Government

Guns & Ammo Publishes ‘Best States For Gun Owners 2015’

Yesterday I happened to come across an article entitled “Best States for Gun Owners 2015” on the Guns & Ammo website. Keith Wood wrote Tuesday:

For the third consecutive year and first time in print, Guns & Ammo presents our assessment of each state’s gun laws in a format that ranks them from worst to first for gun owners…

G&A has conducted a thorough review of each state’s laws and considered initiatives pending in state legislatures. Every effort has been made to create a ranking system that is fair, equitable, accurate and objective. States were ranked numerically in each of five categories: right-to-carry, right to own “black rifles” (i.e., firearms possessing a tactical appearance), presence of the Castle Doctrine, subjects relating to the National Firearms Act (NFA) and a catchall miscellaneous column…

Interesting. Considering the amount of activity in the state recently as it concerns gun rights, I was real curious to see where Illinois ranked on this list. From the piece:

43. Illinois

Illinois has gone from one of the worst states for gun owners to “not so bad as long as you don’t live in Chicago” these last few years. The state’s “shall issue” concealed carry permit system is up and running for both residents and nonresidents, and the sky did not fall. Illinois’ Firearm Owner’s Identification, or “FOID,” requirement remains in effect for all residents wishing to touch a firearm or ammunition except for those possessed by nonresidents in accordance with state law. Suppressors are not permitted in Illinois, though a bill to change that is currently before the legislature. Short-barreled rifles are not allowed. At the point of sale, there is a three-day waiting period before picking up a handgun, and a 24-hour waiting period is applied to all long guns. The state has strong use-of-force laws, and all tactical rifles are legal outside of municipalities such as Chicago and Highland Park…

To expand on that bit about “all tactical rifles are legal outside of municipalities such as Chicago and Highland Park,” Don Babwin reported on The State Journal-Register (Springfield, Illinois) website back on July 20, 2013:

According to the Illinois State Rifle Association, at least 16 municipalities – including Chicago – enacted ordinances banning or regulating assault weapons. Every one of them was in the Chicago metropolitan area. Around 30 other municipalities took up the issue but voted down the bans.

The list of towns that took action includes places such as Evanston, Highland Park, Hazel Crest and Calumet Park…

So that’s Illinois. How about north of the state line where I pursue the bulk of my outdoor activities (when I have the time, that is)? From the article:

25. Wisconsin

Life improved markedly for gun-owning Wisconsin residents when former Gov. Jim Doyle was replaced by Gov. Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s hard-won CCW law gets good marks for strong reciprocity and very limited “gun-free zones.” The state has a Castle Doctrine statute on the books and doesn’t restrict NFA items or tactical-looking firearms. A bill to repeal the state’s 48-hour waiting period on handgun purchases was recently signed by Gov. Walker, yet another step forward for gun owners. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is about as outspokenly pro-gun as it gets, which is a rare thing in a major metro area…

Nearby Indiana, by the way, actually placed 16th in this year’s rankings. Nice job.

Where does your state fall in the 2015 list? Head on over to the Guns & Ammo website here to find out.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Babwin, Don. “By deadline, few Illinois towns pass assault weapons bans.” The State Journal-Register, 20 July 2013. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20130720/News/307209909). 23 July 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Downtown Chicago Diners Could See 11.25 Percent Sales Tax In 2016

Back on July 16, I noted the total sales tax rate in Chicago and the rest of Cook County looks to rise to 10.25 percent again in the coming year, making it one of the highest rates in the nation.

But diners of certain downtown Chicago eateries could be hit by an even higher sales tax rate. Pointing out an additional sales tax (“McPier tax”) downtown that tacks on an additional 1 percent to food/beverage bills, Lauren Choolijian reported on the WBEZ 91.5 website yesterday:

For restaurant patrons that dine south of Diversey Parkway, north of the Stevenson Expressway, east of Ashland Avenue and west of Lake Michigan, the Cook County proposal means an 11.25 percent sales tax will be added to their tab in 2016. The McPier tax affects all food and beverage purchases prepared for “immediate consumption,” and that includes soft drinks and alcoholic beverages…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Actual and proposed fee, fine, and tax increases are making the headlines quite often these days in the Chicago area. If my suspicions prove correct (these hikes are just the first of many due to steadily eroding financial conditions), Chicagoland residents, workers, and prospective visitors will increasingly seek alternatives (for example, dining out closer to home as it concerns the above), local government revenue collection will plummet, and public services will continue to be scaled back.

Anyway, check out Choolijian’s piece on the WBEZ site here for the full details of the 11.25 percent sales tax hit.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 Fiscal Policy, Government, Taxes, Tourism No Comments

Crain’s Chicago Business: City’s Rising Fees, Fines, And Taxes Look To Continue

Chicago readers of Survival And Prosperity might want to read two articles that recently appeared on the Crain’s Chicago Business website concerning rising fees, fines, and taxes in the city. In a piece entitled “Chicago’s expanding appetite for new taxes,” Thomas A. Corfman wrote Saturday:

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has held the line on property taxes, revenue from other local taxes has climbed nearly 20 percent since he took office.

A strengthening economy explains much of the surge. But Emanuel has fueled the growth by raising taxes on things such as cable TV and parking…

Keep in mind that “line on property taxes” may soon be breached. Significantly. Corfman added:

While property tax revenue has fluctuated slightly since 2011 after accounting for new construction, that’s likely to end soon. The badly undercapitalized police and firefighter pension funds are supposed to receive a state-mandated $550 million payment next year. Property taxes will likely account for the bulk of the increase, says Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the South Side’s 6th Ward

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This comes on the heels of another Corfman article entitled, “How much could Chicago pension payments jack up your property bill? Try 30%”. He wrote on July 4:

Even as Mayor Rahm Emanuel warns about a property tax hike of up to $250 million for the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools, another big wave of increases likely is coming to rescue the pensions of police officers and firefighters.

A massive payment due to those retirement plans next year could drive up Chicago property taxes by more than 30 percent, according to a Crain’s analysis. And if the current logjam in Springfield continues, it could be a lot worse

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As I wouldn’t steal Crain’s thunder, you can read Corfman’s July 18 article here and his July 4 piece here.

And as always, my intention is not to scare Chicago residents/businesses by blogging about such material. Rather, as a former Chicagoan this is something I feel my former neighbors should be made aware of, especially if they plan on staying in the “Windy City.”

Got to figure out some way to keep ahead of those rising fees, fines, and taxes and eroding public services.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Size Of Cook County Sales Tax Hike Necessary?

No surprise here. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle persuaded just enough commissioners to approve a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase Wednesday — the culmination of a major political about-face, but a move she said was needed to bail out the county worker pension system.

Following weeks of one-on-one lobbying sessions by Preckwinkle, nine of the 17 commissioners voted to raise the county share of the sales tax to 1.75 percent. Add up the state, city and public transit portions, and the total sales tax rate in Chicago once again will hit 10.25 percent — one of the highest rates in the nation

Preckwinkle first rose to power in 2010 on a campaign pledge of repealing what remained of an identical sales tax increase under predecessor Todd Stroger…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Opponents of the sales tax hike claim the County didn’t perform enough belt-tightening before approving the measure. County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (10th District) penned on the Tribune website on July 1:

Don’t get me wrong, the county has a serious budget and pension cost gap, predicted to be $479 million. The proposed 1 percentage point increase in the sales tax would raise some $474 million annually.

But $130 million of the deficit goes away with pension reform. An additional $50 million in savings has already been identified by the budget staff. Yet another $50 million is in reach if we are finally willing to consolidate our redundant taxing bodies and duplicative services…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Back on December 5, 2013, I pointed out Illinois has the most units of local government of any state in the country at 6,963 local governments (U.S. Census Bureau).

It’s been reported Cook County is home to 1,300 of these taxing agencies alone.

The sales tax hike goes into effect starting January 1, 2016.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dardick, Hal. “Cook County Board votes to raise sales tax.” Chicago Tribune. 15 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-cook-county-sales-tax-increase-met-0716-20150715-story.html#page=1). 16 July 2015.

Gainer, Bridget. “Commentary: Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer: I won’t vote for a sales tax hike.” Chicago Tribune. 1 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-cook-county-tax-preckwinkle-gainer-perspec-0702-jm-20150701-story.html). 16 July 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latest On Chicago’s ‘Routine Military Training Exercise’ Over The Next Week

This Monday, I blogged about Chicago hosting a “routine military training exercise” over the next two weeks.

Here’s the latest on the event, per the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications website earlier today:

The City of Chicago is providing continued support for a routine military training exercise in and around the Chicagoland area over the next week. This routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments overseas, as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming deployments worldwide.

As part of this training, residents can expect to see increased aircraft activity, including helicopter flights. All training activities have been pre-coordinated with federal, state and city officials, and these locations have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents.

The training is not open to the public and the sites will be secured to ensure the safety of residents and the participants.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 Government, Military, Training No Comments

Chicago Hosting ‘Routine Military Training Exercise’ Over Next 2 Weeks

As posted on the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications website before the weekend:

The City of Chicago is providing support for a routine military training exercise in and around the Chicagoland area over the next two weeks. This routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments overseas, as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming deployments worldwide.

All training activities have been pre-coordinated with federal, state and city officials, and these locations have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents.

The training is not open to the public and the sites will be secured to ensure the safety of residents and the participants.”

The Chicago area is no stranger to these “routine military training exercises.” I’ve blogged about such events in 2012 (April) and twice in 2013 (April and July).


“Military helicopters flying low over Chicago River”
YouTube Video

I wrote back on April 16, 2012:

Now, I’ve heard the U.S. military has been busy developing its urban warfare training program for some time already. Spencer Ackerman wrote in the Wired.com blog Danger Room back on January 18, 2011:

American soldiers spent seven years patrolling the urban neighborhoods of Iraq; its troops battled insurgents there block-by-block and house-by-house. Now that the Army is getting out of Iraq, it wants to make sure its urban combat skills don’t wither away. So it today it gave Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $287 million to build Urban Operations Training Systems — essentially, giant simulation facilities and modules to help soldiers get ready for life in the big, bad city.

Versions of those training systems can be as simple as shipping containers tricked out to resemble multi-story houses and arranged in village formations, so soldiers can practice how to seize a building without causing needless damage. The Army’s got an entire 1000-acre facility in Indiana it uses to train soldiers in urban combat.

As for the Marines? From the CBS Channel 2 (Los Angeles) website on January 25, 2011:

A 1,560-building mock city has risen in the Southern California desert.

The $170 million Marine Corps urban training center at the Twentynine Palms military base, some 130 miles northeast of Los Angeles, is roughly the size of San Diego.

The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center facility uses mock cities and role players to prepare Marines and sailors for urban terrain missions.

If our armed forces already have such resources, what’s with the urban warfare training in American cities then?

The question still stands today…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 13th, 2015 Government, Military, Training, War No Comments

Cable TV News Legend Tells Gun ‘Control’ Supporters ‘Shut The F**k Up’

A close runner-up for “Quote For The Week.” Yet deserving of a more developed post.

While gun “control” supporters are busy trying to use the momentum of the Charleston, South Carolina, murders to their advantage, a recent attempted strong-arm robbery of a legendary cable television news personality and her husband is reminding Americans of the sanctity of the Second Amendment and basic human right to self-defense. On June 30, author, journalist, and former Headline News anchor/CNN correspondent Lynne Russell and her husband, former CNN reporter Chuck de Caro, were held-up at gunpoint during their stay at a New Mexico motel. The criminal stole a briefcase belonging to the pair before opening fire on them with a handgun. A shootout ensued when de Caro returned fire (both Russell and de Caro are concealed handgun permit holders), resulting in the death of the robber and the wounding of Russell’s husband, who also happens to be retired U.S. Army Special Forces.


“LiveLeak – CCTV Captures Shootout Involving CNN Reporter, Lynne Russell
(Attempted strong-arm robbery commences @ 2:10, 6:46)
YouTube Video

Russell, the first woman to solo anchor a prime time network nightly newscast, penned the following July 8 on the Fox News website:

Bottom line: Assailant DOA in the parking lot. My hero recovering from five gunshot wounds. We both are alive.

Now, ask me how I feel about the right to bear arms.

Here’s the truth:

1. Criminals will always have guns, this is not about them.

2. Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms. Humans have a right to defend themselves. If we didn’t have the Second Amendment, we would create it.

