Business & Economy
Governor Quinn Announces State's Backlog of Bills Falls to $3.9 Billion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Abdon Pallasch, Asst. Budget Director   
Monday, 14 July 2014 13:12

Lowest Point Since Governor Quinn Took Office; Strict Spending Brings Backlog Down from High of $9.9 Billion in 2010

CHICAGO – Governor Quinn today announced that the state's backlog of bills has fallen from a high of $9.9 billion in 2010 down to $3.9 billion as of June 30, the lowest point since the Governor took office. Five years ago, Illinois was home to the worst pension crisis in America and the state’s backlog of bills was on its way to more than $9 billion. Since taking office, Governor Quinn has made tough decisions, enacted major structural reforms and cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion.

“Making the tough decisions has moved Illinois forward," Governor Quinn said. "Today Illinois is in a stronger financial position than we were five years ago and we have more work to do to continue moving our finances in the right direction."

The backlog of bills is now closer to the typical private industry 30-day billing standard – about $2.2 billion in Illinois’ case – and is a direct result of the Governor's willingness to make the tough decisions including overhauling the Medicaid program, reforming worker's compensation and unemployment insurance systems and implementing major efficiencies such as closing and consolidating more than 50 state facilities.

In March, the Governor submitted a balanced budget plan that continued paying down the state's bills, protected education and public safety and secured Illinois’ long-term financial future, but legislators instead postponed the tough budget decisions.

Governor Quinn recently cut Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2015 state budget, zeroing out $250 million for renovations of the state Capitol. In addition, as part of his ongoing budget review, the Governor directed state agencies to identify additional efficiencies, including selling nearly half of the state’s aircraft.

The Governor also directed state agencies to cut 80 paid parking spaces for state employees in downtown garages – more than 30 percent of the total spots reserved. The move will save taxpayers more than $100,000 annually. He also again reduced lease costs for government buildings that will save taxpayers an additional $55 million this year.

Governor Quinn’s budget cuts over the past five years include shrinking the state payroll from 54,000 to 50,000 – the third-lowest number of state government employees per capita in the entire country according to Governing Magazine.

For more information, please visit: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Documents/Bill_Backlog_Presentation_7.14.14.pdf.

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Governor Quinn Announces State's Backlog of Bills Falls to $3.9 Billion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Abdon Pallasch, Asst. Budget Director   
Monday, 14 July 2014 13:12

Lowest Point Since Governor Quinn Took Office; Strict Spending Brings Backlog Down from High of $9.9 Billion in 2010

CHICAGO – Governor Quinn today announced that the state's backlog of bills has fallen from a high of $9.9 billion in 2010 down to $3.9 billion as of June 30, the lowest point since the Governor took office. Five years ago, Illinois was home to the worst pension crisis in America and the state’s backlog of bills was on its way to more than $9 billion. Since taking office, Governor Quinn has made tough decisions, enacted major structural reforms and cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion.

“Making the tough decisions has moved Illinois forward," Governor Quinn said. "Today Illinois is in a stronger financial position than we were five years ago and we have more work to do to continue moving our finances in the right direction."

The backlog of bills is now closer to the typical private industry 30-day billing standard – about $2.2 billion in Illinois’ case – and is a direct result of the Governor's willingness to make the tough decisions including overhauling the Medicaid program, reforming worker's compensation and unemployment insurance systems and implementing major efficiencies such as closing and consolidating more than 50 state facilities.

In March, the Governor submitted a balanced budget plan that continued paying down the state's bills, protected education and public safety and secured Illinois’ long-term financial future, but legislators instead postponed the tough budget decisions.

Governor Quinn recently cut Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2015 state budget, zeroing out $250 million for renovations of the state Capitol. In addition, as part of his ongoing budget review, the Governor directed state agencies to identify additional efficiencies, including selling nearly half of the state’s aircraft.

The Governor also directed state agencies to cut 80 paid parking spaces for state employees in downtown garages – more than 30 percent of the total spots reserved. The move will save taxpayers more than $100,000 annually. He also again reduced lease costs for government buildings that will save taxpayers an additional $55 million this year.

