People can choose to define financial independence in their own way -- after all, not everyone wants a private jet and a mansion. However reaching real financial independence -- the ability to live comfortably off one's savings and investments with no debt whatsoever -- could be easier than you think.
Every Illinoisans is on the hook for 3 percent of their income going to state income taxes. Their federal taxes, however, likely will vary, and municipalities throughout the state levy their own local taxes on different things and at different levels. But some places in Illinois, and throughout the country, benefit more from state and local tax deductions than others.
While the rest of the state is suffering, the film industry is enjoying sales- and income-tax breaks. But the film industry isn't alone in receiving special treatment from the state. Since 2001, Illinois has given out more than $1 billion to the biggest businesses in the state through the EDGE tax-credit program, which is meant to spur economic growth. It's not working.
In the House and Senate budget proposals for fiscal year 2016, passed with only Republican votes at the end of March, there are big winners and big losers. The big winners are defense spending and contractors and very wealthy people and powerful special interests. The big losers are children, our poorest group in America, and struggling low- and middle-income families.