One chart tells you much about Chicago’s property tax and its pensions – Wirepoints Quickpoint

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The above is only for taxes that fund the city’s main operating account — its Corporate Fund. Property tax bills in the city include separate charges for the school district and other overlapping taxing districts.

Also, since money is fungible, it’s a bit arbitrary for the city to budget a portion of the property tax to pensions. The city has other revenue sources, though the property tax is the biggest.

Still, the chart makes the point everybody should know: Pensions are a huge and growing crisis. They are the 800-pound gorilla in the room — for Chicago, the state and most of its municipalities.

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 19 August 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Editorial | When it comes to Illinois bond ratings, up definitely better than down

Link: https://www.news-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-when-it-comes-to-illinois-bond-ratings-up-definitely-better-than-down/article_d17d487c-5ff3-5da1-a958-60d7edd5c3e6.html

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Citing a “material improvement in state finances,” Moody’s Investor Services recently raised the state’s bond rating by one notch — up to Baa2 from Baa3.

Ordinary mortals won’t know what that means. But Illinois has climbed the ladder from being one notch above junk bond status to two notches.

It’s the first time Illinois’ bond rating has been raised in 20 years. The improvement comes after a steady spiral downward.

Author(s): Editorial Board

Publication Date: 4 July 2021

Publication Site: The News-Gazette

How much is your community getting under the American Rescue Plan? A searchable database for the nation is here – Wirepoints

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Embedded below are a set of searchable databases that provide the estimated allocation of the $360 billion in direct government aid to states, counties and cities under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The remaining stimulus includes funding for schools and other programs, for which detailed data is not yet available.

The $360 billion is split as follows: State governments are set to receive $230 billion in direct and capital project grants, county governments will receive $65 billion, and municipal governments will receive the other $65 billion.

Author(s): Ted Dabrowski, Mark Glennon, John Klingner

Publication Date: 17 April 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Relief from SALT cap for Illinois pass-through businesses may be on the way – Wirepoints

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It’s Senate Bill 2531. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) and it has picked up additional sponsors from both parties. It would allow a small business to elect to be taxed at the entity level, instead of letting the income pass through to their personal return. The owner would then claim an offsetting credit on their state return. It passed the Senate Revenue Committee with a vote of 9-0 and now goes to the Senate floor for further consideration.

We hope and expect the bill will become law. While we support the $10,000 federal SALT cap, it’s entirely appropriate for Illinois to facilitate exceptions recognized by the IRS, just as other states are doing. At least fourteen other states have passed or are in the process of passing similar legislation. The legislation could help up to 400,000 Illinois small business owners save thousands of dollars annually on their federal tax filings, according to Stoller.

Author(s): Mark Glennon, Ted Dabrowski

Publication Date: 17 April 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Pritzker Lobbies For Huge Federal Tax Cut For The Rich With Dishonest Letter To Biden – Wirepoints

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The SALT cap increased “taxes on hardworking families,” says the letter. That’s “untenable given the dire economic conditions caused by the pandemic.” It goes on to say, “In short, middle-class Americans are struggling under this federal tax burden, while corporations – which are still able to fully deduct SALT as business expenses – are profiting because of the same law. The negative impacts of the SALT cap on middle class families are particularly egregious when you consider that in the states most affected by this cap, the federal government already takes more in federal taxes than the states receive in federal support, effectively subsidizing federal payments to other states.”

Tax analysts on the right and the left have documented why that’s completely false. The cap on SALT deductions was a windfall for the middle class and hammered high income taxpayers. The conservative Tax Foundation explained why here, and the liberal Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, ITEP, wrote this in an article opposing elimination of the cap:

ITEP estimated that this would cost more than $90 billion in a single year. We found that 62 percent of the benefits would go to the richest 1 percent and 86 percent would go to the richest 5 percent. There is no state where this is a primarily middle-class issue. In every state and the District of Columbia, more than half of the benefits would go to the richest 5 percent of taxpayers. In all but six states, more than half of the benefits would go to the richest 1 percent. 

