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Afternoon roundup

Friday, Oct 20, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’ve been telling subscribers about this. Nursing homes put a property tax break into an omnibus bill, the governor vetoed the provision and they’re now trying to override him during the veto session

A trade group representing nursing-home operators says, with costs rising fast, the industry deserves the tax break. In an apparent effort to underline its point, the Health Care Council of Illinois PAC has donated to the political war chests of dozens of state lawmakers since mid-summer, with $100,000 going to a fund operated by Illinois Senate President Don Harmon.

Pritzker and allies counter that the tax shift is not warranted, especially since the nursing home industry won an estimated $700 million in higher state Medicaid payments last year. Pritzker’s amendatory veto means lawmakers will have to consider the matter again, with a simple majority of both houses needed to concur and a 60% margin needed to override him. […]

The bill would grant the relief by cutting the tax rate on nursing homes from 25% of their market value (today’s standard for all commercial property in Cook County) to the 10% figure used for single-family residences. The fact sheet asserts the impact on taxing bodies and other taxpayers would be minimal.

But Pritzker in his veto message disagreed, saying he has been hearing from worried municipal officials, especially in the south end of Cook County, where many businesses long have departed and nursing homes comprise a disproportionate share of the property-tax base.

The nursing home owners are telling members that southern Cook County is where they’re being hit the hardest. That area has horribly high property taxes because so many businesses have left. If the nursing homes do receive their tax cut, everyone else’s taxes will have to go up and more businesses could leave. If they don’t receive the cut, some nursing homes may close.

That region needs a Marshall Plan.

* Cook County State’s Attorney…

One month into the implementation of the groundbreaking Pretrial Fairness Act (PFA), the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) takes a moment to reflect on the progress and challenges of this transformative legislation. As the pioneering state to eliminate cash bail for pretrial release, Illinois is leading the charge in championing a more just and equitable criminal justice system.

Key Updates from the First Month:

    • A total of 649 detention hearings were requested, with detention being granted in 60% of the cases.
    • Only in two cases was the detention request withdrawn.
    • Domestic battery cases emerged prominently, with 216 detention hearings requested. Given that domestic battery is often classified as a misdemeanor, its detention grant rate stood at only 39%.
    • Unlawful Use of a Weapon followed, with 105 detention hearings requested and a 64% grant rate.
    • Cases involving Murder, Vehicular Hijacking, and Attempted Murder boasted the highest rates of detention requests granted at 93%, 94%, and 89% respectively.

Impact on Jail Populations:

    • There has been a notable 12% reduction in the overall jail population, dwindling from 5,531 a year ago to the current 4,846.
    • The count of those accused of non-violent crimes has reduced by 21%, shifting from 2,029 to 1,610.

These dwindling jail population figures, especially concerning non-violent crime, underscore the PFA’s targeted positive effects. The act aims to reduce people in jail for non-violent crimes by ensuring financial disparities do not dictate one’s ability to return to their life while awaiting trial.


Law enforcement officials made well over a quarter million arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2022, according to data compiled by the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.

According to the online database, which was updated on Monday with data for the year 2022, police made at least 227,108 arrests for marijuana violations last year. Of those, 92 percent were for possession only. This total is a slight uptick from 2021, when the FBI reported a total of 219,489 marijuana arrests.

However, these totals are underestimates because a significant percentage of law enforcement agencies still fail to report their data to the FBI. For the year 2022, 83 percent of agencies — representing 75 percent of the total US population — reported their data, up from only 63 percent of agencies in 2021. Therefore, it is unclear whether the year-to-year uptick in reported marijuana possession arrests is due to changes in police tactics or due to more agencies reporting, or both. (Adding to this confusion, in some instances, the raw data provided by the agency in its downloaded zip files is inconsistent with the data published elsewhere on the website.)

The FBI reports that 4,633 cannabis arrests were made in Illinois during 2022. Next door in Indiana, the number was 7,236, even though it’s about half our population. 8,863 cannabis arrests were made in Missouri that year, and Missouri is even smaller than Indiana. In case you’re wondering, the Chicago Police Department reported just 4 cannabis arrests in 2022, according to the FBI. Not sure what to make of that.

* On to mental health funding

The Will County Board Thursday approved a $10 million tax levy to fund mental health services after voters approved creating a Community Mental Health Board in last November’s election.

County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, a Democrat, cast the tiebreaking vote after 11 Democrats voted in favor of the levy and 11 Republicans opposed it. […]

Last year, nearly 53% of county voters supported the referendum to create the board that will help coordinate services dealing with mental health issues, intellectual and developmental disabilities and substance abuse problems. […]

In the referendum, voters allowed the maximum levy that could be assessed as 0.05% per equalized assessed value. The rate approved Thursday was less than that at 0.0362%. […]

“Money is not going to solve this,” [board member Julie Berkowicz, a Republican from Naperville] said. “Raising taxes is not going to solve this. By raising taxes, we are creating more people who are struggling.”

