Illinois

Chicago Property Taxes Hiked As School Budget Passed

There are so many new and increased fees, fines, and taxes being proposed and implemented around the Chicagoland area these days, it’s hard to keep track of all of them. But here’s one Chicago tax hike that’s just been approved that’s making local headlines. Juan Perez, Jr., reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school board on Wednesday unanimously approved a budget that relies heavily on borrowed money and the hope of a nearly $500 million bailout from a stalemated Springfield, with the specter of disruptive cuts in January if that help fails to materialize.

The $5.7 billion spending plan contains another property tax hike — an estimated $19-a-year increase for the owner of a $250,000 home — as well as teacher and staff layoffs. The Chicago Board of Education also prepared to go to Wall Street to issue $1 billion in bonds and agreed to spend $475,000 so an accounting firm can monitor a cash flow problem so acute that Chicago Public Schools mulled skipping a massive teacher pension payment at the end of June…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

My old neighbors on the city’s Northwest Side, in their single family homes that are selling just south of the $350K-mark on average these days, probably aren’t too thrilled to hear about this latest tax hike.

Oh, but it gets “better.” Perez added:

To help patch over a budget gap the district said exceeds $1.1 billion, CPS raised its property taxes to the maximum amount allowed under state law. But CPS may not be done — [Chicago Public Schools chief Forrest] Claypool has floated the idea of restoring a property tax levy dedicated to teacher pensions that would generate an estimated $170 million

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Keep in mind this is just the school’s portion of the Chicago property owner’s tax bill we’re talking about here.

Once again, a couple of bucks here, a couple of bucks there, and all these new and increased fees, fines, and taxes from various levels of government will have Chicago taxpayers going bonkers soon enough.

And Illinois taxpayers- note that bit about:

The hope of a nearly $500 million bailout from a stalemated Springfield…

You too could be on the hook for this debacle.

Head on over to the Chicago Tribune website here to get the full story on this latest tax hike.

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

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

Project Prepper, Part 37: Getting Back Into Shape

As I approach another birthday, I smile when I think back to the early nineties when a friend and I would head down to Chicago’s lakefront and regularly jog a good portion of the 18.5-mile Chicago Lakefront Trail for exercise. I was in my late teens at the time, and in the best shape of my life.

Day Off Jogging Lakefront Car Show (Summer 1991)

Day Off Jogging
Lakefront Car Show (Summer 1991)

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Fast forward to today. I’m nowhere near the same kind of shape I was almost a quarter of a century ago. Not countering the effects from years of living a sedentary lifestyle and working in front of computer screens for hours on end has taken a toll on my physical fitness.

That being said, I decided some time ago that as part of the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I’d work hard at getting back into shape. From the beginning of my ongoing education about prepping, I realized not being “fit” could be a serious hindrance to what one’s trying to achieve by prepping. For example, let’s say I’m employed in an office building in a major U.S. city, and I’m prepping for a significant emergency/disaster that could happen while I’m at work. If the event occurs, there’s a good chance I may end up needing to hoof it out of that location (possibly within a certain amount of time) in order to reach safety. If I’m not up to the task physically, I could be in real trouble.


“911 WTC people in chaos taking shelter – with sound part1 – archival stock footage”
YouTube Video

So I’m going to get back in shape. I’ll be putting together the regimen of exercises in the coming days. As for the standards I’m shooting for, I’m leaning towards those embraced by Blackwater, Inc. Founder and former CEO Erik Prince talked about them in his recently published book entitled Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror:

Our employees may have been retired from the military, but Blackwater didn’t hire your typical “retiree.” After the eight-week Moyock training programs that turned those veterans into diplomatic security professionals, our final physical fitness test standards required men to run one and a half miles in less than ten minutes, forty-five seconds; execute twelve pull-ups in a row, seventy-five push-ups done in two one-minute sets, and seventy-five sit-ups in two one-minute sets; and drag a 175-pound dummy eighty feet in under one minute

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Now if I could just find a 175-pound dummy…

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking right now. I am certain about one thing though. It’s imperative I get back into shape pronto, not only because doing so allows me to explore prepping more fully as part of these posts, but also because I’m at that age (40-something) where looking after my health needs to be more of a priority than it has been in the past.

