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Hey Look, A Lady Who Sexually Abused Her Sister Will Speak At The DNC!

[Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File]
By:Amanda Prestigiacomo
July 22, 2016

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made room in the Democratic National Convention speaking line-up to include grievance monster and Girls star Lena Dunham, a woman who once bragged about sexually abusing her sister.

Hillary must have strategically fixed her line-up of speaking mothers she’s using to propagate an anti-cop sentiment to fit in Dunham. Now they can include an anti-man sentiment, too!
Video: Clinton responds to question about Paula Jones

Ms. Dunham—the feminist gold-standard in Hollywood—announced on Wednesday that she will be attending the DNC to see Hillary accept the Democratic nomination: “You better believe I’ll be [at the Democratic Convention] to see [Hillary Clinton] accept the nomination,” wrote the Hillary surrogate in celebration.

That same day, fellow leftist, “Ugly Betty” actress America Ferrera, told Twitter that she and Dunham will not only be attending the DNC, but they will be speaking there, as well. Yay.

But Dunham has quite the rap-sheet, not that any Democrat would dream to bring this up. The abortion-worshiping feminist bragged about sexually abusing her younger sister Grace in her memoir Not That Kind of Girl.

As National Review’s Kevin Williamson highlighted in his review of the memoir, Dunham wrote “of casually masturbating while in bed next to her younger sister, of bribing her with ‘three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds . . . anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.’ At one point, when her sister is a toddler, Lena Dunham pries open her vagina — ‘my curiosity got the best of me’…”

In that same memoir, the feminist claims to have been raped by a mysterious “Republican” on campus whom she has refused to name; this has led many to believe this cry of rape may have been a hoax.

But this makes Dunham the perfect choice as a DNC speaker: In the leftist land of moral relativism, bragging about sexually deviant behavior is brave, murdering an unborn baby is empowering, and falsifying information about rape makes you a virtuous victim.

Dunham has yet to reveal what she will speak about at the convention, but expect the speech to be filled with victimhood rhetoric and the satanic promotion of murdering babies in the womb.

Source: Will County News

Who supports Hillary

As the Democratic National Convention kicks off today, we decided to get Hillary Clinton supporters on-the-record about the progressive principles of equal treatment and equality of outcome… and how they apply to the Democrat nominee for President. Try to Follow the Logic. If you can.

Source: Will County News

The selling of America/ Clinton Cash

This is informational and worth watching. Clinton’s are for themselves not the American people or any other people

Source: Will County News

Lies, Death, Sabotage, Bribes, Treason, Above the Law


The latest caught in a lie for Hilary Clinton is not even discussed by the so called experts on TV. The Democrat National Committee was biased against Sanders from the start. Hilary was to be the savior to come in and take the Democrat Party to victory. Most media seemed  to be in her corner ignoring Bengazzi, Clinton Foundation, her getting money from Corporations, people, and countries some of which are pro terrorist. No mention is ever given to her sorted past because that would send a bad image of her.

Now emails have been leaked that show the Democrat Primary was rigged in her favor. Instead of asking how the emails were hacked by Russia on the DNC site, yet Hilary’s multiple servers were never hacked. Maybe the over 30,000 emails she deleted were even more top secret that the ones found on her server. Remember she said there were no classified emails and she had 1 server. Evidence proved there were multiple servers and above top secret emails.

The media is now blaming Russia and Trump for the hacking. Those emails were not written by the Russians or Trump!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just the best way the mess can be covered up. Blame others for Clinton and the DNC sabotage of the 2016 DNC primary process and Sanders Campaign.

Clinton should be in Prison!     Lies, Death, Sabotage, Bribes in the form of Donations for the Clinton Foundation, Treason for handling above top secret information are some good reasons.



Source: Will County News

Black Lives Matter, the Chicago Urban League, and Suffering Children

Black Lives Matter, the Chicago Urban League, and Suffering Children

Black Lives Matter, the Chicago Urban League, and Suffering Children
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   07.18.16


Recently, ABC 7 Eyewitness News anchor Terrell Brown interviewed Shari Runner, the president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League on the problems of black-on-black violence and the Black Lives Matter movement. Her predictable responses sound like she just returned from a White Privilege Conference and illuminate why “progressives” exacerbate rather than ameliorate inner city violence.

