Illinois Senate

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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Comprehensive Anti-Gun Legislation Introduced In Illinois

Last night, I received the following e-mail from the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA):

Illinois: Anti-Gunner “Wish List” Legislation Introduced

This week, Senate Bill 3659, misnamed the “Illinois Public Safety Act,” was introduced by notorious anti-gun state Senator Dan Kotowski (D-28). SB 3659 seeks to ban the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of many semi-automatic firearms and accessories, as well as .50 caliber rifles and cartridges unless the items have been previously owned and registered within an arbitrary period of time. SB 3659 would also amend the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act to require background checks for private transfers of firearms, except those between family members, and would restrict magazine limits to those with a capacity of 15 rounds and smaller.

SB 3659 embodies the anti-gunner “wish list” in Illinois. This legislation is a comprehensive anti-gun package which echoes the unconstitutional legislation passed in New York and Connecticut last year. The laws passed in those states are currently subject to lawsuits due to their significant infringement on Second Amendment rights.

With the 2014 legislative session winding down, this bill has not yet been assigned to a policy committee. However, your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you updated when more information is available on this legislation.

Stay tuned…

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

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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 Public Pension Crisis Latest

Last Tuesday, I blogged about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to address some of the City’s public pension woes via larger contributions by City employees and $50 million tax increases for five straight years- beginning next year and continuing through 2019- for Chicago property owners.

There’s been a lot of chatter regarding this proposal and other pension “reform” activity today. Karen Pierog reported on the Reuters website:

Legislation to ease funding shortfalls in two of Chicago’s four retirement systems is a modestly positive credit step but not a permanent fix, Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday

Moody’s said that if enacted into law, the measure would immediately reduce the unfunded liabilities in the two funds.

“However, we expect that the (liability) would then escalate for a number of years before declining. Accrued liabilities would exceed plan assets for years to come, and if annual investment returns fall short of the assumed 7.5 percent, the risk of plan insolvency may well reappear,” the credit rating agency said in a report…

After breezing through an Illinois House committee on April 2, the bill has stalled. Moody’s said that even if the bill makes it out of the legislature, Governor Pat Quinn must sign it. The law would then face potential challenges to its legality under the Illinois constitution, which prohibits the impairment of retirement benefits for public sector workers…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So will the Illinois Governor and fellow Chicago Democrat sign off on Mayor Emanuel’s proposed legislation?

John Byrne and Monique Garcia reported on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon:

Gov. Pat Quinn today came out against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to raise Chicago property taxes and cut retirement benefits as a way to shore up some of Chicago’s government worker pension systems.

The re-election seeking Democratic governor called the bill floating around Springfield “a sketch” that “kept changing by the hour” and blasted the property tax as a “lousy tax” because it is not based on the ability to pay…

“I don’t think that’s a good way to go,” Quinn said of hiking property taxes. “And I say it today and I’ll say it tomorrow, they’ve got to come up with a much better comprehensive approach to deal with this issue. But if they just think they are going to gouge property tax owners, no can do. We’re not going to go that way.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Now, as I pointed out in last week’s post about Chicago’s public pension crisis:

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…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Plus, I read the following this morning by Chacour Koop on the website of The State Journal-Register (Springfield):

After addressing Illinois’ own employee pension crisis, lawmakers now face an equally challenging task with the state’s cities, as mayors demand help with underfunded police and firefighter pensions before the growing cost “chokes” budgets and forces local tax increases.

The nine largest cities in Illinois after Chicago have a combined $1.5 billion in unfunded debt to public safety workers’ pension systems. Police and fire retirement funds for cities statewide have an average of just 55 percent of the money needed to meet current obligations to workers and retirees…

The problems — a history of underfunding, the expansion of job benefits and the prospect of crushing future payments — mirror those that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel warned about when he asked the legislature for relief last week.

