local government

Size Of Cook County Sales Tax Hike Necessary?

No surprise here. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle persuaded just enough commissioners to approve a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase Wednesday — the culmination of a major political about-face, but a move she said was needed to bail out the county worker pension system.

Following weeks of one-on-one lobbying sessions by Preckwinkle, nine of the 17 commissioners voted to raise the county share of the sales tax to 1.75 percent. Add up the state, city and public transit portions, and the total sales tax rate in Chicago once again will hit 10.25 percent — one of the highest rates in the nation

Preckwinkle first rose to power in 2010 on a campaign pledge of repealing what remained of an identical sales tax increase under predecessor Todd Stroger…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Opponents of the sales tax hike claim the County didn’t perform enough belt-tightening before approving the measure. County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (10th District) penned on the Tribune website on July 1:

Don’t get me wrong, the county has a serious budget and pension cost gap, predicted to be $479 million. The proposed 1 percentage point increase in the sales tax would raise some $474 million annually.

But $130 million of the deficit goes away with pension reform. An additional $50 million in savings has already been identified by the budget staff. Yet another $50 million is in reach if we are finally willing to consolidate our redundant taxing bodies and duplicative services…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Back on December 5, 2013, I pointed out Illinois has the most units of local government of any state in the country at 6,963 local governments (U.S. Census Bureau).

It’s been reported Cook County is home to 1,300 of these taxing agencies alone.

The sales tax hike goes into effect starting January 1, 2016.

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

Sources:

Dardick, Hal. “Cook County Board votes to raise sales tax.” Chicago Tribune. 15 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-cook-county-sales-tax-increase-met-0716-20150715-story.html#page=1). 16 July 2015.

Gainer, Bridget. “Commentary: Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer: I won’t vote for a sales tax hike.” Chicago Tribune. 1 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-cook-county-tax-preckwinkle-gainer-perspec-0702-jm-20150701-story.html). 16 July 2015.

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

Latest On Chicago’s ‘Routine Military Training Exercise’ Over The Next Week

This Monday, I blogged about Chicago hosting a “routine military training exercise” over the next two weeks.

Here’s the latest on the event, per the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications website earlier today:

The City of Chicago is providing continued support for a routine military training exercise in and around the Chicagoland area over the next week. This routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments overseas, as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming deployments worldwide.

As part of this training, residents can expect to see increased aircraft activity, including helicopter flights. All training activities have been pre-coordinated with federal, state and city officials, and these locations have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents.

The training is not open to the public and the sites will be secured to ensure the safety of residents and the participants.

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

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 Government, Military, Training No Comments

Chicago Hosting ‘Routine Military Training Exercise’ Over Next 2 Weeks

As posted on the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications website before the weekend:

The City of Chicago is providing support for a routine military training exercise in and around the Chicagoland area over the next two weeks. This routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments overseas, as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming deployments worldwide.

All training activities have been pre-coordinated with federal, state and city officials, and these locations have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents.

The training is not open to the public and the sites will be secured to ensure the safety of residents and the participants.”

The Chicago area is no stranger to these “routine military training exercises.” I’ve blogged about such events in 2012 (April) and twice in 2013 (April and July).


“Military helicopters flying low over Chicago River”
YouTube Video

I wrote back on April 16, 2012:

Now, I’ve heard the U.S. military has been busy developing its urban warfare training program for some time already. Spencer Ackerman wrote in the Wired.com blog Danger Room back on January 18, 2011:

American soldiers spent seven years patrolling the urban neighborhoods of Iraq; its troops battled insurgents there block-by-block and house-by-house. Now that the Army is getting out of Iraq, it wants to make sure its urban combat skills don’t wither away. So it today it gave Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $287 million to build Urban Operations Training Systems — essentially, giant simulation facilities and modules to help soldiers get ready for life in the big, bad city.

Versions of those training systems can be as simple as shipping containers tricked out to resemble multi-story houses and arranged in village formations, so soldiers can practice how to seize a building without causing needless damage. The Army’s got an entire 1000-acre facility in Indiana it uses to train soldiers in urban combat.