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 5 April 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Washington helped Illinois kick the can again, rating agencies affirm, so expect no fiscal reforms – Wirepoints

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The recently signed American Rescue Plan designated about $7.5 billion of new money directly for the state’s government. Tens of billions of more federal dollars indirectly help the Illinois budget by assisting higher education, K-12 schools and municipalities. Direct aid to people and businesses also kept tax revenue flowing at far higher rates than initially projected.

In fact, federal money from the American Rescue Plan alone dwarfs the revenue lost to the state because of COVID and the lockdowns by a stunning 1665%, according to a Tax Foundation estimate.

It should be noted, however, that federal cash has been showered on the entire nation, where it needs it and not. The State of Wisconsin, for example, is getting $3.2 billion in direct money from the American Rescue Plan even though the state has a budget surplus. We are still waiting for a comprehensive analysis of all recent federal aid to determine whether Illinois got more than its fair share. Surprisingly, nobody seems to have offered one yet that includes all units of government and private sector assistance.

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 17 March 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Mass Federalization: How Washington is Bailing Out Failed States, Decapitating Competitive Ones and Ending America As You Knew It – Wirepoints

Link: https://wirepoints.org/mass-federalization-how-washington-is-bailing-out-failed-states-decapitating-competitive-ones-and-ending-america-as-you-knew-it-wirepoints/

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Don’t think that might ease your state and local tax burden. The downpour of cash on cities and states, most of which don’t need it, is all tied to a provision in ARP that bans tax cuts. It’s a mandate for statism – big government – whether states with small government philosophies like it or not.

“Thou shalt be statists and big spenders” – that’s what ARP might as well say as a direct federal mandate.

Most of ARP commentary about cities and states has wrongly focused only on the $350 billion that’s will go directly to them. That’s a small part and entirely misses the bigger picture.

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 22 March 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Great news in Illinois on COVID is going underreported, and so is the primary reason – Wirepoints

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Vaccinations, obviously, are starting to make a difference. Over 2.1 million of Illinois’ 12.7 million people have had at least their first vaccination. That’s about 17% of the state.

But something far bigger is at work: the huge number of Illinoisans who have acquired natural immunity because they were already infected, mostly without knowing it. That’s probably over 7.6 million Illinoisans – about 60% of the state.

How can that be? It’s because the actual number of infections is about 6.5 for every reported case because most cases go unreported. That’s the current number used by Marty Makary, a professor at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week. Illinois has about 1.73 million reported cases, so you just multiply that by 6.5.

The virus, in simple terms, is finding nowhere to go. Far over half of its potential victims are either naturally immune or have been vaccinated.

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 21 February 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Memo To Congress Re Pending Aid To States: America Cannot Bail itself Out – Wirepoints

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In all the debate about the pending federal aid package for cities and states, you’d think something so obvious would have been said often, but it hasn’t been: America cannot bail itself out.

Bailing the nation as whole out is exactly the idea behind the $350 billion package of federal aid proposed in the American Rescue Plan now pending in Congress. It would provide $220 billion to state governments and $130 billion to local governments.

The allocation is based on population – so far, at least, in the pending bill. For example, Illinois has about 3.9% of the nation’s population, so it would get about $13.6 billion of state and local money, which is about 3.9% of the $350 billion.

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Big Tax Cut For The Rich Sought By Illinois Progressives In Congress – Quicktake

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Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider, are leading the charge to repeal the cap on state and local tax deductions, as reported by Crain’s and elswehere. They’ve each sponsored bills to eliminate the SALT cap, as it is called, which became law in 2017.

That cap of $10,000 on deductibility of state and local taxes, including property taxes, walloped many high income taxpayers not just by increasing their federal tax bill but by reducing the value of homes they own. We described the research showing that in our recent article here.

There’s actually no debate about it: Liberal and conservative tax experts alike agree that the eliminating the SALT cap would be a windfall for high earners. The conservative Tax Foundation explained why here, and the liberal Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, ITEP, wrote this in an article opposing elimination of the cap:

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 2 February 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints