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Afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* ILGOP with a totally expected reaction…

Fresh off voting to give themselves massive pay raises, Illinois Democrats are at it again. This time, they’re talking about reviving JB Pritzker’s failed 2020 tax referendum that would raise taxes on middle-class families and businesses which was resoundingly defeated 55-45% by the voters.

From Crain’s Chicago Business yesterday afternoon, “asserting that the second time could be the charm, a veteran Illinois lawmaker is preparing a new effort to get the state to enact a graduated income tax. In a phone interview, Sen. Rob Martwick, who represents portions of Chicago’s Northwest Side and adjacent suburbs, said he still believes the state, and particularly middle-class families, need the income and lower property taxes, respectively, that a graduated income tax would bring, even though voters in 2020 rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to do that by about a 10-point margin.”

“First they voted to give themselves self-congratulatory pay raises, now Illinois Democrats are talking about reviving Governor Pritzker’s rejected tax referendum to help pay for them,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy. “If the past week is any indication, we’re in for two years of massively out-of-touch overreach by Illinois Democrats, that sadly Illinois voters will be asked to foot the bill for. I don’t recall a single Democrat campaigning on these issues last fall.”

Like I said, totally expected. You knew it was coming. Part of the “conversation.”

From the Crain’s article

Martwick said he has not yet decided whether the new graduated tax should be revenue neutral, cutting taxes at the bottom of the scale as much as it raises them at the top, or instead boost the state’s income in dealing with continuing massive debt in the state’s pension funds, which are short more than $130 billion of what’s needed to pay promised benefits.

Either way, the proposal must guarantee property tax relief in the way the “fair tax” didn’t, Martwick said. “When you look at people leaving the state, the vast majority are middle-class people,” with high taxes on their homes a prime reason. To be successful, a new graduated income tax plan must provide property tax relief and deal with the pension problem, he said.

* Politico

A new poll shows Garcia leading with 28 percent of the vote to Lightfoot’s 21 percent

The poll is not new. It’s more than a month old. You can find it here if you want, but Chicago reporters are really getting sloppy with this topic. Old polls, non-polls, blatant partisan push-polls, even non-surveys have all been hyped as the real deal. It’s the Wild West in that town.

* Press release…

Today, victims of crypto fraud stood by Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) as he introduced a resolution for the Illinois Attorney General to investigate a multi-state crypto Ponzi scheme that has targeted Latinos throughout Illinois and should be included as part of a broader federal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ald. Sigcho-Lopez has received more than 200 complaints from community members who were contacted by an alleged crypto investment LLC with promises of quick and substantial returns on their investment. Many have become victims of these crypto scammers and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of their personal savings.

“The same type of scam perpetrated by Sam Bankman-Fried at FTX is happening right here in our neighborhoods with crypto scammers targeting people in our communities by posing as real investment firms and taking the life savings of hard working families,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “It is my obligation to stand up for the victims and protect others in our community from being taken advantage of by these con artists that use the allure of cryptocurrencies to cheat people out of their money.”

CryptoFX, LLC operates a Ponzi scheme that has been under investigation by the SEC, which placed a temporary restraining order that halted their offerings. When that order ended, however, the scheme continued and Latinos throughout Illinois have been contacted by CryptoFX’s satellite offices to invest with them.

“Through this resolution I hope to bring justice to the families that have been impacted by this crypto fraud, put an end to the practices of CryptoFX, LLC in Illinois, hold the founders of this scam responsible for their crimes, and prevent any future exploitation by crypto scammers,” Sigcho-Lopez said.

Victims of CryptoFX, LLC have been contacted by the company via Whatsapp with invitations to seminars and workshops that teach financial literacy. Many victims have been invited to join by family members and friends.

…Adding… Bill action…

Today, Governor JB Pritzker took the following bill action:

Bill Number: HB 0240
Description: Healthcare omnibus that makes several changes to statute including around nursing homes, ambulance payments, hospitals, podiatrists, and mental health.
Action: Signed
Effective: Immediately

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Chalkbeat | Illinois superintendent proposes $516 million education budget increase; advocates want more: State Superintendent Carmen Ayala is proposing a $516 million, or 5.3%, increase to the state’s education budget next year, a request that education advocates say falls short of what Illinois school districts need. Ayala’s budget proposal calls for a $350 million boost for K-12 schools, or about 4%, plus a $60 million increase to early childhood education. The rest of the requested increase relates to transportation, special education, and free meals.

    * Forbes | The Average Rent In Chicago Reaches Its Highest Point Ever: According to Zillow’s data, the estimated average rent in Chicago is $1,925, as of November 2022 (the most recent rental data available at the time of writing). While that figure is certainly cheaper than the average rent in America’s largest city — New York City, with an average rent of $3,353 for that same month — as well as cheaper than the nation’s second largest city — Los Angeles, with an average rent of $2,915 — Chicago’s average rent is comparatively expensive for the Midwest region of the U.S.

