How do you lose the information war when stories like this abound about how much government retirees have banked? Through amazing incompetence. Illinois Republicans need new party and legislative leaders. Here is Joe Kaiser writing at the Illinois Policy Institute:
Despite serving one of the most overtaxed parts of the state, a retired Kane County-area water district employee has collected millions in pension payouts over the past 20 years.
While Kane County homeowners suffer one of the heaviest tax burdens in the state, at least one retired municipal employee has benefited greatly from taxpayer funds.
Albin Pagorski has received more than $3.5 million in pension payments since retiring in 1998 at age 58 from the Fox River Water Reclamation District, or FRWRD, which serves 180,000 residents in Elgin, South Elgin and West Dundee, as well as portions of Sleepy Hollow, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates and unincorporated St. Charles Township.
Pagorski’s current annual pension benefit is nearly $211,000, despite having only contributed $93,900 to his retirement during his 40 years of work, according to documents from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, or IMRF.
His is not the only expensive government worker retirement straining Kane County taxpayers. As many as 38 other local government pensioners in Kane County enrolled in IMRF are receiving six-figure annual payouts. One of those pensioners, Gregory Hergenroeder, was also a 40-year FRWRD worker and has already accumulated $2.1 million in just 12 years of retirement.
These benefit levels, while unaffordable, are not the fault of government employees themselves. State lawmakers set the rules. However, the benefits these employees receive contrast starkly with the reality local taxpayers face.
Typical homeowners in Kane County pay higher property taxes than the state average and more than double the national average, when measured as a share of home value. The average single-family home in Kane County had a property tax bill of $6,517 in 2017, according to ATTOM Data solutions, a property data company. The average home value for the county was estimated at nearly $235,800, bringing the average effective property tax rate up to 2.76 percent. The national average, meanwhile, was 1.17 percent.
Read more: Illinois Policy