at the state capitol building, members of the Illinois State Police blocked us from walking to the press room. They claimed they didn’t know who we were, and that they could not let us proceed ‘without authorization.’ After some time had passed, some woman arrived thinking we were part of another group. Finding out that we were not, she left without authorizing our move to the press room.”

“Finally, after about 30 minutes, we made it to the capitol press room and found it completely deserted.”

“Whether our being blocked was intentional or due to sheer incompetence, the effect was the same. We were unable to discuss the Sangamon County pensions or Illinois Gov. Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker’s income theft amendment that has been placed by Democrats on the November 3 ballot. This amendment to the State Constitution would significantly raise taxes on Illinois taxpayers by converting the flat-rate state income tax to a graduated income tax.”

“I have been holding news conferences at the state capitol press room for 44 years, and never have I been blocked from holding a news conference until yesterday. What happened was outrageous and unconscionable, and we are owed an apology from Gov. Pritzker and Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, but I am not holding my breath.”


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On Tuesday, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker said that he’s asked the heads of state agencies to prepare for 5% cuts to budgets for 2020 and 10% cuts the following year.

“Any cut to the Illinois state budget is a win for taxpayers,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “However, a broad cut to the state budget is not enough.”

“The state of Illinois’s financial woes are due to the vast amount it spends on lavish, overpromised retired government employee pensions. Every year former Illinois government employees eat up even more of the state’s budget. In fact, the primary motivation for a $5 billion state income tax hike that passed a few years ago was to transfer wealth from taxpayers to the black hole that is the Illinois pension funds.”

“This is why Pritzker is really cutting the budget, he wants to divert pay from current Illinois government employees to retired Illinois government employees. It is also why Pritzker still wants to increase taxes with an amendment to the Illinois constitution for a graduated income tax increase.”

“Pritzker’s income tax increase amendment, better described as an income theft amendment, is not what Illinois needs. Illinois taxpayers should vote no on November 3rd on the proposed amendment change, and demand Pritzker to cut spending further.”


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Gov. Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker and his allies in the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly are telling voters that their constitutional amendment to the Illinois Constitution, on the November 3 statewide ballot, would create a “fair” graduated state income tax. They make the astonishing claim that taxes would be raised only on those who can afford it, and that middle- and lower-class families would not be adversely affected. Does anyone really believe that?

Almost all of the recent $5 billion increase in the state income tax was pumped into the state pension plans for retired government employees. Even this huge amount didn’t move the needle. These bighearted pension plans are still floundering and slowly dying. Now, J. B. and his fellow Democrats in the general assembly are back for more, and in a really big way.

If passed, the Pritzker amendment would result in another shameless transfer of wealth – and a huge one – from workers in the private sector struggling to pay their bills to retired government employees already enjoying lavish, gold-plated pensions.

The 2020 Illinois Government Pension report published by the Taxpayer Education Foundation examines the six government pension plans in the state. A look at just one of them, the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) is enlightening, and shows why these pension plans are functionally bankrupt and require frequent infusions of taxpayer dollars.

The average retirement age of government teachers in SURS is 61.1 and they collect pensions after only 18.4 years of employment. The average annual pension is $38,826, whereas the average annual Social Security benefit of workers in the private sector who retire in their 60s is $18,036.

The number of SURS pensions exceeding $50,000 is 19,753. The number of pensions exceeding $100,000 is 5,435.

299 retired government teachers receive annual pensions exceeding $200,000. 49 retired teachers receive annual pensions over $300,000.

The number of SURS pensions that will exceed $1,000,000 in estimated lifetime payouts is 25,499. The average estimated lifetime payout per pension is $982,463.

Taxpayers, through their state taxes, have so far paid $1,713,300,000 into SURS, and they will be paying a lot more into this and the other state pension plans if Pritzker’s income theft amendment passes on November 3.



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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