Tax Increases Fail To Fend Off Kankakee Government Pension Woes

KANKAKEE–Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its updated study on Kankakee municipal and County government pensions, including the top 200 pensions in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), and the State University Retirement System (SURS). Taxpayers United of America(TUA) issued the following statement based on the TEF pension study:

“Kankakee taxpayers are among the hardest hit in Illinois,” said Val Zimnicki, TUA Director of Outreach. “With an effective property tax rate of 1.91%, Kankakee County ranks 189 out of 3143 nationally.”

“There’s really no mystery as to the cause of the high property tax rates. In a word: Pensions. Kankakee municipal and Kankakee County government pensions are funded with property taxes.”

“That’s why it matters to us that people like Michael Downey double dip from taxpayers. Mr. Downey retired from the Kankakee Sheriff’s Department at the age of 53 and was then appointed to replace the retiring Sheriff. His $92,216 annual pension will accumulate to more than $2.8 million over a normal lifetime. Add to that his six-figure salary and you’ve got taxpayers footing the bill for this extravagant expenditure.”

“The city of Kankakee increased the sales tax by two full percentage points specifically to fund the IMRF pensions. And that’s just the IMRF funding. Kankakee police and fire pensions are literally in dire straits. They are funded only 27% and 17%, respectively.”

·Click here to see the top 200 Kankakee area TRS pensions.

·Click here to see the top 200 Kankakee municipal and county IMRF pensions

·Click here to see the top 200 Kankakee area SURS pensions

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. The other five statewide pension funds are funded partly 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 income tax under the guise of a ‘more fair’ graduated income tax, so they can make it through the next election cycle. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Kankakee taxpayers would be decimated by the Pritzker income-tax hike if it passes. There is nothing fair about his ‘fair tax’ that will, by design, siphon even more wealth out of the pockets of the middle-class. And his tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with the latest gargantuan gasoline tax hike.”

“When you look at what the individual government retirees are actually collecting in taxpayer-funded pensions, you get a better idea of why this theft of taxpayer wealth is so egregious. Keep in mind that the average taxpayer will collect only about $17,500 a year from Social Security, and that most IMRF pensioners are also eligible for a Social Security pension.”

Michael J. Kick retired from Kankakee County at the age of 55. He currently collects $112,305 a year in pension payments. His contributions to his own pension total $81,845. Assuming he lives to 85, he will collect $2,917,835. Michael is also eligible for a social security pension

Kay Green retired from Kankakee School District 111 at the age of 61. She will collect $154,379 in pension payments this year and $3,366,141 over a normal lifetime.

Larry Huffman retired from Kankakee Community College at the age of 54. He paid $157,199 into SURS and will collect $4,418,316 in estimated lifetime pension payments.

“Illinois is functionally bankrupt, and the cause is runaway government employee pensions with unfunded liabilities so huge that it is mathematically impossible for the state to tax their way out of this financial black hole.”

“All Illinois government new hires should be placed in a 401(k) style retirement savings account, beginning immediately, and the retirement age should be increased to 65. These measures would at least stop the bleeding until comprehensive pension reform can be enacted.”

The Southern Illinois Pension Problem

Carbondale civiv center

Carbondale, IL – Recent information published by the Taxpayer Education Foundation reveals startling information about Carbondale area retired government employee pensions. The release shows over 200 Southern Illinois University SIU retired employees set to receive million-dollar payouts from their pensions. The report also shows many retired employees of the City of Carbondale, Jackson County, and government teachers from various local school districts retiring in their 50s.

Click to view Carbondale TRS pensions

Click to view Carbondale IMRF pensions

Click to view Southern Illinois University pensions

“Even so far from Chicago, Carbondale acts just like any other Illinois city.” Said Matthew Schultz, executive Director of Taxpayers United of America.

“Every single retired government employee in our top 200 State University Retirement System (SURS) list is estimated to become a pension millionaire. In example: John Folse retired from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale will receive an estimated $314,808 in 2019. Through 2019, Mr. Folse will collect $4,584,987 from his taxpayer subsidized pension. In Carbondale, Illinois, the average salary is $39,786.

“Then we have the retired local government employees in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). At the top of that list is Michael L. Wepsiec.  Mr. Wepsiec retired at the elderly age of 56 with a lucrative annual pension of $152,919. By the time Mr. Wepsiec reaches 85 years of age, he will have received a $3,821,412 pension payout funded by local property taxes. Mr. Wepsiec is also eligible for social security.