Until next time…

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

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Illinois On Pace To Run $5 Billion Deficit

“Gaze upon the Illinois landscape today and things may seem OK. Schools opened last week, the roads are getting repaired, the state fair was held, the University of Illinois begins a new academic year tomorrow, the state government’s even paying its bills.

Enjoy this period of normality. It isn’t going to last much longer…”

-Tom Kacich, reporter/columnist at The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana), August 23, 2015

More bad news about Illinois’ fiscal health. Natasha Korecki reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website Monday:

Illinois is paying its bills – by court mandate — since Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner were unable to reach a budget agreement. Rauner vetoed a Democrat-authored financial plan in June, saying it was out of balance by some $4 billion. The new fiscal year came and went July 1 without a new plan in place. Both sides say they’re willing to negotiate, but remain locked into their positions. Rauner wants a series of changes to benefit businesses and weaken unions in Illinois. Democrats oppose the proposals and say they shouldn’t be attached to a budget…

A recent analysis by Senate Democrats indicates that because of various contracts, decrees and court orders compelling spending, the state had already committed 90 percent of its revenues and was on pace to be $5 billion in the hole

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Kacich added from my old stomping grounds:

In May the Democrats who control the Legislature approved a budget that called for spending about $36.5 billion.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it, calling it “unconstitutional” and “unbalanced.”

You want to see unbalanced?

Even without a constitutional budget in place, the state is still spending money, and eventually it could rise to a level of spending greater than the budget the Democrats sent him in May.

During a Senate hearing last week on an additional appropriation of $373 million for MAP grants for low-income college students — it passed and will go to the House for near-certain approval — Democratic legislators admitted the state is operating at a “spend rate” of 90 percent on a $38 billion budget

Anticipated revenue for the year, meanwhile, is the range of $32 billion, or $33 billion if the economy takes off.

Ugh…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$36.5 billion was the proposed budget. It was vetoed. The state is currently operating at a 90 percent “spend rate” of a $38 billion budget. And anticipated revenue for the year is only $32-$33 billion.

Not good.

Kacich thinks a tax increase, “that may or may not be bigger than the one that was phased out on Jan. 1.,” is headed our way.

I think he’s right about that tax hike. And it’s something Illinoisans may want to take into account concerning their personal finances in the near future.

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

Sources:

Kacich, Tom. “Tom Kacich: Enjoy the calm; the storm is on the way.” The News-Gazette. 23 Aug. 2015. (http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-08-23/tom-kacich-enjoy-calm-storm-way.html). 26 Aug. 2015.

Korecki, Natasha. “Comptroller: Illinois facing ‘severe cash shortage.’ Chicago Sun-Times. 24 Aug. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/903797/comptroller-illinois-facing-severe-cash-shortage). 26 Aug. 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area For September

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related classes from REI this September:

Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass- Level 1, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), September 5, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 5 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), September 12, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 11 spots left
Introduction to Backcountry Skills Class, Blackwell Forest Preserve- McKee Marsh (west suburbs- Warrenville), September 13, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 10 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs- Schaumburg), September 16, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 9 spots left
Preparing for the Unexpected- Outdoor Emergency Basics, Lincoln Park REI (city north- Chicago), September 17, 7:00-8:30 PM, Free, 34 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse (city south- Chicago), September 26, 9AM, to September 27, 6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 4 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Northbrook REI (north suburbs- Northbrook), September 28, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 12 spots left
Preparing for the Unexpected- Outdoor Emergency Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs- Schaumburg), September 30, 7:00-8:30 PM, Free, 25 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

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

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any third-party instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from Survival And Prosperity and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Survival-Related Training Classes In September

There’s a number of survival-related training opportunities scheduled for September at the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills (first blogged about here). From the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page:

Wilderness Survival 101
Saturday, September 12, 2015
1:00pm- 4:00pm

The wilderness survival basics course teaches you the necessary tools and skills needed to get by in the unforeseeable event of a wilderness emergency. By the end of this course you will know what tools and equipment you should never leave your home without, how to prioritize what actions you take to not die in a wilderness survival situation, how to build a survival shelter with nothing more than what will fit into your pocket and much more. Every year hundreds of people die in the wilderness because they don’t know these skills. Don’t become part of that static. Be prepared to survive.

