Democrats

Chicago Faces $297 Million Budget Shortfall In 2015, $588 Million Deficit By 2017

I’ve been wanting to blog about the latest City of Chicago annual financial analysis for some time now. This afternoon I’m finally getting that chance. From Fran Spielman (who’s done a terrific job breaking those analyses down the past couple years I’ve been paying attention to them) on the Chicago Sun-Times website back in August:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ruled out a pre-election increase in property or sales taxes, but he’ll have to find another way to close a $297.3 million budget gap that assumes the Illinois General Assembly will lift the pension hammer hanging over Chicago.

State law requires the city to make a $550 million contribution to shore up police and fire pension funds that have assets to cover just 30 and 24 percent of their respective liabilities.

If Emanuel chooses to fund the payment with property taxes, the city’s levy must be raised in 2015 so bills issued the following year reflect the increase.

Instead of including that payment in the financial analysis now used as a substitute for Chicago’s preliminary budget, the mayor left it out, assuming he will get both revenue and reform before the payment is due

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$297.3 million budget shortfall for Chicago in 2015- assuming the city gets “relief” from that State of Illinois-mandated $550 million pension fund contribution.

From what I’ve read, that looks to be a big assumption.

Still, the projected 2015 budget gap that’s being advertised by City Hall is significantly rosier than a year ago (big election coming up in February 2015 you know).

I blogged back on August 1, 2013:

The latest financial analysis is out, and the budget gap in 2014 is projected to be $339 million. Still crappy, but a lot better than what could be in store for the “Windy City” by 2015. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The day of financial reckoning for Chicago is not far off, with the city budget shortfall expected to near a record $1 billion in 2015 if major changes are not made to the government worker pension systems, city officials said Wednesday.

That stark assessment, contained in the annual financial analysis prepared by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top budget officials, overshadowed the fact that the city needs to close an expected $339 million budget gap predicted for next year.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Returning to that Sun-Times piece from this August, Spielman added:

As for the more manageable, $297.3 million gap, sales and property taxes are off the table. But [Budget Director Alexandra] Holt refused to rule out other tax and fee hikes after exhausting further cost-cutting that might include layoffs

Last year’s financial analysis projected a $338.7 million shortfall that would balloon to $994.7 million in 2015 and $1.15 billion in 2016 without a painful mix of employee concessions and new revenues. This year’s version takes the 2017 shortfall down to $587.7 million, but only if the mayor’s risky assumptions are correct.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That classic Benny Hill skit about why one shouldn’t assume things comes to mind right now.

Okay. Looking at the actual 2014 annual financial analysis on my laptop screen right now, I see that $297.3 million budget shortfall projected for Chicago in 2015, a $430.2 million gap in 2016, and that $587.7 million deficit in 2017 that Spielman mentioned.

The trend is definitely not Rahm’s and the City’s friend in this instance.

Here’s what I see going down for the “Windy City.” The Machine will mobilize as many kissing cousins (Democrats elsewhere in the state) as it can to get Mayor Emanuel his much-desired pension “reform.” Basically “kicking the can down the road.” If full reform isn’t achieved, perhaps partial “relief”?.

Of course, the City of Chicago will still have those snowballing budget shortfalls to contend with. At first, I anticipate a lot of stupid spending still going on, with only some belt-tightening and layoffs here and there (“Kiss Your Clout’s Ass” Day soon to be a much celebrated event?). And fees, fines, and taxes will be heading up (but not property and sales taxes initially). But I suspect as Chicago’s “day of reckoning” gets closer, all these measures will be intensified.

Think major cost-cutting in conjunction with a much stronger attempt to increase incoming revenues.

Like my forecast for the rest of the nation- regrettably, I see things getting a lot worse before they get better again.

You can view the entire 2014 City of Chicago Annual Financial Analysis on the City of Chicago website here (.pdf format).

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

Source:

Spielman, Fran. “City budget puts off day of reckoning until after election.” Chicago Sun-Times. 1 Aug. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/city-budget-puts-day-reckoning-until-after-election/fri-08012014-1210am). 23 Sep. 2014.

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General McInerney’s September 7 Mystery Book Revealed?

Earlier today, I wrote the following on Survival And Prosperity:

On Monday, I learned retired United States Air Force Lieutenant General and FOX News military analyst Thomas McInerney had issued a dire warning regarding terrorism directed against the United States. The former commander of the 11th Air Force appeared on the FOX News Channel last Saturday, and told viewers:

On the 7th of September, a major news network and a major publishing network are going to put out a book, and it’s going to be earth-shattering of what’s happening and what happened. And, the fact is, we may even see on 9/11/14 MH370 resurface again. We should be prepared for anything. We should go to DEFCON 1- which is our highest state of readiness- and be prepared as we lead up to 9/11.

