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Archive for July 3rd, 2015

Attorney General Madigan Seeks Order Authorizing Timely Payments for Critical Services During Budget Impasse

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Attorney General Madigan Seeks Order Authorizing Timely Payments for Critical Services During Budget Impasse

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she has filed an action in Cook County Circuit Court, seeking a court order clarifying that the State can continue to make legally authorized payments to fund critical government services in a timely manner.

Without a State budget in place, the Illinois Constitution and laws significantly limit the payments that the State can make. In preparation for the start of the new fiscal year, the Attorney General has been working with Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger to determine what payments can continue without a State budget in place. Based on those preparations, this action seeks clear court approval for the Comptroller to make payments that do not legally require an appropriation by the Legislature, including payments authorized by specific state statutes, payments for services required under court consent decrees and payments to continue participating in federal programs. These payments help fund critical government services, such as medical care for children in foster care, residential placements for mentally disabled individuals, food assistance for low-income families, and the operation of the state hotline to report child abuse and neglect.

The action also asks the court to clarify the State’s obligation to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by paying State employees the federal minimum wage until a budget is enacted and they can receive their full paychecks.

Statement from Attorney General Lisa Madigan

“The Illinois Constitution clearly states that without a budget, the State’s authority to fund government operations and services is severely limited. I am bringing this action to ensure that legally supported expenditures can continue to be made and to address the question of how the state payroll is legally managed during the budget impasse.

Our state’s most vulnerable residents deserve access to the critical services that their lives depend on. Taxpayers deserve to benefit from the government operations they help fund, and state employees deserve to be paid. Unfortunately, without a budget, it is difficult to ensure these payments are made. It is my job as the lawyer for the State to ensure that to the greatest extent possible under the law, we deliver on those promises. This action is the best approach to quickly and efficiently resolve these challenges.

It is my hope that by securing a court order clarifying these expenditures, the Legislature and the Governor can enact a budget to fund State government for the new fiscal year. If not, I fear those who need the State’s services the most will suffer the greatest.”

Munger Outlines Plan to Pay Bills During Budget Impasse

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Munger Outlines Plan to Pay Bills During Budget Impasse

Comptroller seeks Agreed Order from AG to continue paying employees

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger outlined her plan for paying the state’s bills during the budget impasse as she entered the new fiscal year without appropriation authority.

In an effort to comply with federal labor laws, Munger is asking the Attorney General’s Office to seek an Agreed Order from the courts that would allow the Comptroller’s Office to continue paying state employees during the impasse. The Attorney General entered a similar Agreed Order on behalf of Comptroller Dan Hynes in 2007 that allowed state employees to be paid when the state entered the new fiscal year without a budget agreement.

“The contribution of state employees to maintaining public services and public order is beyond dispute,” Munger said. “Allowing these employees to be paid on time and at the correct rate of pay until the budget impasse is resolved will also promote the legitimate goals of government to maintain critical services.”

In addition, Munger announced that due to legislation passed by the General Assembly last year that made state legislative and judicial salaries “continuing appropriations,” state legislators and judges are the only state employees who will continue to be paid during the budget impasse, unless the court acts.

The Comptroller will be able to continue making payments authorized under the previous fiscal year that ended June 30. She will also be able to make new payments classified as “continuing appropriations” and under court orders, including the following payments: debt, pension, retiree benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Assistance for the Aged, Blind and Disabled, and most local government payments.

However, when the FY15 bills are paid, she will not have appropriation authority to pay most new bills incurred in the new fiscal year after July 1. Ramifications include:

  • Nonprofits and small employers will be unable to receive expedited payments
  • State employees will start missing paychecks July 15
  • New payments to state vendors will stop

Munger stressed the Comptroller’s Office will continue to operate without interruption throughout the budget impasse to process all payments allowed under law. Her office has established a Budget Hotline –

855-IL-ASK-US – and she encouraged state vendors to call it with questions about their payments.

“This is not a game. This budget impasse has serious consequences for families, organizations and businesses across our state. It is time for lawmakers and the Governor to find common ground and enact a balanced budget. In the meantime, my office will continue to provide whatever resources are necessary to get the job done,” Munger said.