Skills to be covered:
Different types of survival kits and equipment
Wilderness survival priorities
Fire craft 101
Basic shelter construction
Water procurement

$30 per person

Advanced Wilderness Survival Weekend (overnight) WSC-201
Sat, Sep. 19, 2015 8:00am- Sun, Sep. 20, 2015 8:00am

Want to know how to survive in the wilderness? Well this is the ultimate course to learn how. In this class you will learn the techniques necessary to survive in the wilderness and put them to the test in an overnight survival trip. This class is not for the faint of heart or for those afraid to get dirty. This class is the real deal and will happen whatever the weather conditions. Each student is required to bring an approved survival kit along with a 30 deg or colder rated sleeping bag and a change of dry clothing. Also each student will need prior written consent from WSC-101 instructor to attend.

Skills to be covered:
Proper use of a home-made survival kit.
Building primitive survival shelters
Fire craft
Intro to fire by friction
Water collection and purification
Survival tools
Primitive traps
Intro to land Navigation
How to survive the night in the wilderness
Foraging

Class itinerary:
8:00 am – Meet at parking location
8:30 am – Find a place to build a shelter
8:30 – 11:30 Build shelter
11:30 – 12:00 Eat lunch
12:00 – 2:00 Navigate to and collect water
2:00 – 4:00 Collect fire wood, tinder and build a fire without matches or a lighter
4:00 – 5:00 Build water purifier and purify drinking water collected.
5:00 – 6:00 Dinner
6:00 – 9:00 Final touches on shelter and sleeping arrangement
9:00 – 6:00 Campfire and survive the night
6:00 – 8:00 Strike camp and hike to civilization

$199 per person

Fire by Friction 201
Sunday, September 20, 2015
12:00pm- 3:00pm

This is a must have skill for anyone seeking to be self-reliant. This course will teach you not only how to build a fire that will start in just about any weather but how to do it using nothing more than a few pieces of wood and some string. By the end of this course you will understand how to properly prep a fire, making a tinder birds nest and most importantly how to spin out an ember and blow it into a raging fire.

Skills to be covered:
The bow drill kit fundamentals
Collecting fire material
Forming a birds nest
Prepping the fire
Using the kit to spin an ember
Blowing an ember into a flame

$30 per person

For more information and/or to sign up for the above instruction, head on over to the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills website here.

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

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any third-party instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from Survival And Prosperity and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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

Chicago: Prepare For Rising Electric Bills

When looking at Chicago-area properties to purchase in 2013, my girlfriend and I preferred the house we bought be “cheap” to heat and cool as we suspected utility bills would keep getting more expensive.

Luckily, the home we live in “fit the bill” (no pun intended), and just as we predicted, area utility companies keep raising rates.

This morning, I opened up my Sunday paper and spotted the following headline:

“Chicagoans’ electricity costs to rise”

Cythia Dizikes wrote in the Chicago Tribune:

Chicagoans will see a portion of their electricity bills rise in coming years because of new electric grid rules tied to the polar vortex, according to power auction results that were made public Friday.

The auction will increase part of the average ComEd residential customer’s electricity bill in 2018-19 by roughly $82 a year compared with what customers are paying now, and by about $100 a year compared with what they might pay in 2017-18, according to industry experts. The increases per month in the ComEd region are about two to three times greater than what some analysts had been predicting…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Last year, ComEd also made local headlines for higher electric bills. I noted on May 7, 2014:

Local utility and energy delivery company Commonwealth Edison is a major provider of electricity to the Chicago and Northern Illinois region. Residents of these areas served by ComEd could see their electric bills jump in the weeks ahead. Steve Daniels reported on the Crain’s Chicago Business website earlier today:

Commonwealth Edison Co.’s residential rates will rise 20 percent beginning in June as a new charge for electricity reflects rising costs to secure supply during peak-demand periods from power plants.

ComEd’s new energy charge of 7.596 cents per kilowatt-hour, filed yesterday with the Illinois Commerce Commission, is 38 percent higher than the 5.52 cents its customers are paying now…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Next up? Higher heating bills again, I’m guessing.

As I told my girlfriend at lunchtime today, it will be interesting to see how long Chicagoland residents put up with the new fee here, the tax hike there, the higher utility costs around the corner- and the rate at which they come.

The aggregate pain from all these rapid hits to pocketbooks on Main Street and down in the city can’t possibly elicit a pleasant response.