When pressed for more details about that September 7 date, McInerney said he couldn’t elaborate. He did add:

It is going to be extremely important, and America should take notice…

While I noted that “a quick search of the Internet revealed nothing except speculation,” earlier this evening I decided to take another crack at identifying this mysterious book General McInerney said would be coming out on September 7, 2014.

I think I may have succeeded.

Sifting through coming releases on Amazon.com, I spotted this book:

The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know, by Aaron Klein.

According to its description:

Bigger than Watergate! Bigger than Iran-Contra!

Ten times bigger than both, Rep. Steve King has said.

The Benghazi scandal may have been covered up by the White House, but the truth is about to come out. “The Real Benghazi Story” is a groundbreaking investigative work that finally exposes some of the most significant issues related to the murderous September 11, 2012, attack – information with current national security implications. Investigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author Aaron Klein provides the answers many have longed for, from the secretive activities transpiring inside the doomed facility to shocking new details about the withholding of critical protection at the U.S. special mission. Learn about what really happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens that ill-fated night, the central role Hillary Clinton actually played in the scandal – and more! Also answered for the first time is why the State Department hired armed members of the al-Qaeda-linked February 17 Martyrs Brigade to protect the facility. New reasons are revealed for not sending air support or Special Forces during the assault, while extensively probing not only jihadist groups but also possible state actors behind the attack. These are just some of the new details to be revealed in this game-changing book.

Now, General McInerney said:

On the 7th of September, a major news network and a major publishing network are going to put out a book…

WND (formerly WorldNetDaily) fits the bill for that major news network/publishing network description. From WND.com:

Founded by Joseph and Elizabeth Farah in May 1997, it is now a leading Internet news site in both traffic and influence…

WND consistently ranks as the “stickiest” news site on the Internet, meaning readers spent more time on it than on any other – including giants CNN, MSNBC and ESPN.

WND often ranks at the top of the news pack in number of pageviews per user and minutes per page – two other important categories measured by Internet ratings agencies.

It is a Top 500 website, according to Alexa.com, the search and ratings agency affiliate of Amazon.com, and the No. 1 independent news site. WND currently attracts nearly 5 million unique visitors a month and more than 40 million pageviews, according to its own internal monitoring software.

WND also has a publishing arm- WND Books- that was founded in 2002 by the Farahs and has multiple New York Times best-sellers to its credit.

As to that September 7 date? Well, according to those vendors that will be selling Klein’s book, the release date of The REAL Benghazi Story isn’t until 2 days later- September 9. Now, release dates being postponed/pushed back is not unheard of. Perhaps that was the case here and McInerney hadn’t been informed about the change when he appeared on FOX News last Saturday. Or maybe he really meant the book is being released the week of September 7, seeing that the day falls on a Sunday?

I have one more reason to believe The REAL Benghazi Story is the “earth-shattering” book General McInerney was talking about.

Both are closely associated with the September 11, 2012, event in which a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and resulted in American casualties.

Tatiana Lozano wrote on the CNSNews.com website on June 18, 2014:

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney says he believes the evidence will show that President Obama and top administration officials were guilty of a “dereliction of duty” both during and after the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya that cost the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

“Verification of what the National Command Authority knew and when they knew it is extremely important as it will show, I believe, that there was dereliction of duty by the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of State, and the CIA Director,” Lt. Gen. McInerney said at a joint conference with military and legal experts held by the Heritage Foundation and the Benghazi Accountability Coalition on Monday.

“That is a very serious charge. That is a very serious charge, and it was done in violation of the law of the United States,” declared Gen. McInerney, who served as an assistant vice chief of staff in the Air Force’s Washington headquarters, and was part of a group calling for a select committee to investigate the events in Benghazi back in March…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I wonder if Klein has been able to determine “what the National Command Authority knew and when they knew it”?

And prove Thomas McInerney’s suspicions correct.

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

Source:

Lozano, Tatiana. “Gen. McInerney: Evidence Will Show ‘Dereliction of Duty’ in Benghazi.” CNSNews.com. 18 June 2014. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/tatiana-lozano/gen-mcinerney-evidence-will-show-dereliction-duty-benghazi). 27 Aug. 2014.

