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Letter to the Editor: Bankruptcies of Municipalities Are Inevitable

Educators receive extraordinary pay and benefits compared to private sector employees who pay for this expense with substantially less dollars coming in ...

This letter was written in response to The letter she refers to was sent in response to the story, .

Whether or not you agree with John Sullivan’s position on the quality of education dispensed, or the greed, lying, and corruption foisted upon the taxpayers-Mr. Sullivan states indisputable facts:  Illinois is bankrupt, pension liability is a major cause, educators receive extraordinary pay and benefits compared to private sector employees who pay for this expense with substantially less dollars coming in to their respective households.  There is irrationality in arguing logical statements.  

This is not about taxpayer’s resistance to pay more to educators; this is about taxpayer’s inability to pay educators more, the reality of the world’s, the United States' and the State of Illinois’ economy.  Economic irresponsibility will always confront economic reality.

Wherein does the irresponsibility lie?  Tell me what I did irresponsibly, please.  I saved for retirement during my entire private sector employment, but, the huge taxes, both apparent and hidden, e.g., real estate, telephone, gas, even shampoo, along with low interest rates producing little income on my savings have eradicated my ability to pay for necessities, comforts, let alone some pleasures. 

I do not have cable, I clean my gutters, if it needs dry cleaning, I don’t own it, and my used 2001 Honda Civic does not have a moonroof. How would you feel, if education quality was the best in the world, but you had to keep your heat at 55 degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night, limit your food budget to $25.00 per week, and many other cost avoidance measures in order to be able to pay your real estate taxes which had tripled in the past six years?  Yet, the educators have the wherewithal to get medical or dental care when needed, have income and bonus time for vacations and enjoy the security of jobs that are not easily taken away from them, unlike ANY of my past positions? 

I, too, have credentials, which include an MBA, but the government did not automatically reward me for that master’s degree, nor did my employers.  

Perhaps the critics think I made some poor financial decisions-well, I did not have a penny in the stock market when it last collapsed; I did not live a frivolous life-nary a person who knows me would not tell you, “Frugal” is my middle name; I could sell my home, but, imagine needing to sell your paid-off home just to be able to survive because your real estate taxes are paying $100,000’s and more in salaries and pensions to people like Steve Preckwinkle and Roger Eddy. Thank you unions and politicians; I could  get a reverse mortgage, just for the cause, but imagine having to dissipate your assets, your children’s inheritance, for what you view as the unjust enrichment of others.

The problem in is not specific to Burr Ridge. It is specific to Illinois, so my perspective, as written, reflects this statewide problem.  Perhaps you are aware of Springfield's intention to transfer all municipal fiscal responsibility to the individual municipality incurring the expense. 

Governor Quinn has already proposed all medical expense be thusly.  Please understand the ramifications, but know that I along with others, encourage this action. 

There are great benefits in store for those struggling with taxes. Follow this trail:

1) expect your taxes to increase 5-7-8-fold, very quickly

2) expect your municipality will have two types of taxpayer's-those who cannot pay and those who will not pay

3) expect your property value to make a deep plunge

4) expect the unfunded debt to drastically increase, reflected in your increased tax bill, by the time you have received your 3rd bill for a third payment in the space of 12 months, now increased maybe 8-9 10 fold

5) expect that those with unpaid tax amounts, place additional expense tax burden on others,  that could be $75,000-$100,000 in a 12-month period will be required by the government to pay up or get out-however, if no mortgage exists, and occupied homes, it is well-known, maintain greater value, the government can only sell your home for back taxes and it is up to the buyer to evict you from the home

6) expect that it is unlikely anyone will want to buy a home now worth perhaps $25,000 with an annual and ongoing RE tax $75,000.   Unintended consequences, no different than the consequential fight over these educator expenses. 

And if you think my calculations are unreasonable/impossible, take any house in Burr Ridge. Get the number for the total public sector expense—that's fire, police, educators, their salaries, their medical, their COLA, their increases and their pensions and then see what that total amount is proportionally divided up in Burr Ridge for a RE tax bill. Remember the bulk of the expense in Cook and the collar counties is divvied up and absorbed by the entire state. 

So, I want this to happen as soon as possible because the bankruptcies of the municipalities is inevitable, the public pensions contracts will become void.  And neither Springfield, the unions or the Boards are presenting this to the employees. 

This is the living-only-in-the-instant death knell.  Is this scary?  You bet.  Do you think it can happen?  Does Governor Quinn act alone?  Does Mr. Michael Madigan run the State?

I have said to many people, if you are not scared for your future, then you do not have a clue about what is happening.

—Susann D., concerned Illinois resident who lives in Mt. Prospect

Kevin March 27, 2012 at 07:56 PM
70 dollars a year. That is what my tax bill tells me that I pay for the pension funds of those who do not collect social security, our teachers.
Donna Snider March 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM
How right you are. It seems I'm getting less and less so others can get more and more. I've been cautious, watching my resources, but others reep the benefits of MY hard work. We live in a different world, and to see people demanding to maintain a lifestyle when many can't even realize the basics...SHAME ON THEM.
John Sullivan March 28, 2012 at 03:30 PM
No problem, then. $70 per year growing at 5% per year for 38 years will grow to $7540 when you are 60. This will fund a pension of $546 per year for 24 years if the money continues to grow at 5%. This is not excessive and you are welcome to it.

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