• Will Metra Fare Increase Derail Your Budget?

    Chicago area commuters who have been using the Metra train lines instead of paying the rising costs of gas for driving may soon be reconsidering their options. The Chicago Tribune reported on November 11, 2011, that the board of directors for the commuter rail division of the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority approved fare increases averaging 25 percent, the largest single fare hike in the agency’s history and the biggest jump in nearly four years.

    Metra officials told the Tribune that the increases are necessary to help close an anticipated $53.6 million budget gap in 2012. Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said about 80 percent of 7,000 respondents to an online survey said if given a choice of reduction in service or fare increase, they would take the increase. “People are pretty set in their schedules and they strongly opposed service reductions,” Pardonnet told the Tribune.

    Metra CEO Alex Clifford warned that commuters can expect more increases in the future, but they will be more frequent and smaller. Under the plan which goes into effect Feb. 1, 2012, one-way tickets will increase an average of 15.7 percent across all fare zones, ten-ride tickets will go up an average of 30 percent and monthly passes will increase an average of 29.4 percent.

    For those already struggling through hard times, the additional cost of getting to and from work may lead to additional families seeking foreclosure help . If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage and are concerned that transportation expenses are going to make a bad situation worse, you should speak to our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer about the possible benefits of filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Braxton Un-Breaks The Bank

    Nearly 15 years after she sang about the nights being so unkind, six-time Grammy Award-winner Toni Braxton says bankruptcy has “worked out really great” for her. The Wall Street Journal reported on November 9, 2011, that during the premiere episode of her reality television show’s second season, Braxton flew her sisters out to Los Angeles to see her new home after successfully discharging her from a number of debts in her Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. “So I’m starting over, and starting over can be a great thing,” Braxton said during the episode of “Braxton Family Values.”

    Braxton first filed for bankruptcy in 1998 after a dispute over her recording contract, but it was when the singer found herself in need of foreclosure help with her house in the Century City area of Los Angeles in October 2009 that led to Braxton returning to bankruptcy court again in October 2010. In August 2011, Braxton struck a deal to ensure that she would be able to keep her Grammy Awards as well as her Tiffany jewelry and 1995 Porsche 911.

    While you are more than likely nowhere near the $18.3 million in debts that Braxton claimed when filing for her second bankruptcy, the singer’s case can still serve as a reminder of how completing a bankruptcy means test will never leave you in a worse situation than before you filed. Just as her own attorneys found a way to let Braxton hang on to her six Grammys, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer will work to help you retain your home, car or other items you fear will be taken by creditors. When you are concerned about losing property, those fears are some of the best reasons to file bankruptcy rather than being reasons not to.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney