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Illinois’ financial grade an F/Dan Proft and Chicago Tribune editorial board member, Kristen McQueary Discuss

Why is Illinois’ financial grade an F? Are the bond agencies taking too rosy a view of our finances? How does Illinois have $200 billion in debt with a balanced budget requirement in the Constitution? What does this mean for the 2018 gubernatorial election? Sheila Weinberg, Founder & CEO of Truth in Accounting, offers the facts on Illinois’ finances to Dan Proft and Chicago Tribune editorial board member, Kristen McQueary.

Source: Will County News

Russia touts ‘electronic bomb’ capability

Russia touts ‘electronic bomb’ capability

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Signaling that modern warfare between developed nations would come with a heavy focus on destroying information technology infrastructure, Russian state-run media is touting the country’s ability to disable U.S. military assets electronically.

The Russian propaganda report claimed that some Russian war planes are already equipped with jamming devices capable of rendering electronic-based military equipment useless.

“Today, our Russian Electronic Warfare (REW) troops can detect and neutralize any target from a ship’s system and a radar, to a satellite,” one report claimed.

The Russian propaganda also included claims (which remain unverified by the Pentagon) that Russian fighter planes were able to disable systems on the USS Donald Cook, crippling the ship’s capabilities, during a 2014 encounter in the Black Sea.

Based on Russia’s amped up focus on electronic warfare capabilities stemming back to the Cold War, that the country has the technology to jam and destroy critical infrastructures is not only plausible but very likely.

Here’s what U.S. defense contractor Leonardo DRS has to say about Russia’s capabilities:

The Russians now have a full Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership & Education, Personnel, and Facilities (DOTMLPF) Electronic Warfare Capability, based around the doctrine of Radio Electronic Combat (REC). “REC combined signals intelligence, direction finding, intensive jamming, deception, and destructive fires to attack enemy organizations and systems through their means of control. The purpose of REC is to limit, delay, or nullify the enemy’s use of his command and control systems, while protecting Russian systems by electronic counter-countermeasures. An estimated goal of the system is to destroy or to disrupt a majority of the enemy’s command, control, and weapon system communications, either by jamming or by destructive fires…

Russia’s boast about its electronic warfare capabilities follows news that U.S. officials are getting serious about protecting the U.S. from the growing probability of an attack on the homeland designed to shut down communication assets, the electric grid and other critical infrastructure.

As we reported last week:

Currently the Pentagon’s tech development wing, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is working with BAE Systems to develop a system that would identify major targets of an attack and reroute military and civilian vital infrastructure to minimize damage.

DARPA’s Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS) project is in the early stages of development and not likely to be ready for use until around 2020.

Meanwhile, a number of private sector companies are also innovating in the rapidly growing infrastructure defense industry with the backing of some of the nation’s wealthiest investors. Learn more about those efforts to avert a grid-down crisis.

Source: Will County News

Illegals destroying federal lands, unsafe for camping

From Judicial Watch April 2017

Park Service: Illegals destroying federal lands, unsafe for camping
Source: The Washington Examiner

Illegal immigration and drug running have destroyed border parklands, further threatened two species on the endangered list and led federal officials to bar visitors and campers in areas considered too dangerous to visit.

 

Background Notes from Judicial Watch

 

    
06/16/2010 03/07/2006 06/06/2007
U.S. Park Visitors Warned Of Mexican Smuggling Violence

Source: Judicial Watch

In yet another solid argument for securing the southern border, American families planning to visit national parks are being warned of the imminent danger created by Mexican drug and immigrant smugglers.

Read More


Illegal Immigrants Destroying National Wildlife

Source: Judicial Watch

A nonprofit group dedicated to protecting all native wild animals and plants has published a detailed report documenting how illegal immigrants crossing through the 350-mile Arizona-Mexico border have destroyed hundreds of acres of national forests and their habitat.

Read More

U.S. Pays Millions To Clean Illegal Immigrant Trash

Source: Judicial Watch

American taxpayers will dish out $63 million to clean up 25 million pounds of trash and human waste left by illegal immigrants who cross through federal and state parks during their trek from Mexico to the U.S.

