Bloomington’s Short Meeting

By: Diane Benjamin Everyone but Tim Gleason managed to show at last night. Gleason might have been attending another meeting. Jenna Kearns: Just stay seated during the Pledge of Allegiance. You would look like less of a hypocrite: The upcoming presentation for downtown wasn’t mentioned, supposedly the room in the Government Center will be done. […]

Update: Watch NONE of the Trustees gag tonight!

By: Diane Benjamin Population of Bloomington as of 7/1/2022: 78,864 Population of Normal as of 7/1/2022: 52,838 (Many ISU kids who don’t stay all year),US/PST045222 Bloomington reported 645 Full Time employees to the Comptroller last year (They want many more),%20EAV,%20and%20Employees&Code=064/025/30&CFY=2022&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No Normal reported 369 Full Time employees,%20EAV,%20and%20Employees&Code=064/095/31&CFY=2022&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No Bloomington population is 39.5% bigger […]

Bloomington raised your property taxes last night

By: Diane Benjamin I looked at the City website last night and no agenda was posted for the “special meeting”. It did announce the Committee of the Whole meeting was cancelled. No wonder nobody showed up for Public Comment! The “Special Meeting” agenda is posted now. Meetings that just happened are erased only to reappear […]

It’s not a workers rights amendment

By Diane Benjamin Remember when we defeated the Progressive Income Tax amendment? Amendment 1 will be on the November ballot, it must be defeated too. This Amendment hands power to government unions that shouldn’t exist at all.  They shouldn’t exist because they elect people to negotiate their own contracts.  We just get the bills. Amendment […]

Bobbleheads vote to raise Pam Reece’s salary

By: Diane Benjamin Documentation for Normal Monday night: Start on PDF page 40. Is Pam Reece going to take another job and relocate if Normal doesn’t give her a raise? Doubtful since her husband is a local lawyer. Since staff prepares the budget, Reece budgeted her own raise: PDF page 41 claims Reece’s salary […]

Bloomington: Questions that won’t be asked tonight

By: Diane Benjamin Bloomington could have a short meeting tonight: Some highlights: Is anyone going to ask why businesses keep leaving downtown for the East side? Is anyone going to admit the City Core is Veterans Parkway not downtown? Sick Leave Buy Back is still being paid, it just can’t be used to spike […]

McCarthy proves Democrats aren’t interested in fixing pensions

By: Diane Benjamin The Democrat Party of Illinois isn’t going to reform pensions with a Constitutional Amendment. Next year they do have a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot to hand unions even more power. If local elected officials across the State demanded a Constitutional Amendment to reform pensions, they would prove they care about […]

More proof Lorenz and Preston work for government – not you

By: Diane Benjamin Local property values are rising which means your property taxes will be going up based on the new value of your home. Units of government claiming they are keeping the rate the same as last year want you to believe they aren’t raising your taxes. When you bill comes in the mail […]

Normal Obligations to retirees

By: Diane Benjamin The below information is from the Illinois Comptroller website: Start with the Total OPEB Liability. In TWO years it increased 42.86%. What is OPEB? Other Post Employment Benefits, in other word promises to retired employees other than a pension. The Town of Normal pays these costs as incurred. Unlike the private […]

Normal: Should you expect property tax rate increases?

By: Diane Benjamin The answer to that question might lie in the Financial Trends and Conditions Reported presented at Tuesday’s Normal Town Council meeting: Pensions costs continue to increase and police and fire pension funding level decreased. IMRF is only well funded because they don’t put up with underfunding. (It also covers everybody else […]

Top local MONTHLY pensions

By: Diane Benjamin All Illinois government salaries and pensions can be found from this link: Every time a unit of government hires additional staff or provides lavish salaries, the pension costs go up. They know it doesn’t matter because YOU will be forced to pay by law. Your “public servants”. This one is interesting, […]

Expecting a State pension?

By: Diane Benjamin Illinois is 49th in pension funding as of 2019. Only New Jersey is worse: It is likely 2020 didn’t change these stats, local pensions aren’t included. Excerpts: Low funding levels are challenging not only because of the large contributions required to make up the debt, but also because they generate less in investment […]

House tried to fix this, Senate blocking it

By: Diane Benjamin On April 22nd the Illinois House passed HB 2523 116 to 0. For once every Democrat and every Republican agreed: What is HB 2523? This bill amends the language in the original bill that created the Police Officers Pension Investment Fund. Remember when pension funds were consolidated to hopefully perform better? […]

Normal is even worse

By: Diane Benjamin h/t a reader I wonder if Kathleen Lorenz thinks this makes the “professional staff” that can’t be questioned look good? That “professional staff” creates the budget, did they skip funding pensions? I wonder what will happen if Stan Nord mentions this at a meeting! I can predict: Link to the Bloomington data: […]

Looking bad Bloomington!