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Proposed National ‘Enhanced’ Body Armor Ban Details

Speaking of body armor tonight, have you heard of the federal legislation that’s been proposed by a California Democratic Congressman to ban Americans not in the military or law enforcement from selling, purchasing, using, and possessing such personal protective gear? From the website of U.S. Representative Mike Honda (D-CA, 17th District):

Responsible Body Armor Possession Act Keeps Military Armor out of the Wrong Hands

Congressman Honda’s act bans the sale and possession of new enhanced body armor

Jul 31, 2014 Press Release

Washington, DC- Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today introduced the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014, which allows law enforcement to respond to active shooters more effectively. It accomplishes this by prohibiting the sale, purchase, use, or possession of enhanced military-grade body armor by anyone who is not a member of law enforcement, active duty military, or other authorized users.

“There is no reason this type of armor, which is designed for warfare, should be available in our communities except for those who need it, like law enforcement,” Congressman Honda said. “There’s nothing more dangerous than what a well-armored, unstoppable active shooter can do. This bill is common-sense and long overdue.”

The U.S. News & World Report website highlighted the finer points of the proposed “enhanced” body armor ban. Steven Nelson reported August 8:

Honda’s “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” introduced July 31, would prohibit civilians from buying or owning armor – including vests, shields, helmets and other items – rated Type III or higher on the National Institute of Justice’s penetration resistance scale…

Weaker armor rated Type I or Type II would remain available to the public if the legislation becomes law. However, many bullet-resistant items on the market now, such as bulletproof backpacks for school children, are rated Type III and would therefore be banned.

The ban would not apply to body armor already in private hands, but Honda says law enforcement might want to encourage people to turn in the items anyhow. “If there are records of sales [law enforcement] could track those down,” he says…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not so sure this bill has got much mileage.

While those who support it may think doing so will create or enhance a “tough on crime” image, constituents may instead interpret this proposed ban as what some are claiming is yet another attempt by those in Washington to reduce the American citizenry into unarmed, now unprotected sheep ready to be led to the slaughterhouse if it comes to that.

“Oh, behaaave!”

Anyway, below is a copy of the legislation:

Body Armor Ban Bill


H.R.5344, Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014
Scribd File

You can track the progress of the proposed “enhanced” body armor ban legislation over on Congress.gov here.

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

Source:

Nelson, Steven. “Congressman Guns for High-Performance Body Armor Ban.” U.S. News & World Report. 8 Aug. 2014. (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/08/08/congressman-guns-for-high-performance-body-armor-ban). 12 Aug. 2014.

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Illinois Governor Pushes Ban On ‘Assault Weapons,’ ‘High-Capacity’ Ammo Magazines

As Democratic lawmakers can’t figure out why shootings and murders have erupted with renewed vigor in Chicago this summer (hints: bare-bones Chicago Police Department, gun-related laws already on the books but not enforced, and shooters not going to jail or for too short a stint), they’ve resorted to pushing more gun “control” laws on law-abiding constituents who have had nothing to do with the outbreak in violence. From a press release on the Illinois Government News Network website Sunday:

Governor Quinn Fights for Stronger Gun Laws Across Illinois
Congresswoman Kelly Joins Governor to Urge General Assembly to Pass Illinois Public Safety Act and Take a Stand Against the Violence

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn, joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly, today visited the site a recent fatal shooting in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood to urge legislators to stand with families and communities and take action against gun violence. The Governor pushed passage of the Illinois Public Safety Act, legislation that would ban the sale or delivery of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois and require background checks for the transfer of guns. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to make Illinois neighborhoods safer.

“The recent epidemic of violence in Chicago is unacceptable and we must join together to fight back,” Governor Quinn said. “Public safety is government’s foremost mission and Illinois should not wait any longer to act. There are too many victims of a war being waged on our streets, a war fueled in part by the availability of deadly, military-style assault weapons that have no purpose other than killing.

“We must work together to protect the lives of those we love and stop what’s happening in our communities. I urge the Illinois General Assembly to take a stand and pass this legislation that will save lives and protect communities.”

The Governor today was joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly who recently released the Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America, the first-ever Congressional analysis of the nation’s gun violence epidemic that offers a blueprint for ending the crisis.