In 2016, state law requires cities to make required contribution increases — in some cases, more than an additional $1 million annually — so they’ll reach 90 percent funding by 2040. If they don’t, the state will begin doing it for them, diverting grant money now used by cities elsewhere directly into the pension funds…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just like the Illinois General Assembly- dominated by Democrats- barely passed legislation on December 3, 2013, that was touted as a “fix” for the state’s $100 billion public pension crisis (it isn’t), something tells me an accommodation may be reached with fellow Democrats running the City of Chicago so they don’t have to pay the full amount of the state-required $600 million contribution due next year to stabilize police and fire pension funds.

That goes for those large Illinois communities as well.

Watch all the back-patting go on should that “fix” materialize as well.

And the inevitable “blowback” down the road.

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

UPDATE: From Fran Spielman over on the Chicago Sun-Times website early Tuesday morning:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday stripped out controversial language from city pension legislation that had authorized the City Council to impose a property-tax hike, putting the stalled measure back on the fast-track at the state Capitol.

Madigan, D-Chicago, filed an amendment to Senate Bill 1922 after the House adjourned Monday without taking any action on the stalled legislation. Sources now expect the legislation to be voted upon as early as Tuesday.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sources:

Pierog, Karen. “UPDATE 1-Proposed Chicago pension changes positive step but no fix -Moody’s.” Reuters. 7 Apr. 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/07/usa-chicago-moodys-idUSL2N0MZ1AP20140407). 7 Apr. 2014.

Byrne, John and Garcia, Monique. “Quinn blasts Emanuel’s property tax hike for pensions.” Chicago Tribune. 7 Apr. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-quinn-blasts-emanuels-property-tax-hike-for-pensions-20140407,0,5432729.story). 7 Apr. 2014.

Koop, Chacour. “Illinois’ next pension issue: Police, firefighter funds.” Associated Press. 6 Apr. 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140406/NEWS/140409562/-1/json/?tag=1). 7 Apr. 2014.

Spielman, Fran. “Analysis: Rahm’s pension bill revisions solve—and create—problems.” Chicago Sun-Times. 8 Apr. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/analysis-rahm%E2%80%99s-pension-bill-revisions-solve%E2%80%94and-create%E2%80%94problems/mon-04072014-728pm). 8 Apr. 2014.

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Illinois Millionaire Tax Moves Out Of Committee, Goes To House For Vote

This Monday, I blogged about Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) pushing for an income tax hike on the estimated 13,000 or so millionaires residing in the state.

The proposed legislation is making progress in the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly. Doug Finke reported on The State Journal-Register (Springfield) website last night:

An Illinois House committee Thursday signed off on a measure that would allow voters to decide if millionaires should pay more in state income taxes…

The committee voted along party lines to approve the proposed constitutional amendment by House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, that would impose a 3 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million. Income up to $1 million would continue to be taxed at the state’s personal income tax rate, currently set at 5 percent…

The proposed amendment now goes to the full House, which must approve it by a three-fifths vote. The Senate will then have to approve it by the same margin for the issue to appear on the November ballot

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Opponents of the tax hike claim it not only unfairly penalizes successful residents of the state, but hurts everyone else in that it may drive away wealth from Illinois.

Speaker Madigan’s response? He was quoted by the Chicago Tribune last Friday as saying:

Well, if they’re in Illinois today, they’re probably so much in love with Illinois that they’re not going to leave.

Eye-roll please…

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

Sources:

Finke, Doug. “Millionaire tax amendment advances to House; progressive income tax rejected.” The State Journal-Register. 27 Mar. 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140327/NEWS/140329457/-1/json/?tag=2). 28 Mar. 2014.

Garcia, Monique, Long, Ray, and Zurich, Maura. “Illinois Democrats go all-in on class warfare theme.” Chicago Tribune. 21 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-21/news/chi-speaker-madigan-proposes-asking-voters-to-raise-taxes-on-wealthy-20140320_1_tax-hike-bruce-rauner-income). 24 Mar. 2014.

