Congressman Peter Roskam Explains Benefits of Income Tax Bill

The following piece by Congressman Peter Roskam originally appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business. It is reprinted with permission of the Congressman

Roskam: The House tax plan benefits everyone

Roskam: “We are fighting for hardworking taxpayers and a healthy economy so that we can grow our economy and allow America to compete and win. Under this tax plan, everyone benefits and everyone has the same opportunities.”

For too many years Americans have endured a broken tax code that punishes hardworking taxpayers.

Peter Roskam

Over the years, special interest groups and lobbyists have used their influence to manipulate our tax system into something that is too costly, too complex and unfair to the vast majority of American taxpayers.

We don’t have to live like this. We can transform our tax code into something that works for more Americans; something that respects and rewards hard work; and something that Americans deserve.

When individuals file their taxes every year, they can opt for one of two types of deductions. The majority of Americans—and 49 percent of constituents in the 6th Congressional District, which I represent—take the standard deduction. The remaining taxpayers take itemized deductions.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act proposes a dramatic increase in the standard deduction to $24,000 for a family, doubling the current standard deduction. Because taxpayers choose between standard and itemized deductions, we expect a significant shift from the 49 percent of people who currently itemize to the standard deduction, since it would maximize their deduction. This means that the more moderate-income taxpayers who currently itemize would see a sizable decrease in their tax bill using the standard deduction.

Some have said that this plan would eviscerate the state and local tax deduction. This is simply not true. For Americans who choose to itemize, mortgage interest, property tax deductions and charitable contribution deductions are still available to them. This bill maintains the property tax deduction (up to $10,000), the mortgage interest deduction (for a loan up to $500,000) and the charitable deduction. The average family of four in the 6th district—which encompasses DuPage County as well as parts of suburban Cook, Kane and Lake counties—makes $135,000 and, taking advantage of the child tax credit, could save over $5,000 annually on their itemized federal income tax.

Probably the most egregious and unfair tax affecting over 30,000 of my constituents is the Alternative Minimum Tax, which limits their ability to take advantage of deductions because of an outdated policy that hits the middle class. We’re eliminating taxes like the Alternative Minimum Tax that punish the success of hardworking families.

Currently in my district, the average taxpayer making less than $200,000 annually using the property tax itemized deduction does not deduct more than $10,000 in property taxes; 89 percent of the total number of returns filed in 2014 had less than $200,000 annual income. That 89 percent would see the largest tax relief as a percentage of their tax bill.

However, it’s not just middle class Americans that would see tax relief; Americans at every income level would receive tax relief under this bill, and individual tax rates are part of that equation. Testimony by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation reaffirms that this tax bill provides tax relief at every bracket.

Everyone would benefit from the decrease in the marginal tax rates. Tax brackets under this plan would drop the lowest tax bracket to zero; the remaining four federal income tax brackets would be 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent. For example, a family making $90,000 or less would fall into the 12 percent tax bracket and a family making $90,001 to $260,000 would fall into the 25 percent tax bracket for income earned above $90,000. Many hardworking small business owners would also see a benefit through the reduced rate on pass-through business income.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is good legislation. It respects and rewards hard work by allowing taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn in their paychecks. We are fighting for hardworking taxpayers and a healthy economy so that we can grow our economy and allow America to compete and win. Under this tax plan, everyone benefits and everyone has the same opportunities.

Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, is the U.S. representative for Illinois’ 6th District and chairman of the House Tax Policy Committee.

Encouragement To Attend District 155 Tax Hike Meeting Tonight

From a Friend of McHenry County Blog:

Hey Everyone,

I hope some of you can join John Pletz at this meeting tonight. [Board Policy Committee Meeting Agenda, November 14, 2017, 6:30 p.m., Center for Education, One South Virginia Road, Crystal Lake.]

Jeff Thorsen, John Reinert, Michael Walkup, and I have our monthly board meeting at the same time so we can not attend. (NOTE to John Pletz, thank you for all your awesome work!!).

Based on the agenda (as you all probably have figured out) I think the D155 Board wants to appease us, the taxpayer, by giving us an abatement of some, or all of the tax levy that they will vote on later in the month.

An abatement is sort of a phony way to deal with the tax increase, because an abatement permits the taxing body in question to RAISE the levy, but then not actually charge the taxpayer some or all of the increase for that year.

Now the following year the taxing body is positioned to raise the levy at the increased level from the last year.

Thus, the hit is far more substantial, and worse yet, they are positioned to continue their overcharging of the taxpayer at a time when taxpayers are furious and when enrollment has been steadily going down!

So I will be attending the meeting later in the month on Nov 28 at 7pm to convey my concerns to the Board Members.

However, your comments can help them to rethink their strategy and to let them know of your concerns as well.

Rosemary Kurtz and Jason Blake are the two board members who stated they will NOT vote for the levy increase. So we only need 2 more votes to vote down the levy increase.

