Chicago-based group pushes for pension reform in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WREX) – Pushing for pension reform. That’s what brought one group to Rockford on Wednesday.

Taxpayers United of America calls itself a, “taxpayer advocacy group”. Its president says government pensions are driving the state to bankruptcy. That includes pensions paid in the city of Rockford, the county and Rockford public schools. He says there’s plenty of room to change that.

“These people are retiring in their 50s and 60s and if you live until 55, your average life expectancy is 85 or 30 more years, your pension doubles after 24 years,” Taxpayers United of America President Jim Tobin said. “It’s ridiculous. That’s one reform we should have.”

Tobin specifically called out the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, one of the largest pension systems in the state, saying the pensions have been rising out of control and driving Rockford’s and the county’s high property taxes.

The IMRF responded, saying in part, “Since 2011, all new IMRF members participate in the Tier 2 benefit structure, which costs 40% less to provide than a Tier 1 benefit. This will drive-down long-term pension costs for taxpayers. 86 percent of all IMRF retirees remain in Illinois. Pension payments to Illinois retirees generated more than $2.5 billion in economic activity for the state during 2017.”

Nick Landi

Nick Landi

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