When Illinois voters cast ballots for the November election, they will have a rare opportunity to weigh in on nearly half a dozen hot-button issues.
In a practice more common in California and some other states, Illinoisans will wade through five ballot questions — ranging from constitutional amendments on voter and victim rights to advisory referendums on birth control, the minimum wage and a so-called “millionaires’ tax.” The most Illinois voters have seen before is three, at least since 1970, according to available state records.
Lawmakers say the non-binding questions are aimed at taking the public’s temperature so they know how to proceed in Springfield. But at least some of the measures also have a political purpose, as part of a coordinated campaign by Democrats to boost turnout for the midterm election.
The list of questions could’ve been longer, but attempts fell short to include questions about term limits — an effort backed by Republicans — and altering Illinois’ political redistricting process.
The initiatives haven’t had as visible a promotion as the contested races, and some political experts believe voters may just skip them.
"These are not part of Illinois political culture," said David Yepsen, director of Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. "Voters aren’t used to it."
Here’s a look at the measures:
Democratic lawmakers pushed an advisory ballot measure in the final days of the spring legislative session that asks if insurance companies should cover birth control.
While Illinois has had such a law since 2003, supporters say widespread voter approval will ensure future protections. As evidence, they cite the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision saying employers with religious objections could opt out of a federal rule requiring that insurers cover contraceptives.
Republicans say the last-minute ballot measure is an obvious ploy to boost Democratic votes, especially since it’s already law.
Two Chicago-based political action committees have taken to social media to garner support, including Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. A second committee, Save Birth Control in Illinois, says it’s trying to lay groundwork for legislation requiring employers to provide notice to employees about exclusions in health insurance plans’ contraceptive coverage.
This measure, sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, proposes charging Illinoisans who make over $1 million a 3 percent income tax surcharge to raise funds for education.
An attempt to pass the tax as legislation stalled. Democratic leaders then posed the idea as a nonbinding ballot question to gauge public support.
The Internal Revenue Service says Illinois had over 14,500 tax returns in 2011 from households where adjusted gross income was at least $1 million. Madigan has said the tax would raise $1 billion annually.
Republicans say the measure is purely political. Republican Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist challenging Gov. Pat Quinn, earned $61 million in 2013.
This non-binding ballot question asks voters if Illinois should increase its minimum wage to $10 from $8.25 by 2015, parallel to a Democratic effort to push the issue in campaigns nationwide.
Sponsors say they’re hoping to use the results to renew a legislative push for approval.
It’s been a major issue in the governor’s race. Quinn has vowed to raise it, despite previous attempts falling short. Rauner at one point said he wanted to cut the state’s minimum wage, but has changed his stance, now saying he’d favor raising it with other reforms.
Business groups oppose an increase, saying it’ll kill jobs.
Voters will be asked to change the state constitution to prevent people from being denied the right to register or vote based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, among other things.
The measure had bipartisan support, including among top Democrats and Republicans.
It’s aimed at ensuring Illinois doesn’t adopt voter identification laws like those passed in several states since the beginning of 2013. Republicans said they pushed those laws to prevent voter fraud. Democrats say fears of fraud are overblown and the laws are attempts to suppress votes favorable to them.
CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS
This question asks if crime victims should have more rights protected by the constitution during court proceedings and criminal trials. The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights would ensure they have information about hearings and plea negotiations, access to restitution and protections against alleged perpetrators.
The proposal is patterned after “Marsy’s Law,” which California voters approved in 2008 after the murder of a college student.
Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved putting the measure on the ballot. But among opponents was House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who argued that such standards could slow trials and should be dealt with through laws, not the constitution.
Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan backs it, saying crime victims are “owed a voice.”
Vote YES to all five, especially the millionaires’ tax, birth control, and minimum wage, because it pisses the hell out of the Illinois Family Institute!
h/t: Chicago Sun-Times
You hardly ever see them back East. And they can have national implications. California’s prop 13 back in 1978 was the beginning of White America saying ‘I don’t want my taxes going to THOSE people’. Never happened prior to that.
