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Archive → December 19th, 2015

Tax Tips from Steve Weber

Farmers Weekly

Tax tips for Farmers Tax Extenders are coming! Congress to Make Key Provisions Permanent and President is Expected to Sign Into Law Congress is embracing the holiday season by providing taxpayers a gift in the form of tax extenders. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 is a bipartisan agreement between both houses of Congress that permanently extends many popular business and individual incentives. We hope President Obama will sign these to sign into law in the coming days. Below are some key provisions from the PATH Act: Enhanced child tax credit made permanent The child tax credit (CTC) is a $1,000 credit. To the extent the CTC exceeds the taxpayer’s tax liability, the taxpayer is eligible for a refundable credit (the additional child tax credit) equal to 15 percent of earned income in excess of a threshold dollar amount (the “earned income” formula). Until 2009, the threshold dollar amount was $10,000 indexed for inflation from 2001 (which would be roughly $14,000 in 2015). Since 2009, however, this threshold amount has been set at an unindexed $3,000 and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017, returning to the $10,000 (indexed for inflation) amount. The provision permanently sets the threshold amount at an unindexed $3,000. Enhanced American opportunity tax credit made permanent The Hope Scholarship Credit is a credit of $1,800 (indexed for inflation) for various tuition and related expenses for the first two years of post-secondary education. It phases out for AGI starting at $48,000 (if single) and $96,000 (if married filing jointly) – these amounts are also indexed for inflation. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) takes those permanent provisions of the Hope Scholarship Credit and increases the credit to $2,500 for four years of post-secondary education, and increases the beginning of the phase-out amounts to $80,000 (single) and $160,000 (married filing jointly) for 2009 to 2017. The provision makes the AOTC permanent. Enhanced earned income tax credit made permanent Low- and moderate income workers may be eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC). For 2009 through 2017 ,the EITC amount has been temporarily increased for those with three (or more) children and the EITC marriage penalty has been reduced by increasing the income phase-out range by $5,000 (indexed for inflation) for those who are married and filing jointly. The provision makes these provisions permanent. R&D Tax Credit Made Permanent & Modified The provision permanently extends the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. Additionally, beginning in 2016, eligible small businesses ($50 million or less in gross receipts) may claim the credit against their alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability, and the credit can be utilized by eligible small businesses against their payroll tax (i.e., FICA) liability. 179D Energy Efficiency Deductions Extended for Commercial Buildings through 2016 Deductions of up to $1.80 per square foot for energy efficient commercial building property would be extended for 2 more years through the end of 2016. Designers of government-owned buildings remain eligible for these deductions as well. 45L Energy Efficiency Credits Extended for Multifamily & Residential Developers through 2016 Low-rise apartment developers and homebuilders are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit for each new or rehabbed energy efficient dwelling unit that is first leased or sold by the end of 2016. Taxpayers also have the ability to amend returns to claim missed tax credits from previous years. Bonus Depreciation Extended & Phased Down through 2019 Bonus depreciation applies only to new property and it’s so great you must elect out of it as everyone gets it off the bat. Unlike section 179, bonus can be used to create a net operating loss. 50% Bonus Depreciation provisions would be extended through the end of 2017 and phases down to 40% in 2018 and 30% in 2019. 179 Expensing Thresholds & 15-Year Life for Qualified Real Property Made Permanent For tax years beginning in 2015, the deduction and investment limits are $25,000 and $200,000 respectively, unless they are extended by congress. Section 179’s increased expensing amounts of $500,000 and limited to $2.5 million for small businesses should become permanent. People can’t do any tax planning at year end with these rules in flux. Additionally, the 15-year recovery period for qualified leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property, and qualified retail improvement property has been made permanent, and qualified property here may be eligible for expensing under the special rules of Section 179. Watch for these extenders to be signed before you pull the trigger on that new green combine (It’s my color). Merry Christmas. Steve Weber, CPA

Source: Will County News

Mokena Park District Board members leave before meeting starts

 

Mutual respect’ training canceled

Mokena Park District Board members leave before meeting starts

  By Susan DeMar Lafferty Daily Southtown

A mutual-respect training seminar for Mokena Park District Board members was canceled Tuesday night due to a lack of participants.

Recent meetings have been chaotic, with commissioners calling for resignations and hurling accusations at each other, and the public demanding answers.

The seminar — offered at the suggestion of the park district’s attorney, Gina Madden, for free — was the only agenda item listed in a workshop session following the board’s regular monthly meeting.

All six commissioners attended the regular session, but when three left before the workshop began, Madden advised board President George McJimpsey to cancel it due to a lack of a quorum.

Madden said she was being cautious not to violate the Open Meetings Act, noting that the workshop session and its agenda were posted as public meetings.

“Technically it is board business, even though no action would have been taken by the board,” she said.

