Chicago has a number of nicknames and “Derivatives Capital of the World” is one of them, as the city is home to CME Group and CBOE, two major U.S. exchange operators. The city risked this title in 2020 with the push for the LaSalle Street Tax, a financial transaction tax (“FTT”) that would impose a tax on trades made by Chicago exchanges. This tax was an attempt to fill the city’s billion dollar 2021 budget shortfall, but failed in large part because the evolution of trading has made these operators incredibly mobile. In a Chicago City Council meeting, Terry Duffy, CEO of CME Group, made it clear the imposition of the LaSalle Street Tax wouldn’t result in more revenue for the city, but a great deal of empty office space instead. For now, the LaSalle Street Tax is off the table in Chicago, but other governments, like New Jersey, are considering similar taxes. States considering FTTs ought to look at the pushback in Chicago and understand that mobility is the inevitable defense to such a tax.
On June 25, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, legalizing cannabis for adult use in Illinois. Cannabis is the most lucrative crop globally and the cash-making abilities of cannabis have been proven true in Illinois. Sales in the state exceeded $1 billion in the first full year of legalization, resulting in a $205.4 million tax windfall for Illinois. This success, however, is no small feat for cannabis companies considering the banking and insurance obstacles they must overcome to start this type of business. Federalism is at the heart of many of these hurdles.
As of November 8, 2020, the student debt crisis reached $1,769,280,155,524. There’s no easy way to address a $1.7 trillion problem and the increasing cost of higher education, coupled with the necessity of a four-year degree, will only exacerbate the issue. From 2000 to 2016, the average annual cost of college more than doubled, from around $15,000 a year to nearly $32,000. The New York Fed most recently identified a phenomenon acknowledging that when you flood the marketplace with subsidies, like grants, loans, etc., it enables higher education to continue to raise prices. For every dollar of new public subsidy, prices for college have risen between 60 and 70 cents. There are a number of proposals as to how to address this crisis – from federal statutes to private intervention – but income sharing agreements (ISAs) have largely been left out of the conversation. ISAs are not without criticism, particularly because of concerns about excessive interest. However, many of the criticisms could and should be addressed by comprehensive regulation, as any other type of lending has been. ISAs will likely be part of the future solutions of financing education and, as a result, regulators need to pay attention.
Most everyone knows how painful a rush hour commute in Chicago can be –– from cramming into packed buses and train cars to navigating construction and busy streets. Now, imagine navigating that same commute without access to your nearest L stop or waiting fifteen minutes for a bus only to find you’ll have to wait for another because there’s a crowd of people standing in the area designated for wheelchair users. This is a reality that many Chicago residents with disabilities must overcome to go about their day-to-day lives. According to a 2018 community survey, over 520,000 Chicagoland residents, about 10.1 percent of the City’s total population, have a disability. Unfortunately, the city of Chicago’s transit system is not adequately accessible for this community.
In early April of 2020, a high-tech, temperature-controlled cooler traveled halfway across the country on an airplane with a man whose sole job was to get the contents of that cooler –– a promising trial drug to treat a specific form of muscular dystrophy –– from a Baltimore-based research hospital to a family member of mine living in a west Chicago neighborhood. Ordinarily, this family member would make a monthly visit to Baltimore and take the trial drug under the supervision of researchers, but with a pandemic raging on, researchers made do. COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the way people around the world are going about their lives and everyone is doing their best to be flexible. Clinical drug trials are no different.