Before, Americans were willing to pay taxes to send a man to the…
Back in 2008, The Alliance Defending Freedom launched a project called Pulpit Freedom Sunday that encouraged pastors to explicitly discuss political issues and candidates during their Sunday sermons in an effort to provoke the IRS into revoking their church’s tax-exempt status so that the ADF could then take the IRS to court in order to challenge regulations prohibiting tax-exempt churches from engaging in direct, partisan political activism.
Among the pastors who agreed to participate was Jody Hice, a right-wing radio host who is now the GOP nominee for an open House seat from Georgia, who openly brags about his involvement on his campaign website:
In September 2008 – and in years since, Dr. Hice joined with pastors across the nation in challenging an IRS code that he considers an attack upon religious liberty. The IRS threatened churches with loss of tax-exempt status and with criminal sanctions if political issues were addressed from the pulpit. Hice took his bold stand by formally endorsing a candidate in a Sunday message and sending a copy of it to the IRS. The IRS backed down.
This Pulpit Freedom Sunday effort has taken place every year since 2008 and the IRS has consistently refused to take action against any of the churches or pastors who participated, much to the dismay of church-state separation organizations.
Eventually the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed its own lawsuit against the IRS, seeking to compel the agency to enforce these regulations and then withdrew the lawsuit after the IRS convinced the FRFF that it had not been ignoring the issue.
As Sarah Posner explained today, this latest development is now being spun by the Religious Right to claim that the IRS is colluding with atheist groups in order to target and persecute churches.
Among those fuming about this supposed persecution is none other than Jody Hice, who spent an entire radio broadcast last week declaring that it is a violation of the separation of church and state and accusing the IRS of threatening, bullying, and intimidating Christians into silence:
Of course, the entire point of the Pulpit Freedom Sunday was to get the IRS to take action against churches so that ADF could sue. And now that it looks like the IRS might actually do the very thing that ADF has been trying to provoke it to do for several years, Hice is livid even though he has personally participated in the effort to bring about this very result!
h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW
Burger King confirmed Tuesday that it struck a deal to buy Tim Hortons Inc. for about $11 billion, a move that could help give the fast-food company a stronger foothold in the coffee and breakfast market. The corporate headquarters of the new company will be in Canada, which may also help Burger King lower its taxes. Such tax inversions have been criticized by President Barack Obama and Congress because they mean a loss of tax revenue for the U.S. government. Burger King and Tim Hortons said the chains will continue to be run independently and that Burger King will still operate out of Miami. The tie-up could help each Burger King and Tim Hortons chains pose a greater challenge to market leaders such as McDonald’s and Starbucks. It also reflects a desire by both companies to expand internationally. Burger King, which has about 14,000 locations, has been striking deals to open more locations in developing markets. The company sees plenty of room for growth internationally, given the more than 35,000 locations McDonald’s has around the world.
American fast food chain Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Hortons, a doughnut and coffee chain based in Canada, the New York Times reported Monday.
A deal, which could be reached as soon as this week, would mean the iconically American company would be headquartered in Canada, and benefit from the country’s lower corporate tax rate, 15 percent, compared to the on-paper 35 percent rate in the U.S.
The tax benefits may not be the biggest driver of the deal. Burger King has been seeking more coffee offerings to keep up with competitors, keeping headquarters in Canada may placate that country’s regulators, and the combined entity would be the third-largest quick-service restaurant in the world. But it will reduce Burger King’s tax rate from the 27 percent it currently pays.
So-called “inversion” deals that moved a company headquarters from the U.S. and reduce tax rates are common, even when they are to somewhere as close Canada. In 2010, Valeant Pharmaceuticals moved from California north by combining with Biolvail Corp., lowering the tax rate it paid to less than 5 percent.
Yet despite the nominally high 35 percent American corporate tax rate, most multinational companies based here don’t pay that rate — the average is 12.6 percent thanks to a variety of ways they can lower their bills. A recent paper argued that the ability to lower their taxes actually makes American companies more competitive than others around the world. Meanwhile, companies that have done inversion deals haven’t necessarily seen a payoff in better performance. There’s no evidence suggesting that higher corporate tax rates lower economic growth and instead companies that pay the highest rates actually create the most jobs.
