Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Republican U.S. Senator Kirk withdraws support for Donald Trump

Republican U.S. Senator Kirk withdraws support for Donald Trump



Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, who had previously vowed to support Donald Trump, says he has decided not to do so in light of the businessman's "un-American" statements about the judge handling the Trump University case. James Valles reporting (BNO News)

Mayor Mike Chamberlain: Belvidere has become the place to be

By Susan Vela
Staff writer

Posted Jun. 6, 2016 at 10:31 PM
Updated Jun 6, 2016 at 10:38 PM

BELVIDERE — Mayor Mike Chamberlain said tonight that good things are coming to the city, especially in light of the recent announcement that Belvidere's Fiat Chrysler Automobiles assembly plant has landed the top-selling Jeep Cherokee line.
“Belvidere has become the place to be,” he said during tonight's State of the City address. “Financially, the city is secure.”
The mayor is campaigning for re-election against challenger Ric Brereton, city treasurer and son of former mayor Fred Brereton, who led the city for 16 years.
Chamberlain highlighted several happenings of the past year during his annual address, which came about two months after aldermen approved an annual spending plan of $18 million.
Accomplishments, he said, include U.S. 20 ramp improvements for Genoa and Irene roads, State Street improvements, remodeling of St. James Church, the relocation of Manley Motors to 1800 N. State St., and a $60 million General Mills Inc. expansion at its Belvidere plant.
There’s also the possibility of four Swedish companies partnering with local companies.
“Together we have accomplished much and the future is bright.” Chamberlain said. “Our recent recognition as No. 6 on the list of the 25 best small cities in Illinois to start a small business was a welcome accolade for all of our hard work.
“Let’s keep the ball rolling.”
Aldermen declined to comment after the council session, during which they approved a resolution stating opposition to the proposed $8 billion, 275-mile Great Lakes Basin Railroad that would would transport cargo through the county as part of a bypass around the Chicago area.
“I was a little disappointed that he didn’t mention anything about the school district,” Belvidere resident Patty Bowley said. “The school system is a big part of the city.”

— Susan Vela: 815-987-1392; svela@rrstar.com; @susanvela

Above is from: http://www.rrstar.com/article/20160606/NEWS/160609648

Trump's latest property tax bill, out June 3, shows he once again received a middle-class tax break





The self-proclaimed billionaire gets a tax break for New Yorkers whose incomes are $500,000 a year or less

By Aaron Elstein


Photo: Associated Press

Donald Trump just keeps on getting a tax break for the middle class.

Donald Trump's New York City property tax bill, published June 3, shows he once again received a tax break aimed at middle-class New Yorkers.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s latest property tax bill shows he was awarded a credit under the STAR program, or the New York State School Tax Relief Program. To be eligible for STAR, a married couple must have annual income of $500,000 or less. You wouldn’t think a guy as rich as Trump claims to be would qualify, but he has received the credit for several years and records filed over the weekend with the city’s Department of Finance show he received a $304 STAR tax break for his Trump Tower penthouse.

While the amount of the credit is trivial for a high-roller, the fact that Trump gets it calls into question his claims that he's "really rich" with a fortune worth in excess of $10 billion. Trump's tax bill comes to around $96,611 after receiving a condo abatement worth $20,493.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the city made an error in providing the tax credit and a correction "is in process." When Crain’s first reported on the STAR credit in March, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office agreed an error had been made, though she wouldn’t explain how it happened. On Monday, however, a  city spokeswoman told CNN that it was "reviewing Mr. Trump's exemption status," which suggests the city isn't so sure it made a mistake.

The city’s Department of Finance has said it checks with New York state tax authorities every year to make sure applicants for the STAR benefit have income under $500,000. The state receives a list of STAR recipients every year and notifies the city of who is eligible. The state defines income for STAR purposes as federal adjusted gross income minus the taxable amount of total distributions from annuities or individual retirement accounts.

To try to sort it out, in March Crain’s asked for copies of Trump’s STAR applications under New York’s Freedom of Information Law. But after a two-month search, the Department of Finance said that no documents could be found. So the mystery of the billionaire and his middle-class tax break continues.

Because Trump has refused to release his income tax returns, for now his property-tax bills are about the only available window into his finances that doesn’t come from him. It’s conceivable that Trump is in fact very wealthy, thanks to his property holdings and licensing agreements, and manages to lower his annual income to under $500,000 by taking advantage of loopholes in the tax code that give real estate professionals many ways to minimize income.

Such maneuvers may comply with tax law, but could be difficult to explain to voters. Or his fortune may simply be much smaller than he's claimed.

For what it's worth, Trump's accountant appears to be an expert in the STAR program. The accountant, Donald Bender of the firm WeiserMazars, in 2013 posted an article on his LinkedIn page explaining some changes in STAR that required eligible recipients to re-register.

Above is from:  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20160606/BLOGS02/160609931/trumps-persistent-mystery-once-again-the-billionaire-gets-a-middle-class-tax-break