The Southern Illinois Pension Problem

Carbondale civiv center

Carbondale, IL – Recent information published by the Taxpayer Education Foundation reveals startling information about Carbondale area retired government employee pensions. The release shows over 200 Southern Illinois University SIU retired employees set to receive million-dollar payouts from their pensions. The report also shows many retired employees of the City of Carbondale, Jackson County, and government teachers from various local school districts retiring in their 50s.

Click to view Carbondale TRS pensions

Click to view Carbondale IMRF pensions

Click to view Southern Illinois University pensions

“Even so far from Chicago, Carbondale acts just like any other Illinois city.” Said Matthew Schultz, executive Director of Taxpayers United of America.

“Every single retired government employee in our top 200 State University Retirement System (SURS) list is estimated to become a pension millionaire. In example: John Folse retired from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale will receive an estimated $314,808 in 2019. Through 2019, Mr. Folse will collect $4,584,987 from his taxpayer subsidized pension. In Carbondale, Illinois, the average salary is $39,786.

“Then we have the retired local government employees in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). At the top of that list is Michael L. Wepsiec.  Mr. Wepsiec retired at the elderly age of 56 with a lucrative annual pension of $152,919. By the time Mr. Wepsiec reaches 85 years of age, he will have received a $3,821,412 pension payout funded by local property taxes. Mr. Wepsiec is also eligible for social security.

“Steven R. Sabens, Carbondale CHSD 165 currently receives $179,582 from his Teachers Retirement System Pension (TRS) retired at the age of 61. By the time he reaches 85, he will have received a total of $4,823,476 from his taxpayer subsidized pension.”

“Every retired government employee listed here will receive a 3% compounded cost of living adjustment that doubles their annual government pension in 24 years.”

“The entire local and statewide pension system in Illinois is unsustainable. Five statewide pension funds are funded by the state income tax. 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 income tax, so they can make it through the next election cycle. When the state goes under, they will be enjoying their retirements in Arizona or Florida.”

“Middle-class Carbondale 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. Pritzker’s tax increases won’t stop there as we’ve seen with the gargantuan gasoline tax increase.”

“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.”

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