Governor Quinn’s budget cuts over the past five years include shrinking the state payroll from 54,000 to 50,000 – the third-lowest number of state government employees per capita in the entire country according to Governing Magazine.

For more information, please visit: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Documents/Bill_Backlog_Presentation_7.14.14.pdf.

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Top 10 Ways People Go Broke PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 14 July 2014 12:54
Self-Made Millionaire Shares Common Mistakes to Avoid

You don’t have to come from a wealthy family, have the next billion-dollar idea or work 18-hour days to become rich, says self-made millionaire Mike Finley.

“You don’t have to be extraordinary in any of the headline-grabbing ways; what you need is the self-awareness to avoid wasting money on short-term, retail-priced happiness,” says Finley, author of “Financial Happine$$,” (www.thecrazymaninthepinkwig.com), which discusses his journey to financial literacy and the principles and practices that allowed him to retire from the Army a wealthy man.

“Money used wisely can give you the financial security associated with the good life.”

Finley lists 10 of the most common money traps that lead to consumers going broke:

•  Make the appearance of wealth one of your top priorities by acquiring more stuff. The material trappings of a faux lifestyle, as seen in magazines and advertisements, are not good investments either financially or in long-term happiness.

•  Work a job you hate, and spend your free time buying happiness. Instead, find fulfilling work Monday through Friday so you’re not compensating for your misery with expensive habits during the weekend.

•  Live paycheck to paycheck and don’t worry about saving money. Live for today, that’s all that matters. Have you already achieved all of your dreams by this moment? If not, embrace hope and plan for tomorrow. (Appreciating your life today doesn’t require unnecessary expenditures.)

•  Stop your education when someone hands you a diploma; never read a book on personal finance. Just about any expert will tell you that the most reliable way out of poverty is education. Diplomas shouldn’t be the end of learning; they should be a milestone in a lifetime of acquiring wisdom.

•  Play the lottery as often as possible. While you’re at it, hit the casino! Magical thinking, especially when it comes to money, is a dangerous way to seek  financial security.

•  Run up your credit cards and make the minimum payments whenever possible. Paying interest on stuff you really don’t need is a tragic waste of money.

•  When you come into some free money, spend it. You deserve it. By that logic, you’re saying that a future version of you doesn’t deserve the money, which can be multiplied with wise investments.

•  Buy the biggest wedding and the biggest ring so everyone can see just how fabulous you really are. Nothing says “Let’s start our future together” like blowing your entire savings on one evening.

•  Treat those “amazing” celebrities and “successful” athletes as role models. Try to be just like them whenever possible. As far as we know, there’s only one you the universe has ever known. Don’t dilute your unique individuality by chasing an image.

•  Blame others for your problems in life. Repeat after me: I am a victim. The victim mentality is an attempt to rationalize poor habits and bad decision-making.

“If you’re feeling uncomfortable with your financial situation, don’t just sit there in a malaise of ‘If only I had more money,’ ” Finley says. “Instead, use it as motivation for a better life; that’s why the discomfort is there.”

About Mike Finley

Like most Americans, Mike Finley was raised with no education in personal finances. Joining the Army out of high school, he realized he didn’t understand money management and began the task of educating himself. After 26 years in the service, during which he practiced the principles he learned, he retired a millionaire. Finley is the author of “Financial Happine$$,” (www.thecrazymaninthepinkwig.com) and teaches a popular financial literacy class at the University of Northern Iowa. He donates much of his time to additional groups, including Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa and organizations serving veterans and current military personnel.

 
Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Economy’s Growth Highest in the Midwest PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Abdon Pallasch, Asst. Budget Director   
Monday, 14 July 2014 09:23
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois economy’s growth is the highest in the Midwest, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve, which has historically provided an accurate barometer of state growth, announced that Illinois will have the largest economic growth in the Midwest over the next six months. According to the projections, the Illinois economy will increase by 2.49 percent during the second half of 2014 (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, "State Leading Indexes").

