Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

Report released on sexual harassment complaints connected to House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office – ABC Chicago

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Madigan’s former chief of staff ‘commonly threatened people’s jobs,’ state report finds – Chicago Sun-Times

For 26 years, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office was run by a chief of staff who used “fear” as motivation and could “make or break” careers, a massive report on harassment in state politics revealed on Tuesday.

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Our monthly Crain’s article: Illinois proves what you didn’t know about the old boiling frog metaphor

  Raise taxes and take on more debt, but do it gradually. Never mind reforms, corruption, hostility to employers and all the rest. Like the mythical frog, nobody will jump out, they seem to think.

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GOP vendor made secret payments to Durkin’s right hand man – WCIA

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It’s time for truth in state and local government finances – SFO Chronicle

A must-read by former Sec. of State and Treasury: "Imagine your business could treat borrowings as revenues, avoid cost recognition by not paying expenses and report less debt than actually owed..... Fortunately, accounting for private-sector enterprises doesn’t enable such activities. But accounting for state and local governments does, and with big consequences. For example, Chicago used proceeds from the sale of 75 years of parking meter revenues to plug a single year’s budget shortfall.... Today, state and local governments are using GASB’s permissive rules to report unfunded pension liabilities at just one quarter of the $4 trillion the same liabilities are valued by the Federal Reserve’s Financial Accounts of the United States.

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

More Cautionary Tales From Illinois: Tier II Pensions (And Why Actuaries Matter) – Forbes

Illinois Tier 2 teachers, with their 9% contributions, and using the plan's valuation assumptions, are actually subsidizing everyone else.

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Illinois state senator apologizes for mock Trump assassination at fundraiser – NBC News

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By the numbers: Illinois ranks 7th highest on state and local sales taxes – The Center Square

The combined state and average local sales taxes in Illinois ranked seventh in the nation, according to a new analysis from the Tax Foundation based on July 2019 data.

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No one wants real pension solutions more than union firefighters and police – Opinion – Crain’s

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Work permit required for Illinois kids to legally have a job – A.P.

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Rich Miller: AFL-CIO changing leaders – The Southern

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Legal answers are nearer in case challenging Illinois GOs – The Bond Buyer

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Illinois GOP calls state Sen. Martin Sandoval’s apology for Trump mock assassination photos ‘too little, too late’ – Center Square

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Are Public Pensions in a Crisis? Part 2: Is Pay-as-You-Go Sustainable? – Stump

An actuary's perspective.

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Law allows Illinois to take action on climate change – Associated Press

Comment: This legislation repeals the state's Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998. It limited state action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the United States Senate effectively rejected the Kyoto Protocols by a 95 - 0 vote because they were so onerous, costly and unfairly excluded developing countries. But Illinois had put it into state law so it was bound by rules the federal government no longer intended to follow. In other words, what was rejected in Washington by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote had been just fine for Illinois.

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Illinois Bans Sale of Cosmetics Tested on Animals – VegNews

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Unfair big government contracts hurt Illinois’ economy and cut job creation – IL Policy

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Illinois Investing Big in Broadband for Rebuild Illinois Program – GlobeStreet

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Marijuana tax revenues see uneven growth across nation – The Hill

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Analysts warn against states relying on ‘unpredictable’ recreational cannabis tax revenue – Center Square

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Sandoval apologizes for mock Trump assassination photo at political fundraiser – WCIA

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Doing more with less – Editorial – News-Gazette

While some Illinois residents vote to leave with their feet, others cast their ballots for elected officials who barely acknowledge this problem.

How much worse does it have to get before they do?

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Are public pensions in crisis? Part 1. – Stump

An actuary's perspective.

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Rockford-area property values on the rise – Rockford Register-Star

According to the property tax assessor, that is.

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Grifters, grafters, govs and Blago leave Lincoln crying – Daily Herald

A new film, "Lincoln Is Crying: The Grifters, Grafters and Governors of Illinois," combining documentary and comedic fiction, "exposes some of the biggest crooks who pillaged the Prairie State, including felonious aldermen, corrupt state representatives, thieving congressmen, scandalous mayors, larcenous governors and even a couple of cunning comptrollers."