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Wisconsin Cuts Taxes While Illinois Looks To Make 2011 ‘Temporary’ Tax Hikes Permanent

Throughout the years, I’ve known/met a number of Illinois residents who can’t stand Wisconsin. Mostly from the Chicago area, they equate Wisconsin and its residents as being unsophisticated clowns.

I wonder if they haven’t noticed by now that the only circus around is in the “Land of Lincoln.”

While Illinois falls deeper into an economic abyss (public pension fix my butt), Wisconsin seems to have gotten their finances under control and look to be on the path to prosperity.

So much so they’re cutting taxes. Again.

Patrick Marley and Jason Stein reported on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website Monday afternoon:

Lowering taxes for the third time in less than a year, Gov. Scott Walker signed his $541 million tax cut bill in a ceremony Monday at a farm in Cecil as he travels through central and northern Wisconsin touting it.

Speaking at Horsens Homestead Farms, about 35 miles northwest of Green Bay, Walker called it a great day for Wisconsin taxpayers and a sign of the state’s shifting financial fortunes in recent years.

“Now, instead of billion dollar budget deficits, we have a surplus — and today that money is on its way to the workers, parents, seniors, property owners, veterans, job creators and others. You deserve to keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible — because after all, it is your money,” Walker said.

With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1 billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s tax proposal will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.

Though the state’s tax revenue is increasing, GOP lawmakers and Walker are trimming state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increasing it

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Meanwhile, across the Cheddar Curtain in Illinois there’s this on the website of The State Journal-Register (Springfield). Doug Finke reported Friday:

Hundreds of employees would be laid off, state facilities would be closed and thousands of prison inmates released without supervision, state agency directors told senators Friday during a hearing to gauge the effect of possibly severe spending cuts next year.

During a more than three-hour joint hearing of the two Senate Appropriations committees, agency after agency warned of drastic consequences should they be forced to cut their current budgets by 20 percent.

“There would be extreme consequences for the economy across Illinois,” warned Ben Winick of Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget office. “Over a dozen state facilities would have to close. Thousands of state employees would have to be laid off.”

The hearing occurred just days before Quinn is scheduled to finally deliver his budget outline for the fiscal year that starts July 1…

Translated? Illinois residents, this is what will happen if you don’t support making the Democrat-led temporary 67 percent personal income tax hike and 46 percent corporate income tax hike implemented in January 2011 permanent next year.

I hear Governor Quinn will be delivering his budget plan tomorrow.

Instead of ridiculing Wisconsin, us FIBs (F***ing Illinois Bastards as we’re known by up there) might want to start emulating our neighbors to the north in certain respects before we completely destroy Illinois.

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

Sources:

Marley, Patrick and Stein, Jacob. “Scott Walker signs tax cut legislation.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 24 Mar. 2014. (http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/scott-walker-set-to-sign-tax-cut-legislation-b99231851z1-251936261.html). 24 Mar. 2014.

Finke, Doug. “State agencies outline cuts if forced to make 20% reductions.” The State Journal-Register. 21 Mar. 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140321/NEWS/140329821). 24 Mar. 2014.

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Illinois Gun Owners To March, Lobby In State Capital Tomorrow

Wendesday, March 5, is Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day, or IGOLD. From the Illinois State Rifle Association website this morning:

All Illinois gun owners are invited to join in Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD) in Springfield in 2014. This is an annual event where everyone goes to lobby` their representatives in the Illinois House and Senate. IGOLD is sponsored by ISRA and IllinoisCarry.com. Other participating organizations are, Guns Save Life, Sangamon County Rifle Association, and the McHenry County Right To Carry Association. Get your local organization involved as well!

We will meet at the Prairie Capital Convention Center – Doors open at 10:45 with the program set to begin at 11:30 am. We will have a legislative briefing, then we will all march to the Capitol Building to locate and talk with our representatives.

Please join us for Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day, you won’t regret going…

More information on tomorrow’s event is located on the ISRA website here.

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

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Thoughts On Illinois State Lawmakers Passing Public Pension ‘Fix’

The Illinois General Assembly barely passed legislation yesterday that’s been touted to “fix” the state’s $100 billion public pension crisis.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who has promised to sign SB0001, declared in a press release Tuesday:

Since I took the oath of office, I’ve pushed relentlessly for a comprehensive pension reform solution that would erase a $100 billion liability and restore fiscal stability to Illinois.

Today, we have won. The people of Illinois have won.

Not so fast, big guy.

First off, as I blogged yesterday, the Wall Street Journal recently picked apart the legislative “fix,” and concluded not only was it “fake” but:

Even under the most optimistic forecasts, these nips and tucks would only slim the state’s pension liability down to $80 billion- which is where it was after Governor Quinn signed de minimis fixes in spring 2010 to get him past that year’s election…

Second, this legislation is almost certainly headed to court, as in the Illinois Supreme Court. As I noted on December 1, a provision of the 1970 Illinois Constitution defines public pension benefits as “an enforceable contractual relationship” that “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Even the top-ranking Democrat in the Illinois Senate wonders if SB0001 can pass legal muster. Ray Long and Monique Garcia reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Senate President John Cullerton, whose earlier union-backed plan to curb pension spending was stymied by House Speaker Michael Madigan, said he remained concerned that the package passed by lawmakers violated a state constitutional ban on diminishing or impairing public pension benefits.

Cullerton, whose Senate Democrats had been viewed as closer to the unions than Madigan’s House majority, said he viewed it important to get something before the courts to decide whether the approach is legal.

“I think the bill has serious constitutional problems, I’ve made that clear from the start, but now it’s in front of the court and they can decide,” Cullerton said.

And decide they will, meaning this supposed “fix” for the state’s public pension crisis might eventually amount to nothing.

I thought Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times summed it all up well. Brown wrote on the Sun-Times website yesterday afternoon from Springfield:

Oh, how I wish I could tell you that the long fight to fix Illinois’ grossly underfunded public pension plans was at an end with Tuesday’s historic votes by the state Legislature.

But that wouldn’t be true.

First, there will be a court challenge — or more likely challenges — brought by state workers, teachers and their retirees, along with the unions that represent them.

And before those cases can even work their way through the system, state lawmakers will have to decide in early 2014 how they are going to handle Chicago’s pension problems — beginning with those of city teachers.

Other local officials, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are clamoring for pension relief as well, which will combine with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s priorities to keep the issue on the front burner.

If the courts strike down the pension reform plan approved Tuesday on narrow votes by both chambers, or even if they rule out parts of it, we could be back here within a year or two to start over.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

What transpired Tuesday in the Illinois General Assembly might be a first step in “fixing” the state’s public pension crisis, but much more work and sacrifice will eventually be required to arrive at a real solution.

Question is, is the will even there among Illinoisans and their elected state officials to do this?

I kind of doubt it.

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

Sources:

Garcia, Monique and Long, Ray. “Unions vow legal fight as lawmakers OK pension overhaul.” Chicago Tribune. 4 Dec. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-illinois-pension-vote-20131203,0,5070497.story). 4 Dec. 2013.

Brown, Mike. “Brown: State’s financial problems far from over.” Chicago Sun-Times. 3 Dec. 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/24156150-761/brown-states-financial-problems-far-from-over.html). 4 Dec. 2013.

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Revised Illinois Gun Crime Penalties Bill Could Still Cost $549 Million Over 10 Years

Illinois readers- remember that legislation at the state level that’s been backed by the Emanuel administration in Chicago and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez that would have raised mandatory minimum prison sentences for gun crimes and require offenders to serve 85 percent of their sentences? I understand it’s been revised.

Still, a major roadblock remains.

From the Associated Press this morning:

Illinois prison officials say revised legislation stiffening penalties for gun crimes would still cost hundreds of millions of dollars and add inmates to the crowded correctional system.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports the figures come from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The agency says the latest version of the gun bill would add nearly 2,500 inmates to the state’s prison system and cost another $549 million over 10 years. That covers operating and construction costs.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Another $549 million over 10 years.”

Remember- this projection is coming from a State of Illinois agency.

If these figures are kosher, this legislation will be incredibly hard to justify in light of the State’s serious financial problems.

Anyway, I thought Illinois law already mandates a minimum 15-year sentence when a person with a firearm commits any felony offense and a minimum 1-year sentence for unlicensed gun possession and licensed possession of a loaded gun? At least that’s what Illinois State Senator and Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee member Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), said in a Chicago Tribune commentary back on October 23.

Sources:

“Revised gun bill still could be costly, prison officials say.” Associated Press. 19 Nov. 2013. (http://www.sj-r.com/breaking/x529851355/Revised-gun-bill-still-could-be-costly-prison-officials-say). 19 Nov. 2013.

Van Pelt, Patricia. “Mandatory minimum sentences well-meaning but ineffective.” Chicago Tribune. 23 Oct. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-1023-guns-20131023,0,4533465.story). 19 Nov. 2013.

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

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Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 Crime, Debt Crisis, Firearms, Government, Legal No Comments

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton Says No State Public Pension Crisis

“Five million dollars a day. That’s the cost of Illinois’ unresolved pension crisis.”

-Jay Levine, Channel 2 News (Chicago CBS affiliate) reporter, October 18, 2013

Five million dollars a day being flushed down the toilet because Illinois politicians haven’t tackled the state’s public pension crisis.

By the way, that pension liability now amounts to a worst-in-the-nation $100 billion last I heard.

And here’s what Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said yesterday about the ongoing fiasco. From the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

“People really misunderstand the nature of this whole problem. Quite frankly, I don’t think you can use the word ‘crisis’ to describe it at the state level,” Cullerton said in an interview on WGN-AM radio.

“It’s something we have to deal with, but it’s not something that we’re on the verge of bankruptcy on,” Cullerton said.

The term “Ivory Tower” comes to mind here.

Meanwhile, it’s probably just a matter of time now before a major credit rating agency downgrades the State’s debt yet again due to the inability of the political leadership to deal with the crisis.

According to the Illinois Watchdog website, Illinois has seen its credit downgraded 16 times since 2003, with both Fitch and Standard and Poor’s currently assigning an “A-” rating to its debt.

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

Sources:

Levine, Jay. “Lawmakers May Take Up Pension Reform, Gun Control In Veto Session.” CBS Chicago. 18 Oct. 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/10/18/lawmakers-may-take-up-pension-reform-gun-control-in-veto-session/). 21 Oct. 2013.

“Cullerton: Illinois pension debt not a ‘crisis’” Chicago Tribune. 21 Oct. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-cullerton-pension-debt-not-a-crisis-but-about-lowering-taxes-20131020,0,4245590.story). 21 Oct. 2013.

Yount, Ben. “Illinois can stand as a lesson in government-gone-wild.” Illinois Watchdog. 10 Oct. 2013. (http://watchdog.org/110131/illinois-can-stand-as-a-lesson-in-government-gone-wild/). 21 Oct. 2013.

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Standard-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban Passes Out Of Illinois Senate Executive Committee

Gun “control” is on the move again in Illinois as legislation banning standard-capacity ammunition magazines has passed out of the Illinois Senate Executive Committee, setting up Senate Bill 1002 to be voted upon by the full chamber. Lauren Leone-Cross reported on Springfield’s The State Journal-Register website late yesterday:

The Democrat-controlled Senate Executive Committee passed the measure 12-3, with two Republicans, Minority Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont and Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine, voting “yes.”

“I think this is a chance that this bill could save lives, and I think it’s worth taking that chance,” Murphy said.

Leone-Cross added later in the article:

Sponsoring Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, said that while he doesn’t know when he’ll call SB 1002 for a vote in the full Senate or whether he has the votes, it “looks promising.”

Illinois residents who think their Republican state senator will oppose this legislation might be in for a rude shock, seeing that Senators Radogno- the Minority Leader no less- and Murphy have now aligned themselves with the gun “control” camp on this bill.

In the meantime, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action has sent out the following:

Illinois: Anti Self-Defense Amendment to be Considered in Senate as Early as Tomorrow

Contact your state Senator IMMEDIATELY and urge him or her to oppose Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 1002!

Today, in another attempt to further disarm the law-abiding residents in Illinois, an amendment offered by state Senator Dan Kotowski (D-28) to Senate Bill 1002, was heard by the Senate Executive Committee. Amendment 2 to SB1002 would limit the sale and transfer of all standard capacity magazines. Rather than addressing criminals engaging in gang violence, Chicago politicians want to limit the ability of law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves against those criminals.

In a state that is under court order to enact concealed carry reform laws for the self-defense of its residents, this restriction on standard capacity magazines is a step in the wrong direction. This legislation will only remove the ability of responsible gun owners to defend themselves and their loved ones.

It is critical that you contact your state Senator and urge him or her to resist this legislative attempt to disarm and punish law-abiding citizens. Contact your state Senator TODAY and respectfully urge him or her to uphold Illinoisans’ right to self-defense by opposing Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 1002.

Contact information for your state Senator can be found here.

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

Source:

Leone-Cross, Lauren. “Illinois Senate panel endorses ammunition limit.” The State Journal-Register. 20 May 2013. (http://www.sj-r.com/breaking/x776192437/Senate-committee-to-vote-on-proposed-high-capacity-magazine-ban?zc_p=0). 21 May 2013.

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Quote For The Week

What I found ironic about this, tragically ironic, is that teddy bears face more stringent regulations than guns do in our country. Teddy bears are tested for sharp edges, points, loose parts and flammability. And you know the number of children who were killed by teddy bears in our country last year?

-Illinois State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), while meeting with a number of Newtown parents in downtown Chicago Sunday as they joined Chicago-area Democrats in their push to ban standard-capacity ammunition magazines statewide (Chicago Tribune, May 19, 2013)

By the way, according to the Child Injury Lawyer Network website:

Teddy bears and other toys account for twenty two deaths each year, and nearly one hundred and fifty thousand injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries happen to children.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In Chicago, there’s only been a total of 37 homicides involving rifles- “assault rifles” included- over 9 years, from 2003 to 2011 (Source: Chicago Police Department).

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

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Newtown Parents Join Chicago-Area Democrats In Push To Ban Standard-Capacity Ammunition Magazines

“Just wait for next week. 10 round mag limit bills and semi-auto ban bills may surface next week. They will pull out all the stops to distract us from the fight on CCW. I wouldn’t be surprised that they USE the traumatized parents of Connecticut to push their agenda.

Its sad that the traumatized Connecticut parents have to be used to take away our rights to defend our children from a similar fate.”

-Anonymous comment, Second City Cop blog, May 18, 2013

On Sunday, May 19, it was announced that some parents of children who were victims of the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last December were due to arrive in Chicago as area Democrats push for a ban on standard-capacity ammunition magazines. From the WGN Chicago website yesterday:

Governor Pat Quinn will meet with parents of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting victims today at the Thompson Center.

They are working together to urge Illinois lawmakers to ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

(Editor’s note: Going forward, high-capacity ammunition magazines will be defined as having more capacity than what is generally run in that firearm- 40-round magazine in a Kalashnikov, for example- and standard-capacity magazines are having the typical capacity that is run in the firearm- 30-round magazine in an AK or AR, or 20-rounder in an M1A, for example).

Gregory Pratt added on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, joined the parents in calling on state legislators to pass the bill banning the delivery and sale of ammunition magazines that contain more than 10 rounds.

Under that legislation, introduced Friday by Kotowski, the sale or delivery of these magazines would be punishable by a maximum of three years in prison. It would also make the use of a high-capacity magazine during a crime an aggravating factor leading to a stiffer penalty, Kotowski said.

The legislation being referred to here is Senate Bill 1002, “Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Makes a technical change in a Section concerning the short title.”