3. You can’t control everything; but if it makes you feel better, go with a simple law preventing violent offenders from buying firearms. Make it “violent” offenders rather than “white collar” offenders, or most of Capitol Hill won’t be allowed to own them.

4. Get a gun, get legal, be responsible, trust yourself. Don’t trust yourself? Then don’t carry. But for God’s sake then, shut the f**k up about it, because that’s where your involvement ends.

Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Love that part blasting the criminal politicians.

Head on over to the Fox News website here to read this entire masterpiece in defense of gun rights.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

S&P Cuts Chicago’s Credit Rating Twice In Less Than 2 Months

Surprise, surprise. The City of Chicago’s credit rating was lowered yet again.

This time, it’s Standard & Poor’s that did the cutting.

Karen Pierog and Tanvi Mehta reported on the Reuters website last night:

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut Chicago’s credit rating one notch to BBB-plus with a negative outlook on Wednesday, citing the windy city’s nagging structural budget deficit and the lack of a plan to close it.

S&P analyst John Kenward said the U.S.’ third-largest city needs “a credible, public, detailed plan” to deal with budget gaps projected to grow to $588 million in fiscal 2017, largely due to escalating contributions to its police and fire fighter retirement funds.

S&P also warned Chicago’s general obligation bond rating may fall further if a credible plan does not surface within six months…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the S&P website, “BBB” indicates:

Adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

It was less than two months ago that Standard & Poor’s last downgraded the City of Chicago’s credit rating. I blogged on May 17:

Standard & Poor’s joined in on the downgrade parade later in the week. From a press release Friday:

Chicago, IL GO Bond Ratings Lowered To #A-# From #A+#, Placed On CreditWatch Due To Short-Term Liquidity Pressure
CHICAGO–15 May–Standard & Poor’s

CHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) May 14, 2015–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its rating to ‘A-‘ from ‘A+’ on the city of Chicago’s outstanding general obligation (GO) bonds, and placed the ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications…

Stay tuned…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Mehta, Tanvi and Pierog, Karen. “UPDATE 1-S&P downgrades Chicago’s GO bond rating to BBB-plus.” Reuters. 8 July 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/08/usa-chicago-sp-idUSL3N0ZO60H20150708). 9 July 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

64 Shot, 10 Killed In Chicago Over Fourth Of July Weekend

It was another violent Independence Day weekend in the city of Chicago. Peter Nickeas reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Shootings over the long Fourth of July weekend left 10 people dead and 54 others wounded.

Among those killed was a 7-year-old boy shot in the chest during an attack aimed at his father, according to police…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Chicago Sun-Times added this morning on their website:

Police said Sunday the bullet that fatally wounded 7-year-old Amari Brown on the Fourth of July was meant for his father…

The boy’s father, Antonio Brown, is a ranking gang member with 45 previous arrests and was not cooperating with police as of Sunday afternoon as they tried to find his son’s killer, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported…

According to a Chicago Crime Commission publication from 2012, there are an estimated 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area with a membership of between 68,000 to over 150,000.

Nickeas added later on his piece:

Shootings last year, over an 84-hour period, left 82 people shot, 16 fatally…

While some may try to tout this “improvement” from 2014, this year’s carnage is still staggering, particularly as Chicago has strict gun “control” laws on its books.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Nickeas, Peter. “10 killed, 54 wounded in gun violence over Fourth of July weekend in Chicago.” Chicago Tribune. 6 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-violence-20150706-story.html). 6 July 2015.

“Nine dead, 53 injured in Fourth of July weekend shootings.” Chicago Sun-Times. 6 July 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/7/71/742607/police-3-dead-3-wounded-holiday-weekend-shootings-since-thursday-evening). 6 July 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicago Board Of Education Could Borrow More Than $1 Billion With $600 Million-Plus Pension Payment Due Next Week

I fear Chicago’s celebratory mood post-Stanley Cup could be fast disappearing as the city’s financial reckoning day rapidly approaches. Juan Perez, Jr., reported on the Chicago Tribune website tonight:

The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved plans to borrow more than $1 billion in an effort to manage an immediate cash crunch and get through the coming budget year.

