Taxes you probably didn’t know about

By:  Diane Benjamin The first 27 pages of the Detailed Budget lists Taxes and Fees:  FY 2017 Budget Detail More detail is available in the budget on most of these items.  FIFTY ways to tax you to death!  Even if the tax isn’t direct, the business forced to pay the tax just passes the cost […]

Facebook Bias

By:  Diane Benjamin Facebook has been in the news lately for blocking conservative posts.  Need proof? Except nobody reported the post.  It was auto-reported to Facebook.  In other words, FACEBOOK reported this post to itself.  As an Admin on the site I can go ahead and approve the post if I want. Meanwhile, nobody in […]

Media Bias

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph continues to reject Letters to the Editor without stating a reason.  Some of the top read stories on are rejected letters I have printed. Letters to the Editor have existed for hundreds of years to give citizens a voice.  If the Pantagraph silences you, send your letter to me.  […]

Tari: “I know the future”

By:  Diane Benjamin Citizens have forgotten history.  Getting away from repressive government is why people took a treacherous journey by boat across an ocean to get here.  It’s why they fought a war to found a new country.  They wanted to be free. Free to practice the religion of their choice. Free to govern themselves. […]

Ian is gone again

By:  Diane Benjamin Ian Bayne is no longer at 98.3. I know a lot about what happened, but I’m not talking. Please take the poll.  I’m sure he would run on “Taking Bloomington Back” from the big spenders. . . . Click here for details . .

Budgeted consultants

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are some consulting items I’ve found in the 2017 Detailed Budget:  FY 2017 Budget Detail There are others in Water Admin and Engineering that I didn’t post.  Some items do require consultants. ________________________ ANNUAL COUNCIL RETREAT FACILITATOR SERVICES – $25,000.00 DEPARTMENT HEAD RETREAT FACILITATOR SERVICES – $12,000.00 LYNN MONTEI ASSOCIATES – […]

Tax recap – by request

By: Diane Benjamin A reader asked me yesterday to list all the taxes Bloomington charges, so I will. The current total local sales tax rate in Bloomington, IL is 8.750%. Sales Tax Breakdown District Rate Illinois State 6.250% McLean County 0.000% Bloomington 2.500% Total   8.750% Sales tax was increase 1% as of January 1st […]

More questionable Budget

By:  Diane Benjamin See the detailed budget here:  FY 2017 Budget Detail  The document can be searched – if you want more information on any item Click Edit – Find and type the exact words in the Search Box. This looks like more signs pointing downtown: Wayfinding signage – adding  $100,000 More consultants: Downtown Parking […]

You missed this Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin Either the media fell asleep during last Monday’s Council meeting or they didn’t report this on purpose.  A presentation was made by the Fire Chief – this was included: Public Safety has been very high on citizen’s priority lists for City spending.  This one graphic is MILLIONS of dollars with millions more […]

Budget: Entertaining you!

By:  Diane Benjamin Quality of Life?  it’s not if you can’t afford to live here or participate! Details for anything listed as Total are in this document  FY 2017 Budget Detail  It’s searchable, so any item is easy to find. Much of the below is what Bloomington spends to entertain you.  I’m purposely not including […]

Fleecing where you don’t notice

By:  Diane Benjamin Both Bloomington and Normal hesitate to raise property tax rates because citizens will notice.  They can keep the rate level and collect more just by increasing  the assessed value of your home.   Illinois has the highest property taxes in the country, if the cities cared their rates would decrease every year because […]

Budgeted Legal: burning bucks

By:  Diane Benjamin A reader made a terrific point:  Did the Budget Task Force have a line item budget – like the one I’ve been posting?  I suspect not since they only spoke of BIG spending items.  Maybe they should meet again and prove they weren’t a joke because right now they sure look like […]

Pretending to create success

By:  Diane Benjamin Government in this country has never created prosperity.  Every dollar they spend they stole from people who worked for it.  Capitalism requires government to get out of the way so individuals can create their own success – or fail on their own. Bloomington government believes they can create economic development by throwing […]

Internet Back – Sad for the City!

By:  Diane Benjamin I remember listening to David Hales on WJBC talking about Bloomington’s budget.  He lamented everything possible had already been cut.  Any more cuts wouldn’t be fat or meat – it would be bone. Well, a citizen took it on himself to get a DETAILED line item budget.  Thanks Bruce Meeks.  The Council […]

Developers don’t have to pay

By: Diane Benjamin I still don’t have internet – worse no expected day, month, or year it will be fixed.  Posts will be limited or non-existent until it’s repaired. Previously Snyder owed the City of Bloomington over $5 MILLION in development fees. Has he paid the bill? I really doubt it! At tonight’s Council meeting […]

The promised Surprise:

By:  Diane Benjamin The sub-title for BlnNews is News Nobody Reports.  Citizens are tired of getting news from government sponsored sources who never express independent thoughts or do any investigations. I can prove it.  Today BlnNews crossed ONE MILLION page views: Obviously a lot of people want real news.  Are you willingly to help keep […]

Now for the Court Update!

