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East Dundee—The Fox Valley Libertarian Party (FVLP) hosted an open meeting to educate voters on the danger of home rule, and invited Taxpayers United of America (TUA) President Jim Tobin to be their guest speaker. The speech was directed at East Dundee residents, who will decide on March 20th whether their village will cease to be a Home Rule unit. In his speech, Jim Tobin warned taxpayers that Home Rule is the most insidious form of government in America.
“Illinois Home Rule gives unlimited taxing power to bureaucrats,” said Jim Tobin. In some cases, Home Rule even takes away citizens’ right to vote on vital city issues and limits citizens’ voice in government mayoral and council elections. “Taxpayers are effectively muzzled, except at election time, and even then, their choices are limited.”
The FVLP meeting took place at the River Street Tavern in East Dundee. The room was filled past maximum capacity, forcing many community members to stand to hear Tobin’s speech. The meeting lasted past the time it was supposed to end, as greedy pro-Home Rule village trustees both past and present disrupted the taxpayer meeting.
During the meeting the trustees tried to justify Home Rule by pointing out the $30 million in bond debt the government issued. What they didn’t say, was that it was Home Rule that allowed the bonds to be issued without voter approval. Home Rule is “needed” to pay off these debts, presumably using the unlimited taxing power to raise village property taxes. The Village of East Dundee only has a population of 3,182 as of 2016. The trustees also denied that property taxes pay village government retires, which they actually do through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
Julie Fox, Chair of the FVLP stated, “We started a conversation that needed to happen. I consider this one of the most successful FVLP chapter meetings we’ve ever had.”
TUA, along with other local activists are also opposing Home Rule in Rockford, and Homewood.
TUA exposing government pensions was featured on WTTW. Click here to view the news article.
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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Chicago Municipal Government retirees.
“All of the top 200 Chicago pensions for the ‘poor civil servants’ are at least $100,000 a year,” stated TUA’s president, Jim Tobin. “The average retirement age for this group of pensioners is only 58. Social Security requires taxpayers to reach age 67 before they are eligible for full retirement benefits…which max out at about $32,000 a year”, added Tobin.
The Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, (MEABF) is predicted to be insolvent in 8 years, according to its most recent audit. The auditing firm estimated that taxpayers would have to deposit $1,005,456,621 to make the fund solvent. MEABF does not include Chicago teachers, police, or firefighters who each have their own pension system, all separate from the 6 statewide pension funds.
To pay for these lavish city pensions, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is increasing and creating new “entertainment taxes.” Included in his proposed 2018 budget, are a measure to increase the current tax on some music and sports venues and a new entertainment tax on internet services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. The tax-per-seat will go up by 80 percent to 9 percent from 5 percent for tickets to concerts, plays or comedy shows for venues larger than 1500 seats. Victims of this tax increase include Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, and the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls. There also is a new entertainment tax on major streaming services like Netflix. The tax on streaming services will extract $12 million from these companies, with the cost likely passed on to consumers.
“The state of Illinois is bankrupt. They can’t pay their bills because the outrageously rich government pensions rob the taxpayers blind. And there won’t be a bailout by the state for the city of Chicago – there just isn’t enough taxpayer money. Taxpayers would have to pony up about $1,005,456,621 to make the MEABF solvent!”
“At every level of government in Illinois, bureaucrats are trying desperately to prop up the failed pension funds with more tax increases. You can be sure that the historic increase in the state’s income tax won’t be the last one.”
“Here are a couple of examples of the ‘poor public servant’, taxpayer funded pensions:
Dennis J. Gannon collects an annual pension of $194,638. Assuming he leads a normal life of 85 years, that annual pension will accumulate to $7,791,985. Retiring at only 50, he will collect taxpayer funded pension payments for 35 years…far more years than he actually was employed by the city!
Then there’s Stephen M. Murray. Collecting an annual pension of $146,896 will provide him with an outrageous lifetime payout of $5,107,745. Keep in mind that he retired at only 53 years of age!”
Click below to view the top 200 pensions for Chicago Municipal Retirees:
“These government pensions are legalized theft. Overpromising benefits to government employees is pervasive throughout Illinois. The government pensions are singularly responsible for Illinois’ financial crisis.”
“We support Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to repeal the historic state income tax increase passed last year and resolve the pension problem through a change to pension protection clause in the Illinois Constitution,” concluded Tobin.
Cook County Gov. Retirees’ Millionaire’s Club
Val Zimnicki (312)-427-5128 – (312) 307-4415
November 28, 2017
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Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Cook County government retirees.
“One look at these excessive pensions tells you why Cook County is in dire financial straits. Government bureaucrats have created a tight little millionaires’ club of their own,” stated TUA’s director of outreach, Val Zimnicki.
There are nearly 500 area Cook County government retirees collecting annual pensions of at least $100,000. The median family income is only $56,851 and 16.1% of residents live below the poverty level.
“That puts a $1,374 liability on every man, woman and child in Cook County. Add to that the per capita liability from the 5 state pension funds of $19,607, and every Cook County resident is on the hook for $20,981,” stated Zimnicki. Moody’s Investor Service puts Illinois’ state pension fund liability at $251 billion.
As of December 31, 2016, the Cook County Pension Fund (CCPF) has a stunning $7.2 billion unfunded liability. That means the CCPF is only 56.7% funded. A healthy pension fund has at least an 80% funding ratio, although the American Academy of Actuaries argues that pension funds should be 100% funded.
“On average, these government pensioners who collect more than the median household income for Cook County, contribute only about 7.5% to their own retirement fund. In the private sector, employees pay 15% of every dollar they earn into Social Security for an average pension of only $15,000!”
“Cook County government bureaucrats are desperate to steal even more tax money from hard working taxpayers, so desperate in fact that Cook County Board president, Toni Preckwinkle imposed a tax on sweetened beverages that hit the low and middle income earners the hardest!”
“The tax, which TUA opposed, was a $200 million tax increase on county taxpayers, which would have gone into the lavish, gold-plated pensions of retired county-government employees.”
But the Cook County Board was forced to repeal the tax when angry citizens testified at the County Board Hearing. TUA’s own, Val Zimnicki was one of many who testified on behalf of taxpayers at that hearing. “Preckwinkle and one other board member voted to keep the beverage tax. She should be thrown from office.”
“It’s so hypocritical of Cook County Democrats to preach about tax reform that protects the middle-class when they bombard the working class with new and higher taxes on services and products most used by this group of taxpayers,” added Zimnicki.
“If there’s any justice, the pending lawsuit, Bargo v Rauner et al, will break the Constitutional protection of the government employees. This protection creates a special class of citizens that directly violates the Illinois Constitution.”
“Just look at what some of these retired government bureaucrats are raking in from taxpayer funded pensions.
Hernan M. Reyes collects an annual pension of $359,613. Assuming he leads a normal life of 85 years, that annual pension will accumulate to $5,846,235. That multi-million dollar payout only cost him $329,637!
Then there’s Subhash Patel. Collecting a current annual pension of $217,045 will provide an outrageous estimated lifetime payout of $7,887,410. Keep in mind that retirement came at only 59 years of age! “Click below to view the top 200 pensions for Cook County Retirees:
“Overpromising benefits to government employees is pervasive throughout Illinois. Without regard to the taxpayers who must fund these excessive pensions, these bureaucrats just keep increasing salaries and benefits, burying the rest of us in debt.”
“The worst part of this financial nightmare is that no steps have been taken to correct the course of Illinois’ fiscal demise. We have proposed solutions that could have an immediate affect on the problem: 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 to revise government-employee pension benefits, then we need to get that on the ballot as soon as possible,” concluded Zimnicki.