Read More

Source: Will County News

Census data reveal that St. Clair and Madison counties saw combined population losses of more than 1,600 people

From Illinois Policy April 2017

The shrinking Metro East

Census data reveal that St. Clair and Madison counties saw combined population losses of more than 1,600 people due to out-migration to other states.

Recently released census data reveal that St. Clair and Madison counties saw combined population losses of more than 1,600 people due to out-migration to other states.

The Metro East region of Illinois is shrinking.

Comprising a handful of counties on the Illinois side of the greater St. Louis area, the Metro East region borders Missouri with the Mississippi River separating the two states. Belleville, the largest city in the Metro East, is less than a half-hour car ride from St. Louis. Because of its proximity to St. Louis, the Metro East is home to many residents who cross the border in their daily commute. But a large number of Illinoisans are leaving the state altogether for Missouri.

With the exception of Monroe County, every county in the Metro East saw its population shrink. From July 2015 to July 2016, two counties in Metro East – St. Clair and Madison – saw a combined drop in population of more than 1,600 people. St. Clair County suffered the brunt of the decline, losing 1,320 people, while Madison’s population decreased by 312.

illinois outmigration

 

St. Clair and Madison counties’ population losses come overwhelmingly from out-migration – the areas saw more births than deaths and even gained residents on net from international migration. St. Clair County had 3,282 births, 2,678 deaths and 127 immigrants arrive. However, St. Clair County lost 1,910 residents due to net domestic migration, and suffered a population loss of 1,320 residents. Madison County had 3,032 births, 2,814 deaths and 148 immigrants arrive. Far fewer people left Madison County; it lost only 572 people on net to domestic migration.

Missouri does not have this problem. Of the Missouri counties in the greater St. Louis area, only two counties ̶ St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis ̶ lost people. And though the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County lost more than 6,000 residents combined, the Missouri counties of the greater St. Louis area saw net growth. The other Missouri counties in the greater St. Louis area all saw population gains from July 2015 to July 2016. St. Charles County saw the biggest growth, where the population increased by 5,747 between July 2015 and July 2016.

illinois outmigration

Crossing state lines: Illinois lost 73,000 people on net to Missouri in the last decade

In 2015, Illinois saw a net loss of more than 8,500 people to Missouri. Although 15,000 Missourians came to Illinois in 2015, nearly 24,000 Illinoisans left the Land of Lincoln in favor of the Show Me State. And it’s not just Metro East; from July 2015 to July 2016, 89 out of Illinois’ 102 counties shrank in population.

And 2015 wasn’t an outlier.

From 2006 to 2015, Illinois lost nearly 73,000 residents on net to Missouri. That’s more people than the populations of Jersey and Clinton counties combined.

Why Illinoisans are fleeing: Taxes are No. 1 reason

Illinoisans have been fleeing the state for several years now. In 2015, half of Illinois’ migration losses were the result of Illinoisans moving to other states in the Midwest, including Missouri. In addition to Missouri, Wisconsin and Kentucky both saw net migration gains from Illinois in 2015.

One of the biggest causes of this exodus is taxes. According to a poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Illinois’ high taxes were the No. 1 reason nearly half of those surveyed wanted to leave the state. Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the country and one of the costliest overall tax burdens in the nation. Since 1990 residential property taxes in Illinois have grown 3.3 times faster than median household incomes, and the homeowners’ property tax burden as a percentage of median household income has skyrocketed 76 percent.

Missouri, on the other hand, has much lower property taxes. In 2016, the property tax rates for Illinois homeowners were 2.25 times higher than property tax rates in Missouri.

On Election Day, people in Madison County voted on a referendum on whether to reduce and cap property taxes, despite two challenges submitted to the electoral board to prevent the question from appearing on the ballot. Madison County residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of reducing the amount of property taxes the county can collect to 0.20 percent from 0.25 percent of home value.

While homeowners in Madison County made important progress in the last election, the battle for more affordable property taxes is nowhere close to over. Though currently stalled, lawmakers in Springfield are seeking to resurrect the “grand bargain” Senate deal which would’ve implemented a two-year property tax freeze in exchange for a permanent income tax hike. And the proposed property tax freeze would’ve been ineffectual because it excluded the biggest cost drivers, such as debt service, pension payments and public safety.

Raising taxes will not solve the state’s education funding problems, and doing so will simply hurt Illinois residents who are already overburdened with taxes. Residents of the Metro East counties and the rest of Illinois should take a lesson from Madison County and fight for real property tax relief at the state level. Metro East residents should hold their elected officials accountable and demand more, instead of trading permanent tax hikes for weak reforms and watered-down, temporary property tax freezes.

TAGS: Madison County, Metro East, missouri, Monroe County, outmigration, population, St. Clair County, St. Louis, U.S. Census Bureau

Source: Will County News

After mass layoffs, a chilling look back at CAT’s plea for reforms

By Illinois Policy April 2017

In February 2012, Caterpillar’s then-CEO Doug Oberhelman outlined needed reforms to save Illinois manufacturing jobs. State lawmakers have failed to act, and the Land of Lincoln is the only state in the region to lose manufacturing jobs since.

For years, Illinois lawmakers have ignored cries for reform from Illinois manufacturers – an insult to more than half a million manufacturing workers who rely on a healthy industry to forge the state’s middle class.

One of those workers is Rick Schock. He’s been on third shift in assembly at Caterpillar’s Aurora plant for 12 years. But he will soon lose his job as part of the company’s plans to shutter production facilities there.

“When I first started you’d go in to a local bar on a Friday morning at 7 a.m. [after your shift ended] and it was like a Friday night. It was nice, the camaraderie,” Schock said. “We were a big family.”

“But now with the layoffs my stress level has been so high. When I look at the people at work, everyone looks defeated.”

One of the most straightforward pleas from one of manufacturing’s largest players came five years ago in February 2012, when Caterpillar’s then-CEO Doug Oberhelman penned an op-ed outlining how Illinois government must act in order to bring back manufacturing jobs.

His recommendations included real workers’ compensation reform and a balanced state budget that would provide long-term tax certainty and tax relief.

The mass layoffs at Caterpillar’s Aurora plant offers a chance to reflect on Oberhelman’s plea and how the state has fared since.

The results are in: Illinois is the only state in the region to suffer a net loss of manufacturing jobs in the last five years.

 

illinois manufacturing

“Business leaders are making decisions today on where to invest in the future,” Oberhelman wrote in 2012. “Illinois must act now, with a bipartisan sense of urgency, to position itself for future job creation that is being discussed in boardrooms all across this country.

“When Caterpillar and most other companies look to locate a new factory in the United States, Illinois is not in the running for such projects. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Illinois’ high property taxes and high workers’ compensation costs hit manufacturing harder than any other sector of the state economy, discouraging investment and even pushing manufacturers out of Illinois to other states.

The Illinois Policy Institute has put forward a state budget plan that addresses both of these major cost drivers, while balancing the budget without tax hikes.

Until politicians focus on tackling foundational reforms, Illinois will continue to bleed jobs – and hardworking men and women will suffer.

TAGS: Aurora, Caterpillar, manufacturing, workers compensation

Source: Will County News

Climate Change & the Christian Forum

IFI Forums: Climate Change & the Christian
April 25 @ 6:00 PMApril 28 @ 9:00 PM

Join us as we have Dr. Calvin Beisner, the founder & national spokesman for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation discuss the Christian responsibility to the environment as we learn how to discern truth and myth in the climate change controversy.

