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52

State Representative Martin McLaughlin and Mary Morgan

The League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area will host the first in a series of upcoming nonpartisan candidate forums for Illinois House District 52 at 7 PM Monday, October 3rd.

The newly drawn 52nd District includes Algonquin, the Barrington area, Fox River Grove, Inverness, Island Lake, Volo, Wauconda, and western portions of Libertyville and Mundelein.

Incumbent Republican state Rep. Martin McLaughlin faces Democratic challenger Mary Morgan in the November 8th election.

To register in advance for Zoom link to view the forum, visit https://balibrary.librarycalendar.com/event/candidate-forum-illinois-house-52nd-district.

All candidate forums are run by trained moderators, who are members of the league and do not live or vote in the districts for which they are moderating the forum. Equal time is given to all candidates to answer each question. The candidates will have two minutes to present an opening statement, in turn, by number drawn. All LWPA Candidate Forums will be recorded and made available on its website for voters to view later.

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Election Illinois Voting

Passage of Amendment 1, on the November ballot, would put Illinoisans’ pocketbooks at risk of another hit during a time when it is already difficult to make ends meet.

You may wonder why anyone would be against the proposed change to the Illinois Constitution at the top of the Nov. 8 ballot that proponents call the “Workers’ Rights Amendment.”

Don’t ask me — ask Deb Cohorst.

Cohorst is a mother, grandmother, retiree and resident of Effingham, Illinois. For now. If the deceptively dubbed “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” or Amendment 1, passes, Cohorst might be forced to leave the state she has called home for almost 40 years.

“My husband and I really don’t want to leave, but we may not have a choice,” Cohorst said. “This amendment would be devastating to not only my family but any family.”

Why? Amendment 1 is a potential property tax hike in disguise that could hurt low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes. In a state that leads the nation in foreclosures, homeowners can’t afford higher costs.

Amendment 1 would allow government union bosses to collectively bargain over new, broad contract topics such as “economic welfare,” which could include anything from affordable housing to preventing advancements in technology. The more subjects available for government unions to bargain over and the longer negotiations take, the greater the potential cost to all Illinois workers — which would be reflected in higher property tax bills.

In Cook County, the median homeowner could pay at least an additional $2,935 in property taxes during the next four years if voters approve Amendment 1. In Cohorst’s home of Effingham County, property taxes on the typical home would rise by $743.

Property taxes already eat up approximately 7% of Cohorst’s fixed income. Increases make life in Illinois less feasible for her family.

“It scares me we may have to move,” she said. “I have friends in neighboring states, and they cannot believe what we’re paying in property taxes. I am paying more for the property tax on my half-acre lot than my three out-of-state friends’ property taxes combined.”

Read the full Chicago Sun*Times opinion here.

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Serial,Killer,With,Bloody,AxeBy John Kass

Chicago has always suffered a Second-City syndrome when it comes to New York, but just wait until Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s controversial new no-cash bail law for accused violent criminals becomes a reality in January.

Could Chicago have its own rage-filled hatchet wielding man chopping up some local McDonald’s, just like New York’s Michael Palacios  who walked free and didn’t need bail?

It was amazing. On the video, he becomes angry with others in the McDonald’s and then takes out his trusty hatchet to  terrifies the chicken nuggets out of them.

“Everything that Palacios is seen doing on that video, from smashing plate glass partitions, breaking tables, chopping his hatchet into walls, and waving it at patrons is a non-bailable offense,” reported the New York Post columnist Jim Quinn.

“The video of his activity only lasts a few minutes, but under New York law, he could have done that all day long and then done the same thing at a Burger King or pizza parlor down the street, smashing the windows of every store he passed, waving the hatchet at every passerby and a judge STILL could not have set bail on him,” continued Quinn. “At his arraignment on these charges, he could have said to the judge I can buy a bigger hatchet and I’m gonna do the same thing when I get out. And a judge STILL couldn’t set bail on him. He could have had a record of 30 prior convictions, but as long as none of them were pending when he did this, a judge STILL could not have set bail on him, because under New York law, a judge cannot consider public safety or risk of re-offending when setting bail.”