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Township consolidation law may be first of many government reduction efforts – State Journal-Register

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Pritzker signs bill to allow graduate students to unionize, 48 other bills – Center Square

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All-powerful Madigan catching heat from multiple angles – News-Gazette

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Why a $1.2 billion gambling mecca has fallen on hard times – NYT

A lesson for Illinois: New York’s newest casinos are already struggling for survival, as an oversaturated market has cannibalized gaming revenue.

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Illinois Justice Pays Back 4 Years of Erroneous Homeowners Exemption – NBC Chicago

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Appeals court: State of IL can sue community colleges accused of boosting student success numbers to boost state money – Cook County Record

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Starting a pot shop will be hard, expensive in Illinois – Fox IL

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Judge hears arguments on Illinois taxpayer lawsuit on general obligation bonds – The Bond Buyer

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The Bond Raters Still Need To Be Fixed – Financial Analyst Mag.

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Hedge Fund Seeking to Void Illinois Debt Made Wager on Default – Bloomberg

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Top Chicago Stories

Lightfoot to ask legislature for power to tax high-end professional services and big-ticket home sales – Chicago Sun-Times

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Cyanide from a steel plant trickled into Lake Michigan for days before public was notified – Washington Post

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Surprised by CTU’s Venezuela visit? Then you haven’t been paying attention. – Chicago Tribune

More on the story that we brought to light in our article linked here.

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Chicago casino’s future may depend on who’s willing to take less cash – Chicago Tribune

The proposal’s future could hinge on whether the city or the state — or both — is willing to take a smaller cut of tax revenue, and whether supporters can round up the votes to alter the gambling legislation that was frantically put together as the General Assembly’s spring session went into overtime.

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Facing massive budget hole, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to give prime-time ‘State of the City’ speech followed by citywide tour on government finances – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Good grief! Look at this ridiculous survey, referenced in the article, that the city is asking residents to fill out on what to do with taxes and spending. Just make up a zip code and anybody from anywhere can fill it out. And you can bet CTU and other unions have armies already swarming this.

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Five takeaways from the Chicago casino feasibility study – NWI Times

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Lightfoot says she needs Springfield’s help to erase $1 billion-plus shortfall – Chicago Sun-Times

But the mayor still offered no specifics on the kind of help she will seek; it could include permission to raise the estate transfer tax, as well as allowing the city to tax professional services, including attorneys and accountants.

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Steel Plant Dumps Cyanide Into Little Calumet River, Killing Fish and Shutting Down Indiana Dunes – NBC Chicago

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Chicago Defends Title Of ‘Highest Sales Tax Rate In The Nation’ – ZeroHedge

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Chicago Casino Sites ‘Not Feasible’ Due to ‘Onerous Tax and Fee Structure,’ Study Shows – NBC Chicago

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How Socialism Permeated City Council – Chicago Magazine

These aren’t your grandma’s Cold War–era pols. Inside Chicago’s far-far-left political wavelet.

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More Highlighted Chicago Stories

New Report Says Only Running Chicago Taps For 3 Minutes Can Make Lead Problem Worse – WBEZ

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Chicago Teachers Union group under fire for crowdfunding trip to socialist Venezuela – New York Post

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Downtown apartment boom rolls on, but developers pull back – Crain’s

Rents rose again in the second quarter, but construction is slowing down amid rising costs, affordable housing regulations and uncertainty about property taxes.

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Cook County Seeks Community Groups to Help With Census Count – A.P.

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J.B.’s ‘Windy City Rehab’: Pritzker spends $275K of his wealth to fix up Chicago offices — but leaves GOP suite a fixer upper – Chicago Sun-Times

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Anyone Who Receives Government Assistance Can Now Get A Big Discount On The Internet In Chicago – Block Club Chicago

The city and Comcast are making it easier for low-income families in Chicago to get a significant discount on internet. The Internet Essentials program offers internet for just $9.95 plus tax a month. That means anyone who participates in SNAP, Housing Assistance, the National School Lunch Program or other programs is eligible for the offer.

