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Archive → August 11th, 2017


 From Illinois Policy August 2017
For years, proponents of a new education funding formula for Illinois have talked about bringing equity and fairness to education finance. Gov. Bruce Rauner took a major step toward that goal when he used his amendatory veto power to strip Senate Bill 1 of some of the most unfair and inequitable practices within the formula: subsidies related to Illinois’ Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, or PTELL, and tax increment financing districts, or TIFs.

Since 2000, school districts that are part of economic development zones called TIFs have been allowed to do something that non-TIF districts can’t – hide large amounts of their property wealth from the state when applying for aid for education.

School districts that can reduce their overall property wealth when applying for state aid look poorer, resulting in more aid from the state. So for every additional dollar the state gives to districts located in TIFs, it’s one less dollar the state can give to districts without TIFs.

Chicago Public Schools, for example, now has more than $6.6 billion of property wealth tied up in TIFs that it will keep off of its aid request to the Illinois State Board of Education, or ISBE. As a result, the state will give CPS more aid than it would have had CPS reported all the property wealth in its district.

In a 2013 report, the Illinois Policy Institute calculated that the 2011 TIF subsidy for CPS, holding everything else equal, was worth $265 million that year alone. More money for CPS meant $265 million less for districts throughout the state.

A similar practice of underreporting property value occurs for school districts operating under property tax caps, known as PTELL districts. Districts subject to PTELL also get to underreport their property values when asking for state aid.

ISBE has for years calculated and reported the financial impact of PTELL subsidies. The results reveal a system that’s strikingly unfair. The districts that can hide their wealth have, in some years, taken up to $800 million in subsidies from districts that can’t. And those subsidies have largely been limited to a select number of districts.

In 2009, when the PTELL subsidy was at its peak, CPS took in $505 million in subsidies at the expense of most districts statewide.

Awareness that PTELL and TIF subsidies disproportionately benefit some districts – and ideas for reform – are nothing new in education finance circles. Then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s Taxpayer Action Board highlighted the issue in 2009, and the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois brought the issue further to light in 2010. (Ted Dabrowski was a contributor to both reports.)

For too long, districts that aren’t affected by property tax caps or TIFs have been forced to subsidize the local property tax decisions of districts that choose to cap themselves or use TIFs.

Rauner was right to eliminate the unfairness of PTELL and TIF subsidies in his amendatory veto of SB 1.

To be clear, the governor’s veto ensures no district will get less funding in 2018 when compared with what that district received in 2017. The governor’s removal of PTELL and TIF subsidies only affects how new, additional dollars are distributed under the new education funding formula.

Why PTELL and TIF subsidies are unfair

The creation of local economic development zones and property tax caps is very much a local decision.

Take the city of Chicago. When Chicago officials create a new TIF district they are consciously deciding to keep future property wealth inside a development area. Officials know that will mean less future property wealth that CPS can count on for revenue.

But it’s not as if that property wealth is suddenly missing from Chicago. It’s just been directed away from CPS for another purpose. So, when the state provides Chicago with the TIF subsidy, the city as a whole is getting more than it’s entitled to.

Chicago is taking money out of its left pocket and putting it into its right pocket, then complaining that its left pocket has less money.

But downstate districts that don’t have TIFs, such as Palestine Community Unit School District No. 3, don’t care that Chicago is using its property wealth to create economic development areas. All Palestine CUSD No. 3 knows is that it is getting less money from the state because of Chicago’s subsidy.

The same goes for PTELL districts. Communities can use PTELL to cap their property taxes, but then ask the state formula to make up for what their districts are losing by giving them more state aid.

As with TIFs above, local officials want to have their cake and eat it too. They want their property taxes capped, but want somebody else to subsidize their education costs.

This is fundamentally unfair to school districts that aren’t receiving PTELL or TIF subsidies. They lose out because the total state aid pool is diminished by PTELL and TIF subsidies. In other words, every dollar the state spends on subsidies to PTELL and TIF districts is a dollar that should have been evenly distributed to all districts across the state.

