Illinois Government Pension Rip-off


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Chicago – Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its annual report of the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). Each year TEF obtains updated information on SERS retiree pension payments through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests directly from the SERS administrators. That data combined with information from the SERS annual report and the Illinois statutes governing the pension system provide the information necessary to calculate estimated lifetime pension payouts for current pensioners. Expected lifetimes are based on IRS form 590 actuarial tables. All statements and analyses are based on these data.
“SERS is another example of the state’s inability to live up to the pension promises made to the current 72,005 SERS payees in the third largest statewide fund,” said Jim Tobin, TEF president.”
“Like all of the government-employee pension funds in the state, SERS is bound by law to keep unrealistic promises made to government employees, but it is taxpayers who are forced to fund them. For every $1.00 that SERS members deposited into their own pension funds last year, taxpayers were forced to deposit $7.15.”
By contrast, private sector employees are required by law to deposit a combined 15% of their earnings and employer profits into Social Security for an average annual Social Security pension of about $17,000 if they work at least 32 years and retire at 66 while the SERS counterparts average $34,381 annually for only 24 years of eligible employment and the average age of retirement is 59. SERS pensioners are guaranteed an annual 3% compounded cost of living adjustment (COLA) regardless of market conditions. Social Security COLA is always limited to the consumer price index. The 2018 SS COLA is 2%.
“Illinois is functionally bankrupt. Yes, ‘bankrupt’ is the generally accepted term for the financial state of not having the capacity to meet one’s financial obligations. Across the state, services are being cut because Illinois statute requires pensions to be paid before other obligations and we can’t afford both. Illinois is bankrupt and bloated government pensions are the cause.”
“Here are just the top 5 pensions from SERS.

Name Current Annual Pension Age at Retirement *Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout Employee Contribution % of Lifetime Payout
PARWATIKAR, SADASHIV D $220,267 64 $3,799,680 3.2%
MODIR, KAMAL $199,087 60 $4,091,811 2.5%
VALLABHANENI, NAGESWARARAO $169,830 61 $3,326,371 4.8%
BAIG, MIRZA S $166,605 56 $4,812,251 2.6%
KADKHODAIAN, HOOSHMAND $162,843 61 $3,306,561 5.4%

Click here to see the top 200 SERS pensions
“It is mathematically impossible for Illinois to tax its way out of the pension promises corrupt politicians traded for votes, but that won’t stop the greedy Springfield thieves from trying. Moves are already under way to get a graduated income tax on the ballot, and basic services will be held hostage to ensure they get the votes needed to pass it.”
“Illinois has the highest out-migration in the country right now and we are on pace to lose another congressional district when the 2020 census is concluded. We are bleeding productive taxpayers, which only worsens our problems because there are fewer of us to carry the burden of higher taxes and higher interest on borrowing.”

Democrat Hack Zalewski Prevents TUA Spokesman Zimnicki From Testifying At Committee Hearing

