Rahm’s Amusement Tax- Not Funny to Taxpayers who Fund Lavish Muni Pensions


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TUA exposing government pensions was featured on WTTW. Click here to view the news article. 
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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Chicago Municipal Government retirees.
“All of the top 200 Chicago pensions for the ‘poor civil servants’ are at least $100,000 a year,” stated TUA’s president, Jim Tobin. “The average retirement age for this group of pensioners is only 58. Social Security requires taxpayers to reach age 67 before they are eligible for full retirement benefits…which max out at about $32,000 a year”, added Tobin.
The Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, (MEABF) is predicted to be insolvent in 8 years, according to its most recent audit. The auditing firm estimated that taxpayers would have to deposit $1,005,456,621 to make the fund solvent. MEABF does not include Chicago teachers, police, or firefighters who each have their own pension system, all separate from the 6 statewide pension funds.
To pay for these lavish city pensions, Mayor  Rahm Emmanuel is increasing and creating new “entertainment taxes.” Included in his proposed 2018 budget, are a measure to increase the current tax on some music and sports venues and a new entertainment tax on internet services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.  The tax-per-seat will go up by 80 percent to 9 percent from 5 percent for tickets to concerts, plays or comedy shows for venues larger than 1500 seats. Victims of this tax increase include Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, and the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls.  There also is a new entertainment tax on major streaming services like Netflix. The tax on streaming services will extract $12 million from these companies, with the cost likely passed on to consumers.
“The state of Illinois is bankrupt. They can’t pay their bills because the outrageously rich government pensions rob the taxpayers blind. And there won’t be a bailout by the state for the city of Chicago – there just isn’t enough taxpayer money. Taxpayers would have to pony up about $1,005,456,621 to make the MEABF solvent!”
“At every level of government in Illinois, bureaucrats are trying desperately to prop up the failed pension funds with more tax increases. You can be sure that the historic increase in the state’s income tax won’t be the last one.”
“Here are a couple of examples of the ‘poor public servant’, taxpayer funded pensions:
Dennis J. Gannon collects an annual pension of $194,638. Assuming he leads a normal life of 85 years, that annual pension will accumulate to $7,791,985. Retiring at only 50, he will collect taxpayer funded pension payments for 35 years…far more years than he actually was employed by the city!
Then there’s Stephen M. Murray. Collecting an annual pension of $146,896 will provide him with an outrageous lifetime payout of $5,107,745. Keep in mind that he retired at only 53 years of age!”
Click below to view the top 200 pensions for Chicago Municipal Retirees:

“These government pensions are legalized theft. Overpromising benefits to government employees is pervasive throughout Illinois. The government pensions are singularly responsible for Illinois’ financial crisis.”
“We support Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to repeal the historic state income tax increase passed last year and resolve the pension problem through a change to pension protection clause in the Illinois Constitution,” concluded Tobin.

Bombastic Taxpayer Traitor St. Rep. David Harris Won’t Run For Reelection After Exposure By TUA


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James Tobin |  President 

  (312) 427-5128 | (773) 354-2076

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 5, 2017

View Daily Herald News article featuring TUA!

CHICAGO—State Rep. David Harris (R-53, Mt. Prospect) announced on Oct. 3 that he will not be running for reelection. Harris had been strongly criticized by Taxpayers United of America (TUA) for betraying Illinois taxpayers and his own political party. The Republican “Taxpayer Traitor,” David Harris, had been named at a news conference on August 24, 2017, at the headquarters of Taxpayers United of America, 205 W. Randolph Street, Chicago.

The press conference was held after a TUA victory in Illinois House district 65, where St. Rep. Steven A. Andersson announced he would not run for reelection after being named “Taxpayer Traitor” by TUA.

David Harris and his nine fellow Republican traitors conspired with House Speaker and Chicago machine boss, Michael Madigan, to pass the largest permanent income tax hike in the state’s history, increasing the personal income tax rate to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent, and the corporate income tax rate from 7.75 percent to 9.5 percent. You can be sure that most of the $5 billion from this latest income tax increase will be funneled into the state’s floundering government-employee pension funds, just like previous tax increases,” said TUA President Jim Tobin.