President Barack Obama to Address NAACP 106th Annual National Convention in Philadelphia

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on President Barack Obama to Address NAACP 106th Annual National Convention in Philadelphia

President Barack Obama will address the 106th NAACP Annual Convention in Philadelphia, PA on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“We are honored to welcome President Obama back to our NAACP national convention,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “Our members are looking forward to President Obama delivering a powerful message that reinforces our commitment to being champions for civil and human rights in the 21st century.”

This is the second time Mr. Obama will address the NAACP’s National Convention as President of the United States. The NAACP values the opportunity to hear from elected officials, government leaders and candidates for public office.

“President Barack Obama, having spoken eloquently of grace to a grieving nation in a moment of crisis in Charleston, will now address the social and economic challenges of our time in the hometown of American freedom – Philadelphia, stated NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

Thousands of NAACP leaders, delegates, activists, youths, and supporters will welcome him to the 106th Convention of the NAACP in a moment in which his voice and our voices so desperately need to be heard. President Obama has been on the forefront of transformative change from civil rights to human rights over his term and in recent days.  We in the nation eagerly anticipate his vision and plans for the difficult work ahead.”

This year’s convention will run from July 11 – July 15 under the theme “Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice.”  The NAACP will focus on building a broad based agenda around voting rights, criminal justice reform, health equity, economic opportunity and education equality ahead of the 2016 presidential election.  Click here to see the schedule of events.

Draft Biden 2016 Adds Top Obama Fundraiser as National Finance Chair

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Draft Biden 2016 Adds Top Obama Fundraiser as National Finance Chair
Draft Biden 2016, a group organized to encourage Vice President Joe Biden to enter the 2016 presidential race, announced today that Jon Cooper, a top fundraiser for President Barack Obama in 2012, will join the Draft Biden 2016 team as National Finance Chair.

“For me, supporting the effort to draft Joe Biden to run for President was a no-brainer,” said Mr. Cooper. “So many of the prominent fundraisers from 2012 have been waiting for a candidate who can inspire even a fraction of the energy we felt in the Obama campaign. Joe is that candidate.”

Earlier this week just prior to joining Draft Biden 2016, Mr. Cooper mentioned in an interview with the Washington Times that many of President Barack Obama’s  fundraisers, including himself, couldn’t get excited about a Hillary Clinton campaign, with some resigned to sitting out the presidential race next year and others eagerly searching for an alternative candidate who inspires them.

In regards to that article, Mr. Cooper articulated, “Although Hillary is understandably looking to coast through the primary, that would be dangerous for the Democratic Party and all those who share our progressive ideals. For us to keep the White House, it will require a serious debate about the issues as well as an examination of any potential flaws in the candidates.”

Draft Biden 2016’s finance team continues to grow with Mr. Cooper’s announcement as National Finance Chair coming soon after Sam Jones and Scott Dworkin from Bulldog Finance Group (BFG), a national fundraising firm based in DC, signed on to direct the day to day finance operation. Veterans from the ’08 and ’12 Obama presidential campaigns as well as the Run Warren Run presidential draft effort, Bulldog Finance Group has represented hundreds of campaigns and organizations across the country, including Democracy for America, New Virginia Majority, and Progressive Congress’ non-profit foundation.

“There’s a broad base of support for Joe among both Obama fundraisers and grassroots volunteers.  Clearly, nobody is better suited to carry on President Obama’s legacy and continue the great work they’ve done together,” said Mr. Cooper. “When you factor in Joe’s integrity, honesty, and family values, that’s exactly the sort of candidate the American people are yearning for.”

IDNR Urges Public to Leave Fireworks Displays to Those Who Are Licensed and Trained

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on IDNR Urges Public to Leave Fireworks Displays to Those Who Are Licensed and Trained

Fireworks Show Sponsors Reminded to Check Credentials of Fireworks Vendors

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding organizations and individuals sponsoring fireworks displays in Illinois to be sure their fireworks vendor has the required state licenses and certificates issued by the IDNR and the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) prior to their fireworks show.

The Illinois Explosives Act requires that anyone who purchases, possesses, uses, transfers, stores or disposes of explosives, including display fireworks, must have an explosives license and explosives storage certificate issued by the IDNR. Licensing and storage requirements administered by the IDNR do not apply to Consumer Fireworks (classified as 1.4 explosives).  Approved Consumer Fireworks are regulated by the OSFM and are permitted only in villages, counties and municipalities that have passed ordinances allowing such displays. Consumer fireworks may be purchased and displayed only by adults who have obtained permits from their local jurisdiction.  Hand-held fireworks, including firecrackers, roman candles, and bottle rockets are not approved for sale or use in Illinois.

The Illinois Explosives Act is administered by the IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals’ Explosives and Aggregate Division. This Division is staffed by trained and experienced blasting specialists located throughout Illinois. In addition to requiring comprehensive licensing, training and examination for individuals, the law requires that unattended display fireworks and explosives must be stored in an explosives magazine, storage facility or container that is inspected and certified by IDNR.

IDNR currently has 1,819 individuals licensed for the use of explosives in Illinois, of which 943 are for the use of display fireworks. There are 800 certified explosives storage magazines in Illinois, which contain nearly 90 million pounds of explosives.  Of those storage magazines, 138 are certified specifically for the storage of display fireworks.

Anyone possessing, using, transferring or purchasing display fireworks without a valid IDNR individual explosives license or storage certificate is violating Illinois law and could incur penalties.  A violation of the Illinois Explosives Act can be a Class 3 felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition, the IDNR can assess administrative fines for violations involving display fireworks and other explosives.

Emergency responders are reminded to contact IDNR and the OSFM immediately with reports of personal injury or property damage resulting from the use of explosives, including display fireworks.

For more information on the IDNR explosives regulatory program log on to http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/mines/Pages/Explosives,HandlingStorage.aspx.  In addition, for more information concerning the OSFM fireworks regulatory program, log on to http://www.sfm.illinois.gov/Public/Consumer-Fireworks.

To report an explosives incident or accident concerning display fireworks, the public should contact the IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals’ Explosives and Aggregate Division at 217-782-9976 and the Office of the State Fire Marshall at 217-785-0969.

Black Columnist: “American Flag is the Real Rebel Flag”

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Black Columnist: “American Flag is the Real Rebel Flag”

The Real Rebel Flag

By Kwame S. Salter

Kwame Salter

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) –Flags are imbued with the values, sentiments and aspirations of the nations, states, cities, organizations or groups that honor and fly them. Often hoisted high above throngs of amped up individuals, the flag is a visible and material reminder of what a particular group stands for or values. Flags can evoke passionate emotions of love, hate or fear. Flags carry a very loud, non-verbal, yet, specific and irreducible message. In the USA, the American Flag carries the message that we stand for truth, justice and democracy. However, in other places around the world, our flag, unfortunately, carries the message that we are there to impose our way of life and values on the indigenous population whether they like it or not. Flags are not value neutral. Flags say what they mean and mean what they say.

The recent flap surrounding the Confederate flag is all the more surprising because we all know what it stood for and still stands for today. No, it does not represent youthful rebelliousness; nor, does it truly represent the heritage of a particular region of these United States of America; and, most importantly, it does not represent truth, justice and freedom. Put simply, it is the musty artifact of a defeated insurrection against our government. What the Confederate flag represents is the attempted perpetual dominion of one group of human beings over another group. In other words, the cry of the secessionist southern states preceded George Wallaces Segregation Now. Segregation forever. Instead, the rallying cry of the boys in grey was Slavery Now. Slavery Forever.

Prior to the Great Migration of the 1940s, the majority of African-Americans had toiled, been lynched, dehumanized and marginalized in the South. And, while their experience differed markedly from whites in the South, southern blacks have as much of a claim to Southern heritage as their more privileged white brethren. So, the argument that the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern Heritage is tantamount to saying that the Nazi Swastika represented German heritage. Lest we forget, Jewish people in Germany were Germans. So, clearly both the Swastika and the Confederate Flag represent a failed attempt to either eliminate a group of people or, in the case of blacks, to keep them as chattel property. Both flags are abhorrent reminders of mans inhumanity to man.