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Lightfoot To Hold 4 Forums To Tout Plan To Close Budget Gap That Could Reach $1 Billion – Block Club Chicago

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Chicago Teachers Union group’s trip to Venezuela, praise of socialist leader slammed as ‘propaganda tour’ – Chicago Tribune

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More trouble over Toni Preckwinkle’s Hyde Park condo, where her son faces eviction after a series of incidents – Chicago Sun-Times

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Ed Burke just got $1.9M in tax refunds, interest for car rental agencies at Midway Airport – Chicago Sun-Times

It’s another eye-opening instance of the indicted Chicago alderman mixing his law firm’s business with city business. And it resulted from big errors by former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

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Housing commissioner says budget shortfall will make it tougher to solve affordable housing crisis – Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot still plans to ask the Illinois General Assembly to empower Chicago to raise its real estate transfer tax but wants to use the projected $120 million a year in new revenue to close a $1 billion-plus budget shortfall.

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Mayor Lightfoot confronts Chicago’s riddle: How to close the $1 billion budget gap – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

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At least one member of CTU delegation to Venezuela unphased by report of government’s torturing – Chicago City Wire

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How much can Chicago tax a casino and still get one? – Crain’s

Hardly anyone believes a casino operator would pay an effective tax rate of 72 percent to operate a Chicago casino. But how high could the rate be and still attract bidders?

It's a fair question after a financial analysis released Aug. 13 by the Illinois Gaming Board suggested that the much-anticipated gambling house could be dead on arrival because of "onerous" taxes on the facility imposed by state lawmakers—new taxes that would be so high as to make it impossible to finance the project. The consultancy hired by the Lightfoot administration to analyze five potential sites for the casino found that the tax rate for the casino operator would amount to about 72 percent of the gross, not counting certain operating expenses.

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Cook County grand jury investigating Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn’s challenge of opponent’s election petitions – Chicago Tribune

A Cook County grand jury has subpoenaed city election records related to 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn’s challenge to a college student’s nominating signatures during the last City Hall campaign, the Tribune has learned. Quinn, the hand-picked alderman of House Speaker Michael Madigan, the 13th Ward’s Democratic committeeman for decades.

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Where the jobs are in Chicago: downtown, and that’s a good thing – Chicago Sun-Times

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Challenges to the Obama Center Might Work This Time – Chicago Magazine

In June, Obama beat a federal lawsuit to stop him from building his Center in Jackson Park. But he and the Obama Foundation didn’t have much time to celebrate: This month, he’s facing a report from the city’s Department of Planning and Development claiming the project will have an “adverse effect” on the park and Midway Plaisance. A year ago, the mayor and the city council would have ignored that report. No longer — Obama doesn’t have that kind of clout anymore.

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Oak Park TIF districts collected $233 million since inception – OakPark.com

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These 5 Tech Companies Are the Fastest-Growing in Chicago, according to Inc. – Built in Chicago

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The feds once seized her cellphone, a line of people want to replace her and now Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown says she won’t seek reelection – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago defends title of highest sales tax rate in the nation – IL Policy

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Russian spy plane spotted flying over Chicago – WGN

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Fact-Finder’s Report Sheds Light on CTU Contract Negotiations With City – WTTW

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The Chicago casino is likely dead—unless someone agrees to take less – Crain’s

Tax rates or casino profit margins will have to be slashed if the proposed Chicago casino is to become real. And the deal will have to pass Springfield—again.

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Proposed Chicago casino unattractive to investors because of ‘onerous’ taxes; South and West side sites wouldn’t draw tourists, says a state-hired consultant – Chicago Tribune

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Will Illinois law allow a proposed Chicago casino to make enough money? Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn’t sure – Chicago Tribune

"We talked to a number of different financial experts who are in the business of financing casino enterprises, and person after person that we talked to told us that the tax structure that’s embedded into the statute that passed is not one that would allow for a casino operator to be successful because it takes too much money out of the deal upfront. So we will see what the report tells us, and then we’ll respond,” Lightfoot said.

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Solving suburbs’ vicious property tax cycle benefits all – Opinion – Crain’s

Two suggestion from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning: First, state should re-examine its criteria for disbursing revenue to communities. Criteria should take into account things like infrastructure condition and the cost of service delivery, not just population and retail sales. Second, the county’s property tax classification system forces businesses to shoulder a higher share of the tax burden. By phasing out the property tax classification system over several years,Cook County could reduce the commercial/industrial tax differential, encouraging new business investment that will rebuild local tax revenue.

