Turnaround Can’t Come too Soon for Lake County Taxpayers

View as PDF Chicago, IL—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of their study of the government pensions for Lincolnshire, Deerfield, Highland Park, and local government schools.

“Nearly one third of the teachers retired from these government schools are getting annual pensions over $100,000!” said Jim Tobin, founder and president of TUA. “85% of these retirees will collect more than $1,000,000 in lifetime pension payments and their average personal investment in their own gold-plated pension is a mere 5.5%.”

“Some government school boards have absolutely no regard for the taxpayers they are supposed to serve. Not only are we forced to fund these outrageous pensions, now Highland Park wants taxpayers to approve a $198 million property tax increase referendum to build a new campus ‘for the children,’ which really means that it’s a new fortress for government bureaucrats.”

“At least the Lincolnshire Village Board showed political courage and regard for their constituents by passing an ordinance that prohibits local employers from collecting union dues through payroll deductions, effectively making it a ‘right to work’ municipality. They will likely face lawsuits over this ordinance, but then the union thugs can’t stand to give people the freedom to choose whether they join a union or not.”

“House Speaker Michael Madigan is strongly opposed to Right to Work freedom, but then he and his policies have brought us the financial crisis Illinois now faces. This is all largely due to his cronyism with unions, as demonstrated by his decades long support of the government pension system which he was instrumental in codifying into law,” said Tobin.

“The government pensions are unsustainable. Illinoisans are enduring cuts to services, the defunding of programs, and having their earnings confiscated. Tax dollars continue to be diverted from services required by today’s taxpayers into the pension funds for government employees, whose services were rendered long ago,” said Tobin. “Unfortunately, with Illinois having entered its seventh month without a budget and an enduring financial crisis, taxpayers regretfully see no relief in sight from Springfield.”

“Our study of Lincolnshire, Deerfield, and Highland Park government teacher pensions, in particular, clearly illustrates the inherent problems with the current defined benefit pension systems in Illinois,” said Tobin. “Not only do they collect massive amounts of taxpayer money under the guise of a pension they ‘earned,’ they also retire, on average, at the age of 59. Many of us who fund these pensions will have to work long past 65 to afford our own retirement and most of our retirements won’t compare to the largesse enjoyed by so many government retirees.”

“The problem isn’t limited to teachers though. The data clearly show that municipal and park district employees enjoy the same bloated pensions as the teachers,” added Tobin.

“Local governments are continuously seeking to raise property taxes – nearly 80% of local taxes go to fund salaries and benefits of government employees.”

“Retired Lincolnshire-Prairie View 103 government employee, Larry K. Fleming enjoys an annual taxpayer funded pension of $258,163. Over a normal lifetime, he will get about $11.2 million in pension payments. His personal investment in this rich payout is about 3.4% or $378,683.”

Robert D. Franz retired from the Deerfield municipal government and his current annual pension is $218,795. He will collect about $6 million while he only put in $160,009 of his own money, slightly more than one year’s pension payout. That’s a 3% investment in his own multi-million dollar retirement payout!”

Highland Park’s Park District retiree, Ralph J. Volpe collects a comfortable annual pension of $161,077. Retiring at the ripe old age of 58, he will receive about $4.9 million in lifetime pension payments. His personal investment in his own retirement? About 2% or $120,746!”

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 “The choice is clear: without sweeping, meaningful pension reform, taxpayers throughout Illinois will have to choose between fully funding the pension systems to pay for past services rendered, or pay for the services we need today,” concluded Tobin.

*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% compounded COLA and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590).

  1. 1) There is nothing outrageous or “gold plated” about these pensions. The cost of living in these areas is very high. These teachers were highly educated professionals with huge responsibilities. They were well compensated in these affluent areas and they will not receive any social security benefits.
    2) The formulas for these pensions are similar or the same as most states. Many of these other states are in good financial shape. The irresponsibility of government we have here does not mean that the pensions are outrageous.
    3) Your statistics about how much individuals contribute to their own pensions is a lie. It’s a lie because it’s a purposeful attempt to deceive. You ignore how much the individual’s contributions would have grown over the life of a career when invested.
    We will never be able to solve societies problems until we become unbiased and truthful.

    • I strongly disagree Mark. If you add up all the teachers making over $100,000 in all the contiguous states surrounding Illinois it comes to about 42 teachers making that kind of money. In Illinois, we have over 16,000 teachers making over $100,000. On top of that, some teachers dues and some teachers pension payments are paid by taxpayers! It has been an all out run to the tax treasury and a lottery payout to teachers in the millions….Let’s not forget about those 3% increases every year and the free healthcare. The result of unions running this State with their money.

      • The fact is that there are currently 8,509 retired teachers, in Illinois alone, collecting annual pensions in excess of $100,000!

    • Mark,
      I disagree with you also. The last four years of a teacher’s pay includes all unused vacation and sick pay. 200 days can increase the last year of their salary several hundred thousand dollars, which increases the base pension income. That income from unused sick or vacation pay should be considered a “benefit” and not considered income that will boost teachers pensions.

    • All of our data comes directly from the pension funds as allowed under the Freedom of Information Act.

  2. Just another reason to move to Indiana.
    1% cap on property taxes right in the state constitution, 2.2 Billion Dollar SURPLUS, AAA credit rating, The best job growth in the Midwest, Better Schools, More Freedom, No Red Light and speed camera’s and a better life for your family 🙂

    • I’m doubt your figures. Who are you counting as teachers? Are you including superintendents who are basically CEO’s? Illinois is certainly more populous than surrounding states. And I don’t understand what you’re saying about pension payments being made by tax payers. All of public school teacher’s compensation comes from taxes. Is that somehow a revelation? And I don’t see what difference it makes if the money is paid to the teachers and then the teachers pay it or if it is paid directly for the teachers. It’s the same amount of dollars either way. And I have never hears of union dues being paid directly by a school district.
      You apparently have a problem with $100,000 pensions. Would you like to see a cap? What ceiling would you be happy with?
      Three percent increases? They will be inadequate when inflation takes off again. Free health care? Not really, teachers have paid for that too.
      You don’t seem to accept that pensions are simply deferred compensation for public service. They are not “gold plated”, “lavish”, “rich”, “Cadillac”, “outrageous” gifts from the taxpayers.

    • Tim,
      I don’t know whom you’ve spoken to, but that’s not how it works. A teacher can accumulate unused sick days only for the purpose of work time. Not as income. Another words if over a career a teacher has accumulated a year’s worth of sick time, then the teacher can apply those as a year worked and retire one year earlier. The unused sick days are never counted as “income”.


Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.


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