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Dizikes, Cynthia. “Chicago ComEd customers to be charged more for electricity in coming years.” Chicago Tribune. 22 Aug. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/ct-comed-charges-increase-met-20150821-story.html). 23 Aug. 2015.

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

My Thoughts On Chicago’s Financial Crisis

I know I’ve been blogging a lot about Chicago/Cook County/Illinois lately. Which should come as no surprise to regular Survival And Prosperity readers considering I’ve talked about how I was born on the West Side, was raised around that area, and lived on the Northwest Side until I moved to the northwest suburbs two years ago.

Both the Chicagoland area and Illinois have been on my mind a lot recently. I fear we’re on the verge of some major upheaval stemming from decades of fiscal mismanagement by policymakers from both sides of the political aisle (some might think this blog only targets Democrats- over the years I’ve demonstrated everyone’s “fair game”). And by verge, I mean in the coming weeks. Focusing on Chicago today, what might kick it off (regular observers have witnessed the crisis growing for some time now)? I suspect the following. From the Chicago Tribune website back on July 31:

At a news conference this week, the mayor would not rule out a politically unpopular property tax hike, saying he’ll wait to show his hand until September, when he rolls out “a full budget with all parts in there.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A good portion of the coming pain is going to be felt by the Chicago taxpayer. What kind of “pain” am I talking about? That which I’ve been blogging about for a couple of years now- new/higher fees, fines, and taxes, coupled with reduced government services. Last night’s post about potential revenue generators Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council are mulling over (hat tip Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times) should give Chicagoans a better picture of what’s headed their way (a property tax hike and garbage collection fee look likely). Concerning cutbacks in government services, I think that’s already begun. For example, the manpower shortage in the Chicago Police Department (hat tip Second City Cop) that’s existed for some years now. Down the road, I predict the average Chicago taxpayer will find it increasingly difficult to afford living in the city, let alone doing it safely as local government struggles to provide effective, efficient services to constituents.

Now, it’s bad enough Chicago/Cook County/Illinois are in real financial trouble. But then there’s the legitimate concern of a slowing economy/recession being right around the corner, never mind that coming financial crash I started blogging about back on Memorial Day Weekend 2007.

So what’s a Chicago taxpayer to do? This former Chicago resident picked up and left the city limits in 2013. Concerned about future tax and public safety liabilities, my girlfriend and I reluctantly departed our “suburb in the city” and moved into a house in a not-too-far away authentic suburb. Granted, we’ll still be on the hook for county and state problems, but it’s what makes sense for us in the short-term.

As much as I blast Chicago on Survival And Prosperity (“tough love”), I’m not convinced the city’s going to go “belly-up.” I think there’s a good chance it could be run by something similar to the Emergency Financial Control Board in New York City from 1975 until 1986 (talked about here back in April), but even a setback like that won’t be the end of the “City By The Lake,” just like it wasn’t for the “Big Apple.” I do predict city life is going to get real hairy once the “balloon goes up,” but I think that will be the case in a lot of urban areas nationwide.

That’s my two cents on Chicago’s financial crisis- for now. Chicago readers of this blog- what are you planning to do about the crisis? Or, what are you already doing? Maybe you don’t think a crisis exists? Please share your thoughts or experiences in the “Comments” section of this post, as I’d really like to talk more about this going forward.

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

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Source:

Dardick, Hal. “Emanuel needs $754M more to make ends meet.” Chicago Tribune. 31 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-chicago-budget-shortfall-met-0801-20150731-story.html). 21 Aug. 2015.

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

Chicago Taxpayers To Be Hit With Property Tax Hike, Garbage Collection Fee?

Chicagoans- think all the recent talk of new/higher fees, fines, and taxes is garbage?

You’re right, in a way.

I just finished reading some material from Chicago Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman over on that paper’s website.

Chicago taxpayers had better be prepared for their pocketbooks to take a hit in the coming months.

Spielman talked Sunday afternoon about the City’s need for $754 million in new revenue, and the options submitted by City Council to Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help “generate” it. That included:

• Property tax hike
• Garbage collection fee
• Ride-hailing companies (Uber) surcharge
• Congestion fee
• Bicycle license
• Gas tax hike
• Sales tax hike
• City income tax

Which ones stand a good chance of being put into play by City Hall? Spielman wrote:

Ald. Carrie Austin, outspoken chairman of the City Council’s Budget Committee, put Emanuel on the spot during the mayoral campaign when she called a post-election property tax hike inevitable. But she was right — especially now that a Circuit Court judge has overturned Emanuel’s plan to save two of four city employee pension funds.

