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Poor Taxpayer
7 days ago

Illinois is the laughing stock of the USA. It is the town Drunk of Finance. Everyone can learn what not to do by looking at Illinois.

Mike
12 days ago

Here’s the highlights from the video. Illinois has the nation’s highest average property tax rate (2.22%). That’s more than double what residents in Indiana (.9%) and Missouri (1%) pay and nearly triple what residents in Kentucky pay (.8%).   Illinois is rated the least tax friendly state by Kiplinger magazine.   The State of Illinois has the:   –       3rd highest gas taxes in the country ($.54 per gallon).   –       6th highest sales tax rates.   –       9th highest cigarette taxes   –       13th highest wine taxes   –       15th highest spirit taxes   –       1st in cell phone taxes (22%)   –       21st highest income… Read more »

Dr Nemo
13 days ago

There has been no reform because neither the voting public nor the press want it. For years the Trib told us how lucky we were to have a smart politician like Mike Madigan running our state for us. They have become lukewarm to him lately. The Trib still supports his voting majority in the state House. The voting public agrees. Everything remains the same except taxes and borrowing gradually rise. We don’t have to give up rich pay packets and pensions for our beloved public employees or our many government entities. The media promoted Pritzker’s candidacy as the solution to… Read more »

Ex Illini
13 days ago
Reply to  Dr Nemo

I agree, moving out of the corrupt dump of a state that is Illinois is the only way, but you can’t blame people for pointing out what a screwed up state it is.

NoHope4Illinois
13 days ago
Reply to  Dr Nemo

The Tribune thought they were like the Leftists on the North Shore with their inherited wealth. Not so.

Poor Taxpayer
13 days ago

But Illinois is the home of Tens of 1000’s of multimillionaire pensioners.
Follow the money and see where it is going.

The Truth Hurts
13 days ago
Reply to  Poor Taxpayer

Not to worry. Once a “fair tax” is passed the state will be able to start taxing retirement income and get some money from those pension “multimillionaires”.

James
13 days ago

The meaning of “millionaire” has changed from having a net worth of at least a million dollars to something else—either an annual gross income of that amount or a projected lifetime income or retired lifetime income of that amount, depending upon the political bent one wants to give it. Your version is the greatest stretch of the three. Food for thought. Lots of millionaires are out there if a person stretches the term enough.

Mike
13 days ago
Reply to  James

A defined benefit pension has a present value cash equivalency, and everyone includes cash in net worth calculations.

There are all sorts of arguments whether or not to include pensions in net worth.

James
13 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Sure, and let’s get even more liberal about that term—millionaire. By the way some use it here anyone who works 30 years with an average annual income of $33,333.33 is a millionaire as is someone who works 40 years at an average annual income of $25,000. Does anyone in either group see himself as a “millionaire”? I think not, and that’s how nebulous it’s meaning has become in today’s political lingo where terms often are “liberalized” for purposes of political persuasion.

Mike
13 days ago
Reply to  James

I have never heard salary included in net worth.

I have often heard present value of accrued defined benefit pension benefits included in net worth.

But once again, it is personal preference to include the pension in net worth or not.

For instance in Illinois public sector pensions are considered assets in divorce proceedings, hence the QILDRO form for the five “state” pensions.

The Truth Hurts
13 days ago
Reply to  James

Agreed James. Hence the quotes. People aren’t honest with their descriptions and this trait crosses party lines. “Fair tax” and “pension millionaires” are just the most recent examples. Many couples that retire in 10 years will receive over a million dollars from Social Security. The idea that pensioners are millionaires by adding up their total earnings is absurd. It just makes the argument that pensioners are less deserving easier.

Juicy Smollier
13 days ago

The real issue is very simple: 1. how much you contributed and 2. how much you receive in benefits.

People or taxpayers who are disgusted by the pension system aren’t bothered by certain people getting more than they contributed, they are bothered by pensioners getting in excess of 20x what they contributed, and most of these are age 60 or even 55 at retirement.

James
13 days ago
Reply to  Juicy Smollier

I agree with that side of it theoretically at least. But, if these same complainers had the same benefit rights under Social Security should we then presume that the vast majority of them would renounce that benefit as a favor to the public treasury? I think you know full well you’d have to search a long time to find even one to do so. It’s funny how “fair” is always in the eye of the beholder.