As for the Marines? From the CBS Channel 2 (Los Angeles) website on January 25, 2011:

A 1,560-building mock city has risen in the Southern California desert.

The $170 million Marine Corps urban training center at the Twentynine Palms military base, some 130 miles northeast of Los Angeles, is roughly the size of San Diego.

The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center facility uses mock cities and role players to prepare Marines and sailors for urban terrain missions.

If our armed forces already have such resources, what’s with the urban warfare training in American cities then?

The question still stands today…

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

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

Monday, July 13th, 2015 Government, Military, Training, War No Comments

S&P Cuts Chicago’s Credit Rating Twice In Less Than 2 Months

Surprise, surprise. The City of Chicago’s credit rating was lowered yet again.

This time, it’s Standard & Poor’s that did the cutting.

Karen Pierog and Tanvi Mehta reported on the Reuters website last night:

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut Chicago’s credit rating one notch to BBB-plus with a negative outlook on Wednesday, citing the windy city’s nagging structural budget deficit and the lack of a plan to close it.

S&P analyst John Kenward said the U.S.’ third-largest city needs “a credible, public, detailed plan” to deal with budget gaps projected to grow to $588 million in fiscal 2017, largely due to escalating contributions to its police and fire fighter retirement funds.

S&P also warned Chicago’s general obligation bond rating may fall further if a credible plan does not surface within six months…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the S&P website, “BBB” indicates:

Adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

It was less than two months ago that Standard & Poor’s last downgraded the City of Chicago’s credit rating. I blogged on May 17:

Standard & Poor’s joined in on the downgrade parade later in the week. From a press release Friday:

Chicago, IL GO Bond Ratings Lowered To #A-# From #A+#, Placed On CreditWatch Due To Short-Term Liquidity Pressure
CHICAGO–15 May–Standard & Poor’s

CHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) May 14, 2015–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its rating to ‘A-‘ from ‘A+’ on the city of Chicago’s outstanding general obligation (GO) bonds, and placed the ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications…

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Mehta, Tanvi and Pierog, Karen. “UPDATE 1-S&P downgrades Chicago’s GO bond rating to BBB-plus.” Reuters. 8 July 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/08/usa-chicago-sp-idUSL3N0ZO60H20150708). 9 July 2015.

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

64 Shot, 10 Killed In Chicago Over Fourth Of July Weekend

It was another violent Independence Day weekend in the city of Chicago. Peter Nickeas reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Shootings over the long Fourth of July weekend left 10 people dead and 54 others wounded.

Among those killed was a 7-year-old boy shot in the chest during an attack aimed at his father, according to police…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Chicago Sun-Times added this morning on their website:

Police said Sunday the bullet that fatally wounded 7-year-old Amari Brown on the Fourth of July was meant for his father…

The boy’s father, Antonio Brown, is a ranking gang member with 45 previous arrests and was not cooperating with police as of Sunday afternoon as they tried to find his son’s killer, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported…

According to a Chicago Crime Commission publication from 2012, there are an estimated 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area with a membership of between 68,000 to over 150,000.

Nickeas added later on his piece:

Shootings last year, over an 84-hour period, left 82 people shot, 16 fatally…

While some may try to tout this “improvement” from 2014, this year’s carnage is still staggering, particularly as Chicago has strict gun “control” laws on its books.

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

Sources:

Nickeas, Peter. “10 killed, 54 wounded in gun violence over Fourth of July weekend in Chicago.” Chicago Tribune. 6 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-violence-20150706-story.html). 6 July 2015.

“Nine dead, 53 injured in Fourth of July weekend shootings.” Chicago Sun-Times. 6 July 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/7/71/742607/police-3-dead-3-wounded-holiday-weekend-shootings-since-thursday-evening). 6 July 2015.

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

Cook County Sales Tax Hike Coming?

