Archive for the ‘Commodius Maximus’ Category


By Kevin Bessler The Center Square

Opposition is building against a proposed Chinese battery plant for Manteno in Kankakee County.

Gotion Incorporated, with reported ties to the Chinese Communist Party, is set to receive more than $7 billion in federal tax credits, and over $500 million in subsidies from Illinois.

During a news conference Monday in Manteno, State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, said the tax incentives don’t add up.

“The total subsidies for the plant calculate to an astounding $3 million for each job created,” Halbrook said. “Why are U.S. taxpayers providing $8 billion in economic incentives for the construction of a plant that costs $2 billion to build?”

The plant will produce battery cells and battery packs designed to be used in electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage systems.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has called the agreement “the most significant new manufacturing investment in Illinois in decades.”

Many Manteno residents were highly critical of the Gotion plant during the village’s last board meeting, as residents were with a similar Gotion project in Michigan.

Former Congressman and U.S. Ambassador Pete Hoekstra chaired the House Intelligence Committee. He is also involved with the opposition to the Michigan plant.

“History lesson number one, China is our enemy, they are not a competitor,” Hoekstra said. “They seek to destroy us and our communities.”

More here.

Related: “Group intends Gotion lawsuit,” “Emerging scandal: Why are we giving $8 billion to Chinese company with CCP ties to build a $2 billion IL battery factory?,” Federal taxpayers will fund billions more than actual cost of Illinois battery plant to be owned by Chinese company with alleged CCP ties,” “Hefty Illinois tax incentive package helps lure Chinese EV battery plant

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A horse on Lori Brock’s farm jumps in the air while wearing a shirt that says ‘I say neigh to Gotion.’ Photo: Lori Brock | Contributed photo

A Michigan nonprofit organization intends to sue a Chinese company that is planning to build a battery plant in Illinois.

The Mecosta Environmental and Security Alliance is hoping to stop the construction of a proposed electric vehicle battery plant by Gotion, Incorporated near Big Rapids, Michigan. With the help of millions of dollars in state and federal tax credits, Gotion plans to build a similar plant in Manteno, Illinois.

Related:Emerging scandal: Why are we giving $8 billion to Chinese company with CCP ties to build a $2 billion IL battery factory?,” Federal taxpayers will fund billions more than actual cost of Illinois battery plant to be owned by Chinese company with alleged CCP ties,” “Hefty Illinois tax incentive package helps lure Chinese EV battery plant

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IL Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Gotion High-Tech Chairman Li Zhen at the Sept. 8 announcement of The Illinois – Gotion deal

Some politicians are taking notice of the absurdity of subsidizing a Chinese technology company, Gotion. The electric vehicle battery maker is linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and it recently inked a deal with the State of Illinois to build a $2 billion plant in Illinois.

However, the insane size of the subsidies being granted remains to be recognized.

On Wednesday, two members of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, imploring her and Congress to take immediate action to stop the CCP from exploiting U.S. taxpayer dollars.

The letter from committee Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) specifically addressed a very similar Gotion battery production project in Michigan, and the same issues apply to the Illinois project.

The letter documents connections between Gotion and the CCP:

Gotion High-Tech Co. is a PRC company that has direct ties to the CCP and state-owned financial institutions. Gotion has been an active participant in the PRC-based version of the “Thousands Talent Program,” a program the FBI itself says encourages theft of trade secrets and economic espionage. Gotion has established multiple “Communist Party Units” within its operations and has publicly sought PRC provincial government support for its desire to expand its operations overseas. Even when courting major Western investment, Gotion has been adamant about retaining PRC-based control, including requiring that Volkswagen give up part of its voting rights, despite Volkswagen acquiring over 25 percent of the company. [Footnotes omitted.]

“It is perplexing,” says the letter, that the U.S. government would perpetuate China’s domination of key technology “by actively supporting CCP-backed companies expanding their foothold in the U.S. market, especially in a crucial sector such as lithium-ion battery manufacturing.”

Perplexing, indeed.

Read more here.

Related: Federal taxpayers will fund billions more than actual cost of Illinois battery plant to be owned by Chinese company with alleged CCP ties,” “Hefty Illinois tax incentive package helps lure Chinese EV battery plant

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JB China

State of Illinois tax incentives exceeding half a billion dollars are a comparatively small part of taxpayer money that will go to Gotion, Inc. for an electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in Illinois.

Through federal tax credits alone, which so far are going mostly unreported, Gotion will be paid billions more than its construction costs.

