View as PDF

Rock Island – The Ronald Reagan Breakfast Club yesterday hosted a packed meeting and invited as guest speaker Jim Tobin, economist and president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). Assisting Tobin was Val Zimnicki, TUA Director of Outreach.

Tobin touched on two massively black holes of taxpayer dollars, the State of Illinois government employee pension system, and the Federal ‘infrastructure’ bill making its way through Congress.

One key detail Tobin shared was on the boondoggle that was the Illinois “high-speed” rail project. “According to experts, the state of Illinois received $1.343 billion from the federal high-speed rail fund, plus $46 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funds to speed up and increase frequencies between Chicago and St. Louis,” said Tobin. “It’s all laid out in the book, The High-Speed Rail Money Sink, by Cato Scholar Randal O’Toole.”

“Before spending high-speed rail funds, this route had four trains a day running at an average speed of 53 mph, and the state splurged taxpayer resources to allow trains to run at 110 mph.”

“Who was the benefiter? Not taxpayers. It was the freight company that owns the tracks and can now run more freight trains in the corridor. Taxpayers haven’t seen any benefit: the route still has only four trains a day running an average of 53 mph. Result: $1.389 billion wasted.”

“What happened to the Chicago to St. Louis route will happen everywhere else. Cooperate welfare to a handful of interests and Biden’s friends at the expense of taxpayers.”

Tobin, at the end of his talk, told taxpayers to call their state senators about the bill, and if they become aware of any upcoming tax increase referenda in the area, to give him a call.

“If you have any Home Rule referenda that need beating let me know. Not a lot goes taxpayers’ way in Illinois, but when it comes to referenda, taxpayers win when they organize and fight these proposals. We are here to help.”