None of this has deterred the uptick in inversion deals over recent years, however. About a dozen have occurred this year and dozens are still in the works. The rate has sped up, with more than half of the 76 deals over the last three decades competed since the recession began. Drug company Pfizer is looking to acquire British AstraZeneca, and the maker of Adderall, AbbVie, is seeking to buy Irish Shire. Chiquita banana is also looking to merge with Irish Fyffes.
But public pressure has unraveled at least one deal: Walgreens, the largest American drug store, decided not to go through with an inversion through buying Swiss Alliance Boots. It was the third major deal to collapse in recent months.
Pressure could ramp up. The White House has been promising to take action to make these deals more difficult and less attractive, and the Treasury Department is looking at its options on that front. A bill was introduced in the house to close a loophole making inversions legal and other lawmakers have urged action.
Oh really?Here’s some more info:Republican Bruce Rauner Tuesday dismissed questions about his financial ties to the secretive Cayman Islands as a Democratic-driven “red herring,” calling it a “distraction” by Gov. Pat Quinn from his failed tax policies. In Chicago, Quinn hit Rauner over outsourcing allegations with regard to the venture capitalist’s former firm.
Rauner responded publicly for the first time to word that his former private-equity company set up a dozen investment vehicles in the Caribbean tax haven between 2009 and 2011, including three partnerships in which has disclosed having a personal financial stake.
“This issue of the Cayman Islands, this is a red herring,” Rauner told reporters in Springfield, where he was urging quick action by a state appeals court by the end of the week to allow a term-limits initiative on the fall ballot.
“This is a distraction. This is being foamed up by Pat Quinn and his allies to create a distraction in the media for the voters. It is not a real important issue one way or another in this election,” Rauner said. - Chicago Sun-Times, 8/19/14Latest polling shows that voters are paying attention to this issue and it is taking a toll on Rauner’s numbers:A dozen funds in total were set up in the Caribbean nation between June 2009 and July 2011 by private equity firm GTCR which, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, was chaired by Rauner at the time. He had a personal financial interest in three of those funds.attribution: None Specified
Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are popular tax shelters for U.S. corporations, as both island nations have no corporate income taxes, and disclosure requirements there are less stringent.
The Cayman Islands government agreed in August 2013 to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires foreign financial entities to notify the U.S. Internal Revenue Service about American offshore accounts if they exceed $50,000. The intergovernmental agreement took effect in July.
Campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf offered a full-fledged defense of Rauner to the paper:
Caribbean vehicles are common for private-equity funds as well as institutional investors like the Illinois’ pension fund that [Gov.] Pat Quinn is invested in, especially when the companies they are investing in already have international operations and headquarters … Bruce was also comfortable with it because that kind of investment does not reduce the taxes paid by individual investors on their income. It didn’t reduce taxes on Bruce’s income, and it doesn’t reduce Pat Quinn’s taxes either.
Rauner has refused to release a certain portion of his tax returns further detailing the investments, and GTCR has remained mum on the matter.
Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) campaign, responded to the revelations by saying that “not only does Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner stash his own riches in the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes, he also parked his firm’s money there.”
"Mr. Rauner is great at gaming the system for his own financial benefit while the rest of us play by a different set of rules," she added. - Huffington Post, 8/19/14And Quinn isn’t the only one hitting Rauner on this issue:All of those TV ads targeting Bruce Rauner appear to be taking a toll on the popularity of the GOP nominee for governor.
A new poll out today from Garin Hart Yang Research Group, which usually polls for Democrats, shows Mr. Rauner ahead of incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn just 44 percent to 41 percent among 802 likely voters in the November general election. An additional two percent of voters lean toward each candidate, with 11 percent undecided.
The three-point difference is within the survey’s plus-or-minus 3.5-point margin of error, and definitely is less than the seven-point average margin Mr. Rauner has enjoyed in several recent surveys.
But a Garin Hart Yang survey released on May 14 had Mr. Rauner up six points, 46 percent to 40 percent. And an earlier one, in April, had the race 49 percent for Mr. Rauner to 39 percent for Mr. Quinn.
