McCarthy proves Democrats aren’t interested in fixing pensions

By: Diane Benjamin The Democrat Party of Illinois isn’t going to reform pensions with a Constitutional Amendment. Next year they do have a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot to hand unions even more power. If local elected officials across the State demanded a Constitutional Amendment to reform pensions, they would prove they care about […]

History Friday (local)

By: Diane Benjamin Figure out LIMITED Government yet? I remember posting about limited government years ago and getting comments like “you don’t want police and fire”. Obviously that isn’t what LIMITED Government means. Government uses your money for their folly because they can. You would have much more money in your pocket if government only […]

Normal’s TOTAL debt

By: Diane Benjamin From the Illinois Comptrollers website: Bond debt and “Other” = $85,752,874 Note: The Town only paid off $2,205,000 the entire year. Keep in mind NO principal is being paid on some of the loans, just interest. They forgot to say what “other” is: (did the same in 2019 and 2018) Pensions […]

Bloomington debt

By:  Diane Benjamin The charts below are from the Illinois Comptroller’s office – this is information Bloomington reported to them. Government Activity is the column to look at, especially liabilities due beyond one year.  Since it is hard to read:   Source:  Liabilities 2018 – $221,260,896 2017 – $198,984,845 2016 – $216,297,608 What is this HUGE […]

Bloomington’s debt ISN’T the Coliseum!

By:  Diane Benjamin Yes, I know I posted this yesterday.  I wouldn’t be re-posting this picture if it wasn’t vital to understanding what is happening to Illinois. Government across Illinois exists for government employees. It does not exist to handle problems citizens can not handle themselves.  This is the proof: An overwhelming percent of the […]

See the Pension Problem Here:

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal has 136 retired employees collecting a pension.  The information below is from At Monday’s Council meeting Karyn Smith asked the Finance Director how much employees contribute.  Police and Fire contribute between 9.8 and 9.9%.  Other employees contribute 4.5%.  All will also receive Social Security.  See the video at […]

The Cost to LEAVE Illinois goes up!

By:  Diane Benjamin We know people are leaving Illinois.  We also know the people in charge think they can fix everything with higher taxes.  Illinois is spiraling out of control while those who can take steps to reverse the course have their heads buried deep in propaganda.  Never forget what party is in complete control […]

Pension Funding

By:  Diane Benjamin “One of the best-funded pension plans in the country is the nearly 90 percent funded Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which has long had the ability to enforce payments into the plan.” IMRF funding isn’t a problem.  That’s why pension spiking penalties were enacted, the fund couldn’t afford to pay pensions for employees […]

Government thinks you are REALLY stupid

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington and Normal are the only cities doing their own garbage pickup in the area.  According to the Pantagraph, Normal did their own investigation of rates. They declared NO money could be saved by privatizing garbage pickup. See the chart here: The Pantagraph must not have noticed some of those other cities […]

Normal: This one is for you!

By:  Diane Benjamin The story below appeared in the Pantagraph on October 21, 2003.  It is available on microfiche at the Bloomington Public Library. Normal raised your property taxes this year by blaming pensions. They used the same excuse in 2003 and every year since. Instead of budgeting for expenses they have to pay, they […]

Fun Facts (or not so fun facts)

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington population:  78,005 Normal Population:  54,264 Bloomington Total Budget:  $214,126,710 PDF Page 2: Normal Total Budget:  $107,133,177 PDF Page 15 Normal has 30% fewer citizens. Normal budgets 50% of what Bloomington does. Bloomington spends $2,745 for every citizens Normal spends $1,974 for every citizen Bloomington total debt 4/30/16:  270,629,828 4/30/17 information […]

The Truth about Higher Ed

By:  Diane Benjamin The President of Northern Illinois University is just the latest to step down amid allegations of scandal.  The bigger scandal is what the Board is planning on paying him to leave!  Details of that soon.  Remember when ISU paid Tim Flanagan to leave – the day before he got arrested? The Illinois […]

Bloomington Pensions

By:  Diane Benjamin Citizens need to know why there is no money for government to do their job without constantly raising taxes. Retired employee PENSIONS, in addition to Social Security and Medicare, and spiked pensions are the problem. Below are just some of the Monthly pensions payments retired City employees are currently receiving.  Note, it […]

Congrats! They did it again

By:  Diane Benjamin Sick Leave Buy Back will cost Bloomington taxpayers for decades.  New employees are no longer eligible as of (I think) 2013.  All other employees could be getting paid for unused sick leave when they retire.  The City is too chicken to tell employees it isn’t fair for them to get a benefit […]

The IML scam

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner and David Hales love to tout the greatness of the Illinois Municipal League.  From the IML website: The Illinois Municipal League is the formal voice for Illinois municipalities. The League was founded in 1913 and has worked continuously for the benefit of municipalities, promoting competence and integrity in administration of […]

Throwing away $49,152.21

By:  Diane Benjamin Even though Bloomington’s Springfield attorney (Jeff Jurgens) knew on August 24th that stopping pensions spiking wasn’t a violation of the Illinois Constitution, the policy still hasn’t been changed.  See his email and IMRF response here: The agenda for Monday is on-line, nothing about stopping the rip off of taxpayers that is […]

Buragas: Really? You are a lawyer!

