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The business of Illinois

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* Obviously, Leader Durkin is hoping to bait Illinois’ newest state Rep. into voting against Speaker Madigan’s millionaire’s tax and other stuff, but the way he’s doing it is quite interesting…


Chicago – House Republican Leader Jim Durkin welcomed newly appointed state Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) on Monday by applauding Moeller’s bipartisan and economic growth pledge. Moeller told reporters that she is pledging to serve in a “bipartisan fashion” and she will work to “create jobs and strengthen our economy.”

“The best way to strengthen our economy is to not raise taxes on anyone,” said Durkin. “Many key votes are coming before the Illinois House in the coming days and weeks that will slow Illinois’ economic recovery and drive unemployment higher.”

Last week, Democratic leaders have all endorsed the idea of making the 67% temporary tax hike of 2011, permanent.

“The House GOP will gladly work with any member of the General Assembly who is committed, like Rep. Moeller, to strengthening our economy and protecting hardworking families, taxpayers and job creators,” added Durkin.


* In other economy-related news, Greg Hinz takes a close look at legislation that appears pretty good on its face. The bill would allow companies to recoup up to 100 percent of their job training costs. But all the jobs would have to be net new Illinois positions. There’s a problem with that

“More than 300,000 manufacturing workers are set to retire in Illinois in the next decade. . . .The idea of a tax credit against withholdings could greatly benefit companies making significant investments in their human capital,” said Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Denzler, in a statement.

“However, the current proposal is cumbersome and overly bureaucratic,” he added. “(That) will dampen enthusiasm while failing to provide any help for companies simply looking to train replacements for an aging workforce.”

* And

Qualified training costs could be credited not only against a company’s own income tax liability but against money it collects from workers in paycheck withholding that is supposed to be passed on to the state. There have been only a few instances in which such tax breaks have been approved in Illinois, all involving so-called EDGE tax credits. In each case, allowing companies to keep employee tax withholding has had to be approved by the General Assembly.

Under the current proposal, that authority would be given to officials at Mr. Pollet’s DCEO and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

* Meanwhile, the Tribune weighs in on the Statehouse ride-share proposal

Consumers like ride shares. They like being able to find a nearby car, check out the driver and agree to a fare, all on their smartphones. They like the option of paying a premium for faster service in peak hours or bad weather. They like choices.

Sticking to the current rules would rob them of a promising new model while protecting an archaic system that works mostly for the medallion owners. It doesn’t work for the independent contractors who actually drive the cabs. Last week, a group of them sued, saying they should be considered employees of the cab companies from whom they rent the medallions. (Another pending suit argues that the drivers should be considered employees of the city.) […]

Government isn’t doing its job if it accepts the companies’ assurances that everything is hunky dory. So the question now isn’t whether the ride shares will be regulated, but who will set the rules. […]

Lawmakers shouldn’t be in the business of marking cars or dictating fares, either. Their aim should be to promote safety and competition, not to take sides in the taxi vs. ride share battle

* Gov. Quinn wants to boost home ownership

Sneed has learned Quinn plans to announce a new state-subsidized mortgage loan program Monday for first-time Illinois home buyers.

“This program is not for millionaires,” Quinn told Sneed. […]

◆ Fact: The plan will give eligible first-time home buyers a 30-year fixed mortgage offered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority at below market interest rates, according to Quinn. (Right now, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage charges 4.4 percent interest.)

◆ Fact: It will also offer a forgivable loan of $7,500, secured by a second mortgage, to help with the down payment or closing costs. At minimum, borrowers must contribute the greater of one percent of the purchase price or $1,000 toward the down payment.

◆ Fact: This program is only for first-time home buyers, or anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years, and has at least a credit score of 640. […]

◆ Fact: Quinn claims the program will be funded with $130 million from the capital budget — set aside five years ago for the Illinois Housing Development Authority to use on housing construction and mortgage subsidies.

* And the editor of a website devoted to nursing home issues says Bruce Rauner’s candidacy is gonna bring down major heat on the industry

In Illinois, when the inflammatory ads start again in the Rauner-Quinn race, few will think twice about the guaranteed loser: the nursing home profession.

