Vote 'No' on Knox Community Schools’ Property Tax Increase Referendum!

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CHICAGO—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) is working with taxpayers in Indiana’s Knox Community School District to oppose the district’s property-tax-increase referendum that will appear on the district’s May 7, 2013 ballot.
“This referendum is a money grab for the bureaucrats of the Knox government schools,” said Jim Tobin, TUA president. “Homeowners are being hit-up for a property tax increase to fund a new building that just isn’t necessary.”
“The average value of a home in Starke County is $99,400, so this referendum, if passed, would increase such a home’s annual real estate tax bill by about $279 every year.”
“It’s amazing that even with the decline in property values, resulting in homeowners losing a significant portion of their assets, the Knox Community School bureaucrats still want a sizeable increase in property taxes to build their work-palace.”
“Eighty-percent of government-school revenues go to salaries and benefits of these government employees for their nine-months-a-year employment. An increase in property taxes will not help students, but it will keep funds available to well-to-do teachers and administrators for their lavish pay and benefits.”
“Taxpayers in Knox Community School district are dealing with 12.3% unemployment- one of the highest in the country. They have also been hit with a 44% increase in their Social Security taxes but these government school bureaucrats want even more. After all, these government bureaucrats have no need to worry about job security or economic strife – they have nearly iron-clad job security with a guaranteed lifestyle that is greater than those in the community they serve.”
‘We urge Knox Community School homeowners to turn out in force for the May 7 election and vote No on the property-tax-increase referendum. You can bet that the government employees will show up to vote in favor of their buddies’ shiny new workplace.”
Click here to download our ‘VOTE NO’ flyer to share with friends and neighbors in the Knox Community Schools district.

Gov. Daniels: Release Indiana's Public Pension Numbers!

CHICAGO – Taxpayers United of America Vice President, Christina Tobin, called on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to set the standard for transparency by leading his state to release its government pension data.
“I have written a letter to Gov. Daniels, urging him to change the culture of secrecy surrounding government employee pension benefit amounts. He can champion enforcement of Indiana’s existing freedom of information law: IC 5-14-3-1, regarding access to public records, viz, : “…all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government…”
Please click below to view the letter:
“Indiana has refused to release the names and pension amounts for its retired employees at every level of government. There is a culture of resistance and secrecy around the salaries of current employees as well. Indiana State and local government officials have been more resistant in providing salary data than any other state in which we have researched the government pensions”, said Tobin.
“In states like Indiana that refuse to disclose individual pensions, we estimate pensions for current employees using their current salaries and the specific pension rules for the fund in which they participate. While this provides a reasonable estimate, the people have a right to know actual pension amounts.” (Read more…)

TUA Calls for Government Pension Reform in Lake County

Click here to view Lake Counties To 100 Salaries
Click here to view Indiana’s Top 25 Pensions
Click here to view the Indiana’s State Employees Benefits
Merrillville–A report released today by Taxpayers United of America (TUA) reveals that local and state government employees are not only receiving generous salaries, but that over a normal lifetime, many of these government employees when they retire will become pension millionaires. Indiana bureaucrats refuse to release pension figures, so total pension payouts were estimated for this report. The bureaucrats of Gary Community Schools have refused to provide salary information, violating Indiana state law.
“While Lake County taxpayers struggle through this recession with an average wage of $38,800, a median home value of $129,000 and 10.7% unemployment, government employees really rake it in while they are employed and then when retired. Taxpayers not only foot the entire bill for the lush salaries, but 100% of these government employee pensions are funded by the taxpayer.  In many cases, even the lump sum Annuity Savings Account is also completely funded by the taxpayers who will have to work until they drop to fund their neighbors’ retirement,” said Christina Tobin, TUA Vice President. “
“Starting first with the top 25 Pensions and Lump-sum Distributions (2010) for the entire state, heading the list is T. A. Crean of Indiana University, whose salary is $600,000. When he retires, he will receive an estimated annual pension of $198,000. In addition to his pension, he will receive either a lump-sum of $510,000 or an annuity. Crean’s estimated total pension payout over a normal lifetime is $7,425,000.”*
“Lake County employee, Speros Batistatos rakes in an annual salary of $170,351 and is eligible for a $144,799 lump-sum payout on top of his 100% taxpayer funded lifetime pension payout of $2,304,854.  Another Lake County pension millionaire will be Rogelio Dominguez with a $113,957 lump-sum on top of his taxpayer funded $1,813,927 pension payout. Of today’s current Lake County employees, 34 are projected to be eligible for millionaire payouts when factoring the lump-sum payment and lifetime pension payout.”
“State employee Peggy Sue Stephens of Madison St. Hospital received an annual salary (2010) of $243,586. Her estimated lump-sum payment at retirement is $207,048, and her estimated total pension payout over a normal lifetime is $3,295,725.”
“Gary and Lake County pension systems are making millionaires out of public employees at taxpayer expense. Ending pensions for all new government hires would eventually eliminate unfunded government pensions; putting new government hires into social security and 401(k)s would achieve this. If each current government employee were required to contribute 10% toward his or her pension, taxpayers would save billions of dollars.”
“We need to knock all politicians out of office who make deals with bad government union bosses and bad corporate power brokers at the expense of the taxpayers.”
*Assumes retirement at age 55 after 30 years.
Click here to view this news release as a PDF.