Cook County, Illinois, could soon have one of the highest sales tax rates in the country (again). The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board wrote on the paper’s website this evening:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is weighing the idea of imposing a penny-on-the-dollar increase in the local sales tax to balance the county’s books…

Preckwinkle is lobbying Cook County Board members to raise the county’s portion of the sales tax by 1 percentage point, which would push Chicago’s tax rate to 10.25 percent, among the highest in the nation

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This should come as no surprise to regular readers of Survival And Prosperity. I blogged back on April 10 of last year:

For a while now (last time being earlier this week), I told my girlfriend we were lucky to have escaped the fiscal debacle and revenue grab going on in the city of Chicago.At the same time, I pointed out that as Cook County residents we’re still on the hook for the same type of nonsense.

Brian Slodysko reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday afternoon:

Hoping to ward off another credit rating downgrade, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Wednesday that she will soon present a plan to reform the county’s underfunded pension system.

And she’s leaving the door open to hiking property, sales and other taxes.

When asked repeatedly about the possibility of tax increases, Preckwinkle responded: “We’re looking at all the options. Everything is on the table.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the local press, it’s the sales tax hike Preckwinkle’s now pushing.

And considering Cook County’s fiscal challenges, it shouldn’t surprise blog readers to hear of hikes on “property… and other taxes” down the road.

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

Source:

Editorial Board. “Editorial: Watch out for the Toni Tax.” Chicago Tribune. 23 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-tonitax-0624-20150623-story.html). 23 June 2015.

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

Chicago Tribune: ‘Chicagoans Should Consider A Modest Property Tax Increase Inevitable’

Coming on the heels of last Thursday’s post and an earlier one about Chicago-area property/other taxes was an article by Chicago Tribune business columnist Melissa Harris entitled “Chicago isn’t Detroit- and it’s not going bankrupt.”

In the June 20 piece, Harris attempted to argue exactly what the title says (critics are panning it as “Machine”/union propaganda). But what interested me were statements like this:

More revenue will be required soon, most likely in the form of a property tax increase.

Not only is Chicago’s property tax rate lower than those in many suburbs, Chicago’s effective property tax rate ranked 49th out of the 50 largest cities in each state, according to 2009 U.S. Census data…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And this:

Chicagoans should consider a modest property tax increase inevitable, though how much of an increase it will be could be affected by Moody’s decision, which made it more expensive for Chicago to borrow money…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If one believes claims the Chicago news media routinely carries Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s water, increased tax hike chatter and growing comparisons of the city to other municipalities by the local press could be sending a strong signal to Chicagoans that they’ll be required to bust out their wallets shortly.

You can read the rest of that column on the Chicago Tribune website here (registration required)

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

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

Property Tax Blues For Chicago, North Suburban Homeowners

While Chicagoland was preoccupied with the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory parade Thursday, the Cook County Clerk’s office released the following:

Cook County Clerk David Orr released the 2014 property tax rates for the county’s more than 1,400 taxing agencies on Thursday, the final step in the tax process before bills are mailed out. The average homeowner in the city of Chicago and the northern suburbs will see their tax bill increase slightly, while the average homeowner in the southern suburbs will see a slight reduction in their tax bill.

In the south suburbs residential tax bills will on average be 1.0 percent lower. In north suburbs there will be an average increase of 2.4 percent, and most Chicago homeowners can expect an increase in their bill of 2.8 percent.

For the average single family home, this will translate to a decrease of $51.33 for south suburban homeowners, an increase of $155.49 for north suburban homeowners, and a property tax bill that is $89.44 higher than last year’s for Chicago homeowners…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By the way, that $89 plus change property tax increase is based on an “average home with market value of $199,000″ in Chicago. Good luck finding a decent-sized family home that cheap in my old neighborhood on the northwest side of the city.

That being said, even a low three figure dollar increase in property taxes would likely be welcomed around my old stomping grounds compared to what could be coming down the line. John Byrne reported on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon:

The threat of much steeper property tax hikes looms in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to find enough money to make police and fire pension payments set to balloon next year, and CPS faces a $1 billion budget hole driven by pension shortfalls of its own…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire press release on the Cook County Clerk’s website here.

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

Source:

Byrne, John. “Chicago property taxes to rise $90 on average.” Chicago Tribune. 18 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-cook-county-property-tax-rates-met-0619-20150618-story.html). 18 June 2015.