Senate Bill 3659 – the Illinois Public Safety Act – was introduced during the recent spring Legislative session by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and supported by Governor Quinn. It bans the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of assault weapons, large capacity ammunition feeding devices such as magazines or clips, and .50 caliber rifles and cartridges in Illinois. Valid Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID) holders who possess any of these devices at the time the law is enacted would be allowed to keep them, but could not transfer or sell them except to a family member. The legislation also requires background checks for the transfer of firearms except to a family member or at a gun show…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Of course, the bad guys won’t obey what’s stipulated in the Illinois Public Safety Act if it becomes law. But here’s what’s really messed-up about the bans the Democrats are pushing.

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, so-called “assault weapons” and .50 caliber rifles are rarely used in crimes- particularly murders- around the state of Illinois.

From Table 20, “Murder by State, Types of Weapons, 2012” on the FBI’s “Crime in the U.S. 2012” web page (last year I could find pertinent data available for):

Illinois (“limited supplemental homicide data were received”)
Total murders (“Total number of murders for which supplemental homicide data were received”): 509
Total firearms: 439
• Handguns: 429
• Rifles: 4
• Shotguns: 2
• Firearms (type unknown): 4

439 firearm-related murders in Illinois in 2012. With a rifle (type unknown) definitely used in only 4 of those homicides.

Ban “assault weapons” and .50 caliber rifles. Yeah, that will solve the rampant violence.

Something tells me these Democratic politicians are trying to dupe voters into thinking they can end the ongoing carnage in this election year with such legislation.

Not going to happen, as the so-called Illinois Public Safety Act doesn’t even come close to getting to the root of the problem.

See “hints” above.

You can read that entire press release on the IGNN website here. And that 2012 FBI report table here.

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

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Specter Of 1994 Looms Over Democrats In Renewed Push For Gun ‘Control’

Speaking of Barack Obama and gun “control” this morning, I hear the Democrats are doubling-down on the issue months before the crucial November mid-term elections. Ned Resnikoff reported on the MSNBC website last Thursday:

Gun control, long a dormant issue in American politics, surged to the forefront of the Democratic agenda following December 2012’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet in the following months, as bill after bill failed to pass through Congress, the renewed push for gun control once again subsided – until now.

One hundred sixty-three House Democrats – over 80% of the entire caucus – signed onto an open letter Thursday addressed to Republican House Speaker John Boehner demanding that he allow “a vote on substantive legislation to address gun violence.” The timing of the letter suggests that Democrats are prepared to make gun control in an issue in the 2014 midterm elections…

“The timing of the letter suggests that Democrats are prepared to make gun control in an issue in the 2014 midterm elections”

Just like they did in the lead up to the 1994 mid-term contests?

I’ve suggested it before on this blog- history could “rhyme” again soon for the Democrats.

On September 13, 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which included a 10-year ban on so-called “assault weapons.” U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the legislation into law the same day.

In the months that followed, Democrats were being swept out of office left and right during the “Republican Revolution.”

Now, some doubt the impact of the gun “control” push on this turnover. Here’s what the former president had to say about that period of his administration in his 2005 autobiography My Life:

Ironically, I had hurt the Democrats by both my victories and my defeats. The loss of healthcare and the passage of NAFTA demoralized many of our base voters and depressed our turnout. The victories on the economic plan with its tax increases on high-income Americans, the Brady bill, and the assault weapons ban inflamed the Republican base voters and increased their turnout. The turnout differential alone probably accounted for half of our losses, and contributed to a Republican gain of eleven governorships

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This, from the man himself.

As I pointed out in that 2013 post and an earlier September 2012 piece about the Democratic Party’s adopted National Platform, the Democrats own gun “control.”

And evidently, they’re trying to remind the American people of that fact in the months leading up to November.

Political hara-kiri all over again?

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

Source:

Resnikoff, Ned. “Democratic House members demand gun control vote.” MSNBC.com. 26 June 2014. (http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/democratic-house-members-demand-gun-control-vote). 30 June 2014.

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2.9 Percent GDP Contraction Casts Doubt On Sustainability Of Economic ‘Recovery’

Remember that U.S. GDP “hiccup” from the first quarter?

It’s been revised. And let me just tell you, barf-o-rama baby. Barf-o-rama.

From a Reuters piece on the CNBC website earlier today:

The U.S. economy contracted at a much steeper pace than previously estimated in the first quarter, but there are indications that growth has since rebounded strongly.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday gross domestic product fell at a 2.9 percent annual rate, the economy’s worst performance in five years, instead of the 1.0 percent pace it had reported last month.

While the economy’s woes have been largely blamed on an unusually cold winter, the magnitude of the revisions suggest other factors at play beyond the weather

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Wow, did I just read that last part right? Usually the MSM plays along with that oft-used weather excuse as bad government economic reports are concerned.