For over 150 years, the victorious North has mollycoddled and enabled the defeated white South. Our central government allowed the wholesale disenfranchisement of black southerners, thus allowing white southern racists to control the most powerful committees in our national Congress. We permitted the construction of statues lining the streets of Richmond, Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina and other southern cities paying homage to war heroes intent on keeping my people in bondage. And, every day of a black southerners life, he/she must be reminded of those very men who sought to keep them as work animals. Again, it would be akin to having statues of Hitler and his generals lining the boulevards of Berlin.

No, the Confederate flag is not the symbol real rebels should adorn their homes and clothes with to assert their independence. Instead, how about hoisting the American Flagthe real rebel flag. While not always perfect in living up to it, the genesis of our national flag grew out of an aspirational vision: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal. Endowed by the creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness…

Kwame S. Salter is President of The Salter Group LLC, and the author of two books including Striving While Black. For more details about his company, visit www.talenttrumps.com

How to Stay Healthy During the Fourth of July

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on How to Stay Healthy During the Fourth of July

SPRINGFIELD, IL – As we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. urges residents to take a few easy steps to help avoid injury and illness during the summer.

“During the Fourth of July holiday, many people have plans for picnics and pool time.  I would like to remind everyone that taking a few simple precautions can help prevent foodborne illness, heat exhaustion and insect bites,” said Director Shah.

FOOD SAFETY – for cookouts and picnics, temperature is key to avoiding foodborne illness.

  • Wash hands with soap and water and keep surfaces clean
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold
  • Make sure all meat and poultry are properly cooked
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours, and if you have doubts, throw it out
  • Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for raw meats, and a clean plate and utensils when taking food off the grill
  • Wash fruits and vegetables

Know the symptoms of most types of food poisoning, which include severe cramps, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.  Symptoms can begin from 30 minutes to three or more days after eating contaminated food.  If symptoms are severe or last longer than two days, contact a doctor or health care provider.

WATER AND SWIMMING SAFETY – whether at the beach, on the lake or in a swimming pool, use safety precautions.

  • Supervise young children around water
  • Always use life jackets and secure personal flotation devices
  • Avoid alcohol while supervising children and before or during swimming, boating, or waterskiing
  • Shower before entering a swimming pool and do not swim when ill with diarrhea
  • Be aware of the local weather conditions and forecast, especially watch for thunderstorms with lightening
  • Pay attention to lifeguards and posted instructions

SUN AND HEAT – guard against sunburn and heat illness.

  • Never leave anyone, including pets, alone in a closed, parked vehicle
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside
  • Increase fluid intake – drink more liquid than thirst indicates; avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loosing-fitting clothing
  • Be aware of heat exhaustion symptoms: heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin, pale or flushed complexion, and fast and shallow breathing
    • If present, be sure to move the person to a cooler place; remove or loosen tight clothing; apply cool, wet cloths; and give cool water to slowly drink
  • Be aware of heat stroke symptoms – hot, dry skin, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion/dizziness and slurred speech
    • If present, be sure to call 911; quickly cool the person in a cool bath or wrap wet sheets around them; if the victim refuses water, is vomiting or shows a decreased level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink

TICKS AND MOSQUITOES – whether camping, hiking or in the backyard, guard against insect illnesses.  Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and other serious infections.

  • WEAR INSECT REPELLENT. Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions
  • Avoid being outside during prime mosquito-biting hours, dusk to dawn
  • Avoid tick-infested areas, such as the woods and high grasses
  • Check for ticks, both people and pets, every 2 to 3 hours
  • Remove ticks attached to the body promptly to help prevent diseases. Use tweezers to remove the tick and call a health care provider if a rash, fever or body aches develop during the 1 to 3 weeks following a bite.
  • Check with a veterinarian about preventing tickborne diseases in pets as they can carry ticks into the home

For more information about summer safety, check out our “Summer? No Sweat.  A Summer Survival Guide” at www.dph.illinois.gov.