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

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 Education, Entitlements, Government, Housing, Taxes No Comments

Niles, Illinois, Gun Range Saga Not Over?

Speaking of Cook County, there’s good and (possibly) bad news regarding that proposed gun range/shop in northwest suburban Niles, Illinois. While a Circuit Court of Cook County judge just dismissed that well-publicized lawsuit from the gun “control” crowd, more legal action appears forthcoming. Lee V. Gaines reported on the Chicago Tribune website on June 11:

Skokie-based gun control advocacy group plans to file an amended lawsuit against the village of Niles and the owner of a gun shop and range in what has been a nearly year-long attempt to prevent the facility from being built within one mile of five schools.

Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Franklin Ulyses Valderrama granted the village’s attorneys’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit at a hearing Thursday afternoon at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago.

But Valderrama dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning that the advocacy group, People for a Safer Society, has the opportunity to file an amended suit addressing several issues outlined in Valderrama’s written ruling, said the attorney for the group, Tony Hind…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve been following status of the proposed Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy (gun shop and range) at 6143 Howard Street for some time now. Here’s hoping for a favorable outcome on behalf of the Village of Niles and 6143 Howard Partners Inc.

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

Source:

Gaines, Lee V. “Lawsuit over proposed gun range in Niles dismissed.” Chicago Tribune. 11 June 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/niles/news/ct-nhs-gun-range-hearing-tl-0618-20150611-story.html). 17 June 2015.

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

Moody’s Downgrades Cook County’s Credit Rating, Issues Negative Outlook

The following is kind of stale, but the local press didn’t really publicize it and Cook County residents are entitled to know the financial health of the local government unit in these uncertain times. The Global Credit Research division of Moody’s announced on their website back on June 5:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Cook County, IL’s GO to A2 from A1; outlook negative

A2 rating applies to $3.6B of GO debt

New York, June 05, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to A2 from A1 the rating on Cook County, IL’s general obligation (GO) debt. The county has $3.6 billion in GO debt outstanding. The outlook remains negative…

The Global Credit Research division explained:

The A2 rating incorporates credit pressures associated with Cook County’s unfunded pension liabilities. Based on the Illinois Supreme Court’s May 8 overruling of the State of Illinois’ (A3 negative) pension reforms, we perceive increased risk that the county’s options for reducing unfunded pension liabilities have narrowed considerably. As it currently stands, Cook County-despite its home rule status-has little direct control over its single largest liability. Whether or not the statute that governs Cook County’s pension plan stands, we expect pension-related costs will place increasing strain on the county’s financial operations. Furthermore, approximately half of Cook County’s tax base is highly leveraged by the debt and unfunded pension liabilities of the City of Chicago (Ba1 negative) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) (Ba3 negative). We believe that the revenue demands of these entities could place practical limitations on the county’s ability and willingness to increase revenue to fund its pension costs. Other credit challenges for the county include enterprise risks inherent in operating the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS)…

As for that negative outlook:

The negative outlook reflects our view that Cook County’s credit quality could weaken given continued uncertainty in the county’s future pension funding framework. Our outlook on the county’s credit is also informed by our expectation of growth in the pension costs of the local governments that share half of the county’s tax base. Finally, the negative outlook incorporates continued pressures in the health care sector, improved financial results for CCHHS notwithstanding…

On June 8, the major U.S. credit rating agency also announced a downgrade of the Cook County Forest Preserve District’s general obligation debt to A2 from A1, with a negative outlook as well.

You can read that entire June 5 Moody’s rating action on their website here.

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

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

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 Credit, Debt Crisis, Entitlements, Government No Comments

Chicago, The Taxman Cometh

“Amid comparisons to ‘shuffling the deck chairs’ on the Titanic, the City Council’s Finance Committee agreed Monday to add another $1.1 billion to the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers…”

Chicago Sun-Times website, June 15, 2015

While Chicagoans celebrate the Stanley Cup, City Hall is mulling over which taxes of theirs to hike. Derrick Blakley reported on the CBS 2 (Chicago) website before the weekend:

With a huge budget deficit ahead, Chicago city government is desperately searching for new income.