All of those polls were taken before the Quinn campaign and an independent group, Illinois Freedom PAC, began dropping millions in ads that slash Mr. Rauner for not paying enough income taxes, investing overseas and other rich guy sins. But the new survey was taken after those ads hit, specifically last week, on Aug. 12 to 14. - Crain’s Chicago Business, 8/20/14Even this guy is hitting Rauner on this issue:The business record of Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, was called into question by Paul Vallas, the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, during a stop Tuesday at the Peoria Labor Temple.
“Bruce Rauner is in the business of vulture capitalism. That’s the Wall Street Journal’s characterization — not mine,” said Vallas, who accused Rauner of outsourcing jobs rather than creating them.
“Rauner has profited to the tune of millions of dollars from outsourcing American jobs and shipping those jobs overseas. He believes in cheap labor — both at home and abroad.”
Earlier this month, a Chicago Sun Times poll had Rauner ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn by a spread of nearly 51 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided.
Vallas referenced a recent story in the Sun Times that noted that, in addition to having personal investments in the Cayman Islands, a so-called tax haven, Rauner also had established a dozen investment funds there through his Chicago-based investment firm.
“The philosophy here is to maximize profits and minimize tax liability,” said Vallas, who called on Rauner to disclose complete tax records and identify his business partners. - Peoria Journal Star, 8/19/14I always knew this race was still ours to win. Polling has been crappy in Illinois in the past but this issue is taking a toll on Rauner. We can still hold onto this seat, we just have to get our base out to the polls. Click here to donate and get involved with Quinn’s campaign:Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged his buddy Bruce Rauner on Tuesday to release his full tax returns, calling it a “rite of passage” that candidates for public office simply cannot avoid.attribution: None Specified
Days after releasing his own 2013 tax returns, including schedules, Emanuel joined Gov. Pat Quinn in urging Rauner to do the same.
“Running for office and releasing your taxes is like a rite of passage. You have to do it,” the mayor said.
“When I ran for Congress, I released my taxes. When I ran for mayor, I released my taxes. I released my taxes when I was [White House] chief of staff, even though I was not in elected office, but it was an office in the public trust. I do believe in a separation. You’re still allowed a personal life and a private life. Your taxes, though … they speak to what I think is the right thing to do. And it’s a rite of passage running today for office, especially chief executive.” - Chicago Sun-Times, 8/19/14https://www.quinnforillinois.com/
I beg to differ, Mr. Rauner.
h/t: poopdogcomedy at Daily Kos
WASHINGTON — Though the network of conservative groups funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch are better known for spending millions on top-tier Senate and gubernatorial races, they may be having a more durable impact at the local level.
A report released Thursday by the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund compiles example after example of how Americans for Prosperity is mobilizing supporters to campaign against local tax increases and mass transit systems and for like-minded candidates running for school and county boards. Americans for Prosperity is a key player in the Koch-affiliated universe, with chapters in 35 states.
Among the local targets cited was a proposed tax increase to provide a permanent source of funding for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. After Americans for Prosperity’s Ohio chapter mailed fliers, made calls, ran radio ads and knocked on thousands of doors, the proposal was defeated.
"There is no issue we won’t get involved in if you’re going to raise taxes," Eli Miller, director of the Ohio chapter, told a local NPR affiliate in April.
The CAP Action Fund report suggests that the Ohio effort was aimed less at protecting local pocketbooks and more at protecting Koch-affiliated business interests in Columbus. Georgia-Pacific Chemicals, a Koch Industries subsidiary, would have seen its property taxes go up at one facility if the levy had passed.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who leads the action fund, said that the Kochs are interfering with the ability of local communities to “determine what’s right” for them.
"The local business community was largely supportive of the zoo levy," Strickland told The Huffington Post. "It’s kind of ironic, because some of the people who in the past have perhaps been cheerleaders for the Kochs, as they have attempted to use their wealth in order to get conservative candidates elected to office, are now perhaps a little unhappy that the Kochs are behaving in ways that are not consistent with their goals — and that was certainly true with what happened in Columbus with regards to the zoo levy. They’re willing to spend whatever they need to cripple and limit government."
