Thursday, March 26, 2020

Illinois tax deadline extended to July 15 due to Coronavirus

Ben Szalinski, Illinois Policy

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced at his daily press conference on March 25 that July 15 will be the new deadline for Illinoisans to file state income taxes. The change comes five days after the same move was made by the federal government, which also pushed the deadline to July 15.

Pritzker said refunds are still being processed and distributed for those who have already filed taxes. Additionally, the state is allowing restaurants and bars extra time to pay their sales taxes. Other things such as evictions and utility shutoffs for late payments have also been suspended by executive order.

Pritzker said delaying the filing deadline will help soften the immediate economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor instituted a stay-at-home order that started March 21 that will last at least through April 7. All non-essential employees are to stay home and non-essential travel should be limited. On March 16, all restaurants and bars were closed to dine-in customers, but allowed to remain open for drive-through and take-out service.

The closure of businesses is leading to severe economic losses and a rise in unemployment. Between March 16 and 18, unemployment claims in Illinois rose by 64,000. After new social distancing measures were introduced, the number was expected to rise higher. Nationally, some experts believe unemployment may hit an unprecedented 30% in the second quarter.

While the numbers paint a grim economic future, it is important to note many of those seeking unemployment will be able to return to their jobs when social distancing orders are lifted. The current unemployment count does include furloughed workers.

In addition to putting off the day Illinoisans must pay taxes, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is suspending collection of traffic fees until April 30 to ease the economic burden on residents. Drivers will not immediately have to pay for late parking tickets, towing fees or red-light camera tickets. The city will also suspend its “booting” system.

Illinois currently has 1,865 cases of coronavirus with 19 deaths. The number of cases rose by 330 on March 25, the same day Pritzker announced the delayed tax deadline. Thirty-five counties have reported cases across all ages.

The economic impact of the virus is expected to be staggering in Illinois. The Illinois Policy Institute put together a report detailing what the state must do now to prepare for the fallout from the halt in economic activity, including a commercial property tax holiday and pension reform to preserve needed revenues.



Originally published by Illinois Policy on March 25, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Most of us our looking forward to better days and coronavirus


by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

The Coronavirus is a pandemic that most of us don't understand, but we are learning.

This disease has taken over 9,000 lives and made over 220,000 more people sick. We've heard via television about it starting in China and its impact even before arriving in America.

So far this is what we know about Coronavirus. The disease is life threatening. If the disease does not kill you, there is a chance you will be very sick with severe respiratory problems. Thousands of respirators are needed across the country because of the nature of the disease.

The virus is teaching us that we are a fragile human race. We are vulnerable to disease, death and chaos. Who wants to be in an intensive care unit of a hospital on a respirator?

Our masses of wealth can disappear almost overnight. The stock market has fallen like a rock. As of this writing, everything that the stock market gained in the three years that Trump has been President has been wiped out.

What if it crashes totally? How many companies will go bankrupt and everything people have invested will be gone? We could experience a kind of poverty that our country has not known for a long time.

What was it like during the Great Depression? I remember old folks talking about those hard times. Could we be in for that kind of a difficult time, or even worse?

We are learning that what previously seemed far-fetched and unrealistic, for our great economy and planet, is possible. It just takes one plague to rearrange our lives. One virus cleans out the grocery stores, idles our jobs and robs our bank accounts. One virus immobilizes our society and robs us of the social interaction that we have taken for granted.

Most of us are always looking down the pike for better days and greener pastures. Typically, we are on the hunt for the bigger and the better. We usually don't miss the good things of life until we no longer have them.

Sadly, we spend a lot of life looking beyond or looking back and we miss the present. I'm sure you've heard before that "now" is life's greatest gift. That's why we call it the "present."

The Coronavirus is no "gift" and is certainly something we want to put behind us as soon as possible.

When this is behind us maybe we will feel different about sitting in our favorite restaurant, a beauty salon, house of worship or entertainment venue. Many Americans already look forward to going back to work and resuming paychecks. Hopefully, grocery stores will once again have ample food, toiletries and other basics that we have come to take for granted.

When we are beyond all this, maybe we won't take all that we have for granted, or will we?

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Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.
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This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

What the President wants you to do during this pandemic outbreak

The President, his administration and his team of experts are working diligently to eradicate the COVID-19 virus spreading throughout the country.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump unveiled his Coronavirus Guidelines For America for the next 15 days during his White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

The two-page document included the routine hygienic recommendation of washing hands, sneezing into your elbow and avoiding touching one's face.

The guidelines include instructions such as avoid social gatherings of 10 or more people, avoid eating at restaurants and food courts as well as drinking in bar establishments, not to visit nursing facilities unless to provide critical assistance and to avoid discretionary travel.

The President's instructions also recommended utilizing delivery, pick-up and drive-thru options for fast food or dining. Many states like Illinois have already mandated that restaurants no longer serve dine-in clientele.

Click on this photo to see and download readable version

The President said his administration was doing "a very good job under the confines of what we are dealing with". He praised the way people working toward suppressing the virus outbreak have come together to work hand-in-hand.

"It seems to me, if we do a really go job, we'll not only hold death down to a level much lower than the other way had we not done a good job," he said during the briefing while taking questions from reporters.

According to the COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard, there are 106 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Illinos. The are distributed throughout the state as follows: Cook 76; Lake 6; DuPage 5; Sangamon 4; Kane 3; McHenry 2; St. Clair 2; Winnebago 1; Peoria 1; Whiteside 1; Cumberland 1; Champaign 1; Clinton 1; Will 1; and Woodford with 1 case.

The second part of the document focus on America taking 15 days to the spread of the virus.

This page tells Americans to stay home if they feel sick and do not go to work. It also asks that if someone in your home test positive for the virus, that the entire household must stay home. No work, school or play and afflicted persons should contact a medical professional.

Click on this photo to see and download readable version

When asked how long Americans will have to endure the disruption in everyday life, President Trump responded that it was his favorite question and that he asked his team of experts that all the time.

"It seems to me, if we do a really go job, we'll not only hold death down to a level much lower than the other way had we not done a good job," he said. "People are talk about July, August (or) something like that. So it could be in that period of time."

He praised those who are taking common sense measures to avoid spreading the disease to the elderly and vulnerable population in the country.

"People are self-containing to a large extent," said. "We look forward to the day when we can get back to normal."



Monday, March 16, 2020

Secretary of State office now closed amid COVID-19 virus

All Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Facilities statewide are now closed as per recommendation by public health experts. Offices will not be open tomorrow and are expected to reopen on April 1.

Because of the closure, expiration dates for driver’s licenses, identification (ID) cards, vehicle registrations and other transactions as well as document filings will be extended by 30 days through an emergency rule.

In an attempt to utilize social distancing, Secretary of State Jesse White said in the release that his "...office will continue to monitor the COVID-19 crisis. Expert advice, news and events involving the virus will influence the reopening date of offices and the Driver Services facilities."

There are three confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in the Springfield area according to Sangamon County health officials. One patient is a 71-year-old woman who is in a intensive care unit, another is a Springfield Park Board member in self-isolation at home. On Sunday, another patient was revealed to be hospitalized in Springfield.

"After careful consideration, it is clear that this decision to close offices and Driver Services facilities is the right one to make for the health and safety of Illinoisans," said White on Monday. "This important action will help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus."

Across Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed 105 individuals out of 1,143 cases tested positive for the Coronavirus. According to the University of Virginia Survellience Dashboard, two patients have recovered from the infection. Illinois has recorded no deaths at this time, while Indiana just reported its first COVID-19 death.

White is reminding residents that many transactions with the Secretary of State’s office may be conducted online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

During the closure Illinois residents are encouraged to go online where they can obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card; renewing a vehicle registration;renewing a standard driver’s license with the Safe Driver Renewal program; and file Business Services documents.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Letter to the Editor:
What was she thinking?

Dear Editor,

What was Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton thinking when she purchased recreational marijuana in Chicago on the first day of its legal sales in Illinois? Does she not understand that as a public official she is setting a reckless and foolish example, especially for children and teens?

Illinois policy makers are sending a dangerous message to our young people. First, we called it "medicinal". Now, we call it "recreational". Gone are the days of "this is your brain on drugs." Instead, elected officials like Stratton are celebrating drug use by welcoming the marijuana industry to communities throughout the state.

Their feckless example will mislead citizens into a diminished understanding of the dangers of drug use until it affects them personally. As the perception of risk plummets, drug use (and addictions) will climb.

Not only have lawmakers failed to do their due diligence before passing this marijuana law, but they have also failed to heed the compelling research that indicates how regular use of marijuana affects young people, including an increased risk of psychiatric illnesses and loss of IQ points.

Parents, grandparents, teachers, and religious leaders would do well to counter Stratton’s irresponsible example by returning to the sensible message, "just say no to drugs."


David E. Smith, Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute


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