CHICAGO-The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization today recommended that the 630 CTA employees who would have to be fired in the “Doomsday” scenario-actually should be fired.
“The CTA, reportedly the worst public transportation system in the country, is staffed by grossly-overpaid union employees who receive lavish retirement benefits in addition to their bloated salaries,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI). A report by Greg Hinz in CHICAGOBUSINESS indicates the retirement plan, paying benefits to the 11,000 CTA retirees and dependents, could be insolvent in the foreseeable future.”
“The taxpayers’ point of view is rarely heard when discussing the CTA,” said Tobin. “The unions spend an obscene amount of money drumming up sympathy for their overpaid members. But they don’t mention that until September 2005, according to Hinz, employees could retire with full benefits after 25 years on the job, regardless of their age. The retirement plan was 85 percent funded as of 1995, but then money was shifted to wages and salaries. As of January 2005, the fund was only 39 percent funded. No wonder the CTA pension program is heading toward insolvency.”
“The CTA wants $435 million to avoid Doomsday, and its buddies in Springfield would like to increase the CTA/RTA sales tax in Chicago’s collar counties by 200 percent, and the CTA/RTA sales tax of Cook County by 25 percent.  They also want to increase Chicago’s real estate transfer tax by 40 percent. I say a better idea is to fire the 630 employees. At $435 million, that comes to $690,000 per laid-off employee.”
“The CTA, with its overpaid union employees, lavish but under funded pensions, criminally poor maintenance and missing maintenance reports, is a disgrace. It is a financial albatross around the necks of taxpayers in the Chicago region. It’s time for new management-management that will stand up to the unions and begin to privatize regional transportation. Commuters and taxpayers deserve no less.”
Click here for the news release.