The only question is, how much will property taxes be going up?

Emanuel has already offered to raise property taxes by $225 million for the Chicago Public Schools, provided teachers accept the equivalent of a 7 percent pay cut and the state reimburses CPS for “normal” pension costs…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In a separate Sun-Times piece from last night, Spielman added:

Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, said it’s no longer an issue of whether Chicago will have a garbage-collection fee. The question is, how much?

“That’s where the real discussion will take place. It will be around the cost, rather than the enablement. We need to see the numbers that show how much we’ll save and how much it would generate,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Property tax hike. Check. Garbage collection fee. Check.

Waiting to see what actually transpires. In the mean time, Chicago taxpayers might want to check out those Spielman articles to get a better idea of what might be in store for them shortly.

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

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Property tax hike, garbage fee, congestion tax all on the table.” Chicago Sun-Times. 16 Aug. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/876236/chicago-budget-revenue-tax-ideas). 20 Aug. 2015.

Spielman, Fran. “Chicago homeowners likely to pay for garbage pickup soon.” Chicago Sun-Times. 19 Aug. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/891070/garbage-collection-fee-looks-likely-chicago-homeowners). 20 Aug. 2015.

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

Survey: Illinois Runner-Up State For ‘Worst Climates For Small Business’

Continuing Tuesday’s discussion about Illinois not being business friendly, I spotted a piece last night on the MarketWatch website entitled, “The best state and city for small business are…” Caitlin Huston reported yesterday afternoon:

The best state for small business owners is Texas and the worst is Rhode Island, according to an annual survey revealed Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by technology marketplace Thumbtack, contends that the friendliest states and towns for small businesses offer easier or non-existent licensing requirements. On a city basis, the report called Manchester, N.H., the best and Hartford, Conn., the worst for small-business climate…

Huston noted that survey responses came from 17,633 small businesses, with most having 5 or fewer employees.

As for Illinois? It’s the state runner-up under the “Worst Climates for Small Business” category, losing out to Rhode Island but ahead of Connecticut, California, and New York, in that order.

From the Thumbtack.com survey web page:

Small business owners gave California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island an “F,” while Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York earned a “D” grade…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Digging deeper into the Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey, the “Land of Lincoln” received an “F” for “ease of starting a business” and “overall friendliness.”

Nice. Real nice. Congratulations Illinois policymakers (not Rauner’s fault)- local and at the state level- on a “job” well done.

Then again, what would one expect from folks (not all of them, to be fair) who have never started/run a business in their lives?

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

Source:

Huston, Caitlin. “The best state and city for small business are…” MarketWatch. 18 Aug. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-best-state-and-city-for-small-business-are-2015-08-18). 19 Aug. 2015.

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

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 Business, Government, Main Street No Comments

Exit Of Illinois Businesses Picking Up Steam?

Illinois companies are leaving the state for more business-friendly environments.

A tale I come across on a regular basis these days, despite all the sustained propaganda to the contrary.

Marissa Bailey reported on the CBS 2 (Chicago) website Monday regarding the situation of Chicago-based Hoist Liftruck, which just announced they’re departing for Indiana:

Gov. Rauner ran his campaign on what he could do to keep small businesses in Illinois. On Monday, he was begging small businesses to stay in the state.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey talked with a business owner who is leaving Illinois for a better deal.

Its 300 employees — most in a trade – work hard in a warehouse the size of two city blocks. But it’s the company’s home for only a few more months.

“I think if anyone looks at the numbers, they would make the same decision I did,” President and CEO Marty Flaska says.

He’s moving his company to East Chicago, Ind. early next year. Flaska says being a manufacturer in Illinois just got too hard. His biggest reasons involve the worker’s compensation system here, the cost of property taxes and lastly, he says, “the uncertainty about income tax in the state and where it may go.”

