State of Illinois

Chicago Faces $297 Million Budget Shortfall In 2015, $588 Million Deficit By 2017

I’ve been wanting to blog about the latest City of Chicago annual financial analysis for some time now. This afternoon I’m finally getting that chance. From Fran Spielman (who’s done a terrific job breaking those analyses down the past couple years I’ve been paying attention to them) on the Chicago Sun-Times website back in August:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ruled out a pre-election increase in property or sales taxes, but he’ll have to find another way to close a $297.3 million budget gap that assumes the Illinois General Assembly will lift the pension hammer hanging over Chicago.

State law requires the city to make a $550 million contribution to shore up police and fire pension funds that have assets to cover just 30 and 24 percent of their respective liabilities.

If Emanuel chooses to fund the payment with property taxes, the city’s levy must be raised in 2015 so bills issued the following year reflect the increase.

Instead of including that payment in the financial analysis now used as a substitute for Chicago’s preliminary budget, the mayor left it out, assuming he will get both revenue and reform before the payment is due

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$297.3 million budget shortfall for Chicago in 2015- assuming the city gets “relief” from that State of Illinois-mandated $550 million pension fund contribution.

From what I’ve read, that looks to be a big assumption.

Still, the projected 2015 budget gap that’s being advertised by City Hall is significantly rosier than a year ago (big election coming up in February 2015 you know).

I blogged back on August 1, 2013:

The latest financial analysis is out, and the budget gap in 2014 is projected to be $339 million. Still crappy, but a lot better than what could be in store for the “Windy City” by 2015. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The day of financial reckoning for Chicago is not far off, with the city budget shortfall expected to near a record $1 billion in 2015 if major changes are not made to the government worker pension systems, city officials said Wednesday.

That stark assessment, contained in the annual financial analysis prepared by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top budget officials, overshadowed the fact that the city needs to close an expected $339 million budget gap predicted for next year.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Returning to that Sun-Times piece from this August, Spielman added:

As for the more manageable, $297.3 million gap, sales and property taxes are off the table. But [Budget Director Alexandra] Holt refused to rule out other tax and fee hikes after exhausting further cost-cutting that might include layoffs

Last year’s financial analysis projected a $338.7 million shortfall that would balloon to $994.7 million in 2015 and $1.15 billion in 2016 without a painful mix of employee concessions and new revenues. This year’s version takes the 2017 shortfall down to $587.7 million, but only if the mayor’s risky assumptions are correct.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That classic Benny Hill skit about why one shouldn’t assume things comes to mind right now.

Okay. Looking at the actual 2014 annual financial analysis on my laptop screen right now, I see that $297.3 million budget shortfall projected for Chicago in 2015, a $430.2 million gap in 2016, and that $587.7 million deficit in 2017 that Spielman mentioned.

The trend is definitely not Rahm’s and the City’s friend in this instance.

Here’s what I see going down for the “Windy City.” The Machine will mobilize as many kissing cousins (Democrats elsewhere in the state) as it can to get Mayor Emanuel his much-desired pension “reform.” Basically “kicking the can down the road.” If full reform isn’t achieved, perhaps partial “relief”?.

Of course, the City of Chicago will still have those snowballing budget shortfalls to contend with. At first, I anticipate a lot of stupid spending still going on, with only some belt-tightening and layoffs here and there (“Kiss Your Clout’s Ass” Day soon to be a much celebrated event?). And fees, fines, and taxes will be heading up (but not property and sales taxes initially). But I suspect as Chicago’s “day of reckoning” gets closer, all these measures will be intensified.

Think major cost-cutting in conjunction with a much stronger attempt to increase incoming revenues.

Like my forecast for the rest of the nation- regrettably, I see things getting a lot worse before they get better again.

You can view the entire 2014 City of Chicago Annual Financial Analysis on the City of Chicago website here (.pdf format).

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

Source:

Spielman, Fran. “City budget puts off day of reckoning until after election.” Chicago Sun-Times. 1 Aug. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/city-budget-puts-day-reckoning-until-after-election/fri-08012014-1210am). 23 Sep. 2014.

