CHICAGO - There's a growing moan about Illinois' property taxes being some of the highest in the US. But property taxes aren't determined for the most part in Springfield - most property taxes are determined by your neighbors - the people that fill school boards, park district boards and city councils. Even fire protection districts and mosquito abatement authorities.
And how do they affect property taxes? By being very generous with tax dollars to those that work for the boards such as teachers, park district employees and a myriad of others.
It's not easy or comfortable to hold your neighbors accountable for taking more and more of the funds you manage to accumulate by your hard work. But that's exactly the reality of what Open the Books' found Adam Andrzejewski found needs to be done to begin digging out of the mess the state is in.
Open the Books' found 30,000 Illinois educators are making over $100,000 a year - and the majority of them are retired. Andrzejewski writes about it in Forbes:
Illinois teachers are starting their three-month summer break. But when it comes to teacher salaries, there’s no break for taxpayers. Last week, the Illinois legislature passed a new mandate requiring base pay of $40,000 for Illinois educators. (Cue the teacher’s union cheering.)
Yet, lawmakers refuse to cap the payouts for the most highly compensated public employees who burden the system with unsustainable salary and pension costs. The payouts are so large, by our calculation, the equivalent of $1 out of every $3 in individual income tax is paid out to retired teachers.
For 30,000 Illinois educators, the new “minimum wage” is $100,000+. Nearly 20,000 of these employees are currently working, while the other 11,766 are retired – pulling down six-figure pensions.
Thanks to an interactive tool we’ve built at our government transparency web site, OpenTheBooks.com, every taxpayer in Illinois and across the country can search the $100,000 Club at the teachers' retirement system by zip code. Want to see who in your backyard makes a $150,000 salary for teaching drivers ed or PE classes? What about the retired art teacher with a $100,000+ lifetime pension annuity?