Rauner’s proponents will again assert he had no hand in the day-to-day management when the bad acts occurred at his nursing home businesses. Attack. Defend.

And the remaining impression will simply be that, whether or not this guy is a greedy shark investor, nursing homes are terrible places where horrible things inevitably happen.

They might be trying to put Rauner on trial, but the skilled nursing profession will already have been convicted in the public’s mind, no matter the November vote totals show.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Powell - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    Good move by durkin. only downside is that if she calls your bluff, you have no shot at the seat.

  2. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    ===if she calls your bluff, you have no shot at the seat. ===

    True, but then the MJM tax hike is dead.

  3. - Anon - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    Moeller will vote against the Quinn tax hike, and for the MJM referendum to let voters decide whether to hike taxes on millionaires. Apparently leader Durkin doesn’t trust the voters.

  4. - Anon - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    == “The best way to strengthen our economy is to not raise taxes on anyone,” said Durkin. ==

    If Rauner becomes governor, and decides he wants some regressive taxes raised, leader Durkin may have to eat those words.

  5. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Manufacturing job training is no more than a boondoggle with a government subsidy. What exactly will they be “training” them to do? JObs that will be obsolete in a few years? There are aloot of jobs that require skills, but on the job training isn’t the way to get them. Teach people to be welders and pipefitters in HS and JCs. Teach people the equipment controls technology the same way. Industry can provide experts to do this in conjunction with local schools.

    This is a waste of time and effort. This pittance won’t attract manufacturing jobs to Illinois and won’t keep teh ones that are here.

    Lower income and property taxes to below those of our neighbors, reduce the costs of workman’s comp, eliminate the unnecessary regulatory burdens here and get clear, effective and comprehensive pension reform (even the current changes won’t solve the problem) and get that Damocles sword from over businesses heads for the unfunded pension liability, and make Illinois “right-to-work” and jobs will come.

  6. - Chefjeff - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Subsidized mortgage up to $376K for couples earning less than $90,000. 1% down. What could possibly go wrong?

  7. - Soccermom - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    “Fact: The plan will give eligible first-time home buyers a 30-year fixed mortgage offered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority at below market interest rates, according to Quinn. (Right now, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage charges 4.4 percent interest.)”

    So with $130 million, you can offer $200,000 mortgages to 650 families. I think IHDA could get a lot more bang for its bucks by focusing on creating home downpayment programs and working with banks to buy down a point or two of interest for lower-income borrowers.

    Word, Schnorf and 47th, tell me why I’m wrong. :)

  8. - vttk17a1 - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    If the tax rate is 5% now and will be kept at 5%, How exactly will anyone be paying more money?

    Did someone tell a lie when they called the tax “temporary”? Of course they did. There is no such thing as a “temporary” tax hike. At least not in Illinois.

    Is someone telling a lie now when they call this a tax increase? At the very least, they are not telling the truth exactly, either. The increase happened years ago. Is Quinn asking for the rate to go up now? Yes or no?

    The accurate description of Quinn’s plan is “Taxes will not be reduced when promised in the future”.

    You are not going to be paying any more than you are paying right now. You won’t get to pay any less, either.

  9. - Confused - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    Good thing we have such a good history of government entities helping higher risk borrowers to buy homes.

  10. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===working with banks to buy down a point or two of interest for lower-income borrowers===

    I assumed that was what this proposal entailed. Which leads to the question of how much the State wants to subsidize banks’ profits. Certainly, a portion of interest goes to cover losses on foreclosures. And partnering with banks allows the State to use $130M to benefit more than 650 families. But there are certainly winners here including the homeowner with a lower payment (or possibly more likely a larger mortgage) and the bank with a more stable income at the expense of the taxpayers. No good answers.