    * WILL | Rockford lawsuit reignites debate over student resource officers: There’s an ongoing conversation about the role that police officers or student resources officers should play in school settings. A Rockford 14-year-old and his family are suing the Rockford Public Schools, claiming that one such officer at the school used unreasonable and lethal force against the teen and that the school attempted to cover the incident up. Security camera footage shows the officer bodyslamming the student, slamming his head into the ground, which knocked the boy unconscious and fractured his skull. Why? The 14-year-old had skipped part of one class and was walking down the hall.

    * NBC Chicago | Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Undercount of Counties at ‘High’ COVID Alert, XBB.1.5 Grows: Illinois now has two additional counties reporting what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to as having a “high” community spread of COVID after a data delay led to an undercount last week, the state’s health department said in a press release Tuesday. Last week, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported only three counties in the state — Hancock in Western Illinois, along with Marion and Washington in Southern Illinois — had fallen into the CDC’s “high” category. However, on Tuesday, the state’s health department sent out an update, saying it had undercounted.

    * Tribune | Illinois comes in No. 2 on the annual green buildings list, ahead of New York and California: Illinois was the No. 2 state for green building in 2022, second only to Massachusetts, according to an annual ranking released Tuesday by the U.S. Green Building Council. The state was No. 1 in 2021, and has ranked in the top 10 every year since the rankings began in 2010. Illinois is the only state to have topped the list five times, according to U.S. Green Building Council managing director of U.S. market transformation and development Rhiannon Jacobsen.

    * Newsweek | Democratic Governor Takes Aim at Kyrsten Sinema While on Stage With Her: When asked for clarification on the meaning of Pritzker’s remarks about “reluctant members of his own party,” Jordan Abudayyeh, the governor’s deputy chief of staff for communications, told Newsweek, “I think the Governor’s words were pretty clear here and I’ll let them speak for [themselves].

    * Tribune | Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign spending outpacing how much she’s raising: Lightfoot began the quarter with $2.9 million in the bank and raised a little less than $1.5 million, according to newly filed campaign disclosure records. But the reelection-seeking mayor spent roughly $3 million from October through December, leaving her with about $1.4 million before the Feb. 28 mayoral election where she faces eight opponents.

    * Patch | Ease Public Records Burden: Elmhurst Officials: The group wants the state to extend the response period for non-commercial public records requests. Now, it is five business days, allowing reasons for extensions. The conference does not say what it would like the period to be.

    * WSIU | Behind your speedy Amazon delivery are serious hazards for workers, government finds: As part of a larger investigation into hazardous working conditions, the Occupational Safety and and Health Administration announced on Wednesday it has cited Amazon for failing to keep workers safe at warehouses in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York. “While Amazon has developed impressive systems to make sure its customers’ orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, the company has failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and wellbeing of its workers,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker.

    * Tribune | Alderman blocks Norfolk Southern’s Englewood rail yard expansion with delay on land vote: ‘It’s just been a disrespect to me and the community’: Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th, and allies used a parliamentary tactic to defer the legislation that would allow the railroad to acquire the streets and alleys it doesn’t already own between two existing sets of tracks from Garfield Boulevard south to 59th Street.

    * WGN | ‘Nothing happened,’ Ald. Derrick Curtis says of shooting that left daughter wounded: Less than two weeks after his adult daughter was shot during one of his gun safety classes, 18th Ward Ald. Derrick Curtis insisted that “nothing happened” and “she’s fine.” […] Asked if he was in touch with the Illinois State Police regarding his certification to teach concealed carry classes, Curtis said, “Absolutely. I’m good.”

    * Sun-Times | Woman pleads guilty to stealing from HIV services agency, Planned Parenthood: Andrea Peoples, 43, was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Michael Clancy after she pleaded guilty to felony counts of theft. But after receiving credit for nearly two years while on bond in the cases, Peoples will be released on parole, court records show. Peoples was first charged in January 2020 after a routine audit by Planned Parenthood found that she stole more than $100,000 from the organization’s operating budget between July 2015 and April 2017.

    * CBS Chicago | Illinois ranks near bottom of states in use of ‘red flag’ gun laws: In a recent Johns Hopkins University study on policies to reduce gun violence in Illinois, their number one recommendation was to improve firearm restraining order implementation. Here is part of why that is – in 2020 and 2021, Florida had 4,895 cases where petitions were filed to remove guns. In Illinois over the same period, the number was 105.

