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Springfield, IL – “Government pensions are growing like weeds and, like weeds, are choking out the very taxpayers who fund them,” said Jim Tobin, economist and president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).

“Springfield and Sangamon county taxpayers pay some of the highest property taxes in the country. Property taxes fund the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) and by law the IMRF must be funded before any other bills can be paid. This means that taxes are funding those lavish, gold-plated pensions and leaving little for services needed today.”

“Sangamon County property taxes have increased 49% more than home values from 1996 to 2016. Taxes are literally stealing from the average taxpayers’ largest asset and retirement nest egg: the family home.”

“Springfield tax-raisers have recently hiked the telecom tax 25% and expanded the hotel tax as well as increasing the sales tax from 8.5% to 8.75%, and this hasn’t made a dent in the huge hole that these government pensions put in the budget.”

The remaining five state pension funds are subsidized with the Illinois state income tax. Some retirees from the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the IMRF also receive Social Security pensions. The current average Social Security pension is $18,036.

“True to form, Democrat Governor Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker ignores the gorilla in the room: government pensions. Instead of addressing the number one financial problem in the state by placing a pension reform amendment on the ballot, he is fixed on gobbling up even more taxpayer wealth with an Income Theft Amendment instead.”

“Between the mass exodus of Illinois residents to more tax-friendly states and the huge loss of jobs and income from Pritzker’s Soviet-style lockdown, Illinois’ middle-class will virtually disappear.”

“It’s mathematically impossible for a huge income tax increase to solve the problem because the pension burden grows at 3% a year, and that is compounded for all but the IMRF pensions. Illinois is second only to New York in out-migration.”

“As a direct result of the Pritzker’s policies, Springfield and Sangamon County taxpayers are struggling without paychecks while nearly all government employees and all government retirees continue to collect fat paychecks. Here’s what some of the political elite are taking home:

Robert A. Alvey retired from Sangamon County government at the age of 60. His current annual pension is $159,357. With his 3% COLA, he will realize about $3,845,595 over a normal lifetime. His personal investment in that stunning payout is only about 2.7%. Mr. Alvey is also eligible for a social security pension.

Robert C. Hill, Springfield SD 186 retiree, has a current annual pension of $192,368. He retired at 55, and will collect about $5,292,983 in estimated lifetime pension payments. His personal investment in that rich payout is only 1%!

Harry Berman retired from University of Illinois Springfield and currently collects $187,679 a year from the State University Retirement System (SURS). His estimated lifetime payout is $4,037,246. He had to invest only $216,639 of his own money for that payout.”

“Illinois government employees work only 20.1 years on average in order to collect these unrealistic pensions. And for every dollar they deposit in their own pension fund, taxpayers are forced to fork over $4.74. Add to that a 3% COLA, compounded for all but IMRF, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand why Illinois’ government pensions are insolvent.”

Click Here to view top 200 Springfield and Sangamon County IMRF Pensions.

Click Here to view top 200 Springfield and Sangamon County TRS Pensions

Click Here to view top 200 Springfield and Sangamon County SURS Pensions

“Rather than put an Income Theft Amendment on the ballot, Pritzker should have pushed for a pension reform amendment, because these outrageous pensions are protected by the state constitution.,” said Tobin.


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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.”