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Why Georgia needs to remain red

I come from Illinois where the government never met a tax or fee it didn’t like. Living in Illinois for 53 years, never has a proposal been pushed to reduce taxes of any kind. We had one case where the state raised the income tax rate from 3% to 5% then rolled it back to 3.75% for two years. This only happened because the huge percentage increase was shocking to people. But the shock quickly wore off because the state increased it again to 4.95% where it sits today.

This takes me to Georgia where I currently reside. During 2020 when the nation was shut down Georgia cut it’s budget to weather the storm.

… lawmakers cut state spending by $2.2 billion because they feared tax collections would plummet due to the COVID-19 recession.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Illinois did no such thing. Georgia instituted a soft lockdown that didn’t completely destroy the state’s economy. Illinois had strict lockdowns all across the state crippling its already virtually bankrupt position. Georgia had better than forecast revenues into the state. Illinois also did better than forecast but the economy still cratered because there were no cuts to spending. Here’s where things get strange for me. Georgia is proposing to return money to the taxpayers.

Almost a year after the COVID-19 pandemic sent the economy tumbling and forced Georgia lawmakers to reduce spending, a revenue recovery has state House leaders looking to cut state income taxes.

House Ways and Means Chairman Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, filed legislation this week to increase the standard deduction Georgians can take when they do their income taxes. By reducing the amount of income taxed, House Bill 593 would cut what’s owed by millions of Georgians who use the standard deduction when they fill out their returns.

“It’s the fairest way to help the most people keep more of their money,” Blackmon said. “If we are able to afford it, we ought to let people keep some more of their money.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

What a concept! It’s fair to help people keep more of their money?? I’ve heard of these things happening before but never experienced it. The news story was even fairly reported. Nothing about “how will we pay for this tax cut” baloney. If Georgia becomes controlled by the Democrat Party I will guarantee this state will never see this sort of thing again. The majority of my life Illinois was controlled by the Democrats at almost all levels of government. It resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded public employee pensions that are draining the taxpayers dry.

I just might like it here.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
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Thoughts

Michael Madigan made a difference alright

Former Illinois Speaker of the House and current head of the Illinois Democrat Party announced his resignation. After nearly 5 decades of controlling the state he’s finally riding off into the sunset. Well… not quite. He’s only stepping down from his position as a representative of his district. He will remain the head of the party and the head of Chicago’s 13th Ward Democratic Organization.

The truest statement Mr. Madigan has made in recent memory is in his resignation statement.

Fifty years ago, I decided to dedicate my life to public service. Simply put, I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.

Chicago Tribune

Under Madigan’s leadership the State of Illinois is bankrupt. He has refused to face up to the out of control spending and the crushing weight of public employee pension obligations. Madigan made sure public employee unions received gift after gift that allowed them to completely run roughshod over the people.

Just about a year ago Illinois’ debt was analyzed and found that the people owe more in pension obligations than they make in a year. Thanks for making such a big difference Mr. Madigan. Hopefully for the people that remain in Illinois your resignation is a good thing.

Our analysis at OpenTheBooks.com shows that an Illinois family of four now owes more in unfunded pension liabilities ($76,000) than they earn in household income ($63,585). In a state of 13 million residents, every man, woman, and child owes $19,000 — on an estimated $251 billion pension liability.

Forbes
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Thoughts

Illinois Senators unhappy with President Biden? Say it ain’t so Joe!

President Biden decided to fire the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois without consulting the two Democrat U.S. Senators. Why?

Is it possible that the Democrat party wants the trials that have implicated aldermen, executives of the state’s major electric utility, and the Speaker of the House of the Illinois General Assembly, to either disappear or to get watered down? Nah. Can’t be.

Joe Biden is swiftly pushing out almost all U.S. attorneys who served under his predecessor, which is increasingly the norm for new Presidents. But even Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, staunch allies of Mr. Biden, objected to his firing of Mr. Lausch, who has been a scourge of corruption in Democratic-dominated Springfield.

“While we agree with the Biden Administration’s criminal justice agenda, we are disappointed with the decision to terminate U.S. Attorney Lausch without consulting us,” the Senators said in a statement Tuesday. They cited the need to “conclude sensitive investigations” and added that “Mr. Lausch should be permitted to continue in his position until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.”

Wall Street Journal

Things were so bad in Illinois that even Durbin and Duckworth called for the Speaker to step down last year. He didn’t but was voted out as Speaker while he installed one of his top lieutenants to take his place. I’m sure the two Senators didn’t want it to look so obvious that the party needed some protection.

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Thoughts

Goodbye Chicago

It kinda hurts writing that headline. But, it’s true. I’m leaving Chicago for what I hope are greener pastures. I have mixed emotions about it but also feel the change is long overdue.

The tldr version of everything below is that I’m tired of Illinois’ multiple levels of corrupt government (here and here are the latest examples) and their out of control spending. People here scream for change but vote the same people into office time and time again. The people of Chicago and Illinois used to be salt of the Earth moderate Midwestern people. Now we’re a tax happy, SJW safe space, that has no tolerance for people that don’t think as they do. Since my vote won’t count to change anything the only thing I have left is to vote with my feet. At least any money going forward will not go to bankrupt governments.

The house where I grew up circa 2006. Before it was demolished for a strip mall.

No matter where I go when people ask me where I’m from I proudly say Chicago. Even in Europe where many people don’t know exactly where Chicago is I would still say it so I could explain the Midwest. Well, no more. I’m not that proud anymore. Where I’m going may end up not being any better. But, at least I’ll enjoy a lower cost of living.