In other words, taxpayers will be paying many times over the cost of a new factory they will not own.

It will be owned, instead, by Gotion, and Gotion is widely reported to have close connections to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Here are the details:

Governor JB Pritzker announced the state’s deal with Gotion on Friday for construction of the project in Manteno, southwest of Chicago. The plant is expected to cost $2 billion and employ 2,600 workers. Gotion’s total incentive package from the State of Illinois is valued at $536 million, according to Pritzker’s announcement. In addition, Kankakee County agreed to cap property taxes paid on the approximately 150-acre property at $2 million per year for the next 30 years.

The state incentive package alone, exceeding $206,000 per worker, is exceptionally high in comparison to typical plant-siting location incentives around the nation other than battery factories. “The average incentive deal in the U.S. might be around US$50,000 per job,” although it’s not unusual for highly capital-intensive projects to receive incentives of over US$100,000 per job.” That’s according to senior economist at the WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, quoted in the Financial Times.

However, those subsidies are dwarfed by huge federal tax credits now being lavished on new battery producers under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which devoted $783 billion to global warming and green energy spending. President Biden recently admitted that the act was not about inflation reduction. It has been heavily criticized as climate extremism.

Under that law, owners of new EV battery plants get tax credits based on the production capacity of the plant, and those credits have been massive, often in the billions of dollars per plant.

One group closely researching the subsidies is GJF, Good Jobs First, a worker-oriented policy group in Washington, D.C. Their July report details the credits for recent battery plant announcements.

The tax “credit alone is large enough to cover each facility’s initial capital investment cost and wage bill for the first several years of production,” the group found.

Read much more here.

Related:Illinois lands Chinese EV battery plant as Pritzker, Duckworth seek more deals with Asian companies,” “Hefty Illinois tax incentive package helps lure Chinese EV battery plant

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First lady Jill Biden

An Illinois grassroots nonprofit organization is sounding off on the Biden administration’s economic policies.

First Lady Jill Biden paid a visit to Chicago Wednesday to talk to unions and about “Bidenomics,” a political slogan coined for President Joe Biden’s economic agenda.

“President Biden and I understand the middle class because we are from the middle class,” she said during an appearance at the McCormick Center.

The president and first lady have been crisscrossing the country trying to sell the policies to Americans.

Jason Hefley, Illinois State director for Americans for Prosperity, said with the Biden administration spending more and Illinoisans earning less, the past two years of this administration have been detrimental for Illinois families.

“While they’re patting themselves on the back, they really need to be talking to the hard-working families of Illinois and the country about the real pressures they are facing at the gas station, at the grocery store and buying a home,” said Hefley.

Many apparently are not sold when it comes to the state of the economy or Biden’s performance.

The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that 49% of voters say Biden is not a strong leader compared to 36% who say the opposite. The survey also found that 49% say Biden does not have the judgment to serve effectively, while 40% say he does. The survey also found that a solid majority of 66% of those surveyed say the country is headed in the wrong direction and slightly over half, 54%, disapprove of the job Biden is doing.

In a recent poll by the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, just 36% of Americans approve of the president’s handling of the economy.

Read more here.

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The new report published by Headset found Illinoisans are paying 89% more for the average cannabis item than the rest of the nation. Researchers attribute the high prices to stifled competition.

A new report found Illinois has some of the highest cannabis prices in the country, with the most expensive item prices among states studied.

The study published by Headset found Illinoisans pay 89% more on average for cannabis products than the rest of the U.S. market.

Despite the high prices, researchers said the state captured $950 million in total cannabis sales from January through June of 2023. They noted sales growth has declined rapidly since legalization, with just a 2% increase in demand in the first half of this year compared to the same period a year earlier. They said that was likely to get worse with Missouri legalizing recreational weed.

As of June 2023, Illinois is the third-largest cannabis market in the U.S., trailing only Michigan and California.

While the report found cannabis product prices are slowly falling with time, Headset researchers concluded Illinois’ existing high cannabis prices likely stem from a lack of competition.

Researchers said a small number of brands are operating in the market and there’s a high degree of vertical integration. The report found 68% of total state sales came from just 10 brands. Illinois has few retailers compared to other states, but 55 new retail licenses should improve the market.

Illinoisans pay the second-highest taxes in the nation to buy recreational marijuana, which pushes consumers to other states and unregulated sellers.

Read more here.