Flaska estimates that by moving he can save $6 million upfront and $2 million each additional year, thanks to property incentives, state grants and tax cuts in Indiana…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Chicago Business Bailing On Illinois”
CBS 2 Video

On the heels of that Hoist Liftruck announcement, Bob Adelmann added over at The New American magazine website:

On Thursday, Hoist Liftruck’s announcement that it was moving more than 500 manufacturing jobs to Indiana was just the latest in a long and almost fevered list of other companies seeking to escape Illinois’ outrageous workers compensation costs and high taxes.

On July 14 machine-maker DE-STA-CO said it was moving 100 jobs to Tennessee. The next day energy processor Bunge North America said it was shutting down its plant in Bradley, Illinois, and laying off 210 workers. The day after that General Mills pulled the plug on its manufacturing plant in West Chicago, terminating 500 workers.

A week later Mitsubishi Motors announced it was closing its production facilities that made its Outlander, ending 918 jobs there, even though there was the threat it would have to return some of the $9 million Illinois paid to get them to move there a few years ago.

Five days after that Mondelez (makers of Oreos and Chips Ahoy) said it was laying off 600 manufacturing jobs at its Chicago South Side facilities.

On August 12 Kraft Heinz, within weeks of their merger, announced its goal of saving $1.5 billion by the end of 2017. First to go were 700 jobs at Kraft’s Northfield facility. The very next day Motorola Mobility announced it was cutting its workforce in Chicago by 25 percent, eliminating another 500 jobs…

Adelmann also noted:

Chief Executive Magazine’s “2014 Best and Worst States for Business” report ranked Illinois 48th out of 50…

I dug up the most recent edition of that same report. The results of Chief Executive’s 11th annual survey have Illinois ranked again as the 48th “worst state for business” in 2015, following New York and absolute “worst state” California.

California, New York, and Illinois. What could those three possibly have in common that might account for such low marks?

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

Sources:

Bailey, Marissa. “For One Chicago Business, Illinois Became Too Inhospitable.” CBS 2. 17 Aug. 2015. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/08/17/for-one-chicago-business-illinois-became-too-inhospitable/). 18 Aug. 2015.

Adelmann, Bob. “Trickle of Companies Leaving Illinois Turning Into a Flood.” The New American. 14 Aug. 2015. (http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/sectors/item/21405-trickle-of-companies-leaving-illinois-turning-into-a-flood). 18 Aug. 2015.

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

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 Business, Government, Income, Taxes No Comments

NW Indiana Self Reliance And Preparedness Expo In Schererville On August 29

I thought some Chicago-area prepper show was going on at the end of August. And when I headed over to the Prepper Shows USA website earlier today, I spotted this:

2015 NW Indiana Prepares

Banquets at St. George
Schererville, Indiana
August 29-August 29

FREE to attend!

A variety of preparedness and sustainable living vendors and educational presentations are planned. There will be skill building opportunities, exhibits and food available for purchase

Time 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM…

I headed over to the web page listed for more information (belongs to Live Free, USA, billed as “one of the oldest and most respected survival/self-reliance advocacy organizations in the world”) and saw the following:

2015 NW Indiana Prepares!
Self Reliance and Preparedness Expo
Fun and informative for the whole family!

Alternative Energy Exhibits, Hands On Projects, Food Storage & Preservation Workshops, Raising Poultry & Small Game Forum, Home Defense Presentations, Herbal Health Alternatives, Aquaponics, and More!

FREE ADMISSION & PARKING

Head on over to that event web page here more information, including a schedule of events and a description of presentations/vendors.

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

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

Project Prepper, Part 36: New Gear For Around The Property

Getting back on track with the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I want to talk about some new gear I’ve picked up. As a somewhat-new homeowner, I understand there will be times when I’m forced to investigate God-knows-what around the property, day or night. And as my girlfriend and I have come to discover, we have quite the wildlife refuge going on outside our house. As such, I’ve acquired some items in case an encounter with a four-legged (or two-legged) creature isn’t exactly a “pleasant” one:

Outdoor Security Final

Maglite S6D015 6-D Cell Flashlight (Amazon.com, $24.88)

Some specs compiled from Amazon.com:

• 163 lumen Krypton 6-cell bulb
• 19.5 x 2.9 x 2.8 inches
• 2.8 pounds
• Machined aluminum
• Self-cleaning rotary switch, 3 position, On, Off and Signal (manual momentary on-off)
• Spare lamp safely secured in tailcap
• O-ring sealed for water resistance
• 1/2 turn, cam action focus, spot-to-flood

A favorite among old school cops/security guards. After popping 6 D cell batteries into the flashlight and wielding it for the first time, I now understand why. This 19.5-inch machined aluminum device is a beast, and bright to boot. No creature (two- or four-legged) in their right mind would want to mess with this thing.

