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Archive → January 8th, 2016

Consolidation of government in Illinois

http://bcove.me/vss2kj35 Video on consolidation

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 Justin Kmitch 1/8/2016

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 spending

A state task force on Monday released more than two dozen recommendations for stopping the proliferation of governments in Illinois — which has the most in the nation — and finding ways to consolidate some of those that already exist.

Along with recommending a 4-year moratorium on adding new taxing bodies, the 406-page report by the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force also calls for giving residents the ability to consolidate or dissolve local governments via referendum and encourages local governments to share equipment, facilities, training and resources funded by state and federal dollars.

In addition, the report calls for steps that could lead to consolidation of some townships and gives government agencies more leeway in dealing with unions.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti presented Gov. Bruce Rauner with 27 recommendations to make government more efficient at a meeting of the DuPage County Mayors and Managers Conference in Oak Brook.

The report, resulting from 11 months of work by the task force, outlines a structural reform of state and local governments. With 6,963 government units, Illinois far outpaces all other states. The next-closest state, Texas, has 5,147.

“The idea is to give power back to our local leaders and local residents so that you and I can determine what is best for our communities rather than big government,” Sanguinetti said. “We’ll be pushing these issues to make our state more streamlined, effective and efficient.”

Rauner created the task force last February with the aim of finding efficiencies and ways to streamline local government functions to save taxpayer dollars. The task force held 16 meetings across the state and reviewed state laws pertaining to local governments and school districts.

Sanguinetti said the report, prepared with help from Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies, “will not be a study that just collects dust.”

“In a few days you will see that the study has feet because I will be going to communities near you, working with task force members, because we have a lot of problems to tackle,” she said.

The study shows Illinois residents pay higher taxes than necessary to fund “multiple layers of state and local government.”

It says Illinois has the second-highest effective property tax rate, the fourth-highest state and local wireless tax rate, and the fifth-highest combined state and local gasoline excise tax rate, to name a few.

Rauner called the report a “critical document” presented on “one of the most important days in the history” of Illinois.

“Today is a great day for the taxpayers of Illinois. We can transform our state through this effort,” he said. “This document, if we implemented it, the recommendations here could save billions of dollars every year for the people of Illinois. This is major, major transformation were talking about.”

Roselle Village President Gale Smolinski, who presides over the DuPage mayors group, said it will be reviewing the report in detail and “working … to develop legislation that serves in the best interest of the residents of DuPage County.”

Word of the report, however, had not yet reached several townships Monday afternoon. One recommendation of the report is to end limiting townships to 126 square miles, an impediment to mergers. It also suggests, in some instances, eliminating all elected township assessors and replacing those posts with one countywide assessor’s post.

Milton Township Supervisor O. Chris Heidorn, who oversees a township with 118,000 residents including all of Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, was not yet aware of the report Monday afternoon but said it “sounds important” and that he would “delve into it soon.”

Elk Grove Township Supervisor Michael Sweeney, who represents portions of Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows, said he needs time to “absorb the report and its recommendations.”

The full report is posted at www.illinois.gov.

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Source: Will County News

Government Agencies stocking up on body armor, guns, and ammo during President Obama’s watch

 

 

President Barack Obama jokes with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and EPA staff members who worked on the power plant emissions standards, in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As the U.S. engages in a national debate over the militarization of the police, federal data shows that government agencies charged with largely administrative roles are spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase SWAT and military-style equipment.

Since FY 2006, 44 traditionally administrative agencies have spent over $71 million on items like body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition, according to federal spending data from watchdog group OpenTheBooks.com.

 This comes in addition to the $330 million spent on such equipment in that period by traditional law enforcement agencies like the FBI, Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Some examples of the purchases include:

Nearly $2 million spent by the Department of Veterans Affairs on riot helmets, defender shields, body armor, a “milo return fire cannon system,” armored mobile shields, Kevlar blankets, tactical gear and equipment for crowd control.

The Golden Hammer.

