Just another $10 Million Government Pension

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CHICAGO —All across the country, millions of government pensioners are contract-bound to receive lifetime pension payouts, each in the millions of dollars, along with taxpayer- funded, premium healthcare insurance, according to Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“There has been a flurry of reaction to the ‘discovery’ of Alameda County Administrator, Susan Muranishi, securing an excessive lifetime annual payment of $423,000. We have completed analysis of government employee salaries and pensions in nineteen states across the country and while Ms. Muranishi’s pay is on the high end of the scale, it just isn’t as uncommon as you might think.”
Peter G. Mehas, retired from the Fresno County Office of Education, annual pension – $241,807; est. lifetime payout: $9,357,534
Tapas Das Gupta, retired from the University of Illinois, annual pension – $426,885; est. lifetime payout: $8,337,549
Frank A. Fairbanks, retired city manager of Phoenix, AZ, annual pension – $246,813; est. lifetime payout: $7,404,386
Irene Mitchel, retired from the Pennsylvania Higher Ed System, annual pension – $332, 017; est. lifetime payout: $9,960,523
“Alameda County, CA (ACERA) had fourteen pensioners receiving eight-figure pensions in 2011, the highest being $17,824,590 estimated lifetime payout to Gary Thuman, based on his annual pension of $396,102. This is what he is being paid not to work.”
“Alameda County government teachers have a real sweetheart deal too. Christine A. Lim, retired from San Leandro Unified and enjoys $239,092 in annual pension payments. Her est. lifetime payout is a stunning $10,436,359. Not bad for ‘civil servant’. The top 100 Alameda County government teacher pensions average $5.5 million.”
“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. And 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.”
“Knowing all that we know about the desperate state of government pensions across the country, how then do some states continue to hide their pension largesse behind a shroud of legal secrecy? One might think pensioned judges wouldn’t protect their own pension payments from public review. But consider Colorado, where Denver District Judge Edward D. Bronfin ruled that the state’s own treasurer, Robert Stapleton, could not have ‘unlimited, unfettered access’ to the state’s PERA data, holding that individual names and pension amount are personal. When you consider that Colorado’s PERA has at least a $16.8 billion unfunded liability, it would seem the public will be picking up a majority of that tab and it should be open for review.”
“Colorado is not the only state that still hides pension payments from public review. To give taxpayers an idea of what the current government pension laws allow for, TUA estimated pensions for current employees, assuming they meet the terms of full retirement. The shear magnitude of these estimates explains why government bureaucrats maintain the shroud of secrecy. Consider current Colorado State employee, Robert K. Hammond, a Colorado State employee whose salary is $225,000. Under current PERA rules, assuming he meets all of the criteria, he would be eligible for an annual pension of about $168,750 that could accumulate to a lifetime payout of about $5.4 million.”
“Nevada is another state that keeps individual pension payouts from public review. The state keeps its approximately $11 billion in unfunded liabilities hidden as well. Ricardo A. Bonvincin, a corrections lieutenant, was receiving $435,658 in annual wages. Assuming he met all criteria for full retirement, he would have been eligible for an annual pension of $335,456, potentially accumulating to a stunning $15,961,017.”
“And so the list goes across the country.”
“Cities, counties, government boards are buckling under the shear magnitude of these pension promises — promises negotiated out of corruption and expanded to include all who would challenge them, such as legislators and judges. The current government-employee pension system is indefensible on any level. If contractual agreements are honored across the country, taxpayers will be required to sacrifice all their property to ensure that the ‘new elite’ keep pulling in the big bucks.”
“It is actually too late for pension reform, and time for pension settlement for existing pensioners and pension replacement for new hires. It is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of the government pension debacle, so what is left? Stockton, CA, is taking the bankruptcy path to dealing with its fiscal irresponsibility, which will allow it to reorganize its debt. Does every city, county and state government have to go bankrupt in order to fairly settle the incredible financial burden placed squarely on the backs of taxpayers as a direct result of this ubiquitous corruption?”
“But the debt is only half of the problem. Any city, county, state, or court that manages to survive the overwhelming pension crisis and allows the system to perpetuate under the same set of rules is acting criminally. It is time to end government pensions forever.”
Note: All pension amounts are based on 2011 reports generated on data received directly from each of the respective funds and the pension laws in force at the time of each study.

Oh, the Hypocrisy of Obama's Gun Control Advocacy!

