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.”


TUA logo

View as PDF

The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization today issued a statement condemning Gov. Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker for betraying Illinois’ middle class and poor by significantly raising gasoline and cigarette taxes.

“Illinois’ corpulent con-man Pritzker has pushed these cruel and destructive tax increases on the state’s middle class and poor,” said Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “While middle class taxpayers struggle to make ends meet, the bloated $45 billion ‘infrastructure’ spending package passed is a payoff to the state’s labor unions that feed the Democrat machine. Adding insult to injury, the legislators that passed these massive tax increase will get a pay raise of $1,600 annually.”

“Retired state employees are literally becoming pension millionaires on the backs of workers in the private sector who are funding these lavish, gold-plated pensions with their taxes. In the meantime, these private sector workers, many of whom are losing their retirement plans, must pay a lot more for gasoline and cigarettes.”

“The state’s residents who are poor are the most affected by the enormous, regressive tax increases on these items.”

“The doubling of the state’s 19-cent-per-gallon motor fuel tax to 38 cents, higher fees for license plates and driver’s licenses, a 15% tax on e-cigarettes. and the $1-per-pack cigarette tax hike on the current $1.98 state tax are outrageous.”

“It’s time Illinois voters woke up to how much they are being ripped-off by Pritzker and his fellow Springfield tax-raisers for the benefit of special interests.”

Say NO To A Graduated Income Tax Increase

View as PDF

The economic and demographic future of Illinois is now in the hands of the Illinois State House, as (SJRCA1) was approved by the Illinois Senate.

The state is hemorrhaging residents and companies, and if this state income tax increase passes, and is approved by voters, the state will likely never recover. Illinois is circling the drain as we speak. 

Gov. Pritzker says that this will be a tax on the “rich,” and that the tax will ensure fairness. This is totally untrue; in fact, the very opposite is the case.

The Illinois Pension Crisis continues to cost taxpayers more every year, and the Illinois exodus has reached historic levels. As it has been shown in the state of New York, wealthy taxpayers will leave because of higher taxes. Passing Pritzker’s Income Tax Increase Amendment will increase the outflow of taxpayers, and consequently lower expected tax revenues. So who will pay when the money taken from taxpayers falls short? The middle class.

This is a middle class tax increase!

Rates for individuals under Gov. Pritzker’s plan would jump to nearly 8 percent for anyone earning more than $250,000 per year. For those with incomes of more than $1 million annually, the 7.95 percent rate would not be marginalized—it would be applied to every dollar, not just income of more than $1 million!

The proposed tax increase omits inflation indexing (resulting in “bracket creep”), creates a marriage penalty, and includes a recapture provision that subjects the entirety of a taxpayer’s income to the top marginal rate once they reach that bracket!

Should this graduated-rate income tax become law, rates may climb even higher, and more taxpayers could be subjected to higher rates.

The neighboring states of Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and Missouri have all cut income taxes in recent years, while Illinois is headed in the opposite direction. This may be our last chance to save the state from economic collapse.
Taxpayers must call their representative and tell them to vote NO on a tax increase on the middle class.

Representatives should instead focus on reigning in lavish public spending, instead of chasing away their constituents and promote pro-growth reforms to help Illinois prosper.