State of 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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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

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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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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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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Illinois Emergency Management Agency Promotes Earthquake Preparedness In February

Back when I worked for a fire department in the Chicago suburbs, I looked into the threat from earthquakes to our municipality as part of an emergency preparedness grant application the agency was submitting. The consensus seemed to be that damage to our area would be minimal to non-existant from a big tremblor out of the New Madrid seismic zone. However, I noticed southern Illiniois could be a different story. From a February 2 Illinois Emergency Management Agency press release on the Illinois Government News Network website:

IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes
Preparedness actions can prevent injuries, reduce property damage

SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of the earthquake risk in southern Illinois from the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote earthquake preparedness throughout February.

“While we don’t experience major earthquakes with the same frequency as the western U.S., some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the continental U.S. happened along the New Madrid seismic zone about 200 years ago,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We can’t predict when the next major earthquake will occur, but we can help people learn how to stay safe and reduce damage to their homes.”

In conjunction with Earthquake Preparedness Month in Illinois, IEMA is adding a new 30-second TV spot to the Ready Illinois broadcast preparedness campaign, which is aired in cooperation with the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) Public Education Partnership (PEP) program. The new spot directs people to the Ready Illinois website for information on how to prepare their homes for an earthquake. It will air on IBA member TV stations serving residents of southern Illinois, where the greatest risk of earthquakes in Illinois exists. The spot is also available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Joseph noted that the actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking.

Learning how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” can help people prevent injury during an earthquake. The phrase reminds people to drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and hold on to that object and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.

There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, such as anchoring bookshelves, overhead light fixtures, wall hanging and large appliances, learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity and placing heavy objects on lower shelves.

More information about earthquake preparedness is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov

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

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Illinois State Representative Rita Mayfield (D) Proposes 3.75 Percent Surcharge On Firearms And Firearm Parts

Illinois Democrats continue to push anti-gun legislation in Springfield, the latest being Illinois House Bill 1810 from State Representative Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan). From Brandon Merano over on the WSIL-TV (Southern Illinois ABC affiliate) website Friday:

A new bill headed to the Illinois House floor could increase what we pay for guns.

The bill would put a three-and-three-quarters percent charge on firearms and firearm parts, with revenue going to at-risk youth.

Language in HB 1810, introduced by State Representative Rita Mayfield defines “At risk Youth” as kids ages 16 – 22 who live in a “high crime area where the homicide rate is more than 4 times higher than the average rate of a community the same size.”

That suggests most of the funding would flow north to Chicago…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A week ago, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action reported on legislation introduced in the Illinois Senate by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights)- Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9- warning:

Under SA 2, a 5% tax would be imposed on any membership or access fee for gun clubs, shooting ranges, hunt clubs, training classes and match fees. Not only is this an abhorrent tax on your Second Amendment rights, it also requires that any of those places/people to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $75 just so that they can offer their service or membership with the 5% tax added

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

To see the latest actions on Illinois HB1810, visit the Illinois General Assembly website here. And for activity regarding SB0009, head to that same site here.

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

Source:

Merano, Brandon. “Proposed Illinois law aims to tax gun purhcases.” WSIL-TV. 3 Feb. 2017. (http://www.wsiltv.com/story/34424940/new-law-aims-to-tax-gun-purchases). 5 Feb. 2017.reported

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$500 Million Chicago Public Schools Budget Shortfall Could Mean More Taxpayer Pain

Yesterday I spotted the following on the Chicago Tribune website concerning the budget gap last year for Chicago Public Schools. Juan Perez, Jr., reported Friday:

Chicago Public Schools faced a shortfall in its operations budget of roughly $500 million at the close of its past fiscal year, leaving the financially troubled district with a significant bill to cover even as it struggles to balance this year’s spending plan.

The budget shortfall was reported in a recently issued financial postmortem for 2016 that also repeated a long-held conclusion: CPS either needs an infusion of new money or will have to make major cuts if it is to keep operating as it has been.

