Chicago Park District

2017 Tax Hits To Chicagoans

“Broken record” time.

“New/higher fees, fines, and taxes, and less government services.”

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity (and older ones from my Boom2Bust days) know I’ve been warning about this for years now (since 2008?) concerning Chicago- as well as Cook County, Illinois, and lots of other places aroud the country.

And it’s pretty much what has transpired from what I’ve seen.

Particularly in the “Windy City”- where the hits keep on coming. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Chicago property owners hoping for a respite from rapidly rising taxes will be disappointed in 2017, when city government and Chicago Public Schools will continue digging deeper into their pocketbooks.

Two more major property tax increases are coming. So is a new tax on water and sewer service. And some city dwellers will face other rising costs: a fee for each store-provided disposable bag and slightly higher Park District fees.

Come mid-year, city and suburban residents will be paying a new sweetened beverage tax effective in all of Cook County, and another round of Metra fare hikes is coming soon. Here’s a look at what to expect…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dardick did a good job summarizing the dents Chicagoans (and Chicagoland residents) could expect to their finances in the new year. Head on over to the Tribune website here to get the entire story.

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

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Thursday, December 29th, 2016 Education, Fiscal Policy, Government, Taxes, Transportation, Utilities Comments Off on 2017 Tax Hits To Chicagoans

Chicago Launching ‘Summer Surge’ Initiative To Combat Violence

Those who live and frequent Chicago may be happy to know another “surge” is being launched by the City of Chicago to fight the violence that’s making national and international headlines (again) these days. Frank Main reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

The Chicago Police Department is getting ready to combat violence this summer with special overtime patrols in parks and public housing and on public transit, officials said Tuesday.

The partnership between police, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Housing Authority and the park district is part of what the city is calling the Summer Surge initiative.

Each agency will contribute to pay the overtime of 100 additional officers on weekdays, 200 on weekends and 300 on holiday weekends, a police spokesman said. Those agencies will help the police department determine where to deploy those officers, said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

He said the program is being launched in stages and should be “fully operational” on June 1…

These “surges” are nothing new for the city. Hal Dardick and Jeremy Gorner reported on the Chicago Tribune website back on February 24, 2013:

Chicago police plan to double the number of officers working overtime on their days off beginning Friday in an effort to tamp down the number of homicides plaguing the city, the Tribune has learned.

Police brass have told subordinates that 400 rank-and-file officers and 40 sergeants will be needed every day of the week as part of the department’s overtime violence-reduction initiative to supplement the thousands of officers working their usual shifts, according to sources. Since the initiative began last summer, an average of 200 officers and about 20 sergeants were needed for overtime shifts five days out of the week…

The violence appears to be on the upswing again. I can’t help but wonder if 2014 isn’t going to be a lot like 2012 despite these “surges.” I hope not.

But I know one thing for sure. The City’s relentless blaming of “lax” gun “control” laws for their predicament has become as ridiculous as that war cry they often trot out (“it’s for the children!”) to “justify” some potential controversial initiative on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s agenda.

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

Sources:

Main, Frank. “More cops will patrol parks, transit system to curb summer violence.” Chicago Sun-Times. 29 Apr. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/27138224-761/more-cops-will-patrol-parks-transit-system-to-curb-summer-violence.html#.U2D-S1eq_R5). 30 Apr. 2014.

Dardick, Hal and Gorner, Jeremy. “Overtime surge for Chicago police.” Chicago Tribune. 24 Feb. 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-24/news/ct-met-chicago-police-overtime-20130224_1_overtime-initiative-police-officers-chicago-police). 30 Apr. 2014.

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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 Crime, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Housing, Public Safety, Transportation Comments Off on Chicago Launching ‘Summer Surge’ Initiative To Combat Violence

Chicago Wakes To Proposed Property Tax Hike On April Fool’s Day

Many Chicagoans probably wish what’s being widely-reported in the local news this morning about a proposed property tax hike is just a silly April Fool’s joke.

