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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.
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“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

Sessions ‘surprised’ Americans think the drug war is dumb


Attorney General Jeff Sessions loves the federal drug war– so much so that he’s working on a plan to go after states which have legalized marijuana in recent years. Despite his zeal to rid the nation of dangerous pot smokers, the AG recently admitted he is a little bummed that more Americans aren’t down with the nanny state.

During a speaking engagement at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on Tuesday, Sessions referenced the swift public backlash that emanated recently as a result of his tough talk on marijuana reform.

“When they nominated me for attorney general, you would have thought the biggest issue in America was when I said, ‘I don’t think America’s going to be a better place if they sell marijuana at every corner grocery store,’” Sessions said, according to a report in AZ Central. “(People) didn’t like that; I’m surprised they didn’t like that.”

Sessions, however, artfully minimized the extent to which he evidently wishes to reverse gains made by marijuana legalization advocates in recent years.

Currently, justice Department officials acting under the attorney general’s commands are reviewing the Cole Memorandum, a set of 2013 guidelines key to keeping federal drug enforcers from harassing marijuana businesses and users in legal pot states.

The Cole Memo, along with FinCEN guidelines adopted under the Obama administration, were heralded as the end of aggressive federal marijuana enforcement efforts that would allow state legalization experiments to run their course.

And as we previously reported, governors hailing from the first four states to legalize marijuana recently sent a letter to Sessions asking him to leave the guidelines, which are used as the basis for many of those states’ marijuana regulatory efforts, alone.

Still, Sessions maintains that marijuana is a dangerous drug. His argument, however, is focused less on the effects the plant has on end users than it is his belief that marijuana trade enriches violent criminals.

And that gets to the heart of what people are actually reacting to when they denounce Sessions’ anti-pot position.

Sessions has appointed former federal prosecutor and cop Steven Cook as one of his top advisers at the Justice Department. You probably haven’t heard much about Cook to date — but you certainly will be getting to know him as the Sessions DOJ irons out its criminal justice style.

That’s because Cook is a staunch supporter of the tough crime policies which dominated in the 1980s and 90s. Those policies brought things like an exaggerated focus on drug quantity in possession cases and the steep mandatory minimum sentencing requirements that are much to blame with the nation’s sprawling prison population.

Later reviews of the policies concerning drug possession revealed that lawmakers at the time had little understanding of just how harshly the laws they were making would affect small time users.

Here’s how Eric Sterling, who served as chief counsel to the House as lawmakers created some of the nation’s toughest drug laws in the mid-80s, put it in a 1999 interview with This American Life:

The numbers that we picked in the Judiciary Committee, the 20 grams of crack cocaine, would have triggered a five-year federal minimum. The Republicans in the Senate dropped the 20 grams to five grams and raised the– from 5 years to 40 years because the Republicans were going to be tougher.

There was, again, no sense of, it’s not a large quantity of drugs from a consumption point of view. It’s a very small quantity. And these are folks who have really no clear sense of the dynamics of the business enough to make a just determination. When you’re just picking a number–

Sterling was so disgusted by the legislative one-upmanship that was behind laws that would certainly ruin the lives of many people who’d committed largely victim-less crimes that he went on to quit his job and found the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. The organization is a leading voice in the argument against doubling down on failed prohibition and incarceration efforts in attempts to stem the violence associated with the illegal drug trade.

Sessions and Cook are pushing in exactly the opposite direction. And there concern with liberalized state marijuana policies shouldn’t be at all surprising.

Sessions’ key argument for harsh drug laws, remember, is that the drug trade is steeped in violence. But state initiatives to legalize pot are revealing that the violence is not a symptom of the substances; it’s a consequence of prohibition policies.

As the libertarian CATO Institute points out:

It’s true that the black market for drugs relies on cash transactions and violence, but Cook and Sessions ignore the obvious implication. The drug market has to rely on cash transfers and violence because drugs are illegal. Drug market violence is a function of the market’s illegality, not of the drugs themselves. The same was true of alcohol distributors under prohibition. In 2017 if two alcohol distributors have a dispute, they settle it in court. If two alcohol distributors in 1929 had a dispute, they settled it on the street corner with Tommy guns and Molotov cocktails.

What’s worse about marijuana legalization for an anti-drug crusader like Sessions is that the government’s stereotype of a pot user falls apart when a bunch of middle management types or elderly pain suffers can buy the drug legally in a corner store.

The result of widespread changing attitudes about marijuana would ultimately be an entire rethinking of U.S. drug policy. For Sessions and others with similar professional backgrounds, that’s terrifying stuff. They aren’t afraid that the U.S. would fully legalize even the most dangerous substances creating chaos, crime and widespread death. What attorneys-turned-government-officials fear the most are criminal justice reforms that remove hefty charges for users. Prohibition, you see, creates a steady stream of revenue for the legal profession– members of which are disproportionately represented in government.

Think about it for a minute. Harsh drug policies currently make the government money and they make lawyers money, so obviously– despite drug war laws– they’re making dealers money. Drug dealing is a risky business, so it’s lucrative. Government creates the risk and the drug price inflation.

But take away government prosecution of drug possession and what exactly happens? Do the streets become overrun with murderers and passed out junkies? Nope. Murder, violence, theft, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, failing to care for offspring, etc. all remain illegal. Although, we’d likely see a drop in commission of those crimes because we’d have a smaller population of desperate people whose options are limited by the red X of past drug convictions. Diverting even a small portion of the funds currently used for the drug war to rehabilitation programs would further reduce that population.

There would, of course, remain many people who aren’t able to fully cope with the responsibility that goes along with total personal liberty — but it’s not as if that’s a problem government intervention has ever solved in the past. Insisting that the government can keep people from becoming addicts is simply dishonest. And it’s time for tough crime crusaders to admit that isn’t the goal.

But don’t look to Sessions in the search of the voice of reason.

“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs is bad,” he said last month. “It will destroy your life.”

If he wants to be more accurate to his intention, Sessions probably should have said: Our nation needs to say clearly once again that it will destroy your life for using drugs.

Source: Will County News