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 August 14, 2020 James R. Thompson (R) passed away. Big Jim Thompson, as he was known, was the 37th and longest-serving governor of the state of Illinois, serving from 1977 to 1991. Thompson is survived by his wife Jayne and daughter Samantha. The Chicago Tribune describes Thompson as a moderate willing to work on a bipartisan basis to pass legislation.
“A better way to describe Thompson is as a tax thief,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “Thompson was one of the worst tax-raisers in Illinois history. Thompson twice tried to increase the state’s income tax. He championed a ‘temporary’ tax hike in 1983 that took the income tax rate from 2.5% to 3% for two years. Then in 1989, Thompson raised taxes permanently to 3%.”
“When he retired, Thompson secured a gold-plated Illinois General Assembly Pension that his income tax increase would fund. This year, he was set to receive an annual pension of $165,987. His total pension payout from taxpayers stands at over $3,219,842.”
“However, since Governor Thompson has finally passed away, his wife will now receive survivor benefits. According to state law, Jayne Thompson will now receive 66 2/3% of her husband’s pension, increased at a rate of 3% compounded annually. Jayne will receive this pension, despite being reported to still work as President and CEO of her own company.”
“It’s pensions like these that are bankrupting Illinois. The Illinois General Assembly Retirement System in which Mrs. Thompson will receive payment is only funded at 15.65% thanks to overpromised pensions. That’s why the current Illinois governor wants to increase the Illinois income tax with a graduated rate: to take from you, to fund lavish government pensions.”
“Pritzker’s proposed state constitutional amendment is a wealth transfer from taxpayers to wealthy retired bureaucrats who produce nothing. It is urgent that taxpayers in Illinois vote no on Pritzker’s Income Theft Amendment this November 3 and force Illinois politicians to act within the bounds of reality.”
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Chicago – Evidence is beginning to mount that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is burning taxpayer dollars in an ineffectual fight against COVD-19.
“While Pritzker’s promises to expand coronavirus testing looks good for the cameras, Pritzker is ignoring reality,” said Matthew Schultz, Executive Director of Taxpayers United of America. “No matter how much Pritzker spends on testing, the capacity to analyze tests has barely increased. Illinoisans are waiting weeks before finding out if they are positive or not, and by that point the test is useless.”
At the start of June, it was reported that Pritzker paid a premium of almost $500 million in taxpayer dollars on over 1 million coronavirus tests. However, by then the state of Illinois was already lagging behind the testing rate. As early as April 2nd Illinois was behind 29 other states in per capita testing.
“Governor Pritzker is disrespecting the billions of taxpayer dollars allotted to him on the federal level,” continued Schultz. “$500 million on useless tests, $286 million on tracking coronavirus patients well after the virus has run its course. It’s all a show to make it look like he is actually making a difference.”
“The Soviet style state lockdown Pritzker instituted, which has shuttered 5100 Illinois business, was a move of desperation due to state resource mismanagement and Pritzker’s inability to act quickly. Remember, it was Pritzker’s party that lashed out against government anti-coronavirus measures as far back as January.”
“Pritzker has blamed the federal government for his sluggishness to act by stating he was expecting more support from DC. What Pritzker has to remember, is that if he had managed Illinois better, he would have more resources to fight a crisis. Instead, Pritzker has given government employees $100 million in pay raises, and had so far refused to deal with the elephant in the room: the Illinois government pension crisis. Pritzker has chosen government employees and government retirees over the health of Illinois as a whole.”
“Even without common sense fiscal reform, Pritzker could be more pragmatic with the billion that has been entrusted to him by taxpayers. Instead of paying for useless testing, use resources to acquire additional masks and launch a campaign to wear masks. Convincing, but not forcing Illinoisans to use masks would significantly reduce the number of COVID cases, and would be a more efficient use of resources.”