Whiteout Press | List of highest government pension recipients in US

Findings from TUA’s nationwide pension project are featured in this story from Whiteout Press.
whiteoutpresslistofhighestMay 1, 2013. San Francisco. The taxpayer watchdog group Taxpayers United of America just released a list of the highest, multi-million dollar pension recipients from America’s government employee retirees. The details shed light on two ever growing concerns. One, government employees are bankrupting the nation with their exorbitant pensions. And two, the most blatant violators are from the San Francisco area, home of big government progressives.
Recently, Americans were outraged at the news that an Alameda County, California administrator – Susan Muranishi – was receiving a lifetime, annual, taxpayer-funded retirement payment of $423,000. But research by Taxpayers United of America (TUA) in the months since has turned up even more examples of blatant self-enrichment on the part of government bureaucrats, including offenders worse than Muranishi in Alameda County.
Digging up the details
“We have completed analysis of government employee salaries and pensions in nineteen states across the country,” explained TUA Executive Director Rae Ann McNeilly, “and while Ms. Muranishi’s pay is on the high end of the scale, it just isn’t as uncommon as you might think.”
As McNeilly points out, the below list of pension millionaires is taken from just 19 states. The remaining states are fighting as hard as they can to keep the golden parachute pensions of their state’s government employees secret. Based on the shocking findings below, readers can see why.
“How did pensions ever get so outrageous?” asks McNeilly, “These grotesque pension payments have far exceeded any possible original intent of adequately compensating ‘civil servants’ for meager wages that lean government budgets could barely afford for basic services. No, the pension scam has become the number one tool of corruption for top government union bosses to stay in power and to reelect those that would make such deals with the devil.”
Taxpayers United of America’s Rae Ann McNeilly goes on to detail how trillion-dollar government pension programs have taken on a life of their own, infecting every check and balance the system has to prevent such abuse. She explains, “To ensure the scam proliferates, lavish pensions have been awarded to the legislators who would vote on this issue. This keeps them protected by the state’s laws. And for judicial certainty, the very judges who might rule on any challenges to the system have themselves been made part of the conspiracy with gold-plated retirement security of their own.”
Top lifetime government employee pension recipients (from Taxpayers United of America):
*Note, the below estimated total pension amounts are just that, estimates. They are based on each recipient’s yearly pension payment multiplied by average life expectancy.

  • Alameda County, California. This county should win an award all by itself. In 2011, it had no less than 14 retirees who would each collect over $10,000,000 in pension payments while they’re retired. And it’s not just the few fat cats at the top. TUA reveals that the top 100 pension recipients in the county each average $5,000,000 in expected pension payments. The county also claims the top two individual spots on the below list.
  1. Gary Thuman, Alameda County, CA. Annual payment: $396,102. Total estimated pension: $17,824,590.
  2. Christine A. Lim, San Leandro, CA. Annual payment: $239,092. Total estimated pension: $10,436,359.
  3. Irene Mitchel, Pennsylvania. Annual payment: $332, 017. Total estimated pension: $9,960,523.
  4. Peter G. Mehas, Fresno County, CA. Annual payment: $241,807. Total estimated pension: $9,357,534.
  5. Tapas Das Gupta, Illinois. Annual payment: $426,885. Total estimated pension: $8,337,549.
  6. Frank A. Fairbanks, Phoenix, AZ. Annual payment: $246,813. Total estimated pension: $7,404,386.

As Taxpayers United of America reminds us, only 19 states provide details concerning the pension amounts that taxpayers are forced to pay retired government employees. The rest of the states are fighting tooth and nail to keep it secret. With so many states’ pension funds missing tens of billions of dollars, they’re being forced to drastically raise taxes and cut services to pay for the lavish retirements.
Currently, the 50 states have an estimated combined debt of $4.2 trillion. Of that amount, as much as $2.8 trillion is owed to retired government employees. Some states, like President Obama’s home of Illinois, have an unfunded pension liability of roughly $100 billion. There was a time not long ago that a number like that represented the United States’ entire national debt. Now, it’s just the missing pension money from one single state. It that doesn’t illustrate the enormity of the problem, nothing will.

