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East Peoria, IL – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) has released its most recent government pension study exposing individual pensions for Tazewell County government retirees, as well as Pekin municipal, Tazewell County and Tazewell County government schools, Illinois Central College, and Pekin police and fire retirees.
“There are more than 30 government teachers in Tazewell County collecting annual pensions in excess of $100,000. These lavish, gold-plated pensions all accumulate to $1 million to $5.2 million over a normal lifetime. These pensions are so rich for a number of reasons: 3% compounded cost of living increases, regardless of economic conditions, receiving full retirement benefits as early as 55 years old, taxpayer contributions that exceed teacher contributions by nearly four times,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
Across the five state pension funds and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), there are more than 15,661 government pensioners collecting six-figure annual pensions and more than 92,386 retirees collecting over $50,000 annually and those pensions increase by 3% compounded every year for each of the pension funds, except IMRF. After about 20 years, the pension doubles, so government retirees make more in retirement than they made when employed.
The median household income across Tazewell County is only $57,052 and the poverty rate is 9.6%.
“In the private sector, taxpayers are forced to pay 15% into Social Security for every dollar they earn, receiving an average annual pension of only $16,000! And yet for every dollar that government pensioners contribute to their own pensions, taxpayers are forced to pay $3.76. Imagine what kind of nest-egg taxpayers would have if we were allowed to invest what we are forced to pay into Social Security and the Illinois State government pension systems,” added Tobin.
“This should serve as a glaring warning to taxpayers who are concerned about their rising property taxes, as cities like Pekin and East Peoria in Tazewell County are forced, by law, to raise property taxes without a referendum to fund IMRF pensions,” said Tobin. “It’s legal plunder of hardworking taxpayers for the benefit of the political class.”
“The top estimated lifetime pension in this study of Tazewell County government retirees is $6,644,309. And the lucky recipient of this rich pension is John Erwin who retired from Illinois Central College with an annual pension of $188,064. His personal investment in this wealthy outcome is only about 4.8%.”
“The top annual pension award in Tazewell County goes to Thomas Thomas who, like John Erwin, retired from Illinois Central College at the age of 60. His current annual pension payment is $205,979. These annual payments will accumulate to about $4,872,095. His contributions constitute about 3% of this multi-million dollar payout.”
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“Tazewell County taxpayers need to fire all incumbent bureaucrats on November 8 who have voted to perpetuate this economically devastating system that benefits the few at great expense to the many,” said Tobin.
“Fixing this system is basically easy, but will never happen as long as those who are entrenched in its benefits remain in office: Transitioning new hires to 401(k)-style defined contribution pension plans would be a good start to halting the growth of the problem. As for the current unfunded liabilities, allowing municipalities, school districts, and other taxing districts to reorganize through Chapter 9 bankruptcy, or pursuing federal legislation to preempt the Illinois Constitution’s pension-protection clause, are both becoming very real possibilities if systemic reforms aren’t pursued soon,” said Tobin.
TUA’s most recent 10th Annual Illinois State Pensions Report contains additional data concerning the state’s government pension crisis and elaborates on further solutions to this long-term problem. Check out our list of 218 Illinois referenda to see if you are facing a local tax-increase referendum on November 8.