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“Like a breath of fresh air blowing across the Washington, D.C. swamp, Congressman Thomas
Massie has introduced two bills to put an end to taxpayer-funded Congressional pensions,” said
Jim Tobin, economist and president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
Massie, a Republican, represents Kentucky’s 4th congressional district.
The first of the two bills is the End Pensions in Congress Act (EPIC Act). The second bill is the
Member of Congress Opt-out Clarification Act.
“If congressmen want to save for retirement, they should do so with 401(k)-type plans, rather
than rely on taxpayers to take care of them even after leaving Congress,” said Tobin. “I strongly
support the spirit of the two bills.”
The End Pensions in Congress Act (EPIC Act) excludes future Members of Congress from
participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). In addition, the EPIC Act
requires those Members currently enrolled in FERS or the Civil Service Retirement System to
opt-in to continue their enrollment.
The second bill addresses an oddity in the congressional pension rules that allows Senators, but
not Representatives elected after 2003, to opt-out of enrollment in the congressional pension
The Member of Congress Opt-out Clarification Act would allow Members of the House of
Representatives to opt-out of FERS. The ability to opt-out is currently only available to United
States Senators and to Members of the House who began serving before September 30, 2003.
“While the bills face an uncertain fate, the very fact that he introduced them puts a spotlight on
the fat Congressional pensions funded by U.S. Taxpayers,” said Tobin.
This second analysis of the “Madness in Madison”emphasizes why the Act 10 initiative, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,was so important and why Taxpayers United of America (TUA)was involved in supporting it. Indeed, on February 28, 2011, TUA and its Wisconsin contingent was the first anti-tax group to gain legal entry into the capitol building and support the following common-sense solutions to remedy Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget gap.
It should be noted that the idea of unionized government employees is outrageous and is self-contradictory. Understanding this, Act 10 barred collective bargaining over benefits, hours and working conditions. Capped wage increases to inflation and mandated that school and other municipal employees make pension contributions to their retirement systems. It restructured debt. Act 10 also changed long-overdue health insurance policies.It gave state employees the freedom from paying union dues if they so choose and it prohibited strikes for any reasons. These and other measures not only allowed Wisconsin to eliminate a multi-billion-dollar debt but also to balance the annual budget,all without resorting to tax hikes. Instead of feeding the bloated bureaucratic monster, Act 10 put it on a diet.
This bold stand by Governor Scott Walker should be an example to other governors bullied by state unions. Courageous action like this is desperately needed in Illinois, where TUA will continue to hold Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker accountable to the citizens of the Prairie State.
The vast majority of government employees in Wisconsin did not contribute towards pensions. Wisconsin taxpayers were forced to do it for them. Since its implementation, state employees have contributed more than $8 billion to their own pensions. The free ride was over. Today, teachers, for example, pay 6.75 percent of their salary to their pensions while another 6.75 is contributed by their employers.
After TUA’s lengthy press conference, several members of the group were verbally accosted as they exited the Capitol building. Loud shouted threats, bad language and several up-raised fists created a threatening situation. Outside, while being interviewed by local media, thousands of organized government-union protesters and their young naive chanting-followers tried to outshout the dialogue TUA president Jim Tobin was having with the media. Free speech is an impediment to pro-bureaucratic big-government sycophants.
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“California may have its problems, but the state’s residents have a vital right downtrodden Illinois residents don’t have: the right to recall a governor,” said Jim Tobin, economist and president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“Even California Democrats have had it with their corrupt, incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom, the spoiled-brat nephew-by-marriage of Nancy Pelosi. California voters have collected way over the 1.5 million signatures needed to force a recall election of Newsom.”
“That’s what we need to save Illinois. Whether a recall mechanism can be created by an act of the general assembly, or by a state constitutional amendment, it would be a boon for Illinois taxpayers.”
“While the fate of a recall vote is uncertain, now that it will appear on the ballot, just the fact that it will take place already has made Newsom less supportive of wasteful government spending.”
“Illinois Governor Jay Robert ‘J. B.’ Pritzker and his Democrat thugs in the general assembly might be somewhat less enthusiastic about runaway taxes and spending if they knew a revolt by Illinois taxpayers had some teeth in it.”“This is one California measure Illinois should copy, and as soon as possible.”