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Today’s numbers

Monday, May 5, 2014

* All emphasis added. Doug Finke

Sen. Bill Brady R-Bloomington, has introduced a bill adding the Obama library to the list of charities to which Illinois income tax filers can make contributions. It would join the other options for charitable contributions like breast cancer research, diabetes research, military family relief, child abuse prevention and others.

Construction of the library wouldn’t hinge entirely on the tax check-off. That’s good. Last year, the top charity on the tax form brought in about $153,000. At that pace, it would only take about 653 years to raise $100 million for the library.

* Kurt Erickson

The election board’s work on the proposed amendments began Wednesday when the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits showed up at the offices with a 36-foot-long box filled with 67,976 pieces of paper holding more than 590,000 signatures. […]

On Thursday, the Yes For Independent Maps coalition dropped off a 27-foot box filled with about 37,000 pieces of paper holding more than 532,000 signatures. […]

Borgsmiller said if each piece of paper turned in by the groups were laid end to end, the paper trail would stretch 33 miles. […]

In the scanning room, a team of technicians and temporary workers huddle around eight high-tech scanners. Once the paper is digitized, a review of the signatures begins.

Rather than view each signature to ensure they are from registered voters, staffers will do a random test of 5 percent of the signatures.

* And maybe an algebra expert can figure out the University of Illinois’ layoff ratio of faculty-to-staff from these numbers in Crain’s

After shedding roughly 12 percent of its faculty at its flagship campus since the 2007-08 school year […]

Today the institution employs 17,236 permanent workers in Champaign-Urbana, 5 percent below its 18,150 headcount in 2008-09 […]

[Chancellor Phyllis Wise] announced plans last year to add 500 faculty members by 2020, raising the number of professors to 2,350.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    Perhaps Quinn could suggest a special lottery game, he seems to like those….


  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    Who among Obama’s people is asking for $100,000,000 and what are their reasons?

    Madigan has thrown himself in front of all of this, turning it into a political game instead of letting everyone see for what their $100,000,000 is being used.

    If it is warranted, be honest about it all.

    This is Illinois. We are still wondering what Quinn’s people did with $54,000,000 and wondering why we are seeing hundreds of millions disappearing through other questionable grants.

    You want $100,000,000? Prove you won’t waste it by having it disappear like we so often have been seeing.

    You might have something pretty important here, Mr. Speaker that is worthy of your request. However, the horrific record of abuse within Illinois regarding our public funds has caused us to either say no, or throw up our hands in surrender.

    How long have you been a political power player during this time? You needed to know you had only a limited window of trust and should have guessed by now that this window is being boarded shut.


  3. - A guy... - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Turbo Tax is killing these check-offs. The best source of these were tax preparers in the past. With online options available and more people filing without professional help, there are less “check offs” for the buck. Having so many dilutes it too. Finally, many seniors on SS with very modest investment income are not required to file a tax return. That group might be more likely to throw a buck this way, but wouldn’t be asked with no filing.


  4. - OVERSIGHT - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    And would we just forward those funds to whatever state actually gets the nod for the library?

    Would the collected funds then be re-directed to another worth while cause similar to the anti-violence slush fund for Chicago?


  5. - wordslinger - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    The tax check-off was a political response to a political proposal. I don’t think there will be much, if any, state money spent on an Obama library before it’s all over.


  6. - John Galt - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    ===
    Last year, the top charity on the tax form brought in about $153,000. At that pace, it would only take about 653 years to raise $100 million for the library.
    ===

    If taxpayers statewide DON’T contribute voluntarily by checking off the box for the Obama Library subsidy, shouldn’t that be telling the legislators something?

    Pointing out that people won’t voluntarily contribute on their tax forms and therefore we need to appropriate $100 million of their money by force is a problem. The argument boils down to “we’re afraid the people don’t want to spend a ton of cash on this, so we need to have legislation force them.” Nonsense.

    Let’s be honest here. The Obama Library is going to get built. It’s going to get built in Chicago. For his own legacy’s sake, he’s not going to put it way out in Hawaii where is geographically difficult to get to, and his connections to California and New York are too tenuous to be seriously considered.

    The only serious questions are: 1) Exactly WHERE in Chicago will it be located; and 2) How EXTRAVAGANT will the facility be.

    Obama is going to have no problem raising funds from his donor base for his library. I don’t believe there are caps on these types of donations, and so there’s nothing stopping his boosters from cutting massive checks. They won’t let the first African American POTUS have an impoverished presidential library. These national-level individual and corporate donors will make up the bulk of the giving.