The general feeling I’m getting tonight from mainstream media outlets is one of “don’t worry, be happy.” Of course, damage control is in overdrive. Jeffry Bartash reported on the MarketWatch website:

The revised GDP report briefly stunned Wall Street and clearly unsettled the White House. President Obama’s chief economic adviser, Jason Furman, cast doubt on the report and argued the economy is much stronger than the first-quarter contraction implied.

Investors, for their part, shrugged off the backward-looking report. The economy appears to have rebounded in the second quarter and economists polled by MarketWatch predict growth will turn positive again, with a 3.8% increase…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

3.8 percent increase in GDP in the second quarter? After revisions? It will be interesting to see if they’re right.

Personally, I feel that abysmal first quarter GDP report is a worrisome sign the sustained economic “recovery” we keep being told about is getting long in the tooth.

“Taper” to go full reverse soon, like “crash prophet” Peter Schiff has been predicting?

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

Sources:

“Bad to worse: US economy shrank more than expected in Q1.” Reuters. 25 June 2014. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101787838). 25 June 2014.

Bartash, Jeffry. “Economy’s stumble in first quarter historic.” MarketWatch. 25 June 2014. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-growth-contracted-29-in-first-quarter-2014-06-25). 25 June 2014.

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Quote For The Week

“Are we witnessing right now the most radically, extremely liberal, ideological president of our entire lifetime right here in the United States of America, or are we witnessing the most incompetent president of the United States of America in the history of our lifetimes? You know, it is a difficult question. I’ve thought long and hard about it. Here’s the only answer I’ve come up with, and I’m going to quote Secretary Clinton: ‘What difference does it make?’”

-Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference yesterday

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

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U.S. Senator Michelle Obama (D-IL)?

“SUPER WIN FOR CHICAGO AND AMERICA!”

-Comment on website of Chicago NBC affiliate Channel 5 tonight regarding speculation surrounding a U.S. Senate run by First Lady Michelle Obama

Could First Lady Michelle Obama be our next United States Senator here in Illinois?

I spotted the following on The Great Debate blog on Reuters.com earlier this evening. Keith Koffler wrote last night:

Speculation about a possible political future for Michelle Obama has naturally centered on the White House. But that’s the wrong place — at least for now.

Illinois has a Republican senator, Mark Kirk, and he is up for reelection in 2016. He’ll be formidable, particularly given his brave recovery from a stroke. But Illinois is a heavily Democratic state, and the race could be close.

No Illinois Democratic candidate would bring the star power and nationwide fundraising capacity that Obama would.

She has proven herself a superb speaker on behalf of her pet projects and is now a veteran campaigner for her husband. She’s also remained highly popular — even as the president’s ratings have plummeted.

She could represent the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a desperately needed — and winnable — seat. A December 2012 Public Policy Polling survey put her ahead of Kirk, 51 percent to 40 percent. Democratic leaders’ pressure on her to run might get intense…

Personally, I believe that if Mrs. Obama runs for Senator Kirk’s seat, she might just win it.

Nothing against Kirk. But Koffler isn’t kidding when says the “Land of Lincoln” is a heavily Democratic state. A super-majority in both the Illinois House and Senate attests to that. And there’s always “The Machine,” which is still in good working order in Chicago.

That’s not the say the city or state is, though.

I previously thought the Obamas would bid farewell to the “Windy City” after POTUS leaves the Oval Office. But if Michelle decides a Senate seat is something she wants, then it could be several more years still…

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

Source:

Koffler, Keith. “Is Michelle running for the Senate?” The Great Debate. 4 Jun. 2014. (http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/06/05/is-michelle-running-for-the-senate/). 5 Jun. 2014.

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Thursday, June 5th, 2014 Government, Political Parties 2 Comments

Chicago’s Monthly Phone Tax To Rise 56 Percent?

New and higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

That’s what Chicagoans should expect going forward considering the city’s fiscal health and who’s running the show.

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

After playing cat-and-mouse for days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration came clean Thursday: Chicago wants to raise the monthly fee tacked on to hardline telephone and cell phone bills by 56 percent — to $3.90…

(Editor’s note: “After playing cat-and-mouse for days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration came clean Thursday…” Beautifully worded; bold added for emphasis.)

Spielman continued:

Instead of simply asking the General Assembly to renew a $2.50-a-month surcharge due to expire July 1, cash-strapped Chicago is seizing the opportunity to get more money — by asking state lawmakers to raise the cap to “the highest monthly wireline surcharge imposed by any county or municipality” in Illinois.

The highest monthly telephone tax around the state is the $3.90 imposed in Putnam County. Under the bill Emanuel is hoping to push through in the waning days of the Legislature’s spring session, Chicago would be empowered to match that $3.90 — and go higher if any other city or town goes first.

The new and higher tax would apply to both cell phone bills and wireline phones, according to a summary sheet of the legislation distributed by City Hall. The bill would also empower the city raise the fee imposed on prepaid cell phones from the current “seven percent of the transaction amount” to nine percent…

According to Spielman, a 56 percent increase in the monthly phone tax would generate an additional $50.4 million for the City’s coffers.

John Byrne, Monique Garcia, and Ray Long added on the Chicago Tribune website Thursday:

Emanuel’s late push for a measure that would allow the City Council to raise 911 fees by as much as $1.40, which could bring the monthly charge on landline and cell phone bills to $3.90 a month, cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the increase was needed because the current $2.50 fee isn’t raising enough money to pay for operating the city’s emergency response center, forcing the Emanuel administration to dip into other pots of money to keep it running. How much more the fee hike would bring in depends on whether aldermen vote to increase the fee and to what level.

The city collected about $90 million last year through the current $2.50-per-month phone fee, Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said. This year’s budget for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications is $123 million. Quinn did not directly answer whether the mayor wants to raise the 911 fee to an amount that will bring in more revenue than the city needs to cover the OEMC budget or how the city would use any extra revenue

Let’s see. Assuming the City of Chicago collects the same amount ($90 million) as last year from their monthly phone tax, adding the projected $50.4 million from a 56 percent hike totals just over $140 million. That’s enough to pay for OEMC operations plus tax- although something tells me that’s probably not where all the money would be steered to.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Emanuel seeks 56 percent hike in telephone tax.” Chicago Sun-Times. 29 May 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/emanuel-seeks-56-percent-hike-telephone-tax/thu-05292014-434pm). 30 May 2014.

Byrne, John, Garcia, Monique and Long, Ray. “Emanuel makes late push to raise 911 fees paid by those own landlines, cell phones.” Chicago Tribune. 29 May 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-emanuel-makes-late-push-to-raise-911-fees-paid-by-those-own-landlines-cell-phones-20140529,0,6958184.story). 30 May 2014.

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Vows To Get State Income Tax Hike Made Permanent

The Illinois House of Representatives approved a $35.7 billion state spending plan yesterday which didn’t factor in funds from a 2011 temporary income tax hike being made permanently available. I surmised Tuesday:

So does this mean Illinois Democrats have abandoned their push to make the temporary income tax hike permanent? I doubt it. This is “Madiganistan,” after all. And what Mike wants, Mike gets.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of maneuvering being carried out to eventually land these funds. Perhaps another “temporary” increase in such taxes sometime after the November 2014 election, with buzz words such as “fiscal emergency” and “for the children” being used to justify the measure?

Monique Garcia, Ray Long, and Maura Zurick reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Speaker Michael Madigan acknowledged the budget proposal would leave unfinished business and vowed to spend the summer and fall working to get the income tax hike made permanent to provide more money to run state government. The approach also ensures the governor’s race will continue to be framed up by opposite positions on a tax hike Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner have staked out.

“My expectation is that this issue will be taken into the general election and I think the governor will be supportive of an extension of the income tax increase through the general election,” Madigan said. “My expectation is that Mr. Rauner will be against. So you’ll have a clear line of division going into the election. And people can make their choice.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Hmmm. Should Governor Quinn be re-elected, one more buzz word I suspect Illinoisans might hear before legislative action is taken by the Democrats to make the income tax hike permanent is “mandate,” as in “Illinois voters have given us a mandate to make the temporary income tax hike permanent during this fiscal emergency. Remember- it’s for the children!”

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

Source:

Garcia, Monique, Long, Ray and Zurick, Maura. “State budget would put off tough decisions until after election.” Chicago Tribune. 27 May 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-state-budget-would-put-off-tough-decisions-until-after-election-20140527,0,6506902.story). 28 May 2014.

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Illinois Democrats Abandoning Attempt To Make Temporary Income Tax Hike Permanent?

