Jim Tobin, A Friend Of Liberty (1945-2021)

By: Christina Tobin

Sometimes a single man or woman has to stand up for principle, just so the rest of us are reminded that principles exist. Such a man was Jim Tobin. 

Illinois lost its premier tax-fighter in December 2021 when Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America and Taxpayer Education Foundation, passed away at his home in Berwyn, Illinois.

While Tobin was well known for his nearly five decades of work resulting in defeating more than 400 tax increases on the citizens of Illinois, particularly the elderly, it was his relentless tenacity in fighting for what he thought to be right that was his true measure.

Jim was once described this way: “Tobin envisions himself as a modern-day Patrick Henry beating back ‘tax-eating’ politicians with the same fervor that inspired American colonists to confront the tax-eating British in 1776.”

In the article, “The Chicago Tax Strike of 1977,” Murray N. Rothbard told one of the best-known stories about Jim, who had just founded the National Taxpayers United of Illinois a year earlier in 1976: “In recent months, a mighty property-tax strike has been sweeping the northern suburbs of Chicago…James Tobin, 31-year-old economist, bank auditor and Illinois NTUI head who was to become the principal leader of the tax rebellion, urged an outright tax strike….”

“…The reassessments suddenly boosted property taxes by very large amounts: most raises were in the 50–65 percent range; other tax bills increased by as much as 300 percent. When the property-tax bills were sent out, the citizens of the North Shore reacted with shock and anger. At first, the reaction was outraged but inchoate: phone calls bombarded the Cook County Assessors Office. Complaints also deluged the Chicago Tribune, which initiated public knowledge of the firestorm of grievance by printing some of the complaints in a front-page article.”

That’s where Jim stepped in, not just once, but over 400 times in more than 40 years. But Jim wasn’t a mere anti-tax revolutionary. He was a man concerned with all the causes of his time that challenged injustice: civil rights, unjust wars, and the individual right and responsibility of the American citizen to stand up for what is right, including in running for office. He believed people have to “be the change they wish to see.”

Jim ran for Governor of Illinois in 1998 and as Illinois Lt. Governor with Cal Skinner in 2002 on the Libertarian Party ticket. He was challenged by entrenched politicians both times. Those ill-willed challenges rallied people around the country against the injustice of seeking to keep a true citizen-candidate off the ballot. Among other things, it inspired his daughter, Christina Tobin, at 17 years of age, not only to become involved in those elections but later to found the Free and Equal Elections Foundation to help citizen candidates all over the country.

The goal of our lives should be to strive for a perfect record of victory on the battlefield of principle. We will not always be correct, and need not be. Jim Tobin believed that we need only do our best to fight for liberty and justice for all, and we must, in that way, be true to ourselves. That is the way of a free life, and the measure of a truly free man. Jim Tobin was a great American and a great champion of the little guy. He also was my father.

Sometimes a single man or woman has to stand up for principle, just so the rest of us are reminded that principles exist. Such a man was Jim Tobin.


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Aurora–Taxpayers United of America’s Director of Outreach Val W. Zimnicki, in Aurora last week, called for the city to engage seriously with pension reform.

“It is fascinating how much things can change over 10 years.” Said Zimnicki.

“In 2011, the amount that taxpayers in the City of Aurora contributed to IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) with their property taxes was $2,712,000. (The IMRF sucks up property taxes, while the other government pensions are supplemented with the state income tax.)

The amount contributed to the police pension fund was $10,155,400, and the firefighter pension fund was $8,339,700. Let’s look at how these numbers compare to 2021.”

“In 2021, City of Aurora taxpayers’ property taxes subsidized IMRF with $4,005,000. The amount contributed to the police pension fund was $19,039,600, and to the firefighter pension fund, $15,291,100.”

“In the span of 10 years, Aurora taxpayers are spending millions more on the lavish, gold-plated pensions of retired government employees. IMRF pension payments have gone up 47.67%, police pension payments have gone up 87.48%, and firefighter pension payments have gone up 83.35%. These payments are made yearly, and are expected to go even higher next year.”

“Aurora Taxpayers cannot afford this burden. In a study done by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, it was revealed that the tax rate of a median-valued home in the United States was 1.49 percent in 2017. Only a handful of cities have effective tax rates that are roughly 2.5 times higher than the average, which includes Aurora. The City of Aurora was shown to have an effective property tax rate of 3.76%!”

“The fact that so many taxpayer dollars are pulled from Aurora taxpayer’s pockets and funneled into the black hole that is the Illinois pension system is abominable. Taxpayers are always told that taxes are used to fund ‘basic necessities.’ Instead, they are used to fund the lavish retirements of government employees who retire in their 50s and early 60s.”

“Take for example William A. Wiet. Wiet was estimated in 2020 to receive $137,049 annually from his IMRF pension. He paid $158,009 into his own pension, and is estimated to receive $3,365,886 over the course of his lifetime.”

“Another example is Steven E. Booth. Booth was estimated in 2020 to receive $130,451 annually from his IMRF pension. He paid $100,020 into his own pension, and is estimated to receive $3,891,301 over the course of his lifetime. Booth retired at the age of 55.”

“Instead of benefiting a handful of elite government pensioners to sit around unproductively, the State of Illinois and Gov. Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker should implement pension reform to reduce taxpayer burdens. Meaningful tax cuts can bring growth back to Illinois, and reverse the outflow of Illinois residents.”

“To that end, the City of Aurora should stop being a benefactor of government pensions and, instead, be a responsible steward of taxpayer’s money. It is time for those responsible for the City of Aurora’s finances to take a stand, and demand pension reform.”


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The so-called Build Back Better Act proposed in the House of Representatives, with its “economically costly and inefficient tax increases,” will result in reduced economic output, wages, and jobs, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Washington-based Tax Foundation.

“We find that long-run GDP would drop by a little over $1 for every $1 in new tax revenue,” writes the foundation’s Garrett Watson.

The Foundation’s General Equilibrium Model estimates that the Ways and Means tax plan would reduce long-run GDP by about 0.4 percent, which in today’s dollars amounts to about $129 billion of lost output annually.

Furthermore, the foundation estimates that “The tax changes in the plan (including IRS enforcement and excluding other non-tax revenue raisers like drug pricing) would raise about $124 billion annually in new tax revenue in the long run, conventionally estimated in today’s dollars, meaning for every $1 in revenue raised, economic output would fall by about $1.04.”

Starting with a 0.05 percent drop in GDP in the first year (about $11 billion) and building to a 0.26 percent drop in GDP by 2031 (about $86 billion), the plan would result in a cumulative GDP loss of about $531 billion from 2022 through 2031.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the corporate income tax is the most harmful tax for economic growth, and academic research suggests that workers, especially low-skilled, women, and the young, are negatively impacted through lower wages.

The report notes that “Even before accounting for a smaller economy, taxpayers earning less than $400,000 would see lower after-tax incomes due to higher corporate taxes and higher taxes levied on nicotine.”

Additionally, the economic harm caused by the tax increases would claw back some of the plan’s permanent full refundability of the child tax credit (CTC) aimed at low- and middle-income families. For taxpayers in the bottom 20 percent, it would reduce the average net benefit of the plan per filer from $54 to $7, nearly wiping out the average benefit per filer.

Source: https://taxfoundation.org/house-tax-plan-impact/