Trump Administration’s 2019 Budget Proposal; Employees’ Benefits & COLA Take a Major Hit in Pekin, IL

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – While the share of nation’s workers the federal government employed in 2017, equaled its lowest level ever recorded, new Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the level is too low for government to perform basic functions. And with alarms ringing over the rising costs in Pekin, Illinois could less us to fewer firefighters serving the community. With two firefighters down in the department due to retirements of last year, the union’s president, Tom Veatch explains, “It’s a safety concern. You know, not only for our taxpayers but our members too. We’re always here. We do our job 100 percent all the time. And we will never stop doing our job, no matter what.” However, the city has not filled those 2 positions and leaders are pointing at rising costs as they are looking towards a budget plan for the next fiscal year. The Local Records Office reviews how the 2019 budget proposal will impact federal jobs; employees’ benefits and the cost of living adjustments (COLA) will both a take a major hit.

“It might sound better to say ‘cuts’. We’re maintaining the employment levels in the proposed budget,” proposed Carson.

Carson described that the city faces 60 million in pension liabilities for the fire and police retirees and is the reason staffing levels in the proposed budget are under consideration.

“They offer great service to our residents. They’re going to continue to do a great job. I have confidence in their abilities. We’re not short staffing them,” expressed Carson.

Though, CBP has documented how, due to lack of personnel, basic governmental functions –ie. administrating the nation’s Social Security and even tax systems –are being performed inadequately.

Recently, Sens. Mitch McConnel, R-Ky., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recently announced they are closing a two-year budget deal, which lifts budget caps and would require appropriations committees to develop detailed plans within six weeks.

The 2019 Budget proposes a pay freeze; federal employees will take major compensation cuts

With the 2019 presidential budget in place to include a pay freeze for federal employees; with the administration’s intention to rely on a “pay for performance” basis rather than a standard pay increase on a schedule, the American Federation of Government Employees national president J. David Cox Sr. explains that “by stripping employees of their due process rights and firing those who reject his politics, President Trump is opening the door for rampant corruption, discrimination, and worker intimidation.”

With the 2019 budget proposal relying on employee compensation cuts and changes to reduction to the deficit by more than $70 billion by 2028, by mostly coming from reducing the government’s contributions to the retirement and health programs, and eliminating some programs, such as special retirement supplements and the Federal Employee Retirement System cost of living adjustments, the 2019 budget proposal estimates adjustments to will reduce the U.S. deficit by $192 million by 2021 and achieve a total reduction near $2.8 billion by 2028.

Similarly, this 2019 budget proposal estimates these changes to the federal retirement benefits will also reduce the deficit by nearly $2.6 billion in 2019 and adds up of more than $68 billion in reductions by 2028. And members will receive a 2.5% raise, according to the 2019 document.

Though the president is proposing a pay freeze for civilian employees next year, the Congress has multiple opportunities to suggest and pass laws otherwise.

New changes to the federal employee retirement benefits

-Increasing the employee contributions to retirement by 1% per year until it reaches 50% in the Federal Employment System (FERS) –phased out over a period of several years.

-Replacing the current high three average salary to calculate the retirement annuities with the five-year average salary baseline.

-Eliminating FERS annuity supplement for eligible employees retiring 2018 and beyond.

-Eliminating the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for current and future FERS employees

-Eliminating the FERS cost of living adjustments and reducing civil service costs (CSRS) and cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) by 0.5%

With the White House plans to indicate plans to propose a seismic shift in federal retirement systems in the future, as it could remove defined benefit pensions altogether, officials wrote that “the TSP is a particularly attractive benefit to young, mobile workers not intended to make a career of federal service.” And that “the budget, therefore, funds a study to explore the potential benefits, including the recruitment benefit, of creating a defined-contribution only annuity benefit for new federal workers, and those desiring to transfer out of the existing hybrid system.”

