Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

Pritzker nixes basketball with guidelines for winter sports in Illinois – Center Square

“Wrestling and hockey continue to be categorized as high risk as well,” the announcement said. “Cheer and dance will be categorized as lower risk, only if masking and distance are enforced. Low risk sports like bowling, gymnastics, swimming and diving will be permitted to play during winter."

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Illinois Gov Ends Indoor Dining Across 2/3rds Of State As Winter Cold Looms – ZeroHedge

And with the holiday season approaching, both mayor and governor are threatening harsher restrictions if the situation doesn't improved.

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Commentary: ‘Fair Tax’ makes it easier to impose city income taxes – Champaign News-Gazette

Amy Korte, vice president of policy for the Illinois Policy Institute: "Initially, state lawmakers saw the potential for city taxes to spread and included language in the amendment proposal that prohibited them. That changed by the time they approved the ballot question, and the current progressive-tax amendment offers no protection against local-income-tax hikes."

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Trust Me – Eric Allie for Illinois Policy

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Illinois’ Governor Begs Citizens To Let Government Tax Them Even More – Reason

"Here's the problem. Voters aren't actually voting to implement Pritzker's specific tax numbers. They are, in fact, just voting to grant lawmakers the authority to set graduated tax rates. It just so happens that Pritzker and lawmakers have this particular plan that will be implemented should the vote pass. But those numbers aren't going to be set in stone in the constitution."

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Editorial: Closing arguments, Part Six: Because Illinois politicians refuse to do the hard work – Chicago Tribune*

"The pols simply haven’t done the hard but fundamental work of reforming how governments here do business. As virtually every company in the private sector reduces expenses to match revenues, the officials elected to run our public sector refuse to consider serious spending economies."

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Judge prohibits COVID-19 enforcement against Geneva restaurant as attorneys look to expand case – Center Square

FoxFire attorney Kevin Nelson said it’s about following the Illinois Public Health Act. “And in there every restaurant, every business is afforded due process, and if you’re going to shut them down you’ve got to get them advanced notice and ultimately the decider of that is a local judge."

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Senate committee discusses police reforms – Center Square

“One party like the police cannot be judge, jury and deliberator,” said Amy Campanelli, the Cook County Public Defender. “When that happens, you get people pleading guilty that shouldn't be pleading guilty.”

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Charges dropped against Rumanian pastor in Illinois – Gallatin News

Niles-based Logos Baptist Ministries and Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church will file a petition for cert asking the Supreme Court to review the case in the federal lawsuit against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker alleging unconstitutional executive orders discriminating against churches.

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Report explores Illinois political parties’ money advantage over individuals, businesses – Center Square

“There is no other state that, when a candidate self-funds or contributes a certain amount to their campaign, all the caps get blown,” said Alisa Kaplan, Executive Director for Reform for Illinois, who authored a report on the best ways to fix the loophole.

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Was Thomas Jefferson Right? New Study Quantifies Flight From America’s Big Cities During Pandemic – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Bloomington names first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer – WMBD (Bloomington)

Michael Hurt’s new role focuses on expanding and improving diversity and inclusion in Bloomington, including the workforce. He holds a degree in Social Justice from the University of Illinois, Springfield.

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FoxFire Exempt From New Indoor Dining Restrictions: Judge – Patch Geneva

Kane County Judge Kevin Busch granted a restraining, blocking officials from enforcing the indoor-service ban order, Monday afternoon, saying he believes the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act — which Pritzker has pointed to as the legal authority for issuing consecutive disaster proclamations — gives the governor no such authority.

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How much would Pritzker’s ‘fair tax’ affect your home value? – Illinois Policy

The progressive income tax amendment would carry a hidden cost of $1,800 a year in lost home value for 3.2 million homeowners if Illinois sees the same impact as Connecticut. (There's also a calculator for readers' use.)

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Local Governments, Pritzker Still Fighting Over CARES Act Money – NPR Illinois

“There’s no reason to set up a lengthy process, pay millions of dollars to a consultant to handle it and then blame local governments for why it’s not being used,” Cole said, referring to the program’s administration through Oakbrook Terrace-based Crowe LLP.

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Restaurant Owners Plead for Pritzker to Reverse Course – The Illinoize

Katie Kautz laid off all her servers as well as two cooks and a dishwasher early on, and fears she’ll have to make cuts again. “I’m totally angry with the government. We’re doing our part as restaurant owners. We’re taking more precautions than most other industries. I don’t see Jewel or Wal-Mart or any other of those places closing.”

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NIU teaches that ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘Blue Lives Matter’ represents anti-blackness – The College Fix

The slide states other examples of “anti-blackness” include “assuming that violence is deserved,” “the belief that Black people are dangerous” and “anti-black institutions and policies.”

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Jewish Students Claim Civil Rights Violations at UIUC – Inside Higher Ed

“It is inherent to my identity as a Jew to stand with oppressed peoples,” Katsnelson said during the meeting. “It is also inherent to my identity as a Jew to stand with the Jewish people and support the Jewish homeland … This resolution provides me and other pro-Israel Jewish students with a Hobson’s choice," said student Ian Katsnelson

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Frustrated Suburban Mom to Gov Pritzker: We are done. – The Politics of Parenting

"You are supposed to be our leader. You are supposed to be the one on the front lines coaching us on how we will get through this crazy year and survive this virus rather than hide from it. You are supposed to be lifting our spirits with hope and a sense of community, rather you instill fear and neglect our rights as human beings tearing us apart."