Bingo.

Unfortunately I am not a lawyer. So I can’t speak to the fine points of the broken bail system during this national crime wave, either the broken system in New York under George Soros prosecutor District Attorney Alvin Bragg or  Chicago under George Soros prosecutor Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, or most every urban area suffering from 40 percent crime spikes over last year.

All I know is that Democrats have controlled both towns for more than 100 years. And that Democrats and their mouthpieces defending them on this bail, no-bail clown show keep insisting that criticism is all about terrifying white wealthy suburbanites about black and brown criminal offenders.

Federal crime statistics tell us that criminal violence is perpetrated mostly by minorities and Democrats who run the bit cities aren’t enthusiastic about arresting and sending minority criminals to prison. But they skip over another fact: Most victims of urban and suburban criminal violence are also minorities. Minority men. Minority women. Minority children suffering PTSD. Minority grandparents robbed in wheel chairs.  Black and brown people of color are suffering at the hands of left wing social warrior demagogues. Their needs are sacrificed to Democrat power politics.

Read more here.

Related: McHenry County sues over SAFE-T Act,” “Prosecutors challenge SAFE-T Act eliminating cash bail as thousands sign petition

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RepMclaughlin

State Representative Martin McLaughlin

While Illinois Democrats successfully passed legislation that updated sex education standards in schools, state test scores show that less than half of students can read at grade level.

Under Senate Bill 818, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in August 2021, K-12 schools that teach sex education must meet National Sex Education standards, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Modernizing our sex education standards will help keep our children safe and ensure important lessons, like consent and internet safety, are taught in classrooms,” Pritzker said in the release.

But, GOP lawmakers have mostly opposed the law. State Rep. Martin McLaughlin, R-Barrington Hills, recentky spoke out about what he believes needs to happen.

“When I drop my child off at the front door of her school, my parental rights don’t end there, it’s where they just begin,” McLaughlin said in an Aug. 31 Facebook post. “School boards need to exert control and local authority representing their communities and the local property taxpayers who they serve, not capitulating to national ‘standards.'”

Under modernized standards, students in grades K-2 will learn about how to define gender, gender identity, gender-role stereotypes and medically accurate names for body parts, according to a report from Break Through. Third through fifth graders will learn about masturbation, hormone blockers, and the differences between cisgender, transgender and nonbinary. Sixth through eighth graders will learn to define oral, anal and vaginal sex, and non-prescription contraception.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the most recent Illinois Assessment of Readiness test scores show that less than 20% of Chicago third graders could read or do math at grade level.

About 38% of students statewide can read at grade level, according to Wirepoints.

Source

Related:Resident tells 220 Board of Education what they needed to hear (but did they listen?)

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Rebate

Must be election season

Called an election-year gimmick by some, tax rebate checks start going out to Illinois taxpayers Monday. Critics say permanent tax relief is needed in one of the highest taxes states in the country.

The money is being given back as part of the Illinois Relief Plan, a $1.8 billion aid package Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in the spring.

To qualify, a person must have been an Illinois resident in 2021 with an adjusted gross income under $200,000 for individual tax filers and under $400,000 for those who filed as couples. 

Taxpayers who filed as a single person on their returns will be eligible to receive $50, and those who filed joint returns will receive $100. If you claimed dependents, you will receive an additional $100 per dependent with a maximum of $300.  

“Whether you had to pay or you got money back, it doesn’t matter,” Illinois Comptroller Susanna Mendoza said. “Everyone who filed will be getting a tax rebate.” 

Illinois residents who paid state property taxes last year on a primary residence will be getting rebates as well. Adjusted gross income must be under $250,000 for single filers and under $500,000 for those who filed as couples. The amount of this rebate depends on the amount of property taxes paid.