I was born in Chicago in the mid 1960s and grew up in the Logan Square neighborhood. I lived there until I turned 18. Got married, moved to the suburbs, bought a house, had children, and lived a pretty good life. For 32 years I’ve lived in the same location. A location I love. Over those decades I paid my taxes and voted. I voted for people who I thought would keep the state in good shape. I voted for some Democrats but mostly Republicans. But as Chicago seized more and more control over the state each year things became progressively worse.

This is the parking lot behind my house in Chicago. It used to be our playground. Every sport except basketball. There were no rims here. This pic is from 2006 before a strip mall was put in.

Over the years I watched the places of my past get torn down and replaced by strip malls, fru fru coffee shops, and condo complexes. The people also changed. Gone were the gritty city types and in moved the hipsters. I thought the yuppies were bad back in the day but they were nothing compared to these hipsters. They turned Chicago neighborhoods, that had character into any other neighborhood in the country. It was sort of like being in a theme park where all the rides are the same. Brooklyn, Austin, San Francisco, and Chicago. It is getting difficult to tell things apart.

Pizza from Lou Malnati’s. Sadly they just opened a take out location walking distance from my house. One of the many things I’ll miss for sure.
Maybe the last real Chicago Mayor of Chicago.
He had tons of flaws and is partly responsible for the current fiscal mess (maybe even mostly) but at least he was of Chicago.

The State of Illinois was always in need of Chicago. It has always been the economic powerhouse of the state. But, Chicago still had to compromise with the people downstate. Chicago didn’t always get its way. Power in state government became concentrated with politicians from Chicago. So much so we are the point now in Illinois where Chicago runs everything. How else do you think J.B. Pritzker became our governor?

Our illustrious billionaire governor. Governor Fat Blagojevich.

This Democrat billionaire outspent the Republican billionaire by labeling him a right-wing extremist in lock-step with Donald Trump. Anyone that has ever taken a good look at Bruce Rauner can’t possibly see a right-wing extremist in lock step with Trump. If anything Rauner was a light weight Republican. He didn’t have the stones, on a daily basis, to call out the crooks currently running the state. How else do we end up with a governor that abused the property tax system to save $330,000.00 on a property he owns. None of the regular people get this kind of break.

The State of Illinois has been run by one political party. There are no dissenting voices. Only rubber stamps. There is a looming public employee pension debt of around $150 billion for the state. The local governments inside Cook County, the county in which I live, also have a public employee pension debt of around $150 billion. I guess those teachers’ strikes kind of add up over the decades don’t they (and somehow see themselves as non-essential during COVID-19). There have been lame attempts to try to fix the problem. None work because the numbskulls put public employee pensions in the state’s constitution. Every time laws are passed to fix things the laws get over turned at the state Supreme Court.

The public scream for things to change. But they continue to vote the same people into office. What is happening now is a push to increase the income tax rate for the state. Well, the proposal is a graduated tax but in the proposal the General Assembly will be able to raise the rates without any further voter input. And if you think they won’t raise them I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. After the Year of COVID-19 other taxes and fees will have to increase because God forbid the government start cutting their expenses.

Where I’m moving the property taxes are 1/3 what I pay in Illinois and the house is larger, newer, and with more land. My house in Illinois is worth a little over twice what I paid back in 1988. But my property taxes have increased 350% during that time! 350%!!!!

Chicago used to be the city of big shoulders. Now its the city of narrow minds. The State of Illinois used to be a moderate middle of the road Midwestern state. Now it’s a far left social justice warrior “safe space.”

I love my house. I love the location. I especially love a good Chicago winter. But I no longer like the people or the politics. I can’t stand insufferable busy bodies who live by the mantra, “better safe than sorry.” That is no way to live.

Yes, I’m leaving Chicago and Illinois, but honestly, the city and state left me decades ago. I won’t let the state’s crushing debt hit me on the way out.

Goodbye Chicago.

My humble abode for the last 32 years
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Thoughts

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine

I wrote another letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune. They didn’t print my last one but hopefully they’ll print this one.

Did you know that there has never been a vaccine for ANY coronavirus? That’s right. SARS, MERS, or the illustrious Common Cold have never had a vaccine that worked in humans. Why do we suddenly think that a vaccine for COVID-19 will suddenly emerge in 18 months?

“The scientists say.” “Follow the science.” I’m so sick and tired of these phrases. Science is not exact and most of the time science is wrong. Science, if it’s good science, is never settled. The magical belief in a vaccine that is just around the corner is due to a poorly educated population that has been conditioned to cast aside their Constitutionally protected rights in favor of safety that doesn’t exist.

This lockdown is wrong and has to end. Now.

Here’s my letter to the editor:

Governor Pritzker’s 5 point plan that doesn’t allow a return to normalcy until a vaccine, treatment, or widespread immunity is sheer folly. There has never been a vaccine for humans for any coronavirus and from past coronaviruses it seems immunity may only last for months in humans. Waiting to re-open Illinois will result in catastrophic loss of life in a myriad of other ways due to economic collapse. Our state is already effectively bankrupt and now the Governor is asking its citizens go bankrupt as well.

Sweden is roughly the same size in population as Illinois. They have roughly the same number of infections and deaths. Yet, they never locked down their country, they never closed their schools, and business continued to operate. Sweden did the right thing by their citizens.
90% of Illinois’ COVID-19 infections and deaths exist in the Chicago metropolitan area. It makes absolutely no sense to subject the rest of the state to Pritzker’s draconian measures. At the very least the one size fits all policy for the entire state needs to end.

Here are links to articles backing up my opinion.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2020-04-17/coronavirus-vaccine-ian-frazer/12146616

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/

https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/county-map