By: Diane Benjamin h/t a reader Stay tuned, Normal is next. analyzed the pensions funding for 175 Illinois communities. Lots of other information is also included. Bloomington received a “D” rating. The results prove how much government has grown in 19 years and how the increased revenue wasn’t used for essential items like funding […]

Normal: Why this election matters

By: Diane Benjamin Stan Nord was on Cities 92.9 this morning talking about Mayor Chris Koos attempting to silence him Monday night. Listen at the top of the 8:00 hour: It wouldn’t be possible to locate all of the taxpayer fleeces I’ve written about under Chris Koos, but here’s a few: Normal lost $330,000 […]

The Systemic Racism Myth

By: Diane Benjamin At the WGLT mayoral debate the good leftist host had to bring up systemic racism, that discussion kept him from asking about real issues. You are expected to believe minorities can not succeed because whites won’t let them. Obviously it’s a myth because their are countless successful minorities. Obviously it is a […]

How much was wasted allowing employees to spike pensions?

By: Diane Benjamin The law was changed in 2012 to require additional contributions to IMRF retirement fund if employees received large payouts that increased their pension at retirement. (accelerated payments) That law was badly needed because cities and employees never contributed to the higher payouts. Since the spiking practice should now be over in Bloomington […]

Is Normal Fooling you?

By: Diane Benjamin Since Chris Koos, Kevin McCarthy, Scott Preston, and Chemberly Cummings want your vote April 6th, does this look like something they would do to get it? The Normal Council held a 9 hour budget session yesterday. Surprise! They aren’t going to raise property taxes this year. Instead they are rearranging money they […]

Illinois is the WORST State for Middle Class Families

This is Kiplinger, not some conservative outlet trying to play politics: Before both Bloomington and Normal decide to raise property taxes, and Unit 5 does again – these were the rates: District 87: 5.144810 City of Bloomington: 1.090100 Unit 5: 5.355410 Town of Normal: 1.032630

Can you tell elections are coming? CIRBN!

By: Diane Benjamin I’ve questioned for YEARS why CIRBN employees are considered Town of Normal employees entitled to all the benefits every other employee has. CIRBN is a direct competitor to other internet providers who don’t have that luxury. The Town of Normal has subsidized CIRBN by using their service and paying them to run […]

Another Bloomington employee wants housing for the poor burned

By: Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story: A few people have wondered if the video in that story was taken out of context. If you want the 20 minutes before of ceiling shots, people cleaning their cameras, and others jumping in and out I can post it. The meeting was about to start when […]

I wonder how Bloomington and Normal will explain this:

By: Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council is meeting Monday night. The ICE hater s will be out in force because Donna Boelen’s council initiative is on the agenda. The far left doesn’t think laws are material to any conversation. At last Monday’s meeting the City auditor stated Bloomington is paying more than necessary […]

Bloomington officially releases the 4/30/2020 financials tonight. Late enough?

By: Diane Benjamin Due to Christmas the Bloomington City Council is changing their meeting schedule. They will be meeting tonight. One item on the agenda: It should be riveting to hear discussion of data that is 8 months old. Congrats Bloomington, you aren’t supposed to know any facts in a timely manner. I wonder if […]

Normal’s TOTAL debt

By: Diane Benjamin From the Illinois Comptrollers website: Bond debt and “Other” = $85,752,874 Note: The Town only paid off $2,205,000 the entire year. Keep in mind NO principal is being paid on some of the loans, just interest. They forgot to say what “other” is: (did the same in 2019 and 2018) Pensions […]

Early Voting starts tomorrow. DON’T!

by: Diane Benjamin In my opinion voting in September for an election in November is lamebrained, dim-witted, and unintelligent. There will be “October surprises”, the presidential debates don’t even start until next week. The ONLY reason to vote now is to pretend you investigated all the candidates and have determined which ones represent your values. […]

Normal’s debt

By: Diane Benjamin From Normal’s just issued financial statements as of 3/31/2020: Note the Long-Term total debt – $224,909,947. It increased more than $25 million in 1 year. What makes up that debt? $84,320,000 is bond debt, the IEPA loan doesn’t have interest expense. PDF page 31 Below is a chart showing the biggest […]

We are being lied to about MANY things – the FAIR TAX is one of them

See this link: Excerpts from the article: Don’t be deceived: The State of Illinois can not live within their means. The Progressive Tax Amendment is just the latest scheme to get more of your money. Instead of reforming un-affordable pensions, they want more of your money. Jobs will be lost and more people will […]

Normal: Financial Trends report is immaterial

By: Diane Benjamin During Tuesday’s night Normal Town Council meeting much was made about the Financial Trends Reports and what a valuable tool it is. This year it isn’t. It recaps what happened from 4/1/2019 through 3/31/2020. Something happened around the time this report ends: Glance through the report. It contains little current information: […]