  11. - Statistical reader - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    I hear that Quinn’s millions that were given to Chrysler to keep the Belvedere plant open haven’t been to rewarding being the new dart won’t sell. Similarly those millions spent on high speed rail from Alton haven’t accomplished anything either. Nothing like some new wasteful programs that won’t accomplish anything beyond keeping a few bankers happy and the taxpayers coughing up money. The only cure for Illinois is complete implosion…as if we could only hope

  12. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    “make Illinois “right-to-work” and jobs will come”

    Full union states are also recovering economically.

    There has always been economic recovery with and without right to work. Pushing right to work is a ploy to take advantage of a weak economy, one that by far favors wealthy individuals and corporations.

    Now that wage earners have less power, it’s time to exploit the situation as much as possible–corporations and their politicians pit states and people against one-another. States are offering corporations more and more tax breaks. If the economy was stronger, like it used to be when unionization was higher, there wouldn’t be desperation by states to cater to the wishes of wealthy conservatives like the Koch brothers and Club for Growth.

  13. - Soccermom - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    Stat — I don’t care what your politics are. No person of good conscience hopes for an “implosion,” on the state or the national level.

  14. - Soccermom - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    In previous years, IHDA provided mortgage funds, not just buy-downs. Not sure what this program looks like.

  15. - olok1973 - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    Take 150M out of the Capital Fund and put it into a program 6 months before the election. Quinn wouldn’t be pandering to gain a few votes is he? Gee, maybe use the capital fund for Capital Projects? Novel idea???

  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    ===…and make Illinois “right-to-work…===

    What IL GA is going to pass that?

    Illinois needs to find solutions within reason of happening, not within the idea of wishful thinking.

    To Durkin and his Crew,

    Pretty good “Welcome to the General Assembly” note. Hope that seat at least gets a “look” as a pickup, or keep the HDems busy there for a bit…

  17. - G'Kar - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    The best way to grow jobs in career and technical fields, like welding, is to have a business, state, and community college partnership. For example, my local community college can not keep up with demand by students to take welding classes as there are only x number of welding work stations. It would take additional money coming from somewhere, and raising tuition will not cover it, to allow them to expand the program and start to meet demand.

  18. - Roadiepig - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    And the remaining impression will simply be that, whether or not this guy is a greedy shark investor, nursing homes are terrible places where horrible things inevitably happen.

    Isn’t that basically what many of the Baron’s defenders here have been saying (whenever the higher number of deaths in the nursing homes he owned have been brought up)? Elderly people die In nursing homes every day, that’s just life, so we should get over it. Nothing to see here so move along.

    I guess the editor of that website didn’t get The Baron’s memo…

  19. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    –Lower income and property taxes to below those of our neighbors,–

    Done. What’s next?

  20. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Soccermom, I’m going to have to look a little more closely at this IHDA proposal.

    I don’t think subsidizing interest rates right now is a real necessity, as they’re still awfully low, historically.

    Down payments are another story for first-time buyers. With existing home values steadily back on the rise, that seems low risk.

  21. - CapnCrunch - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 6:56 pm:

    Making home ownership available to people who can’t afford one. Why hasn’t somebody thought of this before? This is an idea whose time has come…….

  22. - JackD - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 7:20 pm:

    Nursing home abuses have made and are continuing to make a lot of money for plaintiff’s’ attorneys and the reason is because they are real and juries act accordingly.

  23. - Confused - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 7:22 pm:

    ==Down payments are another story for first-time buyers. With existing home values steadily back on the rise, that seems low risk.==

    I can’t tell. Was that sarcasm?

  24. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 7:52 pm:

    Instead of offering financial aid to first time home buyers, the Governor should dedicate funds to a class entitled “Do you really want to buy a home?” Lectures could include the likelihood of escalating property taxes, a more fluid workplace which will require the owner to move frequently and the likelihood of price depression when the federal reserve starts increasing interest rates and property taxes escalate.

  25. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 31, 14 @ 11:06 pm:

    The ride share / taxi medallion fight is going on in a lot of the major cities. The established firms are doing their best to best back the ride share programs unless they get to control it. All kinds of lawsuits over it in NYC. Classic case of rent seeking …

  26. - RNUG - Tuesday, Apr 1, 14 @ 7:39 am:

    “their best to beat back”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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