Illinois debt crisis

Bills Filed To Scrap Illinois FOID Card

In the state of Illinois, unless specifically exempted by statute, any Illinois resident who acquires or possesses firearm or firearm ammunition within the State must have in their possession a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name. The FOID card was created in 1968 by the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (430 ILCS 65), and the Illinois State Police is tasked with identifying those persons eligible to acquire/possess these items.

James Stratton reported on the website of KWQC-TV 6 (Quad Cities) Thursday night:

Two bills have been filed in the Illinois Legislature to repeal the Illinois Firearm Owner Identification Act.

Senate Bill 1324 was filed by State Senator Neil Anderson Thursday, and House Bill 0492 was filed last week to do the same.

“In my opinion,and the opinion of a lot of people, the FOID card is nothing more than a cash grab for the state of Illinois,” said Senator Anderson (R) of Moline…

Senator Anderson says the law is redundant, and an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

“When I, in Illinois, go buy a firearm, I have to go through the same federal background check, in addition to having the FOID card,” Anderson added…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“IL State Senator Neil Anderson files bill to repeal FOID Act”
KWQC-TV 6 Video

To see the latest legislative activity with Illinois HB0492, visit the Illinois General Assembly website here. With Illinois SB1324, head here.

I’m not too sure what the likelihood is the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act will be repealed.

If anything, I suspected Springfield was going to hike the price of the FOID card considering the dire financial straits the state is in.

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Stratton, James. “IL State Senator Neil Anderson files bill to repeal FOID Act.”
KWQC-TV 6. 9 Feb. 2017. (http://kwqc.com/2017/02/09/il-state-senator-neil-anderson-files-bill-to-repeal-foid-act/). 12 Feb. 2017.

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Illinois House Adopts ‘Zombie Preparedness Month’ Resolution, Schedules ‘2nd Amendment Preservation Act’ Hearing

While bills related to the ongoing budget impasse are drawing the bulk of attention these days, there has been activity in the Illinois House of Representatives on two other pieces of legislation that may interest Survival And Prosperity readers.

First, there’s House Bill 413, which seeks to create the “2nd Amendment Preservation Act.” From the Illinois General Assembly website:

Short Description: 2ND AMENDMENT PRESERVATION

House Sponsors
Rep. David B. Reis

Hearings
Judiciary- Criminal Committee Hearing Feb 15 2017 3:00PM Capitol Building Room 114 Springfield, IL

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act. Provides that other than in compliance with an order of a court, notwithstanding any law, regulation, rule, or order to the contrary, no agency of this State, political subdivision of this State, or employee of an agency or political subdivision of the State acting in his or her official capacity shall: (1) knowingly and willingly participate in any way in the enforcement of any federal Act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after the effective date of the Act regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition; or (2) utilize any assets, State funds, or funds allocated by the State to local entities on or after the effective date of the Act, in whole or in part, to engage in any activity that aids a federal agency, federal agent, or corporation providing services to the federal government in the enforcement or any investigation under the enforcement of any federal Act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after the effective date of the Act regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Some might ask if this pro-2A legislation is even necessary considering the Republican-controlled Congress and an NRA-backed President who seems to support gun rights.

From what I understand, its purpose is to have something in place to combat some future Oval Office that’s made gun control and civilian disarmament a priority.

As indicated above, a “Judiciary-Criminal Committee Hearing” on Illinois HB0413 has been scheduled for next Wednesday, February 15.

Moving on to Illinois House Resolution 30, seeking to designate October 2017 as “Zombie Preparedness Month” in the state. From the Illinois General Assembly site:

Short Description: ZOMBIE PREPAREDNESS MONTH

House Sponsors
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch- Grant Wehrli and Tim Butler

Synopsis As Introduced
Designates October 2017 as “Zombie Preparedness Month” in the State of Illinois, and urges all Illinoisans to educate themselves about natural disasters and take steps to create a stockpile of food, water, and other emergency supplies that can last up to 72 hours…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I just learned this morning that Illinois HR0030 was adopted by the House Thursday.

Now, prior to the adoption of this legislation and even as recent as Friday morning, some are criticizing this resolution as being a distraction from more pressing matters facing the state, like the budget/debt crisis.

I don’t know. While this part of the country is generally thought to be less disaster-prone than other regions, major emergencies and man-made/natural disasters can strike anyplace at anytime. Besides the significant earthquake danger posed to southern Illinois (just blogged about Tuesday), other threats to the state include severe weather, terrorism, nuclear power plant accidents, and economic collapse, among others. And I’m guessing the majority of Illinoisans probably aren’t prepared to deal with any of these.

Since the zombie fad is still “hot” these days, why shouldn’t Springfield capitalize on it NOW and use the Zombie Apocalypse as the vehicle to get Illinois residents prepared for future emergencies/disasters?

Plus, did any critics take a moment to consider it’s possible (likely?) Representatives Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside, Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Tim Butler (R-Springfield) were shrewd enough to figure out that introducing this resolution and getting it adopted when they did- in the middle of a raging budget battle- would generate significant publicity about Zombie Preparedness Month?

Query the event in a search engine and you’ll see what kind of attention their action is getting.

All for a good cause, if you ask me.

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

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Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Recognizes ‘Illinois Diaspora’

“You mean that oft-repeated yarn about the state’s population loss being predominantly due to residents being fed up with our winters and moving to warmer destinations like Florida and Arizona isn’t true?”

Survival And Prosperity post yesterday afternoon regarding 86,000 Illinoisans “escaping” to Wisconsin from 2006 to 2015 (hat-tip Illinois Policy Institute)

I had to chuckle when I spotted the following on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon. The Tribune Editorial Board penned last night:

Property taxes here are among the highest in the nation. And certain parts of the state aren’t just jobs deserts, they’re becoming depopulated deserts. More people moved away from Illinois during the last two years than from any other state in the country. Many moved to other Midwestern states. So don’t repeat the lie that it’s the weather.

Here’s what else a prospective employer sees in Illinois: No state budget in nearly two years. A credit rating nearing junk status. Inability to pay bills as they come due, a basic definition of insolvency. And political impasse in the General Assembly. An attempt at compromise legislation to get a budget passed hit a snag in the Senate on Wednesday. Senators, keep working…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Great minds think alike?

Nope. Not at all. Just very concerned Illinois residents who have arrived at the same conclusion regarding where this is all heading if Springfield and voters can’t get their act together. Like, yesterday.

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

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Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D) Proposes Wide-Ranging Anti-Gun Tax

Now that the November elections are over, it was only a matter of time before the next assault was launched against the Second Amendment in Illinois.

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action published the following on their website Monday:

Illinois: Anti-Gun Tax Proposed on Exercising Second Amendment Rights

Last week, the Illinois Senate received Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 from state Senator Toi Hutchinson. In an attempt to address the ongoing budget problem in Illinois, Sen. Hutchinson decided to tax Illinois residents’ Second Amendment rights, and by extension, their right to safety.

Under SA 2, a 5% tax would be imposed on any membership or access fee for gun clubs, shooting ranges, hunt clubs, training classes and match fees. Not only is this an abhorrent tax on your Second Amendment rights, it also requires that any of those places/people to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $75 just so that they can offer their service or membership with the 5% tax added.

By increasing the price of self-defense classes as well as any fee spent on range time and practice, this amendment is making it more expensive for Illinoisans to seek training to be able to defend themselves. SA 2 to Senate Bill 9 effectively sees Illinois residents’ right to safety as an opportunity to ease the budget burden on the entirety of the state. Further, any “repair, servicing, alteration, fitting, cleaning, painting, coating, towing, inspection, or maintenance of tangible personal property” is also taxable under SA 2. This section would include all gunsmithing and gun refinishing under taxable services.

It is extremely important that NRA members and Second Amendment supporters contact their state Senator and strongly urge them to oppose Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9. The Second Amendment rights and right to safety of Illinoisans is not something that the legislature should tax

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The NRA-ILA offers opponents of Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 a way to take action via their website here.

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

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State Of Illinois Downgraded By Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings, a major U.S. credit rating agency, announced this afternoon it had downgraded the State of Illinois. From their news release:

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the following ratings of the state of Illinois:

Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+;
$25.9 billion in outstanding general obligation (GO) bonds to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’;
–$431 million Illinois Sports Facilities Authority sports facilities bonds (state tax supported) to ‘BBB-‘from ‘BBB’;
–$2.6 billion Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority McCormick Place expansion project bonds to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’;
–$267.8 million city of Chicago motor fuel tax revenue bonds to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’.

The Rating Watch Negative is maintained…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

With this downgrade, Illinois’ new credit rating is just two notches above “junk” status.

Fitch noted:

The downgrade of Illinois’s IDR and related ratings reflects the unprecedented failure of the state to enact a full budget for two consecutive years and the financial implications of spending far in excess of available revenues, which has resulted in increased accumulated liabilities and reduced financial flexibility. Even if the current attempts at a resolution to the extended impasse prove successful, Fitch believes that the failure to act to date has fundamentally weakened the state’s financial profile….

Fitch expects to resolve the Rating Watch within the next six months based on an assessment of the state’s fiscal trajectory as it starts fiscal 2018. If the state continues on the current path, a further downgrade would be warranted

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire Fitch Ratings news release here on their website.

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

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State Of Illinois’ Unpaid Bills Could Spike To $15 Billion By July

Bad news about the State of Illinois’ finances keeps rolling in. Monique Garcia reported on the website of the Chicago Tribune this morning:

The state has a record stack of unpaid bills that’s expected to hit $15 billion by July if nothing is done, and it must fork over interest when it’s late paying them. Putting a hard dollar figure on those interest costs is difficult, however…

The potential price tag is high enough that Senate leaders from both parties are pushing a plan to borrow billions of dollars to help whittle down the bill backlog and limit interest payments…

Under the plan being pushed by Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate, Illinois would borrow $7 billion over seven years to pay down the bill backlog and bring the payment cycle closer to 30 days…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Tribune article comes after Governor Bruce Rauner pointed out in his State of the State address last Wednesday:

We haven’t had a full year budget of some kind in a year-and-a-half- and we haven’t had a state budget that is truly balanced in decades. We have more than $11 billion in unpaid bills, a $130 billion unfunded pension liability, and the worst credit rating in the nation. We have the 5th highest overall tax burden and one of the lowest rates of job creation of any state

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Garcia’s piece took a close look at the interest payments associated with the bill backlog debacle, which you can read about here on the Tribune site.

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

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Illinois ‘Grand Bargain’ Legislation Includes 32 Percent Personal Income Tax Hike

Illinois taxpayers may get hit with a significant income tax hike pretty soon. John O’Connor of the Associated Press reported Sunday on The State Journal-Register website:

If last week’s action is any indication, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Illinois Senate are serious about attempting to bust the state’s 18-month budget deadlock – quickly…

Promising to act on a package by month’s end, they introduced 13 measures Wednesday that included non-budget-related sweeteners for both sides. By Thursday, they had been rapidly assigned public committee hearings…

Here’s a look at other major pieces of the legislation some in the Capitol have nicknamed the “grand bargain”:

* Income tax increase: The personal income tax would jump from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, a plan to generate $4.1 billion a year. With spending cuts, Democrats argue, that could eliminate what the governor’s office estimates will be a $5.3 billion deficit on the June 30 end of the fiscal year…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The proposed 32 percent income tax hike is not a sure thing, as O’Connor noted:

The outstanding question is if a Senate-approved deal would ultimately pass muster with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has refused to entertain Rauner’s pro-business agenda as part of budget talks…

Six years ago, the 3 percent personal income tax rate jumped to 5 percent until 2015, when the rate rolled back to the current 3.75 percent.

Like I just suggested to Chicago taxpayers in the previous post, Illinois taxpayers might want to take heed of what’s potentially coming down the pipeline.

Other pieces of legislation include $7 billion more borrowing to pay off overdue bills (now at $10.7 billion), which you can read about on the The State Journal-Register site here.

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

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Monday, January 16th, 2017 Borrowing, Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Income, Political Parties, Taxes Comments Off on Illinois ‘Grand Bargain’ Legislation Includes 32 Percent Personal Income Tax Hike

Message For Chicago, Cook County, And Illinois Readers

Readers of Survival And Prosperity might get the wrong impression that I’m rooting for Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois to “fail” based on my routine blogging about their financial, crime, and political woes.

Actually, I do this because I care deeply about the region and its residents.

It’s been my experience that Chicagoans and Illinoisans are pretty decent people overall. I’ve found many of them to be down-to-earth and quick to lend a helping hand to neighbors and strangers alike.

It’s my personal opinion that these woes (interconnected in my mind) I speak of will only intensify in the coming years. The trend is not our friend here, and if anything, since many of the people who helped bring about this mess are still in charge, is it reasonable to expect they’ll be the ones to fix it?

In the meantime, I predict many Illinoisans will be subject to varying degrees of financial and physical pain while this debacle plays out.

As this is a plausible scenario, have local readers of Survival And Prosperity contemplated what’s at stake should conditions keep deteriorating? What would be your personal exposure if events play out the way I expect them to? Financial vulnerabilities? Personal safety shortcomings? Individual circumstances will undoubtedly vary.

Are the wheels turning in your head?

Good. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish with such posts.

The intent is not to scare. Rather, it’s rooted in care.

It’s my hope that informing Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois residents of the precarious situation at hand and providing food for thought might aid successful navigation through what will likely be unfamiliar territory for most.

Wishing everyone all the best with that,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Monday, July 18th, 2016 Crime, Debt Crisis, Essential Reading, Fiscal Policy, Government, Main Street, Preparedness, Public Safety, Security, Self-Defense Comments Off on Message For Chicago, Cook County, And Illinois Readers

Illinois Comptroller: State’s Unpaid Bill Backlog To Exceed $10 Billion By Year End

I’ve been following the State of Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog for some time now, and what State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger shared yesterday should be of serious concern to Illinoisans. From her website:

CHICAGO- Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Thursday said the state’s bill backlog will grow throughout the fall and Illinois will enter the New Year with approximately $10 billion in unpaid invoices, resulting in payment delays of at least six months.

The announcement follows last month’s passage of a stopgap budget, which authorized payments that were being delayed due to the state’s year-long budget impasse.

“While the stopgap is a positive step forward, it does not address our larger fiscal challenges. When we look at the numbers we are facing, the realities are sobering,” said Munger, noting the state is on pace to spend $2.5 billion more than it takes in the next six months. “Those severe cash shortages mean my office will continue to perform triage to help those most in need and protect our most critical services.”

“The realities are sobering”

Indeed.

And I’m certain they will eventually result in- wait for it- higher/new fees, fines, and taxes in conjunction with reduced government services for Illinois residents.

There’s the real possibility of a big tax increase coming soon for Illinoisans. Consider the following from investment specialist and Illinois State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) on the website of the non-partisan, independent Reboot Illinois project on July 11:

The recent passage of a six-month unbalanced spending measure will worsen Illinois’ financial problems and likely lead to a massive tax increase.

The approval of a stopgap measure is nothing more than a continuation of the status quo that has made Illinois insolvent. The stopgap bill is a spending plan, not a real balanced budget. Consider this: About 91 percent of state government spending was on autopilot during the budget stalemate. The state has been spending money at levels that are higher than authorized during Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. Spending continues to be out of control

With the adoption of the stopgap measure, we are ensuring the state’s financial problems will not be addressed anytime soon. Ultimately, we are guaranteeing that the state’s financial health will get much worse, which will make it easier for a tax increase to build momentum in Springfield

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read that entire news release from the Illinois Comptroller on her website here.

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

Source:

McSweeney, David. “Stopgap Budget Will Likely Result In A Massive Tax Hike.” RebootIllinois.com. 11 July 2016. (http://www.rebootillinois.com/2016/07/11/editors-picks/dmcsweeney/stopgap-budget-will-likely-result-in-a-massive-tax-hike/61341/). 15 July 2016.

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Friday, July 15th, 2016 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Spending, Taxes Comments Off on Illinois Comptroller: State’s Unpaid Bill Backlog To Exceed $10 Billion By Year End

Chicago Pastor Calls On State Of Illinois To Declare ‘State Of Emergency’ Over Financial Woes

One Roman Catholic priest in Chicago is sounding the alarm over the financial health of both the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. Tom Schuba blogged on the NBC Chicago website Monday:

Father Michael Pfleger, the outspoken pastor at St. Sabina’s church in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, called on the state of Illinois to declare a state of emergency amid dire economic situations in Chicago and Illinois

The city’s broke, the state’s broke and dysfunctional and in downstate Illinois when a hurricane happens, a tornado happens, what do we do,” Pfleger asked. “We call a state of emergency and resources are brought in.”

Pfleger encouraged using federal resources to embolden communities and bolster the police force…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While I don’t see eye-to-eye with Fr. Pfleger on gun “control” (a subject for which he routinely makes the local news headlines), I do agree with him that some sort of action is required to tackle both Chicago’s and the State of Illinois’ fiscal problems, and that “bolstering” of the Chicago Police Department is necessary.

You can read the entire piece on the NBC Chicago website here.

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

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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Gun Rights, Public Safety Comments Off on Chicago Pastor Calls On State Of Illinois To Declare ‘State Of Emergency’ Over Financial Woes
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