The borrowing is on top of an existing line of credit of up to $500 million. The initial $200 million in borrowing authorized Wednesday could help the district cover its bills through the end of June, but the district would be short of cash to cover payments shortly after that, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.

A separate line of credit of up to $935 million would take the district through the coming budget year. The loans will be secured with the promise of future property tax revenue.

The board’s unanimous 5-0 vote in favor additional borrowing came one day after the Illinois House fell 18 votes short of approving a three-week extension on a $600 million-plus pension payment due next week

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Democrats have a supermajority in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, and “Machine”-controlled Chicago still couldn’t get that pension payment deadline extended.

Oh well. Long-time Survival And Prosperity readers shouldn’t be the least bit surprised about the latest bad news concerning Chicago’s public schools. I blogged way back on September 13, 2012:

By now, many of you have probably heard about the teachers strike going on in Chicago. Day 4 and counting. While many Chicago public school teachers are probably worth every red cent of the $71,017 median salary they command- and more- when all things are considered, considering the precarious financial situation of the Chicago Public Schools, a larger crisis looks to be right around the corner.

Looks like we’re almost there.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Perez, Juan. “Chicago school board approves more than $1 billion in new borrowing.” Chicago Tribune. 24 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-school-board-meets-met-0625-20150624-story.html). 24 June 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cook County Sales Tax Hike Coming?

Cook County, Illinois, could soon have one of the highest sales tax rates in the country (again). The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board wrote on the paper’s website this evening:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is weighing the idea of imposing a penny-on-the-dollar increase in the local sales tax to balance the county’s books…

Preckwinkle is lobbying Cook County Board members to raise the county’s portion of the sales tax by 1 percentage point, which would push Chicago’s tax rate to 10.25 percent, among the highest in the nation

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This should come as no surprise to regular readers of Survival And Prosperity. I blogged back on April 10 of last year:

For a while now (last time being earlier this week), I told my girlfriend we were lucky to have escaped the fiscal debacle and revenue grab going on in the city of Chicago.At the same time, I pointed out that as Cook County residents we’re still on the hook for the same type of nonsense.

Brian Slodysko reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday afternoon:

Hoping to ward off another credit rating downgrade, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Wednesday that she will soon present a plan to reform the county’s underfunded pension system.

And she’s leaving the door open to hiking property, sales and other taxes.

When asked repeatedly about the possibility of tax increases, Preckwinkle responded: “We’re looking at all the options. Everything is on the table.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the local press, it’s the sales tax hike Preckwinkle’s now pushing.

And considering Cook County’s fiscal challenges, it shouldn’t surprise blog readers to hear of hikes on “property… and other taxes” down the road.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Editorial Board. “Editorial: Watch out for the Toni Tax.” Chicago Tribune. 23 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-tonitax-0624-20150623-story.html). 23 June 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicago Tribune: ‘Chicagoans Should Consider A Modest Property Tax Increase Inevitable’

Coming on the heels of last Thursday’s post and an earlier one about Chicago-area property/other taxes was an article by Chicago Tribune business columnist Melissa Harris entitled “Chicago isn’t Detroit- and it’s not going bankrupt.”

In the June 20 piece, Harris attempted to argue exactly what the title says (critics are panning it as “Machine”/union propaganda). But what interested me were statements like this:

More revenue will be required soon, most likely in the form of a property tax increase.

Not only is Chicago’s property tax rate lower than those in many suburbs, Chicago’s effective property tax rate ranked 49th out of the 50 largest cities in each state, according to 2009 U.S. Census data…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And this:

Chicagoans should consider a modest property tax increase inevitable, though how much of an increase it will be could be affected by Moody’s decision, which made it more expensive for Chicago to borrow money…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If one believes claims the Chicago news media routinely carries Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s water, increased tax hike chatter and growing comparisons of the city to other municipalities by the local press could be sending a strong signal to Chicagoans that they’ll be required to bust out their wallets shortly.

You can read the rest of that column on the Chicago Tribune website here (registration required)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Property Tax Blues For Chicago, North Suburban Homeowners

While Chicagoland was preoccupied with the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory parade Thursday, the Cook County Clerk’s office released the following:

Cook County Clerk David Orr released the 2014 property tax rates for the county’s more than 1,400 taxing agencies on Thursday, the final step in the tax process before bills are mailed out. The average homeowner in the city of Chicago and the northern suburbs will see their tax bill increase slightly, while the average homeowner in the southern suburbs will see a slight reduction in their tax bill.

In the south suburbs residential tax bills will on average be 1.0 percent lower. In north suburbs there will be an average increase of 2.4 percent, and most Chicago homeowners can expect an increase in their bill of 2.8 percent.

For the average single family home, this will translate to a decrease of $51.33 for south suburban homeowners, an increase of $155.49 for north suburban homeowners, and a property tax bill that is $89.44 higher than last year’s for Chicago homeowners…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By the way, that $89 plus change property tax increase is based on an “average home with market value of $199,000″ in Chicago. Good luck finding a decent-sized family home that cheap in my old neighborhood on the northwest side of the city.

That being said, even a low three figure dollar increase in property taxes would likely be welcomed around my old stomping grounds compared to what could be coming down the line. John Byrne reported on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon:

The threat of much steeper property tax hikes looms in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to find enough money to make police and fire pension payments set to balloon next year, and CPS faces a $1 billion budget hole driven by pension shortfalls of its own…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire press release on the Cook County Clerk’s website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Byrne, John. “Chicago property taxes to rise $90 on average.” Chicago Tribune. 18 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-cook-county-property-tax-rates-met-0619-20150618-story.html). 18 June 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 Education, Entitlements, Government, Housing, Taxes No Comments

Niles, Illinois, Gun Range Saga Not Over?

Speaking of Cook County, there’s good and (possibly) bad news regarding that proposed gun range/shop in northwest suburban Niles, Illinois. While a Circuit Court of Cook County judge just dismissed that well-publicized lawsuit from the gun “control” crowd, more legal action appears forthcoming. Lee V. Gaines reported on the Chicago Tribune website on June 11:

Skokie-based gun control advocacy group plans to file an amended lawsuit against the village of Niles and the owner of a gun shop and range in what has been a nearly year-long attempt to prevent the facility from being built within one mile of five schools.

Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Franklin Ulyses Valderrama granted the village’s attorneys’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit at a hearing Thursday afternoon at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago.

But Valderrama dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning that the advocacy group, People for a Safer Society, has the opportunity to file an amended suit addressing several issues outlined in Valderrama’s written ruling, said the attorney for the group, Tony Hind…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve been following status of the proposed Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy (gun shop and range) at 6143 Howard Street for some time now. Here’s hoping for a favorable outcome on behalf of the Village of Niles and 6143 Howard Partners Inc.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Gaines, Lee V. “Lawsuit over proposed gun range in Niles dismissed.” Chicago Tribune. 11 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/niles/news/ct-nhs-gun-range-hearing-tl-0618-20150611-story.html). 17 June 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moody’s Downgrades Cook County’s Credit Rating, Issues Negative Outlook

The following is kind of stale, but the local press didn’t really publicize it and Cook County residents are entitled to know the financial health of the local government unit in these uncertain times. The Global Credit Research division of Moody’s announced on their website back on June 5:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Cook County, IL’s GO to A2 from A1; outlook negative

A2 rating applies to $3.6B of GO debt

New York, June 05, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to A2 from A1 the rating on Cook County, IL’s general obligation (GO) debt. The county has $3.6 billion in GO debt outstanding. The outlook remains negative…

The Global Credit Research division explained:

The A2 rating incorporates credit pressures associated with Cook County’s unfunded pension liabilities. Based on the Illinois Supreme Court’s May 8 overruling of the State of Illinois’ (A3 negative) pension reforms, we perceive increased risk that the county’s options for reducing unfunded pension liabilities have narrowed considerably. As it currently stands, Cook County-despite its home rule status-has little direct control over its single largest liability. Whether or not the statute that governs Cook County’s pension plan stands, we expect pension-related costs will place increasing strain on the county’s financial operations. Furthermore, approximately half of Cook County’s tax base is highly leveraged by the debt and unfunded pension liabilities of the City of Chicago (Ba1 negative) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) (Ba3 negative). We believe that the revenue demands of these entities could place practical limitations on the county’s ability and willingness to increase revenue to fund its pension costs. Other credit challenges for the county include enterprise risks inherent in operating the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS)…