By:  Diane Benjamin Ever heard of lawyers dragging on a case hoping you quit? I dragged it on long enough for CIAM quit! Brief recap: I filed the lawsuit when it became obvious the City NEVER checked to see if concession revenue at the Coliseum was paid according to the contract.  It was also apparent […]

Court update

By:  Diane Benjamin Come back tomorrow.  I REALLY don’t feel like writing now.  It’s complicated. (that doesn’t mean bad) Tomorrow will also have a totally unrelated surprise.  

Madigan too busy

By:  Diane Benjamin Some points of law are never settled because government refused to act.  Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office is doing just that. Remember many years ago when Judy Stearns filed a complaint against Tari Renner for violating the Open Meetings Act?  It was right after he got elected.  He decided winning an election […]

Bloomington made the Huffington Post

By:  Diane Benjamin The title of the HuffPo story is:  11 Amazing Cities You’ve Never Thought To Live In, But Should See it here: The story claims Bloomington has “affordable rent”. Didn’t the League of Women Voters just do an analysis that claimed rent wasn’t affordable?  Isn’t there a lot of talk about needing […]

Connect Transit 2.0

By:  Diane Benjamin When government thinks they are helping people they are really robbing the population – the ones paying the bills and the ones receiving goods or services. Obviously if you are forced to give your money to the government for things you never use, want, or need your wallet is being fleeced.  Many […]

More Crony capitalism in Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin Friends of government and preferred community investors always get a break.  Normal doesn’t care that everybody else pays more so they can give breaks to people/groups/companies they approve of. Private investment flees when free market competition doesn’t exist.  Why invest when government works against you by providing freebies to competitors? Many people […]

Buragas not Renner’s pet anymore?

By:  Diane Benjamin At the May 9th Council meeting Alderman Buragas went into a long speech about the Hales review process, but then voted yes to his raise anyway.  Her speech seemed out-of-place unless she was going to vote against the increase. Last night she voted against the TIF feasibility study.  I don’t know why […]

Court Thursday

By:  Diane Benjamin Thursday, May 19, 2016 02:30 PM BENJAMIN VS CITY OF BLOOMINGTON & CENTRAL ILLINOIS ARENA MANAGEMENT 5C 2015MR000763 . This will be the first time with Judge Foley instead of Judge Lawrence.  Note the new courtroom-5C I have hope she will realize this is a simple FOIA case.  Bloomington quit defending CIAM […]

TIF reporting problems

By:  Diane Benjamin The One Normal Plaza TIF began 10/19/2009.  Luckily, all the TIF reports are on-line.  To make it easy, I posted them all here: 2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015 The purpose of a TIF is to cure blighted areas.  The Town gets to keep any increases in property taxes in the […]

Breaking News!

By:  Diane Benjamin Former County Board Chair Matt Sorensen, who is under federal indictment, has finally filed papers to have his name removed from the November ballot. I have confirmed this with McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael. (yep, another scoop)      

Normal: Sick of your government yet?

By:  Diane Benjamin I rarely write about Normal because the citizens never get outraged.  What does it take?  Bankruptcy? Tonight: Chris Koos had to know the Mitsubishi plant was already sold to a liquidator, but took a trip funded by you to Germany anyway: Hope the Council enjoyed eating at your expense:   Do residents […]

Taxpayer theft by BUS

(Written by my 15 year-old intern) By: Sarah Welander Bus systems are a wonderful way for towns like Bloomington-Normal to transport people. People who don’t have cars use them and elderly people who can’t drive use them. There is no way to lie and say buses aren’t a good thing, but why is there so […]

Update: VenueWorks: What happened?

I received this response from the Executive Director: Diane, I can certainly agree the lines for concessions last night was unacceptable.  No excuse.  Customers will see remarkable change for the better at the next show – Rob Zombie. On the sound, I had not heard any complaints. Curtis Webb By:  Diane Benjamin The first big […]

A MADIGAN sued by Watchdogs

By:  Diane Benjamin The Edgar County Watchdogs have filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Arts Council Agency headed by Shirley Madigan – wife of Speaker Mike Madigan and mother of AG Lisa Madigan. The suit accuses IACA of violating the Freedom of Information Act.  See the documents here:  2016-MR-23-1 The Liberty Justice Center is representing […]

Bloomington got lucky – for now (kidding)

No – you aren’t safe.  Evidently everybody can’t attend, so they changed the meeting from Committee of the Whole to Special Meeting.   By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor-Developer Renner just can’t stop creating his version of utopia in Bloomington.  He’s the king of paying people (with your money) to create economic development.  The local, state, and […]