The White House Lifts Camera and Photo Ban on Public Tours

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on The White House Lifts Camera and Photo Ban on Public Tours

The White House is lifting its longstanding camera and photo ban on public tours.  This ban has been in place for over 40 years.  To announce the change in policy, the First Lady posted THIS video on her Instagram account.  Effective today, guests are now welcome to take photos throughout the White House tour route and keep those memories for a lifetime. Visitors are also encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag #WhiteHouseTour.

Permitted Items: Phones and compact still cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches are allowed inside the White House.  Photography is permitted but may not interfere with the enjoyment of other guests on the tour.

Prohibited Items: Video cameras, including any action camcorders, cameras with detachable lenses, tablets, tripods, monopods, and camera sticks are not permitted on White House Tours.  Flash photography and livestreaming are not permitted while on the tour.

NFL Pro Invents, Patents Helpful Gadget in Ultimate End-Game Plan

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on NFL Pro Invents, Patents Helpful Gadget in Ultimate End-Game Plan

Smart Sink Tray by Style Pro 31

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Super Bowl champion and veteran Strong Safety Bernard Pollard knows how to avoid disaster – both defensively and offensively. Its a well-refined aptitude for safeguarding his team and identifying potential dangers and threats that led Pollard to invent and patent a one-of-a-kind lifestyle-enhancing, safety-promoting personal care product – the Smart Sink Tray® – that directly benefits women, men and children at home as well as business and leisure travelers; dorm room, condo cruise ships and apartment dwellers; hospital in-patients; and others.

Notably, although Pollard is in the prime of his career still actively playing in the NFL, the endeavor also represents his proactive pursuit and steadfast vision of sustained entrepreneurial success once his football career inevitably comes to an end. His company, Style Pro 31, is a means toward that end.

The Product

The ingenious Smart Sink Tray, the first of many product innovations to come from Pollards Style Pro 31 company, is a convenient, portable lightweight and affordable foldout tray that fits over most pedestal and traditional sinks to provide additional surface area and counter space (up to 284 square inches), alleviating and organizing the clutter that surrounds sinks and expanding usable space by allowing objects to be placed directly on it and stay organized – even with running water. The device also promotes safety by keeping electric appliances like blow dryers, curling and flat irons and shavers – and their cords – out of the sink and away from water hazards. When not in use the Smart Sink Trays collapsible design allows it to be easily stored and transported. Also heat resistant and dishwasher safe, standard personal care appliances will not burn the Smart Sink Tray and it can be easily cleaned. The exceptional Smart Sink Tray is designed for use in homes, apartments, dorm rooms, hospitals, assisted living facilities, hotels, cruise ships and other travel applications.

Multi-purpose and multi-functional, the Smart Sink Tray makes everyone happy, notes Pollard. Women love that they can keep more of their hair accessories, makeup and appliances at-hand and men love coming into a more organized, clutter-free bathroom where they can easily conduct their hygiene routine. College students who share sink space love the added surface area, and hospital in-patients can keep more of their critical items at hand and well within reach. Parents love that it helps keep kids safe from the many electric shock hazards in the bathroom. That kind of peace-of-mind is priceless

The Pursuit

The Smart Sink Tray was conceived in 2012 when Pollard realized a problem in need of a solution: more space and organization while getting ready in the bathroom. Like all travelers, Pollard himself suffered hotel sink areas that were often dysfunctional, not proffering nearly enough space to accommodate all of the items people use to get ready. So, just as he does on the field, he tackled the problem head on by creating the Smart Sink Tray and establishing his Style Pro 31 company. This cleverly-designed device allows users to get ready and conduct their hygiene routine without the usual mess, stress and safety risks.

The Ultimate Post-Game Play

Unfortunately, more than half of NFL players experience economic strife after they retire from the league. Other more successful players resort to becoming a media commentator or announcer once their playing days are behind them, for which they earn a fractional salary of that realized as a pro football player. With these truths well in mind, Pollard has his sights set on a far higher caliber success opportunity: entrepreneurship. Even while he continues to flourish in the NFL, currently cited by Bleacher Report as one of the AFCs top safeties Pollard holds strong to his vision of life beyond the gridiron, concurrently safeguarding his team and his future earning potential.