“Steven R. Sabens, Carbondale CHSD 165 currently receives $179,582 from his Teachers Retirement System Pension (TRS) retired at the age of 61. By the time he reaches 85, he will have received a total of $4,823,476 from his taxpayer subsidized pension.”

“Every retired government employee listed here will receive a 3% compounded cost of living adjustment that doubles their annual government pension in 24 years.”

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. Five statewide pension funds are 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 income tax under the guise of a ‘more fair’ graduated income tax, so they can make it through the next election cycle. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Carbondale taxpayers would be decimated by the Pritzker income-tax hike if it passes. There is nothing fair about his ‘fair tax’ that will, by design, siphon even more wealth out of the pockets of the middle-class. Pritzker’s tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with the gargantuan gasoline tax increase.”

“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 egregious. Keep in mind that the average taxpayer will collect only about $17,500 a year from Social Security, and that most IMRF pensioners are also eligible for a Social Security pension.”

“All Illinois government new hires should be placed in a 401(k) style retirement savings account, beginning immediately, and the retirement age should be increased to 65. These measures would at least stop the bleeding until comprehensive pension reform can be enacted.”

Springfield IL Taxpayers Crushed by Gov. Pension Debt

Springfield Illinois TUA

View as PDF

Last week Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America went to Springfield to expose lavish, government pensions. The story was reported by Greg Bishop of Center Square. Click here to view their article and video.

Springfield, IL – Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its updated study on Springfield municipal pensions, Sangamon County government pensions, including the top 200 pensions in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), and the State University Retirement System (SURS). Taxpayers United of America (TUA) issued the following statement based on the TEF pension study:  

“Springfield taxpayers deserve better from their government. Just in the last year, they have approved a 3.3% property tax increase to throw more money at SD 186 and a new county-wide new sales tax of 1% that would be used for school building repairs and improvements,” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA.

  “Every ‘new tax’ opens another door for increased theft of taxpayer wealth. Just watch what happens to that inconsequential 1% sales tax. This little 1% now puts parts of Springfield in the position of highest local sales tax in the country at 10.75%. Yes, the highest in the USA! Chicago used to hold that title but it’s not really a contest you want to win,” quipped Tobin.  

“The IMRF pension fund, which gives lavish, gold-plated pension benefits to retired municipal employees, is funded by property taxes. $903 million in property taxes have been shoveled into this fund to keep it afloat.”  

· Click here to see the top 200 Springfield area TRS pensions.

· Click here to see the top 200 Springfield area municipal, and Sangamon County IMRF pensions

· Click here to see the top Springfield area SURS pensions   “The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. The other five statewide pension funds are 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 income tax under the guise of a ‘more fair’ graduated income tax, so they can make it through the next election cycle. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Springfield taxpayers will be decimated by the Pritzker income-tax hike if it passes. There is nothing fair about his ‘fair tax’ that will, by design, siphon even more wealth out of the pockets of the middle-class. And his tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with Pritzker’s gargantuan gasoline tax-hike.”  

“When you look at what individual government retirees are actually collecting in taxpayer funded pensions, you can get a better idea why this theft of taxpayer wealth is so egregious. Keep in mind that the average taxpayer will collect only about $17,500 a year from Social Security, and that IMRF pensioners are also eligible for a Social Security pension.”  

Diane K. Rutledge retired from Springfield SD 186 at the age of 56. Her current annual pension is $187,048. She will collect an estimated $5,854,673 over a normal lifetime.  

Theodore B. Flickinger is collecting an annual pension of $271,579. He retired from the Illinois Association of Park Districts and will collect an estimated $4,667,184 in IMRF pension payments over a normal lifetime. He paid into IMRF only $229,232. Theodore is also eligible for a social security pension.  

Yunus Kathawala retired from University of Illinois – Springfield with a current annual pension of $197,737, Yunus will collect about $4,909,457 in SURS payments over a normal lifetime.  

Illinois is functionally bankrupt, and the cause is runaway government employee pensions with unfunded liabilities so huge that it is mathematically impossible for the state to tax their way out of this financial black hole.  

“All Illinois government new hires should be placed in a 401(k) style retirement savings account, beginning immediately, and the retirement age should be increased to 65. These measures would at least slow the bleeding until comprehensive pension reform can be enacted.”