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CHICAGO—The Chairman of the Illinois Revenue & Finance Committee, Democrat hack and Madigan puppet, Michael J. Zalewski (D-23, Riverside), refused to allow TUA Director of Outreach, Val Zimnicki, to testify against the proposed state Income Tax Increase Amendment at a Chicago hearing on Wednesday, May 2. This bill, HR 1025, filed by Ill. House Speaker and Chicago machine boss Michael J. Madigan (D-22, Chicago) calls for a graduated state income tax increase for Illinois.
Zimnicki was registered to be among those giving oral testimony in opposition to this state tax increase.
Over 2150 witness slips had been filed to present oral testimony, written testimony, or have record of appearance in opposition to this huge state tax increase.
Zalewski allowed only supporters of the bill to testify before the committee. No speakers opposed to the income tax increase were able to testify, and Zimnicki initially was informed that he was not on the list to testify. After further questioning, it was revealed that he was indeed on the list, but was not given a date and time. It was stated that if TUA was to be heard, it would likely be in Springfield, IL, a 200-mile trip from the May 2 meeting in Chicago.
Zalewski also is a chief co-sponsor of HR 1025. This abuse of power occurred with the support of notorious Taxpayer Traitor David Harris (R-53, Mt. Prospect), who was the Republican Spokesperson for the Committee and who voted to raise the Illinois State Income Tax by $5 Billion dollars.
Despite this silencing of Taxpayers, TUA will continue to spread its message of opposition to higher taxes to fund lavish, gold plated pensions for retired government employees. The Director of Outreach’s written statement can be found below.
“Honorable Chair, and members of the Revenue and Finance Committee, I am Val Zimnicki, Director of Outreach for Taxpayers United of America.
As I look down the road toward retirement, I am struck by how unfair the current Illinois pension system is to the middle class.
As someone who works in the private sector, the most retirement income I can look forward to is about $17,000, from Social Security—if I am lucky to get that much.
In contrast, retired government employees receive lavish, gold-plated retirement benefits, and, as an Illinois taxpayer, I am forced to pay for these benefits through the state income tax.
The current, unsustainable state pension system has created many pension millionaires among retired government employees.
Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R), no friend of taxpayers, is rolling in money, thanks to these Illinois government-employee pension plans. Mr. Edgar gets an Illinois General Assembly pension of $166,000 per year, a State University Retirement System pension of $83,000 per year, and is currently hired-back “part-time” by the University of Illinois for another $62,796 per year—pulling in more than $312,000 per year.
Former Governor Edgar is a pension millionaire. Former Governor Quinn (D) is a pension millionaire. Former Governor Thompson (R) is a pension millionaire. These three so-called ‘public servants’ are going to receive a total of $11,388,000 in pension payouts over their expected lifetimes.
I am paying for their extravagant retirements, because most of the money from the recent state income tax increase is being poured into the insolvent state pension funds that send monthly checks to them.
The State of Illinois is functionally bankrupt, and government-employee pensions are to blame.
Illinois taxpayers are voting with their feet. In 2017, the number of people moving from Illinois to states with lower taxes outstripped arrivals by 115,000. And it will get a lot uglier if the proposed state Income Tax Increase Amendment is passed.
If the state income tax, now a flat tax, is converted to a graduated state income tax, the exodus from Illinois by the middle class will become a stampede. The state will literally go under financially.
It is impossible for the state to tax itself out of its current downward spiral. There is not enough money to go around to pay for its current unfunded pension liabilities of more than $130,000 billion.
There is a solution, and it also involves a state constitutional amendment. The current Constitution must be amended to allow for reasonable decreases in pension benefits for retired government employees.
In addition, all new government hires must be placed in 401(k)-style pension plans, so there will be no increases in the current unfunded pension liabilities.
Thank you for your attention.”
 

“Tax Freedom Day” Is an Oxymoron

CHICAGO—The just-released report from the non-partisan Tax Foundation, Washington, D.C., revealed that the U.S. as a whole has worked 109 out of 365 days to pay its total tax bill for the year.

“In a very real sense, everyone is a slave of federal, state and local tax collectors for the first 30 percent of this year,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“Finally, on April 19, which the Tax Foundation has christened ‘Tax Freedom Day,’ the country as a whole will have paid off its tax debts, and can start keeping its earnings for its own use.”
Tax Freedom Day is calculated by adding all federal, state, and local taxes and dividing them by the total income earned in the country.
“This year, Tax Freedom Day is three days earlier than last year, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by the current administration.”
In 2018, Americans will pay $3.39 trillion in federal taxes and $1.80 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total tax bill of $5.19 trillion, 30 percent of national income, according to the Tax Foundation.
“This is still an obscene chunk taken out of workers’ earnings. America will spend more on taxes in 2018 than it will on food, clothing, and housing combined,” added Tobin.
“Despite the federal income tax cuts, government at all levels is still on a spending spree. As the feds cut the taxes and fewer tax dollars make their way to the state and local coffers, state and local governments are raising taxes. The federal tax cuts will soon disappear unless spending, which is funded by borrowing and printing money, is brought under control. The value of the U.S. dollar will continue to decrease as the debt continues to increase.”
“’Tax Freedom Day’ is an oxymoron. Tax Freedom Day isn’t freedom at all; it’s a measure of how truly enslaved we are,” concluded Tobin.