The Truth Hurts
12 days ago
Reply to  Juicy Smollier

Is that really the issue Juicy? Think about the following details. An employee works for an organization that starts the employee out at 50k per year. They also offer a 401k where they offer a 6% match. The employee contributes 6% and gets the match. The employee averages 3% raises over the course of his career. The employee also averages around 8.5% in returns per year similar to the returns over the last 30 years of the Dow Jones. The employee would have contributed around 186k over his career. At the end of that 35 years the employee takes the… Read more »

Mike
12 days ago

The problem is the state and local politicians kept hiking pay and benefits while pensions were underfunded and did so since the inception of the state pensions and similar for most others.

It is a Ponzi scheme.

It was not adequately disclosed.

The General Assembly transparency and rules, collective bargaining laws and transparency, and pay transparency all need to be overhauled.

The system is broke and broken.

Democrats and Republicans are to blame.

The Truth Hurts
12 days ago
Reply to  Mike

“It was not adequately disclosed.”

It’s been part of the Illinois constitution since 1970. The severity of the under funding was at a similar percentage then as it is today. They tried to reduce pensions 8 years ago. Clearly it’s been known during that time that pensions are under funded. Yet pay raises continued. What disclosures were missed?

Mine
12 days ago

Let’s add the pension to the lack of disclosure. The pension sentence was not heavily vetted at the Constitutional Convention, or afterwards to the voters during the campaign leading up to the referendum. The pension sentence was not one of the major issues. After the re-written constitution was approved by voters on December 15, 1970, the passing of legislative pension benefit hikes by the Illinois General Assembly escalated. One person that wrote about the hikes was Bill Zettler in the book, Illinois Pension Scam. So was the pension sentence disclosed according to the letter of the law? Yes. Was the… Read more »

The Truth Hurts
12 days ago
Reply to  Mine

“So was the pension sentence disclosed according to the letter of the law? Yes.” The law is all that matters. Just because Joe six pack doesn’t review every pension change doesn’t make it any less properly vetted. We have a representative government. Don’t like pay hikes? Vote for candidates that are against them. You want candidates that shift government employees into 401k’s? Vote for those candidates. You want to remove collective bargaining similar to Wisconsin? Vote for those candidates. You say that Illinois is a “mild banana republic”? Vote for different candidates. The problem is that when those candidates run… Read more »

Mike
12 days ago

The proceedings of the 1970 Constitutional Convention are public record available for free download on the internet. Very little discussion of the pension and retiree healthcare in those public records. The press and reporting at that time, and after, indicate the pension sentence did not receive much scrutiny. So once again the pension sentence was not adequately vetted to the public. The public is generally not aware of pay hikes before they happen or afterwards Why? Lack of transparency. There is no way for the public to scan through a spreadsheet of salaries and pensions and understand the current and… Read more »

James
13 days ago

The whole aura of being thought as a millionaire is enticing to contemplate, but the concept used here sometimes is a bit like winning a lottery in that amount but learning it will be distributed to you at the rate of a dollar a year for a million years. So, in the vaguest sense you are a millionaire even though you are not able to enjoy the reality of it as that descriptor implies.

Poor Taxpayer
12 days ago
Reply to  James

James how much money do you have to have in US Treasury 30 year Bonds that pay 1.65% annual interest to payout $100,000 per year? It is simple math and if you went to any school except a Chicago School you should be able to figure it out. Hint- it is a large number, much more than you can imagine. Now figure out the number if you add 4% annual increase per year for 30 years. Hint the number goes off the charts. Multi-Millionaire is the real truth. Some of the richest people in town. It is enough to buy… Read more »

The Truth Hurts
12 days ago
Reply to  Poor Taxpayer

You’ve proven the point PT that you can make anyone a multi-millionaire using your convoluted logic. The maximum social security benefit for someone retiring at full retirement age in 2020 is $3,011 per month or 36k per year. Using your faulty math that social security recipient would need to buy about $2.19 million in bonds to equal that monthly payment. Sure the average is only around $1500 but you would still need over a million. By the time you add in husband and wife benefits we a lot of seniors that are multi-millionaires by your definition. Maybe your formula that… Read more »

James
12 days ago

“Maybe your formula that determines millionaires needs to be re-worked.” That’s the crux of the whole argument here, isn’t it? In my youth a “millionaire” was a person who had a net worth of that amount. In Poor Taxpayer’s portrayal anyone who has a million dollars passing through his hands from birth to death is a millionaire. Many such people in today’s world might be seen as a millionaire or even a multi-millionaire in that context but not have a net worth that exceeds a small fraction of that amount. ‘Tis a strange web he is trying to weave here,… Read more »

Poor Taxpayer
12 days ago

Most cops, firemen and many teachers get over $100,000 a year at a very young age with 3% annual increases. Social Security only goes up 1% annually on a much, much smaller number. Most workers do not get SS till age 68. The greedy government worker rapes the poor honest hard working taxpayer and their families. The greed has destroyed most all job opportunities for the next generation. Very few businesses will invest in Illinois “Land of Slavery”. Taxes are going way up and services are going way down.

