City collects $4M utility taxes, now proposes fees to pay water bill

The Rockford Register Star reported Tuesday that City officials are proposing a fee for the “convenience” of paying our monthly garbage and water bills. The proposal calls for a $3 fee per transaction for one-time payments over the phone and a $2 fee for one-time payments online. On top of those fees, there would be a $2 monthly convenience fee for those who still get paper bills mailed to their home or $5 per paper bill. These fees are in addition to the almost $4 million dollars the city will collect by adding a 5 percent charge to...

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Illinois Public Pensions, Municipal Bankruptcy and Illinois taxes

The unfunded liabilities facing government pension plans have gained increased public scrutiny during the past year. Governing entities and taxpayers are beginning to recognize the potential consequences of public pension liabilities. Headlines have exposed municipal bankruptcies, such as Detroit and numerous cities in California. In some extreme cases, pension liabilities have been one of the key drivers for municipal bankruptcy filings and reduced pensions could wind up as the solution for the budget shortfall. Current data indicates that...

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Illinois public unions will sue regardless of pension plan chosen

James McNamee, President of the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association, wrote in response to Scott Reeder’s column, Don’t worry about pension lawsuits; worry about savings, that “An unconstitutional reform is no reform at all. It might feel good to all those who have been advocating that public employees are the problem. Not the fact that not paying what you were supposed into the retirement system.” It’s not that public employees are the problem; it’s that the legislature over the years has voted for pensions that are...

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Illinois, like the U.S. government has spending problem

A recent post discussed the perennial debate between those who advocate for smaller government and those who advocate for bigger government. The debate usually centers on the question, “Does the government have a spending (debt) problem or a revenue (income tax) problem?” The U.S. government has seen its revenues increase in the last five years from $2.015T to $2.9T, an increase of almost 38% or 7.5% per year, while federal government spending increased over 8% on top of the revenue increase, for a total increase in spending of...

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The case for choosing Social Security benefits at age 62

Many Social Security experts opine that if you don’t need the money now, and you are in good health, then their advice is to wait at least until you are 66 years old, or 70 years old if you can, to receive higher benefits. The experts say that by waiting, you earn a higher monthly benefit, and that benefit, like all Social Security retirement benefits, is indexed for inflation. So waiting helps ensure you have more money in your later years. But these experts also stipulate that government studies show that retirees, on average, receive...

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