Brown: “Gun violence is still a big problem in the city, and it’s often gang-on-gang and it’s black- on-black crime….What do you do to stop it?”

Runner: “Well, I think the root cause is…jobs for kids who are disengaged. We have 46,000 disengaged youth in our city. That means that they are out of school and out of work, and they need jobs. And they really want to be in legal jobs. And they want to be able to be trained to do those jobs rather than be involved in gangs. So, that’s really a big focus of ours for the next ten years, to make sure that happens.

“We need to have better schools. We need to train our kids for the things they’re gonna face when they graduate, and make sure that they graduate, make sure that they stay in school.

“College is an option for many, not for all. Certificates are good. There are a lot of opportunities in the city that just are not being taken advantage of because people cannot get access to them.”

Brown: “Let’s talk about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. There’s a lot of debate right now about the genesis of the movement, what it represents, where it’s going. Often when someone says, ‘Black lives matter,’ the response is, ‘Well, you know what? All lives matter.’ What’s your take on that?”

Runner: “I think the thing is that ‘black lives matter’ is a cry about the fact that institutional, systemic racism still exists in our society. And when you look at the evolution of [BLM] coming from the police violence and the shooting of young black men, unarmed men and boys, 12-year-olds who are confused as 30-year-old men, and the kind of narrative and stereotyping that goes into those kinds of decisions, it is a real cry about the racism that still is very endemic in our society.”

What was most stunning in her troubling comments was her assertion that the absence of jobs for teens is the “root cause” of gang-on-gang and black-on-black violence. The dearth of jobs for teens cannot possibly be the “root cause” of gang-on-gang or black-on-black violence. By the time young males in urban areas who join gangs or engage in violence reach the age at which they are able to work, the root causes have been operative in their lives for a decade.

The root cause of violence perpetrated by black men against the black community and others is family turmoil, including the absence of fathers or the presence of poor fathers. In a 2013 research paper titled “Why American boys join street gangs” about Mexican and black boys who had joined street gangs, author Stanley S. Taylor writes that “Each gang affiliated subject…expressed deep-seated frustrations in early childhood (prior to 10 years old). In addition, each gang member (and the reformed members interviewed) attributed their feelings directly to unstable home lives.”

A poor economic climate may be one of the contributive factors to family instability, which points to the importance of creating an economy able to sustain families. But it is not a dearth of jobs for teens that makes them vulnerable to gang membership, which in turn results in black-on-black crime.

Taylor identifies the factors that contribute to gang membership, the top two of which are “frustration and anxiety stemming from family problems such as fatherlessness,” and “sadness, frustration, and anxiety in home life.” To illustrate this tragic reality, Taylor shares the story of how 32-year-old “Joseph” became a member of the Crips, a black Los Angeles gang:

Joseph…described what his life was like as a 7 year old. He mentioned that he and his younger brother who was 6 years old had their father in the home. However, at around the time he turned seven years old his father moved in with a woman on the same city block and had children with her, while he and his brother were left to live with their mother. Joseph explained how this devastated him and that… abandonment was on his mind constantly….

Joseph mentioned his father never visited with them nor allowed he and his brother to come to the father‘s residence. Joseph spoke of several instances where his father would not stop to talk to he and his brother when the father drove by. He mentioned the few times that his father did stop and speak to them as they played outside, that he made promises to visit them or take them for car rides with him that he never kept. He stated that their father stopped once and gave them both one dollar and left. Joseph stated that he would see his father taking Christmas presents out of the car for his other children while they received nothing for Christmas. Joseph said that it hurt him very badly. He mentioned that as he got older the inner pain was with him every day and that he and his brother were unsupervised by their mother because she worked late.

He had begun to associate with boys in the neighborhood that were in gangs and participated in delinquent activities such as defacing property, bullying non gang members, and missing classes at school to spend time with the local gang members. By the time Joseph was 12 he had joined the Crip gang….

Joseph described how a 31-year old veteran gang member began taking him to parties where he met older girls, smoked marijuana, and drank alcohol. He said that it made him feel like he was “on top of the world.” He gained a reputation in the neighborhood as being “gangsta” because he was accepted by the gang and could therefore “hang out” with various members. Many of them sold drugs and had money and cars. Joseph stated they did many things to make him feel like part of the family so he joined the gang.