As the proposal would change other federal employee benefits and do away with the current leave system, which offers time off for regular leave, sick days and vacation, in favor of Paid Time Off would effectively reduce the number of leave workers receives each year.

Healthcare –Proposed changes to Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB)

The trump administration is recommending changes to the formula the currently directs towards the government’s contribution rate for the participants in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB).

With the budget contribution rate on an FEHB plan’s score from a performance assessment, the OPM rates all FEHBP carriers on all 19 health outcomes, quality, and efficiency standards.

The formula set under law determines a share the government and enrollee pay towards FEHBP premiums each year. The government pays 75% of participants’ premium up to a certain cap. The cap equals to 72% of the weighted average of the previous years’ premiums.

The Trump administration wants to alter the formula slightly, so the government would contribute more towards the employee’s health care depending on how well the specific FEHB plan performs under the OPM’s standards.

The Office of Management and Budget projects the government will contribute a range of 65-75%.

“Under the current structure, enrollees have few incentives to choose less expensive, higher value plans,” the budget cites. “This proposal would incentivize enrollees to select high-performing, high-value plans by making them more affordable. The proposal would also provide carriers with greater incentive to compete on price and quality, help driving down overall program costs.”

And according to the budget, this change to FEHB premium contributions would save over $2.7 billion in the next decade.

Annual leave –impacts paid time off and sick days

The 2019 proposal also suggests combining all leave into one “paid time off category.”

“This would reduce total leave days while adding a short-term disability insurance policy to protect employees who experience a serious medical situation,” according to the 2019 request.

And currently, the federal employees receive 10 paid holidays, 13 sick days and 13-to-26 vacation days, depending on the tenure.

  1. David Cox, the national president of AFGE, had told reporters that Trump’s budget is a significant threat to the federal employees’ livelihood, particularly following years of austerity during the Great Recession.

“Federal workers already make 5 percent less in inflation-adjusted terms than they did at the beginning of the decade,” Cox said. “If we don’t stop the pay freeze for 2019, they will have given up $246 billion in wages and benefits since 2011. No other group has lost more to deficit reduction than the federal workforce.”

And Tony Reardon, President of the National Treasury Employees Union described the budget in a statement as a “full-scale assault” on our federal civil service.

“This should alarm every member of Congress and all Americans,” Reardon said. “Weakening our civil service system and attacking the pay and benefits of federal workers will backfire and leave our country unable to tackle the complex issues we are facing.”

 

 

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Employment Wages Continue to be Stagnant as the Working Class Seeking Employment has Nearly Diminished in Pekin, Illinois

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – The top industries that stimulated Pekin, Illinois’ economy are diminishing industries that once stimulated the economic growth in Pekin, Illinois. With companies avoiding corporate taxes by outsourcing and avoiding paying for the employee wages and taxes here in America, the wage growth is continuing to diminish, which has resulted in fewer people in the seeking work. The Local Records Office reviews how the unemployment rates are merely hitting the tail end of the crisis our economy is in.

Service industries, manufacturing, exports, agriculture, and mining

Service industries contribute the largest dollar amount to the Pekin, Illinois economy, according to the Local Records Office. Leading the way of our community, business, and personal service sectors are: hotels, law firms, accounting firms, engineering powerhouses and private health-care providers generate a majority of the dollar share in Pekin, Illinois’ economy. And following close behind are Pekin, Illinois’ finance, insurance and real estate conglomerates, the Local Records Office said. Thirdly are the wholesalers and the retail industries from car dealerships, department stores to supermarkets.

75% of the U.S. economy gains its shares from the service sector. As it is well-known, American boosts more of the service industry and thus outsourcing forms a major part of their operations. Therefore, U.S. firms that rake off a sustainable GNP growth must bring a balanced dependency on each other, to bring improvement to productivity is the only mantra for a successfully growing economy.

