Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Happy Independence Day!

  • Emanuel urges Trump to increase federal gas tax, stop slamming Chicago

In an op-ed for the New York Times Mayor Rahm Emanuel urges President Donald Trump to stop criticizing Chicago and increase the federal gasoline tax to help pay for mass transit systems. “Rather than tweeting about violence in Chicago, President Trump should be looking to Chicago as a model for the infrastructure investments and economic growth he wants to replicate across the country,” Emanuel wrote. “Instead of embarking on his wrongheaded plan to privatize infrastructure construction, he should expand existing programs that have used local-federal partnerships to build transportation systems.” But the mayor spends most of the piece praising the Chicago Transit Authority while pointing out flaws in the subway systems of New York City and Washington, D.C. “Modernizing our existing mass transit is one reason Chicago’s economy has expanded faster than the economies of New York and Washington, and faster than the national average for the last five years,” he maintains. [New York Times] [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Standard & Poor’s calls Illinois house’s actions a “crucial step” to ending budget impasse

Weekend progress at the Illinois capitol in Springfield has the financial world slightly more optimistic about Illinois’s financial future. Illinois has been facing a junk bond rating from Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings if a budget deal is not reached as soon as possible. The Illinois house passed a spending plan and income-tax hike Sunday, which could lead to an agreement if it passes the Illinois senate with a veto-proof majority. The house’s actions are a “crucial step” in ending the two-year budget stalemate, according to S&P. The legislation “could represent the first step in a stabilization of Illinois’ fiscal outlook and may lead to an easing of pressure on the state’s credit quality,” the agency told Bloomberg in an e-mail Monday. [Bloomberg]

  • Firearms, tactical gear stolen from FBI vehicle on Near West Side

A vehicle owned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation containing confiscated firearms and tactical gear was stolen on the Near West Wide Monday morning. An FBI agent left his 2014 Chevrolet Equinox unattended briefly with the engine running when a man got in the car and drove it away. [Sun-Times]

  • Planning fireworks in the city? You might be fined

Home fireworks displays are banned in Chicago and could land you a $200 to $500 fine. “Anything that’s handheld, explodes, or takes flight is off-limits,” according to DNAinfo Chicago. Some of the few legal “fireworks” include party poppers (which shoot confetti), “snakes,” and devices that “snap” when you throw them on the ground. [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Report: Customers were accidentally charged soda tax over the weekend

A judge blocked the Cook County “sugary” beverage tax that was supposed to take effect July 1 (and that applied to diet soda), but a few local residents say they were mistakenly charged with the tax over the weekend, according to ABC7 Chicago. A McDonald’s in Edgewater charged customer Gerald Farinas with the tax two days in a row. “I noticed that there was something strange with the price. It was higher than I normally pay,” he told ABC7 Chicago. “That means everyone else was charged this tax, and I only got reimbursed because I asked for it.” A McDonald’s in Oak Lawn also allegedly charged customers the tax. [ABC7 Chicago]

  • Cooking classes help teen refugees in Edgewater share their stories

Female teenage refugees will help teach a series of cooking classes focusing on food “created or affected by social or political unrest” in Edgewater in July and early August. “Feasts of Resistance” is organized by the Peterson Garden Project along with Girl Forward, a refugee project that currently helps girls from about two dozen homelands. “Everybody has food, all cultures,” says Emily Kane, director of educational programming at Girl Forward’s summer camp. “I think food is a really great vehicle to be able to explore the perspective and experiences of other people in a really hands-on way, and it’s great in a classroom setting.” [DNAinfo Chicago]