The Golden Hammer. more >

Over $300,000 spent by the Food and Drug Administration on “ballistic vests and carriers” in fiscal 2014.

Source: Will County News

Rahm, Rauner and Illinois’ Tipping-Point

Pat-Hughes-headshot-2014-WEB

By Pat Hughes 1/8/2016

 

When Bruce Rauner was running for Governor, his political opponents (especially on the right) criticized him for his friendship with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. That criticism was fueled in part by political opportunism, but also from a real fear that Rauner would ignore the will of the electorate and scheme with Emanuel to divvy up power between them. So much for that. Today the pair are more like heavyweights doing battle in the ring, with now Governor Rauner pummeling Rahm to a standing eight count.

 

RahmRaunerMugs

 

Here’s the blow by blow: On Monday, Rauner slammed the Mayor’s egregious handling of the Chicago Police Department, and made it clear that there will be no bail out for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) unless Emanuel takes on some of the Governor’s reform agenda. Thus, Rauner deftly cut the thin skinned Emanuel on his failure to do the two things a Mayor must do: protect and educate the city’s residents. On Tuesday, a bruised and battered Mayor Emanuel flailed away, charging Rauner with failing CPS students, an irony that would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. Under Rahm’s leadership, CPS’ bond rating has fallen to junk status, and the district fails to bring the majority of 400,000 students to grade-level achievement each year.

 

Taxpayers and businesses – the bodies who fund state government – have left in droves since a feckless Governor Quinn signed off on the 2011 tax hike. The problem, as Rauner has argued, is that the state is dysfunctional. The whole system is wildly broken and it needs to be structurally reformed.

 

Emanuel, like Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, seems to lack either the ability or willingness to acknowledge this reality. Funding a $111 billion (and growing) pension liability by raising taxes on a shrinking tax base is not reality. Running the state effectively on a budget that is $4 billion out of balance is not reality. Expecting that businesses will move into a city that makes no secret of its intention to pick them clean in order to fund its failing public systems is not reality.

 

Consequently, this fight between Rauner and Emanuel is more than just political theater – it is a signal of the tipping point to come. The next eleven months until election day will determine the viability of the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and both political parties in their current form. The demographics of this state are rapidly changing. As are technology and the public’s access to and demand for information. Voters are exhausted by the economic burdens placed on them from an extortionist political class.

 

This is gut-check time in Illinois politics. And so politicians must ask themselves: Are we willing to champion the new Chicago, the new Illinois that is relentlessly rising around us, or are we the dying wail of the old “Chicago Way” that – once gone – is never coming back? When faced with decisions this stark, and consequences this immense, members of the political class are not going to be able to get away with standing outside the fray and being a little bit on both sides.

 

In other words, ruling class politicians, whose corner are you in: Rauner’s or Rahm’s?

 

Source: Will County News

Vetted Refugees arrested for Terrorism Obama cry’s for Gun Control

Last Night, as Iraqi Refugees Who Passed Background Checks Were Being Arrested for Terrorism, Obama Demanded Gun Control

By  |  January 8, 2016, 05:30am

What an interesting juxtaposition. In New Hampshire last night, Barack Obama told a rape victim that her gun did not necessarily make her safe. Yes, the President lectured a rape victim on the steps she had taken to keep herself safe. He wants expanded background checks and other efforts to curtail gun usage. While Barack Obama’s gun control townhall was going on, two Iraqi refugees who had already passed background checks to get into this country were being arrested for terrorist activity.

Press reports have been somewhat spotty, but it appears the Iraqi refugees, who had gone through the relocation program complete with a background check, were trying to build bombs of some kind. These two were, thankfully, caught. But let’s not kid ourselves and think they are the only two. One was in Houston and the other in Sacramento.

In other words, Barack Obama thinks background checks are a solution to gun crime while Iraqi terrorists masquerading as refugees are using background checks to infiltrate our country.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton noted in a statement that perhaps the President would rethink his insistence on placing refugees in this country.

You’d think the President would want us to be able to defend ourselves, but he’d rather we did not.

Source: Will County News