“In his election-year budget speech Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn called on lawmakers to make permanent the 67 percent temporary income tax increase they approved in 2011…

Quinn’s budget speech was the first time he directly addressed what should be done about the pending expiration of much of the temporary tax increase. When lawmakers approved raising the state’s personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent, they stipulated that the rate should drop to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1, 2015…”

-The State Journal-Register (Springfield), March 26, 2014

There’s news coming out of Springfield that the Democrats are preparing an Illinois state budget that accounts for the expiration of the temporary income tax hike they approved in 2011. Doug Finke reported on The State Journal-Register website last night:

House Democrats are preparing a new state budget that allows most of the temporary income tax increase to expire on schedule at the end of the year.

“Today we’re going to have our (budget negotiators) working toward a middle-of-the-road budget that would be consistent with the revenue estimates which have been adopted by the House,” House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said Monday. “The income tax increase would not be extended.”

From an Associated Press piece earlier today:

House Speaker Michael Madigan emerged from a Memorial Day caucus meeting and told reporters he was dropping the idea of making the 5 percent income tax permanent — and crafting a budget blueprint that holds the line on spending but is not the “doomsday” plan the House overwhelmingly rejected Friday.

“We’re going to call upon the agencies and those that receive appropriations from the Legislature to live within their means,” said Madigan, a Chicago Democrat. “We understand the way this is… Let’s take a good hard look at it and get the job done.”

So does this mean Illinois Democrats have abandoned their push to make the temporary income tax hike permanent? I doubt it. This is “Madiganistan,” after all. And what Mike wants, Mike gets.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of maneuvering being carried out to eventually land these funds. Perhaps another “temporary” increase in such taxes sometime after the November 2014 election, with buzz words such as “fiscal emergency” and “for the children” being used to justify the measure?

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Finke, Doug. “House Democrats work on budget without tax increase.” The State Journal-Register. 26 May 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140526/NEWS/140529531/). 27 May 2014.

“Illinois Democrats give up on tax-hike extension.” Associated Press. 27 May 2014. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140527/NEWS02/140529846/illinois-democrats-give-up-on-tax-hike-extension#). 27 May 2014.

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36,000 Immigrant Criminals Released Back Onto U.S. Streets Last Year

Soon to be committing a crime on a street near you?

More than likely by me, as I (mostly) run this blog just outside the “Sanctuary City” of Chicago.

Stephen Dinan reported on The Washington Times website earlier today:

Immigration officials knowingly released dozens of murderers and thousands of drunken drivers back into the U.S. in 2013, according to Obama administration statistics that could undercut the president’s argument that he is trying to focus on the most serious criminals in his immigration enforcement.

Among the 36,000 immigrants whom U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released from custody last year there were 116 with convictions for homicide, 43 for negligent manslaughter, 14 for voluntary manslaughter and one with a conviction classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.”

The immigrants were in deportation proceedings, meaning ICE was trying to remove them from the country and could have held them in detention but released them anyway, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, which published the numbers Monday. The Washington Times also obtained the data…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As someone who used to handle such matters for the Democrats, I fully understand the focus on immigration by the Obama administration is primarily about securing votes.

But to knowingly jeopardize public safety through the release of murderers and other criminals back onto the streets of America in order to woo “minority” votes?

That’s just cold, man.

Couple this fiasco with the Justice Department’s recent move to significantly expand the number of prisoners eligible for clemency (blogged about here) and other instances where criminals aren’t either going to jail or remaining there very long, and no wonder firearm sales remain healthy in the United States today.

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

Source:

Dinan, Stephen. “Feds released hundreds of immigrant murderers, drunk drivers, sex-crimes convicts” The Washington Times. 12 May 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/12/feds-released-hundreds-immigrant-murderers-drunken/). 12 May 2014.

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Quote For The Week

“So, let’s recap, kids…this pathetic old harridan, who was willing to stay with a sexual predator indefinitely because she so loved power, who allowed an American ambassador be killed on her watch and American heroes be left behind to die, who looked the family of a man she claimed as friend in the eyes and lied to their faces, who has the cold-blooded gall to tell Congress, ‘What difference does it make,’ who traveled a million miles as Secretary of State and accomplished nothing, who coined the phrase ‘nuts and sluts’ to describe the women her husband sexually abused, who blamed illegalities in her former law firm on her junior associate who didn’t have the power to requisition paper clips, a woman who quite literally has accomplished nothing of consequence in her entire life spent grubbing for power over other people, and she calls us unbalanced?”