I also picked up an accessory pack (Amazon.com, $8.68) for the flashlight, and have already affixed the terrific anti-roll device.

Tact Gear Tactical Vest (Sportsman’s Guide, $26.99 with member discount)

From the Sportsman’s Guide website:

16 pockets for mags, radios, flashlights, pepper spray and more.
Rugged 8 1/2-oz. 60/40 Poly / Cotton blend with DuPont™ Teflon® fabric protection
Concealed crossover backup gun pocket with VELCRO® brand closure
Brass zip front
Brass D-ring
Badge tab.

I don’t know if it’s possible to ever run out of pockets with this vest. I’ve treated it with water repellant and have it hanging in a coat closet for fast, easy access. The last two items are contained in the vest.

Mace Brand Pepper Spray Police Strength 10% Pepper Foam (Amazon.com, $14.19)

From Amazon.com:

• Compact yet powerful model is a convenient size for carrying.
• Flip Top Safety Cap
• 10% Foam Spray
• Contains UV Dye for marking assailants for easy identification

I bought a two-pack of Mace Pepper Foam some time ago for potential use indoors (supposed to reduce chance of area contamination). This is one of those canisters. Since the device may have to be deployed in close quarters, I’m sticking with the pepper foam outdoors for now.

Enlan Bee M024A Folding Knife (Ebay, $10.61)

From vendor hellogiftshop’s web page:

Producer: Enlan Cutlery Co.,Ltd
Model: M024A
Blade: 8Cr13MoV (58HRC) stainless steel
Handle: Aluminium+ Stainless Steel; Money clip
Size:
Whole length: ~170mm(6.7″);
Blade’s length: ~71mm(2.8″);
Closed Length: ~100mm(3.94″)
Liner Lock
Net Weight: ~99g

I was on the look out for a good-yet-inexpensive knockaround folding knife that wasn’t “scary” for these parts to keep in the vest. I’d heard decent things about Enlan Cutlery out of China, and came across model M024A (drop point, dual thumb studs, liner lock, realistic-looking wood grain, legal in municipality/Cook County/Illinois) for a measly $10 and change. Like every other piece of gear I talked about in this post, I still have to put my Enlan knife to the test. However, my first impressions of the folder are positive. I would have preferred to buy American here, but was unable to tick all the required boxes.

More next time…

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

(Editor’s note: Items added to “Gear And Supplies” page)

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

Chicago Averages 1,492 More Property Crimes In Summer Months Than Any Other Month Of The Year

I happened to catch the following from Elana Dure in my Sunday paper the other week. She wrote in the Chicago Tribune on August 2:

Summer vacations may be fun, but they can also be costly if you aren’t careful about leaving your home protected.

In Chicago, June, July, and August have an average of 1,492 more property crimes than any other month of the year, according to a Chicago Tribune crime report.

People are more active during the summer, and houses stand empty more frequently, making them greater targets for burglars…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Considering The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting above-average warmth for the area in September and October, I wonder if there also won’t be an uptick in property crimes for those months as Chicagoans are out enjoying themselves as much as they can after two years in a row with long, miserable winters.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 Crime, Security, Weather No Comments

Chicago Public Schools Budget: Property Taxes Hiked To The Max

“Property tax hikes.” Something Chicagoans better get used to hearing in the coming years. Hal Dardick, Heather Gillers, and Juan Perez, Jr., reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Chicago Public Schools unveiled a budget Monday meant to pressure Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers into providing nearly a half-billion dollars in pension relief, a gambit school officials warn will bring painful cuts if help doesn’t arrive by Jan. 1.