Here are some facts to quote or may help you illustrate concerns you have:

1) Since the height of enrollment in D155 in 2009 when enrollment was at 6,988, enrollment has DECLINED to 6,516 in 2016 (see p. 109 in CAFR – which is attached). A total of 472 students, or approx. 7% fewer students now attend as of 2016. 2017 was projected to be even fewer numbers of students that are currently attending. (see the data on Historical and Projected enrollment, p. vi).

2) While enrollment has gone down, during the same period, employment has increased.

# of Administrators: 2009 = 28 / 2016 = 56 – 100% increase

Total # of Employees: 2009 = 668 / 2016 = 737 – Approx. 10%
(p. 107 of CAFR)

3) Amount of Days of Cash on Hand (Most School Districts have a policy stating 90 to 120 days of Cash on Hand is sufficient, i.e. District 47 and District 300) versus D155 which has 359 days of cash on hand! (p. 108 in the CAFR).

Editorial comment: Having this much cash on hand amounts to overcharging the taxpayer by taking more money than necessary and keeping it in the bank.

The responsible approach is to spend this reserve down to the 90 -120 days.

The CAFR is the Comprehensive Accounting and Financial Report, 2016.

It is a required report for all Illinois units of government and is extremely interesting.

Lots of good stuff to learn about. I have attached a copy.

Steve Reick Reminds Us of Voters’ Rejection of County Executive Form of Government

Here’s a man who believes those who don’t remember history might well relive it.

State Rep. Steve Reick has posted the following on his web site:

Putting the Brakes on County Board Chairman Excesses

I’ve written the following letter to the Governor, asking him to veto House Bill 171:

Also, if you want to refresh your memory as to what this is all about, here’s a trip down memory lane:

https://youtu.be/epcWExi4W7Q
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When one looks at who posted the video, it reads, “No County Czar.”

If you would like to advise the Governor of your position, you can do so

https://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx

If HB 171 Signed, Jack Franks Would Have More Power of the County Board Than Mike Madigan Has In the Illinois House

Jack Franks stamping out of the County Board room after his unsuccessful demand that Norm Vinton, First Assistnat State’s Attorney’s file Open Meeting Act violation.  The photo used in several Northwest Herald stories shows Franks walking away from Vinton after issuing his Open Meetings Act request (demand).

I’ve been thinking about the bill that McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks prevailed upon the Democrats in the legislature (and too many Republicans in the Senate) to give him total power over committee appointments.

In the Illinois House, Mike Madigan, as Speaker elected by Democrats, has the power to slot whomever he wishes in committee chairmanships and to assign members to whatever committees he wants.

Republican House members are assigned by the House Republican Leader, Jim Durkin.

House Bill 171 would give Democrat Jack Franks the power to pick which Republicans he wanted to chair which committees and to assign Republicans to whatever committee he wishes.

Republican Vice Chairman Jeff Thorsen would have no role in the assignment process.

The County Board’s Committee on Committees would have no say.

That strikes me as unfair in the extreme.

That would mean that committees could be stacked with compliant Republicans and the one Democrat, who would get the Public Health Chairmanship that Franks nominated her for, but which was overridden by the County Board GOP majority.

In a rare display of independence, Franks’s choice, Democrat Paula Yensen was turned down in favor of McHenry’s Chuck Wheeler.

If you would like to encourage Governor Bruce Rauner to veto HB 171, here is a email address

https://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx

Here is the bills language: :

(55 ILCS 5/2-1003.5 new)

Sec. 2-1003.5. Creation of standing committees by chairman; appointment of members. With the advice and consent of a majority of the county board, a county board chairman elected by the voters of the county shall:

(1) create standing committees; and

(2) appoint members and chairpersons to standing committees.

This Section applies to counties having a population between 300,000 and 900,000.

McHenry County had 307,000 people as of 2015, the Census Bureau says.

Governor Seeks SBA Disaster Loan Assistance for Those Flooded

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner:

Gov. Rauner requests SBA assistance for flood victims in Lake, McHenry, Cook

Low-interest, long-term loans for businesses, individuals at stake

 SPRINGFIELD (Nov. 13, 2017) — Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking steps to ensure people and businesses in Lake County recover from severe storms and floods that occurred in July.

He has submitted a request for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance that, if approved, will enable those in Lake and the contiguous counties of Cook and McHenry to apply for low-interest, long-term loans.

Water was on the west side of Crystal Creek. I don’t know if this would be classified as a flood plain because it is higher than the creek.

“Many people are still working to recover from these devastating floods,” Rauner said.

“These low-interest loans could speed up that process and help people get back on their feet.”

To be eligible for an SBA declaration, at least 25 homes and/or businesses in a county must sustain major, uninsured losses of 40 percent or more.

A damage assessment conducted in August by the SBA identified 233 homes and 21 businesses in Lake County sustained major damages and uninsured losses.

On Aug. 31, the state of Illinois requested federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help people recover from the floods.

That request was denied last week.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) consulted with the affected counties to see if any additional damage had been reported that could have been used to support an appeal of the denial.

However, no additional damage information for homes and businesses was reported by the impacted counties.

