CHICAGO—The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization urged members of the state legislature to vote “No” on raising taxes to bail out the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). “The problem is with the inefficiency, corruption and waste within the CTA itself, and with its union contracts that provide lavish retirement benefits that far exceed those in private industry,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI). Tobin cited some egregious examples of waste of financial resources:
Employees hired prior to 2001 can retire with full benefits at any age with 25 years service. Those hired after 2001 can retire with full benefits at age 55 with 25 years service.
The current union contract allows a maximum pension of 70 percent of final salary, with no cap on the total received.
Employees contribute nothing for health care costs, and retirees receive lifetime health care after retirement with three years’ service.
Irresponsible growth of the bus system is bleeding the CTA to death. There were 134 bus routes in 1979. Now there are 154 bus routes, and while total miles have more than doubled, ridership has fallen 45 percent.
There have been falsified inspections of Blue Line tracks, and faulty rails were installed by Mafia-linked contractors in 1980.
“The CTA should not receive a penny more from taxpayers,” said Tobin. “The corrupt and incompetent bureaucrats running the CTA should be replaced, the union contracts should be renegotiated, and privatizing the components of the CTA should be explored.”
“I urge all members of the Illinois General Assembly to oppose tax increases to bail out this corrupt and inefficient bureaucratic monster.”
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