The report also highlights a fight over a proposed mass transit system in Nashville. The Amp, a 7.1-mile rapid transit bus project, never received the go-ahead after Americans for Prosperity’s Tennessee affiliate encouraged state senators to introduce a measure aimed at preventing cities from establishing rapid transit systems that would use separate road lanes. Though a coalition of business and community groups were in favor of the proposal, it fizzled.
The report argues that in the Nashville example, the Koch network was motivated by a belief that public transit would threaten the brothers’ oil and gas interests.
Almost no issue appears to be too small for the Kochs’ activists. Americans for Prosperity jumped into an Iron County board of supervisors election in northern Wisconsin to attack candidates opposed to an iron ore mine. The group also flexed its organizing muscle over a 1.75 percent food and beverage tax in Fremont, Nebraska, to fund emergency capital improvement projects and a 1 percent tax increase in Gahanna, Ohio, to prevent cuts to the local police force.
"What does David Koch know about the city of Gahanna?" Strickland asked.
The Kochs, he argued, “are willing to spend vast sums of unreported money to interfere with the decisions that should rightfully be made by local communities. If you look across the country, they are using their wealth to try to control what happens at the local level, to the detriment of schools, teachers, firefighters and infrastructure development. If they are successful, if they achieve their goals, it will be detrimental to the country because the decision-making is coming from the top down.”
Local education issues are another area arousing Koch interest. The network has worked to roll back efforts aimed at integrating schools in North Carolina and promoted school board candidates in Douglas County, Colorado, who supported abolishing teacher tenure, benching teachers’ unions, implementing voucher programs and paying teachers based on the subject and grade they instruct.
The CAP Action Fund report also flags a Huffington Post story about the Youth Entrepreneurs nonprofit, funded primarily by Charles Koch, which pays public school students to take courses espousing lower taxes and fewer regulations and deploring higher minimum wages and social welfare programs.
Strickland framed his group’s report as an effort at raising public awareness about the “selfish” motivations of the Kochs’ political involvement.
"I think there are many people, even in the communities affected by these efforts, who are largely unaware that these wealthy outside interests are having an impact on what happens there," he said. "The Koch brothers are looking out for themselves and their own economic interests, but they cloak that in a kind of political and economic philosophy that allows them to pretend to be high-minded in their motivations. Their motivations are selfish and people need to know that. Once people understand the threat to the democratic process and understand the source of that threat, we will be better able to help local communities protect themselves from these efforts."
Americans for Prosperity has a different take. It sees its local campaigns as a way to reach voters who wouldn’t otherwise show up for a federal election and bring them into the network.
"It’s a little frustrating when someone says, ‘Oh, this is a political effort about the U.S. Senate,’" Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips told National Journal in June. “They don’t look at the totality of what Americans for Prosperity is doing.”
"We’re genuinely a long-term effort," he added. "We’re not about some election cycle."
#ILGov: Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Rauner focus shifts from the Caymans to Bermuda
Bruce Rauner says there’s “nothing sinister” about venture capital firms using the Cayman Islands as a tax shelter, but says he has never used the investment vehicle for his personal benefit. […]
Until he stepped down to run for governor, Rauner was head of a capital investment firm, GTCR, which has several investment pools there.
At an appearance at the Illinois State Fair last night, Rauner — wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and brown boots — insisted it’s a “widespread, common practice.”
“What my firm did is what many, many financial firms do and I think the majority of venture capital firms and private equity firms do, and that is - when they invest in a foreign company, a non-U.S. company, they’ll set up an investment vehicle, often in the Caymans, so that their limited partners are treated, for tax purposes, the same way as, as if it was a U.S. company.”
He ran GTCR, so if his firm made money off Caymans investments, then he personally profited.
* But the focus is shifting today to another island nation, Bermuda…
The onetime head of a company tied to Bruce Rauner and an associate — men the GOP candidate for governor Thursday called “rogue employees” — have been indicted in federal court in New Jersey on charges they stole millions of dollars in a sophisticated trading fraud.
