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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018

* That’s right, narrow the property tax base even further. Great idea

Democratic state Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines said the cost of owning a home in her suburban district is getting too pricey for older people.

“It’s a very common concern of seniors anxious about how they’re gonna remain in their homes,” she said.

She wants more seniors to be able to claim a homestead exemption on their property taxes — raising the maximum annual income from $65,000 to $75,000. Another proposal would allow seniors in downstate communities to cut their tax by $7,000, up from the current $5,000.

But Carol Portman, president of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois, calls that problematic.

“By reducing the taxes of those folks a little bit, then you’re raising it for the next door neighbors and the people across the street. Where you draw the line of who gets the benefit and who has to pay the taxes for them, it gets really tough to draw.”

Portman is right. Let’s jack up everyone else’s taxes to give one group of people a break.

Stop this.

* Press release…

Parents who choose to send their children to K-12 private or parochial schools in Illinois may soon be able to use their Illinois Bright Start program funds to help offset those costs rather than only using those funds for college, due to a new bill filed today by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard).

The new Republican federal tax law clears the way for states to allow residents to use 529 plan accounts for K-12 education expenses, in addition to their current allowed use for college expenses. In Illinois, the 529 plan (Bright Start) specifically only allows funds to be used for higher education or post-secondary training.

“Today’s Bright Start Program does not provide for the recent changes in federal tax law that allow families to use their 529 plan account for K-12 educational expenses,” said Breen. “My bill expands the Illinois Bright Start Program’s definition of ‘qualifying expenses’ so that families may enjoy the full tax benefits newly available through the Republican federal tax law. Expanding the use of these tax-free funds will be help hard-working Illinois families save for their kids’ education.”

Breen’s legislation also provides for a rollover of 529 plan funds into an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account for an individual living with a significant disability. Whereas 529 plans may only be used for education, ABLE accounts may also be used for housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services and health care expenses. “These types of accounts really help folks living with disabilities to maintain their independence and quality of life,” Breen said. “Individuals with disabilities and their families often rely on public benefits for income, health care, housing and other assistance, and eligibility is largely based on meeting an income threshold. ABLE accounts allow families to create a long-term plan with defined tax benefits for covering the significant costs associated to living with a disability.”

Breen hopes to garner wide bipartisan support for his bill and is pressing for its immediate consideration in the appropriate House committee in the coming weeks.

* I don’t think this is even a bill yet

An effort is underway in Illinois that would let the terminally ill choose to end their life.

Oregon approved the option back in the mid 90’s. A few more states and Canada have followed with similar laws. They allow a terminally ill and mentally sound individual to choose to end their life.

“We all die and unfortunately as we approach death, as we get sicker and sicker, often a lot of pain and suffering comes with it. And when death is imminent, when suffering is intolerable, it should be your choice,” said Ed Gogol of Final Options Illinois. […]

Gogol wants an Illinois law that would have the patient being prescribed medication they would self-administer. It’s not “physician-assisted suicide” or “euthanasia” because the doctor would only make sure the person qualified.

Gogol calls it compassion. “The ability to say, when suffering has truly gotten intolerable, that I don’t want to go through these final agonies. I am approaching death anyway. That should be a human right.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    Re Property Taxes- Give us all who pay property taxes on our primary residences a break. We’ve been footing more and more of the bill for K-12 education funding in Illinois over the years. With the new funding formula (hopefully) going to go into effect and shifting some of the burden back to the state, why not begin to allow for more than a measley 5% tax credit for property taxes on the Illinois form? Approximately 60% of most individual property tax bills go to the local school districts. Why not have a ramp from a 5% credit up to a 20-40% credit with a max out credit amount at the end of the roll-out (say 5-10 years to fully implement the change in the % credit)? Even if the district doesn’t lower the property tax rate, the state could help even out the burden on taxpayers this way. Heck, some of those “saved” dollars might even end up in that “scholarship” fund. Otherwise both income (state funding formula) and property taxes (local taxing body) will continue to be used for local school districts from local taxpayers, and the hope that the change in the school funding formula might have an impact on property tax relief will more likely than not never happen. No one, especially taxing bodies, wants to give up what they have for fear of losing even more. It’s time to break that cycle.

  2. - anon2 - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    It’s true that giving one group of property owners a break comes at the expense of those outside the favored group. It’s also true that seniors and those just a few years away from being seniors constitute a huge chunk of primary voters.

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:26 pm:

    Interesting that one angle on seniors is that they cant afford to stay in their homes due to unaffordable property taxation.

    Other angle is tax ‘em more. Tax retirement income since they have all the cash.

    Which is it?

  4. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:30 pm:

    Giving more exemptions on property taxes to seniors is a bad idea. We already have retirement income exempted.

    Breen’s Idea sounds like a way to take advantage of a federal tax break. That one I could support. But I normally support school choice.

    How we deal with death is changing. I don’t see excruciating pain as the core problem. Morphine still works wonders. My personal fear is the loss of cognition. When I no longer recognize the people I love, I want to go. That means an advance directive that protects those who end my life. Put that in a bill.

  5. - Uncle Ernie - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    When you start talking about end of life issues, the conversations becomes a slippery slope. I believe that the practice of demanding doctors try their very best to save and prolong a life is best. People should not start playing God, it would become too easy to get rid of those pesky poor seniors that are nearing the end. Hospitals and nursing home accountants would be tempted to just decide Aunt Bertha is too much financial trouble, so lets put her to sleep. Trusted docs have been taking care of this problem with their patients one on one for years and years. Lets keep government out of this one…

  6. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:21 pm:

    Well if enough people opted to terminate life it might help with unfunded pensions

  7. - illinifan - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    Uncle Ernie it is not a simple process in the states that do this, so no it is not “I am tired of grandma” decision. It takes months with medical reviews, data and psychological assessment before the options is granted. All the government does is free the medical establishment and family of legal jeopardy once the patient decides this is what they want.

  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    “The ability to say, when suffering has truly gotten intolerable, that I don’t want to go through these final agonies. I am approaching death anyway. That should be a human right.” Mentally ill people also face pain that is intolerable, & don’t want to continue their agonies. There are not enough metal health facilities to help those poor people.

    Stop making it illegal for anyone to end their lives.

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 4:04 pm:

    ==Let’s jack up everyone else’s taxes to give one group of people a break.==

    Since that one group of people votes in large numbers, I suppose it makes political sense to cut them a break.

    If college students decided to vote, universities would be fully funded and tuition would drop like a rock. Too bad the 18-25 year olds haven’t figured that out.

  10. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 4:19 pm:

    ==People should not start playing God==

    For Ernie (and anyone who comes down on the anti-personal choice side) I have three letters for you. ALS

  11. - forwhatitsworth - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 5:58 pm:

    === DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:21 pm:

    Well if enough people opted to terminate life it might help with unfunded pensions =====

    I never realized there were sick people like this commenting on this blog.

  12. - Mama - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 6:34 pm:

    I also have 3 letters for people who are against Right to die. Alz

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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