Monthly Archives: May 2016

Governor Rauner Nixes Mayor Emanuel’s Pension Funding Bill

Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff (2009-2010), Mayor of Chicago since 2011
Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff (2009-2010), Mayor of Chicago since 2011

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received an answer of “no” to his request to pass a bill which would have helped fund pensions for the city’s police and firemen.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said that Emanuel’s plan did not include cost-cutting savings. He said the bill would force the city taxpayers to pay more in the long run.

“Borrowing billions against taxpayers is not the solution,” Rauner said.

But for now the veto will remove $220 million from the city’s budget. The mayor might have to raise property taxes on Chicago residents to make up the deficit. Some critics of the governor say he squashed the plan as much for political reasons and economic. They say that Republican Rauner would like to have some power of Democrats in upcoming fights over budgeting, taxes and the pro-business, anti-union changes the governor is after.

The bill the governor vetoed would have covered the cost of contributions to the Policemen’s and Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund.

“The cost to Chicago’s taxpayers of kicking this can down the road is truly staggering,” Rauner said in the statement. “Chicago is borrowing against its taxpayers to the tune of $18.6 billion. This practice has to stop. If we continue, we’ve learned nothing from our past mistakes.”

Emanuel replied: “With a stroke of his pen, Bruce Rauner just told every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike. Bruce Rauner ran for office promising to shake up Springfield, but all he’s doing is shaking down Chicago residents, forcing an unnecessary $300 million property tax increase on them and using them as pawns in his failed political agenda.”

McDonald’s Testing Fresh Beef in Dallas Restaurants

Mcdonalds_logoOak Brook, Illinois headquartered McDonald’s announced that it is testing the feasibility of putting fresh beef on its menu in 14 outlets in Dallas, Texas. It is still too early for them to say whether they can take the idea of replacing their frozen hamburger patties across the nation.

The test is so far only being done with quarter pound burger patties.

“Like all of our tests, this one too is designed to see what works and what doesn’t within our restaurants,” said Lisa McComb, a McDonald’s spokeswoman.

The test is taken place during a period in which McDonald is attempting to reverse a recent business slump it has been experiencing. The company wants to try and improve business by improving some of its most basic items on its menu.

McDonald’s is the country’s largest hamburger fast-food restaurant chain, with 14,000 locations.

Gannett Pursuing Bid to Purchase Tribune in $815 Million Deal

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the leadership of Gannett met with executives of Tribune Publishing to discuss an unsolicited bid to buy the Chicago based Tribune. Apparently no deal was reached.

The meeting was arranged at the suggestion of Tribune Publishing Chairman Michael Ferro. Together with Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn, Ferro met with Gannett Chairman John Jeffry Louis and CEO Robert Dickey. It was the first meeting between the execs since the purchase offer of $815 million was made public in April.

Dickey and Louis re-stated Gannett’s offer, while Ferro said that the Tribune is still pursuing a new business strategy. The SEC filing stated that “no meaningful progress was made to discuss the terms of the Offer or a process for going forward.”

Gannett, which is headquartered in McLean, Virginia is the publisher of over 100 newspapers, including USA Today. The company offered to buy the Chicago-based Tribune Publishing for $12.25 per share in an all cash transaction that would include the purchase of $390 million worth of debt. The Tribune’s board voted down the proposal in a unanimous vote on May 4.

“Gannett is committed to engaging in substantive discussions with Tribune regarding its $12.25 all-cash, premium offer,” the company said on Friday. “We look forward to Tribune’s board acting as responsible financial stewards in the best interests of its shareholders.”

IKEA Expanding to New Midwest Location

IKEA store: Photo by Rainchill
IKEA store: Photo by Rainchill

IKEA US president Lars Petersson announced that their 206,000 Milwaukee customers will soon be able to shop at their own IKEA store.

The store will comprise almost 300,000 square feet, built on 29 acres at the intersection of Interstate 94 and Drexel Avenue. Consumers can expect to shop in the mega store by the summer of 2018.

“We are excited at the possibility of growing our Midwestern U.S. presence with a Milwaukee-area store,” Petersson said. “A location in the retail corridor would provide our already 206,000 Milwaukee-area customers their own store.”

The huge store will offer customers 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 room settings and three model home interior designs. There will also be a restaurant and children’s play area within the store. The new location will join other Midwest stores in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg in Illinois and in others in the Minneapolis-St Paul region in Minnesota.

Radio Shack to Pay Rebates to Its Customers

A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Caracol shopping center on Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascensio in the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Photo by Coolcaesar.
A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Caracol shopping center on Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascensio in the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Photo by Coolcaesar.

Michael Frerichs, Illinois treasurer, has succeeded to get Radio Shack, a consumerelectronics company that filed for bankruptcy last year, to pay $140,000 in rebates that were never cashed. The money is owed to over 5,000 Illinois residents. The Radio Shack bankruptcy should not affect their ability to pay, as the government already has the money in hand.

Since rebate checks not claimed within five years are considered unclaimed property according to Illinois state law, Frerichs pursued Radio Shack to pay off their customers. One of the roles of the treasurer in Illinois is returning unclaimed property.

The rebates were used to help convince consumers to make purchases between 2002 and 2008. Radio Shack agreed to the terms of the settlement when Frerichs auditors saw that the company and its rebate fulfillment provider, Global Fulfillment Services, did not report the unclaimed rebate checks.

However, it is still not known how much of the $140,000 will actually be returned to Illinois consumers. That number will depend on how well the state can locate those entitled to rebates, and then getting the rebate money to them.