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state Rep. Dagmara Avelar

State Rep. Dagmara Avelar

Illinois health-care workers will now be required to undergo one hour of cultural training each year to continue working in their profession. Some say such training is not needed.

House Bill 2450 was sponsored by state Rep. Dagmara Avelar (D – Romeoville) and requires health care workers in the state to receive one hour of racial competency training as part of their continuing education.

State Rep. Bill Hauter, R-Morton, a former medical doctor, told The Center Square that racial competency is something those in the health-care profession take seriously and have for some time.

“We get cultural competency. We understand it. We take it in medical school. We do it in residency. We take classes on it in our continued medical education for our specialty boards,” Hauter said. “So it is not something that we do not understand, and we don’t think it’s important. It is just we do so much of it.”

State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, also pushed back on the requirement and questioned who would be providing the training to the workers.

Read how here.

Editorial note:

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Stantis Flag Ideas

Chicago Tribune editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis’ ideas for a new Illinois flag design. (Scott Stantis/For the Chicago Tribune)

The state is poised to consider designing a new state flag now that the governor has signed legislation to create the Illinois Flag Commission.

With inspiration from a resident, state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, sponsored Senate Bill 1818, which drew bipartisan support. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill this month, and now 21 members are being selected to decide whether to update a simple flag from 1915. Once approved, the public will get to share its vision for a new state flag.

“It’s an opportunity for people to learn more about Illinois and put our best foot forward,” Turner told The Center Square.

As flag fever hits several states in the U.S., Turner said that Utah had a huge response to its flag design initiative with about 7,000 proposals and more than 44,000 public comments.

“That just shows you the type of excitement that an exercise like this can really generate,” she said.

Turner predicts a similar response in Illinois with the opportunity for all ages to reflect on the essence of the state. Today’s flag saw a change in 1970 when the name Illinois was added, but the rest reflects the state seal with an eagle grasping a banner.

“The way I look at it is that the state seal belongs to the state. The flag belongs to the people,” she said.

Rather than share her own views on a design, Turner prefers to see what residents are thinking.

“I’m looking at this with a very, very, very open mind, and I’m excited to see what comes through,” she said.

Read more here.

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Rep. Katie Stuart on the House floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield in 2020.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a measure that allows multi-occupancy bathrooms in the Land of Lincoln to be genderless if a business or public institution chooses.

State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, filed House Bill 1286. The new law allows for any multiple-occupancy restroom to be identified as an all-gender multiple-occupancy restroom and designated for use by any person of any gender.

The measure follows a 2019 bill signed by Pritzker that made all single-occupancy bathrooms in Illinois gender-neutral.

The measure has led to pushback from Republican lawmakers over it being implemented in schools.

State Rep. Kevin Schmidt, R-Millstadt, told The Center Square that parents should be the ones to make these decisions for their children.

“It’s not the role of the school to be having those discussions,” Schmidt said. “It’s the role of the parents to be having those discussions. They [schools] need to stay out of it. They need to teach math, English, reading, the core subjects that we are failing in Illinois, and stay away from discussions such as that with children.”

Previous reporting by Wirepoints showed that in 2022, 53 Illinois public schools had no students who could do math at their grade level and that an additional 30 schools had no students who could read at grade level.

The report uses data from the Illinois State Board of Education and found that 18% of the state’s 3,547 schools have only 1 out of 10 students who are capable of reading at grade level.

More here.

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Democrats are eager to make their states havens for abortion, and in Illinois they’re willing to violate free-speech rights along the way. That’s the finding of a federal judge who has enjoined a law to silence groups that run pregnancy help centers.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed a law amending the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to sweep in pregnancy centers that counsel women against abortion. The law, drafted by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, regulates the antiabortion groups on grounds they engage in “deceptive business practices.”

The law “is both stupid and very likely unconstitutional,” federal Judge Iain Johnston wrote in an Aug. 4 order granting a preliminary injunction. “It is stupid because its own supporter admitted it was unneeded” and had no evidence supporting its claims of deception,” he wrote. “It is likely unconstitutional because it is a blatant example of government taking the side of whose speech is sanctionable and whose speech is immunized.”

The speech of abortion providers is “specifically excluded from being sanctioned under the Consumer Fraud Act,” Judge Johnston wrote. Regulating pregnancy centers for deceptive practices while exempting abortion providers is viewpoint discrimination. In Reed v. Town of Gilbert (2015), the Supreme Court held that laws regulating speech based on content are “presumptively unconstitutional” and violate the First Amendment.

Read more here.

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