Manufacturing is the second largest, in fact, Pekin, Illinois is known as a major manufacturing leader in the entire company, said the Local Records Office. While building machinery makes a huge portion, including the assembling of construction equipment, farm machinery, and machine tools. And the second largest is the processed foods sector. Primary food products being created in Illinois include baked goods, breakfast cereals, candy, sausage, and spices. Chemical manufacturing makes up the remainder with the production of pharmaceuticals, cleaning solutions, and paint.

Exports sustain thousands of Illinois businesses as a total of 23,252 companies exported from Illinois locations in 2014, 333,674 U.S. jobs supported by goods exports from Illinois in 2015 and 86% of these jobs were supported by manufactured goods exports. While Illinois depends on world markets, the exports from Illinois have helped contribute a total of $59.8 billion out of the $2.21 trillion of U.S. goods and services exports in 2016. And Peoria, being relatively close to Pekin has contributed to export a goods value of $9.8 billion which is a 13.6% share of the state’s exports.

Though, the controversial issue of free trade is moving businesses out of the country costing us to lose tax revenues from corporate profits and the workers, and puts people out of work, which put pressures on the government to raise taxes, borrow money, print money, and still add onto our growing debt, to eventually collapse.

As some question a policies aimed towards looking only at consumer prices and not seeing the bigger picture, as well as keeping American jobs in America, bringing back the jobs we have left, and creating an environment for people to start and continue to grow companies, as outsourcing has contributed to the scourge of unemployment and denies the worker a just wage and the security of the worker for his or her family. But at the same time, some see the factor of production as an alternative to achieve improved levels of efficiency.

In Pekin Illinois’ the 2018 Governor’s Export Awards Applications –are due by Friday, April 20th, at 4:00 Pm.

Company Application

Organization Application

To fill out the application, right click and save on your computer. If you’re having trouble downloading, please email Godfrey Angara at godfrey.angara@illinois.gov for an emailed copy.

Agriculture -as CAFOs hurt property values, contributes to pollution and other environmental problems, question the impact of the proposed facility on 40 houses and cabins within a two-mile radius of the proposed facility, and roads as well as nearby ponds.

Opponents also question whether the site complies with “setback” rules requiring facilities with 7,000 or more animals to be at least a half mile from an occupied residence and a mile from populated areas.

Johnson’s concern of the number of swine CAFOs in her home country also mentions how pigs are raised in CAFOs tightly confined crate-like pens.

The odors, gases, and particulates are said to rise nearby neighbor’s health issues and meanwhile, proponents are keeping up the increasing international demand for pork as farmers are updating their facilities and lead others to argue whether these facilities will be enhancing the local economy.

Coal mining is now more apart of Illinois’ history than the present, as coal production has decreased since the 1920s, with technology and natural gas being the two culprits for the industry’s decline and mining jobs dissipated after the Harsey’s mine shut down, and many workers were let go. The Local 1825 still comes together to celebrate the history of coal mining every year on April 1st.

Despite Chicago’s gains in employment and the declining unemployment rate across the state, the rest of the state of Illinois.

Springfield, Decatur, and Danville have experienced dips in the employment rates because more residents are unable to find a job.

Policies are pushing smaller businesses into paying higher taxes, while corporations are ‘beating the system’ by outsourcing and getting a corporate tax break

And policies are not helping the issues of forcing smaller businesses to pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation, the highest workers’ compensation costs in the region or raising the overall tax burden to fix Springfield’s spending problems.

Yet, a vast majority of these jobs have decreased their average weekly wages. And to determine whether wages have increase broadly and consistently, after adjusting for inflation, economists measure that wages were only 10% higher in 2017 than they were in 1973, with the annual real wage growth just below 0.2%.

So while corporations get a larger cut on their taxes and even a larger corporate tax break by from outsourcing, the companies start hiring more people and the continuation of inflation of prices rises only higher. And with more people employed and stimulating the economy buying from these large corporations, they continue to have a larger profit margin and become more powerful.