Inside Tucson Business | Group says city employees due millions in pension payouts

Findings from TUA’s pension project on Tucson, Arizona, are featured in this article from Inside Tucson Business.
A taxpayer watchdog group in Illinois has released a study saying Tucson government retirees could receive millions of dollars in lifetime pension payouts.
Taxpayers United of America, a libertarian leaning but politically non-affiliated advocacy group, put together an analysis of the city’s highest-paid pensioners and their estimated lifetime retirement payouts.
According to the group’s analysis, the retirees’ annual pensions range from $113,979 to $67,355. All told, the retirees receive $3.9 million per year in pension payments.
“These people are being paid an astronomical amount of money for 30 to 40 years to do absolutely nothing,” said Jim Tobin, founder and president of Taxpayers United of America.
Tobin said the group advocates having all new government hires on 401(k) and Social Security instead of the traditional publically funded pension plans that many government employees are on.
The group also advocates for government employees to pay for 50 percent of their health premiums.
“They defend pensions by saying they deserve it, but it doesn’t happen in the private sector anymore,” Tobin said.
According to the group’s calculations, many of the city retirees will earn as much as $3.4 million in pension payments. They base the figure on a retirement age of 55 and assume the pension payments will extend for 30 years.
City employees are only eligible for early retirement at age 55 if they have at least 20 years service.
The city’s Tucson Supplemental Retirement System Pension Fund has a budget for the current fiscal year of $68.1 million.
According to a 2011 guide to the pension fund, two-thirds of the pre-investment proceeds funding comes from city contributions. Employee contributions make up the remainder.
City employees are required to contribute at five percent of their gross wages.
Tobin called pension systems “immoral” and said that they were growing increasingly unsustainable.
“That’s the worst part about it,” he said. “We’re forced to pay their million-dollar pensions.”
Copies of the reports are online at www.taxpayersunitedofamerica.org.

KGUN-TV 9 | Big government pensions brought into question [VIDEO]

Findings from TUA’s pension project on Tucson, Arizona, are featured in this story from KGUN-TV 9. To see video of the story, click on the image below.
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) – It’s costing taxpayers millions of dollars a year across Pima County and the City  of Tucson, and one group says it’s gone too far.  They’re talking about big pensions for government workers.  It’s at the center of the U.S Postal Service’s financial crisis, and the issue that crippled the state of Wisconsin and led to the governor’s recall election.
A group called Taxpayers United of America (TUA) is now traveling the country to spread the word on pensions, and how much taxpayers are putting in.
Jim Tobin with TUA says the system needs to change.
“it’s just tearing the country apart and if it doesn’t change, it will.  It will tear the country apart,” he sad, “Taxpayers who make an average forty-thousand dollars a year in the Tucson area are subsidizing these people for up to thirty years or more to do absolutely nothing.”
9 On Your Side dug deeper into “double-dipping” in February, finding out Tucson city manager and former police chief Richard Miranda takes in more than $300 thousand a year with his police retirement pension and current salary.
Others on TUA’s list of top pensions in Pima County earn as much as $125 thousand a year.  If they retire at age 60, it could mean millions of dollars.
9 On Your Side wanted to know how this is justified.  Pima County supervisor Richard Elias says competitive pension make up for salaries that pay less in the private sector.  He added the top name on the TUA’s list was the county’s chief forensic scientist… a doctor who gave 30 years to public service.
“I would say that many more of our employees are just like them and retire with thirty-thousand dollar salaries than that list of names that you have there,” he said, “Those are the exceptions rather than the rule.”
According to a 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics study, government and private sector job salaries on average are similar, with local government employees earning an average of $2 thousand less, but factoring Federal and state workers, it averages about $2 thousand more.