Taxpayer Advocate Fought on Behalf of All Taxpayers
Jim Tobin, who died at 76, was the founder and president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA), one of the oldest and largest taxpayer advocacy groups in the country. Founded in 1976, TUA has fought wasteful government spending and tax increases year after year.
Jim found his calling early in his career while working as a bank auditor for the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank. As an economist, he had a true understanding of the damage the central bank and excessive taxation had on the economy. Jim gave up his well-paid government job to spend his evenings and weekends working to initiate tax-fighting initiatives from his parents’ living room. In 1976 he founded National Taxpayers Union of Illinois, which was later renamed Taxpayers United of America, and opened an office in the heart of Chicago, where he took his fight to a national audience.
After only a year, Jim led a nationally-recognized property tax strike, when Chicago tried to gouge taxpayers with unreasonable automatic property tax hikes. He stopped that! Jim also received national recognition in 1977 when he and his members were instrumental in forcing repeal of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, legislation that increased taxes on all senior citizens. This was the first time a major federal entitlement had ever been repealed. Jim’s efforts, with the help of dedicated supporters and staff, were successful in beating down 439 tax increases in Illinois, saving taxpayers more than $200 billion since 1976.
Jim realized, before many, that government pensions were at the heart of the egregious tax policies of governments across the country. With laser focus, and despite criticism from government bureaucrats and progressive media, Jim led the pension fight until people would listen. He took the pension fight across the country as he and his team analyzed and released lifetime pension payouts in 19 states. Jim named the names of the government retirees whose pension benefits bleed taxpayers dry.
Jim was disliked by many politicians and he was just fine with that. He knew that if he got the right people angry, he had done his job. Jim treated every donated dollar with the care and conservatism that he believed the government should be doing with taxpayer money. He was a man of honor and conviction and never separated himself from the cause.
Jim was the kindest and most giving person to friends and family. He died peacefully at his home in Berwyn on December 15. Jim was preceded in death by his mother Ann Noll Tobin, his father Lawrence J. Tobin, and his brother Paul E. Tobin. He is survived by his daughter Christina Tobin, sister Elisabeth (Betty) Tobin-Ivie, sister-in-law Nancy Tobin, nieces Christine Braig, Jeanne Gordon, Kathy McNulty, and nephew Dan Tobin.
A private memorial service will be held next spring in Shawano, Wisconsin where he found peace and solitude by the river that flowed past his home, Wolf Lake Lodge. In addition, a small service at Mt. Carmel cemetery will follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Jim’s organization Taxpayers United of America.
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