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Smaller township road districts face elimination after consolidation bill signed into law for Lake, McHenry counties – Chicago Tribune

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Lightfoot cracks down on absenteeism and abuse of family leave among city workers – Chicago Sun-Times

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State Rep. McSweeney’s next consolidation target: school districts – Daily Herald

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

Collapsing interest rates are devastating for Illinois’ troubled pensions

The world’s collapsing interest rates have made survival that much harder for Illinois’ pension funds.

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Got a Problem With Hedge Fund Trying To Profit By Invalidating Certain Illinois Bonds? – UPDATED

An interesting debate has arisen on one particular aspect of the proceeding now pending in an Illinois court to invalidate certain state bonds.

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Illinois’ shrinking tax base: Loss in income is one of nation’s worst (Part 2)

Illinois is an extreme outlier nationally when it comes to losing people to other states through domestic out-migration. Unsurprisingly, it’s also an outlier when it comes to losing the incomes those people take with them.

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Opponents to TIF in New Trier Township shouldn’t assume all is lost

The Kenilworth Village Board may have voted for a TIF over the objection of its residents, but opponents of the TIF shouldn’t assume all is lost.

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Illinois’ shrinking tax base: Residents are leaving and taking their incomes with them (Part 1)

Residents old and young, rich and poor are are leaving Illinois for warm states and cold states, big states and small states. And they're taking their taxable income with them, shrinking Illinois' tax base.

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A tale of two manufacturing recoveries: Illinois vs. Michigan

Michigan has had the most successful recovery among the manufacturing states in the Midwest. In contrast, Illinois has had the worst recovery: over 88,000 manufacturing jobs are still missing.

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

Another major error in an op-ed on Illinois pensions – Quicktake

Those who write that a constitutional amendment to Illinois' pension protection clause are spreading a false, public union talking point.

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Illinois finances: far from “stable”

Only in Illinois does a surprise increase in tax revenues and more pension debt equal “stability” for a state’s finances.

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It’s not just property taxes Illinoisans should be worried about. It’s their home values, too.

Politicians obviously don’t care about how much damage they've already inflicted on Illinoisans property values. A review of median home values across the nation found that Illinois ranked 45th in median home value growth between 2005 and 2017.

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Viva Maduro! The Chicago Teachers Union’s Solidarity Trip To Venezuela – UPDATE 2

You'd think this came from a parody site, but it didn't.

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Event – Wirepoints at AFP on 7/31/19: Unbalancing Act: IL’s Busted Budget

Illinois' 2020 budget is an unbalanced mess. What does that mean for ordinary Illinoisans? Come and listen to Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski speak on July 31st at Americans For Prosperity in Rolling Meadows to hear the answer.

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Don’t Let The Video Gaming Conflict Of Interest Story Die

Wanted: true reformers.

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Progressive tax proponents say Illinois is a low-tax state, your tax bills say the opposite

Common sense says Illinois is a high tax state once all state and local taxes are added up. Analyses from a Chicago Fed economist to the Tax Foundation to personal-finance firm WalletHub all back that fact up.
Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

We’re a 501(c)(3) now!

Wirepoints Original Stories

Collapsing interest rates are devastating for Illinois’ troubled pensions

The world’s collapsing interest rates have made survival that much harder for Illinois’ pension funds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Got a Problem With Hedge Fund Trying To Profit By Invalidating Certain Illinois Bonds? – UPDATED

An interesting debate has arisen on one particular aspect of the proceeding now pending in an Illinois court to invalidate certain state bonds.

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Your email address will not be published.

Illinois’ shrinking tax base: Loss in income is one of nation’s worst (Part 2)

Illinois is an extreme outlier nationally when it comes to losing people to other states through domestic out-migration. Unsurprisingly, it’s also an outlier when it comes to losing the incomes those people take with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Top Illinois Stories

Report released on sexual harassment complaints connected to House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office – ABC Chicago

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Madigan’s former chief of staff ‘commonly threatened people’s jobs,’ state report finds – Chicago Sun-Times

For 26 years, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office was run by a chief of staff who used “fear” as motivation and could “make or break” careers, a massive report on harassment in state politics revealed on Tuesday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Our monthly Crain’s article: Illinois proves what you didn’t know about the old boiling frog metaphor

  Raise taxes and take on more debt, but do it gradually. Never mind reforms, corruption, hostility to employers and all the rest. Like the mythical frog, nobody will jump out, they seem to think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GOP vendor made secret payments to Durkin’s right hand man – WCIA

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It’s time for truth in state and local government finances – SFO Chronicle

A must-read by former Sec. of State and Treasury: "Imagine your business could treat borrowings as revenues, avoid cost recognition by not paying expenses and report less debt than actually owed..... Fortunately, accounting for private-sector enterprises doesn’t enable such activities. But accounting for state and local governments does, and with big consequences. For example, Chicago used proceeds from the sale of 75 years of parking meter revenues to plug a single year’s budget shortfall.... Today, state and local governments are using GASB’s permissive rules to report unfunded pension liabilities at just one quarter of the $4 trillion the same liabilities are valued by the Federal Reserve’s Financial Accounts of the United States.

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Other Illinois News

More Cautionary Tales From Illinois: Tier II Pensions (And Why Actuaries Matter) – Forbes

Illinois Tier 2 teachers, with their 9% contributions, and using the plan's valuation assumptions, are actually subsidizing everyone else.

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Your email address will not be published.

Illinois state senator apologizes for mock Trump assassination at fundraiser – NBC News

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By the numbers: Illinois ranks 7th highest on state and local sales taxes – The Center Square

The combined state and average local sales taxes in Illinois ranked seventh in the nation, according to a new analysis from the Tax Foundation based on July 2019 data.

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No one wants real pension solutions more than union firefighters and police – Opinion – Crain’s

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Work permit required for Illinois kids to legally have a job – A.P.

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Top Chicago Stories

Lightfoot to ask legislature for power to tax high-end professional services and big-ticket home sales – Chicago Sun-Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Cyanide from a steel plant trickled into Lake Michigan for days before public was notified – Washington Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Surprised by CTU’s Venezuela visit? Then you haven’t been paying attention. – Chicago Tribune

More on the story that we brought to light in our article linked here.

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Your email address will not be published.

Chicago casino’s future may depend on who’s willing to take less cash – Chicago Tribune

The proposal’s future could hinge on whether the city or the state — or both — is willing to take a smaller cut of tax revenue, and whether supporters can round up the votes to alter the gambling legislation that was frantically put together as the General Assembly’s spring session went into overtime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Facing massive budget hole, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to give prime-time ‘State of the City’ speech followed by citywide tour on government finances – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Good grief! Look at this ridiculous survey, referenced in the article, that the city is asking residents to fill out on what to do with taxes and spending. Just make up a zip code and anybody from anywhere can fill it out. And you can bet CTU and other unions have armies already swarming this.

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Five takeaways from the Chicago casino feasibility study – NWI Times

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Lightfoot says she needs Springfield’s help to erase $1 billion-plus shortfall – Chicago Sun-Times

But the mayor still offered no specifics on the kind of help she will seek; it could include permission to raise the estate transfer tax, as well as allowing the city to tax professional services, including attorneys and accountants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Steel Plant Dumps Cyanide Into Little Calumet River, Killing Fish and Shutting Down Indiana Dunes – NBC Chicago

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Chicago Defends Title Of ‘Highest Sales Tax Rate In The Nation’ – ZeroHedge

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Chicago Casino Sites ‘Not Feasible’ Due to ‘Onerous Tax and Fee Structure,’ Study Shows – NBC Chicago

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Other Chicago News

New Report Says Only Running Chicago Taps For 3 Minutes Can Make Lead Problem Worse – WBEZ

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Chicago Teachers Union group under fire for crowdfunding trip to socialist Venezuela – New York Post

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Downtown apartment boom rolls on, but developers pull back – Crain’s

Rents rose again in the second quarter, but construction is slowing down amid rising costs, affordable housing regulations and uncertainty about property taxes.

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Your email address will not be published.

Cook County Seeks Community Groups to Help With Census Count – A.P.

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J.B.’s ‘Windy City Rehab’: Pritzker spends $275K of his wealth to fix up Chicago offices — but leaves GOP suite a fixer upper – Chicago Sun-Times

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