Anthony Blumberg, 49, of New Jersey, and Craig Marshall, 47, of Bermuda worked for ConvergEx Global Markets Limited, a Bermuda-based broker and subsidiary to a firm Rauner’s former private equity company helped found.
Blumberg and Marshall were indicted late Wednesday on criminal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.
The indictment is here.
“These were rogue employees at a subsidiary of a company GTCR had invested in,” Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. “The employees were fired, and ConvergEx cooperated with the investigation. What they are alleged to have done is unacceptable, and they are rightfully being prosecuted.” […]
Rauner joined GTCR in 1981 and was its chairman until stepping down in October 2012 but “had no say in hiring either of the two people,” Schrimpf said.
* Background info from the Quinn campaign…
GTCRauner formed ConvergEx in October 2006 and installed Blumberg as CEO that very month until 2011:http://www.convergex.com/about-us/history
GTCR was the largest shareholder and controlled the board (they had more seats than any other partner)
GTCR features ConvergEx on its website as an example of a successful company: http://www.gtcr.com/our-focus/financial-services-technology/portfolio/convergex-group
Rauner told Chicago Magazine in 2011 that GTCR’s - his- whole business strategy was handpicking executives. Here’s the profile.http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/June-2011/GTCRs-Bruce-Rauner-Talks-Investments/ Here’s Rauner’s q&a in the article:
Q: Most private equity firms buy mature companies and unwanted divisions of large corporations, managements intact. But you seem to go out and find management and then, together with them, go buy the companies.
Rauner: We’re in two businesses: industry research and executive recruiting. We study industries, and we network like crazy to find the superstars. Today, we’re partners with two dozen CEOs. Some we’re backing for the second, third time. It can take from six months to nine years from the time we meet someone until we actually become partners with each other.
Q: But sizing up the executive is nearly everything?
Rauner: A lot of reference checking. Are they winners? How did they handle failure in their careers? We go to all the trade shows. We call it the leader strategy. Deal flow comes to them. Talented executives come to them.
Key Point: Now GTCR Chairman Rauner wants to pretend he has nothing to do with the guy who was put in place by GTCRauner to be the CEO of ConvergEx from Day One when GTCR was in charge every step of the way? How stupid does he think we are?
* Background info from the Rauner campaign…
BNY and GTCR were equal investors in Convergex. Convergex though was staffed with BNY executives. As shown below, Blumberg was already with BNY and had been since 2002. He came with the deal.
Anthony Blumberg Came Into Convergex From Bank Of New York-Mellon. “BNY ConvergEx management includes Velli, Kerry Pack, John Meserve, Anthony Blumberg, George Costafos and Charlie Raphold from BNY. The trading grossed $297 million last year. Tom Gavin, David Quinlan and Jeff Shoreman make up the Eze contingent. The vendor grossed $43 million last year. Much of that is recurring or commission-like coming from routing orders to brokers. Goldman Sachs, previously a large owner of Eze Castle, does not have a stake in BNY ConvergEx. Operations will be split between New York and Boston, Eze’s current headquarters. The deal is expected to close this year.” (Peter Chapman, “BNY ConvergEx Eyes Hedge Funds with Eze Merger,” Traders Magazine, 8/1/06)
Anthony Blumberg Originally Worked For Credit Lyonnais, And Then Bank Of New York-Mellon, Before Joining Convergex. “Prior to the formation of ConvergEx Group, Mr. Blumberg served as a Managing Director at Credit Lyonnais Securities where he established G-Trade Services, one of the world’s largest global portfolio trading groups, which was later acquired by The Bank of New York and became a part of BNY Securities Group in 2002.” (“Our Leadership Team,” Archived Convergex Webpage, 2/10/11)
…Adding… More from the Rauner campaign…
(T)he Quinn fact sheet you just put up on ConvergEx is false and intentionally misleading. It’s not a typo, the Quinn campaign has repeatedly tried to mislead the public over the last 16 hours by claiming Mr. Blumberg was the CEO of the entire CovergeEx company to give the false impression that he was hired by or otherwise directly connected to Bruce Rauner.