By:  Diane Benjamin Obviously the LAWYER on the Bloomington City Council believes David Hales instead of looking at the facts.  Amelia stated this during the last Council meeting, I had hopes you would figure out the truth by now.  No such luck.  She sent the following email to a Bloomington resident this morning:  (mis-spelled words […]

Where’s the TRUTH?

By:  Diane Benjamin It should be more than obvious the City calls the Pantagraph to do a story when they know they are in trouble.  Today there were 2 printed about spiking pensions.  Gee, I wonder if citizens are upset?!?  Taxes are about to be raised because you exist only to be abused by government, […]

Thanks for the laughs Pantagraph!

By:  Diane Benjamin In the continuing quest by the Pantagraph to prove yet again they are not real media: Today they CHEERED Bloomington and Normal for working to stopp pension spiking! WOW!  Why didn’t they include how great it is that Normal WASTED $29,939.10 and Bloomington THREW away $1,215,177.70 before being exposed by the Chicago […]

Low morale is DAVID HALES fault

By:  Diane Benjamin Only the Hales supporters on the City Council don’t understand that low employee morale at the City of Bloomington if David Hales’ fault. Employees have been stripped in essential areas while Hales’ staff has ballooned.  Employees are forced to document everything they do so Hales can measure results.  Much time is wasted […]

Hales passes the buck

By:  Diane Benjamin Probably knowing he was getting the blame, David Hales called into WJBC this morning to discuss the sick leave payouts.  He claimed that except for Police and Fire. all new employees don’t get that benefit anymore. He blamed past Councils for not taking action. I guess he still hasn’t figured out the […]

More Hales covering up?

By:  Diane Benjamin Renner was on WJBC yesterday with Scott Laughlin.  You don’t need to listen to the whole discussion, just the last 30 seconds. The topic was the fine paid by Bloomington taxpayers when Emily Bell spiked her pension with accumulated sick days.  Renner and the Council were “shocked” according to Tari when […]

How many screw ups from Hales can you afford?

By:  Diane Benjamin Previously I wrote about local school districts throwing away your money in penalties because some employees were paid more than allowed before they retired – thus spiking their pensions. The City of Bloomington is doing the same thing!  Their policy of allowing employees to accumulate sick days and getting paid for […]

Pantagraph – way over their head

.  By:  Diane Benjamin An anonymous editorial today must have been a reprint.  Maybe the bird-cage liner can’t think of new things to print. The blurb laments local school districts costing taxpayers money by bumping some salaries of teachers and administrators right before retirement so their pensions are higher.  They even spell out how much […]

Karch: What used to be on the website

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I wrote about the exchange at Monday night’s Council meeting between Alderman Lower and Public Works Director Jim Karch.  Numbers to fix the roads were revealed, much higher than the current budget. Karch referenced a report on the City website, I looked for it.  I couldn’t find it, so I emailed Jim.  […]

Pensions, Pensions, Pensions!

Corrected – David Hales budget increases By:  Diane Benjamin In honor of the Supreme Court meeting today to decide if the plan passed by the legislature to fix pension is legal: 2014 Total Compensation Report – City of Bloomington Of course the report doesn’t include totals, so here they are: Salary:  37,123,891.83 Overtime:  3,308,160.59 […]

Open The Books strikes again!

By:  Diane Benjamin NOBODY has done more to force transparency on government than Adam Andrzejewski (An-Gee-eski) and his Open The Books project.  If you aren’t on his email list, you need to be!  Click here: Open the Books has compiled a summary for every taxing body in the State of Illinois.  The entire list […]


By:  Diane Benjamin An Illinois Court ruled yesterday the pension fix law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov Quinn is unconstitutional. Yipee – Illinois is at least $100,000,000,000 in debt because of pensions, but we have a constitutional responsibility to pay. How much is in your wallet – fork it over now. I […]

David Sage: Tax and spend, tax more

by:  Diane Benjamin Alderman David Sage was elected to the Bloomington City Council in 2007.  His job now is NOT to represent his Ward, it’s to run interference for Mayor Renner.  You wouldn’t know that unless you watch the Council meetings. How does he run interference?  He makes sure spending cuts can never be  discussed. […]

Local School Spending Reports

Courtesy of  Open The Books.  Most other districts are available at: The State of Illinois is going to try to transfer teacher pension payments to local districts.  Then what? District 87 . Unit 5 . Tri-Valley .  Olympia . . . .  

Is this the future for public unions in Illinois?

In 1979, the original Sony Walkman was the newest way to listen to music. Switchboard operators still connected telephone calls. That’s also when the Illinois village of North Riverside signed its first contract with the firefighters’ union. A lot has changed in 35 years. But the union has clung to its decades-old business model and […]

Why pensions are bankrupt

by:  Diane Benjamin A fireman in Bloomington gave an example of his pension at a Townhall meeting this week.  He said he would retire at age 56 with a $40,000 a year pension.  I don’t know anybody who would fault a guy who risked his life to keep us safe a $40,000 a year pension. […]

Why are local governments funding pensions?

by:  Diane Benjamin Local governments across the state are buried in unfunded pension debt.  Pouring millions of dollars into pensions funds will not solve the problem.  It is more than obvious pensions are an outdated idea abandoned by the private sector decades ago.  Local pensions are controlled by Springfield.  If they don’t fund their pensions, […]