70 mph speed limit map leaves Chicago a slow zone

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, who sponsored law lifting maximum, vows to push for upward adjustment
by Ted Gregory | Chicago Tribune

Nearly 90 percent of interstate highway miles in Illinois will have 70-mph speed limits starting Wednesday, state transportation officials announced Friday, but the sponsor of the law raising the limits is upset almost all existing posted speeds in the Chicago area will remain unchanged and he vowed to push for them to be higher.

Drivers on almost 1,900 of the state’s nearly 2,170 miles of interstate will be able to travel at 70 mph instead of the existing speed limits, generally 65 along rural highways, after crews post the new speed limit signs — weather permitting — Jan. 2-17, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

But only about 30 percent of the Illinois Tollway’s 286-mile network will get the higher speed limit, according to a map released by IDOT. And in the Chicago area, the 70-mph limit will be posted only on five fairly short stretches of interstate. Those are sections of I-80 and I-55 in Will County, a stretch of I-57 in far southern Cook County and all of Will County, a portion of the I-88 toll road in far western Kane County and part of the I-94 tollway in northern Lake County.

“It’s unacceptable,” said State. Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, who sponsored the bill that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in August. Oberweis said he was upset that IDOT, which had the authority to draw up the speed limit map, left unchanged the 55-mph speed limit across virtually all of the Chicago region. “They’re putting law-abiding citizens into danger.”

“It’s quite clear” that 85 percent of vehicles are traveling at 70 mph or faster on almost all expressways, Oberweis said, and that the variation between the 55-mph legal limit and 70-mph higher speed is a significant factor in crashes. Oberweis, who is running for U.S. Senate, owns a family dairy company that runs trucks on the highways.

Illinois has the 2nd highest residential property taxes in the nation!

il-property-taxes
by Brian Costin | Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois’ property tax rates have skyrocketed since 2010, according to new analysis done by the Tax Policy Center. The survey examined the 23 Illinois counties with populations exceeding 65,000.

The average property tax rates as a percent of home value has soared from 1.93 percent in 2010 to 2.28 percent in 2012. This represents an 18 percent property tax rate increase in just two years. This rate spike is due to declining home values and local taxing bodies increasing property tax levies.

Illinois’ property tax rate is second only to the rate New Jersey residents pay, which is 2.32 percent annually.

A tax rate of 2.28 percent is equivalent to paying $6,840 in annual property taxes on a $300,000 home. According to the Tax Policy Center, the average Illinoisan had an annual property tax bill of $4,469 in 2012.

This is in stark contrast to the rest of the country. The Tax Policy Center concluded “… the bulk of counties levy property taxes that are around $1,000 per homeowner and below 1 percent of house value.

”Illinois’ high property tax trend has been going on for some time. For the five-year period of 2007-2011, Illinois stands out as one of a few states that saw a majority of its counties asking citizens to pay a property tax rate of more than 1.5 percent.

Elgin, IL rebuked again in Federal Court concerning anti-Ultrasound case

Elgin’s motion to halt TLC lawsuit denied
Dec. 13, 2013

(Elgin, Ill.) Today judges Kenneth F. Ripple, Ann Claire Williams, and Diane S. Sykes for the U. S. Court of Appeals rejected Elgin’s motion to halt the lawsuit against it from TLC Pregnancy Services. Elgin’s motion was filed on Oct. 4.

This order follows several prior rulings. In March 2013, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan ordered Elgin temporarily to stop interrupting TLC Pregnancy Services from providing free services to expectant mothers. The injunction against Elgin was entered as permanent on Aug. 8. On Sept. 25, Judge Der-Yeghiayan then rejected Elgin’s motion to stop proceeding while the city appealed.

“Actually since December 2012, TLC Pregnancy has implored Elgin to allow their not-for-profit organization to provide free ultrasound services from their mobile unit, for the benefit of women and children,” said TLC attorney John Mauck. “Today’s ruling constitutes the fourth time federal judges have ruled against Elgin in this litigation.”

Hayek vs. Keynes: Steer The Markets or Set Them Free

by Adam Bitely

Friedrich August von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes have been the central part of a near century long battle over the role that government should play in the economy. Time and again, the ideas and theories of Keynes and Hayek have been used to argue for and against the involvement that government has in the fiscal policy making process in the United States. Both Hayek and Keynes have played pivotal roles in the development of American economic policy.

