Facts Matter: Residents leaving Illinois will not be charged a fee

  • President Donald Trump stands in front of a border wall prototype in San Diego in March.

    President Donald Trump stands in front of a border wall prototype in San Diego in March. Associated Press

Updated 12/15/2018 5:14 PM

A post circulating on Facebook this month said Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker proposed charging a fee to residents who move out of the state.

The post targeting the Democrat appears to be a hoax and it's unlikely such a plan could be legally implemented, according to Snopes.com.


The post claimed Pritzker joined Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to announce the "Departing Taxpayer Fee," Snopes said.

The post included made-up quotes it attributed to Pritzker: "It's only fair. Since these individuals enjoyed state services during the period when overwhelming deficits and pension obligations were incurred without proper taxation."

Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh told Snopes the post was "absolutely not true."

Border wall construction has not begun

During a televised, Tuesday afternoon meeting with Democratic Party leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Donald Trump repeated his claim that "tremendous amounts" of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border have already been built.

But no segment of his proposed wall has been built, according to The Washington Post, and construction cannot begin until funding is available.

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Since he took office, Trump has asked Congress for as much as $25 billion to fund construction of the border wall, the Post said. The spending bill the president signed earlier this year included $1.57 billion for border security, but that money was to be used mostly for fencing repairs and could not be used to fund a wall.

The bill specifically prohibited building the wall prototypes Trump checked out in March near San Diego, California. Those eight models, made of concrete and metal, were designed to prevent attempts to climb over, smash through or tunnel underneath the barrier, according to the Post.

Madonna not switching political allegiance

A fake meme that resurfaced recently on social media has pop singer Madonna, a vocal critic of President Trump, telling Fox News, "I heavily regret my vote against Trump … and I will vote for Trump in 2020," according to The Associated Press.

Madonna publicist Luke Burland told AP the singer has not changed her politics. The post, which first appeared in September and claims the quote is from a Sept. 5 interview, is "completely not true," Burland said, and Madonna "never did an interview with Fox."


Madonna has been an outspoken critic of the president and opposed his candidacy, AP said. During the 2016 campaign, she posted a photo of Trump's sons on a hunting trip and included the caption, "One more reason to vote for Hillary!"

Teacher on drugs story is fake

A police mug shot from Mundelein was misused in a fake news report claiming an elementary school teacher was arrested after she stripped naked and injured some of her students while she was high on drugs.

The article was published by World News Daily Report, a website known to issue misinformation, according to Snopes.com.

The fake story claimed Laura James, 37, was "visibly intoxicated and behaving erratically" when she arrived at work as a fourth-grade teacher in Olympia, Washington, but because of a lack of substitute teachers, she was allowed to teach her class. A drug "bad trip" caused her to strip and assault the children, severely biting two and injuring six others, the story claimed.

A disclaimer on the site states World News Daily Report assumes "responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content."

Much of the content on the World News Daily Report site includes out-of-context, unrelated images, Snopes said. The photo used on the fake story was actually a woman by a different name who was arrested in August 2017 in Mundelein on theft and drug possession charges.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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