Danville Government Pensions in Crisis

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Danville, IL—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of their study of the top government pensioners of Vermilion County, Vermilion County government schools, Danville Community College, and Danville municipal.
“Hundreds of Vermilion County area government pensioners receive multi-million dollar lifetime pension payouts,” stated Jim Tobin, TUA president. “The pensioners’ average personal investment is only about 5.5% of the lifetime payouts.”
“While local taxpayers, whose average household income is about $41,000, struggle to make their property tax payments, working well beyond retirement age, these government pensioners enjoy lavish, gold-plated retirements beginning, on average, at the age of 58.”
“These ‘poor public servants,’ who collect more than the taxpayers who fund their salaries and pensions, enjoy nearly iron-clad job security and guaranteed increases in wages and retirement. These government employees are supported by a local economy where about 20% of constituents are below the poverty level. This is theft. This is immoral and unethical theft of taxpayers’ hard-earned money to be given to the political elite.”
“Danville fire and police pension funds are on the brink of ruin. With 25.1% and 35.23% funding ratios, respectively, and more retirees collecting benefits than employees paying into the fund, they are rapidly spiraling to insolvency.”
“There are now well over 12,154 Illinois government pensions over $100,000 and 85,893 over $50,000 annually! These numbers only pertain to the state pension funds and don’t include any of the hundreds of local police and fire pension funds! Those are staggering numbers, considering the taxpayers who fund these government pensions get an average Social Security pension of about $15,000 a year.”
“I defy teachers, or any government employee, to look into their neighbors’ eyes and say, ‘You deserve another pay cut so I can make more in retirement than you make working.’ They have to be able to say to their neighbors, ‘I don’t care if you can no longer afford your home’s property tax payment; I want more. I want more of your money. I want more of your wealth. I want more of your property.’ That is the reality of demanding more lavish government pensions,” challenged Tobin.
“Retired Danville CCSD 118 government employee, David L. Fields enjoys an annual taxpayer funded pension of $164,769. Over a normal lifetime, he will get about $2.7 million in pension payments. His personal investment in his rich pension is about 5.8% or $155,718 – less than one year of the government pension benefits he collects!”
Phillip C. Morgan retired from Danville Sanitation and his current annual pension is $126,339. He will collect about $2.8 million, while he only put in $115,618 of his own money, less than one year’s pension payout. That’s a 4% investment in his own multi-million dollar retirement payout!”
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“Although we did not support or endorse SB 1 as any kind of pension reform, as it did more harm than good, the unanimous ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court clearly illustrates the limited options available to solve the pension crisis…and the answers are not tax increases!”
“A constitutional amendment that is fair to taxpayers, as well as government employees, must be approved next year to address the government pension crisis in Illinois. In the meantime, if the Illinois General Assembly increased individual government employee contributions to their own gold-plated pensions by 10 percentage points, it would save taxpayers about $150 billion over the next 35 years, or about $4.3 billion a year, and save the State of Illinois from financial ruin. If all else fails, there is always the option of moving forward with legislation to begin the process of allowing municipalities and government schools to file for Chapter 9.”
“Taxpayers must pursue these three paths forward to avoid disastrously higher taxes in the immediate future.”
“Rather than finding ways to perpetuate this horrible system that places copious amounts of cash in the hands of bureaucratic hacks, rank and file government pensioners should be calling for the complete reform and conversion to 401(k) style funds that place employees in control of their own futures. How many times will we trust politicians to do the right thing with the money collected for pensions and how many citizen groups will ‘discover’ that you just can’t tax your way out of this problem?”
“The choice is clear: without sweeping, meaningful pension reform, residents of Danville and nearly every other city in Illinois will have to choose between fully funding the pension systems to pay for past services rendered, or pay for the services we need today,” concluded Tobin.
*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% compounded COLA and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590).

Chicago’s Minority Residents Shortchanged on Police Protection as Emanuel Prepares Huge Property Tax Hike

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CHICAGO—Chicago residents, especially minority residents on the South and West sides of the city, are shortchanged on police protection, as they bear the brunt of the crime wave caused by rival drug gangs, charged Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“This past weekend, six persons were killed and 27 wounded between Friday and Sunday. This carnage is unacceptable.”
“The highly-politicized police department has essentially given up on protecting Chicagoans,” said Tobin. “And to make it worse, while they provide substandard protection, Chicago police are pulling down high salaries and fat, lavish, gold-plated pensions that have been drained to the point where the plans are grossly underfunded and, in effect, bankrupt.”
“Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is calling for the largest property tax increase in modern Chicago history, between $450 million and $550 million, to raise enough money to make a major pension payment for police and firefighters next year. This will drive Chicagoans with good jobs and homes out of the city, leaving the less affluent to pay the higher property taxes as they are besieged by criminals,” said Tobin.
“The War on Drugs is not only a complete failure, but its prosecution has cost taxpayers trillions of dollars and an even steeper price for the countless lives lost. This is a war on people, as we are continuing to witness on the South and West sides, and considerable reform of the drug laws are required to stop the violence fueled by prohibition.”
“Just like the pension plans of the State of Illinois, the Chicago government-employee pension plans and the Chicago Board of Education pension plan are beyond the point of being rescued by tax increases. The amendment to the Illinois Constitution protecting government employee pensions from being “diminished or impaired” must be repealed. The Illinois General Assembly must vote to allow municipalities to file for bankruptcy so the bankrupt pension plans can be restructured to bring expenses down to reasonable levels.”
“Finally, all new hires should be placed into 401(k)-style retirement plans, so they can fund their own retirements rather than living off the earnings of Chicago homeowners and property owners.”

Property Tax Assessment Appeal Seminar for Berwyn Township

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Berwyn, IL– Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America, will be hosting a property tax assessment appeal seminar with Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak on Thursday, August 27, 2015, at the Berwyn Public Library for taxpayers seeking to appeal their 2015 property tax assessments. Berwyn Township is open for appeal August 3 –September 1, 2015.
The hour long session will educate taxpayers on how to file a successful property tax appeal and address why property taxes go up when the value of your home goes down.
The seminar includes a presentation explaining the appeal procedure at the Board of Review. Before the end of the evening, taxpayers will have an opportunity to work with staff from the Board of Review to address their specific questions and concerns.
This event is free to the public, and there is no fee to appeal at the Board of Review. Taxpayers are asked to bring a copy of their most recent tax bill.

The seminar will be held:
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Berwyn Public Library
2701 Harlem Avenue
Berwyn, IL 60402
6:30 p.m.

Taxpayers may file an appeal online by visiting the Board of Review website at www.cookcountyboardofreview.com
Also, appeal forms are available at the Board of Review located at 118 N. Clark St., Room 601, Chicago, IL, or at the Bridgeview Satellite Office located at 10200 S. 76thAve., Room 237, Bridgeview, IL 708-974-6074
Taxpayers United of America (TUA) was founded in 1976 by activist and economist Jim Tobin. Since then, TUA has saved taxpayers over $200 billion in taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America.
The Cook County Board of Review is a quasi-judicial elected office responsible for adjudicating assessment appeals for all property in Cook County. Commissioner Dan Patlak represents the 1st District of the Board of Review, which encompasses 90% of Suburban Cook County and part of the 19th and 41st & 45th Wards of Chicago.