Now, Mayor Rahm Emanuel may be seriously considering an income tax

Emanuel isn’t specifically talking income tax yet. But one of his strongest city council allies, 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore, is speaking up.

“In my ideal scenario, it would be a graduated income tax that would be pegged at peoples’ ability to pay,” he says.
Some of the biggest U.S. cities already tax wages, including New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco and Denver.

The tax that would also strike suburbanites who work in the city, Moore says.

The concept drew support Thursday from other mayoral allies who want to avoid a property tax hike…

Last year, the mayor rejected a city income tax. Not Thursday…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board also picked up on Mayor Emanuel’s silence on the city income tax issue, writing Friday on the paper’s web site:

In a major break from the past, Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not immediately shoot it down…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Board added:

Might a Chicago income tax have bad, unintended consequences? Of course. And we’re by no means endorsing the idea here. But so might all the other taxes Chicago needs to consider: a commuter tax, a modest financial transaction, the broadening of the sale tax to cover more services, closing some tax-increment financing districts, congestion pricing and a pay-as-you-go garbage fee, to name some of the biggies.

Each revenue-generator should be vetted and priced out publicly, and the results should be explained far and wide so that the City Council and every Chicagoan come to accept two realities. One is the sheer size of Chicago’s financial crisis. The second is that no single solution will cut it. The pain has to be spread as widely as possible. The question then becomes: Which ingredients, in what proportions, make for the best stew — or at least the one that goes down easiest?

We have long said that raising property taxes — the city’s most stable revenue source, and one of the few it controls directly — is inevitable. But if property taxes are raised too much, both for Chicago and the school system, the city we know and love will cease to exist. An already dwindling middle class will flee.

A property tax hike should only be part of that bigger stew…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Testing the waters? Conditioning Chicagoans for inevitable tax hikes?

All I know is this. Higher fees/fines/taxes. Reduced government benefits/services. That’s what I see coming down the pipeline for not only Chicago but the rest of the nation in due time.

Prepare accordingly.

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

Sources:

Blakley, Derrick. “Chicago Eyes A City Income Tax On Residents, Suburbanites Who Work Here” CBS 2. 11 June 2015. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/06/11/chicago-eyes-a-city-income-tax-on-residents-suburbanites-who-work-here/). 16 June 2015.

Editorial Board. “Editorial: Mixing up a stew of Chicago revenue solutions.” Chicago Sun-Times. 12 June 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/opinion/7/71/685251/editorial-16). 16 June 2015.

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

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Taxes No Comments

Niles Gun Shop, Range Lawsuit Decision Pushed Back To June

The drawn-out saga that is the proposed Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy (gun shop and range) at 6143 Howard Street in northwest suburban Niles is set to continue for at least another month. Richard Ray of the Pioneer Press (Chicago suburbs) reported on May 14:

The court date for an anticipated ruling on whether or not a gun range can be built in the village of Niles has been pushed back to June, according to information from the clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County’s office.

This marks the second time Judge Franklin Ulyses Valderrama has motioned to take the case under advisement and push back the ruling, court records show…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers may recall I’ve been following the Niles gun shop/range story for almost a year now. I blogged last month that Judge Valderrama was originally scheduled to make a ruling on April 14, but pushed a decision back until May 14.

Here’s hoping the judge rules in favor of the Village of Niles and 6143 Howard Partners Inc/Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy in June.

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

Source:

Ray, Richard. “Court date for Niles gun range decision pushed back again.” Pioneer Press. 14 May 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/niles/news/ct-nhs-gun-range-date-tl-0521-20150514-story.html). 19 May 2015.

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

Next Riot: Cleveland?

Ferguson. Baltimore. Next up, Cleveland?

There’s been talk that Cleveland, Ohio, could potentially be the location of the next major U.S. riot after the verdict from the manslaughter trial of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is released as early as this week.