Commissioner Dennis Bagdon left immediately and without comment after the regular session adjourned. Commissioner Kevin Brogan said he had a prior commitment but would read through the materials circulated.

Commissioner Steve Curran appeared to be willing to attend but left abruptly just as the session was about to start. He became upset when a resident, John Olivieri, implied that there may have been an open-meetings violation and photographed Commissioners Curran, Mike Bartos and McJimpsey out in the hall, where they said they were taking a break between the two sessions.

Curran said they were “talking about other stuff” and were not violating the act.

“I’m not putting up with this,” he said as he left.

Olivieri said he did not hear what the commissioners were discussing in the hallway.

According to the Open Meetings Act, if a majority of a quorum of board members — in this case three — come together and discuss public business, it is considered an open public meeting. Members cannot discuss business privately, either in person or electronically.

Olivieri recently filed a complaint now being reviewed by the Illinois Attorney General’s office, claiming the board violated the act when it held a special meeting in November because it was not held in a venue large enough for the public, and the board did not follow its agenda.

Bagdon said Wednesday he told Madden and his fellow board members in advance that he would not participate in the mutual respect training “for several reasons.”

However, he said the board is “out of control” and its members “do not respect one another.”

Former board President Lana Graser and Olivieri both asked commissioners to explain their recent statements and actions.

They asked why McJimpsey, Bartos and Curran denied that they wanted to fire Romanek, when according to the minutes of the November special meeting, they all voted to give the director 180 days’ notice to terminate his contract.

Olivieri said the public also needs to know why Bartos and Curran abstained in a vote last month to require criminal background checks for Park District Board members. The requirement passed with three voting for it — McJimpsey, Brogan and Bagdon. The policy is still being reviewed by the attorney.

 

Source: Will County News

Summary of Homer District 33C School Board Meeting December 15, 2015

Summary of Homer District 33C School Board Meeting December 15, 2015

 

 

Veterans Day 2015 Hadley school

 

Union representative Terri Pellizzari introduced the distr ict’s thir d-grade teachers. Teacher Tasha Ohotzke spoke on behalf of the group and shared some of the ways they’re using technology to prepare Future Ready Students. Last week, for example, students participated in the global Hour of Code movement, learning how to code like computer programmers.  “It was a huge hit,” said Ms. Ohotzke. She also talked about how the third graders are connecting with students in Missouri by reading the book “Fish in a Tree” aloud together. The project is part of a Global Read Aloud, connecting more than 1,000,000 students across the country. She thanked the board for providing the tools, such as Chromebooks, to make the learn- ing projects possible. “It’s amazing what we can do with those Chromebooks,” she said.

 

Superintendent Kara Coglianese recognized the owner s of Tazza’s r estaur ant for assisting a Homer 33C family this holiday season by providing them with a Thanksgiving feast as well as additional food for the holidays.

 

Superintendent Kara Coglianese recognized J ohn Reiniche, Assistant Super in- tendent for Business, for publishing an article about Homer 33C’s efforts to explain school finance to the community by creating a condensed, easy-to-read communi- cations tool called “Budget at a Glance.” The article was published in the winter edition of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials magazine.

 

The Board of Education approved r evised job descr iptions for Gr ounds/ Special Project Tech, Grounds Maintenance Services, Head Custodian, District Maintenance Staff, Assistant Maintenance Staff.

 

The Board of Education authorized school per sonnel to discar d of old, br oken or damaged athletic equipment.

 

Schilling School Principal Candis Gasa, Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Robinson and Technology Director Arlene Siefert shared a pr esentation they made to public school leaders recently in the Carousel of Panels at the IASB/IASA/ IASBO Joint Annual Conference, held Nov. 21 in Chicago. The presentation, “Transforming a School District,” was selected for inclusion in the conference by conference organizers. Its focus was Homer 33C’s Preparing Future Ready Stu- dents initiative. Mrs. Robinson provided an overview of initiative and how it got started while Mrs. Siefert talked about the deployment of technology as well as the professional development needed to make the initiative successful. Mrs. Gasa shared how the initiative was implemented in the schools.

 

The presentation was so well received by educators that the group was invited to apply to present again next year.

 

 

 

children

 

 

 

Homer School Board

 

Barb Wilson, President Angela Adolf, Vice President Amy Blank, Secretary

Ed Campins, Member Elizabeth Hitzeman, Member Debra Martin, Member

Russ Petrizzo, Member

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Kathleen Robinson, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, present- ed an over view of the distr ict’s PARCC testing r esults. The r esults show:

  • 50 percent of Homer 33C students are proficient or meeting state standards in English Language Art The state average is 38 percent.
  • 45 percent of Homer 33C students are proficient or meeting state standards in Math. The state average is 28 perce

 

A more detailed report showing scores by grade level will be shared with the board at next meeting on January 26th. Parents will receive information about the PARCC exam results with their child’s report card on January 25th.