Over the past decade and a half, non-PTELL and non-TIF districts have been unfairly deprived of billions of dollars.

PTELL districts alone have attracted over $7 billion in special subsidies since 2000, according to ISBE.

The unfairness of TIFs

At their height in 2009, nearly $20 billion of property value statewide was located in TIFs and therefore excluded from school districts’ local property wealth. The amount of property wrapped up in TIFs has fallen since then, but the amount remains substantial. Over $12 billion in property value across Illinois remained in TIFs in 2015.

More than half of those TIF values are in Chicago alone. That’s been the case for more than a decade. CPS in 2015 had $6.6 billion locked up in its TIFs, while the rest of the state had just $5.7 billion.
When measured on a per-student basis, CPS as a “region” is allowed to exclude far more TIF property than the other key areas of the state.

Based on the most recent Illinois Department of Revenue data, CPS had $6.6 billion in property wealth in TIFs in 2015. That’s nearly $19,000 per student.

Meanwhile, the average district in the collar counties has just $1,800 in TIF property wealth per student.

Being able to exclude so much property means more in state subsidies for TIF districts.

For example, the TIF subsidy for CPS in 2011, holding everything else equal, was worth $265 million that year alone. And more money for CPS meant $265 million less for districts throughout the state. 

The unfairness of PTELL

Similarly, school districts subject to PTELL (property tax caps) also get to underreport their wealth.

ISBE has reported the special benefits of PTELL by year, and there’s been one clear winner – CPS.

Take 2009, for example. The PTELL subsidy that year totaled nearly $800 million to school districts in property tax-capped areas. CPS received $505 million of that subsidy.

The 2009 Taxpayer Action Board asked ISBE to run state aid without the $789 million PTELL subsidy for fiscal year 2009. The board reported the following conclusion from that analysis: “Without PTELL adjustments in 2009, the State could have increased its contribution to the foundation level in 2009 by over $700, from $5,959 to $6,678 per pupil, coming close to the recommended level of $7,000 per student.”

In short, the PTELL subsidy has for a long time robbed the state from having a much higher foundation level for all students across the state.

Measured in other terms, CPS received nearly $1,500 per student in subsidies in 2009, when the PTELL subsidy was near its peak. The rest of the districts in Illinois received just $183 per student.
As property values have fallen from the heights of the mid-2000s, so too has the total size of the PTELL subsidy. But Chicago still receives the vast majority of the existing subsidy.

In 2017, over $40 million of the $56 million in total subsidies went to CPS.

In per-student terms, CPS received $114 in subsidies. The rest of the districts in Illinois received less than $10 per student on average.

And while proponents of retaining the PTELL subsidy promote it as a broad benefit, in reality its impact is concentrated in just a few districts. For example, in 2013, though 291 districts benefited from the PTELL subsidy, just 54 districts consumed 90 percent of the $502 million it provided that year.

Proponents of SB 1 fail to focus on real fairness

Advance Illinois, one of the advocacy groups engaged in drafting SB 1 and defending the unfair TIF and PTELL subsidies, is calling the governor’s amendatory veto unfair by promoting the graphic below.

The graphic highlights the districts that are in an area with PTELL or areas with both TIFs and PTELL. Advance Illinois wants residents to focus on the districts in orange, which they say will be “less eligible for state aid” due to the governor’s amendatory veto.

But the governor’s amendatory veto does not mean less money for districts when compared with 2017. Every district is protected in 2018 by a “hold harmless” provision that ensures the districts get at least the same amount as in 2017.

And Advance Illinois is overstating the number of districts that would be affected by ending the PTELL subsidy. As shown earlier, while there are hundreds of districts subject to PTELL, only a portion of those districts ever actually receive a PTELL subsidy. For example, in 2017 there were over 456 districts subject to PTELL, but only 82 districts received the subsidy.

Rather than focus on the districts in orange, the real focus should be on the districts in gray. They have been losing state aid to many of the districts in orange for more than 15 years.

By removing TIF and PTELL subsidies from the SB 1 funding formula going forward, the districts in gray will no longer have to subsidize the TIFs and property tax caps in the orange districts, bringing more fairness to the funding formula.

State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, fundamentally misunderstands this point.

One of the central proponents of SB 1, Manar has gone on record criticizing the governor’s removal of TIF and PTELL subsidies from the bill, saying communities with PTELL and TIF “shouldn’t be punished” for having them.

But removing PTELL and TIF subsidies isn’t about “punishing” those districts with TIFs and PTELL. It’s about being fair to the districts that have been forced to subsidize TIF and PTELL for the past 17 years. Furthermore, even communities with PTELL and TIF will receive at least as much state funding as the previous year under the bill’s hold harmless provision.

The impact of Rauner’s veto

Rauner’s changes to PTELL and TIF will bring back fairness to the funding formula and are unlikely to have a dramatic impact in the short term. Because of the hold harmless provision, districts will only see a difference as marginal dollars are added to education funding.

Here are some of the immediate impacts of the PTELL and TIF amendments:

  • First, no district will get less funding than it received last year. The governor’s amendatory veto maintains SB 1’s original per-district hold harmless provision through the 2020-2021 school year, so whatever subsidies districts were getting at the expiration of the existing formula have been baked into the hold harmless provision.
  • Second, the governor’s removal of PTELL and TIF subsidies only affects how new, additional dollars are distributed under the new education funding formula. All districts in Tier 1 and Tier 2 (the tiers first in line for new money under the new formula) will continue to receive new money, but depending on their reliance on the subsidies, some will see more than others.
  • Third, the overall impact of the amendatory veto will actually boost many districts’ new funding from the state. The veto’s impact on CPS, from the elimination of TIF and PTELL subsidies, to the reduction of the $200 million in “block grant” funding, to the removal of the clause that lets CPS subtract its annual legacy pension costs from its local resources, will generate more new dollars that will be redistributed to districts across the state. Because of these changes, some districts with TIFs or PTELL will come out ahead.

While it’s not possible to know the full outcome of the SB 1 amendatory veto changes until ISBE reruns the numbers, Illinoisans do know the following: No district will receive less state aid than it did last year. And every non-PTELL and non-TIF school district is going to benefit from the removal of the PTELL and TIF subsidies.

Rauner was right to introduce amendments to end those subsidies, which have unfairly benefited some Illinois districts at the expense of others for more than 15 years.

Ted Dabrowski
Vice President of Policy

Source: Will County News

ACTION ALERT Write, phone & email Gov Rauner to Veto Bill SB31 which will make #Illinois a #SanctuaryState.

Hello patriots:

Write, phone & email Gov Rauner to Veto Bill SB31 which will make #Illinois a #SanctuaryState.

HOW IMPORTANT the effect Illegal Immigration is having on our state. Harboring criminal illegals is the main reason for Sanctuary Cities which allows these criminals that break our laws and walk the streets. Most have already been deported several times and come back to rape us, kill us, rob us, etc. Illegals are getting free housing & Medicaid benefits in IL and it has hurt the vulnerable Medicaid was intended especially the Developmentally Disabled.

CALL GOV Bruce Rauner 217-782-0244 and tell him to support #USCitizensFirst by vetoing SB31. OR Contact info for Gov Bruce Rauner, https://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/default.aspx
Gov is also on FB and Twitter @GovRauner. IF YOU GO ON WEBSITE BELOW, CLICK ON VOICE AN OPINION & TELL RAUNER NO TO SB31. Thank you.

God Bless you & God Bless America!

Robbie Katherine

President & Founder

SW Chicago & Suburban Tea Party

Source: Will County News

Trump News August 10, 2017

Welcome to 1600 Daily’s Meet the Cabinet series, where we showcase members of President Trump’s Cabinet.