    If various neighborhood groups, chambers of commerce, or local leaders want to pass the hat to sweeten the pot for specific sites within Chicago (University of Chicago campus; the neighborhood of Kenwood itself, etc.) then by all means they should. They stand the most to gain from it. I personally think it’d be great if it were in the same neighborhood as the Museum of Science & Industry and the U of C campus. It makes sense for him biographically, it would be a big boost for tourism in the neighborhood, and a whole mess of tourists trek down there already for the MSI. Adding the Obama Presidential Library increases the center of gravity for the South Side and can only be a positive influence on the area.

    But we are broke, and I don’t think $100 million for this is a wise expenditure for Illinois to make.


  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    A Guy:

    The problem is not turbo tax.

    The problem is that contrary to state law, the Illinois Department of Revenue now requires you to file a separate form (Schedule G) to make a voluntary donation. The check-off used to be on the 1040.

    Fewer people are going to go through the hassle just to give $5.


  8. - Stuff happens - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    The article about Champaign-Urbana homeowners also failed to mention some of the other reasons for discontent. Tax breaks for regional hospitals via SB2194 have put the entire tax burden on Urbana residents.

    They have seen a 15-20% increase in their property taxes over the past two years. We’re hoping HB3634 can get some traction to remove the new tax burden.

    What the article fails to show is how many properties were converted to rentals as faculty left.

    I live on Vermont Ave (the street where Susan Frobish mentions a house that sold within a day) and we had houses sitting empty for six months or more. Owners eventually gave up and made them into rentals. The one that sold is an anomaly because it was underpriced for the neighborhood and they took $150,400 for it (about 25% lower than the asking price) according to county records.


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    YDD, A guy has a point. I don’t remember if my tax program even offered the option to donate my refund. I don’t think it did.


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    “…Borgsmiller said if each piece of paper turned in by the groups were laid end to end, the paper trail would stretch 33 miles. …”

    Having a tough time getting the 33 miles of paper.

    Assuming the paper was 8.5″ x 11″, 67,976+37000 = 104,976 pieces of paper, laid end to end is roughly 96,228 long or 18.2 miles.


  11. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    ===Assuming the paper was 8.5″ x 11″===

    Sheets have to be legal size. Also, the full amendment has to be on each petition. That takes up a ton of space.


  12. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    YDD - that’s a very good point. It seems odd that we made it more difficult to support worthy causes, rather than easier, even if it adds an entire page to the state 1040.

    Perhaps they should bring it back with a narrowed down number of check-offs, though the battle over who stays and who goes would be rough.


  13. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    A Guy and YDD - you both have a point, and I think it may be a similar one. If the checkoff options remained directly on the 1040 itself, they would likely still be offered by these online services as just another step in the process.

    Whether this was an administrative choice or one made because of “cluttering” the 1040, the added step makes it harder to donate.


  14. - Precinct Captain - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    UIUC
    08-09 headcount: 18,150
    today headcount: 17,236
    difference: 914

    Ideal faculty number (tenure-track/full time): 2,350
    Today’s number (subtract 500 from ideal): 1,850

    What was the faculty number in in 2008? One can look it up or just use this function: 1,850=0.88x because 0.88 is what’s left from a 12 percent reduction. The x is 2,102 (rounded down to whole number).

    The difference from 2,102 to 1,850 is 252.

    Total loss - faculty loss = non-faculty/staff loss
    914-252=662

    ==layoff ratio of faculty-to-staff==

    252:662 or .38 to 1. Another way to say it is 2.63 non-faculty gone for every faculty loss.


  15. - Precinct Captain - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    When I wrote “tenure-track/full time” I am referring to just tenured/tenure-track professors. There are full time equivalent visiting professors, but they aren’t part of that ideal number UIUC is chasing.

    From last year there were 2,548 total FTE faculty (tenure/tack, 3,665 “administrative and academic professional” folks, and 4,136 “support staff” folks. If the headcount now is 17,236, subtract the other numbers and you get 6,887. I guess those are part timers, but I do not know for sure. I assume that because at the link below they only listed FTE folks. What I would like to know from the 662 number is how many were academic professionals and how many were support staff.

    http://illinois.edu/about/overview/facts/facts.html
    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2013-04-23/ui-hire-500-professors-next-five-seven-years.html


  16. - drew - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 6:05 pm:

    Here’s some data for you: http://www.dmi.illinois.edu/cp/


  17. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 6:57 pm:

    A Guy -

    I have never used TurboTax.

    Schedule G can be e-filed, but it is a separate form.

    And as every development professional knows, the more steps you require people to take, the lower the rate of return.

    Heck, you don’t even know what the various charitable check-offs are until you open the Schedule G form.


  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 6:58 pm:

    I should add that the negative pr about the state borrowing money from the charitable funds and then delaying grant distributions did not help.


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