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Local homeowners and businesses are already eligible for SBA loans.

See this article.

CL Police Identify Jewelry Store Robber

A press release from the Crystal Lake Police Department:

Suspect Charged in Robbery Investigation

On Saturday, October 21, 2017, at approximately 3:05 p.m., Crystal Lake Police were dispatched to Dalzell Jewelers, located at 41 N. Williams Street, for a reported robbery that had just occurred.

Upon arrival, officers learned one male suspect entered the store and requested to view high end watches and diamond jewelry.

As the employee placed two trays containing various diamond jewelry on the glass display case, the suspect grabbed both trays and fled the scene on foot.

Cordall Robinson

The suspect was pursued by the employee who attempted to stop the suspect.

The suspect struck the employee with his hand during the employee’s attempt to stop him.

The suspect continued on foot before entering an occupied vehicle staged nearby.

The suspect and driver fled with approximately $35,000 in jewelry.

The employee sustained a minor injury that did not require medical attention.

Evidence technicians processed the scene while Crystal Lake detectives began their investigation.

As a result of their efforts, spanning three weeks, a suspect was developed.

The case was reviewed with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office who approved the below charges.

On November 9, 2017, an arrest warrant was subsequently obtained for:

Cordall A. Robinson* (19) of 4019 22nd Avenue, Cedar Rapids, IA

Retail Theft, 720 ILCS 5/16-25(a)(1), Class 3 Felony

Aggravated Battery Public Way, 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(c), Class 3 Felony

Bond is set at $20,000.

The US Marshall’s Service and authorities in Iowa have been notified regarding the warrant obtained.

Our investigation continues as we attempt to identify the driver of vehicle.

We encourage anyone who may have information relating to this investigation to contact the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-762-STOP (7867).

Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of any individual.

In addition, anyone with a cell phone can send an anonymous tip to the Crystal Lake Police Department by texting the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411). Normal text messaging rates do apply.

*All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty in a court of law

Formal Criminal Complaint Filed with McHenry County Sheriff Concerning Bob Miller’s Road District Expenditures

Another article on Algonquin Township’s immediate past Road Commissioner Bob Miller from Illinois Leaks.  It republished with permission.

(Does anyone but I find it interesting that the Edgar County Watchdogs can find this information and share it with the public, but the Northwest Herald and Daily Herald can’t?)

People – Why our local government is failing

BY KIRK ALLEN ON NOVEMBER 13, 2017
Algonquin (ECWd) –

Leadership.

It starts at the top and few are worthy of ever being called leaders, as holding the position does not make you a leader.

Leaders follow the law; they are honest, motivators, problem solvers.

They are protectors of their community and its resources, as in tax dollars.

Note I said protector, not an abuser.

Although there are many other traits that make up a real leader, I think most would agree with those basic traits we listed.

Bob Miller

Former Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Robert Miller was elevated to a leadership position numerous times in his life.

He was the former President of the Township Officials of Illinois, served on the TOI Board of Directors for several years and then became a TOI officer, formerly serving Secretary, Treasurer, 2nd Vice President, and 1st Vice President.

He had also served a term as President of the Highway Commissioners Division, as well as the McHenry County Highway Commissioners and the Northern Illinois Highway Commissioners. (See TOI announcement at this link).

With all those titles many assume he is a leader.

Such an assumption is the first problem we have as citizens.

We fail to take the deep dive into facts to support our assumptions and sadly, we end up with what we have in this state because of that.

After the recent Northwest Herald article we found the Facebook post from the Algonquin Township Clerk as saying Robert Miller did not do anything illegal.

That caught our attention, so we wrote this article, then this one.

What did the Township Officials of Illinois praise Miller for?

“I want you to personally say “thank you” to Bob Miller for his untiring efforts to make a difference in keeping township government and keeping it strong!

Notice the praise had nothing to do with representing the people, being a good steward of tax dollars, better service etc.

No, instead it focused on keeping township government and keeping it strong.

Having been a past Township Supervisor it became clear to me; most Associations were not about doing what the people of Illinois needed but were more about keeping their organization alive and lobbying to expand it at every chance, which strengthens the association as they need as much government in place as possible.

What did a Background Paper for the Committee of 50 to Re-examine the Illinois Constitution have to say about Township Government? (See page 10) :

“Townships, in short, are no longer needed in most areas, yet it is unlikely that any action can be taken to eliminate them.

“Although one proposal was offered to the local government committee to eliminate townships in the 1970 Constitution, there was no significant support for such a proposal.

“Despite the fact that townships had been made more politically vulnerable by state legislation in 1969 by removing township supervisors from membership on the ·County board, there has been almost no reduction in the number of townships since 1967. (See Table 1)

“The absence of grassroots support for the elimination of townships, together with the resistance of township officials to the elimination of their positions, appears to assure the continued existence of this level of government for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether a new constitutional convention is held or not.”

Right about now we have an entire group screaming we are against Township Government based on posting the above information.

Sadly, they will miss the point we are going to make.

All units of government in Illinois are only effective if they have the proper leadership as well as accountability to the people and our laws.