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CHICAGO—President Obama calls for greater gun control and has done so throughout his political career, yet takes great comfort in the knowledge that his daughters are protected by ‘men with guns,’ as stated in interviews with David Letterman and others.
“The president seems to think that, ‘We the Little People,’ need more laws and restrictions and must wait for police to arrive, while he and his family enjoy the protection of their own 24 hour, personal armed guard,” stated Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “He has joked about something the rest of us take very seriously: our right to protect ourselves from criminals and psychopaths who wish to do us harm.”
“We need to be very careful about knee-jerk reactions to tragedies initiated by people determined to do harm to others — especially from politicians with an agenda. What other explanation is there for someone who has ordered drone strikes that have killed over 170 children? Where are the tears, where is the outrage, and where is the cry for reform of our lethal foreign policies that are draining our finances, killing our troops, and killing the children of other nations?” asked McNeilly.
“We, as a nation, need to be consistent in our concern for personal safety and the safety of the helpless, like children, and we need to expect that from our leadership. If the children of the president don’t have to wait for police to arrive, neither should the rest of America’s children nor any other citizen for that matter.”
“Increasing gun control and further infringing our ability to protect ourselves puts us squarely in the crosshairs of those who don’t follow the law. The courts in virtually every state have told us it is up to us to protect ourselves and that we cannot sue our local police for failing to protect us,” stated Billings, MT attorney, W. David Herbert.
“The state of Connecticut has an assault rifle ban that was in effect when a crazed gunman entered the Sandy Hook elementary school ‘gun-free zone’ to slaughter 26 innocents after gunning down his own mother. How did that gun ban protect any of the victims? How will expanding such a ban protect any citizens?”
“The president and others have been quick to politicize a tragedy that reveals the need to end the government monopoly on schools and our individual security. By limiting or eliminating our right to protect ourselves, we create yet another government monopoly – individual security.  Do we really want to entrust, as our caretakers, a government that deems collateral damage of hundreds of innocent lives, including children, acceptable? At what point will American casualties also be acceptable in the effort to protect safety of the chosen few?” added McNeilly.
“President Obama is right about one thing: he knows the value of being able to protect those you love with guns. He should not seek to deprive the rest of us of that same peace of mind by depriving us of our right to bear arms.”

Stop Oak Park and River Forest District 200 from Raising Our Property Taxes on December 20!

Brought to you by:  Protect District 200 Property Taxpayers
Barb Langer, Ph.D., Founder and Barry Epstein, Ph.D., CPA, Forensic Accountant
Contact:  NoNewTax@att.net

The Board of Education (BOE) for Oak Park-River Forest High School (OPRFHS) District 200 (D200) in Oak Park, Illinois, said on November 15 that D200 will pass a 2.5% property tax increase on December 20, 2012, despite having a $123 million cash surplus.
BOE members indicated that while they will hold a perfunctory “Truth in Taxation” public hearing immediately before approving the new levy on December 20, they will let nothing deter them from extracting their annual pound of flesh from D200 households.The only way District 200 residents can stop the BOE from passing the levy is to come and protest in person…

Thursday, December 20, 2012
7:30 p.m.
Oak Park River Forest High School
201 N. Scoville, Oak Park, IL.

Only mass political pressure will have any impact on the BOE.  Otherwise, you will face annual property tax increases from D200 forever.

D200 BOE President Terry Finnegan set forth D200’s arguments for the levy in a November 28 article, “Criticism of D200 levy is misinformed.” [i]

Mr. Finnegan took exception to our earlier articles in the Wednesday Journal [ii]  and Dr. Langer’s public comment opposing the Levy at the November 15, 2012, D200 BOE meeting. [iii]

We have rebutted Mr. Finnegan’s published arguments in the attached article. [iv] D200 also posted a description of the levy. [v]

Our brilliant forensic accountant, Dr. Barry Epstein, CPA, CFF, [vi] reviewed D200’s published Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports and Projections for the last 10 years [vii] and found no justification for a new levy at this time. [viii]

Dr. Epstein will present a Power Point Presentation at the 7:30 p.m. BOE meeting on Thursday, December 20 at the high school that will be posted here following the meeting.  Please come and see him.  He’s a great speaker!

Below, after links to related documentation, are Dr. Epstein’s analysis of D200’s financial reports and Dr. Langer’s explanation of why and how D200 can and will pass the levy unless D200 residents come and protest at the December 20 BOE meeting.

Click below to view Dr. Epstein’s analysis, SD200 By the Numbers,  and related documentation (some files are large and may take a few moments to download).:
SD200 By the numbers
Dr. Langer’s analysis of SD200’s justification of tax increase
SD200 By the numbers (500 word version)
SD200 By the numbers (800 word version)
Our Rebuttal to D200 BOE President Finnegan’s 11/28/12 Wednesday Journal article
Dr. Langer’s Public Comment at November 15, 2012 D200 BOE meeting
Dr. Langer’s Viewpoints article censored by the Wednesday Journal
Dr. Langer’s report on BOE Pres. Finnegan’s refusal to speak
D200 Pres Finnegan’s Letter denying Dr Epstein’s request to speak on Dec20
D200 BOE President Finnegan’s email declining our request to speak
D200’s Notice of Property Tax Increase
ii Langer B:  Say no to District 200’s new tax levy increase.  Wednesday Journal, p. 26, 13Nov2012
Langer B, Thomas V:  District 200 rushes levy increase, survey.  Wednesday Journal, p. 23, 20Nov2012
iii Dr. Langer’s comments at November 15, D200 BOE meeting
iv Rebuttal to District 200 President Terry Finnegan’s article entitled: “Criticism of District 200 levy is misinformed”
v SD200 Description of 2012 Preliminary Levy
vi http://www.forensicaccountingexpert.com/?gclid=CPaNvu7hl7QCFegWMgodqRkAOQ
vii http://www.oprfhs.org/business-office/Reports.cfm
viii http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/12-11-2012/School-District-200-by-the-numbers/