Should this gun “control” legislation be enacted:

A person who knowingly delivers, sells, or transfers, or causes to be delivered, sold, or transferred… a large capacity ammunition feeding device capable of holding more than 10 rounds but not more than 17 rounds of ammunition commits a Class 4 felony for a first violation and a Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent violation.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

And if it’s a 20- or 30-round standard-capacity ammunition magazine that’s involved:

A person who knowingly delivers, sells, or transfers, or causes to be delivered, sold, or transferred… a large capacity ammunition feeding device capable of holding more than 17 rounds commits a Class 3 felony for a first violation and a Class 2 felony for a second or subsequent violation.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

If this legislation sounds familiar to Survival And Prosperity readers, that’s because I blogged about it on May 10, when State Senator Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago) was still the chief sponsor, not Kotowski from the suburbs.

More information about the proposed Illinois Senate bill can be found here on the LegisScan website.

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

Sources:

SCC. “Flawed Concealed Carry Dies in Springfield.” Second City Cop. 18 May 2013. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2013/05/flawed-concealed-carry-dies-in.html). 20 May 2013.

WGN Web Desk. “Gov. Quinn to meet with families of Newtown shooting victims.” WGN Chicago. 19 May 2013. (http://wgntv.com/2013/05/19/gov-quinn-to-meet-with-families-of-newtown-shooting-victims/). 20 May 2013.

Pratt, Gregory. “Newtown parents join Quinn to call for ban on high-capacity ammo magazines.” Chicago Tribune. 19 May 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-newtown-parents-join-quinn-to-call-for-ban-on-highcapacity-ammo-magazines-20130519,0,5894367.story). 20 May 2013.

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Chicago Democrat Denounces ‘Extremists’ As Restrictive Concealed-Carry Legislation Stalls In Illinois Senate

Remember that restrictive right to carry legislation that passed out of committee and was supposed to be voted on by the Illinois Senate yesterday? Well, House Bill 183, which would permit may-issue right to carry, giving local law enforcement veto power for permits and home-rule municipalities additional say over where people can carry a firearm in public, never came up for a vote Friday.

Opposition to the Chicago Democrat-sponsored concealed-carry legislation turned out to be significant.

Rafael Guerrero reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The push to pass a more restrictive concealed carry measure stalled late last week as support began to drop off before a key vote in the Illinois Senate…

“For a day at least, the extremists have prevailed,” said Sen. Kwame Raoul, the South Side Democrat who sponsored the proposal and hoped to call it for a vote in the full Senate on Friday.

For some reason, this Chicago Democrat- like many gun “control” supporters- seems to think the National Rifle Association is synonymous with all Americans who support gun “rights.” There are untold numbers who are pro-2nd Amendment but who don’t belong to the NRA- yet are just as loud as their NRA counterparts in voicing their objections to more restrictions being placed on a Constitutional right.

The state senator continued to rant about “extremists.” Zach Buchheit wrote on the Sun-Times Politics blog yesteday:

“One of the realities that I was keenly aware of when I entered this effort was that there are some extremists,” said Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), sponsor of the gun-control measure. “There are some extremists with some very loyal followings, and they use intimidation as part of their advocacy efforts. And sometimes that intimidation is quite effective.”

Or enough Illinoisans simply made it known to their elected state senators that they don’t like his may-issue right to carry legislation. Now there’s a reasonable explanation as to why House Bill 183 has stalled, rather than the big, bad NRA getting its way.

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Guerrero, Rafael. “Illinois concealed carry bill stalls.” Chicago Tribune. 18 May 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-illinois-legislature-0519-20130518,0,2454696.story) 18 May 2013.

Buchheit, Zach. “Senate concealed-carry push never sees the floor, NRA resistance leaves it short of votes.” Sun-Times Politics. 17 May 2013. (http://blogs.suntimes.com/politics/2013/05/senate_concealed-carry_push_never_sees_the_floor_nra_resistance_leaves_it_short_of_votes.html). 18 May 2013.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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