Gas Station Civil Disobedience

By: Diane Benjamin I hope you aren’t excited by the “plummeting” cost of gas – that is how one local media described the price trend. Plummeting would be back to $3.00 or less as it was before WAR was declared on fossil fuels. Unaffordable everything is a direct result of that war, the poor and […]

State of Illinois is throwing your money away

By:  Diane Benjamin I reported in this story the McLean County Nursing Home was forced to repay $244,195 to the State of Illinois as a result of an audit. The Illinois Department of Public Health claimed the State overpaid them. The County was upset and blamed the Administrator (who has since resigned) for failing […]

Tari’s State of the City

By:  Diane Benjamin Hit play below to hear Tari’s message.  He spoke for around 15 minutes even though he started his speech with it would be shorter than usual. He credits cuts for balancing the budget – solid waste finally balances.  (They finally transferred all costs to taxpayers meaning you pay more now) He claims […]

Bloomington’s spending priorities Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin If the new City Manager is able to sell his house in Decatur, maybe he can take David Hales’s house off his hands.  It is still for sale, reduced AGAIN to $245,000.  It started at $279,900 last November. Tari’s favorite non-profit, Illinois Policy Institute, wrote about Bloomington’s new City Manager, it’s […]

Illinois’ neighbors scrapped Prevailing Wage

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I wrote about Bloomington approving a prevailing wage ordinance: Since Illinois is run by unions, the demise of Illinois will continue.  Government isn’t for the citizens, it’s for buying votes and getting campaign contributions in exchange. The Illinois Policy Institute reported a few days ago that Michigan is the […]

Missing Minutes is a pattern

By:  Diane Benjamin In the past month I had to file a FOIA request for the missing Sister Cities Committee minutes: I also had to file for the minutes missing from the Police Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB): The March and April Liquor Commission minutes are also missing: Tari needs to tell […]

Community (Organizing) Bus

By:  Diane Benjamin Connect Transit can not cover wages with what people pay to ride the bus.  Every month operations loses around $800,000 – that’s EVERY month. That is taxpayer money being used to drive empty buses around town!  Next to bike lanes without bikes, buses are an abomination to anyone who pays taxes.  Government’s […]

Liar Liar

By:  Diane Benjamin We have an A+ rating from the Illinois Policy Institute for transparency. – Tari Renner Did is more applicable Tari. Proof:  The Attorney General found Renner and the WHOLE Council guilty of violating the Open Meetings Act by discussing Metrozone in secret.  They were ordered to release the audio of the meeting […]

The Truth about Higher Ed

By:  Diane Benjamin The President of Northern Illinois University is just the latest to step down amid allegations of scandal.  The bigger scandal is what the Board is planning on paying him to leave!  Details of that soon.  Remember when ISU paid Tim Flanagan to leave – the day before he got arrested? The Illinois […]

Connect the Dots

By:  Diane Benjamin You already know R.C McBride is the General Manager of WGLT radio and he is a Trustee on the Normal Town Council: , , , , , . If that isn’t enough to question the integrity of WGLT reporting, here’s more: McBride is also a precinct committeeman for the […]

Bill Brady: Pay up Illinois

This article was just published by the Illinois Policy Institute: Bill Brady proves once again why the IL GOP is useless: Only in Illinois could a budget deal that hits struggling Illinoisans with billions in new taxes be called a “grand bargain.” Excerpts: State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, has proposed what he hopes may […]

Bloomington’s Compensation

By:  Diane Benjamin Obviously nothing happened at the Bloomington City Council meeting last night to change the pension spiking policies that have cost taxpayer’s millions.  Policies can’t be changed close to an election, so the gravy train for government employees continues. According to the nearly year old financial statements that were just released, employees can […]

Bloomington erases history

By:  Diane Benjamin It isn’t up to government to decide what documents might interest citizens, all documents belong to the citizens. The new City website is up and running, I still haven’t heard why the City has a new website or when the Council approved it, but a lot of the information is missing!  Starting […]

I was trying to be nice . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin I have no idea why Bloomington needed a new website.  The one they had worked far better than others in the area – especially the McLean County website. They built a new one anyway.  Since I am a programmer, I know it’s very difficult to find all the problems when launching extensive […]

More Miscellaneous

By:  Diane Benjamin 1) Tari Renner was on WJBC earlier this week with Scott Laughlin.  One of the topics was public comment.  Scott wondered why they bother or why they don’t set ridiculous rules like Normal and the County.  Tari played along.  What Tari should have said is the County and Normal’s public comment policies […]

UPDATE County Board: A chance to change

Quote from Special Agent Patrick Bohrer, assistant section chief Public Corruption/Civil Rights program at FBI Headquarters. “We depend greatly on assistance from the public. So let me end by saying, if anyone out there has any information about potential wrongdoing by a public official, please submit a tip online or contact your local FBI field […]

Need a raise? Leave Illinois!

Source: Tari loved the Illinois Policy Institute when they gave him a transparency award.  I wonder how he will feel about this?  Of course, part of the high taxes in Illinois are HIS fault! Tell Illinois politicians they have stolen enough of your money!

My view of the County Auditor

by:  Diane Benjamin There is one BIG misconception in government: Producing audited financial statements don’t mean the auditors looked for fraud! The auditors of every government agency are hired from the outside, but they only look at presentation, not transactions.  Want proof?  The books of Dixon Illinois where and employee stole over $50,000,000 were audited! […]

Workforce SHRINKS in Bloomington Normal

by: Diane Benjamin Local governments have still not faced the reality that local economic conditions are changing. The Illinois Policy Institute complied a report from data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The entire report can be seen here: Below are a few of the highlights, or should I say lowlights: Click on the […]

McLean County makes a mockery of Open Meetings Act

21 Sep 2014 | Brian Costin  Illinois Policy Institute In 2010, the Illinois General Assembly unanimously affirmed the right of citizens to speak at public meetings in stating: “Any person shall be permitted an opportunity to address public officials under the rules established and recorded by the public body.” In a sense, McLean County […]

Renner and Hales obviously hiding the truth

by:  Diane Benjamin At Monday’s Council meeting, spending over $1,000,000 to fix the Coliseum parking garage was on the agenda. Aldermen submitted questions for City staff before the meeting, the questions asked by Alderwoman Stearns weren’t included on the City website.  She questioned Renner and Hales at the meeting as to why hers weren’t included, […]

CEOs sound off on Illinois’ business climate

by: Michael Lucci CEOs of major U.S. corporations went on record in Chief Executive Magazine’s “2014 Best and Worst States for Business.”  Business leaders pulled no punches in their description of Illinois, going so far as to compare doing business in Illinois to doing business in a third-world country. The publication ranked Illinois at the bottom […]

The REAL State of the state (Illinois)

Attn. Renner & Koos: Blm-Normal is IN Illinois Response to Gov. Quinn by Illinois Policy Institute JOBS AND GROWTH Illinois has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation  More than 1 million Illinoisans are unemployed or underemployed Illinois is projected to be dead last in jobs growth in 2014 78,713 Illinoisans have given up and left […]

People are voting with their feet

The story of Illinois’ steady out-migration problem is well known, but just where are Illinoisans moving to? Is the outflow driven entirely by retirees and beach-goers moving to Florida? Not according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which just released its 2012 American Community Survey of state-to-state migration flow data. These data use census surveys to make estimates of migration […]

The Truth about the Teacher’s Retirement System

and why Gary Niehaus wants to retire early Even if Illinois pension funds see investment returns that exceed expectations, that still won’t be enough to plug the largest fund’s hole. The Teachers’ Retirement System reported its pension underfunding grew to $55.73 billion as of June 30, 2013 — an increase of more than $3.5 billion […]

Dan Brady voted against this bill.

Ask him why, he’s got a story.  None of it has anything to do with the Campaign Contributions from the Teachers Union.  Does showing up everywhere make a good legislator?  Evidently, nobody is running against him again.  He had a chance to free around 30,000 Chicago kids from rotten schools and the teacher’s union.  He […]

State Universities Retirement System option provides model for Illinois pension reform

6/14/2013 by:  Ben VanMetre Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst Illinois Policy Institute The Illinois General Assembly is gearing up for a special session to discuss pensions next week because of lawmakers’ reform inaction during the recent spring session, which resulted in back-to-back credit rating downgrades. The debate during session will likely be over which of two plans […]

Union supported bad pension policy

by:  Paul Kersey Illinois Policy Institute As Illinois government pensions continue to deteriorate, union officials argue that they are not to blame; that the fault lies with politicians who failed to fund pensions. For instance, the union pension lobby group “We Are One Illinois” argues that, “[F]or decades, Illinois politicians shorted or skipped the employer […]

Current pension reform bills not good enough

PENSION FUNDS’ EXPECTED RATES OF RETURN: “BIGGEST LIE IN GLOBAL FINANCE” By Ted Dabrowski  In the April 10 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Andy Kessler points out that the bankruptcy situation in Stockton, Calif., “may expose the little-known but biggest lie in global finance: pension funds’ expected rate of return.” Last June the city of […]

School Funding – Illinois

Chicago and downstate pols having been fighting over state money ever since the Windy City rose from the swamps along Lake Michigan. So regional funding squabbles are nothing new in the Illinois General Assembly. But to hear House Speaker Mike Madigan talk, one might think a bunch of downstate yokels are chowing down on feast […]

Politicians gamble on risky investment with TRS funds

Have you ever wondered what investments politicians have made using teachers’ retirement savings? If you haven’t, you should be interested. That’s because the politicians want the state government, and by extension, your tax dollars, to financially guarantee the state pension funds in case they run out of money for government worker retirements. So just what […]

NO Pension Bailout!

Over the weekend, the Peoria Journal Star published a letter to the editor from an elementary school principal in downstate Illinois. The introduction read: “Has anyone in an elected position in Illinois looked at the feasibility of pursuing a federal bailout of the state’s Teachers’ Retirement System?” Why yes – yes, they have. Back in 2009, Gov. […]

When will the whining end and the reforming begin?

That’s what kept running through my mind this past week as I listened to politicians, union leaders and government employees talk about the state’s pension woes. None of the plans Illinois lawmakers are considering will go anywhere near solving the state’s long-term pension crisis. And yet even the most modest proposals have government workers angry. […]