Animal Farm Comes to Illinois Politics

Thanks to Capitol Fax Blog for the following:

Meanwhile, Reuters columnist David Clay Johnston reports that Navistar, Continental Tire, Motorola, Ford, Chrysler, Mitsubishi and other big Illinois companies are keeping the state taxes deducted from their workers’ paychecks. “If you’re already on the payroll, they get to get keep half of them,” Johnston says. “If you’re a new hire, they get to keep all of them.”

The video is below.

This is so simply unbelievable I can’t figure out why I haven’t heard about it before

If you own a small business, shouldn’t you get the same tax break?


Animal Farm Comes to Illinois Politics — 4 Comments

  1. The State of IL legislature rewards anyone with lots of campaign contributions or votes. In the public sector the State rewards teachers just as it rewards large corporations in the private sector. A middle class employee in private industry or owner of a small business taxpayer is getting squeezed by both.

    For instance.

    In 64% of IL School Districts, teachers contribute little to nothing to their own pension fund. Instead, the board (school district) pays most or all of the 9.4% teachers pension contribution to the pension fund. So instead of the pension contribution coming from teachers paychecks, it comes from district money that could have otherwise been allocated to educate students. It’s a way to elevate teacher pay.

    Unions and teachers will tell you this is permitted under TRS laws and negotiated during collective bargaining, in lieu of a salary increase, and benefit the employer. Well, many times there is a salary increase and “pension pickup by the board” negotiated simultaneously. This scheme has not been clearly explained to the taxpayers paying the property taxes and income taxes to fund the pension. You can’t really use the argument that it’s for employer matching, because as I will explain below, teachers already receive a large “matching” contribution from the employer through the State of IL Fair Share Contribution on behalf of the employer which is designed to average at least 9.4%.

    Did you know TRS was designed so the “State of IL Fair Share Contribution on behalf of the employer” is the main contributor to the TRS pension fund? Not the school district (which contributes .58%), and not the employee (which theoretically contributes 9.4%). Thus the “State of IL Fair Share Contribution on behalf of the employer” is designed to be, on average, more than the teacher’s 9.4%. What does that mean? Here’s another way to look at the figures.

    TRS Contributions
    09.40% Teacher (employee) contribution (often paid in full or part by the
    employer which is the board/district)
    09.40% State of IL Fair Share Contribution on behalf of the employer
    (employer contribution made by the State of IL)
    00.58% District (employer) contribution
    19.38% Total Contribution to TRS teacher pension fund

    In 64% of IL school districts, teachers contribute little to nothing of that 19.38%. That is why in the above example word employer is so prevalent.

    The other source of income (or loss) in the TRS pension fund is the investment income (or loss) the multi-billion dollar fund itself earns throughout the year.

    So when you go on any of the public databases to check a teachers pay, remember to also check what percentage, if any, the teacher is contributing to their pension fund, to get an accurate estimate of a teachers earnings. Because remember by the unions and teachers own admission, this “pension pickup” perk is negotiated in lieu of a salary increase. So in well over 64% of school districts in IL, teacher salary is under reported in the free public databases such as and, because those salaries don’t reflect any pension pickup.

    The IEA teachers union clearly misleads the public about the teachers 9.4% contribution. The IEA tells the press, and advertises, that teachers contribute 9.4% to their pension fund. Not true. A true statement is some teachers contribute 9.4% to their pension fund. A true statement is that in over 64% of school districts, teachers contribute little to nothing to their pension fund. The word “over” is used in that last statement because 64% only represents districts in which teachers contribute zero or close to zero to their pension fund. There are many other districts in which teachers contribute from close to zero, to less than 9.4%, to their pension fund. One really has to pay attention to details to figure out how this works.

    Here are the sources of these statistics. > Teacher Salary (Illinois).
    Be sure to look at both the Adobe PDF document, and the Excel spreadsheet document, they are different.
    Let’s take the 2010-2011 school year.
    Let’s look at the Adobe PDF document.
    The document is titled,
    Data Analysis and Progress Reporting Division
    April 2011
    The actual document has its page numbering system.
    And the Adobe document has its page numbering system.
    Scroll to page 6 in the actual document, which is page 10 of 126 in the Adobe document.
    Table 10. Mean Percentage of Teacher Retirement that is Board Paid, by District Type and Size, and by Percentage of Districts that Consider Teacher Retirement to be Board Paid.
    Adding up the numbers reveals the 64% figure quoted above.