Camaraderie was developed by doing delinquent acts, drinking together and just hanging out. But as time went on, he said that he was expected to commit delinquent acts from vandalism and fighting rival gang members, to drive-by shooting.

It would take tortured reasoning to identify the “root cause” of Joseph’s problems as a dearth of jobs for teens. Gang members are telling us that they join gangs—not because they couldn’t find “legal jobs” as teens—but because they found no peace, security, and stability in their families during childhood. Why isn’t society listening to them?

The factors that contribute to gang membership, gang-on-gang violence, and black-on-black violence are numerous and tied up in a tightly woven Gordian knot. Certainly, a weak economy in which both parents must work or in which parents cannot find work contributes to family tension and breakdown, but there are other issues at play as well.

When divorce is hailed as a solution that is “best for the children,” when “progressives” normalize motherless and fatherless family structures (e.g., same-sex faux-marriage), when Hollywood normalizes and glamorizes non-marital sex, when having and raising children is viewed as a “right” to which single men and women and homosexuals are entitled, when children are objectified and commodified, and when purported Christians—including Christian leaders—turn a blind eye to or even affirm the unbiblical sexual and marital views and values of “progressivism,” family instability increases and children suffer.

If progressives truly cared about the violence destroying our black urban communities, they would be willing to sacrifice their deleterious sexual views and values for the good of black children. The Chicago Urban League and Black Lives Matter would turn their focus, energy, and money away from finding “legal jobs” for hurting teens to ensuring that all children grow up with mothers and fathers, preferably their own biological mothers and fathers. Of course that goal has been made even more politically challenging now that our president has endorsed legalized homoerotic pseudogamy—a family structure that necessarily deprives children of mothers or fathers.

Read more:  Exposing Black Lives Matter  https://illinoisfamily.org/faith/exposing-black-lives-matter/


Source: Will County News

Madigan laughs as Corrupt Court strikes down fair map amendment

Illinois Policy 7/22/2016

A longtime associate of House Speaker Mike Madigan is working to silence Illinois voters on the subject of political mapmaking.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane Larsen struck down efforts July 20 to let Illinoisans vote on major reforms to the state’s political mapmaking process.

The nonpartisan Independent Maps coalition is leading the redistricting-reform push. On May 5, the group filed 570,000 signatures with the Illinois State Board of Elections in support of putting the issue to a statewide vote in November. But on May 12, a longtime ally of House Speaker Mike Madigan filed a lawsuit to block voters from considering the measure.

Two years ago, the same associate of Madigan, Michael Kasper, filed a lawsuit to quash a similar referendum. It was successful.

Larsen’s ruling handed Madigan another victory, as she found the wording of the referendum question violated the state constitution. Independent Maps vowed to appeal her decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The power of mapmaking

Throughout the state’s history, Illinois lawmakers have carefully crafted legislative maps to maximize their political advantage. This system has led to a lack of competitive elections, and an equally distressing lack of confidence in state government.

The way Madigan has played the redistricting game shows why he’d loathe allowing citizens a new way forward. Madigan’s map for the 1982 elections is perhaps his biggest political achievement, paving the way for his ascent to House Speaker in 1983. He has held that position for 31 of the past 33 years.

Madigan’s redistricting prowess was also on display in the 2014 elections. Despite Illinoisans electing a Republican governor, Madigan did not lose a single Democratic seat in the Illinois House of Representatives, maintaining supermajority control.

The current legislative districting system leaves a majority of Illinoisans without a real choice. Less than 40 percent of Illinois’ legislative races in 2016 will be contested, meaning 6 in 10 Illinois lawmakers elected this year will have a free pass to the Statehouse.

Changing the system

In practice, the current redistricting process works in a winner-take-all system wherein one of the two parties has complete control over mapmaking every 10 years, following the census. Madigan’s Democrats have held court on three of the last four occasions.

If successful, the Independent Maps referendum would give redistricting power to a bipartisan commission of 11 Illinoisans, including representation from the four legislative leaders. Every 10 years, approval of a new map would require seven votes, including two members from each political party and three independents.

Independent Maps argues this would mean fewer politically “safe” districts, fewer tortured shapes and loads more transparency.

