The Cost to LEAVE Illinois goes up!

By:  Diane Benjamin We know people are leaving Illinois.  We also know the people in charge think they can fix everything with higher taxes.  Illinois is spiraling out of control while those who can take steps to reverse the course have their heads buried deep in propaganda.  Never forget what party is in complete control […]

Monday is:

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday is RAISE your TAXES day!  The fund balances aren’t enough!  You must pay. Be compliant, stay home, cuss at the Council from the safety of your couch. Or, you could quit eating out as much and paying the outrageous food and beverage taxes.  Or, you could buy more on-line and save those […]

Bloomington: $20 Million in cuts?

By:  Diane Benjamin Can $20 million be cut from Bloomington’s budget?  David Hales thinks disaster would strike Bloomington if the tax increases were rolled back.  (The media happily reports it!) Here’s a better question: The 2012 TOTAL budget was $165.3 million (Pre Tari) The 2013 TOTAL budget was $167 million (Pre Tari) That 2017 TOTAL […]

What Bloomington is paying Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin The agenda for Monday’s meeting was posted on Thursday.  The agenda lists the total to be approved for payment in Bills and Payroll.  Somehow, even though the City knew what the list was, it wasn’t posted until after 4:30 Friday.  Anybody think they are hiding something?  See the list HERE Actually a […]

About that last Downtown TIF

By:  Diane Benjamin The lovers of all things downtown like to claim the last TIF was a huge success. How about some facts? 212 N Center – the address of the Ensenberger condos – shows 31 units on the County website.  Only 8 of the 31 are now owned by someone other than the Huffs.  […]

Coliseum devours taxes

By:  Diane Benjamin Besides the constant maintenance, new video boards and equipment, massive losses, and possible fraud – there’s more. In today’s paper: The City of Bloomington had to get a building permit to fix the Coliseum they own.  I wonder what it cost? Maybe failure to comply with ADA is why an occupancy permit […]

Mr Koos goes to Washington

By:  Diane Benjamin Unlike the Constitution Mr. Smith (Jimmy Stewart) took to Washington DC (the original), Chris Koos wrote one to serve his purpose.  He was quoted in the paper:  “Federal support for transportation is a longstanding tradition and a core constitutional responsibility.” Maybe somebody should ask Koos where he found that in the Constitution.  […]

Goodbye Transparency

By:  Diane Benjamin On June 23, 2016 I posted an email from Alderman Hauman questioning why David Hales did a City Manager’s Report:  https://blnnews.com/2016/06/23/hauman-shows-no-respect-for-citizens/ It looks like Hales agrees and is therefore not compiling the report anymore.  For May, some data is in a folder – most is missing:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=9539 I’m sure posting real information, […]

Common Sense vrs Government

By:  Diane Benjamin Connect Transit held another Board meeting today.  Revenue for the month of May was $136,587. Expenses were $806,208 http://www.connect-transit.com/documents/June%2028%202016%20Regular%20Board%20Meeting%20Binder1.pdf Your tax dollars subsidized empty buses! Ridership was down again – off 9.4%. The following Facebook post was used with permission: . A Private Sector business owner is intelligent enough to stop when […]

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 […]

Zero Transparency: McLean County

By:  Diane Benjamin Last November the McLean County Board raised your property taxes. According to Board member Wendt, the County revenues were $1,000,000 higher than the previous year.  It wasn’t enough. Something interesting happened before the final budget vote.  An amendment was offered by member Erickson to use part of the reserves instead of raising […]

Making Progress to WHAT?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Council meeting last night was short.  The video is below.  Public Comment starts at 4:05.  I hear most of the Council was busy doing other things instead of listening to the speakers.  There are some CAN’T MISS comments, including Judy Stearns, Alton Franklin, Gary Lambert, and Joe Walden. We always hear […]

Let’s talk Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin One of my readers sent the Sheep story to the Council.  Tari responded with this email: From: Tari Renner <trenner@cityblm.org> To: Kevin Gerrard <redacted> Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 6:39 AM Subject: Re: Fw: [New post] Big crowd, but SHEEP LOSE Kevin,You should tell your colleague that, as usual, she has her […]

Give them a trophy

By:  Diane Benjamin Budget Task Force report: 4 meeting focused on cuts 1 meeting focused on Revenue The ONLY cuts discussed were cuts that have been discussed for YEARS: Make schools pay for the Resource Officer Make downtown pay for the Police Hire Back program – David Hales was charged with doing this years ago.  […]

More taxes without facts

By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Transparency wants his Budget Tax Force to report to the Council in September.  Gee Mayor, how are they putting everything on the table when nothing is on the table yet? The audited financial statements for the Coliseum, which will show a much bigger loss than previously reported, won’t be out until […]

High taxes – People leave!

By:  Diane Benjamin Attn:  Bloomington Budget Task Force, McLean County Board, and Normal City Council Illinois has the second highest property tax bills in the country!  https://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-homeowners-pay-the-second-highest-property-taxes-in-the-u-s/ People are leaving both Bloomington and Normal:  https://d2dv7hze646xr.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Population_Change_JobsGrowth.png Just because you have some project you want to do doesn’t mean you can raise taxes to do it., If […]

Taxes: How about the truth

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington is touting itself as having a lower Sales Tax rate than surrounding communities.  Of course, the reason for saying it is so they can raise theirs. Conveniently left out of the conversation is how many OTHER taxes each City has.  Let’s look at Champaign   http://ci.champaign.il.us/departments/finance/administrative-services-division/sales-tax-information-2/ 1% City Sales Tax 1.5% Home Rule […]

Taxed to death? Update!

Contrary to claims made by Tari, Bloomington population is decreasing.  So is Normal’s.  Raise taxes and watch the people flee! Source:  https://www.illinoispolicy.org/most-illinois-cities-are-shrinking-according-to-u-s-census-bureau/?utm_source=Illinois+Policy%3A+Opens&utm_campaign=8d7c43b0c3-utm_source%3Dmailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9471dd8540-8d7c43b0c3-14268985 By:  Diane Benjamin Both Bloomington and Normal are bleeding taxpayers to death with new taxes and fees or raising old ones.  Both have a 2% Food and Beverage Tax, but it’s really sad when […]

No new taxes?

By:  Diane Benjamin To taxpayers, raising fees is the same thing as raising taxes.  Since the City has proudly proclaimed there are no tax increases in the 2016 budget, remember when you are forced to pay more – It’s Not A Tax. From the 2016 Budget – Book 1, page 35:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8224

Not willing to face reality

by:  Diane Benjamin K-Mart is just the latest to announce it is closing.  Many smaller businesses have or are closing. Both Bloomington and Normal have reported Sales Tax Revenue is down. The Pantagraph reported B-N homes sales have improved – but read the article to the bottom.  New construction lags behind last year.  It’s 1/3 […]

Phone/Cell Phone bills going up?

by:  Diane Benjamin In Bloomington your telecommunications tax went up in April – Thanks to Mayor Tyranny’s inability to consider cuts to any City spending – other than increases proposed by him and Hales: UTILITY RATES AS OF APRIL 28, 2014 UTILITY COMPONENT CHARGE METHOD OLD RATE NEW RATE STATUTORY LIMIT Electric kilowatt per hour […]

Renner’s man-crush on Koos

by:  Diane Benjamin Did you ever wonder where Mayor Renner got the idea that Bloomington needed a Communications Manager?  Try Normal: http://il-normal.civicplus.com/Directory.aspx?did=18 Staff Name Title Email Phone Fedden, Sandy Administrative Secretary sfedden@normal.org (309) 454-9503 Heffernan, Sally Assistant City Manager sheffernan@normal.org (309) 454-9504 Peterson, Mark R. City Manager mpeterson@normal.org (309) 454-9777 Reece, Pamela Deputy City Manager […]

#DumpDurbin – more reasons

by:  Diane Benjamin If you firmly believe government has to run every part of your life – vote Durbin!  The rest of us see Durbin’s empire crumbling around him – the peons just won’t comply! His latest target is Walgreens.  He has declared Walgreens unpatriotic for considering leaving America for Switzerland.  You can see his […]

Council recap – if you aren’t watching

by:  Diane Benjamin The meeting started with public comments.  One citizen arrived late (from working all day), Alderman Lower had to make a motion to allow him to speak.  Alderman Fazzini voted AGAINST letting him speak, all other members voted YES.  Nothing else had been started before the vote – nice way to silence the […]

Fly on the Wall: Bloomington Taxes

A friend buzzing around Bloomington just told me Pizza Ranch was going to move in at the old Holiday Inn site off Veterans, but now the For Sale sign is back up. Did they hear about the tax increases coming?  Sales, Amusement, Sewer, Utility . . . Maybe they should have requested a handout.  

This is why Bloomington thinks they CAN raise taxes

by:  Diane Benjamin This information is also from the Bloomington City Managers report:  http://www.cityblm.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=6417 I STRONGLY urge the Citizens of Bloomington to read the report.   Parks and Rec has 9 pages.  It’s a glowing report recapping all the activities your government is providing for you.  It’s also the reason why the City needs more […]

FIVE MAINSTREAM REPUBLICAN RESOLUTIONS FOR 2013

By John F. Di Leo  Time once again for a list of New Year’s Resolutions for the Republican Party.  The party leaders haven’t taken my advice these past few years, so there’s no reason to believe they shall this year, but who knows?  Perhaps if things get too dire, they’ll start looking to bloggers for solutions […]

McLean County Taxes Compared to ALL Counties

This report was released by the tax foundation in 2011 for 2005-2009.  http://taxfoundation.org/article/property-taxes-owner-occupied-housing-county-ranked-taxes-paid-2005-2009-five-year-average The comparison is for ALL Counties in the United States.  McLean County isn’t far down the list: #130 for medium property tax paid on homes #61 for % of tax paid based on home value #151 for % of tax based on […]

US Tax System is Stupid

When you account for all forms of taxation, there are some Americans that “play by the rules” that are sending more than half of their incomes to the government. This is why “tax avoidance” has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States.  People are sick and tired of being drained dry by a system that […]