Accountability comes from the people, ultimately, as they elect those who have the power to enforce our laws in the form of prosecutions.

When we fail to truly evaluate actions of those we elect and re-elect, we are the heart of the failed system.

Sadly we find our system has been turned upside down and the leadership is not coming from the grassroots, but instead from publicly funded Associations that claim to be all about educating our officials.

One need look no further than the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.

The former College of DuPage trustees spent hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to become “educated” on their duties, and it proved to be a total waste of money.

With Federal and State Criminal investigations ongoing it’s clear the system of depending on Associations for leadership failed.

Looking at Robert Miller, former President of the Township Officials of Illinois Association and Highway Commissioner of Algonquin Township we can better understand why Township Government is in such a mess.

Bob Miller

Miller’s own statements as President of the TOI association sums up his focus, all while his behind the scenes actions point in an entire different direction.

“As a unified group we have pooled our intellectual resources to preserve and protect Illinois’ small local governments,” said Miller

“I share his ardent commitment to Township government and will do my best to provide strong and effective leadership.” . (Miller quotes from McHenry County Blog)

So Miller will do his best to provide strong and effective leadership?

  • Would that be from buying women’s clothing on the Township Credit card and claiming it was protective equipment?
  • Disneyland tickets that had NOTHING to do with a conference he attended?
  • Sirius XM radio subscriptions?
  • Hundreds of dollars in gift card purchases?
  • Regular charging of meals to the taxpayers from Taco Bell to Ruth Chris Steak House?
  • Making the taxpayers cover his meals for meetings with the Township Officials of Illinois?
  • Maybe leadership comes from buying Cardigan Sweaters?
  • Most certainly it comes from a $1,100 food fest at Kojacks in Cary, Illinois?
  • Or $188.43 food bill, as in Sunday Brunch?

Ignore the Hooters bill from Wisconsin as we all know that surely does not indicate a strong and effective leader. (Covered in this article)

Would anyone honestly call the actions listed above, all with taxpayer dollars, representative of strong and effective leadership?

While many of the Bob Miller supporters came rushing to bash us for our reporting on his spending, it once again showed the unwillingness or possibly the inability for people to properly evaluate facts placed right in front of their own eyes.

Their focus was to attack the new Highway Commissioner who had nothing to do with this spending.

A common problem we see all the time with elected officials and their supporters.

Deflection!

Justify bad acts of one by finding something wrong with another, and by all means, ignore the reality in front of their own eyes.

The matters we discovered were worthy of a formal criminal complaint that was filed today with the McHenry County Sheriff’s office.

We will post all the credit card expenditures and other records in a future article and we are confident, most people will realize real quick how little leadership could be found in Algonquin township during this spending spree.

I say little leadership because those responsible are not just the one doing the spending but those approving of it, as in the past Township Board.

Each and every yes vote on these expenditures points to total disregard for our laws, and proves once again the most basic form of government is only as good as those you elect.

In this example, Algonquin Township gets a big fat “F” for failure!

Skillicorn Announces Town Hall Meeting

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicron:

Skillicorn to Host Town Hall on Nov. 15

CRYSTAL LAKE – State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) is inviting constituents to join him for a town hall meeting at his office in Crystal Lake on Wednesday, November 15.

The town hall will feature an update from Skillicorn on the conclusion of the recent veto session, as well as a one-on-one meeting session prior to the main discussion.

In his last Town Hall Meeting, Allen Skillicorn points to homes in the Fox River Valley undergoing foreclosure proceedings.

The event will be held at his district office located at 1500 Carlemont Dr., Suite D in Crystal Lake from 7 to 8 p.m.

“Despite a summer and fall filled with special legislative sessions, a lot of contentious issues came up this veto session,” said Skillicorn.

“This town hall is to ensure people know what did, or did not, happen during veto session, and to get ready for the new session in January, because Illinois still has too many problems that need to be fixed.”

Prior to the town hall meeting, Skillicorn will be hosting office hours for one-on-one meetings with constituents.

Office hours will run from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Appointments are required for one-on-one meetings, so please call (815) 893-4884 or email [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]org> to schedule an appointment.

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting

WHEN: Wednesday, November 15, 7 to 8 p.m. Office hours by appointment: 4 to 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Rep. Skillicorn’s District Office, 1500 Carlemont Dr., Suite D, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Steve Reick Calls Out Franks on Springfield End Run Around County Board Rules

Look at this commentary State Rep. Steve Reick posted on his web site:

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Go to Springfield to Get Your Way

In 2012 the voters of McHenry County voted down a referendum which would have established a “County Executive” form of government. As described in an article by Kevin Craver in the Northwest Herald, the authority of the County Executive included:

  • Preparing the county’s annual budget;
  • Appointing people to boards and commissions;
  • Hiring and firing department employees;
  • Entering into intergovernmental agreements;
  • Negotiating with public and private entities to promote economic development;
  • Redrawing county board district boundaries after each decennial U.S. Census;
  • Appointing independent legal counsel.