TUA had distributed “wanted” fliers for “crimes against taxpayers” with Harris’ picture on them at locations across the 53rd District, urging voters to “Throw tax traitor David Harris out of office on March 20th, 2018.”

Quad-City Times | AFSCME, taxpayer group disagree on Illinois pensions


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Taxpayers United of America’s operations director, Jared Labell, was quoted by Quad-City Times in an article about Taxpayers United of America’s recent pension release for both Rock Island County and Moline.


Visit website to see pension information

According to Jared Labell, of the Taxpayers United of America organization, the group’s website lists individual pensions of Rock Island and Moline municipal, Rock Island County, Rock Island County government teachers and Black Hawk College retirees. Visit www.taxpayersunited.org to see the list.

Rock Island County taxpayers bear the burden of millions of dollars in pensions that retired educators and municipal workers will collect for years to come, according to a Chicago-based taxpayers group.

Taxpayers United of America made a presentation on that contention — one of several presentations throughout the state — Wednesday at the Rock Island Holiday Inn.

But a representative from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, counters that most Illinois retirees receive only modest pensions.

Jared Labell, operations director of the taxpayers group, said about 930 Rock Island County teachers collect at least $50,000 annually. Statewide, more than 12,000 Illinois pensioners collect six-figure pensions, and more than 85,893 retirees collect more than $50,000, he said.

“On average, these government pensioners contribute only about 5.5 percent to their own retirement payout,” he said. “In the private sector, employees pay 15 percent of every dollar they earn into Social Security for an average pension of only $15,000.”

But Anders Lindall, public affairs director at AFSCME Council 31, Chicago, calls the taxpayers group and similar organizations “pension-cutting lobby groups.”

He said the average pension in the state is $32,000 a year.

“We’re talking about the life savings of teachers, police, firefighters, nurses and other public-service workers who live in our communities throughout Illinois,” Lindall said.

Eight in 10 of those workers are ineligible for Social Security, Lindall said. “So, their modest pension is their primary, if not their only, source of income in retirement.”

When they are working, teachers, police officers and other public employees pay significantly into their own pensions, Lindall said. He said workers typically pay 8-12 percent of every paycheck toward their pension.

 “The pension debt, which is real, is caused not by employees doing anything wrong; they always pay their share. It’s caused not by benefits being too expensive, and it’s certainly not caused by the few radical exceptions — outliers — that these pension-slashing lobby groups like to trot out,” Lindall said.

The taxpayer group’s Labell gave examples of local retirees with pensions near or surpassing $100,000, including Calvin D. Lee, former superintendent of Moline-Coal Valley School District, who according to the taxpayer group’s research, receives $197,826 in annual pension payments.

Another retiree, former Rock Island County Sheriff Michael T. Huff, receives $97,291 in annual pension payments, Labell said.

AFSCME’s Lindall said the pension debt was caused by legislators who didn’t set aside enough money to pay benefits. “It’s regrettable that they (the taxpayer group) attract any attention at all. They’re not adding anything productive to the conversation.”

He said it’s important to understand that the problem is the decades-long failure of politicians at the state level to set aside adequate resources.

“The answer is ending that practice and for the state to pay what it owes,” Lindall said. “Many people have talked about ways to make those costs more manageable — for example, re-amortizing the pension debt — a mathematician’s word for refinancing your mortgage.”

Creative and constitutional solutions like that that should be considered, Lindall said.

The taxpayer group’s Labell suggests putting new state employees on a 401(k) retirement plan. He emphasized that he is not demonizing people who receive pensions. Pointing out what someone is making through a pension “puts a more ‘real’ spin on it,” he said.

The average person’s Social Security pension is $15,000, he said. Compared to that, the pensions he discussed “are just astronomical,” he said.

“We are technically these peoples’ employers,” Labell said. “I think we have a right to know this information.”

Taxpayers United of America calls itself a “pro-taxpayer, nonprofit, non-partisan organization,” Labell said, adding that the organization is “not indebted” to any political party.

AFSCME represents mostly public employees at all levels of government and is the largest public employee union in the country with 1.4 million members.