CPS has faced budget gaps for years, but has been able to cover them partly by dipping into cash reserves and tapping costly lines of short-term credit for cash to pay the bills. Those strategies are beginning to reach their limit, district officials acknowledge

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While reading the article I thought, “Where’s the mention of potential new/higher taxes on Chicagoans?” Sure enough, I spotted the following further down the piece:

There’s also expectations from some observers that the city will again turn to its taxpayers for revenue…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

On January 12, the Global Credit Research division over at Moody’s Investors Service suggested:

CPS could consider more difficult options to address its finances should the State of Illinois (Baa2 negative) be unable or unwilling to provide additional relief: levy for debt service on GO alternate revenue bonds, stop making employer pension contributions, or seek state authorization to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned, Chicago. In the meantime, check out the entire article on the Tribune website here.

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

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Monday, February 6th, 2017 Bankruptcy, Education, Government, Taxes No Comments

Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D) Proposes Wide-Ranging Anti-Gun Tax

Now that the November elections are over, it was only a matter of time before the next assault was launched against the Second Amendment in Illinois.

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action published the following on their website Monday:

Illinois: Anti-Gun Tax Proposed on Exercising Second Amendment Rights

Last week, the Illinois Senate received Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 from state Senator Toi Hutchinson. In an attempt to address the ongoing budget problem in Illinois, Sen. Hutchinson decided to tax Illinois residents’ Second Amendment rights, and by extension, their right to safety.

Under SA 2, a 5% tax would be imposed on any membership or access fee for gun clubs, shooting ranges, hunt clubs, training classes and match fees. Not only is this an abhorrent tax on your Second Amendment rights, it also requires that any of those places/people to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $75 just so that they can offer their service or membership with the 5% tax added.

By increasing the price of self-defense classes as well as any fee spent on range time and practice, this amendment is making it more expensive for Illinoisans to seek training to be able to defend themselves. SA 2 to Senate Bill 9 effectively sees Illinois residents’ right to safety as an opportunity to ease the budget burden on the entirety of the state. Further, any “repair, servicing, alteration, fitting, cleaning, painting, coating, towing, inspection, or maintenance of tangible personal property” is also taxable under SA 2. This section would include all gunsmithing and gun refinishing under taxable services.

It is extremely important that NRA members and Second Amendment supporters contact their state Senator and strongly urge them to oppose Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9. The Second Amendment rights and right to safety of Illinoisans is not something that the legislature should tax

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The NRA-ILA offers opponents of Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 a way to take action via their website here.

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

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State Of Illinois Downgraded By Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings, a major U.S. credit rating agency, announced this afternoon it had downgraded the State of Illinois. From their news release:

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the following ratings of the state of Illinois:

Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+;
$25.9 billion in outstanding general obligation (GO) bonds to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’;
–$431 million Illinois Sports Facilities Authority sports facilities bonds (state tax supported) to ‘BBB-‘from ‘BBB’;
–$2.6 billion Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority McCormick Place expansion project bonds to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’;
–$267.8 million city of Chicago motor fuel tax revenue bonds to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’.

The Rating Watch Negative is maintained…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

With this downgrade, Illinois’ new credit rating is just two notches above “junk” status.

Fitch noted:

The downgrade of Illinois’s IDR and related ratings reflects the unprecedented failure of the state to enact a full budget for two consecutive years and the financial implications of spending far in excess of available revenues, which has resulted in increased accumulated liabilities and reduced financial flexibility. Even if the current attempts at a resolution to the extended impasse prove successful, Fitch believes that the failure to act to date has fundamentally weakened the state’s financial profile….

Fitch expects to resolve the Rating Watch within the next six months based on an assessment of the state’s fiscal trajectory as it starts fiscal 2018. If the state continues on the current path, a further downgrade would be warranted

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire Fitch Ratings news release here on their website.

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

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