Reasons wages have lagged behind U.S. job growth

Diminishing wages is resulting in fewer people entering the labor force, and as Baby Boomers are retiring and Millenials start earning relatively lower salaries

Andre Chamberlain, the chief economist at the jobs and recruiting company Glassdoor has said even as unemployment fell to a 16-year low recently, the wage growth has slowed. As the Labor Departments’ numbers show wage growth averaging 2.5% in the last four months of last year’s peak at 2.9% in December. Though, Chamberlain says wage growth during this stage of economic recovery should be closer to 3.5%.

One theory is many young, inexperienced workers are entering the job force getting paid less and dragging the nations’ earning growth down as a whole.

Another factor the unemployment rate does not reflect is the people ages 25-54 –the prime working ages – are the ones’ not looking for a job, but might if the condition is right, Chamberlain says.

Replacing workers with technology will reduce costs in the long run, as workers lose out on employment. And while opposing views of whether or not the technological advances are economically significant or simply, are a better alternative for companies to increase productivity. The overall impact of job losses has slowed those looking for work under the right circumstances and the overall wage growth has gotten worse for those who are entering the labor force.

So as people justify that the economy has improved, due to the lower numbers of unemployment rates and the amount of 1.5 million entering the labor force, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco have recently argued that people entering the labor force are earning relatively lower salaries.

3 Considerations for Buying Real Estate – Local Records Office

Local Records Office – PEKIN, IL: Buying your first home can be a challenging job. In fact, it could be so much daunting a task that most people simply fall for the first affordable house that comes their way or find it better to remain at the rented home says, Local Records Office. However, if you know a few basic rules to buying real estate, the difficulty in finding a house would soon vanish.

READ MORE: Local Records Office Highlights Considerations Homebuyers Should Make Before Starting a House Hunt

Here are three most important things to consider when buying a home, whether you are purchasing for the first time or not.

  1. Affordability

Local Records Office says, “Almost every homebuyer has affordability as the number one consideration when choosing real estate”. If you don’t have a larger budget, avoid checking newer developments. Relatively, they are going to be far more expensive.

When considering the overall budget, there are a number of things that need to be added up. This includes the mortgage payment, taxes and insurance. If the location is in a city where your house is not serviced for garbage, water and sewer, it would again be your own expense.

READ MORE: How To Reduce Home-Buying Stress

In addition, you must also include the future costs, especially any repairs or new additions that could be required in the next five years says, Local Records Office. This could include repainting, siding, roof repair, electrical system update, heating system update, basement refinishing, reworking or re-carpeting the floors, updating cabinetry and appliances in the kitchen, or the bathroom.

  1. Location

Local Records Office says, “Once you have determined the amount of money you can spend on the real estate, the next factor is location”. Usually, buyers would already know which city or town they want to live in with their family. Choose a location, based on the features of a place and your own knowledge. Some of the most important factors that need to be considered when choosing a location include the schools, health care facilities, parks, markets or malls and most notably crime statistics. The place must offer quality living standards for your family.

Commuting distance is also a major factor. The distance to the work place shouldn’t be beyond an hour away. There are many advantages of choosing an urban location. Mostly, you would be closer to your work place. Schools, restaurants and stores are within walking distance. However, such a location is going to be expensive and could have higher road traffic and noise says, Local Records Office.

If you consider buying real estate on the streets, most likely the property is going to be cheaper by thousands of dollars. However, before making a decision for such a location, drive by a few times at different times of the day and week. Choose a location that is less noisy.

  1. Home Type

The third most important consideration is the type of home itself. Single-family homes appreciate well over time says, Local Records Office. They offer more privacy, they are quieter and you could work out a splendid garden. However, such property is costlier than condos and townhouses.

A condo is a cheaper real estate compared to a single-family home. Because they are usually newer, there is no need to spend much on repairs. There is no exterior, which would again mean lesser maintenance.

To learn more about real estate and Local Records Office go to www.LocalRecordsOffices.com

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