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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) reveals in their latest government pension study that over 893 Lake County and Waukegan government retirees are collecting annual pension payments over $100,000.
“It’s unconscionable that taxpayers are still on the hook for such outrageous pensions,” stated TUA’s operations director, Jared Labell. “Across the state pension funds, there are 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 $34,000.”
“Lake County taxpayers struggle to make ends meet with 6.2% unemployment and bank-owned homes on the rise, but are forced to pay for these outrageous pensions rather than save for their own retirement, much less afford to hang on to their own homes.”
“It is time to preserve the future of the 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.”
“Those of us in the private sector must reduce our spending if our income decreases; we can’t just go to our employer and demand more money to fund irresponsible spending. Mercifully, Waukegan has staved off a property tax increase for at least this year.”
“Consider the annual pension of $258,163 being paid to retired government teacher, Larry K. Fleming from Lincolnshire-Prairie View 103. His estimated lifetime payout is $11.2 million! Retiring at the ripe old age of 55, his personal investment in that gold-plated payout was a mere $326,507, or 2.9%.”
“Then there is Peter Krupczak, retired from the College of Lake County. He gets $216,287 in annual pension payments and because he retired at only 57, those payments with compounded annual cost of living adjustments will accumulate to more than $6.3 million! His personal investment was only about 3.6% or $228,997.”
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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 pension system is the single cause of Illinois’ critical financial situation and it is mathematically impossible to tax our way out of this situation.”
“This financial squeeze of paying for yesterday’s services with today’s tax dollars is only going to get worse as yesterday’s services rendered compete for today’s tax dollars tendered.”
“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 what are we waiting for?”
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Chicago – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his inaugural budget address before the General Assembly yesterday, focusing in part on the government pension debacle afflicting the state. Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has played a large role in publicizing this issue for nearly a decade, and yesterday’s media coverage is helping spread the message like never before.
Although not mentioned by name, Rauner was citing TUA’s research when he stated in his budget address, “As it stands right now, one out of every four dollars taken from taxpayers by the state goes into a system that is giving more than ELEVEN THOUSAND government retirees tax-free, six-figure pensions worth as much as, in one case, $450,000 per year!”
Rauner was referring specifically to TUA’s release April 30, 2014, “Illinois’ Top 200 Government Pensions: The New Millionaire’s Row,” listing the most lavish government pensions in Illinois as of April 1, 2014. TUA’s response to Rauner’s budget address yesterday can be found here.
Luckily, Gov. Rauner’s reference was not ignored, and ABC 7 Chicago followed up with a story yesterday evening, “Some Illinois retirees getting millions from taxpayers,” further investigating the top gold-plated government pensions in the state. A link with a PDF of our research can be found within their ABC 7 investigative report, as well as here.
TUA has forced the Illinois government pension fiasco into the spotlight and for good reason; the current government pension system is unsustainable. TUA’s website has been flooded with new visitors and taxpayers looking to become members, joining TUA in the fight for fiscal sanity in Illinois and reclaiming our economic future.
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Chicago – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his first budget address to the General Assembly today, allowing the first-term Republican an opportunity to outline his plan to address the financial catastrophe looming over the taxpayers of Illinois.
Taxpayers United of America’s (TUA) director of operations, Jared Labell, said that today’s speech was mostly a replay of Rauner’s State of the State speech delivered just two weeks ago. “We were hoping that today’s budget address would give some concrete indication of how Rauner intends to move forward with his goal of reforming the government of Illinois and improving the economic climate of the state, but he was heavy on flowery campaign rhetoric and short on substance.”
“Rauner’s speech continued to echo many of the same points he offered two weeks ago, but unfortunately, without further details of how his approach will make fiscal sense; not to mention gain the approval of the Madigan and Cullerton Democratic stronghold called the General Assembly.” Labell continued, “Yet again, we will have to wait and see what the finalized budget proposal will look like on paper before we celebrate, and even then, we still have a long way to go.”
Although many specifics of the governor’s so-called ‘Turnaround Budget’ remained elusive following the speech, Labell was not entirely pessimistic about the opportunities ahead. “Rauner’s general approach to reforming the government of Illinois is a positive step in the right direction, especially when compared to groups like the Civic Federation, which recently released its state budget analysis calling for six major tax increases totaling more than $23 billion, plus billions in more expenditures.”
“Rauner seems committed to finding a solution to the pension crisis in Illinois, a top priority of TUA for nearly a decade. In his speech, Rauner even referenced some of the figures we have published, including the fact that more than eleven thousand government retirees are collecting tax-free, six-figure pensions.” Labell concluded, “The government pension system is unsustainable. Rauner and the General Assembly must address this fiasco first and foremost if they want to retain any credibility with the taxpayers who are forced to pay for this perpetual government boondoggle.”