Illinois

Illinois Governor Talks Taxes In Budget Address

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) gave his third budget speech on Wednesday, saying the following regarding taxes:

As for revenue, we’ve always said that we’d consider revenue if it comes with changes that create jobs and grow the economy.

The current Senate proposal calls for a permanent increase in the income tax rate but offers only a temporary property tax freeze in exchange. That’s just not fair to hard-working taxpayers across the state.

We need a permanent property tax freeze in Illinois, just like the one the House passed last month. Over time, as our economy grows and revenues expand, any increase in the income tax could be stepped down – dedicating future surpluses to taxpayers, not more government spending.

The current Senate proposal would expand the state’s sales tax to cover everyday services, and raise taxes on food and drugs. We’re open to a broader sales tax base to mirror neighboring states like Wisconsin, but let’s make sure it’s best for the people of Illinois, not for the lobbyists in Springfield. We cannot raise taxes on people’s groceries and medicine – just as we cannot tax people’s retirement incomes. We can find a way to balance the budget without hurting lower-income families and fixed-income seniors…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In short, Governor Rauner appears to be open to raising the state income tax rate as long as a permanent property tax freeze is implemented. Furthermore, Rauner looks to be open to expanding the state sales tax to various services, but is against raising taxes on food, medicine, and retirement income.

You can read the entire budget address on the Illinois Government News Network website here.

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

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Second City Cop Blog Breaks Down Chicago Violence

“11 people have been killed and 11 wounded in shootings over a 48-hour period in Chicago from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday morning, Chicago police said…”

-ABC7 Chicago website Thursday afternoon

In the wake of a bunch of kids getting shot and killed in Chicago the last couple of days, the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop explained very simply why the city is a shooting gallery. “SCC” wrote early Wednesday morning:

Gun laws go unenforced… Offenders are routinely released or sentenced to minimal time, so there’s nothing to fear from the judicial side of things- no consequences. No one in the “community” is willing to step up. Shame doesn’t work, appealing to a higher morality doesn’t work, humiliation doesn’t work…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Consider the following findings of a recently-released University of Chicago Crime Lab report entitled Gun Violence In Chicago, 2016 (blogged about here):

Individuals arrested for a homicide or shooting in Chicago in 2016 and 2015 had similar prior criminal records: around 90 percent had at least one prior arrest, approximately 50 percent had a prior arrest for a violent crime specifically, and almost 40 percent had a prior gun arrest. The average person arrested for a homicide or shooting in both years had nearly 12 prior arrests, with almost 45 percent having had more than 10 prior arrests, and almost 20 percent having had more than 20 prior arrests

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

SCC went on to add:

We guess it’s time to blame the police again…

And the Second Amendment. The NRA. Republicans. Trump. Bush. And on and on and on.

Yep. If there’s one thing “The Machine” has been good at, it’s directing Chicagoans’ attention away from the “unpleasant”…

“Hey you! Don’t watch that. Watch this!

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

Sources:

“11 Killed, 11 Wounded In 48 Hours In Chicago Shootings.” ABC7. 16 Feb. 2017. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/11-killed-11-wounded-in-48-hours-in-chicago-shootings/1757827/). 16 Feb. 2017.

SCC. “Two? Seriously, TWO?” Second City Cop. 15 Feb. 2017. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2017/02/two-seriously-two.html). 17 Feb. 2017.

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Illinois Governor Proposing To Fund, Assign More State Troopers To Patrol Chicago’s Expressways

Chicago-area expressway shootings routinely make the local news these days.

In 2016, 51 shooting incidents took place on Chicagoland expressways. After 37 in 2015. And 19 the year before.

And according to reports, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) will be proposing a plan tomorrow to combat this violence.

Michael Sneed reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last Friday:

Sneed has learned Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to wade into the nightmare of Chicago’s street violence in his state budget address in Springfield on Wednesday by proposing a plan to send more state troopers to Chicago.

Translation: Sneed is told the governor, who is involved in a contentious budget battle, will propose funding for two Illinois State Police classes for 200 cadets over the next two years– which would help deal with the violence spilling from the streets onto the expressways…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Associated Press has confirmed Sneed’s story. From an AP piece on the FOX News website today:

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will propose that the state pay to add hundreds of state troopers to combat the growing number of shooting incidents on Chicago area expressways.

Rauner’s office confirmed a Chicago Sun-Times report that during his Wednesday budget speech he will push for funding for 200 more state police cadets over the next two years…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regrettably, even if Governor Rauner is successful in securing funds for additional troopers, it could be several months before this Chicagoland expressway “surge” takes place.

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

Sources:

Sneed, Michael. “Rauner’s Chicago violence plan- more state police.” Chicago Sun-Times. 10 Feb. 2017. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/sneed-exclusive-rauners-chicago-violence-plan-more-state-police/). 14 Feb. 2017.

Associated Press. “Illinois governor to propose more state troopers to patrol Chicago area expressways in wake of shootings.” FOX News. 14 Feb. 2017. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/14/illinois-governor-to-propose-more-state-troopers-to-patrol-chicago-area-expressways-in-wake-shootings.html). 14 Feb. 2017.

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 Crime, Government, Public Safety No Comments

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Chicago Metro Area 83rd ‘Best Place To Live’

From a U.S. News & World Report press release on February 7:

U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, today unveiled the 2017 Best Places to Live in the United States. The new list ranks the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Predictably, the Chicago metro area made the list.

Somewhat surprising is how far down it was:

Chicago, IL
#83 in Best Places to Live
6.1 Overall Score
5.9 Quality of Life
6.1 Value

Scores are out of a possible 10.

Nearby metropolitan areas that ranked higher than the “Second City” included:

#18 Madison, Wisconsin
#19 Grand Rapids, Michigan
#47 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#55 Indianapolis, Indianapolis

According to the press release:

The 2017 Best Places to Live were determined in part by a public survey of thousands of individuals across the U.S. to find out what qualities they consider important in a home town. The methodology also factors in data from the United States Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals…

You can see the full rankings list here on the U.S. News website.

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

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 Employment, Housing No Comments

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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ABC7 News Investigation: ‘Chicago Is A Crossroads Of Home-Grown Terrorists’

Friday night, Chuck Goudie of Chicago’s ABC7 News reported the following concerning an I-Team investigation into home-grown jihadists. From the TV station’s website:

Two new investigations of American terrorists portray a chilling image of terrorists living in our midst, and concentrated in the Midwest.

Targeting the jihadist next door in the Midwest would have to become a priority according to new data compiled by House Homeland Security investigators. They lay out an “unprecedented spike in the homegrown terror threat, primarily driven by the rise of ISIS.” That, along with a new University of Chicago report on the American face of ISIS, paint a frightening picture of the threat growing among us.

First for Al Qaeda and now for ISIS, Chicago is a crossroads of home-grown terrorists.

According to new findings by the House Homeland Security Committee, the tentacles of terror cases in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin since early 2016 touch Chicago

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Researchers Say American Terror Threat Is Home-Grown”
ABC7 News Video

Besides home-grown jihadists, in May 2015 a threat attributed to the Islamic State posted on anonymous message board JustPasteIt claimed the following:

We have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire. Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday. We are increasing in number bithnillah. Of the 15 states, 5 we will name… Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Bithnillah” (“bi’ithnillah”) can be translated as meaning “with the permission of Allah.” The post was signed “Abu Ibrahim Al Ameriki,” a U.S.-born terrorist with the group.

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

Source:

Goudie, Chuck. “Researchers Say American Terror Threat Is Home-Grown.” ABC7 News. 10 Feb. 2017. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/researchers-say-american-terror-threat-is-home-grown/1748712/). 12 Feb. 2017.

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Monday, February 13th, 2017 Government, Public Safety, Religion, War No Comments

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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Blacksmith Classes Offered In Lisle, Illinois, This Spring

Concerned that life could get downright “medieval” around these parts some day? From the website of the Lisle Park District (Lisle’s a west suburb of Chicago):

Blacksmith Classes

The Museums at Lisle Station Park host several blacksmith classes throughout the year… All classes are at the Blacksmith Shop, 921 School Street in Lisle. The blacksmith shop barn once stood in Wisconsin and is a fully-functioning blacksmith shop. The 19th century building was disassembled, shipped and reassembled on our grounds. This historical building is where volunteers teach the art of blacksmithing throughout the year…

Here’s the instruction that’s being offered in March. From the park district site:

Basic Elements of Blacksmithing I

Location: Blacksmith Shop- 921 School Street, Lisle
Learn the processes of upsetting, drawing a taper, fullering, twisting and scrolling in our Blacksmith Shop. Bring home your own handmade project from this 3 hour class!

From what’s displayed on the web page, the instruction (once again, consisting of 3 hours total) will be offered for those ages 18 and up on two different dates- Tuesday, March 7, 2017, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, or Thursday, March 9, 2017, also from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

Cost is $40 resident/$50 non-resident.


Lisle Park District Blacksmith Shop
YouTube Video

Additional blacksmith classes offered later in the spring include Basic Elements of Blacksmithing II in April and Basic Elements of Blacksmithing III in May.

For more information on this blacksmith instruction and/or to enroll, visit the Lisle Park District website here.

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

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Friday, February 10th, 2017 Preparedness, Training No Comments

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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86,000 Illinois Residents Escaped To Wisconsin From 2006 To 2015

Any Chicagoland readers remember that major Wisconsin tourism push years ago which suggested Illinois residents “Escape To Wisconsin”?

Apparently, tens of thousands of Illinoisans took them up on that offer.

And never returned.

The “Illinois Diaspora” continues.

From the website of the Illinois Policy Institute, a Chicago-based non-partisan research organization that works “to make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation,” on February 2:

Illinois suffered a net loss of more than 11,000 people to Wisconsin in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the equivalent of more than 31 Illinoisans becoming Wisconsinites on a daily basis.

Illinoisans have routinely relocated to the Badger State over the past decade. During the 10-year period from 2006 through 2015, Illinois lost almost 86,000 people on net to Wisconsin. That’s an average net loss of nearly 9,000 people per year and almost 24 per day.

Illinois’ population losses aren’t the norm in the Midwest. In fact, the Land of Lincoln is the only state in the region with a shrinking population, and half of the Illinoisans who left in 2015 relocated to other Midwestern states

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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?

Madelyn Harwood offered up an informative comparison between the two Midwestern states in support of her statement that “It’s easy to see why Wisconsin is an attractive alternative to Illinois.”

Head on over to the Illinois Policy Institute website here to read the entire piece.

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

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 Demographics, Population No Comments
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