From a Friday post on the Straight from City Hall website, which is maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Communications in Cleveland’s city hall:

City of Cleveland Preparing for Peaceful Protests

The City of Cleveland continues to prepare for peaceful protests leading up to and following the trial of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo. Mayor Frank G. Jackson stated that the city is working with citizens and leaders across the community to foster understanding and ensure order and public safety. The verdict may be reached as early as next week and subsequent protests may be spontaneous or unpredictable…

“The verdict may be reached as early as next week.”

One Cleveland news outlet doesn’t think today will be the day the verdict is announced. Kaily Cunningham reported on the Fox 8 (Cleveland) website Saturday night:

The verdict for Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is not expected to come Monday, but could actually take days or weeks.

In a statement from the administration at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, they said Judge John O’Donnell is not expected to make a decision as early as Monday…

Brelo, 31, is charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter for the 2012 police chase and shooting that left Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams dead…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Cunningham, Kaily. “Verdict for Cleveland police officer charged in deadly chase and shooting could take days or weeks.” Fox 8. 16 May 2015. (http://fox8.com/2015/05/16/verdict-for-cleveland-police-officer-charged-in-deadly-chase-and-shooting-could-take-days-or-weeks/). 17 May 2017.

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

Monday, May 18th, 2015 Civil Strife, Crime, Legal, Public Safety No Comments

Cook County Public Pension Fix Could Mean Property Tax Hike

Blog readers in Cook County, Illinois, should prepare themselves for the possibility of higher property taxes shortly. Hal Dardick and Monique Garcia reported on the Chicago Tribune website Friday:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is trying to revive a plan to overhaul government worker pensions, with supporters arguing the proposal is vastly different from changes to state retirement benefits recently struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court.

The proposal would cut benefits and raise retirement ages but also guarantee health care benefits for workers when they retire. It calls for the county to put almost $147 million more a year into the pension fund, though Preckwinkle continues to be vague about how she’ll fund that increase by repeatedly saying “all options are on the table.”

If the County Board chooses to foot the bill with a property tax increase, the average homeowner would pay up to $65 more a year starting in 2017, according to one internal county document the Tribune obtained when Preckwinkle sought the same legislation last year.

That measure was approved by the Senate last year but stalled in the House. It is now scheduled to be heard by a panel of House lawmakers next week…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Readers shouldn’t be surprised about the prospect of higher property taxes. I blogged back on January 13:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also gave a speech yesterday in which she hinted at county residents having to make future sacrifices. John Byrne reported on the Chicago Tribune website Monday:

Preckwinkle gave a speech to the City Club of Chicago about her first-term achievements and laid out a blueprint for her second four years in office. Asked afterward about the likelihood she will be forced to raise taxes, Preckwinkle said only that it will be “a challenge” to meet the county’s financial obligations.

“We have significant challenges, both around the spike in our debt obligations and our pension obligations, and my charge to our chief financial officer is that he has to do everything he can to be creative in figuring out how to address these problems,” she said…

Preckwinkle crafted a $4 billion budget for 2015 that includes no new taxes, fines or fees. She has warned that the 2016 budget will be far trickier to balance because debt payments will increase and the county could need to come up with $144 million more to pay into the county workers retirement system if she gets the pension fund changes she has asked for from the General Assembly.

“I can’t predict now, because we don’t even have a pension bill, how much it’s going to cost or what it’s going to take, but it’s going to be a real challenge, I’ll say that,” she said Monday.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

Source:

Dardick, Hal and Garcia, Monique. “Preckwinkle tries again on Cook County pension changes.” Chicago Tribune. 15 May 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-cook-county-pension-proposal-met-20150515-story.html). 17 May 2015.

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

Chicago’s Credit Rating Lowered By Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s

The three major U.S. credit rating agencies have downgraded the City of Chicago this past week. Last Tuesday, Moody’s announced on its website:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Chicago, IL to Ba1, affecting $8.9B of GO, sales, and motor fuel tax debt; outlook negative

Also downgrades senior and second lien water bonds to Baa1 and Baa2 and downgrades senior and second lien sewer bonds to Baa2 and Baa3, affecting $3.8B; outlook negative

New York, May 12, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to Ba1 from Baa2 the rating on the City of Chicago, IL’s $8.1 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt; $542 million of outstanding sales tax revenue debt; and $268 million of outstanding and authorized motor fuel tax revenue debt…

In case readers didn’t notice, that was a two-notch downgrade from “Baa2″ to “Ba1.”

According to Moody’s “US Municipal Ratings,” “Ba” indicates “Issuers or issues rated Ba demonstrate below-average creditworthiness relative to other US municipal or tax-exempt issuers or issues.”

In other words, “junk.”

A day later, Moody’s was at it again, lowering the Chicago Board of Education’s credit rating. From their site on May 13:

Moody’s downgrades Chicago Board of Education, IL’s GO to Ba3; outlook negative

Ba3 rating applies to $6.2 billion of GO debt

New York, May 13, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to Ba3 from Baa3 the rating on the Chicago Board of Education, IL’s $6.2 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt. The Chicago Board of Education is the primary debt issuer for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) (the district). The outlook remains negative…

A three-notch downgrade. And even worse “junk.”

Standard & Poor’s joined in on the downgrade parade later in the week. From a press release Friday:

Chicago, IL GO Bond Ratings Lowered To #A-# From #A+#, Placed On CreditWatch Due To Short-Term Liquidity Pressure

CHICAGO–15 May–Standard & Poor’s

CHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) May 14, 2015–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its rating to ‘A-‘ from ‘A+’ on the city of Chicago’s outstanding general obligation (GO) bonds, and placed the ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications…

According to the S&P website, “A” indicates:

Somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher-rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong.

Fitch Ratings was the last of the three major credit rating agencies to the party, releasing the following Friday on their website:

Fitch Downgrades Chicago, IL’s ULTGOs and Sales Tax Bonds to ‘BBB+'; Ratings on Negative Watch

Fitch Ratings-New York-15 May 2015: Fitch Ratings has downgraded the ratings on the following Chicago, Illinois obligations:

–$8.1 billion unlimited tax GO bonds to ‘BBB+’ from ‘A-‘;
–$546.5 million (accreted value) sales tax bonds to ‘BBB+’ from ‘A-‘;
–$200 million commercial paper notes, 2002 program series A (tax exempt) and B (taxable) bank bond ratings to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’.

At the same time, the ratings have been placed on Negative Watch…

According to the Fitch Ratings website, “BBB” indicates:

Expectations of default risk are currently low. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity.

You can read the May 12 Moody’s press release on their website here. The May 13 Moody’s release is here. Standard & Poor’s press release can be found here (on thailand4.com) and the Fitch Ratings release on their website here.

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

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



Please Rate this Blog HERE



Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Limited Time Offers

Via Banner Ads Below (navigate to vendor home page if necessary); Updated 7/14:
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Paladin Press Save 30% On All Martial Arts Products Until 7/15 12PM ET (code required)
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Airsoft Megastore Free Shipping On Over 100 Guns (code required); 30% Off Pouches/MOLLE Accessories
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>BUDK $4.99 Flat Rate Shipping (no min. purchase; code required)
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>BulletSafe Bulletproof Baseball Cap $119 Pre-Order Price; Bulletproof Backpack Panel $99
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>CHIEF Supply CornerStone Polos Buy 2 Get 1 Free Thru 7/31 (no code required)
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Food Insurance 25% Off All Campfire Meal Pouch Bundles; Free Bug-Out Bag With Select Long-Term Meal Plans
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Nitro-Pak Clearance Sale Up To 70% Off
ANY CHARACTER HERE
>Tractor Supply Co. 10% Off Select Cooling; 20% Off Select Boats; 20% Off Select Grills; Save $50 Select Canopies; Free UPS Ship To Store
ANY CHARACTER HERE
NEW! Advertising Disclosure HERE
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
BullionVault BullionVault.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Food Insurance Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
MyPatriotSupply.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Nitro-Pak--The Emergency Preparedness Leader Nitro-Pak Reviewed HERE
CHIEF Supply Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BulletSafe Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Survival Titles Save 20% Paladin Press Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
BUDK Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
PyramydAir.com Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
Airsoft Megastore Reviewed HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE
 

Categories

Archives

Prepper Website