Elaine Nekritz is still after your pension. By hook or by crook.

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State Representative Elaine Nekritz on Chicago Tonight last night.

I had no sooner finished my previous post on the ethics of how we retirees are treated than my email alert started binging like an ice cream truck in Chicago in mid-July.

Trust me when I tell you that Illinois retirees watch Chicago Tonight.

Like retired teacher Lee Talley who emailed me:

Just letting you…State Rep. Elaine Nekritz tipped her hand last night during a panel on Chicago Tonight.

Get ready for a state income tax on your pension check.  It’s one of the proposals for trying to balance the budget.

She glossed over the idea very quickly, then changed the subject.

Last night Carol Marin had a panel that consisted of Democratic Representative Elaine Nekritz and Senator Kwame Raoul. And some Republicans.

Carol asked if Elaine has considered alternative revenue sources.

Elaine responded by sharing the fact that almost half of retirement income in the state goes to those under 65, suggesting they would tax that.

No suggestion of a graduated income tax. Or a tax on millionaires. An increase in corporate taxes or a stock transaction tax.

The first and only thing that popped out of Elaine’s mouth was a tax on retirement income.

Watch the video.

Carol Marin looks somewhat shocked.

Carol asked, “Isn’t that Democratic Party heresy?”

Silly Carol.

Avoiding taxing the rich and going after retirement benefits isn’t Democratic Party heresy.

It’s Democratic Party policy.

46 thoughts on “Elaine Nekritz is still after your pension. By hook or by crook.

  1. If the state can’t legally and directly take our pensions away, then circumvent that pesky constitutional issue by taking it through taxation.
    Hmmmm…
    Elaine needs to remember that there are a LOT of retired VOTERS under 65…not just retired public employees. Legislation that gouges everyone’s pocketbooks will influence all those voters, not just public employees!

  2. So how many Illinois voters are getting a pension, an annuity, or Social Security that would be taxed under Elaine’s plan, and not vote for the representatives that passed that law?

    1. Good point, Steve And let’s not forget that if Nekritz proposes to tax retirement income, I assume her proposal would include members of the Chicago Commercial Club as well, I know that there are members of the private sector who would love to see public sector pensions taxed, but when it comes to their own–no way!

      Every time Nekritz’s name comes up, I ask myself if she truly thinks she represents the party of FDR and LBJ

      1. Listen to what she says on Chicago Tonight. She is not including all retirees. Only those under 65 and collecting a pension. Those would mainly be public employees. This is targeted and a back-door theft of what she may not constitutionally be able to get by an attack on our COLA.

      1. It appears that way However , do you think she would think differently if she and/or her loved ones were the victims of any legislation that would cut their own pensions It seems that Nekritz and other legislators are clueless on how slashing constitutionally protected pensions of retirees would impact the quality of life of retirees

      2. Well, it seems to me that if retirement income is taxed it would be for everybody. I think that is why it never goes anywhere. But if it did we would be better off to have some portion taxed after exemptions and or deductions than lose the 3% compounded COLA. Believe the math bears it out.

      3. Jack, my friend. That’s not the trade. Our 3% compounded COLA is constitutionally protected. Don’t be quick to trade away what I believe the courts will say is (y)ours to keep.

      4. Can you constitutionally pick a class to tax but not others? Isn’t there equal protection under the law? If pensions are taxed shouldn’t social security be taxed as well?

  3. Taxing retirement income of those under the age of 65 or 66 shoudl be less of a problem than you think. Part of the problem with the pensions, I said “part”, is that they were no designed to pay people under 65 years of age to not work. In other words those are the people that are cheating the mortality tables by retiring early. This would be a problem even if the plans were funded. If it does happen there would be a tidal wave of exits from the state, much more than now.
    If you remember Fred I told you a number of months ago that taxation of benefits was the back door to getting some of the benefits back. They tax the benefit then put the $ back into the plan. You want taxes you will get taxes.
    All of your solutions involve raising revenue, but you have to look at the total taxation picture, income, sales, real estate and business. Illinois ranks among the very highest, between 4 and 6, in total taxation, right up there with those bastions of liberalism Cal and NY and NJ. There just isn’t that much left to get, despite what you think.

    1. Anonymous,

      1. I have no idea what you told me a number of months ago because you are anonymous. Since I get a lot on anonymous comments, how could I possibly know which one is yours?