It’s not.

Fran Spielman wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

Chicago property owners will face $250 million in property tax increases over five years while city employees make increased pension contributions that will cost them at least $300 more a year, under landmark reforms unveiled Monday…

The new revenue the mayor had promised only after pension reform will come in the form of $50 million property tax increases for five straight years, beginning next year and continuing through 2019.

Top mayoral aides estimate that would cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 with an annual property tax bill of $4,000 roughly $58 more or $290 over the five-year period. That’s on top of expected increases for the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Park District…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A couple of thoughts here:

First off, is anyone really surprised this is happening?

Regular readers of this blog shouldn’t be.

Higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

I’ve been squawking this for quite some time now.


“Black Dynamite- Who saw that coming?”
YouTube Video

Second, a $250,000 home? When discussing a Chicago Board of Education property tax hike last August, I blogged:

$230,000? You’d be hard-pressed to find a home for that little money in my former stomping grounds on the Northwest Side.

The same holds true for a $250,000 one (especially if it’s a property big enough for a family and doesn’t require a ton of work).

Which means many of my old neighbors will be coughing up significantly more than just $58 annually/$290 over five years as a result of this proposed hike.

And they already pay a big chunk of change to the City’s coffers.

Third, Spielman added last night:

The bottom line, according to Emanuel, is a plan that spreads the burden between employees, retirees and homeowners without raising property taxes so high that it triggers a mass exodus to the suburbs…

“Mass” being the key word here, because an exodus has already started. Former Chicago residents who have awakened to the “writing on the wall” are moving to the suburbs (yours truly included), leaving Cook County, and departing the state.

The push to make “temporary” personal and corporate income tax hikes permanent and the pursuit of class warfare in the form of a proposed millionaire tax hike by the ruling political party in the city, county, and state certainly don’t help the situation either.

Fourth, I can’t stand when tax hikes are proposed despite the lack of significant belt-tightening. Think the City of Chicago is as lean-and-mean as it possibly can be with its operations and set-up?

As long as 50 aldermanic wards exist, I’d argue no.

Fifth, as it stands right now, there’s still a state-required $600 million contribution due next year from the City to stabilize police and fire pension funds that this proposed property tax hike doesn’t address and has to be dealt with. Hal Dardick an Bill Ruthhart reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

But the proposal the mayor and his top aides outlined late Monday would not address huge pension shortfalls for Chicago police, firefighters and teachers. Nor would it deal with the city’s most immediate, pressing financial problem: a state requirement to pay a whopping $600 million more toward police and fire pensions next year, a provision that could lead to a combination of tax increases, service cuts and borrowing

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You read right. Possibly more “tax increases, service cuts and borrowing” coming down the line shortly for Chicago residents.

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Pension deal pinches city workers and taxpayers.” Chicago Sun-Times. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/exclusive-pension-deal-pinches-city-workers-and-taxpayers/mon-03312014-821pm). 1 Apr. 2014.

Dardick, Hal and Ruthhart, Bill. “Emanuel’s pension fix: Shrink benefits, raise taxes.” Chicago Tribune. 1 Apr. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-rahm-emanuel-pension-property-tax-increase-met–20140401,0,1662095,full.story). 1 Apr. 2014.

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 Borrowing, Class Warfare, Debt Crisis, Education, Entitlements, Fiscal Policy, Government, Political Parties, Public Safety, Spending, Taxes, Wealth Comments Off on Chicago Wakes To Proposed Property Tax Hike On April Fool’s Day

Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating Again, Issues Negative Outlook

Just as I was about to blog about prepping tonight I observed the following splashed on the homepage of the Chicago Tribune website:

Chicago credit rating takes major hit

Chicago’s financial standing took a hit Tuesday when a major bond rating agency once again downgraded the city’s credit worthiness…

No surprise there, all things considered. No real effort has been made to tackle Chicago’s financial woes, which led to bond credit rating giant Moody’s Investor Service downgrading the City of Chicago’s general obligation (GO) and sales tax ratings to A3 from Aa3, water and sewer senior lien revenue ratings to A1 from Aa2, and water and sewer second lien revenue ratings to A2 from Aa3 back on July 17, 2013.

After seeing that headline, I decided to head over to Moody’s Investors Service website to check out the latest “Ratings News,” where the following was posted:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Chicago, IL to Baa1 from A3, affecting $8.3 billion of GO and sales tax debt…

Also downgrades water and sewer senior lien revenue bonds to A2 from A1 and second lien revenue bonds to A3 from A2, affecting $3.3 billion of debt; outlook negative for all ratings…

According to Moody’s, “Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.”

Their Global Credit Research unit added:

The Baa1 rating on Chicago’s GO debt reflects the city’s massive and growing unfunded pension liabilities, which threaten the city’s fiscal solvency absent major revenue and other budgetary adjustments adopted in the near term and sustained for years to come. The size of Chicago’s unfunded pension liabilities makes it an extreme outlier, as indicated by the city’s fiscal 2012 adjusted net pension liability (ANPL) of 8.0 times operating revenue, which is the highest of any rated US local government. While the Illinois General Assembly’s recent passage of pension reforms for the State of Illinois (A3 negative) and the Chicago Park District (CPD) (A1 negative) suggests that reforms may soon be forthcoming for Chicago, we expect that any cost savings of such reforms will not alleviate the need for substantial new revenue and fiscal adjustments in order to meet the city’s long-deferred pension funding needs. We expect that the city’s pension contributions will continue to fall below those based on actuarial standards. The city’s slowly-amortizing debt levels are also large and growing. The Baa1 rating also incorporates credit strengths including Chicago’s large tax base that sits at the center of one of the nation’s most diverse regional economies and the city’s broad legal authority to raise revenue…

You can read the entire Moody’s piece about the downgrade on their website here.

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

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Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 Bonds, Credit, Debt Crisis, Government, Retirement, Taxes Comments Off on Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating Again, Issues Negative Outlook

Chicago Prepares For Superstorm Sandy

It looks like my backed-up plumbing won’t be the only “effect” of the now “Superstorm” Sandy here in Chicago.

The National Weather Service has issued a lakeshore flood warning for the Chicago area that began at 1 AM this morning and will remain in effect until 4 PM Wednesday.

According to Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, winds up to 60 MPH could and waves as high as 25 feet are expected to impact the city’s lakeshore and beyond.

The National Weather Service is saying that waves are already reaching 17 to 20 feet high offshore- and could increase over the next 5 or 6 hours.

According to the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Chicago Park District officials closed the lakefront trail from North Avenue to Ohio Street Monday night and have also been securing beaches. The CTA is prepared to reroute buses as necessary, depending on the waves, [OEMC Executive Director Gary] Schenkel said.

And from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Amtrak service has been suspended from Boston south to Raleigh, North Carolina, and from the East Coast to Chicago. Both O’Hare and Midway Airports reported normal operating conditions Tuesday morning, without any significant delays. At O’Hare, some 270 flights to and from the East Coast had been cancelled as of 7:30 a.m., while 70 flights were cancelled at Midway.

As of now, there are no plans to close Lake Shore Drive.

Here on the Northwest Side, I’m more concerned about losing power from the high winds- and have prepared accordingly.

And as I look outside (10:27 AM Chicago time) the wind gusts seem to be picking up.

Stay safe Chicago!

Sources:

“People urged to stay clear of lakefront as Sandy makes waves here.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Oct. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-officials-warn-of-high-winds-possible-flooding-near-lakefront-20121030,0,2187506.story). 30 Oct. 2012.

“Storm Sandy winds arrive in Chicago.” Chicago Sun-Times. 30 Oct. 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/16046778-761/storm-sandy-winds-arrive-in-chicago.html). 30 Oct. 2012.

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 Preparedness, Public Safety, Transportation, Travel, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Chicago Prepares For Superstorm Sandy
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