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Has Chicago’s Soda Tax Popped?

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As if Chicago, Cook County or Illinois itself needed yet another black eye to its ongoing financial woes: Thursday, the federal government stated that Illinois may be in violation of federal law when it comes to the application of Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax, which could cost it $87 million in federal food stamp money.

The sticky situation arose when, in November of 2016, Cook County decided that the penny-per-ounce tax would be the best way to attempt to buffer the shortfalls in the county’s budget. Plus, as we were assured, if the tax dissuaded you from purchasing a sugary drink (as Politifact’s article showed, Chicago’s soft drinks are now the most expensive in the nation), it’s for your own good anyway because of health reasons or something.

Illinois fiscal problems are well documented. Currently, Illinois owes over $250 billion in pension debt, which was part of the reason for Moody’s Investors to downgrade Illinois credit rating to just above junk-status. As Illinois Policy’s Ted Dowbrowski and John Klingner report in their article:

“The state’s fiscal collapse is the culmination of decades of budget gimmicks used to paper over Illinois’ structural spending problems and misplaced spending priorities that favor special interests over ordinary residents.”

The piece goes on to say:

“Illinois has suffered 21 downgrades from the three major ratings agencies since 2009.

The downgrades began when Illinois started borrowing to conceal its growing pension crisis. As governor, Quinn borrowed a total of more than $7 billion in two years to make the state’s pension contributions.”

Instead of trying to tackle the ongoing and well-documented spending problem, Illinois resorted to passing a variety of taxes such as an increased income tax and the much derided Soda Tax. Shortly after passing the bill, Cook County was met with a lawsuit by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers who alleged that the tax was “too vague and violated the State Constitution.” A few days after that, Illinois Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak issued a temporary restraining order stating also that the tax was unconstitutional.

Yet, on August 2nd, the highly contested tax bill went into effect and less than a month later, it is under heat from the federal government. The problem is, as the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Trotter and Ally Marotti reports:

Purchases made with federal food stamp benefits are exempt from the soda tax under federal law, but Cook County has allowed retailers to tax those purchases and provide refunds as a workaround for stores that haven’t been able to program their point-of-sale systems.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, the federal agency overseeing the SNAP food stamp program — officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — warned Illinois that federal money could be withheld if the problem isn’t fixed.

USDA officials told the county the regulation was “unacceptable” in a phone call in late June, according to its memo to the state.

“It is (Food and Nutrition Services’) strict interpretation that retailers may not charge the tax to SNAP recipients at any time and that providing an immediate subsequent refund at a customer service does not cure the problem or the violation of the law”

Doubtful the fledgling Soda Tax, nor Illinois vast fiscal problems have seen the last of their controversies.

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Democrats

Snopes downgrades truth about Beto’s arrests to ‘mostly true’ because a meme got his band’s name wrong

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Snopes downgrades truth about Betos arrests to mostly true because a meme got his bands name wrong

Fact checkers are all the rage in the age of fake news. Unfortunately, all of the major fact checkers are left leaning at best, downright progressive at worst. That’s why I make it part of my daily routine to check the checkers to see what they spun today. This latest installment is minor in the whole scheme of things, but it highlights the intense need to protect Democrats whenever possible.

Snopes took on the task of fact checking the following statement:

Beto O’Rourke was in a band called the El Paso Pussycats and was arrested at least twice in the 1990s.

This is true. Beto was arrested twice, which makes him an ideal candidate for the party of lawlessness and disorder. But Snopes, in their certified fact checking wisdom, decided to pick the statement about the arrests that included the name of his band. The statement they chose had the wrong name for the band, using their album name instead. This was enough for them to downgrade the statement from “True” to “Mostly True.”

Not a big deal, right? Actually, it’s bigger than one might think. When people search for Beto and look only for things that are true about him, they will not be shown information about his arrests. The site could have picked literally any other claim about the arrests to fact-check, but had to dig deep to find an internet meme from his failed Senatorial bid last year in order to find one with a statement that included something incorrect in it.

Beto ORourke Arrest

You’ll notice they made sure to mention that both charges were dismissed. The circumstances behind the dismissals seemed to do nothing to negate the crimes he actually committed.

This is just another example of the “fact-checker” running cover for a Democrat they like. The meat of the fact, Beto’s arrests, won’t be found on this site as “True” because they were selective in how they wanted to frame this narrative.

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Who is the current moneyline favorite for the Democratic nomination?

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Who is the current moneyline favorite for the Democratic nomination

An interesting metric to analyze politics is viewing the moneyline. In fact, online bookies are more accurate at predicting major elections than the partisan hack, Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight, who incorrectly guessed every tight Senate race except for the shady Arizona race. But the odd makers spend their time doing their analysis because there is money to be lost if they do poorly. So let’s take a look at one key metric and explore the reasoning as to why.

The lowest tier are the candidates so far out, that they don’t have a moneyline, even when speculated names do. This tier includes Jay Inslee, Pete Buttigieg, and Wayne Messam. Safe to assume that this metric gives these people less of a chance than candidates who have confirmed they aren’t running.

The second lowest tier are the longshots. These candidates range from John Hickenlooper through Corey Booker. These candidates are either not big faces in the Democratic spotlight or are at a serious disadvantage because they have been crowded out of their base. The same could be said about Elizabeth Warren, but she has a devoted core and the potential to make gains when the debates are in full swing.

The next tier are the vultures. Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, and Amy Klobachar need death to survive, metaphorically speaking. The vultures have their sights on a clear target: Joe Biden. If they can feast on his corpse, they’ll survive. But perhaps its Bernie’s corpse they should be gazing upon instead. In truth, I think Yang is more dark horse than vulture, but both appear dark on the outside.

Alas, we have our favorites. Beto O’Rourke, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris, our current frontrunner by this metric. These candidates have the most money, intersectionality points in the case of Harris, ability to win superdelegates as it currently stands, and name recognition. It’s obvious why, at a glance one would rank these names at the top. Under the surface, they also have the most stable base within the Democrat party. Don’t rely too much on polling which will fluctuate like the wind. Kamala Harris could win black vote in the south while the three other white male favorites vie for the northern swathes of the country. And the odds are almost a year out. They too will fluctuate, but I believe the moneyline accurately gives us a picture of our current frontrunners.

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Even in New York, more people favor President Trump than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Even in New York more people favor President Trump than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

She’s a media darling. She’s the leader of the hyper-leftist new Democratic revolution. She’s a creation of one of the most powerful and dangerous political organizations in America. And now, she’s having trouble getting people to like her.

According to a new Sienna College poll in New York, a mere 31% of respondents view Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez favorably. Her numbers are worse than other New York politicians, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Compared to the President, her net difference numbers are better at -13 compared to -24 for the President, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that more people know and like the President with 36% viewing him favorably.

My Take

There’s no reason for her to be getting the attention she’s getting. Being a freshman Congresswoman means she has very little say in what actually happens in DC. But it’s not her status or her votes that matter. What makes her dangerous is the way she’s molding the minds of the impressionable leftists who refuse to pick up a calculator or put pen to paper about her outrageous proposals.

She’s the worst type of politician, one who works with the spotlight instead of focusing on educating people about what she’s doing on their behalf and how they can help. I remember when the biggest plea by those in Congress was for their constituents to help them convince their Senators to do the right thing. Now, it’s all about me, me, me; the narcissism of this new breed of politicians is striking.

The more the nation learns about AOC and her insane ideas, the less they’ll like her. We need this to happen. We need Americans to wake up to the truckloads of manure she’s trying to shovel our way. Socialism needs to be stopped immediately.

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