TAGS: Bruce Rauner, fair maps, Mike Madigan

Source: Will County News

In Illinois answer to budget shortfall is raise taxes

Illinois Policy 7/22/2016

Politicians’ quick answer to the state’s problems is consistently to raise taxes, but evidence shows tax hikes are a negative for families struggling in a state already lacking opportunity.

Illinoisans are all too familiar with tax hikes. Chicago residents, for example, have seen significant tax increases over just the last few years, including 2015’s sales- and property-tax hikes. And taxpayers across the state bore the burden of Illinois’ 2011 increases in personal and corporate income-tax rates, which partially sunsetted in January 2015. Tax hikes have become the default fix to budget problems in Illinois, but rarely are the cost of tax hikes addressed. Tax hikes hurt Illinoisans the most in lowering their wages and reducing their standard of living, while also preventing economic growth from occurring in the state.

Taxes aren’t simply a 1-to-1 trade-off where the government spends a dollar instead of the private sector. Tax hikes involve what is called “deadweight loss” whereby overall economic production is reduced as a result of the rising tax burden. Recent tax hikes across Illinois come on top of an already heavy tax burden and depress economic growth and job prospects in the Land of Lincoln.

A review of the academic literature on tax hikes shows policy leaders in Illinois need to reconsider their reliance on tax hikes. The Tax Foundation summarizes:

Nearly every empirical study of taxes and economic growth published in a peer reviewed academic journal finds that tax increases harm economic growth.

Of 26 academic tax studies the Tax Foundation reviewed, all but three found a negative effect of taxes on economic growth. Furthermore, of studies distinguishing between types of taxes, corporate income taxes were the most harmful for growth, followed by personal income taxes, then consumption (sales) taxes and finally property taxes.

Foremost among these studies is one by Dr. Christina Romer, President Barack Obama’s former chief economic adviser. Her conclusion:

Tax increases are highly contractionary… A tax increase of one percent of GDP lowers real GDP (that would otherwise occur) by about 3 percent after about two years.

In addition, an International Monetary Fund study of 170 cases of fiscal consolidation, which are episodes where budget deficits needed to be closed by tax increases or spending reductions, found that spending cuts are much less harmful to economic growth than are tax increases. And a data-rich panel study looking at tax differences between states, and evaluating taxation as a percent of state personal income, found a robust negative effect of taxation on economic growth. By that measure, Illinois was tied for the 5th highest tax burden in the U.S. in fiscal year 2012.

Thus, academic literature overwhelmingly reveals an overall increase in taxes is bad for growth. However, it also reveals the type of the tax matters for growth.

A 2008 Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, or OCED, study of progressive taxation in 21 OECD countries found that:

  • Income taxes are generally associated with lower economic growth than consumption taxes,
  • Corporate income taxes are especially anti-growth,
  • Progressivity of income taxes (rather than a flat tax like Illinois has) causes an additional negative effect on growth.

Academic literature on taxation presents sobering analysis for Illinois, considering all the recent taxes politicians have imposed in the Land of Lincoln, including those such as themillionaire tax and progressive income tax proposed and defeated in the General Assembly in spring 2016, and others now in the planning stages, Illinois has gone too far in the direction of tax hikes and done too little to control spending. For a state sorely needing more job opportunities and with a dragging economic growth, the prospect of more taxes is going in the wrong direction.

Illinois needs to reform its spending, first and foremost. At both the state and local levels, that means changing collective bargaining with government unions so government officials can present public employees with an employment package taxpayers can actually afford rather than one that forces tax hikes thwarting economic growth. Furthermore, Illinois should consider how it levies taxes, and focus less on those taxes especially harmful to growth.

At the end of the day, a tax hike on Illinoisans guarantees lower take-home pay for Illinois families and a lesser standard of living for Illinois’ future.

TAGS: corporate income tax, income tax, jobs, millionaire tax, progressive income tax, property taxes, taxes

Source: Will County News

Rutland, VT. Aldermen dispute mayor’s claim that refugee resettlement application was made public

Aldermen dispute mayor’s claim that refugee resettlement application was made public

By   /   July 20, 2016  /

Photo courtesy of Rutland City Hall

Photo courtesy of Rutland City Hall

MORE SECRECY?: Rutland Mayor Chris Louras says that the availability of the city’s refugee resettlement application is proof that he’s being transparent, but members of the Board of Aldermen say they have yet to see the document.


RUTLAND, Vt. — Members of the Board of Aldermen say they haven’t seen the city’s refugee resettlement application despite a claim by the mayor that the document’s availability proves he’s being transparent on the issue.

In a recent radio interview, Mayor Chris Louras attempted to silence critics of his plan to make Rutland a refugee resettlement community by saying the city’s application to the federal government is available to the public.

“The abstract was, in fact, given to the Board of Aldermen, and they do absolutely have the latitude to provide that abstract to any constituency,” Louras said on Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition.

Two aldermen told Watchdog the board has never seen it.

“He certainly didn’t present it to us,” Alderman Ed Larson said in an interview.

Rutland Community Access

Rutland Community Access

NO PUBLIC DOCS: Rutland Alderman Ed Larson says he’s still waiting to see the city’s application to the federal government to make Rutland a permanent refugee resettlement community.

According to Larson, board members received only a brief summary when representatives from the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program and U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants spoke at a board meeting in May. He added that members are having to rely on Freedom of Information Act requests to get details on the program.

“We have a copy of the mayor’s letter that he had to submit to the federal government, (which was) in a series of FOIA emails that was provided to us by members of the media, but I don’t recall ever seeing an abstract in terms of the application,” he said.

Board of Aldermen President William Notte, an outspoken advocate for refugee resettlement, also said the application wasn’t provided.

“We were given a two-page item, which is what I believe the mayor is referring to, but I was under the impression that was not a complete document,” Notte said.

“I have requested that the complete form be sent to me so that I can distribute it both to the Board of Aldermen and to the members of the general public.”

Louras is under fire for secretly planning to make Rutland a permanent resettlement community. On April 26, the mayor surprised residents by announcing a plan to receive 100 Syrian refugees, slated to arrive in October. He later admitted having spent six months in private consultations with representatives of VRRP, USCRI, the State Department, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Louras has defended his secrecy by saying public awareness would have led to a citywide vote on the issue, a democratic approach that the mayor called “offensive.” He also said key stakeholders — including housing experts, economic development professionals, and Rutland City Public Schools Superintendent Mary Moran — were in on the talks from the start.

The Board of Aldermen narrowly rejected a petition by residents to put the issue to a vote earlier this month. However, they agreed to send an advisory letter to the assistant secretary of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration expressing their lack of support for the program. Larson said the letter is a request for additional time so city leaders can review any documents the State Department may provide.

David Trapeni, the organizer who led the petition for a citywide vote, said the mayor’s secrecy has provoked a flurry of FOIA requests. Among other things, the requests aim to intercept communications between Louras and Shumlin that could validate or dispel a rumor that the mayor was offered a federal job in return for accepting Syrian refugees.

“From what we understand, it was something at the SBA (Small Business Administration). It’s not the commissioner of the SBA, but something underneath her, because obviously he’s not going to take a position that would be in jeopardy after the election,” Trapeni said.

Trapeni claims Shumlin reached out to Louras after President Barack Obama announced a federal plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees fleeing a civil war. An estimated 12 million people have fled the country in the past five years.

“Shumlin had him go up there and asked him to help out and get some of the refugees,” Trapeni said. “… And for consideration of that, basically I think everybody who follows politics has decided that his mayoral chances are pretty much done, because people are pissed off in this community.”

Larson said he FOIA’d the governor’s office for information that could shed light on the program and possible incentives offered to Louras.

“(I requested) any communications between the mayor’s office and the governor’s office referencing the resettlement program … and also in reference to that particular rumor, if there’s any communication involving a potential job opportunity.”

Asked if the governor’s office had responded to the job offer claim, Larson said he “received an email from one of the governor’s paralegals stating that they had no emails or anything related to that.”

Trapeni said he initially ignored the rumor until another source independently said Louras’ family has plans to move to New Hampshire. He then repeated the job rumor during a public comment period on the night the board voted against holding a special election, and even made a passing comment to Louras.

“I caught him down in the hallway downstairs and said to the mayor, ‘Good luck on your new job,’ and he goes, ‘Yeah, thanks,’ and I go, ‘You’re welcome.’”