April 25th at Stockholm Inn in Rockford

2420 Charles Street, Rockford, Illinois 61108

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM Presentation

(Optional) Dinner at 5 PM, Reservations required by calling Jan 815-621-9497


April 26th at Christian Liberty in Arlington Heights

502 Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60004

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM


April 27th at Stone Church in Orland Park

10737 Orland Pkwy, Orland Park, IL 60467

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM


April 28th at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria

8607 IL-91, Peoria, IL 61615

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

CLICK HERE FOR FLYER

Dr. Beisner is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a network of about 60 Christian theologians, natural scientists, economists, and other scholars educating for Biblical earth stewardship, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the good news of salvation by God’s grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

What others say about Dr. Beisner

“… an excellent speaker who …  held my 200-person Bible class spellbound for an hour!” — Dr. Wayne Grudem, Scottsdale Bible Church

“I’ve known two people in my life whose knowledge I would describe as encyclopedic. You’re one of them!” — Dr. R. Fowler White, Dean of Faculty, Knox Theological Seminary

“The people loved his lectures, with many … wishing that he could have spoken more.” — Rev. Phil Kayser, Providential History Festival, Omaha, NE

Details

Start:
April 25 @ 6:00 PM
End:
April 28 @ 9:00 PM
Event Category:

Source: Will County News

An amendment to Illinois’ longstanding Liquor Control Act creates curious guidelines that seem to favor a few specific Chicago businesses

From Illinois Policy April 2017

Alcohol bill aimed to help special interests, further status quo

An amendment to Illinois’ longstanding Liquor Control Act creates curious guidelines that seem to favor a few specific Chicago businesses.

An amendment to Illinois’ longstanding Liquor Control Act creates curious guidelines that seem likely to favor a few specific Chicago businesses, while keeping the status quo intact for the rest.

Illinois’ liquor laws, more than 80 years on the books, have long been restrictive for businesses, with the exception of the politically connected. And new legislation in the Illinois House might continue that trend.

House Bill 3164, introduced by state Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, would make oddly specific carve outs in access to liquor licenses for businesses, likely to exempt specific Chicago liquor stores, restaurants or bars – but not others – from the longstanding law.

HB 3164 would amend the Liquor Control Act of 1934 to authorize the issuance and renewal of a license to sell liquor at premises located within 100 feet of specific “places of worship and schools in the City of Chicago.” But the legislation does not simply relax the rules for any business hoping to sell alcohol within 100 feet of churches or schools. Rather, it provides extremely specific guidelines, including:

  • The premises are at least 5,300 square feet and located in a building that was built prior to 1940 with frontage on South Michigan Avenue.
  • The shortest distance between the property line of the premises and the exterior wall of the building in which the church is located is at least 109 feet.
  • The distance between the building in which the church is located and the building in which the premises are located is at least 118 feet.
  • The main entrance to the church faces west and is at least 602 feet from the main entrance of the premises.
  • The shortest distance between the property line of the school is at least 177 feet.
  • The applicant has been in business for more than 10 years.

The legislation also requires the religious leader of the church or principal of the school to indicate his or her support for the issuance or renewal of the liquor license, and written approval from the alderman of the ward in which the premise is located.

The specificity of the guidelines makes it curious which businesses this legislation was written for, but a glance at past amendments to the law and a history of Illinois government’s approach to the liquor industry makes it no surprise.

Before Stratton’s legislation, other changes to this provision of the Liquor Control Act allowed for alcohol sales within 100 feet of homes for the aged if the home for the aged was completed in 2015 and is exactly five stories. Another amendment, for example, allowed for restaurants within 100 feet of a school to sell alcohol if the restaurant occupied the first floor of a three-story building at least 90 years old with the rear corner of the building and the rear lot of the school separated by an alley.

The list goes on and on of narrowly tailored conditions for special interests, while the law itself remains restrictive and outdated.

The Liquor Control Act, passed shortly after the end of prohibition, established a three-tier system of alcohol distribution in the state. Under that act, the Illinois liquor industry was set up into three distinct tiers: producers of alcohol – such as wineries, distilleries and breweries – retail outlets and distributors. Licensed distributors buy alcoholic beverages from breweries, distilleries and wineries and then sell them to retailers such as restaurants, bars and grocery stores. With certain exceptions for smaller wineries and breweries, it is illegal to operate under more than one tier.

Every state in the country – with the exception of Washington – operates under this system. But in Illinois especially, the politically connected benefit the most.

