D300 Board Looks At Budget Deficits

By far, the largest portion of our property taxes go to local school districts. D300 represent northeastern Kane and southeastern McHenry county’s.

District CFO Susan Harkin told the Board it will have to amend the budget it passed in September to reflect “a slight deficit for the operating budget” which she estimated at about $700,000.  The original budget showed a $1 million surplus.

Board Member Stanton points out that state mandates tie the board’s hands:

“Eighty seven percent of our funds come from us taxpayers or local funds but one hundred percent of the rules come from the State,” said D300 Board Member Chris Stanton Monday.

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Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund goes five years with no growth

By Jonathan Ingram

The Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, or CTPF, lost money last year.

Although pension trustees predicted the fund would earn $778 million in fiscal year 2012, the fund actually lost more than $38 million. The system posted an investment return of -0.4 percent, far below the 8 percent expected. That brings the five-year average return to exactly 0 percent.

Unfortunately, when investment returns come in under projections it falls on taxpayers to make up the shortfall. The more than $800 million of missing investment income will be added to the unfunded liability, and Chicago taxpayers will be paying more and more money during the next 30 years to make up for the poor returns.

Next year’s employer contribution to the CTPF will nearly triple. The required contribution for fiscal year 2014 will rise to $625 million, up from $219 million required in fiscal year 2013.

Rescinding Jones Act First Step to Lowering Gas Prices

By Gregg Laskoski

Just how bad have gasoline prices really gotten if folks in Los Angeles ($4.37 per gallon) and Chicago ($4.07 per gallon) look at New York City as a relative bargain ($4.01 per gallon)? Isn’t it the East Coast that has the biggest refinery problems, lost capacity, and over-reliance on Brent crude?

And the ides of March is still ahead of us. With steadfast consistency we continue to see the average price of gasoline nationwide climb steadily as the world awaits what might happen in the Middle East.

Will Iran be the aggressor? Will Israel launch a first strike? Should Israel believe inertia is in its own best interest? Will President Obama commit U.S. troops to Israel’s defense? As early indicators of answers to any of these questions develop, global crude oil prices move accordingly. American consumers lose patience, not only with the price at the pump, but with anyone who might be in a position to do something about it.

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Two of Illinois’ five pension systems lost money in 2012

Jonathan Ingram

Not a single one of the state’s five public pension systems earned more than 1 percent returns on their investments last year. In fact, two of the five funds actually lost money.

Although pension trustees predicted Illinois’ five pension funds would earn more than $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2012, the funds actually earned less than $239 million. The systems posted a combined investment return of just 0.38 percent, far below the combined 8.18 percent expected.

2012 pension investment returns. Why is the government in the pension business?

2012 pension investment returns. Why is the government in the pension business?

Economics 101 for Illinois Lawmakers

By Rich Egger

Illinois legislators this year could be asked to vote on everything from changes to how the state taxes corporations to raising the minimum wage.  But Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said before they make decisions on issues that affect the economy, they should learn more about it.

Syverson is proposing lawmakers take an economics course every two years.

He thinks many legislators who have tried to do a good job are shocked by what he called the “horrendous results” of their decisions.

“And it’s because I think those decisions are made on how that legislation affects one particular group in that one particular period of time,” Syverson said

Rep. David McSweeney Pushes Property Tax Freeze

CARY – State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) has filed House Bill 95 as chief sponsor; a measure that would freeze property tax levies for a three-year period.

“For years now, so many of us continue to see the market value of our home decline while our property taxes go up,” said McSweeney. “We need meaningful property tax relief because hard-working families are struggling.”

Under current law, property tax extensions in non-home rule counties are effectively capped by the rise in the Consumer Price index.  House Bill 95 would reset the formula to ensure a 0% property tax levy increase.

“I will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure this common sense bill gets passed on behalf of the taxpayers,” added McSweeney.

Left Right and You with Chairman Chris Lauzen

What a great show! Chairman and former Senator Chris Lauzen joined us for the first half hour. Elgin City Council candidates Toby Shaw and John Prigge joined us for the second half. download the mp3 here or use RSS to subscribe and automatically get them every week!

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