State officials said the distribution of the checks should take about two months. 

State Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorne Woods, thinks the rebates are all about election year posturing.

“The plan has checks arrive just before the election and then tax reductions expire right after the election,” McConchie said.   

More here.

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JB Teachers

There are fewer students and more teachers in Illinois today than a decade ago, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. Teachers unions push the shortage myth to gain power.

Students and teachers are back in school across Illinois, but teachers unions keep claiming there are not enough teachers to run classrooms.

That’s wrong. State data proves it.

Teachers’ unions have perpetuated the teacher shortage myth. The Illinois Education Association claimed Aug. 28, 2022, the “teacher and education employee shortage [is] getting worse.”

But according to data from the Illinois State Board of Education, there are fewer students and more teachers in Illinois today compared to a decade ago.

Teacher Shortage Graphic

Public school enrollment in Illinois has decreased by nearly 9% in the past decade with just under 1.9 million students enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year. That represents a loss of nearly 180,000 since 2011-2012. Nearly 70,000 of those students have left the public school system since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of teachers in the state has simultaneously been rising during this 10-year period. Illinois had over 4,500 more teachers in 2020-2021, the most recent year with fully available data, than in the 2011-2012 school year. Teacher numbers have climbed by 3.5% while the number of students has dipped by nearly 9%.

Read more here.

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Facts

The so-called “Workers’ Rights Amendment” would lead to substantial tax increases for working Illinoisans and small business owners.

The No. 1 priority of Illinois’ government unions in 2022 is to pass an amendment to the Illinois Constitution in November. They’ve branded the constitutional question as the “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” and they’re spending millions of dollars on misleading TV ads to promote it.

But Illinois voters won’t see the words “Workers’ Rights Amendment” at the top of the ballot. Instead, they’ll see a question labeled “Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution.” That’s Amendment 1.

The plain text of Amendment 1 does four things:

  1. Creates a “fundamental right” for government workers to unionize and bargain, on par with the freedoms of speech and religion.
  2. Expands bargaining for government worker unions beyond wages and benefits to include broad new subjects, including “economic welfare.”
  3. Prohibits state and local lawmakers from passing taxpayer-friendly reforms, such as limits to the length of government union contracts or improved disciplinary measures for misconduct.
  4. Bans right to work, a policy that would prevent workers from being fired for refusing to pay money to a union.

Examined one by one, these elements show the amendment is much broader than proponents are claiming.

Illinois Policy Institute research shows, if approved, Amendment 1 would:

Here’s everything Illinoisans need to know about Amendment 1

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madiganAutomatic was a nice improvement on car transmissions, on bank cash machines and on cat litter boxes, but it’s not so great when government tries to automate.

Illinois state government likes making laws with automatic features. They require no additional responsibility or thought. But they come at a high cost.

For example, the state gasoline tax: Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers doubled it and then built in automatic increases scheduled for every July 1, which means state lawmakers never again must vote for the unpopular tax hikes. Pritzker may have earned extra bonus points for the campaign trail when he delayed this year’s tax for six months, but that means two increases in 2023 when the tax is expected to hit 45.2 cents per gallon when it was 19 cents pre-Pritzker.

Illinois on automatic example No. 2: Pritzker’s emergency declarations, which he’s imposed 32 times. He’s cried “pandemic” for nearly 2.5 years to circumvent the messy legislative process, and instead used disaster declarations intended to last 30 days to impose 116 executive mandates. At some point the emergency becomes “situation normal” and state lawmakers should resume manual control to debate and vote on those 116 orders.

But the biggest potential for automatic governance is headed for voters Nov. 8 in the form of Amendment 1. It’s being portrayed innocuously as a “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” when in reality it is a way to keep the corrupt Mike Madigan-era government union preferences in place without state lawmakers getting their hands dirty.