 

The Board of Education approved a levy of 2.75 per cent — the District’s lowest request in at least five years.

 

The Board of Education confirmed the appointment of Homer J unior High Principal Troy Mitchell to serve as a liaison to first responder agencies.

 

The Board of Education approved a 2 per cent salar y incr ease for non- bargaining support staff personnel for FY 2015-2016.

 

The Board of Education approved the application of the Ten-Year Safety Survey Report for William J. Butler School.

 

Board Member Angela Adolf requested a r epor t be pr epar ed showing how much money is budgeted for each extracurricular program in the district. She wants to make sure all extracurricular programs are treated fairly and equitably in the district.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Next  Regular  School Board  Meeting  is  January 26, 2016  at 7 :30  p.m.

Source: Will County News

Whats in the Omnibus Bill or should I say Republicans give Obama what he wants Bill

This needs your immediate attention as we now know whats in the Omnibus Bill thanks to Rep Paul Gosar.  Rep Gosar wrote this today on his FB page:  Why I Am Voting NO on the Massive Omnibus Spending Bill:stock-photo-baby-boy-teenager-european-appearance-holds-a-brown-hair-and-wrinkled-bills-face-on-a-gray-321971678

Once again I find myself shaking my head at the wasteful spending in DC and a flawed process that drops thousands of pages of text on us with 48 hours to “read” and understand. I wish I could put all the blame on big spending Democrats, liberals who seek to bankrupt our nation and others who are ignorant of the fiscal crisis within which we live. But I can’t. Congress is controlled by Republicans. So, this massive and wasteful spending bill is on Republican leadership—who continues the pattern I have seen for 5 years now.stock-photo-blue-hand-made-baby-booties-on-some-american-money-isolated-on-white-cost-of-raising-a-child-81257542

If I sound disappointed, it’s because I am. Republicans have been elected around the country on the simple promise of reducing spending and the size of the federal government. To rein in a lawless and dangerously incompetent Obama administration. We know what the American people want. They have made that clear in the last three election cycles. Except for the sequester vote in August 2011 (a law I proudly voted for and that actually reduced spending 3 years in a row), no other law has been enacted that makes meaningful cuts to spending. I am disappointed but I refuse to give up.

There are some items in the Omnibus that I support and fought to have included such as eliminating taxpayers bailouts of the Obamacare “risk corridor” program and delaying the “Cadillac tax” which puts 2 more nails in the Obamacare coffin, funding for PILT and SCAAP, as well as lifting the crude oil export ban which I have taken a lead role in accomplishing. Additionally, the Omnibus bill includes the House-passed language that reforms the VISA Waiver Program.stock-photo-baby-with-money-in-hand-isolated-70167088

But the bad far outweighs the good, and overall, this bill misses so many opportunities. A bill with 2242 pages of legislative text and over 1000 pages of explanatory material was first released at 1:34 AM today and we will vote on it this Friday. I am not Nancy Pelosi. I will not vote to pass a bill just to find out later what is in it. That is irresponsible and silly. Bottom line: this is a big spending bill. It spends more ($50 billion) than is authorized and agreed to under the Budget Control Act of 2011. This alone is reason to reject this bill. We set limits that are intended to implement our campaign promises.

This Omnibus does not defund the president’s executive amnesty orders which is an abdication of the power of the purse. The bill failed to defund Obamacare. This bill failed to include a provision blocking refugees from Syria from being resettled in this country until we have a system that can properly vet them.London-Mosque-GettyImages-620x413

The bill failed to block the EPA’s new WOTUS, Clean Power Plan and Ozone regulations. It also failed to block the administration’s new AFFH rule, to block the new Stream Protection Rule and to block the BLM’s new fracking rule, do anything to limit massive designations of new national monuments under the Antiquities Act by Obama and to block the new Central American Minors (CAM) program.

It increases IRS spending by over $200 million and includes a $500 million increase for the wasteful and inefficient Head Start program. The bill increases funding for the EPA $717.73 million above the House passed bill.stock-photo-chinese-baby-crying-with-red-pocket-172902455

The bill fails to block funding for Planned Parenthood and will allow hundreds of millions to continue to flow to the organization’s coffers ($528.4 million in federal funding last year alone).

The bill egregiously extends the Wind PTC for five years and extends LWCF for three years with no meaningful reforms even though the program is now unauthorized. The bill includes $226.8 million for new land acquisition and to lock-up more land, even though the federal government can’t even manage the land it currently owns.

The bill bails out the International Monetary Fund by increasing the U.S. quota. This IMF will now have access to even more taxpayer dollars in order to fund bailouts of other irresponsible governments like Greece.