Only one of these two men, though, has been heeded as knowledgeable in the halls of government power. And that man is Keynes. As time has shown, the theory of the role that government should play in the marketplace from Hayek has been long overlooked and only used as a tool from central planners to demean bad economic outcomes from the Keynesian economic policies that have been put in place.

Beginning in the Great Depression era, policy makers in Washington latched on to Keynes’ new theories of stimulating the economy through high levels of government spending. The government should increase public works projects and stimulus spending, as Keynes theorized, that would increase the nation’s aggregate demand (AD), meaning an increase of the total demand for final goods and services. Followers of Keynes, known as Keynesians, believed that if they could pump out enough money through government run projects and programs, people who received the benefits of these projects would spend the money and the economy would come roaring back to life.

As time would tell, this theory was incorrect. The Great Depression continued on as project after project and program after program failed to yield the results that Keynesians had hoped for. Even when faced with the data that proved the Keynesian theory incorrect, the policy makers argued that spending was just not high enough.
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Illinois Union Boss Collects $158,000 Per Year Government Pension for One Day’s Work

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If you need evidence on how corrupt self-serving unions and union officials can be, then please consider Ex-labor chief’s 1-day rehire nets $158,000 city pension

A retired Chicago labor leader secured a $158,000 public pension — roughly five times greater than what a typical retired public-service worker in the Windy City receives — after being rehired for just one day of active duty on the city payroll, local news reports said.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Dennis Gannon stands to collect approximately $5 million in city pension funds during his lifetime. He now draws the pension while working for a hedge fund, the Tribune reported.

Gannon, former president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, was able to take a long leave from a city job to work for a union and then receive a city pension based on a high union salary. That arrangement is allowed under a state law signed by Gov. Jim Thompson on his last day in office in 1991, according to an investigation by the Tribune and WGN-TV.

The change has enabled a couple dozen labor leaders to become potential millionaires.

What is different in Gannon’s case is that he became eligible for the especially lucrative pension deal only because the city rehired the former Streets and Sanitation Department worker for one day in 1994, before granting him an indefinite leave of absence, according to the investigation. He retired from the city job in 2004 at age 50.

Gannon’s pension is so high that it exceeds federal limits and required Chicago’s pension fund to file special paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service to give it to him, the Tribune reported.

Who’s Really To Blame For Illinois’ Pension Mess?

Published by Illinois Review November 27, 2013

By Allen Skillicorn

Let’s go back to May 2005. Rod Blagojevich wasn’t in a Colorado prison cell, he was still in his first term as Illinois’ Governor. 2005 was the top of the housing boom, so the economy was humming along and tax revenue was flowing in. The unemployment rate was 5.9%, not as good as the national average at that time, but significantly better than today’s 9.2% rate.

We keep hearing IL’s public sector unions blame the legislature for missing pension payments. While I agree that the State shares responsibility in the underfunding and promising over-generous benefits, that’s not the entire picture.

Illinois has a May 31st deadline to pass fiscal bills, so they can be enacted January 1st of the next year. Governor Blagojevich, Speaker Madigan, and Senate President Jones had a plan to spend the annual pension payment on more social programs instead of investing the payment in the pension system. Today we call it a “pension holiday.” The plan also included pension sweeteners and the infamous government-pensions-for-union-bosses scheme. It was passed by Democratic Party members in both the House and Senate on May 31st, 2005. Details can be found in Senate Bill 27.

Today if you listen to the public sector unions, they blame the state for this pension holiday. Unfortunately the truth is that the unions were aware of the pension holiday and fully supported the pension holiday. Let’s look at the actually witness slips filed by four of the biggest public sector unions in Illinois.

East Dundee Check Register

“When government accepts responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsibility for themselves.” – George Pataki

East Dundee check register for $301,077.68 on November 4th.

East-Dundee-check-register-11042013-$301077

East Dundee check register for $301,077.68 on November 18th.

East-Dundee-check-register-11182013-$725586

East Dundee check register for $618,951.95 on December 2nd.

December 2 2013 East Dundee check register 618951