Knox County Government Pensions are Scandalous

View as PDF Galesburg, IL – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released their most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Galesburg municipal, Knox County, Knox County government schools, and Carl Sandburg College retirees.
“It’s no ‘phony scandal’ that government pensions are failed and taking their toll on Knox County taxpayers,” stated TUA’s operations director, Jared Labell. “Across the 5 state pension funds, there are more than 11,054 government pensioners collecting six-figure pensions and over 78,526 pensioners collecting more than $50,000 where the per-capita income is slightly higher than $35,000 and the per capita government debt is $24,959.”
“Knox County taxpayers struggle to make ends meet with 6.0% unemployment and bank-owned homes on the rise, but are forced to pay for these outrageous pensions.”
“The Galesburg police and fire pension funds are in abysmal shape, each funded by only about 50%.  This is putting services in jeopardy as pensions for services rendered in the past are competing for tax dollars needed for current services.”
“It is time to protect the future of taxpayers who have been scammed by politicians and union thugs into going along with a system that creates and constitutionally protects a special class of government elite.”
“It’s also time for union leadership to have a frank discussion with the rank and file, educating them on the inevitable collapse of an unsustainable crony system designed to siphon money from taxpayers for the benefit of the few. The unions should use those dues forced from members to bail out the pension system rather than use those funds to elect political cronies who keep them in power.”
“Consider the annual pension of $146,646 being paid to retired government teacher, Thomas Schmidt from Carl Sandburg College. His estimated lifetime payout is $5.1 million! Retiring at the ripe old age of 58, his personal investment in that gold-plated payout was a mere $232,158, or 4.5%.”
“Then there is Ronald L. Cope, retired from Galesburg CUSD 205. He gets $126,403 in annual pension payments and because he retired at only 56, those payments with compounded annual cost of living adjustments will accumulate to $3.2 million! His personal investment was only about 4.4% or $139,649.”
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“The average Social Security ‘pension’ is only about $15,000 a year and taxpayers pay 15% of every penny they earn for that modest payout.”
“This government pension system is the single cause of Illinois’ critical financial situation and it is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of this situation.”
“The Illinois government has failed us; local governments have failed us. It is in everyone’s best interest to solve the pension problem before the system completely collapses. It is no longer a matter of ‘if’ it will collapse, but when.”
“Immediately place all new hires into 401(k) style retirement savings accounts, increase member contributions to their retirement fund, increase retirement age for full benefits, and increase member contributions to 50% of health care premiums. Anything short of these reforms will do nothing to permanently solve the problem. If it takes a Constitutional Amendment, then we need to get that on the ballot as soon as possible!”

Taxpayers Oppose 7 Property Tax Increase Referenda April 7

View as PDF Chicago – Government bureaucrats in Broadview, Shorewood, Shiloh, and New Baden have placed referenda on the April 7, 2015 ballot for voters to approve Home Rule status for these villages. According to Taxpayers United of America (TUA), Home Rule means higher taxes.
“I like to call it ‘Home Ruin,’” said Jim Tobin, president of TUA. “Why would anyone want to give up their right to vote on property tax increases?”
“Home Rule always means higher taxes because it removes the cap limiting the amount that bureaucrats can increase property taxes. It gives bureaucrats a blank check and how many government bureaucrats would you trust with a blank check bearing your signature?”
“Home Rule also gives local government authority to tax nearly any product or service they want. What they don’t tell you is that such taxation drives consumers to neighboring communities where the taxes on products and services are lower.”
“And if high taxation isn’t enough, Home Rule is used extensively to add regulations, fees, and licensing that create even more red tape for business and entrepreneurs.”
“We are helping taxpayers in each of these communities by revealing the truth about home rule and how damaging it is. We are working with local activists and organizations to educate voters on Home Rule.”
“Bureaucrats in Westmont CUSD201 are asking taxpayers, for the third time, to give up more of their hard earned money ‘for the safety of the children.’ They are asking for a property tax increase of $19.7 million in bonds….again, which does not include paying the interest on the bonds. Hopefully taxpayers can educate the educators April 7 so they will understand the meaning of ‘NO’ this time around.”
“And of course, we urge taxpayers in Wilmette Park District to reject $14.5 million in bonds by voting no on two property tax increase referenda for wasteful spending on structures that will destroy the natural beauty of the waterfront parks. They hope to sell this by saying it doesn’t increase property taxes. While it may not be a new tax increase, it is an increase anytime you renew the debt, pay interest on the bonds, and keep property taxes from returning to their previous, lower level.”
You can download PDFs of our ‘Vote No’ flyers for printing and distribution below.

“Government needs to live within its means and cut spending when revenue declines. 80% of Home Rule and other local taxes go to pay government employees and their benefits. By adding new taxes, government bureaucrats ensure their own high pay and lavish pensions.”
“Illinois currently has 11,054 annual state pensions totaling more than $100,000 each and 78,526 government pensions of more than $50,000 apiece annually. It is mathematically impossible to raise enough taxes to sustain the defunct state pension system and yet every unit of government continues to try.”
“Illinois has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country and you have to wonder how many people could have stayed in their homes if the property taxes weren’t so high – the second highest property taxes in the country.”
“TUA has defeated 411 local tax increase referenda since 1977. We urge voters in these six communities to tell bureaucrats that they have had enough of government living beyond its means at the expense of taxpayers and to Vote No.”
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.

$1.3 Million Toilets for Wilmette Park Empire

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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) urges Wilmette Park District taxpayers to “Vote No” on two referenda on the April 7 ballot that ask for a combined total of $14.5 million in new debt for more unnecessary empire building in the Wilmette Park District.
“Wilmette Park District continues its overreach and inappropriate use of taxpayer money by its excessive plans for $1.3 million toilets, plus the associated maintenance costs, that are in direct conflict with their stated mission of keeping the Langdon Park beach natural and protected for generations,” stated Jim Tobin, TUA president.
“Just like government, the park district can’t bear to give taxpayers a break by paying off existing debt. Instead, they plan to increase your taxes through new debt of $12.7 million to grow their empire on Gilson Park. Destroying 59 acres of prime lakefront with unnecessary government structures and control of the natural lakefront is nothing but more bureaucratic overreach.”
“Wilmette Park District has engaged in a systematic takeover of not just parks, but also recreation. The district has placed the boot of the government on the throat of small businesses engaged in workshops; dance and exercise studios; early childhood centers; fitness clubs with running track; gymnastics gymnasium; a sports gym; and an auditorium for the performing arts.”
“Private enterprise cannot compete with the seemingly unlimited resources of taxpayer subsidies. The Wilmette Park District’s Community Recreation Center has already confiscated enough taxes to build, staff, and maintain 94,000 square feet of recreational space.”
“This excessive government overreach costs taxpayers dearly. Not only are the hundreds of current staff paid higher wages than their private sector counterparts, but the vast majority are entered into one of the state’s failed pension systems, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). Even part-time clerical, trainers, maintenance, babysitters, etc. are all offered higher than average pay and constitutionally protected lifetime pensions – about 130 of these park district employees are offered golden pensions in the IMRF!”
“Langdon and Gilson Parks are intended to be beautiful and natural treasures the lakefront provides. Leave it to government bureaucrats to think they can improve upon nature by siphoning wealth from taxpayers to build impediments to the natural beauty that then require care and feeding with more tax dollars by more over-paid government employees.”
“’Vote No’ on Wilmette Park District’s arrogance on April 7.”

Click below to view PDFs of:
Wilmette Park District Vote No Flyer
Wilmette Park Dist Pensions
Wilmette Park District Full-time salaries and part-time salaries