As for that negative outlook:

The negative outlook reflects our view that Cook County’s credit quality could weaken given continued uncertainty in the county’s future pension funding framework. Our outlook on the county’s credit is also informed by our expectation of growth in the pension costs of the local governments that share half of the county’s tax base. Finally, the negative outlook incorporates continued pressures in the health care sector, improved financial results for CCHHS notwithstanding…

On June 8, the major U.S. credit rating agency also announced a downgrade of the Cook County Forest Preserve District’s general obligation debt to A2 from A1, with a negative outlook as well.

You can read that entire June 5 Moody’s rating action on their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 Credit, Debt Crisis, Entitlements, Government No Comments


Survival And Prosperity
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
"The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street" (Memorial Day 2007-2010)

Please Rate this Blog HERE

Limited Time Offers

Via Banner Ads Below (navigate to vendor home page if necessary); Updated 8/31/15:
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>CHIEF Buy 2 Pants Get 1 Free Thru 8/31 11:59PM ET (code needed)
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>BUDK 30% Off Sale ($29 min. order; code needed)
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Pyramyd Air Get 20% Cash Back On All Purchases 8/15/15-8/31/15 If It Rains 9/12/15; Overstock Sale
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Nitro-Pak Labor Dale Sale Save Up To 40% Off
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Food Insurance Bonus Bucks Are Back!; Save Up To 43% On Freeze-Dried Seasoned Ground Turkey Pieces
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Airsoft Megastore Free Shipping On All Orders (no code required)
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>BulletSafe Bulletproof Baseball Cap $119 Pre-Order Price; Ballistic Plate Only $169
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Tractor Supply Co. Free UPS Ship To Store
NEW! Advertising Disclosure HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Buy Gold And Silver Coins BGASC Review Coming Soon
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Free UPS ship to store on all Tractor Supply Company orders! Shop now! Tractor Supply Co. Review Coming Soon
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Nitro-Pak--The Emergency Preparedness Leader Nitro-Pak Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
MyPatriotSupply.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Food Insurance Reviewed HERE
BullionVault BullionVault.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
CHIEF Supply Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BulletSafe Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BUDK bowie knife BUDK Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Pyramyd Air is your one-stop shop for everything airgun related. PyramydAir.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Airsoft Megastore Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Survival Titles Save 20% Paladin Press Reviewed HERE
 

Categories

Archives

Prepper Website
  • Observation, Theory About Greek Bank Safe Deposit Box Restrictions

    Continuing “Greek Week” on Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes, Greek state television has announced Greek banks will remain closed for the remainder of this week. Both Reuters and the Associated Press have reported cash withdrawals from Greek bank safe deposit boxes have been prohibited. Reuters ran its story Sunday while the Associated Press revealed Monday: No […] ...
  • Safe Deposit Boxes In Private Vaults See ‘Huge Increase In Demand’ By Wealthy Greeks

    While pouring over the latest news of Greece’s sovereign debt crisis tonight, I spotted the following snippet on the Daily Mail (UK) website. Nick Fagge reported Wednesday: Safety-box deposit firms have reported a huge increase in demand with wealthy Greeks storing their cash and other valuables anywhere other than their bank… (Editor’s note: Bold added […] ...
  • Confusion Over Accessing Cash In Greek Bank Safe Deposit Boxes

    Yesterday, I blogged about a Reuters piece from Sunday which said cash withdrawals from Greek bank safe deposit boxes were now prohibited. Monday, the Associated Press reported that accessing currency from these containers might be left to the legislative process. From the Fox News website: There was confusion Sunday night over the fate of bank […] ...
  • Cash Withdrawals From Greek Bank Safe Deposit Boxes Forbidden

    Something tells me confidence in bank safe deposit boxes is going to plummet as word of the following gets out. Reuters’ Lefteris Papadimas and George Georgiopoulos reported Sunday: Greeks cannot withdraw cash left in safe deposit boxes at Greek banks as long as capital restrictions remain in place, a deputy finance minister told Greek television […] ...
  • Happy Independence Day!

    Just wanted to wish readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes a happy Independence Day. Christopher E. Hill Editor ...