The projected rate for other Midwestern states are as follows:

  • Ohio 2.30
  • Nebraska 1.94
  • North Dakota 1.68
  • Iowa 1.46
  • Indiana 1.51
  • Wisconsin 1.36
  • Kentucky 1.20
  • Minnesota 1.05
  • Missouri .98
  • Michigan .93
  • South Dakota .50
  • Kansas .60

Illinois has added more than 242,000 private-sector jobs since the recovery began in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. The BLS also reports there are more people working in Illinois today than at any time since February 2009 —the first month of Governor Quinn’s administration. Illinois ranks 3rd in the country for corporate expansions and locations according to Site Selection Magazine.

For more information visit: http://www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/regional-economy/indexes/leading/ (click on “revised data”).

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3 Tips to Avoid Outliving Your Retirement Fund PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 11 July 2014 13:04
Financial Experts Explain When It’s OK to Play It Safe –
and When It’s Not

As people get closer to the age when they hope to retire, traditional wisdom calls for moving into more conservative – safer – investments, such as Treasury bonds and many fixed-income mutual funds.

“The problem is, what is ‘safe’ for one person may not be ‘safe’ for another, given the amount of money in their portfolios, how their investments are allocated, and what their retirement lifestyle goals are,” says  financial advisor Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo, co-founder with advisor Chris Snyder of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, (www.pillarwm.com).

“Some investors believe Certificates of Deposit and U.S. Treasury bonds are safe investments because of their backing, but the income they generate is so low, they may not be safe in terms of producing the income you need for 30 years of retirement.”

A better approach is to analyze how much investment risk you must assume to achieve what’s important to you, says Snyder.

“Your lifestyle goals determine your risk level, and your portfolio should be an allocation of stocks, bonds and cash that correlates directly with the risk level you need to assume.”

Snyder and Ashoo, co-authors of “Four Factors The Affluent Must Know To Avoid Financial Disaster And Secure Their Dreams,” available as a free download at(www.pillarwm.com), offer these tips for building a portfolio you likely won’t outlive:

•  Don’t aim for earning a certain percentage rate simply because you consider it an acceptable one.

Once you’ve identified your retirement lifestyle wants and needs, you can calculate how much they’ll cost. Subtract your guaranteed income from sources like Social Security and pensions, and the remainder is what your portfolio will need to generate, adjusted for inflation, for the rest of your life, Ashoo says.

“Setting a goal of earning a 5, 6 or 8 percent return doesn’t work because the markets fluctuate each year and are unpredictable,” he says. “It’s better to evaluate inflows and outflows during retirement and adjust for inflation. That process helps determine how much money you’ll need at certain points in your life, and the returns you’ll need.”

•  Market timing and chasing hot managers is not the way to build a lasting, long-term portfolio.

Modern Portfolio Theory, developed by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Markowitz, tells us that 90 percent of the return in your portfolio is based on the allocation of stocks, bonds and cash, Snyder says.

“The percentages you allocate between these asset classes is far more important than timing the market or chasing around for the number one fund,” he says. “Wall Street prefers you spend your time focused on the wrong thing.

•  Don’t automatically spend when your portfolio earnings exceed expectations.

When your portfolio is growing at a rate that gives you a good amount of confidence you won’t outlive your money, are you safe to spend more when gains exceed your expectations?

“Everyone has different priorities – some may want to increase spending to enhance their lifestyle while others may take the opportunity to lower their risk even more, so they can sleep better at night,” Ashoo says.

He and Snyder say clients in that situation this year have responded in varying ways. Some have paid down mortgages with the extra money, moved up their plans to retire, traveled more or lowered their portfolio risk.

“What you need to remember is that gains can be taken away as quickly as they appeared,” Snyder says.

About Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo and Chris Snyder

Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo and Chris Snyder are co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, (www.pillarwm.com), of Walnut Creek, Calif., specializing in customized wealth management advice to affluent families. Their unique five-step consultative process for new clients ensures they have a deep understanding of clients’ goals. With a combined 51 years of experience, they are the authors of numerous published works, have addressed thousands of investors nationwide, and have been interviewed on radio shows across the country.

 
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