That’s simply false. He was the CEO of a subsidiary to ConvergEx who was hired by Bank of New York Mellon in 2002, four years before GTCR invested. Additionally, GTCR was not the “largest shareholder” of Convergex. It was an equal investor with BNY Mellon, which is why the firm’s and its subsidiary’s leadership, including Blumberg, came over from BNY Mellon.
Photo CC by ProducerMatthew
Walgreens decision not to engage in the controversial, and potentially illegal tax avoidance scheme of corporate inversion was met with much praise by consumer watchdog groups across this country. This, of course, brought out the unpatriotic crowd who sees tax schemes as some form of sacred duty instead of a way to cheat the system.
To demonstrate how out of touch Fox Business analyst Charles Payne is, he went on the air earlier this week with a simple message – that paying your taxes is anti-capitalist. His apparent belief that tax cheating is something to be proud of is something highly disturbing for any high-profile business analyst. That he would proclaim that the CEO of Walgreens had ‘destroyed Capitalism’ instead of responded to consumer pressure (as a good Capitalist should do) shows us Mr. Payne’s priorities is not for having a good business, or thriving economy, but just plain old fashioned greed.
From the 08.07.2014 edition of FNC’s Your World With Neil Cavuto:
Businessman Bruce Rauner, the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee in Illinois, seems to be having trouble getting his Cayman Islands story straight. After the Chicago Sun-Times revealed on Monday that Rauner, a billionaire investor, maintained part of his fortune in offshore accounts in the Caymans, the Chicago Tribune reported that back in June, Rauner told them the private equity firm he once ran and still invests with had no funds there.
Oops: GTCR, Rauner’s former company, does indeed have money in the Caymans, a notorious tax haven. Caught red-handed, Rauner’s now trying to claim it’s all de minimis, because we’re only talking about “just a couple of investments.” I’m sure that those “just a couple of investments” are larger than what most people earn in a lifetime.
Rauner’s also not helping himself by repeatedly swearing that “[t]hose particular setups had no impact on my personal tax rate—none whatsoever.” That’s created another problem for Rauner, because he’s steadfastly refusing to release his tax returns, almost certainly because the Tribune previously reported that he’s paid an effective tax rate of just 15 percent on his earnings. Seriously, bro, you can’t claim that some exotic offshore investment vehicles didn’t affect your bottom line and expect us to take you at your word.
Rauner needs to put up or shut up. Instead, he’s doing neither. God bless him.
BREAKING: Missouri Amendment 7 has failed. #MOPrimary
BREAKING: Walgreens HQ is staying the USA
Michele Bachmann Proposes 100% Tax On Money Sent Home By Immigrants To Stop 'War That Is Being Waged Against Us'
In a conference call with the anti-immigrant group Numbers USA last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann called illegal immigration a “war against the American people” and suggested that the U.S. levy a 100 percent tax on money that immigrants send back to Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in order to put pressure on those countries’ governments.
The Minnesota Republican spoke just before House Republican leadership handed its immigration policy over to her and Rep. Steve King .
“When are we going to get serious and really deport and deport right on the border?” Bachmann asked.
“Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, those countries are laughing at us because they’re making money with their corrupt governments in conjunction with these international criminal cartels, they’re all making money and kickbacks,” she said. “What I believe we should do is have a 100 percent tax on remittances, the money that illegal aliens send back to these countries.”
“What we have to recognize is this truly is a war against the American people,” she added.
Bachmann made the same suggestion to CNS News last week. Of course, many legal immigrants also rely on sending money to family members in their home countries, something that would be made virtually impossible by a 100 percent tax.
Bachmann later complained that Obama is a “terrible president” who “doesn’t care about veterans and doesn’t care about the American people,” insisting that he only cares about “having you and me paying for his voter registration drive so that his party will be a permanent party in every presidential election in the future and in midterms.”
Later in the call, Bachmann went back to the “war” theme, saying, “What we need to do is get serious and recognize that there is a war that is being waged against us.”
“We’re rolling around looking at each other, but all the while our pockets are being picked and innocent people are being killed by illegal aliens and hurt and robbed and beaten and raped by criminal foreign nationals that are in our country,” she said.
“We are doing everything we can to hold on to this magnificent country as we see it literally fall like sand between our fingers.”