    * Block Club | Queer Sober Social Offers LGBTQ+ Chicagoans A Chance To Build Community Without Booze : Queer Sober Social, founded in 2020, organizes monthly meetups and bi-weekly video calls and maintains an active online community. Hundreds of LGBTQ+, sober adults have connected with each other through the group, leader Carly Novoselsky said.

    * Intelligencer | Extremely Hardcore Twitter’s staff spent years trying to protect the platform against impulsive ranting billionaires — then one made himself the CEO.: The days surrounding the acquisition passed in a blur of ominous, unlikely scenes. Musk posing as the world’s richest prop comic, announcing his takeover by lugging a kitchen sink into the office: “Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!” (181.2K retweets, 43.6K quote tweets, 1.3M likes.) A fleet of Teslas in the parking lot. Musk’s intimidating security detail standing outside his glass conference room as if guarding the leader of a developing nation. Musk’s 2-year-old son, X Æ A-Xii, toddling around the second floor, occasionally crying.

    * Reuters | Tesla video promoting self-driving was staged, engineer testifies: A 2016 video that Tesla (TSLA.O) used to promote its self-driving technology was staged to show capabilities like stopping at a red light and accelerating at a green light that the system did not have, according to testimony by a senior engineer. The video, which remains archived on Tesla’s website, was released in October 2016 and promoted on Twitter by Chief Executive Elon Musk as evidence that “Tesla drives itself.”

    * WSIL | Mt. Vernon ELKS to donate $6,000 to VA clinic: Mt. Vernon Elks #819 members will meet with Marion VA Health Care System Executive Director Zach Sage to present a donation of $6,000. The donation will be for the veterans treated by the Mt. Vernon VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

    * Press release | Secretary Blinken’s Travel to Chicago, Illinois: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Chicago, Illinois, January 19-20 to participate in a moderated conversation at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, where he will help mark the Institute’s 10-year anniversary. While in Chicago, Secretary Blinken will also meet with leaders from the Ukrainian diaspora community, as well as with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation. Additionally, the Secretary will visit Ukrainian Village, and participate in a roundtable discussion centered around local engagement in support of Ukraine. Secretary Blinken will also visit the Chicago Passport Agency and meet with Department of State employees.

       

8 Comments »
  1. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 3:32 pm:

    “concealed carry class that Curtis was giving at a church in his Southwest Side ward…At one point during the class, someone handed Curtis’ daughter a loaded Glock 19 pistol and the weapon discharged.”

    There is absolutely no reason for a loaded weapon at a firearm safety class held in a church. Snap caps or fake orange plastic bullets should be used in those situations to help students simulate loading a weapon. Even when classes are held at a range, a certified instructor is careful to make sure that first-time students handle a loaded weapon only when they are in a shooting bay with the weapon pointed downrange.


  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 4:16 pm:

    ===It’s the Wild West in that town.===

    It’s true. The Mayor has her problems, but it doesn’t justify presenting speculation and very fuzzy numbers as fact.


  3. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 5:09 pm:

    “…and the weapon discharged.”

    That danged weapon…just deciding to discharge…like that?


  4. - Graduated tax - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 6:17 pm:

    Don Harmon’s reaction - “anyone can file a bill” - to Martwick’s desire to revisit the graduated tax wasn’t much nicer than the GOP’s. I’m a proponent of not going back to voters on this. Raise the flat tax for all and couple it with credits that mean people at the bottom won’t pay a penny more while the people who are wealthier and do not get the credits will.


  5. - Chicago polls - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 6:20 pm:

    What’s the worst about those old or fake polls in the Chicago mayor’s race is that they become self fulfilling prophecies. The poll isn’t accurate but you see the candidate you like in 5th place and say; they can’t win, so you decide to go with someone in the too 2-3 who you like less. Also granted there were like 19 candidates last time but Lightfoot surged only in the last 2 weeks, so there is still time for someone to catch fire; I don’t sense voters are in love with anyone - they are perhaps just in like.


  6. - Early voter - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 6:40 pm:

    A victory for Chuy Garcia in the mayor’s race or an embarrassing defeat could open the path for Marie Newman to return to Congress. She lives in the New 4th.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 6:46 pm:

    ===or an embarrassing defeat===

    Garcia losing will not give a path to Newman to defeat Chuy

    That’s how Newman got in trouble, thinking she was “all that”

    Newman was an freshman that didn’t like that as a freshman she got the short end of the stick in a remap.

    She’d have better “luck” going after Casten, if we’re measuring.


  8. - 13th - Wednesday, Jan 18, 23 @ 9:34 pm:

    what had the GOP doing with there salary increase, not heard a word about them donating to not for profit that only serve Illinois??? Most likely they will just keep it but just bash dems


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