-TV producer, author, and gun personality Michael Bane in his personal blog last week, in response to potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s attack on law-abiding firearm owners at a National Council for Behavioral Health conference on Tuesday

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

Source:

Bane, Michael. “Here at the Zoo…” The Michael Bane Blog. 8 May 2014. (http://michaelbane.blogspot.com/2014/05/here-at-zoo.html). 12 May 2014.

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Illinois Graduated Income Tax Plan To Be Voted On Tuesday

Next week, the Illinois Senate looks to be taking up the issue of income taxes. Rick Pearson reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

A key Democratic state senator said Thursday he will seek a vote Tuesday on his controversial plan to ask voters to amend the state constitution to replace Illinois’ flat-rate income tax with a graduated tax based on the amount of income earned.

“We understand it is a difficult choice, but we’re simply asking that the voters be allowed to weigh in and make a decision about tax policy and how Illinois should tax income,” Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park said during an appearance between proponents and opponents of the plan before the Tribune editorial board…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Opponents claim a graduated income tax would just be a substitute for the expiring temporary income tax hike Illinois Democrats pushed through at the beginning of 2011. I blogged back on January 13, 2011:

The legislation that was pushed through by Democratic lawmakers, who have controlled Illinois state government since 2003, hikes the 3 percent personal income tax rate to 5 percent until 2015, when the rate is supposed to drop to 3.75 percent…

As for the chances of the graduated income tax becoming reality? Pearson added:

Prospects for achieving a three-fifths vote of senators in the Democratic-controlled chamber are considered good, getting the same super-majority in the Democratic-led House is believed questionable at best…

Still- any Illinois readers out there not liking the proposed changes should contact their state legislators ASAP.

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

Source:

Pearson, Rick. “Illinois graduated income tax vote next week.” Chicago Tribune. 25 Apr. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-illinois-graduated-income-tax-vote-next-week-20140424,0,3929251.story). 25 Apr. 2015.income tax

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Chicago Gangs Completely Out Of Control?

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel today decried the weekend violence that left at least nine people dead and at least 36 wounded in Chicago, calling for adults around the city to instill the right values in their children and to stand up for the safety of their neighborhoods…”

-Chicago Tribune website, April 21, 2014

This past weekend, I read some interesting takes on the Chicago-area violence from individuals much closer to it than most. Billy Briggs of the The Daily Telegraph (UK) wrote Saturday:

It’s an opinion I hear later from another gangbanger with the Black P Stones. The Stones are one of the Latin Kings’ rivals and have about 30,000 members.

In the suburb of Maywood on the city’s west side, I interviewed an ex-con called Anthony, better known on the streets by his nickname, Chopper, an allusion to his role in cutting illegal drugs before distribution…

He says Chicago’s latest problems are a result of gang discipline breaking down and the rise of a new generation of gangbangers who are completely out of control.

All the structure in the gangs is gone, so there is no leadership. There is so much shooting going on, nobody knows where to turn. It ain’t the older guys, it’s the young guys, as young as 13. It wasn’t like that in the 80s or 90s. This is new. Some of these guys just shoot for fun.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This perceived lack of structure and leadership was also highlighted in a different Chicago gang piece that appeared on The Guardian (UK) website this weekend. John Swaine discussed the recent shooting death of area rapper Mario Hess aka “Blood Money” and “Big Glo,” and reported Saturday:

In the 1990s, the aggressive jailing of gang leaders left behind a more fractured setup that is even more difficult to control.

“Back then, two of the heads could stand up and say ‘OK: enough, we gonna have a peace treaty,’” said Renaldo Hess, 43, who managed Blood Money before his murder last week.

“Now, it’s much more chaotic.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Chicago news crew catches shooting on tape”
YouTube Video

So the jailing of gang leaders created an environment today in the Chicago-area gangs where structure and discipline is severely lacking. Toss in some feral urban youth into the mix- and the rampant gang-related violence that’s constantly in the local news these days makes a lot more sense.

Kind of messed up we have to hear that from individuals on/around the inside and from overseas publications.

Whereas here in the Chicago area, all we ever get from the politicians, their disciples, and their presstitutes is that a lot of the violence comes from not enough gun “control.”

Yet, I’d be surprised to find out if even one FOID card holder was involved in any of that carnage over the past weekend.

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

Sources:

Briggs, Billy. “Armed and ready in Murder City, USA.” The Daily Telegraph. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11240669). 20 Apr. 2014.

Swaine, John. “Chicago gang shootings go on as Mayor Emanuel boasts crime at ‘record low'” The Guardian. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/19/chicago-deadly-shooting-guns-rahm-emanuel-2014). 21 Apr. 2014.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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