      2. By “cheating the mortality tables,” you mean staying alive and getting what you paid for. Nice.

      3. There isn’t much left except taxing the rich.

    2. I know a lot of people who have moved to Indiana from Illinois who are state and city retirees. All retirement income is fully taxed here. It is not that big a deal. So I don’t think there would be a mass exodus.

      1. Cost of living in Indiana is quite a bit less than in Illinois. Even if all retirement income taxed there the lower living costs will more than make up for taxes.

      2. According to sers website there are 321 state employee retirees from Illinois in Indiana, 44000 from Illinois in Illinois. Missouri, Arizona and Florida have more Illinois retirees than Indiana. Do not know about city retirees or teachers.

        9 states basically do not tax retirement income. Several others exempt most of it including Kentucky and Michigan.

        http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/09/best-retirement-places-personal-finance-state-tax-breaks-seniors_slide.html

    3. If they didn’t want people under the age of 65 to retire, then why did they offer early retirement incentives? You can’t have it both ways.

      1. But they DID want people to retire early, to save money for the school districts and the state. Now they blame those who took the early retirement incentives so they (politicians) are not blamed! It’s known as LYING!! AND they always get away with it!!! It’s a win-win for the lying scum politicians of BOTH parties! “talking is cheap, people follow like sheep!!”

  4. So long as all forms of retirement income (public and private) that have not previously been taxed are made subject to the state income tax, then I think this would be constitutional and perhaps even fair. The danger is that retirees are perhaps the least tied to the state of all people, and if they move out you cannot tax any of their income by federal law. Once a retiree leaves, you lose the property taxes, sales taxes, etc. that they were paying. I’m sure this would still generate significant revenue for Illinois in net terms, just not as much as a static analysis might show, and it might reduce local government revenues at the same time that it increases state revenues.

    1. Fair? While millionaires like Rauner and billionaires like Ken Griffin are paying less than 15% income tax rates? In whose world view of fairness is there taxing retirees ahead of billionaires.

  5. Will the various government agencies then lift mandatory retirement age if the State begins taxing pensions for those under 65?

    The State Police forces Troopers to retire at age 60, I believe Chicago Fire Department and Police are 63.

    When the State began taking 4% from my retirement check for health insurance premiums because I was not Medicare age, and 2% for those who were Medicare age, my complaint was you fire us at age 60, how are we supposed to work until we are 65?

  6. Fred, I am not suggesting a tradeoff. Just saying that our pensions being taxed will not hurt as much as people think. The 3% compounded COLA will more than offset the tax. The people that might not be to happy are the ones who might have to sacrifice a few bucks toward their investments.

  7. No Fred not cheating by staying alive, by retiring 5 or 10 years earlier when you have been funded for retirement at 65, therefore built in underfunding. The system is not built to pay people not to work for 40 years.

    1. Anonymous,
      The TRS pension is reduced for each month “early” the retirement is taken. It works out so the same total is paid out over what the actuary expects for the average life expectancy of the retiree. Somewhat like social security reducing the payment for someone retiring at 62 instead of 65. (By the way, teachers don’t even get social security in Illinois). The pension system underfunding is caused entirely by the state not paying the required employer match, no other reason.

    1. Why hasnt she been primaried and joined Berrios -would have been a better use of money than what was used on Dillard and Quinn

  8. I’m not opposed to taxing pensions, but lets set up that service fee for all transactions the like the civic members makes on all their money. I rather, see taxes go up on income than onto my license and license plate fees. If tax increases fail that’s usually were they get us.

    I will not apologize for being an early retiree(not a teacher)…I planned ahead and got in the system early. Billionaires don’t apologize for their good investments.

    I won’t complain about paying taxes…never have. I especially won’t complain if they would tax themselves and all the very rich who complain about us.

    The brunt of most tax burdens as usually fall to the middle class which they (rich people) are trying to eliminate. Hmmm…when they get rid of the middle class I wonder who will take on all the bills.

  9. I think before 65. That’s what makes it a symbolic attack which Nekritz just loves to do Illinois doesn’t tax any annuity or insurance payout Lets see how the insurance industry reacts to her They are not as nice as we are

  10. I’ve read through all these comments and have come away with the opinion that people are going to be divided on this issue. Unfortunately, I also see a lot of misinformation about those retiring before 65. Please do your research and due diligence before posting. Your “information” does nothing but confuse and make anxious retirees.

