More Bankruptcy Coming (to a city near you)

The top 10 biggest U.S. cities on the brink of pension bankruptcy.

#1 Philadelphia – Unfunded liability of $9 billion, $16,696 per household, only 1 year before the pension accounts are empty

#2 Chicago – Unfunded liability of $44.8 billion, $41.966 per household, money runs out in 4 years

#3 Boston – Unfunded liability of $7.5 billion, $30,901 per household, money runs out in 4 years

#4 Cincinnati – Unfunded liability of $2 billion, $15,681 per household, money runs out in 5 years

#5 St Paul – Unfunded liability of $1.4 billion, $13,686 per household, money runs out in 5 years

#6 Jacksonville – Unfunded liability of $4 billion, $12,944 per household, money runs out in 5 years

#7 New York City – Unfunded liability of $122 billion, $38,866 per household, money runs out in 6 years

#8 Baltimore – Unfunded liability of $3.7 billion, $15, 420 per household, money runs out in 7 years

#9 Detroit – Unfunded liability of $6.4 billion, $18,643 per household, money runs out in 8 years

#10 Fort Worth – Unfunded liability of $2 billion, $7,212 per household, money runs out in 8 years

via Business Insider.

This list was put together using data from 2010-12.  So Detroit is on the list… and not at the top.  So how was Detroit the first to go?  Because the tax base fled in mass.  The constant media attention to Detroit didn’t help either.  But kudos to them for filing early and getting it out of the way.  The longer you wait the worse it is for everybody.

Chicago sadly has the highest debt per capita.  The debt per household is approaching the average annual household income.  Who’s going to pay that off?  How many will participate in paying?  As Obama would say, will be make sure that everyone pays their fair share?

Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Motor Fuel Debt

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to A3 from Aa3 the rating on the City of Chicago’s (IL) $181 million of outstanding rated motor fuel tax debt. The outlook has been revised to negative.

via Moody’s.

Surprises no one.  Barely qualifies as news actually.

The City’s broke.  Unemployment (real unemployment, the U6 number) is out of control and people simply don’t have the means to support driving when they don’t have to.  Tie that in with Springfield’s ability and desire to continue to kick-the-can down the road and Chicago may just get screwed on its portion of the fuel tax.

It’s generally dumb anyway that Chicago gets a kick-back on the state’s fuel tax anyway as the city has it’s own fuel tax.  It’s just robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Round and round the money goes.




Most Shooters In Chicago Never Face Charges

Last year, gunmen who shot and wounded someone got away without criminal charges 94 percent of the time, according to a Chicago analysis of police data.

That’s even worse than 2011, when 91.5 percent of shooters escaped charges, according to the data.

Chicago’s top cop said the “no-snitch” code of silence on the street is the biggest contributor in his department’s struggle to charge shooters.

via Chicago.

This is incredible!!

Garry McCarthy — Chicago’s “Top Cop” — wants to blame the people who live in constant fear in gang controlled neighborhoods for not coming forward and turning-in, and testifying against the gang members that run the place.  Asshat!!

Then you get our worthless State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez who won’t even speak for herself and instead walks out the “Chief of Staff” who says ‘It’s not our fault either.’

We have over 400 dead (mostly black) school children every year in this town and our leaders are playing pass-the-buck.  It’s embarrassing but these clowns are too dumb to even realize they should be ashamed of themselves.

Gun Violence and Race

Chicago is home to some 2,707,120 people (U.S. Census.)  We’re also told that about 32.9% are black while 45% are white.  That equates to about 890,642 black people and 1,218,204 white people in Chicago.  So far, nothing unusual.

Over at the Red Eye (a Tribune Media property) they have a worksheet showing the murder victims in Chicago.  The results show 392 black victims and 116 white victims.  Some algebra we calculate that the homicide rate in Chicago (by all causes, not just guns) is:

44.01 / 100,000 for black people, and 9.52  / 100,000 for white people.

For the record, the U.S. homicide rate (by all causes, not just guns) — for the entire country — is 4.8.

Chicago’s homicide rate (by all causes, not just guns) for everyone is 18.98.

If Chicago was it’s own country, the homicide rate among black’s in Chicago would rate between Belize (41.4) and Venezuela. (45.1.)

If Chicago was it’s own country, the homicide rate among white’s in Chicago would rate between Bolivia (8.9) and Nauru (9.8.)

Chicago is a dangerous place for everybody (as compared to the U.S. countryside) but is nearly 5 times more dangerous for blacks as for whites.

The Atlantic took this a bit further; looking only a GUN homicides:

The pattern is staggering. A number of U.S. cities have gun homicide rates in line with the most deadly nations in the world.  If it were a country,

New Orleans (with a rate 62.1 gun murders per 100,000 people) would rank second in the world.

Detroit’s gun homicide rate (35.9) is just a bit less than El Salvador (39.9).

Baltimore’s rate (29.7) is not too far off that of Guatemala (34.8).

Gun murder in Newark (25.4) and Miami (23.7) is comparable to Colombia (27.1).

Washington D.C. (19) has a higher rate of gun homicide than Brazil (18.1).

Atlanta’s rate (17.2) is about the same as South Africa (17).

Cleveland (17.4) has a higher rate than the Dominican Republic (16.3).

Gun murder in Buffalo (16.5) is similar to Panama (16.2).

Houston’s rate (12.9) is slightly higher than Ecuador’s (12.7).

Gun homicide in Chicago (11.6) is similar to Guyana (11.5).

Phoenix’s rate (10.6) is slightly higher than Mexico (10).

Los Angeles (9.2) is comparable to the Philippines (8.9).

Boston rate (6.2) is higher than Nicaragua (5.9).

New York, where gun murders have declined to just four per 100,000, is still higher than Argentina (3).

Even the cities with the lowest homicide rates by American standards, like San Jose and Austin, compare to Albania and Cambodia respectively.

via The Atlantic Cities.


Back to Chicago…

Of the 441 gun homicide victims in Chicago 347 (or 78.68%) were black; 91 (20.63%) were white.  Blacks are victims of gun homicides at over twice the rate to their population.  White are victims less than one-half the rate to their population.

I’m willing to bet you that if we looked into all of these cities on The Atlantic list that we would find similar results.  In this country we have a serious gun violence problem in the black community.  It needs to be dealt with.  It is unfair and unjust that peaceful people — of any race — have to live in communities plagued by violence.  But because of the unique nature of this problem a wide-sweeping federal solution will never work.

Taking guns away from law abiding citizens in the sticks will not solve the inner city gun problems.

Chicago’s New Billboard Deal All But Signed

Kudos to Alderman Bob Fioretti:

A Chicago City Council committee signed off Monday on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s latest privatization deal—even though, after nearly five hours of testimony, aldermen still didn’t quite know how it added up for taxpayers, what its shortfalls might be, or exactly which companies were included in putting it together.

In more than a few places, they weren’t even sure what the contract said.

“As I tried to go through these documents over the weekend, I have to admit, I don’t really have the expertise to understand them,” said Ed Burke, who’s read a few contracts in more than four decades as an alderman and attorney.  …

As they explained, the deal involves renting out public space to a private billboard company in return for some of the proceeds. The firm, Interstate JCDecaux, will pay to put up digital billboards on 34 sites along expressways in Chicago. In return, the city will collect a guaranteed $155 million over the next twenty years, with an option to extend it for nine more.The city will also get a share of the advertising revenues—though there are pages of complex formulas and footnotes that determine the exact amount. For example, taxpayers will essentially pay back some of the millions they’re receiving up front, since over time Interstate JCDecaux will recoup the costs of building and maintaining the billboards before sharing proceeds with the city.  …

“Was there any independent financial analysis for this particular proposal?” asked 46th Ward alderman James Cappleman.”Not directly,” said Scott.  …

But the guaranteed payouts are far below that—the most per year is $15 million, in 2013.

And this is where the fun starts…

But Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd) messed everything up by asking for a head count to see if they had a quorum.

This was a shocking development, as committee meetings regularly proceed without anything close to half their members present, which is technically what they’re supposed to have. But under the council rules it doesn’t matter unless a member of the committee raises a stink about it.

Such stink raising is not common.

In fact, Carrie Austin, chair of the budget committee, wasn’t deeply irked that such a disgraceful thing was happening on her watch. She tried to turn Fioretti to stone with an infuriated stare. “I find it awful strange that you would call a quorum now, after you know so many people have left.”

“I think it’s entirely appropriate,” Fioretti replied, plopping down in his seat as if to say, what are they going to do—map me out of my ward?

Austin recessed the committee and, along with mayoral aides, got on the phone to round up some more warm bodies.

A half hour later the roll was called again, and 23 aldermen were counted as present and more-or-less awake—one more than needed for a quorum, and plenty more than needed to sign off on the billboard deal. It passed 20-3, with only Fioretti, Waguespack, and Pawar opposing.

via Chicago Reader.

This is going to be the parking meter deal redux.  Just you wait.  We’re going to have digital advertising everywhere and the city is going to get a mere $15 million a year.  JCDecaux is going to make 4 or 5 times that.

This is a farce.  In a few years Rahm is going to ask JCDecaux for a “favor” and they’re going to do it.  It’s all connected, and corrupt.

Rahm: Higher Cigarette & Amusement Taxes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is considering an increase in city taxes on cigarettes and entertainment to help close an anticipated $369 million gap in next year’s budget, City Hall sources said Wednesday.  …

It’s unclear how much the cigarette tax might be raised. A city tobacco tax increase would come on the heels of a $1-a-pack state hike that took effect July 1. The city last increased its cigarette tax by 20 cents — to 68 cents a pack — in 2006.

Taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago total $5.67, the second-highest per-pack tax in the nation, behind New York City’s $5.85 a pack. The city expects to bring in $18.7 million in cigarette taxes this year, compared with $32.9 million just six years ago, according to city financial records.

via Chicago Tribune.

Cook County has already proven that when you raise cigarette taxes you lose revenue.  The city’s own numbers are another example of that.

Does Rahm have any plan to cut ANY spending?  Anything other than police officers?

Why don’t we shut down the TIFs?  Take fund necessary to pay off the bonds and do so; take the rest of the funds and return them to the general fund.  That would be quick and easy.

Enough with the !@#$^ taxes.

Ald. “New Tax” Cardenas Wants $5/mo

Chicago should impose a “safety and security fee” — as high as $5 a month on homes and businesses — to generate the $70 million needed to hire 700 additional police officers, an influential alderman said Thursday.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the City Council’s Health Committee, said Chicago desperately needs a surge in police hiring to ease a severe manpower shortage that has hamstrung the city’s ability to stop a surge in homicides and shootings.  …

Police and Fire are the very definition of general funds.  This is nothing more than a $60/year tax on everyone.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields said he would welcome “any new source of revenue” that could be used to bolster a police force that stands at 11,799 after a three-year hiring slowdown.

Through Aug. 15, 420 police officers had retired, but only 127 new officers had been hired, he said.

But, Shields said, “Why is it that we have to go to another source of revenue to pay for these officers? Policing is a basic city service that should be in the budget without a new fee. The mayor eliminated 1,252 police vacancies. The 2012 budget should not have been balanced at the expense of public safety. Those vacancies should have been filled.”   …

Cardenas is the aldermen who championed Chicago’s nickel-a-container tax on bottled water.He also proposed an anti-obesity plan to tax Chicago consumers of soda pop, energy drinks and other sugary beverages anywhere from 15 to 30 cents-a-contain to a penny-an-ounce.

via SunTimes.

How about we eliminate the TIFs and put all that money back into the general fund?  Then we’d have money for police, fire, and all kinds of other services.  Heck, we might even be able to fund the teachers’ pensions.

Ald. Cardenas, we’re taxed to death already!  Enough.

Illinois – 4th Worst Legal Climate for Business

Illinois, along with California, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia, are among the worst states in the country for businesses because of their legal climates, according to survey of corporate attorneys released Monday.

Two Illinois counties did not fare well in the survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s institute for legal reform, either. Cook County was named the most unfair and unreasonable jurisdiction, and Madison County was named the sixth most unfair county.  …

Illinois’ ranking this year, 46th among the 50 states in terms of the fairness of its litigation environment, compares with previous rankings of the 45th worst state in 2010 and the 46th worst in 2008.via Chicago Tribune.

So we’ve been terrible; no one’s done anything about it so we’re still terrible.  I see.  Hey Gov. Quinn, Anybody home down there?

We have the worst pensions in the country and and a unfair and unreasonable legal environment.  It’s no wonder that businesses don’t want to be here.

Add to that mess that fact that:

Chicago, the city that brought us deep-dish pizza, Oprah and “da Bears,” is also home to the nation’s highest tax burden for travelers.

via Chicago Tribune.

So if you’re a business here you know that it hard to do business with other businesses because it’s expensive to travel here.  This is also a huge burden on tourists… who used to come here in droves until downtown wildlings become common-place.

Rahm has a full plate.  Maybe he should get busy trying to solve a few of these problems instead of non-stop fundraising for Obama.

Fioretti: 35 Member Council & Term Limits

Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward) believes Chicago would do fine with just 35 aldermen instead of 50 — especially now that workers are handling garbage pickup and street cleaning on a system of ten “grids” instead of 50 wards.  …

Besides a smaller City Council, Fioretti is calling for term limits. “Just look at the 2nd Ward and all we’ve done so far” in fewer than two terms, he said. “If they [aldermen] have got to stick around and wait years to get anything done, they should not be aldermen in the first place.”Fioretti admitted he probably has “made some waves” downtown with such “maverick” views.

via Gazette Chicago.


Bankrupt Stockton Chicago

Yesterday’s news:

Officials in Stockton said Tuesday that mediation with creditors has failed, meaning the Central California city is set to become the largest American city ever to declare bankruptcy.  …

The river port city of 290,000 in Central California has seen its property taxes and other revenues decline, while expensive investments and generous retiree benefits drained city coffers.

via NY Daily News.

Tell me something I don’t know, right?

Stockton, with 300,000 residents and $700 million in debt, would be one of the largest cities ever to file for Chapter 9 protection, according to municipal finance experts and bankruptcy officials.


Humm…. ok.  Let’s compare that to Chicago.

Calling local government debt “staggering,” Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas announced Tuesday that the $108 billion debt tab across various governing bodies in the county translates to $63,525 per Chicago household and nearly $33,000 per suburban household.

via Chicago Sun-Times. (Sept 29, 2011 — we now know the number to be higher.)

Math (not new math, the old fashioned kinda math.)

$700M / 290,000 residents = $2,413.80 of debt for every man woman and child in Stockton.

$63,525 * 1,033,022 households = $65,622,722,550 in total debt;
$65,622,722,550 / 2,695,598 people in the city = $24,344.40 of debt for every man woman and child in Chicago.

In order for the situation to be comparable, the dazzling urbanites of Chicago would have to earn 10 x as much as the poor downtrodden folks of Stockton.

Back to the Census:

Chicago Per Capita Money Income in Past 12 Months — $27,148

Stockton Per Capita Money Income in Past 12 Months — $20,176

So the average joker in Stockton has to work for about a month and a half (2413 / 20176 *365 = 44 days) to pay off their portion of the debt.

The average joker in Chicago has to work for nearly a year (24344 / 27148 * 365 = 327 days) to pay off their portion of the debt.

And so I ask you which one of these municipalities should really be filing for bankruptcy?  Which is in worse financial shape?  Who’s employee’s should be more worried about their pensions?  Who’s politicians are doing the right thing by dealing with the issue square-on and not trying to pawn it off on future generations?

I’m just asking.

Hat Tip to Anthony Curran for the concept of this post.