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22 States Now Recognize Illinois Concealed Carry License

After several years of researching and blogging about personal safety topics, I’ve noticed a number of companies selling firearms, ammunition, and other self-defense products refuse to do business with potential customers from Chicago, Cook County, and/or Illinois, even though what they’re selling can be legally-purchased and possessed by residents of those areas. From what I understand, the thinking is:

If you’re going to elect politicians that are anti-gun and anti-personal defense, then we’re not going to sell our products to you until you vote said politicians out of office.

I’ve wondered if a similar train of thought might carry over to their state’s recognition of the new Illinois Concealed Carry License.

The jury’s still out on that one.

But there are a number of states that already do recognize the Illinois concealed-carry permit. And the outlook for more doing so seems positive. Kevin Craver reported on the Northwest Herald (Chicago, Illinois, northwest suburbs) website yesterday:

Since becoming available to the public in January, 22 other states recognize the Illinois permit, meaning it authorizes the holder to carry there. The list includes all of Illinois’ neighboring states, much of the Midwest and portions of the West and South…

The list of states that recognize Illinois’ permit likely will increase as states review their agreements, [Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard] Pearson said. Gun-friendly Texas, for example, honors permits from most other states but not yet Illinois…

States that honor the Illinois permit besides its immediate neighbors are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont.

Good to know. Especially for those with Illinois CCLs or interested in acquiring one and looking to carry concealed out of state.

For more information on the Illinois Concealed Carry License, visit the Illinois State Police website here. As I mentioned in a different post last week, much of the processing hiccups and initial backlog look to have been dealt with by the ISP already.

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

Source:

Craver, Kevin P. “More states recognizing Illinois concealed-carry permits.” Northwest Herald. 17 Aug. 2014. (http://www.nwherald.com/2014/08/15/more-states-recognizing-illinois-concealed-carry-permits/ad8bxlo/?page=1). 18 Aug. 2014.

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Illinois Ranked 4th Most Corrupt State In America

The other day I came across an interesting article on the Yahoo! Homes website. It was entitled “The most corrupt states in America.” I thought to myself:

I wonder how high Illinois will rank on this list?

Pretty high, as a matter of fact. From the piece:

4: Illinois. An old standby. The last two governors both went to jail for corruption. Enough said.

Actually, there’s more to be said. Robert McGarvey wrote on August 7:

An academic at the University of Hong Kong and another at Indiana University set out to rank the states by level of corruption, combing arrest and conviction records for public officials.

Cheol Liu and John L. Mikesell also reported that states with greater public spending have more corruption- particularly when the spending is in areas ripe for bribery, like construction, police and highway projects.

“People think corruption doesn’t happen here,” said Chicago lawyer Sergio Acosta, who used to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. He’s a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Ethics Reforms Task Force, which aims to codify appropriate behavior for city employees. “That’s the real value of this report.”

“People think corruption doesn’t happen here”

(Editor is laughing his ass off right now)

“Illinois” and “corruption” are pretty much interchangeable in the minds of many people familiar with the state. Particularly Illinoisans. I blogged back on April 2:

I don’t talk about the topic too often, but political corruption was the focus of a recent poll taken by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute down at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. From a press release Monday:

Illinois Voters: Political Corruption “Common” In Our State

Overwhelming majorities of Illinois voters believe political corruption is the norm for both federal and state governments, according to the latest poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

Fewer people believe political corruption at the local level affects their lives – unless they live in Chicago.

The poll of 1001 registered voters across the state conducted Feb. 12 -25 has a margin for error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The survey found:

• 89 percent of Illinoisans feel corruption is somewhat common in the state, with 53 percent believing it’s very common.
• 79 percent say corruption at the federal level is at least somewhat common, with 45 percent saying it’s very common.
• 62 percent of all Illinoisans believe county or city political corruption is at least somewhat common, with 35 percent reporting local corruption to be very common.
• However, 85 percent of those living in Chicago believe county or city political corruption is at least somewhat common, with 55 percent perceiving local corruption to be very common.

“These are sad numbers,” said David Yepsen, Director of the Institute. “No wonder many people don’t vote and participation in civic affairs seems limited. It’s unhealthy for a society to have such little confidence in the integrity of government. It makes Illinois an unattractive place to live.”

I also wrote back on February 14, 2012:

This afternoon I was running errands around the Chicagoland area when I heard on WBBM Newsradio 780 that a new study showed Chicago is the most corrupt city in the nation. From the CBS Channel 2 Chicago website:

A former Chicago alderman turned political science professor/corruption fighter has found that Chicago is the most corrupt city in the country.