    If Nekritz and other pols like her really want to raise money they should go about taxing the trades made at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After all, this is discretionary “funny money” for rich people. They don’t need it to live day-to-day. One projection is read in Crain’s Chicago Business is that by taxing each individual trade a nickel or a dime they would raise between $1.5 – $2.5 billion dollars a year. Now that’s real money!
    Unfortunately, the members of the Civic Club of Chicago and other high-rollers organizations go nuts whenever this is mentioned.

    It’s what I learned when I worked in the film industry in Los Angeles back in the 1980’s. “What do people with money like? More money.” I believe it still holds true today.

    1. “What do people with money want? More money” Look at Bernie Madoff!! The greedy Koch brothers!! It is truly a sickness!!!!!

  11. And let’s not forget that ILL-Annoy is, unfortunately, one of the W.E.P. (Windfall Elimination Provision) states. So all of you who worked in non-TRS jobs and earned enough quarters
    (by paying in!) before you taught/worked in education, have your S.S. severely reduced.
    Another point–for some of you who are talking about taxing other pension income/others/people retiring before the age of 65–please let’s not make this about pitting the middle class against the middle class–that’s EXACTLY what Nekritz & the 1%ers want (& that’s why, of course, the move to get a graduated tax failed, not to mention all the ridicule that was thrown at the idea of taxing CME transactions & why the ILL-Annoy legislature will never even allow a referendum on such an idea ).
    No–this isn’t about us against us! “United we stand, divided we fall.”
    What Fred said at 3:07 PM is exactly right.

  12. A wise person from capitol fax said the other day, “Taxing a dollar that would be otherwise spent hurts the economy and society, more than taxing the millionth dollar would, since that person’s needs have long been met prior to its having been earned. For those reasons progressive taxes are both better for the economy and fulfill a person’s obligation to the society that has enabled them to make it.”

  13. “There can be no doubt that behind [any attempt to tax retirees (who were public employees)]…, there is [a dissolute] organization at work. An organization which not only [perpetuates] corrupt [dealings via politicians (like Madigan, Nekritz, Biss, et al.)]…, of whom the best that can be said is that they recognize their own limitations, but also have at [their] disposal [bureaucratic alternatives in addition to subornative corporatists, lobbyists and officious reporters]. .. And the significance of this… [maleficent] organization…? It consists in this, that innocent persons [are victimized by prejudicial] senseless [rulings that] are put in motion against them… How is it possible… to prevent gross corruption [in Illinois]…?” (With apologies to Franz Kafka, The Trial).

    Re-amortize the pension debt.
    Expand Illinois’ sales tax base.
    Enact a graduated rate income tax.
    Establish a financial transaction tax: a .50 cent tax on every $100 of transacting. “We used to have a financial transaction tax in this country from 1914 to 1966” (Bill Moyers).

    “In whose world view of fairness is there taxing retirees ahead of billionaires?” (Klonsky).

  14. You are right Fred 65 is not early but as long as we tolerate Nekritz she will be after us I am sure she is POd about how she has been faring in court. Speaking of Court I hope our lawyers are preparing to point out there is no deficit because of the bad stuff she did to teir 2 already making it moot

  15. It can be very difficult to see the big picture. I was with a group of retirees today, talking about pension reform. We talked about the political philosophy of Neckritz, Biss, Martinez, the Madigans, Durban, Obama, etc. It was very difficult for people to grasp that these Democratic politicians were really working against us. They simply could not accept that the political philosophy these Democrats espoused was radically different from views held by themselves.

    What was the problem?

    We had the Internet available. There was no fact we couldn’t verify in an instant. So what was wrong?

    They simply couldn’t allow themselves to understand that the people they had just voted for, would vote for again, were stabbing them in the back. There weren’t any questions of fact at issue. These retirees had just voted and were going to vote again for people who were working to cut pensions, private and public, were working to cut Social Security, were working to destroy SSI/SSDI. They simply didn’t want to understand these things. By choosing to remain blind they were complicit in their own victimization.

    1. The opposing candidates were often tea-party types with similar views. Only a handful of candidates statewide were supportive of our pensions. Some candidates even said they voted against SB1 because they thought it didn’t cut pensions enough.

  16. How about taxing the rich benefits she gets by virtue of her elected position. Pension, health care, personal security etc…Life is good for these creatures, but for us in the non-government sector, not so much.

  17. The midnight oil burns at Nekritz-Biss & Associates, “The Pension Theft Experts”. Her latest idea is only the first of many schemes that will be directed toward our pensions, social security, and public employees.

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