After the referendum was defeated, the voters of McHenry County in 2014 passed a referendum to make the position of County Board Chairman a popularly-elected position, instead of being appointed by the members of the Board itself. In 2016, McHenry County elected its first popularly elected Board Chairman.

Not content with to work within the boundaries prescribed by the Illinois Counties Code, a bill narrowly tailored to apply to McHenry County was offered up during veto session which expanded the powers of the Chairman to do the following:

“With the advice and consent of a majority of the county board, a county board chairman elected by the voters of the county shall:

  • Create standing committees; and
  • Appoint members and chairpersons to standing committees.

This Section applies to counties having a population between 300,000 and 900,000.”

If these changes are going to be made, the voters of McHenry County should be the ones to make them.

Instead, what we’re getting is the County Executive form of government by going to Springfield, which is a craven end-around attempt to do what the people of McHenry County rejected in 2012.

I spoke out against the bill on the House floor, and I will encourage the Governor to veto the bill when it hits his desk.

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“Ver-r-r-r-y In-ter-r-r-r-es-s-s-s-ting.”

To those who would like to email the Governor, may I suggest using this address: [email protected]

The phone number I left a message on, 217-782-3560, has been disconnected.

Very interesting, wouldn’t you say.

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Now I’ve gotten a report that the email given is bouncing back.

Try this: https://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx

llinois Leaks Calls Out Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasik on Claim that “Bob Miller Did Nothing That Was Illegal”

The following is re-published with permission of Illinois Leaks, where it appeared yesterday:

Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Miller Lukasik – “Bob Miller did nothing that was illegal” – Really?

Algonquin (ECWd) – According to the Facebook post of the Algonquin Township Clerk, the past Road Commissioner did nothing that was illegal.  

“Bob Miller did nothing that was illegal”

Reviewing credit card statements that have Bob Miller’s name on them, we found some matters that may lend to the Clerk re-thinking her public statement and should probably be forwarded to the police for a criminal investigation.

Karen Lukasik

We wrote about one charge in this article and the Clerk is now claiming  this was an APWA Conferance approved by the board.

Note to the clerk: board approval does not make an illegal purchase legal and to claim this was for a conferance raises serious questions, as in, “Says Who and With What Proof?”

What we wrote about was a ticket to the Disneyland park, not a purchase to APWA for a Conference!

To claim this was an APWA Conference expense flies in the face of all logic.

This Disneyland ticket purchase was not with APWA and had nothing to do with the conference as being implied.  In fact, APWA records prove this fact.

“On these pages, you’ll see just a few of Anaheim’s attractions you can visit before, during and after your Congress experience.” (APWA record pages 26-27)

“Why not combine business with pleasure and incorporate your Congress trip into your vacation plans?” (APWA record pages 26-27)

With APWA telling its attendees about attractions they can visit, and pointing to “your” vacation plans, which are not public purpose expenditures, it’s clear the Disneyland tickets are in no way a public purpose and not an expense that the taxpayers should have paid for.

This points to an illegal purchase by the former Road Commissioner as well as a complete failure of the board and Supervisor for approving and paying for this bill, and many others!

Back to the beginning!

Public funds, credit, and property shall only be used for public purpose.

That is in our constitution under Article VIII Section 1.

With that in mind, what public purpose was served by Bob Miller buying tickets to visit/vacation at Disneyland?

In regards to secret cameras at the Township reported on by the Northwest Herald, the Clerk said that it was “creepy” and “weird.”  

How creepy and weird is it that there is no mention of the Blink Cameras the past road commissioner purchased on the credit card?

Was the past road commissioner secretly recording on Township Property?

A $299.00 Blink purchase on the credit card would equate to multiple cameras being purchased.

Has the Clerk not found these cameras?

Who was being spied on during his tenure, and possibly still being recorded?

Or is this a case of cameras being purchased with Township credit for their own personal use at home?

Hopefully, these cameras were legitimate to monitor public property, which is neither creepy nor weird.

We ask the Clerk what was the public purpose for charges to Bob Millers Township Credit card for the purchase at Hooters of Brookfield Wisconsin for $288.92?

Or the Prana Living women’s clothing purchases for $190.19?

Did we mention the Levinger purchase for a woman’s handbag costing the taxpayers $384.52? 

If you’re looking for evidence that this was, in fact, a personal purchase and had no public purpose, just note the fact the taxpayers paid tax on this purchase.

Public bodies are tax exempt, thus this clearly was a personal purchase that not only cost the taxpayer’s sales tax, another $32.90 in shipping and handling!

It was purchased in November so would it be out of line to assume this was a Christmas Present?

If so, another piece of evidence it had no public purpose, which would make such a purchase a criminal act since it was done with public credit.

Although there is plenty more to expose as it relates to questionable spending, I think for now the point has been made that someone has some answering to do as it relates to the use of public credit for what clearly appears to be a private purpose.

Although many will continue to push back and claim there is nothing to see, rest assured we have come into the posession of some records that are going to refute pretty much any excuse defenders of bad actors can come up with!

