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Pritzker expands Chicago Teachers Union power

JB Pritzker aka Fat Blagojevich

Good old JB is batting a thousand these days. As if the Chicago Teachers Union doesn’t already have enough power in the city the wise sage that is JB Pritzker decides to up the ante.

The Chicago Teachers Union is lauding Gov. J.B. Pritzker for restoring its ability to bargain with the city over issues including class sizes, staff assignments and subcontracting.

Pritzker signed a bill Friday that repealed a section of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act that has restricted the union’s bargaining power since 1995.

Chicago Tribune

Illinoisans should not forget the Democrat controlled general assembly are the stooges passing this legislation. They are deep in the pockets of the public employee labor unions.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-prem-pritzker-chicago-teachers-union-bargaining-rights-20210405-46gvkdxckvgajnl3czlt6dxwaa-story.html

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Illinois Governor JB Pritzker increases pension obligations

JB Pritzker aka Fat Blagojevich

How do you take a pension system that is only 18.4% funded and make it solvent? Well, you make the pensions more generous of course.

Previously, a Chicago firefighter born on or after Jan. 1, 1966, would receive a non-compounding annual 1.5% cost-of-living adjustment to his or her pension, with a lifetime limit of 30%. Firefighters born before that date got a 3% annual increase.

Outside the city, firefighters hired before 2011 receive annual 3% compounding increases to their pensions, while those hired in the past decade receive a less generous increase.

The new law removes the Chicago pension differences based on date of birth, and also eliminates the 30% cap on cumulative cost-of-living adjustments.

Chicago Tribune

I don’t feel so bad reading these stories anymore since I relocated to Georgia. This is why property taxes continue to climb in Illinois.

In a letter to Pritzker in February, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jack Lavin argued the change would lead to another property tax increase for city homeowners and businesses.

Chicago Tribune

Pritzker is a buffoon.

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Thoughts

Georgia to join other free and open states on Thursday

Hopefully this isn’t April Fool fake news.

The governor said Friday that his administration will outline plans to roll back the remaining coronavirus restrictions, which include capacity limits, restrictions on large-scale gatherings and dozens of safety guidelines for restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and other venues.

“Georgians know the right thing to do,” Kemp said. “They know the value in best practices, but they also can’t wait to return to their normal life. Loosening these restrictions is the next critical step in that process, and it signals an even bigger light at the end of the tunnel.”

The scaled-back changes are expected to take effect Thursday.

ajc.com

Meanwhile in my old stomping grounds the scare mongering continues. Talk about a third surge can’t be a good thing. Businesses must be sweating increased restrictions.

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Illinois’ economy and its illustrious governor in one cartoon

Scott Stantis might be a genius
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Thoughts

Chicago is so flush with cash it can provide Guaranteed Basic Income to residents

Some genius Chicago aldermen have the brilliant idea to provide a “Guaranteed Basic Income” to city residents.

Alderman Gilbert Villegas, Alderwoman Maria Hadden and Alderwoman Sophia King introduced the resolution to the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development of the Chicago City Council.

“Distributing cash directly to Chicago families would transform life for millions of Chicagoans for generations to come,” Villegas said.

ABC 7 Chicago

The schools that gave them diplomas should be shut down for educational malpractice because these people cannot perform basic addition and subtraction.

The people of the City of Chicago would have to tax each and every taxpayer $41,100.00 in order to eliminate the city’s current debt burden of $36 billion. Hmmm. That’s a little more than the $37,103.00 per capita income according to the U.S. Census. I think it’s gonna be a little difficult to pay that off.

Chicago ranked next-to-last and was labeled a “sinkhole city” in Truth in Accounting’s latest report, “Financial State of the Cities.” The rankings of the nation’s 75 largest cities reflect financial data prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, showing how poorly positioned major cities such as Chicago were for a financial disaster.

The report found Chicago’s net debt – or the amount of money needed to pay its bills after accounting for everything the city owns – was $36.4 billion. That represents a per-taxpayer burden of $41,100, meaning each taxpayer would need to send that amount to the city in order for Chicago to eliminate its debt, earning the city an F for fiscal health. Chicago’s debt per taxpayer increased by $4,000 from the previous year and is 5.5 times the average burden of $7,355 per taxpayer across all 75 cities.

Only New York was in worse shape, with a whopping $68,200 taxpayer burden on $186.7 billion in net debt.

illinoispolicy.org

I lived in the Chicago area for 53 years. I relocated partially because Illinois and Cook County have crushing public pension debts. The debt is so large that the only way out is to tax the bejeezus out of people because the government refuses to do anything to reign in pensions.

Calls for a pension amendment continue to grow louder in Illinois, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has remained silent on the topic since incorrectly claiming in his budget address last year that an amendment is prohibited by the contracts clause in the U.S. Constitution.

illinoispolicy.org

But wait… there’s more! Chicagoans are also responsible for the state’s pension debt. So each Chicagoan needs to add $52,000 ON TOP of the $41,100 in order to eliminate their debt burden. That’s three times their per capita median income. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it.

Chicagoans should also know the city debt is not their only liability. Every Illinois taxpayer also owes $52,000to pay all the State of Illinois’ debts, Truth in Accounting reported in September. The $41,100 Chicago debt is on top of the state debt.

illinoispolicy.org
Image by Rilsonav from Pixabay
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Thoughts

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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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