Notte dismissed rumors of a quid pro quo. “I’ve heard those rumors, and quite frankly, I think they’re all poppycock. The mayor has deep roots in this community.”

Louras did not respond to Watchdog’s request to be interviewed for this story.

Despite expressing disappointment with the situation, Larson said he blames the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, not the mayor.

“The onus is on the Refugee Resettlement Program and not so much on the mayor, who is trying to do what he feels is morally and responsibly right for the city by his determination.”

“He never lied to us — he never did. He just kept a secret from us,” Larson added.

When asked how the aldermen could have been kept in the dark, Larson replied, “The president of the Board of Aldermen finally admitted that he knew about it early on, after denying that he did.”

Trapeni said he will continue seeking answers on what took place behind closed doors.

“I’ve known him a long time. One thing about Louras is, he’s not going to stick his neck out unless there’s something good on the other end of it. He’s just not going to. He’s not made that way,” he said.

“He’s looking for something better, and obviously he was given an opportunity, and we believe that’s the reason he’s jeopardizing his political aspirations in the city.”

Contact Bruce Parker at bparker@watchdog.org

Source: Will County News

Higher Property Taxes cause home values to fall

Property-tax hikes have caused taxes on NBA star Dwyane Wade’s former house to more than triple, driving away prospective buyers and showing the harm Illinois’ sky-high property-tax rates inflict on homeowners.

Dwyane Wade’s return to his hometown to play for the Chicago Bulls comes with a large income-tax bill, and, as the facts surrounding the attempted sale of his former home in South Holland, Ill., show, the 12-time NBA All-Star can count on sky-high property taxes as well.

The Chicago Tribune reported July 15 that Wade’s former home in South Holland, Ill., is available for just $350,000. Wade’s ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches, is selling the unoccupied home, which was initially listed at $595,000 in March 2015. Property taxes on the home were originally $18,000 a year, but had skyrocketed to $58,000 by 2014. Funches is appealing the property-tax hikes, which have made the home difficult for her to sell. At $58,000 per year, the home carries an effective property-tax rate of 16.6 percent. In other words, over a six-and-a-half-year period, the homeowner will have paid more in property taxes alone than the value of the home.

Wade isn’t likely to buy back the South Holland house because, as Funches’ real estate agent, Greg Wallace, told the Tribune, the divorce means “it probably doesn’t have the best memories for him.” But the burdensome property taxes have made the home undesirable even for those without painful associations with the property. And regardless of which home Wade eventually buys or rents, it will come saddled with ever-increasing property taxes as well.

Chicago’s south suburbs have been ravished by high property taxes, which have depressed home values. South Holland’s Thornton Township has an effective residential property-tax rate of about 5 percent, and an effective commercial property-rate of over 12 percent. But that’s only about the average rate for the area – suburbs such as Calumet City and Park Forest have residential property-tax rates over 7 percent.

And Chicago’s south suburbs are just some of the many areas harmed by Illinois’ ever-increasing property taxes. Since 1990, residential property taxes in Illinois have grown more than three times faster than median household incomes, and Illinoisans’ residential property-tax burden – as a percentage of median household income – has risen 76 percent. And an April study by real estate services firm CoreLogic showed Illinois has the highest median property-tax rate in the nation.

Florida, where Wade played for the Miami Heat prior to signing with the Bulls, has effective property-tax rates about half as high as Illinois’, and a considerably lower state and local tax burden.

Someone like Wade, who has made more than $150 million on basketball contracts alone in his career, can afford the higher property taxes, the $890,000 state income-tax bill and themore than 30 local taxes with which Chicagoans are burdened.

But unfortunately, many middle-class families in Illinois – including those in the south suburbs of Chicago – do not have that ability. Many families, in fact, move in the opposite direction and head to Florida, or states such as Indiana or Texas, where opportunity is more abundant and taxes are less burdensome.

But if lawmakers were serious about passing a property-tax freeze for the entire state, more Illinois families might opt to stay. In April, the Illinois House passed a watered-down version of a property tax freeze, which didn’t apply to 7.8 million state residents, including all of Cook County.

Even as Wade’s former residence in South Holland continues to lose value, reform to ease the state’s crippling property-tax burden might not mean as much to someone with a $47.5 million contract. But for Illinoisans struggling to get by, reform – and relief – is critical.