In addition to help from the state, the $5.7 billion operating budget relies on extensive borrowing, an influx of tens of millions in dollars in surpluses from special city taxing districts and an increase of the district’s property tax

To help patch over a budget gap the district said exceeds $1.1 billion, CPS will raise its property taxes to the maximum amount allowable — resulting in a $19 tax bill bump for the owner of a $250,000 home, the district said — while pushing $200 million in debt into the future…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$19 here, a few bucks there, and pretty soon all these “bumps” start to add up, leading to mass frustration among Chicago taxpayers. And’s this particular increase isn’t a one-off either. From the Tribune piece:

And if Springfield does comes through — which is far from a sure thing — [Chicago schools chief Forrest] Claypool said the district would still need concessions from unions and larger tax hikes in years to come to keep up with the cost of ballooning pension payments…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Like I said, “mass frustration.”

At what point does it all boil over?

Chicago taxpayers should probably read this article in its entirety to get a clearer picture of what looks to be in store for their pocketbooks in the near future and farther down the road. You can find the piece on the Tribune website here.

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

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

Chicago-Area Expressway Shootings Jump

I thought there was an uptick in the number of local expressway shootings lately. Frank Main reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday:

Expressway shootings have become a major problem. They not only threaten the lives of motorists, but they have also caused frequent traffic jams as police shut down the expressways to investigate them.

In 2010, there were six shootings on Chicago-area expressways.

Last year, there were 18.

And so far this year, there have been 25

In the past two years, one person was killed and 23 people were wounded in the shootings, according to the Illinois State Police.

Most of the shootings don’t appear to stem from road rage, said Sgt. Clare Pfotenhauer, a spokeswoman for the state police. Usually, they involve gang conflicts, she said.

A law enforcement source said gang members follow their targets onto the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower expressways because they believe it’s easier to get away from police on the expressways than on neighborhood streets…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve logged a lot of hours on the Eisenhower over the years. Back in the late nineties, I was heading east on I-290 into the city when I noticed my girlfriend at the time was staring out the front passenger window at other vehicles. Just then what appeared to be a car full of gangbangers pulled up alongside of us. By the look on their faces, they weren’t too happy being stared at by some far west suburban white girl. Nothing came of the incident. However, living off the West Side at this time, I knew better than to stare at other vehicles and their occupants on certain stretches of Chicagoland roadway lest they consider “popping a cap in my ass” (a couple of years earlier while driving on I-43 in downtown Milwaukee I already had a handgun flashed at me), and gladly shared such concerns with this young lady later that day.

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

Source:

Main, Frank. “As Chicago expressway shootings soar, state police crack down.” Chicago Sun-Times. 9 Aug. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/lynn-sweet-politics/7/71/864981/trumps-blood-feud-deviants-think-hes-wrong). 10 Aug. 2015.

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

Monday, August 10th, 2015 Crime, Public Safety, Transportation, Vehicles No Comments


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

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

Please Rate this Blog HERE

Limited Time Offers

Via Banner Ads Below (navigate to vendor home page if necessary); Updated 8/26/15:
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>BUDK Warehouse Blowout Sale Up To 70% Off
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>CHIEF Supply Entire Order Ships Free With Any 5.11 Purchase Thru 8/31
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Pyramyd Air Get 20% Cash Back On All Purchases 8/15/15-8/31/15 If It Rains 9/12/15; Used Air Guns Up To 35% Off Retail
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Airsoft Megastore Free Shipping On All Orders (no code required)
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>BulletSafe Bulletproof Baseball Cap $119 Pre-Order Price; Bulletproof Backpack Panel $99
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Food Insurance Bonus Bucks Are Back!; Save Up To 43% On Freeze-Dried Seasoned Ground Turkey Pieces
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Nitro-Pak All Camping Food Pouches 15% Off; Pork Chops Pieces $68; Clearance Sale Up To 70% Off
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Tractor Supply Co. Free UPS Ship To Store
NEW! Advertising Disclosure HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Buy Gold And Silver Coins BGASC Review Coming Soon
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Free UPS ship to store on all Tractor Supply Company orders! Shop now! Tractor Supply Co. Review Coming Soon
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Nitro-Pak--The Emergency Preparedness Leader Nitro-Pak Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
MyPatriotSupply.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Food Insurance Reviewed HERE
BullionVault BullionVault.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
CHIEF Supply Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BulletSafe Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BUDK bowie knife BUDK Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Pyramyd Air is your one-stop shop for everything airgun related. PyramydAir.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Airsoft Megastore Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Survival Titles Save 20% Paladin Press Reviewed HERE
 

Categories

Archives

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

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

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

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

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

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