Amendment 1 does a lot more than stop Illinois from becoming a right-to-work state. It uses the same constitutional tactic that has stopped Illinois from fixing its nation-leading $313 billion pension debt by declaring state lawmakers can pass no law that “interferes with, negates, or diminishes” government union powers. Hands off, at the same time government unions’ negotiation topics are vastly broadened past wages and benefits.

Once negotiations are automatic and elected leaders’ roles are restricted by the state constitution, expect the demands to get more militant. The Chicago Teachers Union has been in the lead of activism, trying to impose a political and social agenda through its contracts that included housing issues, “restorative justice,” wealth redistribution and even defunding the police.

Read more here.

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Unemployment Fraud

A U.S. Department of Labor report stated Illinois failed to report theft of pandemic relief money as required. Illinois lost over half of pandemic unemployment funds to fraud.

The U.S. Department of Labor criticized Illinois for failing to report data on fraudulent pandemic unemployment payments, stating future fraud is hard to prevent when past fraud isn’t tracked.

Illinois lost over half of its pandemic unemployment funds to fraud, according to a state audit.

“Without accurate state performance information, Congress and the [Employment and Training Administration] are not able to fully assess state activities and mitigate the risk of overpayments and fraud for future programs of a similar nature,” the report stated.

A separate report from Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino found about $1.9 billion of the $3.6 billion distributed from July 2020 to June 2021 was paid to illegitimate accounts.

Online chat rooms offered tutorials on how to scheme Illinois’ unemployment benefits through identity theft, according to David Maimon, criminology professor at Georgia State University.

“We see many identities, many bank accounts, many driver’s licenses that are associated with Illinois residents” for sale on the dark web, Maimon said.

More here.

Related: “Suburban police departments are being flooded with reports of fraudulent unemployment benefit claims: ‘It doesn’t make a lot of sense.’,” “Unemployment insurance fraud is growing in Illinois. Here’s what you need to know.,” “Illinois Republicans urge Gov. Pritzker to opt-out of expanded unemployment benefits,” “IDES report detailing scope of Illinois unemployment fraud remains unpublished one year later,” “Audit reveals Illinois lost nearly $2 BILLION to COVID-19 unemployment fraud

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Real EstateWhen Deb Cohorst reached retirement age, she didn’t expect to face possibly leaving the rural town she’s loved for close to 40 years. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s tax hikes have not helped.

“I have lived in Illinois for almost 40 years. My husband was born and raised here in Effingham, and we like it here. We feel like this was a great place to raise our kids, but frankly, I’m worried how much longer we can stay here because we are both retired. And with the rising property taxes and gas taxes, it’s becoming harder to survive on a fixed income,” Cohorst said.

In 2019, Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly passed 24 tax and fee hikes, including a doubled gas tax. During Pritzker’s term, the average family has seen a net tax hike of $2,165 and faces the second-highest property taxes nationally, leaving fixed-income retirees such as Cohorst wondering if they’ll ever see relief.

“Property taxes are another thing that we’re really worried about, and it scares me we may have to move. I have friends in neighboring states, and they cannot believe what we’re paying in property taxes,” Cohorst said. “I am paying more for the property tax on my half-acre lot than my three out-of-state friends’ property taxes combined.”

Effingham, Illinois, is located just southeast of Springfield. The median household income is about $52,551 and 19% of residents such as Cohorst have reached retirement age. The average home value in Effingham is $136,000 and families pay $2,328 in property taxes, or an effective tax rate of 1.7%, which is higher than the national average of 1.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It’s not tens of thousands like some other families pay. But when you’re on a fixed income – and the people in this area don’t earn like what they earn in Chicago or some of the bigger cities, at our wage level, it’s getting harder and harder to keep up as property taxes keep increasing and we’ve seen the effect that’s having,” Cohorst said.

When property taxes cost roughly 4.4% of your income, Cohorst and other retirees have trouble finding spare cash to sustain never-ending tax hikes.

Read more here.

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