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Archive for May 7th, 2010

Property relief for Cook County homeowners

Posted by Admin On May - 7 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 

A Statement from Joseph Berrios on New Homeowners’ Relief Legislation  

    

On Thursday, Illinois lawmakers passed a plan that will offer much needed relief to Cook County homeowners.

I have spent this week in Springfield advocating for this emergency residential property relief (SB3638), working with legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers. I would like to praise House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie and Senator Terry Link for sponsoring the bill, as well as Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Richard M. Daley for their support on this legislation.

The national economic crisis, along with Cook County’s 10/25 Ordinance, has created an undue burden on homeowners. The tax burden is being shifted to the homeowners because commercial and industrial properties are receiving large reductions in assessed value because of the new 10/25 Ordinance.

 A property tax task force met eight times to analyze the 10/25 Ordinance, whose chief sponsor was Cook County Board Commissioner Forrest Claypool. Chaired by Don Haider of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the panel met eight times. It heard testimony from experts and weighed the data presented to it.

The task force never received data from the assessor or others to validate the proposed new 25 percent levels for commercial and industrial properties. Haider recently said he wondered whether adoption of the 10/25 Ordinance would shift more of the tax burden to the residential property class. That is exactly what happened.

The 10/25 Ordinance was proposed by the Assessor, who then masked the increased property market values and backed them into the 10/25 Ordinance.

The new legislation will continue the increased homeowners’ exemption, creating a tax break for three years. This will include a county-wide exemption this year of $20,000, then $16,000 in year two, and finally, $12,000 – providing much-needed assistance to homeowners as our economy continues to recover.

I am proud to have spent this past week in Springfield working on behalf of Cook County residential property owners. I promise to bring that same commitment to the Assessor’s office when I am elected on November 2nd.

Senate passes debt settlement legislation to protect consumers from abusive practices by firms promising to eliminate debt

Posted by Admin On May - 7 - 2010 3 COMMENTS
 Legislation Supported by Attorney General Madigan Makes Its Way to Governor’s Desk
 
Springfield, IL – Attorney General Lisa Madigan applauded the General Assembly for passing legislation to prohibit debt settlement firms from engaging in unfair and abusive practices aimed at bilking financially strapped consumers. The Senate today (May 6) passed the bill with a vote of 56-1 after the House’s 106-9 vote late last month. The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) and Rep. Marlow H. Colvin (D-Chicago), now moves to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
 
“Debt settlement operators target hardworking people with crushing credit card balances. They claim they’re able to pay off your debt for a fraction of what’s owed, but most times, this turns out to be a scam,” Madigan said. “They take your money and almost never reduce your debt. This legislation provides Illinois consumers with the strongest protection in the nation by stopping debt settlement operators from getting paid without providing a legitimate service. This law will allow them to collect a fee only when they settle your debt.”  
 
The bill prohibits debt settlement companies from charging upfront fees, except for a one-time $50 enrollment fee. Instead, debt settlement companies can collect a fee only when they settle a debt, and even then they can charge no more than 15 percent of the savings achieved.
 
“This legislation will curtail the fraudulent, abusive and deceptive practices of debt settlement companies that seek to enhance their bottom line at the expense of working families struggling with substantial personal debt,” Sen. Collins said.
 
Madigan said the legislation was crafted in response to the sharp rise in complaints against deceptive debt settlement operators. The complaints led Madigan to investigate and file seven lawsuits beginning in 2009 against debt settlement companies targeting Illinois consumers.
 
Consumers with debt settlement complaints typically report that, after they enroll in debt settlement programs, the firms charge excessive upfront fees and advise consumers to stop paying their credit card bills. All too often, consumers report that after they make high upfront payments, they do not receive the debt free status the debt settlement company touted in its advertisements. As a result, the credit card companies add interest, fees and penalties to consumers’ credit card balances and begin collection efforts to recoup the debt, which in turn negatively impacts consumers’ credit reports. In many instances, credit card companies have sued consumers enrolled in debt settlement agreements in an attempt to collect the balance of the consumers’ accounts.
 
“As the economic downturn continues, it remains critical to protect people struggling to pay their bills from companies that will only make their situation worse,” Rep. Colvin said. “This legislation will serve as a model of consumer protection for other states.”
 

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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