Stay tuned for more exposure of improper spending in Algonquin Township that includes the actual records, not speculation!

Steve Reick Sees Through “Tax Freeze” Headline Bill

These are Steve Reick’s thoughts on the “tax freeze” bill that didn’t pass the Senate after sailing out of the House:

Electoral Chicken Feed Disguised as a Tax Freeze

Posted on 

They call it “Veto Session”, but it really ought to be called “Propose Bills and Make Speeches That Can Be Used on Campaign Materials Session”.

Case in point: Senate Bill 851, which would require counties to freeze all property tax levies for two years, and would increase the real estate homestead exemption from $6,000 to $10,000 and would increase the Senior homestead exemption from $5,000 to $8,000.

Generally, I’d say that anything that lowers property taxes is a good thing, and I’d be in full support. What S.B. 851 does is give everyone in Illinois the same homestead and Senior exemption that was given to Cook County in May.

However, if it wasn’t good enough to give to everyone outside Cook County then, what makes it such a good idea now?

Why?

Electoral politics, of course.

The bill’s sponsor is considered a target in the November election and needs to burnish her credentials for the folks back home.

I voted against S.B. 473 in May because it did nothing for the people in my district, and while it now gives us the same treatment as Cook County, the combination of this with the two-year freeze will do more harm than good.

And here’s why:

  • First of all, it paints all taxing districts with the same broad brush. There are plenty of taxing districts here in McHenry County that have held their levies flat for years, and in some instances decreased them. They don’t need that model of financial rectitude, the Illinois legislature, to tell them how to do their business.
  • Second, the combination of increased exemptions and the freeze will do nothing to lower property taxes; all it will do is shift that burden to renters and businesses. We’re having a hard enough time as it is attracting and keeping businesses in this county, we don’t need to drive up their tax burdens even further.
  • While property taxes are too high, S.B. 851 carves out an important exemption: debt. Local governments have in most cases already set their budgets for the current year. If this bill were to be enacted, they’d be driven into a situation of having to borrow to pay current bills. Raise your hand if you think that’s a good idea.

I’ll be the first to say we need property tax reform, I’ve been saying it for years. But you don’t get reform by offering up “gotcha” bills just before an election year.
I spoke against the bill on the floor of the House, my comments are here:

Here’s the final clue that this bill was just electoral chicken feed.

After passing the House, the Senate adjourned without taking it up.

Redux of Jack Franks’ Tax Freeze Bill Passes House, Failure Again Predicted in Senate

First to the headline above.

When he was State Representative Jack Franks passed a property tax freeze bill.  At the time I predicted that the Senate would not follow suit.  It was just a “headline bill.”  (See “A Property Tax Freeze Headline Bill.”)

The bill, of course, did not pass the Senate.

From the Illinois News Network:

Illinois House OKs property tax relief bill that critics say shifts costs, is too watered down

By Dan McCaleb | Illinois News Network

The Illinois House approved a two-year property tax relief measure Wednesday that critics say is too watered down with exemptions and actually would serve as a cost shift to businesses and others.

Steve Reick speaks during the debate on the property tax freeze bill. Photo Credit BlueRoomStream.

Illinois Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, introduced Senate Bill 851, which implement a two-year freeze on property taxes in Cook and the collar counties.

Downstate voters also can choose a two-year freeze if they approve it by referendum.

School districts on the state’s financial watch list, including Chicago Public Schools and 65 other districts statewide, would be exempt from the freeze. Levy increases for pension and other local debt also would be exempt.

Mussman’s legislation also would increase the individual homestead exemption to $10,000 and the senior citizens exemption to $8,000.

Acknowledging that critics would prefer a longer-term freeze, Mussman said her measure is a good start.

“I would say a two-year freeze is a good way to introduce this topic,” she said.

“This is an attempt to compromise with the governor. … You asked for reform. This is a method of reform.”

Illinoisans pay the second highest property taxes in the country, and Gov. Bruce Rauner has made property tax relief a vital part of his Turnaround Agenda.

Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock, said the measure is more of a cost shift because of the increased homestead and senior citizens exemptions.

“If what you do is freeze taxes for certain people, you’re going to swtich the tax liability over to others,” Reick said.

The amount of money local units of government collect “isn’t going to go down, it’s just going get shifted over to businesses and renters and people like that.”

Reick said Mussman’s legislation was the wrong way to help overly burdened property owners.

“We do it through reform, we don’t do it through gimmicks like freezes that only last for two years,” he said.

Peter Breen

Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, said Wednesday’s vote was political theater to impress voters.

“It’s all being done apparently for re-election tricks because there’s no chance this will actually be acted upon in the Illinois Senate,” Breen said.

“I’ll be supporting it but, boy, I’ll be skeptical and cynical just as I started the day.”

Jeanne Ives

Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, said the legislation doesn’t do anything to address government spending that drives up the property tax burden statewide.

“It is a political pandering piece of garbage,” Ives said.

“It does not do anything about the cost drivers that drive up property taxes.”

The House voted 75-32, with one member voting present. It now goes to the Illinois Senate.

Dan McCaleb is news director of Illinois News Network and the digital hub ILNews.org. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at [email protected]

Johnsburg Buys Golf Course

Information from the Village of Johnsburg:

CHAPEL HILL GOLF COURSE ACQUISITION FINALIZED!

The Village closed on the acquisition of the Chapel Hill Golf Course property this week and are now taking steps to annex the property into Johnsburg.

As soon as ground conditions permit, we will begin removing dead trees and cleaning up the overgrowth along the Chapel Hill Road fence line.

Discussions have begun with affected utility companies to disconnect utilities from the old clubhouse in preparation for its demolition.

The Village plans to work with the McHenry Township Fire Protection District to utilize the clubhouse for training purposes, which will conclude with a complete burn of the building.

The current management company will winterize the course this fall and the Village will work on details of a new management contract in preparation for the courses operations in the spring.

We are pleased that we were able to preserve this important recreational open space located at a key entrance to the Village and are excited about the opportunities it provides our community.

As always, our goal remains to provide a golf course facility that is well maintained yet affordable for our residents.

Algonquin Township Road District Levy Cut 5%

Citing a promise made during his campaign for Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser presented the Township Board with a levy for next year that is 5% less than what was taxed this year.

He was asked if it was high enough to pay the legal bills being incurred.

Gasser replied that there was plenty of money in the surplus he had inherited when he took office to both cut the levy 5% and pay the legal bills.

The vote to approve the levy was 4-0 with Melissa Victor being absent.

Roskam Shares Favorable Comments Only on Tax Bill He Helped Write

A press release from Congressman Peter Roskam:

What IL-06 taxpayers are saying about tax reform

DuPage County, IL – Small businesses across Illinois’ 6th Congressional District are not alone in their support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; constituents are also expressing their support for real tax reform and their gratitude to Representative Peter Roskam (IL-6) for his hard work in ensuring that that his constituents – and Americans at every income bracket – feel the impact of real tax relief.

“Today we took the most significant step on real tax reform than we’ve taken in over 30 years. Americans are yearning to see real tax relief and the work we’ve done on this bill respects and rewards hardworking, middle-class families in my district and across the country and allows us to grow a healthy economy and more jobs,” said Rep. Roskam.

WHAT TAXPAYERS ARE SAYING

Kevin Cavanaugh, Palatine: “What’s most important to me is that I’m able to keep more of the money I make to care for my twin daughters. Congressman Roskam is a family man and he gets that. I am confident that his work on this tax bill will accomplish that.”

O’Brien, Lake Zurich:“We have been waiting for real tax relief for years. Representative Roskam’s efforts and leadership with tax reform will help me and my family. As a business leader, it is just what we need to help with job growth. I am especially excited for the simplicity of tax return preparation.”

Mark Mirsky, Bartlett: “There’s a lot to be excited about in H.R. 1. Hardworking taxpayers are being punished by our current tax code and this bill rewards hard work by putting more money back into your paycheck.”

Kristen Gum, Wheaton: “As a recent graduate, I see many of my classmates struggling to find jobs. H.R. 1 will create a tax code that will help cultivate an environment to create those jobs. This is key for many students to be able to build futures for themselves and I am proud to say my member of Congress, Peter Roskam, is helping. ”

Mike Sell, Winfield: “After graduating from college, I started a business in West Chicago. Tax reform would not only help me grow my business, but it’ll help me keep more of my money to invest in my business moving forward. I look forward to seeing these reforms passed and thank Peter Roskam for his work on this bill.”

Gene Dawson, Barrington: “Lowering taxes is so important to everyone. I’m retired and the savings we’ll see from this tax plan will really help to offset the increasing costs of living in Illinois and help us all save more.”

 David Suwada, Darien: “This new tax act is going to keep me from giving the government more of my hard-earned dollars. I can’t wait to see it pass.”

Aneta Pilasiewicz, Bartlett: “Rep Roskam understands we need to save money on our tax bills to care for our families. That’s why I’m happy to see him working to get this plan passed and fighting for the middle class.”

Michael Mika, Lake in the Hills: “With taxes always going up in IL, I love that Congressman Roskam is doing the opposite and working to decrease our overall tax burden. This bill is setting us on the right path”

Bob Grogan, Downers Grove: “I have a vested interest in tax reform on two fronts: first and foremost, I’m a father of three and every hour I have to spend filling out taxes is another hour I don’t get to spend with my children. Second, I’m a CPA, and the complexity that we’ve built into our tax code is a barrier to entry for small business owners everywhere in the county. If we could simplify our tax code, we would reduce the cost of compliance and allow people to focus on their core business. Representative Roskam and I have had detailed conversations and I’m amazed with his depth of understanding on the problem with our current tax code and the benefits of a revised tax code.”

Kirk Dillard, Hinsdale: “I am thankful to Congressman Roskam for keeping the commuter tax benefit in place for individuals. This is a plus for the over 2 million riders which take mass transit in our region daily.” (Chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA))

Tom Musschoot, President of General Kinematics: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is an important step forward toward comprehensive tax reform that will simplify the code, lower rates and spur manufacturing job growth in Illinois. Congressman Peter Roskam deserves special credit for listening to the needs of his constituent businesses in helping to craft this legislation. I look forward to working with Congressman Roskam to advance comprehensive tax reform, which will help improve our global competitiveness and allow us to create more jobs in America.” (General Kinematics employs more than 150 residents of Illinois.

Legislature Passes Bill To Give Jack Franks Total Power Over Appointment of Committee Chairmen and Membership

Jack Franks is on the way to becoming “Mini-Mike” Madigan.

After 43-3-3 approval of a Jack Franks-initiated bill in the Illinois Senate, in lickty-split action this week in Springfield, Democrats in the Illinois House pushed House Bill 171, originally introduced az a shell bill by House Speaker Mike Madigan, through on a 63-48-1 in spite of vigorous Republican opposition led by State Rep. Barb Wheeler.

The contents of the bill are brief, but the shift in power from the membership of the McHenry County Board to Chairman Jack Franks is immense.

It basically turns him into the Mike Madigan of the McHenry County by giving the County Board Chairman the power to appoint all committee chairmen and determine who will serve on which committees.

The language of the bill follows:

(55 ILCS 5/2-1003.5 new)

Sec. 2-1003.5. Creation of standing committees by chairman; appointment of members. With the advice and consent of a majority of the county board, a county board chairman elected by the voters of the county shall:

(1) create standing committees; and

(2) appoint members and chairpersons to standing committees.

This Section applies to counties having a population between 300,000 and 900,000.

Now County Board Rules provide for a Committee on Committees to make such decisions.

The Republican County Board members I talked to are incensed…and perhaps that is too weak a word.

A veto from Governor Bruce Rauner is all that stands in the way of Franks vastly increasing his power.

Rauner previously signed a bill supported by many McHenry County legislators which gave the Chairman the power to break tie votes.

Here is the Senate roll call on Tuesday:

Note that McHenry County’s three state senators abstained from voting . One, Karen McConnaughay introduced a bill with similar language during the veto session, but Thomas Cullerton assumed sponsorship of virtually the same language in this bill.

Below is the House roll call:

The only State Representative from McHenry County voting for the bill to increase Jack Franks’ power was Steve Andersson, who is retiring. He also appears to the be the bills only Republican supporter.

= = = = =

“Ver-r-r-r-y In-ter-r-r-r-es-s-s-s-ting.”

To those who would like to email the Governor, use this address: [email protected]

A phone number to call, even when offices are closed, is 217-782-3560. Be polite, of course.

Sunday

The phone number has been disconnected and emails are said to be bouncing back.

Try this to get through: https://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx

Mark Priester Gets Four Years for Pot Possession

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney:

MARK J. PRIESTER PLEADS GUILTY TO POSSESSION OF CANNABIS

Mark Priester

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Mark J. Priester, 39, pled guilty to Possession of Over 5,000 grams of Cannabis, a Class 1 Felony, before the Honorable James Cowlin.

On March 31, 2017, a search warrant was conducted on Priester’s residence in Cary.

Approximately 6,333 grams of cannabis were located in the residence.

Priester was sentenced to 4 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections pursuant to the plea.

This case was investigated by members of the Illinois State Police Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group.

This case was prosecuted by Robert Ladd of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Young Folks Arrested for Selling Drugs in Fox River Grove

A press release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department:

Fox River Grove Drug Arrests

On November 9, 2017 the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police Narcotics Task Force (which includes Task Force Officers from Lake in the Hills PD and McHenry City PD) with cooperation from the

  • Fox River Grove Police Department,
  • Cary Police Department, and
  • Crystal Lake Police Department

announced Thursday, the arrest of

  • Kosma M Harasimowicz, 21, and
  • Austin J. Strong, 21,

for selling illegal drugs in the Fox River Grove area.

A month long undercover investigation was launched after the Narcotics Task Force received numerous complaints from the local high school resource officers about drug activity at a residence in the 500 block of Opatrny Dr in Fox River Grove.

In the morning hours of November 8, 2017, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police SWAT Team served a search warrant at that residence.

At the conclusion of the investigation detectives seized

  • 641 grams of cannabis,
  • 354 Xanax pills,
  • 51 ecstasy pills,
  • 6 Hydrocodone pills,
  • 3 Valium pills,
  • 1 gram of cocaine,
  • 4 digital drug scales,
  • packaging materials,
  • multiple items of drug paraphernalia, and
  • $2,323 United States Currency.

The estimated street value of the illegal drugs seized is approximately $17,470.

In addition to the arrest of these two individuals, the Sheriff’s Office have obtained arrest warrants for

  • Javier G. Nunez-Garcia, 21, and
  • David J. Fidowicz, 20,

in relation to this investigation.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office encourages anyone with information regarding criminal activities to contact either the McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-762-STOP (7867), the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (815) 338-2144, or the tip line email address;
[email protected]

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of offender(s)