James
12 days ago
Reply to  Poor Taxpayer

And you somehow think this is NEWS to anyone here more than a few weeks? It isn’t. Say something new.

Freddy
12 days ago
Reply to  James

This is on the upper part of the spectrum but according to BGA website the top pensioner makes over $600K a year from contributions of approx $775K over his career (probably mostly picked up by the school as a benefit) based on career earnings of $9M at the university. If he lives to age 85 he could collect over $20M. I believe he was an oral surgeon professor. Someone like this is easily a pensioner millionaire. Think of it over $50K/month-$12.5K/week or $312 an hour based on 40 hours and growing at 3% a year or $18K increase which is… Read more »

James
12 days ago
Reply to  Freddy

I have to point out something you already know–you are cherry picking and trying to make a general set of value judgment from that one case, literally the only person to draw such a large pension. Its about as representative of IL state government retirees’ income as is thinking of Jeff Bezos as an American taxpayer. As to your last paragraph, do you realize that Social Security benefits are adjusted mathematically so that earnings from years ago are given their equivalence in today’s dollars? That means that the argument you’ve made in that last paragraph applies to some–or maybe many–Social… Read more »

Platinum Goose
12 days ago
Reply to  James

That’s correct, if I retire at 67, assuming an annual COLA increase of 2.3% when I reach the age of 113 my social security benefits will exceed my current salary. If I use the 3% COLA increase then my benefits will exceed my current salary when I’m only 103.

James
12 days ago
Reply to  Platinum Goose

There ya go; it gives you a reason to get there!

NB-Chicago
12 days ago
Reply to  James

Is taxing illinois public sector pensions even possible? Or constitutionaly protected under “pension clause”? But under fair tax, no problem- opening the door to taxing us 2nd class schmucks retirements

The Truth Hurts
12 days ago
Reply to  NB-Chicago

Taxing pensions would not violate the pension clause if the purpose was to tax all retirement income. If the plan was to tax only Illinois public pensions I would think that might cause problems with the pension clause. Either way once the pensioner leaves the state Illinois would be unable to tax any pension payment. That’s not a pension clause thing but federal law.

NB-Chicago
12 days ago

Truth Hurts, how do you determine taxing illinois public sector pensions wouldn’t violate sacred pension clause? Googled around, not much info to go on, this old trs articale states that taxing teachers pensions would be challaged in court as violation of ‘diminished or impaired’. https://www.trsil.org/news-and-events/pension-issues/extending-the-illinois-income-tax-pensions-and-retirement-income

The Truth Hurts
12 days ago
Reply to  NB-Chicago

They can challenge all they want I just don’t think it would hold up. My logic? If all retirement income is all taxed then it is not a reduction of their pension but a tax on what the state defines as income. You see they pay out the pension and the pensioner is required to pay taxes like everyone else. Clearly it’s not a reduction of their pension but rather a requirement to be a citizen of the state of Illinois. If the pensioner moves out of state they are no longer required to pay the tax to Illinois so… Read more »

Freddy
12 days ago
Reply to  James

There’s an interesting article entitled $76,000 monthly pension in Oregon state. Examples are the football coach of U of O can add in income from licensing deals and endorsements which now is $46K month pension. Oregon allows that and some side income. I was saying that his 3% compounding is over $18K /year while the average SS payment is approx $1,400 a month I think many readers here would like to have just the $750K in contributions let alone possibly $20M he could make by 85. Nice return.

James
12 days ago
Reply to  Freddy

Yes, these kinds of stories are simultaneously interesting and infuriating. I think such huge salaries paid for coaches at universitites is way, way beyond justifiable. The other side of the coin is that we live in a culture that reveres athletics and those who excel in it to the point of allowing such things to happen somewhat because of bidding wars. To me its a sign of a warped set of societal values as to what’s important and what isn’t all that important. But, that’s just my take on it, of course. I know–and anyone else here like does as… Read more »

Mike
13 days ago

Add the various fees imposed by local school districts to the list.

Free public education not.