Flannery Fired Up: Libertyville moves to ban retail pot sales; Reparations bill

A Chicago reporter who has been almost alone in writing about the area’s struggling real estate market says soaring property taxes are the “number one reason.” He joins us on this edition of Flannery Fired Up.

Dennis Rodkin, residential real estate reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business, said home sales in Chicago fell by nearly eight percent in the first half of 2019. Sales of homes priced at more than $1 million fell by nearly 15 percent, Rodkin said. That’s the market segment targeted by local politicians for a series of tax increases. Mayor Lightfoot has not yet revealed her plan for closing a city budget shortfall that may surpass a billion dollars. An additional billion dollars will also soon be needed for public employee pensions. Lightfoot has declared tax increases are “inevitable.”

Rodkin has chronicled dramatic declines in sales prices for specific homes all across Chicago and the suburbs. The most recent Case Shiller index report found Chicago area home prices 15 percent below their 2007 peak, while nationally home prices are 13.5 percent above that peak.

Also joining us on this edition, former candidate for mayor Willie Wilson and Dan Proft, morning drive host on AM-560 The Answer. They discuss and debate Wilson’s proposal that Chicagoans pay reparations for slavery. Wilson’s holding an informal public hearing on it on the West Side Tuesday night. Descendants of enslaved African-Americans making $75,000 a year or less would be eligible for free college education, free health care (including mental health treatment), free public transportation (including free rides on the CTA), and free prescription medications for seniors. Wilson declines to estimate the cost to city taxpayers, but it’s likely to run into the billions of dollars.

Libertyville’s Mayor Terry Wepply joins us to explain why his village is moving to ban the retail sale of marijuana products. Adult use of cannabis becomes legal statewide on January 1, 2020. Mayor Weppley and Jason Erkes, Cresco Labs’ chief communications officer, discuss and debate the issue. Erkes’ company operates several medical marijuana outlets and plans to expand in 2020. He claims each store would pay up to $1 million a year in local sales taxes.