To make matters worse, there were tons of great riders that passed both Houses and were even included in base bills that somehow failed to make it into the final bill.

The fact that extremist environmental groups are pleased and that Obama hasn’t threatened a veto tells you everything you need to know about this fundamentally-flawed bill.Easy Score

I refuse to go along with the status quo of more wasteful and abusive government spending. It doesn’t have to be this way. We must have the courage to fix our broken budget process and return to regular order. As long as I represent hard-working Arizonans, I will never stop fighting to end this madness. This is my line in the sand and I refuse to back down.

Please thank Rep Paul Gosar for voting NO to the Omnibus Spending Bill.

This Omnibus does not defund the president’s executive amnesty orders which is an abdication of the power of the purse. The bill failed to defund Obamacare. This bill failed to include a provision blocking refugees from Syria from being resettled in this country until we have a system that can properly vet them. The bill failed to block the EPA’s new WOTUS, Clean Power Plan and Ozone regulations. It also failed to block the administration’s new AFFH rule, to block the new Stream Protection Rule and to block the BLM’s new fracking rule. It increases IRS spending by over $200 million and includes a $500 million increase for the wasteful and inefficient Head Start program. The bill increases funding for the EPA $717.73 million above the House passed bill. The bill fails to block funding for Planned Parenthood and will allow hundreds of millions to continue to flow to the organizations coffers ($528.4 million in federal funding last year alone).Bomb on Dollars

Today, it was decided that the 1.1 Trillion Omnibus bill won’t be voted on until Friday.  So start making our US Reps & Senators phones ringing off the hook from now through Friday morning.  

ACTUAL VOTE WILL TAKE PLACE ON FRIDAY.http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/12/16/congress-wont-vote-on-1-1-trillion-spending-bill-until-friday-forcing-another-stop-gap-measure.html

SO CALL YOUR US REPS & SENATORS @ 888-995-2085 and tell them to Defund the Refugee Resettlement Program, Defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood & Obama’s illegal #ExecutiveAmnesty & EPA increases & to remove any increases to the H-2B Visa, in the Omnibus Bill.

Source: Will County News

Illinois Seeks Backdoor Disarmament Legislation

Illinois Seeks Backdoor Disarmament Legislation
David A. Lombardo
 Guns and Freedom
Nietzsche wrote, “All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” I can’t imagine a time in the history of our nation when the darkest interpretation of Nietzsche’s observation was truer. It is a substantive miscalculation to think the ilk of Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Michael Madigan and other liberal pols are intellectual lightweights. They are intelligent, manipulative, calculating demagogues whose primary goals are to stay in power and to be sure John Q lacks the power to take it away from them at any cost.
It is the hallmark of the tin pot dictator to use any means, legal or otherwise, to retain control. Lying, cheating, misdirection, using the power of government to harass citizenry, even making one’s enemies disappear is exercised with little thought beyond scratching the itch of the moment. These sociopaths know the truth but think they’re above it.
Nowhere do all these forces come to bear more so than gun control because no other issue has such profound effect on a dishonest politician’s bid for eternal political life. There is no question in the mind of any intelligent person that private ownership of firearms stabilizes society. The problem is stabilized societies don’t much care for dictators and elite ruling classes. What the liberals know, and fear most, is John Q’s ability to politely say, “No,” and have the power to back it up.
And so yet again the power hungry weigh in on disarming John Q, this time in the form of Illinois House Bill 4359. Introduced by State Representative Greg Harris, a 13th District Democrat, the bill calls for the revocation of any Illinois citizen’s FOID card and the seizure of his or her firearms if that person’s name appears on the FBI’s Terror Watch List. Harris refers to it by the left’s mantra, “a common sense gun law,” yet it is so deeply flawed on so many levels, there isn’t enough space to list them all. Certainly unconstitutional comes to mind.
No one knows the criteria used to put people on the list, and you’re not informed that you are on the list. You’ll find out when you’re checking in at the airline counter for your vacation with the kids to Disneyland. Oh, well, thank goodness the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is on call 24 hours a day.
That there is no due process isn’t difficult to imagine since the left has no more regard for the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments than it does for the Second. Strict adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law is only observed when it protects a liberal sacred cow. When it slaughters the cow and chops it up into sirloin burgers, the Constitution is outdated and irrelevant because the Founding Fathers could never have anticipated the complexity of today’s society or the destructive power of modern firearms.
In 2007 the Justice Department reported that the FBI had over 700,000 names in a database and it was growing at the rate of 20,000 records a month. There are currently about one million names on the list. What are the chances your name is on the list? Well, if you’re white, Christian, an NRA member, prior military, support the Tea Party and are vocal about it, you’re a likely candidate because, after all, the Terror Watch list is maintained by the most corrupt and anti-American administration in history. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Source: Will County News