Tax and Credit Ratings, Keeping Protesters from Blocking Roadways, Cicadas, and more

We’re back in Springfield tomorrow to begin the homestretch of our spring legislative session that will largely focus on crafting a new state budget. I will keep you updated.

Moody’s adds “positive” outlook to State of Illinois credit rating

This moves Illinois further away from “junk bond” territory. However, Illinois debts continue to have a lower credit rating than the debts issued by most U.S. states. Illinois taxpayers continue to be required to pay higher interest rates than most other states on the debts sold to rebuild public roads, bridges, and infrastructure. This is an increasing concern in a time of rising worldwide interest rates.   Moody’s now has a “positive” outlook on Illinois general obligation (GO) debt, but the debt continues to be ranked within its lowest “A” level, A3.

Chicago Bears want taxpayer funding to help pay for new $4.6 billion stadium

(image courtesy of Chicago Bears)

 In a stadium proposal presented to Chicago by Bears ownership last week, the domed, enclosed stadium would be built on the current site of historic Soldier Field, which would be almost entirely demolished. With 365-day operating ability, the proposed indoor stadium could be used for large U.S. sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four Tournament.

The April 2024 Chicago lakefront stadium proposal includes a request that public funding provide an additional $2.3 billion to the $4.6 billion development. Of this sum, $900 million would be used to complete the build-out of the $3.2 billion stadium itself, and $1.4 billion would be required for what is described as infrastructure improvements around and outside the stadium.

Keeping protesters from blocking major roadways

There is new legislation introduced that I mentioned in my last newsletter, but, given the continuing (and escalating) protests I wanted to give you a bit more information.

You will remember that on April 15, protesters cut–off vehicle access to O’Hare Airport causing major traffic delays, forcing people to exit their vehicles and walk along the expressway, luggage in tow, trying to make their flights on time. Other travelers missed their flights altogether. Not only did the protesters prevent people from getting to the airport and create a major traffic nightmare, but, their actions could have also delayed first responders and other medical services, like the transport of vital organs, with terrible consequences.

In response, new legislation (House Bill 5819) has been filed  to ensure safe access to airports and other busy public rights-a-way throughout the state by increasing the penalties for those who block highways. This will protect free speech AND public safety.

Nonpartisan Tax Foundation pinpoints heavy tax burden in Illinois

The database operated by the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation aggregates together the state and local income, sales, and property taxes paid in all 50 states. These numbers have been compiled into a 50-state chart, “State-Local Tax Burdens by State, Calendar Year 2022”.

Illinois has by far the heaviest tax burden of any of the Midwestern states. At 12.9%, it is well above all its neighboring states. The only state that approaches Illinois’ tax burden within the Midwest is Minnesota, with a 12.1% tax burden. Illinois’ tax burden is also well above all the burdens borne by all the Southern states, the states of the Great Plains, the Southwest, and the Rocky Mountains. Illinois’ status as the 44th-worst state in terms of tax burdens is exceeded by only six other states. All of them are on the West and East Coasts, with New York (15.9%) as state #50.      

Once-in-a-lifetime cicada emergence comes closer

A North American sap-eating insect, the cicada, has sorted itself out into broods that hibernate for more than a decade. When they emerge after their long sleep, hundreds of billions of cicadas will drink more tree sap, chirp loudly, mate, lay eggs, and their life cycles will come to an end.

In a mathematically unusual event, in 2024, a 13-year cycle and a 17-year cycle will come together. The emergence of these two broods will generate a paradise of insect life and noise throughout many of Illinois’ forests and woodlands. The last time these two groups of cicadas came out together was in May 1803, as Meriwether Lewis was gathering instruments and gear for his approaching expedition to the West.

Around the District

 It was my Honor to be a Presenting Speaker Friday at the (IESMA) Illinois Emergency Services Management Association 2024 Conference!

These Statewide First Responders have been with me on many of my best and worst days in law enforcement. Thank You for all you do to support our Illinois communities! Illinois Emergency Services Management Association

IDOC Career Opportunity!