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Taxpayer group releases report on Illinois state pension crisis




SPRINGFIELD – A taxpayer group has some fixes they say are severe but necessary to shore up the state’s growing unfunded pension liability.

Taxpayers United of America released their 10th Annual Report on Illinois State Pensions. The highlights include more than 15,600 state pensioners collecting more than $100,000 annually. More than 92,300 pensioners make more than $50,000 annually.

Taxpayers United of America Executive Director Jared Labell said for the top 400 pensioners the average pension contributions made over an entire career is only about $40,000 more than what the average annual pension is.

“For many of these pensioners they’re already recouping all of their contributions barely over a year of retirement. They’ve already made that money back,” Labell said.

Labell said something has to be done. “Look, this is not a good situation for any of us, whether it’s for taxpayers or for employees, and some solution has to be cut.”

Labell said some changes could include changing the state Constitution’s pension protection clause or allowing for bankruptcy reorganization to alleviate pension obligations, but even that has its potential problems.

“But it also has some downsides in that politicians may then decide that they can spend frivolously with taxpayer dollars and then bail themselves out by declaring bankruptcy at the end of their term,” Labell said.

The state’s unfunded pension liability is $113 billion and growing.

From Taxpayers United for America


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  1. Waiting for Godot on this “crisis”. They’ve been saying it’s a crisis for decades now. The pension debt keeps getting bigger. Any real predictions on when this “crisis” is going to destroy our State as the argument implies? It’s not a crisis. Learn to read a Balance Sheet.

  2. Where was the TUA when the real cause of this states financial mess was developing over a 40 year period? Yes, I am talking about Medicaid which was $500 million in 1970 and over $17 billion today. With their head in the ground (or someplace else) as usual.
    As to declaring bankruptcy, these people are absolutely stupid. The federal constitution prevents states from going into bankruptcy. The TUA is as bad as the Left in repeating the BIG LIE, Stalin and Saul Alinsky style, and hoping the peasants will believe it if you just lie often enough, Yes, other forms of government can do that but not states.
    The Illinois Constitution could be changed in order to reduce pensions for those not already retired.
    But the TUA would be better off looking at the entire state budget. Of course, that is not their agenda.

  3. It was stated in a mishtalk.com article, the current
    pension problems were created sometime ago by some
    crooked politicians that made a deal with some crooked
    union leaders that both knew was not financially sustainable.

  4. The impressive sounding Taxpayers United of America is just some libertarian goofball sitting in his basement “office”. They regurgitate the same meme month after month adding nothing of substance that hasn’t been stated a thousand times before.

  5. However, there comes a point when there is no money, Vivian. Already 25% of the entire state budget goes to pensions. Many pensions are much higher than the salaries of the people paying for them. The average salary in Illinois is $50,000 whereas the average public sector pension is much higher (plus is increased by 3% every year). No matter how hard you try, the math doesn’t work.

  6. Frank J BIga III: So more than $100 billion in unfunded liabilities isn’t a crisis? Cuts to other state functions to pay government pensions isn’t a big deal, huh? It seems like it’s coming to a head now. And, to be clear, TUA has only focused on this issue for the last 10yrs as it has grown precipitously worse.
    Frank Goudy: if you read the report, you would know that talk of bankruptcy was in relation to local units of government and taxing districts, which is constitutional if approved by the ILGA.
    Vivian Bagley: alter the state constitution or abolish the pension protection clause. What part of that constitutional approach is so hard to understand?
    sm: You’re a great keyboard warrior – in your basement office, perhaps? I’m in our office in downtown Chicago fighting taxes.
    And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the “crossroads of the conservative community”? Why are you defending government run amok? Most of these comments could be from liberals or avowed socialists.