    Now let’s look at the Microsoft Excel document.
    2010-2011 Teacher Salary Study Data File
    Notice the column heading TPBP, which is an acronym for TRS % Board Paid–from Part D.
    TPBP is located in column AE.
    Locate your school district.
    Jot down the 11 digit RCDT code for your school district, you can use it for other research.

    Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS)
    Illinois Education Association (IEA)
    National Education Association (NEA)
    American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
    Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT)
    Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
    IEA, NEA, IFT, and AFT are teacher unions.
    IEA is the Illinois state affiliate of NEA.
    IFT is the Illinois state affiliate of AFT.

    RCDT: 11 digit number identifying your school district
    Region – County – District – Type
    2 digit Region
    3 digit County
    4 digit District
    2 digit Type

    RCDTS: 15 digit number identifying your school
    Region – County – District – Type – School
    2 digit Region
    3 digit County
    4 digit District
    2 digit Type
    4 digit School

    Write or call your Senator, Representative, Governor, and elected School Board officials if you want to voice your opinion. The unions call that a “Call to Action”. The unions refer to any attempt to expose the scheme as “an attack on the Unions.” The unions state “the rich Koch brothers” and “the millionaires at the Commercial Club of Chicago” are “attacking pensions”. What about the unions attacking the middle class citizen funding this scheme, siphoning money via an income tax increase which went to fund this years pension payment, instead of the taxpayer being able to invest that money in their own retirement plan. Did you know that the income tax increase from this year, won’t be enough to fund next years pension payment? What tax increases or service cuts are coming to make up the shortfall in next years “State of IL Fair Share Contribution on behalf of the employer” pension payment. Note the unions like to use the words “fair share” in the description of the pension payment – fair to whom – the union member receiving the pension, or the taxpayer funding the pension.

  2. Mark, thanks.

    The unions and the teachers and administrators and many biased toward teacher/unions school board members do NOT want this info out in public. It comes out now and again but people really aren’t paying attention or they’d vote out everyone in office.

    Just think, if the “required” teachers portion of 9.4% had been raised to 11% to impress and pacify the taxpayers that the teachers really do contribute and would pay more – the teachers would just negotiate that difference onto the taxpayers as well. It would be all smoke and mirrors from Springfield.

  3. Mark, Neither the teachers nor their unions object to the truth being put forth. What they do object to, and characterize as “an attack on unions” is the misrepresentation of the facts, spinning them in a manner intended to create the perception that teachers are somehow victimizing the citizenry.

    It is my opinion that your comments falls into that category, but then, never having been a teacher or involved with their unions, it is not for me to say. What I do know is that of any profession requiring, by law, a college degree and ultimately a master’s degree, demanding continuing education throughout a career, this is probably the most poorly paid -even considering pension and other benefits. Add to that requiring the individual to work nights at home preparing lesson plans, reviewing exams and grading homework, deal professionally with a disruptive children, irrational parents, and impossible administrators, facing a well-funded campaign abetted by paid shills (is that you, Mark?) to discredit the profession, abetted by a sympathetic media.

    If anyone reading this thinks teaching is a such a great gig, I have to ask you: “Why aren’t you a teacher?” I was trained to be a biology teacher. I have two degrees in education. But I wimped out. I realized I couldn’t handle the stress. Instead, I took the easier path within my discipline, and as a result, earned a higher income. Did I contribute more to society? Probably not.

    BTW, Mark, since you are so fond of looking into the minutia of public employee compensation (and you certainly have the right to do so), how about letting the public look into yours? No? Of course not. That’s just another “benefit” of being a public employee -like having to report outside income, being limited in where you can invest, or having a ream of special laws criminalizing for you actions that would only get you either fired or promoted in the private sector.

    Just how much do you think a teacher should be compensated, anyway? Given that many teachers are as well educated as most lawyers, that they work longer hours under more difficult conditions than most other “professions” and only get paid for 10 months of work a year (no, summer “vacations” are NOT paid time off), I propose that they should all get a 30% pay and benefits increase, just to bring them close to half that received by their professional equivalents.

    And, as I said before, if teaching is such a great gig, tell us why you aren’t a teacher.

  4. Proly time to just drop the pensions altogether. Easier to pay for that way. Just sayin.

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