He cites data from the U.S. Department of Justice to prove his case. And, he says, Illinois is third-most corrupt state in the country

University of Illinois professor Dick Simpson estimates the cost of corruption at $500 million.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Oh, people think corruption happens around here. And for good reason.

If Illinois readers think it’s bad now, wait until the bottom really falls out of the economy.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to start making influential friends/connections now if you haven’t done so already as part of a larger program for taking care of your and your loved ones’ needs when conditions become tough to do so.

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

Source:

McGarvey, Robert. “The most corrupt states in America.” MainStreet.com. 7 Aug. 2014. (https://homes.yahoo.com/news/the-most-corrupt-states-in-america-033250358.html.) 12 Aug. 2014.

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 Corruption, Crime, Government, Preparedness No Comments

Initial Surge Of Illinois Concealed Carry License Applications Settles Down After 68,000-Plus Issued

Illinois readers- been waiting for that initial surge of Illinois Concealed Carry License applications to subside before applying for the permit yourself? According to Molly Parker over at the The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale), things are finally startling to settle down. Parker reported yesterday on the paper’s website:

Observers of the new law say the initial rush by enthusiasts, though, is mostly over and the ticklish process for applying for a permit- or which was beset by technological problems- has smoothed out considerably…

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said at first it was a “painful process.”

“By the same token we are making progress and some people got their permits when they gave the police their applications within 35 days,” he said.

Last time I blogged about the number of Illinois CCLs issued (July 2), it stood north of 60,000. Parker noted:

The state issued a total of 68,549 permits statewide between February and July according to state statistics provided by Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, one of the new law’s chief architects…

And the last time I wrote about the number of concealed-carry permits issued to Cook County residents (May 23), that stood at 12,641. Parker added:

Chicago’s Cook County is home to the most permit holders by number, though the county ranks 96th of 102 counties in percentage of people with a permit compared to the overall county population…

The Southern piece didn’t indicate how many Cook County permit holders there are now. However, according to a related article on the Chicago Sun-Times website this afternoon:

Cook County has the largest number of permit holders (17,477), but that’s only 0.33 percent of all residents…

17,000-plus Cook County residents now licensed to carry concealed firearms… and the streets aren’t running with rivers of blood?

For more information about obtaining an Illinois Concealed Carry License, visit the Illinois State Police website here.

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

Sources:

Parker, Molly. “Process for getting a concealed-carry permit eases.” The Southern Illinoisan. 10 Aug. 2014. (http://thesouthern.com/news/local/process-for-getting-a-concealed-carry-permit-eases/article_0d899d36-b9bc-5500-b3b8-3ffe754ca49c.html). 11 Aug. 2014.

“Illinois concealed carry process getting easier.” Chicago Sun-Times. 11 Aug. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/springfield/illinois-concealed-carry-process-getting-easier/mon-08112014-1200pm). 11 Aug. 2014.

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Monday, August 11th, 2014 Firearms, Government, Self-Defense No Comments

Illinois State Troopers To Join Chicago Police In Patrolling Four City Neighborhoods

From a State of Illinois press release yesterday:

Governor Quinn Announces State Police to Assist Chicago Police Department
Forty State Police Troopers Will Join CPD Officers Following Mayor Emanuel’s Request for Assistance

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today directed the Illinois State Police to deploy 40 state troopers to join Chicago Police officers in patrolling four city neighborhoods. The action follows the city’s request for assistance and is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of all people in every community across Illinois.

“The state of Illinois will do whatever is necessary to protect public safety – in Chicago and every community across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Earlier this year I told Mayor Emanuel we would help in any way we could to combat violence in the city. When he requested assistance, I immediately agreed to help.”

At the Governor’s direction, the State Police will deploy troopers to areas coordinated with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The State Police and CPD will set up 20 to 25 “surge” teams with five Chicago Police officers and two State Troopers on each team. The teams will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories who are wanted by law enforcement. The troopers will come from State Police districts across the state. The assistance will be accommodated with current State Police resources…

“40 state troopers to join Chicago Police officers in patrolling four city neighborhoods”

Here’s what I think about this announcement:

1. Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn can tell their constituents they’re doing something about violent crime with this action. Personally, I think that’s the real motivation behind this announcement as both are running into some campaign headwinds.
2. It’s worded at one point- “apprehending those with known violent criminal histories”- so as to not make Emanuel look as if he requires outside assistance. The state troopers are just providing a helping hand. Yeah, that’s it.
3. The actual impact on violent crime by this action is questionable. “The teams will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories.” How about those without known violent criminal histories? I’m guessing a number of these individuals are contributing to the headline-making carnage as well. I won’t be surprised to hear the shootings and homicides are continuing at the same pace as they have been this year.
4. If you ask me, this announcement demonstrates above all else the Chicago Police Department needs a lot more bodies. And not the perforated ones. Remember, the press release specifically calls for state troopers to join the CPD in patrolling city neighborhoods. Not enough personnel to effectively carry out patrols? Time to hire more cops.

Having problems finding the money to pay for these additional police officers? Slash the number of aldermen in the city by half… to start.

That’s my two cents. You can read the entire press release on the Illinois Government News Network website here.

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

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Thursday, August 7th, 2014 Crime, Government, Public Safety No Comments

Flee Chicago By The End Of 2015?

April 7, 2015.

That’s the date of the next Municipal Runoff and Supplementary Aldermanic Election in the wake of the February 24, 2015, Municipal General Election in the city of Chicago, Illinois.

And that would be the ideal deadline for moving out of the “Windy City” if I still lived there due to the likelihood of fees, fines, and taxes being hiked (even more than they already have) shortly thereafter, along with additional government “belt-tightening.”

If not April 7, definitely by the end of the year. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website right before the weekend:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and aldermen won’t grapple this fall with the financial reckoning the city faces over its underfunded police and fire pension systems, budget officials acknowledged Thursday.

Instead, the Emanuel administration plans to take advantage of a state law that gives it until December 2015 to decide to make changes to its property tax levy. For years, both the current and former mayor have been saying property taxes would have to be hiked or services drastically cut to come up with the extra $550 million.

By the end of next year, the February city elections and any potential April runoffs will be history. Delaying a decision also will buy the city more time to get the General Assembly to enact pension changes that could significantly reduce the required payments to the two retirement funds..

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Fine. So the Illinois General Assembly votes to allow the City of Chicago to “kick the can down the road” on its pension fund payments. The well-publicized crisis isn’t going anywhere, as the public sector retirees are still owed their money.

(Editor’s note: Check out this graphic on the Tribune website showing Chicago’s pension debt rank compared to the 25 largest U.S. cities and Puerto Rico. It’s disturbing.)

And how about that “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the city’s head in the form of long-term debt it’s on the hook for? Fran Spielman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on July 26, 2013:

The new round of borrowing brings Chicago’s total long-term debt to nearly $29 billion. That’s $10,780 for every one of the city’s nearly 2.69 million residents. More than a decade ago, the debt load was $9.6 billion or $3,338 per resident.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Remember- those figures were from a year ago. Updated numbers should be out shortly.

Yep. If I hadn’t departed the city like I did last year, I’d be making plans to leave Chicago by the end of 2015 at the latest.

But that’s me. I understand individual circumstances vary, and there are residents who can’t leave or choose not to.

Despite what others may think, I have an idea this group can still weather the coming storm if they’re really up to the task. I’m guessing it will be somewhat harder though residing in a city already burdened with significant financial problems when challenging times arrive.

More about this in future posts…

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

Sources:

Dardick, Hal. “Chicago’s day of reckoning over pensions delayed.” Chicago Tribune. 1 Aug. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-rahm-emanuel-budget-hole-met-0801-20140801-story.html). 5 Aug. 2014.

Spielman, Fran. “City of Chicago’s cash cushion plummets, debt triples, arrests drop, water use rises.” Chicago Sun-Times. 26 July 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/21552920-761/city-by-the-numbers-cash-cushion-plummets-debt-triples-arrests-drop-water-use-rises.html). 5 Aug. 2014.

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Illinois Governor Pushes Ban On ‘Assault Weapons,’ ‘High-Capacity’ Ammo Magazines

As Democratic lawmakers can’t figure out why shootings and murders have erupted with renewed vigor in Chicago this summer (hints: bare-bones Chicago Police Department, gun-related laws already on the books but not enforced, and shooters not going to jail or for too short a stint), they’ve resorted to pushing more gun “control” laws on law-abiding constituents who have had nothing to do with the outbreak in violence. From a press release on the Illinois Government News Network website Sunday:

Governor Quinn Fights for Stronger Gun Laws Across Illinois
Congresswoman Kelly Joins Governor to Urge General Assembly to Pass Illinois Public Safety Act and Take a Stand Against the Violence

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn, joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly, today visited the site a recent fatal shooting in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood to urge legislators to stand with families and communities and take action against gun violence. The Governor pushed passage of the Illinois Public Safety Act, legislation that would ban the sale or delivery of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois and require background checks for the transfer of guns. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to make Illinois neighborhoods safer.

“The recent epidemic of violence in Chicago is unacceptable and we must join together to fight back,” Governor Quinn said. “Public safety is government’s foremost mission and Illinois should not wait any longer to act. There are too many victims of a war being waged on our streets, a war fueled in part by the availability of deadly, military-style assault weapons that have no purpose other than killing.

“We must work together to protect the lives of those we love and stop what’s happening in our communities. I urge the Illinois General Assembly to take a stand and pass this legislation that will save lives and protect communities.”

The Governor today was joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly who recently released the Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America, the first-ever Congressional analysis of the nation’s gun violence epidemic that offers a blueprint for ending the crisis.

Senate Bill 3659 – the Illinois Public Safety Act – was introduced during the recent spring Legislative session by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and supported by Governor Quinn. It bans the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of assault weapons, large capacity ammunition feeding devices such as magazines or clips, and .50 caliber rifles and cartridges in Illinois. Valid Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID) holders who possess any of these devices at the time the law is enacted would be allowed to keep them, but could not transfer or sell them except to a family member. The legislation also requires background checks for the transfer of firearms except to a family member or at a gun show…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Of course, the bad guys won’t obey what’s stipulated in the Illinois Public Safety Act if it becomes law. But here’s what’s really messed-up about the bans the Democrats are pushing.

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, so-called “assault weapons” and .50 caliber rifles are rarely used in crimes- particularly murders- around the state of Illinois.

From Table 20, “Murder by State, Types of Weapons, 2012” on the FBI’s “Crime in the U.S. 2012” web page (last year I could find pertinent data available for):

Illinois (“limited supplemental homicide data were received”)
Total murders (“Total number of murders for which supplemental homicide data were received”): 509
Total firearms: 439
• Handguns: 429
• Rifles: 4
• Shotguns: 2
• Firearms (type unknown): 4

439 firearm-related murders in Illinois in 2012. With a rifle (type unknown) definitely used in only 4 of those homicides.

Ban “assault weapons” and .50 caliber rifles. Yeah, that will solve the rampant violence.

Something tells me these Democratic politicians are trying to dupe voters into thinking they can end the ongoing carnage in this election year with such legislation.

Not going to happen, as the so-called Illinois Public Safety Act doesn’t even come close to getting to the root of the problem.

See “hints” above.

You can read that entire press release on the IGNN website here. And that 2012 FBI report table here.

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

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Illinois Governor Offers To Deploy State Police To Chicago

“State lawmakers, Rep. John Fritchey, 11th, and Rep. LaShawn Ford, 8th, are calling for Governor Quinn to deploy the Illinois National Guard to Chicago’s violent areas… 113 people have died in Chicago so far this year.”

-NBC Chicago website, April 26, 2010

“Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Rainbow PUSH Coalition call for immediate Federal Intervention and Homeland Security in Chicago as January homicide totals exceeded 45.”

-Rainbow PUSH Coalition press release, February 1, 2013

“To reduce the homicides and shootings plaguing Chicago streets, elected officials should consider calling on the state and federal governments for help, even the National Guard if necessary, said a retired Army lieutenant general who spearheaded the military response after Hurricane Katrina.

‘Just like we do with any disaster. When the tornado comes, or the floods come, the federal government comes in to help,’ Russel L. Honore said Thursday at a news conference in Chicago.”

-Chicago Tribune website, February 21, 2013

“Something tells me it may just be a matter of time before certain individuals start calling again for the Illinois National Guard and/or U.S. Department of Homeland Security to patrol the streets of the ‘Windy City.’”