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
#ILGov: Billionaire Bruce Rauner, GOP candidate for Illinois governor, stashed part of his wealth in Caymans
Bruce Rauner: Three cheers for offshore tax havens!
Here’s the thing about really rich guys: Odds are, they’ve done a thing or two along the way to becoming really rich that ordinary folks probably wouldn’t approve of. Balzac may have been exaggerating when he said that behind every great fortune lies a great crime, but a little offshore tax evasion, the likes of which little people would never be able to take advantage of? You bet!
And billionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, the Republican nominee for governor in Illinois, has turned out to be no different than the Mitt Romneys of the world. According to a new report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Rauner’s stashed some unknown part of his fortune in the Cayman Islands, where their zeal for secrecy is matched only by their aversion to income taxes (they have none).
Of course, Rauner’s refused to release his tax returns, so it’s impossible to know just how much offshore money he’s got parked in the Caribbean. Rauner, as these zillionaires always do, swears that everything is above board, but as ever, the crime is what’s legal. And compliance with the letter of the law is hardly insulation against devastating political attacks. Remember this?Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who’s been well behind in the polls and could really use a break, has already issued a couple of press releases slamming Rauner, and attack ads can’t be far behind. After all, Rauner wants to become governor of a state whose taxes he tried to avoid paying. For 99 percent of us, that’s no winning message.
#ILGov: Super-Rich Gubernatorial Candidate Bruce Rauner Used Controversial Cayman Tax Gimmick To Maximize His Fortune
Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R) made part of his fortune from investments in a Caribbean tax haven, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. But because Rauner won’t release details on his tax filings it is impossible to tell just how much of his wealth comes from those offshore accounts.
The newspaper found five Cayman Islands-based investment funds among the dozens of income sources Rauner listed on state disclosure forms last year. Three of the five are funds set up by the private equity firm Rauner founded. Two others, including one that manages money for a large public pension fund in Illinois, are run by separate firms.
While Rauner’s income from each fund could be as low as $5,000 — the threshold for disclosure on the state forms — a more realistic guess would be in the millions of dollars. As a self-described member of the richest 0.01 percent of Americans, Rauner is unlikely to make chump change investments. Most funds of the sort the Sun-Times identified require minimum investments of $500,000 or $1 million dollars, a tax expert told the newspaper.
Rauner has released summary tax forms but has declined to disclose other paperwork that would allow tax experts to figure out how much of his wealth comes from the offshore holdings. A Rauner spokesman told the Sun-Times that the offshore locations of the investment funds do not affect the Rauners’ tax rates since they pay state and federal taxes on that income. But the success of the funds themselves, and their ability to pay dividends to both individual investors like the Rauners and institutional ones like pension funds, is enhanced by having roots in a tax haven.
The exotic Caymans linkage will draw further scrutiny to Rauner’s wealth and tax maneuvering. Like many very rich people around the world, the Rauners are able to manipulate the tax code in ways that reduce their tax rate without violating the law. Despite pulling in $108 million in taxable income from 2010 to 2012 — more than enough to qualify for the top federal income tax bracket with rates of 35 percent or more — Rauner and his wife paid an effective tax rate below 20 percent. That is mostly due to how the tax code treats investment income differently from wage income. Capital gains are taxed at far lower rates than salaries.
Rauner has also benefited from “an accounting maneuver that blurs the lines” between normal income and lower-tax investment income, the Chicago Tribune reported in July. The IRS is scrutinizing the “fee waivers” that private equity companies use to shift their partners’ income from higher-tax categories to lower-tax ones.
Rauner’s campaign has received more than $4 million in funding from billionaire financial sector colleagues. He has injected nearly $10 million of his own money into his race against Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL). Quinn’s supporters are hoping to revive the same sorts of attacks on private equity and out-of-touch multimillionaires that helped sink Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. But Rauner, who made national news over the winter when he called for lowering the state’s minimum wage, has enjoyed a steady lead over Quinn in summer polling.
Hopefully Illinoisans have enough sense to keep Bruce Rauner out of the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.
h/t: Alan Pyke at Think Progress Election