TAGS: property taxes, taxes

Source: Will County News

Illinois lawmakers earn base salaries of nearly $68,000 for what is essentially part-time work.

Illinois lawmakers earn base salaries of nearly $68,000 for what is essentially part-time work.

The past year has been a rough one for many Illinoisans.

During the recent budget impasse, residents were inundated with stories of anguish throughout the state. And while a stopgap budget has answered some cries for help, the Land of Lincoln remains mired in sluggish growth, high taxes and low expectations.

But a select few Illinoisans have shielded themselves from the pain they’ve inflicted upon others: state politicians.

Despite failing to pass a balanced budget or any significant economic reforms for more than a year, state lawmakers the week of July 4 received paychecks and per diem money. This was the first check lawmakers had seen since Comptroller Leslie Munger temporarily threw lawmaker salaries into the state’s $8 billion pile of unpaid bills three months ago.

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Westchester, must have breathed a sigh of relief.

On June 30, Lightford took to the floor of the Illinois Senate to complain that the state wasn’t taking sufficient care of lawmakers such as herself. https://www.facebook.com/illinoispolicy/videos/10153837391188667/

“I’m hoping the comptroller will decide and recognize that we’re not vendors, that we’re actually employees of this body and deserve to be paid,” she said.

More than 1 million people have viewed the footage of Lightford’s tone-deaf defense of a privileged political class on Facebook. The video’s popularity speaks to Illinoisans’ sense of fairness. After the mess they’ve made, Illinois politicians are lucky to receive a paycheck at all, much less cut in line.

Illinois lawmakers earn base salaries of nearly $68,000 for what is essentially part-time work. Lightford took home more than $88,000 in 2015. She also received health care benefits worth more than $9,500, and racked up $16,000 more in taxpayer-funded pension benefits for when she retires.

In the wake of Lightford’s gaffe, the question remains: Why were lawmakers getting paid without passing a budget?

Ask House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

In 2014, Madigan and Cullerton rammed a bill through the General Assembly ensuring lawmakers would get paid with or without a budget. They did this by exempting lawmaker salaries, operating expenses and pay increases from the annual appropriations process. In other words, these payments became “continuing appropriations.” The bill did three things.

First, it meant that those items must be specifically prohibited to stop the money from flowing to politicians. Second, those items would not be affected by the lack of a state budget. And third, year-to-year cuts to lawmaker salaries and operating expenses would be prohibited.

Then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed off.

No other office or agency of Illinois state government has these sorts of privileges. Continuing appropriations are typically reserved for things such as pension payments, debt payments and interest payments.

Not payments to politicians.

Madigan and Cullerton’s power play serves as an important case study in political priorities. Why didn’t they extend these privileges to the groups crying out for help during the budget impasse?

Simple: State politicians knew their own bottom lines could soon be on the chopping block. So they took them off the bargaining table. If only other groups, including taxpayers, had been so lucky.

But Illinoisans aren’t just being forced to pay politicians’ salaries. They’re also bailing out political pensions. In 2017, taxpayers will contribute the equivalent of nearly $123,000 per lawmaker in pension costs alone.

The average career lawmaker’s pension totals nearly $96,000 a year, and state lawmakers can retire and start drawing pension benefits from the General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, after as few as eight years in office.

Those who have taken full advantage of Illinois’ lack of term limits will collect 85 percent of their final salary after 20 years of service. Lawmakers elected after 2011 max out at 60 percent.

As has been the case in many matters of state governance, Illinois lawmakers have proven inept at managing their own retirements. GARS has a mere 16 cents for every dollar needed to pay out future benefits, and taxpayers are bailing it out by contributing 17 times more money than lawmakers do toward GARS.

It’s not exactly a shared sacrifice.

If state lawmakers are serious about taking action to alleviate the pain facing Illinoisans, they should start by looking in the mirror.

Members of the Illinois General Assembly should end pensions for politicians once and for all. And a pay cut would send an equally powerful message. Their job performance demands as much.

TAGS: budget, Illinois General Assembly, John Cullerton, Kim Lightford, lawmaker pay, Mike Madigan, Pat Quinn

Source: Will County News