Every time there’s a mass shooting, people demand more focus on mental health, which in the real world requires more funding. The people of Will County voted for more funding, but then half the board decided it was too much, even though the rate is lower than what was approved, and at least one opponent claimed more money won’t solve anything. *Hard sigh*

* Nothing posted by Rep. Miller (R-No Relation) since the GOP caucus withdrew Jordan’s nomination after he went down in flames on the floor for the third straight time…

From within the GOP caucus…

Stuff like this certainly didn’t help…

* Good news…

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, a member of both the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, celebrated the release of two Illinois hostages, Natalie and Judith Raanan, who were taken by Hamas terrorists during their coordinated and inhumane attacks in Israel last weekend and who have been held in Gaza since while calling for the release of and access to immediate medical care for those still in captivity:

“The release of two Illinoisans, Judith and Natalie Raanan, who’ve been held hostage by Hamas since last weekend’s awful terrorist attacks in Israel is an undeniable relief—not only for those of us who’ve been working for their release but for their family, friends and all their loved ones who can breathe a little easier today.

“This is—and should be—a day of celebration for them, but I know there are still so many families going through the unimaginable anguish of worrying about the fate of their loved ones still being held hostage and my heart goes out to them today too.

“I, along with our entire government, remain hard at work doing everything I can to ensure the Americans—and anyone—still in Hamas captivity can return home safely. Hamas owes these families the swift release of all hostages, and they must immediately allow life-saving medical care to reach those still in their custody as we work to secure their safe release.”

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - NIU Grad - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    “That region needs a Marshall Plan.”

    Many of these municipalities or townships might end up needing the state or courts stepping in with emergency managers if they keep spiraling financially (I don’t know what the rules are in Illinois about this). The local leadership in this region is way too embedded politically and self-serving to make the hard decisions.

  2. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 2:55 pm:

    ===…close Jordan ally WARREN DAVIDSON said it’s not Team Jordan’s fault that holdouts are getting death threats. They are getting the death threats, he said, because they voted against Jordan.===

    Isn’t that the exact same logic domestic abusers use to justify their abusive behavior?

  3. - VK - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 3:06 pm:

    “…it’s not Team Jordan’s fault that holdouts are getting death threats. They are getting the death threats, he said, because they voted against Jordan.”

    What an absolutely wild thought to express out loud where other people could hear.

  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 3:17 pm:

    –“Money is not going to solve this,” [board member Julie Berkowicz, a Republican from Naperville] said.–

    Perfect example of black and white thinking on display. It either fixes everything immediately, or it’s useless.

    This will still do measurably more than Julie’s preferred response of thoughts and prayers.

  5. - DuPage - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    Nursing homes are needed as the population of the elderly increases. Nursing homes don’t add students to school districts, so maybe some tax breaks would be appropriate.

  6. - Interim Retiree - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 3:49 pm:

    Many Nursing homes are owned by large chains that have BILLIONS in revenue (top 7 companies) and for-profit. If given tax breaks, they absolutely should maintain the highest standards w/appropriate numbers of staff, quality meals, etc.

  7. - Roman - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 3:55 pm:

    == The local leadership in this region is way too embedded politically and self-serving to make the hard decisions. ==

    It’s not that simple. Most of those municipalities were bedroom communities set up to support the heavy industry that dominated the region until it all started closing down in the 1980’s. That’s created a property value/property tax death spiral.

  8. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 3:55 pm:

    “That region needs a Marshall Plan.”

    With all dues seriousness & respect, that’s putting it mildly. Friend worked on a public health grant 20+ years ago, found out there were residences in South Suburban Cook County with destroyed concrete slab floors, and in some places people were on dirt floors.

  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 4:07 pm:

    –It’s not that simple.–

    It’s partially that simple though.

    I’m no fan of some of my local agencies, but some of these places put them to shame with their over-the-top power structures. If I recall correctly, there is a township supervisor in that area getting a salary well over 200k/yr. Even calling it part-time work is being generous.

    The township supervisor in my township, makes 29k/yr.

    At the minimum, there would be benefit from codifying a minimal supervisor salary in state law, say 30k/yr)with any increases above that to go to the township voters(not the board) during an election.

    There’s a lot to do before we even touch the complicated issues you’ve mentioned. At that point, they may not seem as such large issues once the easy stuff is done.

  10. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 4:10 pm:

    Illinois needs to redo the entire real estate taxes things. I am not trying to be snarky but whatever happened to the task force on property taxes? Did it just fade away. The Democrats are in complete control maybe they could devise a plan. But I also wish for lottery numbers and don’t get that either

  11. - Earnest - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 4:10 pm:

    It’s a great feel-good story to end the week on, seeing the tax levy approved after Will County voters chose to be taxed to fund their mental health (708) board. I couldn’t dig up the number on google, but voters in almost every county in Illinois have approved one over the past few decades and all have been able to address local service gaps and needs in both similar and unique ways. I looked up the board in my county and they fund some long-term programs as well as some seed money for interesting mental health and criminal justice initiatives. I’d say, more like this please, but I don’t have my own blog. Thanks for posting.

  12. - H-W - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 4:27 pm:

    No tax break for nursing homes if they are for profit. It is they who (as private corps.) have chosen to assume risks in exchange for profit. If they want to avoid taxes, they must be willing to forego unregulated profits.

  13. - Henry Francis - Friday, Oct 20, 23 @ 4:29 pm:

    The number of cannabis arrests are ridiculous. Would be interested to see the racial breakdown of those arrested.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Feds to provide more migrant funding... Just $19.3 million for Illinois
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Bill to expand IVF/infertility insurance coverage overwhelmingly passes Senate
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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