President Trump and Secretary Shulkin announce Veteran telehealth initiatives designed to provide greater access and care
President Trump and Secretary Shulkin announced three initiatives that will expand access to health care for Veterans across the country. Using telehealth technology and mobile applications, the VA will connect with more Veterans to provide services where they live.
Read more

The VA expands transparency and accountability efforts 
Secretary Shulkin announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking a further step on transparency and accountability as a follow-on to the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act signed by President Trump. The department is making public a list of adverse employee actions taken since January 20. This information is posted at va.gov/accountability and will be updated weekly.

Secretary Shulkin unveils world’s most advanced commercial prosthesis
Dr. Shulkin, M.D. unveiled the world’s most advanced commercial prosthetic — the Life Under Kinetic Evolution (LUKE) arm — during a visit to the VA New York Harbor Health Care System’s Manhattan campus.
Read more

The VA makes wait times for patients transparent for Veterans 
Veteran Affairs is taking unprecedented steps to increase transparency. The VA launched a new Access and Quality Tool that provides Veterans with an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand way of accessing patient wait time and quality of care data. This tool not only provides Veterans with more information about VA services, it increases accountability and ensures VA is held to a higher standard.


Secretary Shulkin joined President Trump at the White House last week to make a major announcement on Telehealth. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)


This month, Secretary Shulkin will be attending the American Legion National Convention, as well as visiting the VA medical facilities in Nevada and Montana. In September, the Secretary will speak to the National Association of State Directors for Veterans Affairs.
Follow Secretary Shulkin and the Department of Veterans Affairs on Twitter and Facebook

Source: Will County News

Donald Trump, distractor-in-chief?

Donald Trump, distractor-in-chief?

Conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham marveled Monday that, just 200 days into his first term, President Donald Trump has accomplished a pretty good bit in spite of “the 24/7 media onslaught against him.” That’s one way of looking at the Trump administration: One man against the world. Climbing a hill, dodging each coming obstacle, striving for success. An underdog battling an unyielding establishment.  But I, and a few others with whom I’ve discussed the administration, are beginning to see a different picture. Trump is the presidential equivalent of a rodeo clown. He’s taunting the establishment bull, doing everything he can to make it charge at him as his government quietly makes progress on the other side of the arena. It’s not as idyllic as the underdog scenario– but it gets more done.

This theory isn’t, of course, relegated to my political powwow circles. In fact, some folks on the left began declaring Trump’s tweeting habits and boorish interactions with media a smokescreen months ago (though, even if a few major players on the left believe Trump a master in the art of distraction, far more have proven themselves incredibly willing to be distracted by reacting with outrage to even his smallest gestures).

And earlier this month, The Atlantic made one such pronouncement about Trump in a sort of warning to the leftist faithful: Watch Trump’s circus all you want– but you’re missing the real action behind the scenes.

Atlantic political writer David Graham pointed out:

There is so much attention paid to the chaos in the executive branch that it’s easy to come to believe that Trump is getting nothing whatsoever accomplished. Even for people who don’t support the president’s agenda—especially for them, in fact—it is useful to step back occasionally and take stock of what this presidency is doing to work toward its goals.

Trump’s complaints that the press is ignoring his victories in favor of covering controversies ring hollow. You can’t very well go around setting things on fire and then asking why the press keeps covering the fires. But warnings that the Trump administration is doing X to distract from Y seem misguided for a couple of reasons—one being that they ascribe a greater organization that the White House evinces in any other sphere, and another being that the supposedly distracting stories are often just as catastrophic. But the large-scale disasters do keep attention focused away from what smaller agencies are doing, as Ben Carson acknowledged recently.

“Let me put it this way,” the secretary of housing and urban development told the Washington Examiner. “I’m glad that Trump is drawing all the fire so I can get stuff done.”

Besides painting much of what Trump’s government is accomplishing as he takes heat in the media in a negative light and declaring aspects of the current administration not mired in controversy the real “shadow government,” Graham’s piece is pretty good for what it points out is being accomplished.

The president delivered on a conservative Supreme Court Justice via Neil Gorsuch’s appointment– and it’s extremely likely that there are more to come.

The administration dealt a massive blow to the economically disastrous Paris Climate agreement. And its Environmental Protection Agency has quietly and fastidiously begun dismantling Obama-era environmental regulations, maneuvering toward an ultimate goal of pulling teeth from the Clean Power Plan and 2015 Waters of the United States act which endanger economic security and private property rights for millions of Americans.

Over at the Justice Department things are also rolling in a very different direction than they were just a year ago. While I can’t say that I agree that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ doubling down on civil asset forfeiture laws and obsession with rebooting 1980s era drug war policies are a positive thing for small government advocates, he’s getting stuff done with little outside criticism beyond the protests of civil libertarians.

And that’s where things get a little complicated for Trump’s supporters. Just as his liberal detractors can be easily tricked into shouting about Trump scandals and tweets while missing real policy redirects occurring right under their noses, the president’s conservative supporters risk getting so wrapped up in defending “the man” that they miss moments when the administration deserves fair criticism for stepping away from small government policies.

Source: Will County News

Another Beloved Children’s Show Falls Prey To The LGBT Agenda

Another Beloved Children’s Show Falls Prey To The LGBT Agenda

Leftist groups have been pushing the LGBT agenda into every aspect of public entertainment in recent years.

Virtually every adult sitcom, mainstream news program and movie now features homosexuality as commonplace, and pushes for its acceptance.

But now these subtle messages are becoming more blatant and prevalent — and, sadly, more present in children’s programming.

The Disney Corporation, once a paragon of virtue in promoting traditional roles and American values, has increasingly injected LGBT propaganda into their programming.

The most recent case of this, however, is the most frightening of all.

Disney Junior, whose programming targets preschoolers age 2 to 5, has introduced homosexuality to our youngest and most vulnerable children.

The popular show “Doc McStuffins” recently featured a lesbian couple with children in one episode.

CBN News reports:

The episode entitled “The Emergency Plan” aired on the Disney Channel last weekend. It showed two doll moms who are a couple, played by well-known lesbian Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi.

The activist group One Million Moms says showcasing a same-sex couple in the animated series, should not come as a surprise, pointing out that the show’s creator and executive producer, Chris Nee, is an out and proud lesbian.

In an online interview with After Ellen, a lesbian oriented website, Nee explained her desire to instill subtle messages about sexual orientation into the storyline.

Show creator Chris Nee says that because she has children with her partner in a lesbian relationship, all young children should be subjected to this reality and forced to accept it.

Disney Corporation has been slowly injecting subversive messages into their children’s programming over the last several years as well.

In a 2014 episode of the popular “tween” show “Good Luck Charlie”, a lesbian couple was prominently featured in the storyline.

Disney then aired its first on-screen homosexual kiss on the kids’ show, “Star vs. the Forces of Evil.”

Producers of that program also aired a concert scene featuring several same-sex couples kissing during a song entitled “Best Friends”.

And more widely publicized was last year’s blockbuster movie “Beauty and the Beast”, featuring a “gay moment” and gay characters while raking in millions of dollars and much positive attention from the liberal media.

Now it remains for parents to take action to protect our young children from the onslaught of the LGBT agenda in programs falsely labeled as “family friendly.”

The left will continue to promote their message of “inclusivity” and continue to attack conservative parents and the traditional values we wish to raise our children with.

Conservative website One Million Moms responded to the airing of the shameful “Doc McStuffins” episode:

Meanwhile, One Million Moms called for a boycott of the show saying, “Conservative families will have no choice but to no longer watch Disney Channel Network in their homes so they can avoid previews, commercials, and reruns. Families will not be able to allow Disney Channel in their homes, if the network veers away from family-friendly entertainment.”

This shameful turn taken by Disney Corporation would come as a shock and disappointment to founder Walt Disney, who built his company on creating family time in a safe environment and reinforcing traditional family values.

Sadly, as LGBT propaganda continues to permeate our kid’s television shows, parents will be forced to avoid airing these programs in our homes.

And the ones truly suffering for this homosexual push are our children themselves, who will not understand why they cannot watch their beloved characters in their favorite programs.

Source: Will County News