DECATUR, IL – Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) today released its updated study on Decatur area Macon County government pensions, including the top 200 pensions in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), and the State University Retirement System (SURS). Taxpayers United of America (TUA) issued the following statement based on the TEF pension study:

“Tax raisers in Decatur and Macon County haven’t seen a tax increase they didn’t love,” said Val Zimnicki, TUA Director of Outreach.

“Decatur property taxes saw a punishing increase of nearly 15%, largely to cover IMRF pensions. IMRF pensions are funded by property taxes while the other five state pension systems are funded by the state income tax.”

“Decatur Schools are borrowing about $55 million, at taxpayers’ expense, to improve facilities. This is part of a plan that is supposed to reduce expenses by closing some facilities and expanding others. We will believe the next real reduction when we see it.”

“With one of the most rapidly shrinking populations in the state, Decatur should be making lots of tax cuts. Over the last few decades we heard how they needed more funding because of growth and yet they still demand more money when the population shrinks. Their lust for taxpayers hard-earned money never ends.”

“The Macon County effective property tax rate increased from $1.79 in 2017 to $2.45 in 2018. The county lost 1,009 residents in the same period.”

“Let’s be clear: this is not about the children or the roads. This is about pay and pensions for the elite government class. This money may be ‘earmarked’ for buildings or whatever, but in reality, it only frees up pre-increase revenues for pensions.”

“The IMRF pension fund, which gives lavish, gold-plated pension benefits to retired municipal employees, is funded by these punishing property taxes. If that isn’t bad enough, IMRF pensioners, for the most part, also receive Social Security pensions.”

  • Click here to see the top 200 Decatur area TRS pensions.
  • Click here to see the top 200 Decatur area municipal, and Macon County IMRF pensions
  • Click here to see the top Decatur area SURS pensions

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. Democrat Governor Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker and his tax-raising cronies want to stick it to middle class taxpayers by increasing the income tax under the guise of a ‘more fair’ graduated state income tax. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements and their fat taxpayer-funded pensions in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Macon County taxpayers would be decimated by the Pritzker income-tax hike if it passes. There is nothing fair about his ‘fair tax’ that will, by design, siphon even more wealth out of the pockets of the middle-class. And his tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with the latest gargantuan gasoline tax-hike.”

“When you look at what the individual government retirees are actually collecting in taxpayer funded pensions, you can get a better idea of why this theft of taxpayer wealth is so egregious. Keep in mind that the average taxpayer will collect only about $17,500 a year from Social Security, and that most IMRF pensioners are also eligible for a Social Security pension.”

Elmer B. McPherson retired from Decatur School District 62 at the age of 56. His current annual pension is $190,024. His payments into TRS for his own pension were $192,724. His estimated lifetime pension payout, over a normal lifetime, will be about $5,759,375.

Lawrence R. Fichter retired from Macon County at the age of 64. His current annual pension is $157,680. His payments into IMRF totaled $211,401. He will realize about $2,645,709 in pension payments over a normal lifetime. Lawrence is also eligible for a social security pension.

Gayle Saunders retired at the age of 62 from Richland Community College. With a current annual pension of $246,881, Saunders will collect about $7,327,987 over an normal lifetime, after having paid into SURS only $342,926.

“Illinois is functionally bankrupt, and the cause is runaway government employee pensions with unfunded liabilities so huge that it is mathematically impossible for the state to tax their way out of this financial black hole.”

“All Illinois government new hires should be placed in a 401(k) style retirement savings accounts, beginning immediately, and the retirement age should be increased to 65. These measures would at least slow the bleeding until comprehensive pension reform can be enacted.