In May 2013, then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 2606, which also amended the Liquor Control Act, this time to prohibit out-of-state brewers from owning any part of a beer distributor in Illinois. The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, or ABDI, gave thousands in campaign contributions to the sponsors of that 2013 bill, including plenty of cash to main sponsor state Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, before and during consideration of it.

DEAR READER:

To make informed decisions, the public must receive the unbiased truth. Unfortunately, that isn’t what we often get out of our elected officials or the legacy media. At the Illinois Policy Institute, that is something we are going to fix.

We are an independent nonprofit consisting of more than 20 writers and policy experts. Our mission is to generate public policy solutions that promote personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois.

  • We have produced the only viable plan to balance the state budget while also reducing the tax burden placed on residents like you.
  • Our work is consumed by more than 500,000 Illinoisans each month, free of charge.
  • We are funded solely by the support of the general public. We receive no government dollars.

But to continue to provide unbiased reporting and viable policy solutions, we need your support.

 

If you want to see a more prosperous Illinois for your family and friends, please take a minute to help make a difference. Thank you.

Lawmakers took that a step further last when they passed legislation that made bypassing Illinois distributors for out-of-state purchases a criminal offense. A law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2017, made purchasing alcohol across state lines for resale in Illinois a Class 4 felony, as opposed to a lesser business offense. ABDI was present again while this legislation was under consideration in the General Assembly, making a $1,000 donation to bill sponsor state Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, totaling more than $60,000 donated to him over the years, and a $20,000 donation to House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Beyond amendments to the Liquor Control Act, Illinois state government has also passed legislation to limit choice in distributorships in state – favoring big, politically connected distributors that make up a large share of the market.

In 1982, the House passed the Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act, which bound beer manufacturers to their distributors unless they can prove “good cause” – such as breach of contract – to change distributors. A similar law, the Wine and Spirits Fair Dealing Act, passed in 1999 extended that rule to distillers and wineries. The Wine and Spirits Fair Dealing Act passed in large part due to the financial backing of the Wine & Spirits Distributors of Illinois PAC, Judge & Dolph, LTD, Southern Wine – largely funded by former Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz – which gave thousands of dollars to several lawmakers, including Madigan and former Minority Leader Lee Daniels.

A U.S. District Court judge struck down the 1999 law for violating the commerce clause of the Constitution, but the 1982 law still exists.

Politicians shouldn’t be using existing alcohol laws to eliminate competition or carve out benefits for special interests. On the positive side, Senate Bill 1288, introduced by state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorne Woods, would allow craft distillers to sell a certain amount of their own products directly to retailers, opposed to having to go through distributors.

But still, Springfield politicians’ history of rigging the state’s crony liquor laws show there are significant changes needed to the way Illinois state government approaches alcohol regulation. HB 3164 and all the previous amendments making special rules for special interests are proof.

TAGS: Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act, Frank Mautino, James Clayborne, Juliana Stratton, Liquor Control Act, liquor laws, Wine & Spirits Distributors of Illinois, Wine and Spirits Fair Dealing Act

 

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C Hadley families discover the magic of STEAM

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

April 21, 2017

Hadley families discover the magic of STEAM

Participate in variety of hands-on learning activities 

 

Hadley Middle School was abuzz with activity Thursday night as students returned with their parents and siblings to enjoy an evening of hands-on learning activities and experiments.

 

There were dry ice demonstrations, chemical reaction experiments and engineering challenges.

Students took turns playing math magic tricks, building structures with toothpicks and marshmallows, and finding out what happens when you mix water with vinegar. (For those who weren’t there: It creates gas, which can inflate a balloon!)

 

It was all part of the school’s Family STEAM Night.

 

Teachers, staff and parent volunteers led the experiments and demonstrations, inviting students to “discover the magic of STEAM” with their families.

Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

Source: Will County News

Trump News April 21, 2017

The White House 

FEATURED
President Trump's Weekly Address
WHITE HOUSE MEMO
A new economic optimism is sweeping across our country, and today President Donald J. Trump is taking action to continue this great economic revival. The President is signing three Presidential actions that will further the process of simplifying the tax code, holding Wall Street firms accountable, and opening up opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
AFTERNOON:

  • 1:30PM: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
  • 2:45PM: President Trump signs three financial services Presidential actions – Watch LIVE
  • 3:05PM: President Trump meets with Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin
  • 3:30PM: President Trump meets with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney
FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP
OVAL OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS
President Trump holds a joint press conference with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy.
Read More

President Trump signs the Steel Imports and Threats to National Security Memorandum.
Read Memorandum
Read Remarks
Watch Video

WHITE HOUSE UPDATES
Photo of the Day:

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy hold a joint press conference. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead).
View Photo

President Trump: Standing up to Unfair Steel Trade Practices.
Read More

NEWS FROM VICE PRESIDENT PENCE’S ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR
Vice President Pence thanks sailors aboard U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.
Read More

Vice President Pence holds a joint press conference with President Joko Widodo of the Republic of Indonesia.
Read More

Vice President Pence participates in a discussion with interfaith religious leaders.
Read More

Vice President Pence makes remarks at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Read More

NEWS REPORTS
  • Washington Examiner: “Trump administration opens sweeping trade investigation”
    Read More

Source: Will County News

Illinois lawmakers peddle fake property tax reform

From Illinois Policy April 2017

Illinois lawmakers peddle fake property tax reform

House Bill 156 does nothing to stop the overly burdensome growth in Illinois property tax bills.

Despite being sold as property tax “relief,” new legislation in Springfield would only shift property tax burdens on to certain taxpayers, while complicating an already confusing property tax system.

A new proposal Illinois politicians have dubbed a “comprehensive tax relief package” is little more than a campaign gimmick in preparation for next year’s legislative elections.

House Bill 156, proposed by state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg and co-sponsored by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, would increase property tax exemptions for some taxpayers, but it is not the “comprehensive” solution Illinoisans need to lower their ever-growing property tax bills, which are the highest in the nation.

The bill would increase the standard homeowners exemption to $8,000 per eligible household, increase the exemption for seniors over the age of 65 to $6,000 annually and creates a $2,500 annual exemption for disabled veterans and those 75 and older. It also creates exemptions for long-time homeowners and allows some seniors to defer their taxes until they sell their home.

The House passed the bill 108-1-0 April 6. That’s likely because many politicians didn’t want to go on the record as having voted against property tax “reform” for seniors and veterans,fearing any “no” vote would be used against them in next year’s election campaign.

But a “no” vote is absolutely the right decision on this bill.

HB 156 does nothing to stop the overly burdensome growth in Illinois property tax bills, even for seniors and veterans. It simply shifts more of the property tax burden on property owners who do not receive an exemption, The bill also fails to address the cost drivers pushing taxes higher and squeezing working-class workers and seniors out of their homes in the first place. And it does nothing to reform how government spends money, nor does it remove the excesses and duplication of local governments.

Instead, the current proposal just shifts an ever-growing property tax load to other groups of taxpayers – in particular the commercial and industrial property taxpayers. That gives job creators just one more reason to leave Illinois.

True tax relief won’t come to taxpayers – including seniors and veterans – without first freezing the total tax levy at each local government level and then attacking the underlying causes that push up taxes in the first place. To bring those taxes down, new laws must also allow and empower local leaders to negotiate better contracts with local unions.

Here are the key three reasons why HB 156 fails taxpayers:

1. The bill does nothing to address why the cost of government – and property tax bills – continues to grow.

The real driving force behind increasing property tax bills is the rising cost of government.

Illinois’ has too many duplicative units of local government that pay out-of-control salaries and pensions to the bureaucracies that run them. That includes everything from unnecessary townships to overlapping school districts to mosquito abatement districts. Most Illinoisans live under three layers of local government – municipal, township and county. Meanwhile in most other states, residents never have more than two layers of government.

Those layers of governments dole out state-mandated wages for government construction projects far higher than what taxpayers can afford, overly expensive perks to employees through collective bargaining and runaway workers’ compensation costs.

Those items have pushed Illinois’ average property tax burden to the highest in the nation. HB 156 fails to address any of those issues. Without addressing and reforming the rising costs of government, the property tax burden on seniors and veterans – two of the groups this bill claims to help – will continue to grow, too.

2. Since the proposal doesn’t lower the overall tax burden, it just shifts the burden to other taxpayers.

Even with all the exemptions for homeowners, the proposed bill does nothing to reduce local government spending. That means those who don’t get exemptions must pick up the tax reduction given to some. That’s the case whether you are a homeowner that doesn’t get any exemptions or a small business that’s ignored.

Carol Portman, president of the Illinois Taxpayer Federation, says she is still evaluating the numbers, but Illinoisans can expect at least a $6 billion reduction in residential assessed property values. And that means commercial and industrial will have to pick up the slack.

Portman says:

“We are still in the process of estimating some of the newer and more complicated features of the bill, but our preliminary calculations of the consequences of the increase in the homeowners’ exemption are that approximately $6 billion of EAV will be removed from the state-wide tax base.

“To keep total taxes the same, local governments will need to increase their tax rates by roughly 2%. That increase will fall most heavily on commercial and industrial properties, which do not qualify for the homeowners’ exemption.

DEAR READER:

To make informed decisions, the public must receive the unbiased truth. Unfortunately, that isn’t what we often get out of our elected officials or the legacy media. At the Illinois Policy Institute, that is something we are going to fix.

We are an independent nonprofit consisting of more than 20 writers and policy experts. Our mission is to generate public policy solutions that promote personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois.

  • We have produced the only viable plan to balance the state budget while also reducing the tax burden placed on residents like you.
  • Our work is consumed by more than 500,000 Illinoisans each month, free of charge.
  • We are funded solely by the support of the general public. We receive no government dollars.

But to continue to provide unbiased reporting and viable policy solutions, we need your support.

If you want to see a more prosperous Illinois for your family and friends, please take a minute to help make a difference. Thank you.

“Essentially, it’s a shift of tax burden from one group onto another, and not necessarily a tax decrease, even for homeowners. The other exemptions will require additional tax rate increases, and the higher rates will hit all property owners, whether eligible for exemptions or not.”

At first glance, somebody else footing more of the property tax burden may sound good to some homeowners, but a tax shift like the proposal in HB 156 is not good for Illinoisans.

Taxpayers need more jobs, not tax hike proposals that chase even more job creators over the border.

3. The bill makes an even bigger mess of an overly complicated property tax system

Most Illinois homeowners don’t understand the property tax system in Illinois and why their taxes seemingly always go up, even when a property tax cap law exists in large parts of the state.

Not only does HB 156 not fix the problem, it makes the system even more convoluted by adding more complications and exemptions.

These proposed “reforms” create more confusing paperwork, longer wait times to get answers to questions and all-around bigger headaches for taxpayers – more bureaucracy in the name of tax relief.

The need for real reforms

Instead of superficial “reforms,” Illinoisans deserve tax relief that tackles the state’s core spending problems.

The Illinois Policy Institute instead has done just that by laying out a three-step plan for comprehensive property tax reform in its Budget Solutions 2018. First, the plan freezes the total tax dollars local governments can raise going forward.

The plan then eliminates many of the state subsidies that fuel excessive spending at the local level. Currently, billions in state subsidies allow local officials to spend money where it’s most politically expedient – all without have to answer to local taxpayers. Those subsidies prop up unnecessary perks and expenses, including salary spikes, pension sweeteners and workers’ compensation costs that would otherwise be unaffordable.

Last, the plan eliminates the costly state mandates that push up government costs and gives back spending control to local governments. Freezing property taxes and ending state subsidies won’t be enough to fix Illinoisans’ tax burdens. Local officials must also be given greater control over their own budgets so they can reduce the burden on local taxpayers and reform how local government is delivered.

TAGS: Katie Stuart, Michelle Mussman, property taxes

Source: Will County News