Despite Pollards intention to become a successful product developer and entrepreneur during and well beyond his NFL years, his products must stand on their own and resonate in the marketplace. This the Smart Tray does, and then some. This quote from Anita, a customer, speaks exemplifies the enthusiasm around the product: Before I bought the Smart Sink Tray my bathroom was so messy and I was getting into arguments with my roommate every morning. Now that I have the Smart Sink Tray, the bathroom looks so neat and I carry my things on it like a food(so I dont even have to leave my stuff in the bathroom) and I have neat area when Im in the bathroom. Thanks Smart Sink Tray… love it, love it, love it.

For more details about the product, visit www.stylepro31.com

Photo Caption: The Smart Sink Tray in action

Why I won’t vote for a Cook County Sales Tax Hike

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Why I won’t vote for a Cook County Sales Tax Hike
Letters to Editors

From: Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer (10th District)

Yesterday, a 1% sales tax increase was introduced during the Cook County Board meeting to plug a growing budget deficit. Under strong management, the County has made strides in the last several years, under strong management, to provide a just safety net, with a focus on fairness and safety within our criminal justice and health care systems. I am proud to have been a part of that evolution.

But there is more that can and should be done and before we raise taxes. This is the time to really consider taking on some of the sacred cows of County government. It is equally important to keep up the pressure to pass pension reform. As Chair of the County’s Pension Committee I can attest to the fact that we should not balance our budget without reform. The good news is that we have that reform plan – supported by Labor, the Civic Federation and actuaries.

Passing the tax now takes the pressure off those hard decisions. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to discuss the issues with the Tribune and I would like to share the Op-Ed that ran in today’s paper.

Cook County Commissioner – Tenth District
Chairman, Cook County Workforce, Housing & Community Development Committee
Chairman, Cook County Pension Committee
Chairman, Cook County Land Bank Authority
“Why I’m not voting for a Cook County Sales Tax Hike”
By: Bridget Gainer
July 3 2015

In the next few weeks the Cook County Board will be asked to vote to increase the county sales tax. I will vote no. The sales tax is regressive and a penalty to the poor. It punishes businesses on the edge of Cook County and pushes consumers to buy goods on the Internet.

Don’t get me wrong, the county has a serious budget and pension cost gap, predicted to be $479 million. The proposed 1 percentage point increase in the sales tax would raise some $474 million annually.

Preckwinkle proposes a 10.25% sales tax for Cook County, which would return an extra $473 million in revenue to the county.

But $130 million of the deficit goes away with pension reform. An additional $50 million in savings has already been identified by the budget staff. Yet another $50 million is in reach if we are finally willing to consolidate our redundant taxing bodies and duplicative services.

So how would we meet our financial needs? Step by step, we can do this. One of those steps is the worst-kept secret in government. For decades, Cook County reformers have asked: Why does the county have so many separate taxing bodies? Why do we have a Cook County sheriff’s police force and a Forest Preserves police department? Mosquito abatement districts? Two election agencies? Combining costly, redundant offices could save $50 million.

That’s $50 million we don’t need to collect in sales tax from county taxpayers.

As chair of the County Board’s Pension Committee, let me be yet another elected official to implore Gov. Bruce Rauner to support the Cook County pension reform proposal. It is a model for how the state budget crisis can be solved because it is backed with union support and actuarial math. Our workforce and unions did not sit back and wait for taxpayers to solve our pension problem. We came together and everyone gave something to gain solvency. Passing pension reform now would reduce the amount the county would have to increase the sales tax by $130 million a year. That’s $130 million that can stay in taxpayers’ pockets.

So I will oppose the sales tax increase. Not because I am opposed to new revenue, or because I think government is the problem. I believe government is vital to take on some of the hardest jobs we have. Just ask the correctional officers at Cook County Jail or the nurses at Stroger Hospital. But residents throughout the county are bracing as their state and local governments swim in red ink.

Before we ask our taxpayers for more, let’s make sure we’ve done everything we can to make county government work for all of us.

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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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