-Survival And Prosperity, May 27, 2014

In the wake of an incredibly bloody holiday weekend in the city of Chicago, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D-Chicago) has offered to deploy the Illinois State Police to the area. From The State Journal-Register (Springfield) website yesterday:

Gov. Pat Quinn says he would be prepared to deploy state police to help address Chicago violence if Mayor Rahm Emanuel requests it.

Over the years Illinois State Police have assisted authorities in Chicago and East St. Louis fight street violence.

Quinn told reporters Tuesday after an unrelated event that he’ll only do so if Emanuel asks and won’t “impose anything” on any municipality…

No word yet from City Hall regarding Governor Quinn’s offer. As I doubt there will be, as even giving it the slightest bit of consideration might give off the impression Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in over his head with this violence.

Not good if you’ve got higher political aspirations, which I think he does.

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

Source:

“Quinn: ISP could deploy in Chicago if mayor asks.” Associated Press. 8 July 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140708/NEWS/140709484). 9 July 2014.

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Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 Crime, Government, Military, Public Safety No Comments

Veteran With Illinois Concealed Carry License Shoots, Wounds Alleged Gunman In Self-Defense

Survival And Prosperity, July 2:

60,000 Illinois CCLs. Nice.

Only a matter of time now before some deserving criminal makes headlines for being perforated by one of these concealed-carry permit holders.

Geoff Ziezulewicz reported on the Chicago Tribune website Sunday:

A Gresham man is charged with attempted murder after he fired on a group of people leaving a party Friday night, only to be shot himself by one of the victims, a military service member with a concealed carry permit, authorities said Sunday…

Of course, regarding the charged Gresham native- innocent until proven guilty.

But seeing that the State of Illinois doesn’t “recognize” concealed-carry permits issued by other states, this veteran- as other news outlets are now reporting- has to be one of the more than 60,000 Illinois Concealed Carry License holders that now exist and who I blogged about in that post from last Wednesday.

Take note, bad guys.

Two shots, two hits from behind a vehicle’s front fender. You can read more about the incident on the Tribune website here.

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

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Survey Emphasizes Illinois ‘One Of The Least Friendly States In The Nation Towards Small Business’

Here’s something else I came across during my recent break. Not sure if the local mass/alternative media really picked up on this at all. But even if they did, I think it’s worth mentioning again to highlight the state’s ongoing reputation for being business-unfriendly.

Posted on the website of Internet marketplace Thumbtack recently:

Thumbtack, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released Illinois’s results from the third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. The study, drawing upon data from over 12,000 small business owners, provides new insights into state and local business environments across the nation.

“After a two-month survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, Illinois’s small businesses have rated it near the bottom as one of the least friendly states in the nation towards small business,” says Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack. “Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and Illinois could be doing a lot better in creating this environment.”

Some of the key findings for Illinois include:

Illinois received a grade of F for its friendliness towards small business, one of the worst grades in the country.
• Illinois earned four grades of F across eleven rated categories, and received no grade higher than a C from its small businesses.
• Illinois small businesses were the most pessimistic in the nation about the prospects for the state economy…
• The top rated states overall were Utah, Idaho, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana. The lowest rated were Rhode Island, Illinois, California, Connecticut and New Jersey…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Pathetic.

Makes me want to explore starting up my future business in Wisconsin (only “C-”, but still better than “F”) by my family’s place rather than here in the Chicago suburbs.

You can view the entire Small Business Friendliness Survey on Thumbtack.com here.

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

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Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 Business, Government No Comments

U.S. Senator Michelle Obama (D-IL)?

“SUPER WIN FOR CHICAGO AND AMERICA!”

-Comment on website of Chicago NBC affiliate Channel 5 tonight regarding speculation surrounding a U.S. Senate run by First Lady Michelle Obama

Could First Lady Michelle Obama be our next United States Senator here in Illinois?

I spotted the following on The Great Debate blog on Reuters.com earlier this evening. Keith Koffler wrote last night:

Speculation about a possible political future for Michelle Obama has naturally centered on the White House. But that’s the wrong place — at least for now.

Illinois has a Republican senator, Mark Kirk, and he is up for reelection in 2016. He’ll be formidable, particularly given his brave recovery from a stroke. But Illinois is a heavily Democratic state, and the race could be close.

No Illinois Democratic candidate would bring the star power and nationwide fundraising capacity that Obama would.

She has proven herself a superb speaker on behalf of her pet projects and is now a veteran campaigner for her husband. She’s also remained highly popular — even as the president’s ratings have plummeted.

She could represent the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a desperately needed — and winnable — seat. A December 2012 Public Policy Polling survey put her ahead of Kirk, 51 percent to 40 percent. Democratic leaders’ pressure on her to run might get intense…

Personally, I believe that if Mrs. Obama runs for Senator Kirk’s seat, she might just win it.

Nothing against Kirk. But Koffler isn’t kidding when says the “Land of Lincoln” is a heavily Democratic state. A super-majority in both the Illinois House and Senate attests to that. And there’s always “The Machine,” which is still in good working order in Chicago.

That’s not the say the city or state is, though.

I previously thought the Obamas would bid farewell to the “Windy City” after POTUS leaves the Oval Office. But if Michelle decides a Senate seat is something she wants, then it could be several more years still…

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

Source:

Koffler, Keith. “Is Michelle running for the Senate?” The Great Debate. 4 Jun. 2014. (http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/06/05/is-michelle-running-for-the-senate/). 5 Jun. 2014.

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Thursday, June 5th, 2014 Government, Political Parties 2 Comments

Chicago’s Monthly Phone Tax To Rise 56 Percent?

New and higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

That’s what Chicagoans should expect going forward considering the city’s fiscal health and who’s running the show.

Fran Spielman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last night:

After playing cat-and-mouse for days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration came clean Thursday: Chicago wants to raise the monthly fee tacked on to hardline telephone and cell phone bills by 56 percent — to $3.90…

(Editor’s note: “After playing cat-and-mouse for days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration came clean Thursday…” Beautifully worded; bold added for emphasis.)

Spielman continued:

Instead of simply asking the General Assembly to renew a $2.50-a-month surcharge due to expire July 1, cash-strapped Chicago is seizing the opportunity to get more money — by asking state lawmakers to raise the cap to “the highest monthly wireline surcharge imposed by any county or municipality” in Illinois.

The highest monthly telephone tax around the state is the $3.90 imposed in Putnam County. Under the bill Emanuel is hoping to push through in the waning days of the Legislature’s spring session, Chicago would be empowered to match that $3.90 — and go higher if any other city or town goes first.

The new and higher tax would apply to both cell phone bills and wireline phones, according to a summary sheet of the legislation distributed by City Hall. The bill would also empower the city raise the fee imposed on prepaid cell phones from the current “seven percent of the transaction amount” to nine percent…

According to Spielman, a 56 percent increase in the monthly phone tax would generate an additional $50.4 million for the City’s coffers.

John Byrne, Monique Garcia, and Ray Long added on the Chicago Tribune website Thursday:

Emanuel’s late push for a measure that would allow the City Council to raise 911 fees by as much as $1.40, which could bring the monthly charge on landline and cell phone bills to $3.90 a month, cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the increase was needed because the current $2.50 fee isn’t raising enough money to pay for operating the city’s emergency response center, forcing the Emanuel administration to dip into other pots of money to keep it running. How much more the fee hike would bring in depends on whether aldermen vote to increase the fee and to what level.

The city collected about $90 million last year through the current $2.50-per-month phone fee, Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said. This year’s budget for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications is $123 million. Quinn did not directly answer whether the mayor wants to raise the 911 fee to an amount that will bring in more revenue than the city needs to cover the OEMC budget or how the city would use any extra revenue

Let’s see. Assuming the City of Chicago collects the same amount ($90 million) as last year from their monthly phone tax, adding the projected $50.4 million from a 56 percent hike totals just over $140 million. That’s enough to pay for OEMC operations plus tax- although something tells me that’s probably not where all the money would be steered to.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Emanuel seeks 56 percent hike in telephone tax.” Chicago Sun-Times. 29 May 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/emanuel-seeks-56-percent-hike-telephone-tax/thu-05292014-434pm). 30 May 2014.

Byrne, John, Garcia, Monique and Long, Ray. “Emanuel makes late push to raise 911 fees paid by those own landlines, cell phones.” Chicago Tribune. 29 May 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-emanuel-makes-late-push-to-raise-911-fees-paid-by-those-own-landlines-cell-phones-20140529,0,6958184.story). 30 May 2014.

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Vows To Get State Income Tax Hike Made Permanent

The Illinois House of Representatives approved a $35.7 billion state spending plan yesterday which didn’t factor in funds from a 2011 temporary income tax hike being made permanently available. I surmised Tuesday:

So does this mean Illinois Democrats have abandoned their push to make the temporary income tax hike permanent? I doubt it. This is “Madiganistan,” after all. And what Mike wants, Mike gets.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of maneuvering being carried out to eventually land these funds. Perhaps another “temporary” increase in such taxes sometime after the November 2014 election, with buzz words such as “fiscal emergency” and “for the children” being used to justify the measure?

Monique Garcia, Ray Long, and Maura Zurick reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Speaker Michael Madigan acknowledged the budget proposal would leave unfinished business and vowed to spend the summer and fall working to get the income tax hike made permanent to provide more money to run state government. The approach also ensures the governor’s race will continue to be framed up by opposite positions on a tax hike Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner have staked out.

“My expectation is that this issue will be taken into the general election and I think the governor will be supportive of an extension of the income tax increase through the general election,” Madigan said. “My expectation is that Mr. Rauner will be against. So you’ll have a clear line of division going into the election. And people can make their choice.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Hmmm. Should Governor Quinn be re-elected, one more buzz word I suspect Illinoisans might hear before legislative action is taken by the Democrats to make the income tax hike permanent is “mandate,” as in “Illinois voters have given us a mandate to make the temporary income tax hike permanent during this fiscal emergency. Remember- it’s for the children!”

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

Source:

Garcia, Monique, Long, Ray and Zurick, Maura. “State budget would put off tough decisions until after election.” Chicago Tribune. 27 May 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-state-budget-would-put-off-tough-decisions-until-after-election-20140527,0,6506902.story). 28 May 2014.

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Illinois Democrats Abandoning Attempt To Make Temporary Income Tax Hike Permanent?

“In his election-year budget speech Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn called on lawmakers to make permanent the 67 percent temporary income tax increase they approved in 2011…

Quinn’s budget speech was the first time he directly addressed what should be done about the pending expiration of much of the temporary tax increase. When lawmakers approved raising the state’s personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent, they stipulated that the rate should drop to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1, 2015…”

-The State Journal-Register (Springfield), March 26, 2014

There’s news coming out of Springfield that the Democrats are preparing an Illinois state budget that accounts for the expiration of the temporary income tax hike they approved in 2011. Doug Finke reported on The State Journal-Register website last night:

House Democrats are preparing a new state budget that allows most of the temporary income tax increase to expire on schedule at the end of the year.

“Today we’re going to have our (budget negotiators) working toward a middle-of-the-road budget that would be consistent with the revenue estimates which have been adopted by the House,” House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said Monday. “The income tax increase would not be extended.”

From an Associated Press piece earlier today:

House Speaker Michael Madigan emerged from a Memorial Day caucus meeting and told reporters he was dropping the idea of making the 5 percent income tax permanent — and crafting a budget blueprint that holds the line on spending but is not the “doomsday” plan the House overwhelmingly rejected Friday.

“We’re going to call upon the agencies and those that receive appropriations from the Legislature to live within their means,” said Madigan, a Chicago Democrat. “We understand the way this is… Let’s take a good hard look at it and get the job done.”

So does this mean Illinois Democrats have abandoned their push to make the temporary income tax hike permanent? I doubt it. This is “Madiganistan,” after all. And what Mike wants, Mike gets.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of maneuvering being carried out to eventually land these funds. Perhaps another “temporary” increase in such taxes sometime after the November 2014 election, with buzz words such as “fiscal emergency” and “for the children” being used to justify the measure?

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Finke, Doug. “House Democrats work on budget without tax increase.” The State Journal-Register. 26 May 2014. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140526/NEWS/140529531/). 27 May 2014.

“Illinois Democrats give up on tax-hike extension.” Associated Press. 27 May 2014. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140527/NEWS02/140529846/illinois-democrats-give-up-on-tax-hike-extension#). 27 May 2014.

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Comprehensive Anti-Gun Legislation Introduced In Illinois

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

Illinois: Anti-Gunner “Wish List” Legislation Introduced

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

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

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

Stay tuned…

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

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