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More Democrats say they won’t support Speaker Madigan for another term – Center Square

Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager won’t support Madigan because he said it’s time for new ideas: “The second aspect of it is, let’s be just blunt, and that is that there’s a strong shadow cast over the speaker at the present and given the long tenure, given the shadows which are there, I think it is time for Speaker Madigan to gracefully step back."

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Unemployed Illinoisan reports ‘moaning like porn’ on callback about benefits; IDES to investigate – Center Square

A representative with IDES said the department plans to investigate the “unusual” matter.

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Illinois State Police didn’t issue any citations over the weekend for COVID-19 violations – Center Square

A spokesperson for the Illinois State Police said it continues to work with local health and law enforcement officials when requested and there were no citations referencing COVID-19 over the weekend.

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Get $15,000 to move to Michigan and work remotely – Crain’s

A Michigan economic development group is rolling out a package of incentives—including $15,000 cash, driving range memberships and free passes on commuter rail—for Chicagoans who move to its slice of southwest Michigan. The Move to Michigan offer includes a grant of up to $15,000 to people who buy a home for $200,000 or more in selected ZIP codes that cover Bridgman, St. Joseph, Berrien Springs and a few other towns.

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Pritzker announces added restrictions for 2 more regions amid rise in COVID-19 metrics – Center Square

State Sen. Don DeWitte, R-St. Charles, warned, “I think the fact the governor has chosen to take such a hard line in this process, I believe we’re going to find out how harsh those ramifications against the governor and his administration will be. I hope we don’t get to the push-shove measures, but we may very well in this situation and I hope we can avoid it.”

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Hannibal Fair Tax – Illinois Policy

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Geneva restaurant sues Pritzker over ban on indoor dining – Kane County Chronicle

The owner states in an affidavit that a temporary shutdown of all indoor dining and drinks at FoxFire for more than a few days will lead to an "insurmountable" loss of income, putting the restaurant out of business along with countless others. The suit states that Pritzker has exceeded the emergency powers that were given to him.

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‘Overwhelming:’ Illinois’ Top Doctor Talks About Emotional Moment at News Briefing – NBC5 (Chicago)

Ezike said she's received hundreds of email since the news conference, and that "it sounds like everyone needed to have that release together....It's incited some feelings, some PTSD-type feeling as we think about starting round two, just remembering how difficult round one [was]."

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Column: Trashed by fellow Democrats, Madigan still flush with cash – Champaign News-Gazette

Jim Dey: "Remember, it’s money that talks in politics, particularly in Illinois, and Madigan’s cash pile speaks volumes about his continuing status as the straw who stirs the drink."

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State tells SW IL officials COVID-19 restrictions will likely be reintroduced Wednesday – Belleville News-Democrat

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the metro-east’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate increased from 8.1% on Friday to 8.2% on Saturday. The region’s hospital bed capacity was at 28% on Saturday, down from 31% Friday, and its ICU capacity was at 52% on Saturday, up from 51% Friday.

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More Illinois Regions Could Soon Face Coronavirus Restrictions Amid Surge in Cases – NBC5 (Chicago)

Region 9, comprised of McHenry and Lake counties in far northern Illinois, has seen its positivity rate rise to 7.8% as of Oct. 21, meaning that it’s inching closer to the crucial 8% barrier. The city of Chicago could also see more restrictions handed down by the state even after implementing its own mitigation strategies.

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Pandemic slashes gambling revenue in Illinois – Center Square

The Illinois Lottery is the largest source of Illinois gambling revenues. The pandemic has depressed lottery ticket sales by $172.5 million.

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Predatory lenders attract new customers during pandemic in Illinois – Center Square

Illinois’ latest Consumer Lending Trends Report shows that predatory lenders in Illinois attracted a 5% increase in new borrowers in 2019. Abe Scarr of the consumer watchdog group Illinois PIRG said, “They are not stupid. They go to these companies with their eyes wide open because they are desperate."

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Should Congress destroy the municipal bond market? – The Hill

A little know provision of the Heroes Act passed by House Democrats would allow states and cities to borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank at extremely low rates for ten years, essentially replacing the municipal bond market.

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Top Chicago Area Stories

Lightfoot Calls on Pritzker to Reconsider New COVID-19 Restrictions Taking Effect Friday – NBC5 (Chicago)

“If the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s really effectively shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are really hanging on by a thread,” she said. “So we’re going to try to continue our engagement with the governor and his team, but it’s not looking good.

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Monthly Case Shiller Index: Chicago Area Home Prices Rise Faster But Still Slowest In Nation – ChicagoNow

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Chicago budget must thread needle on ratings, investors and city council – The Bond Buyer

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Indoor Dining Banned In Chicago, Governor Cites Rising COVID Case Numbers – CBS2 (Chicago)

As for restaurants that have been putting up igloos, tents, bubbles, or other temporary structures to expand outdoor dining in the winter, Arwady said city officials have been evaluating all of the designs to make sure they have proper air ventilation, fire safety measures, and proper entries and exits. “I have every confidence that the structures that are being put up are COVID-appropriate, and generally good for use."

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As Private Students Return To School, Teachers Unions Block Chicago Public Schools From Opening – The Federalist

“While the district is doing everything in its power to plan for all possible scenarios, the CTU refuses to even discuss a return to in-person learning,” district spokeswoman Emily Bolton said.

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More Highlighted Chicago Area Stories

For special education students, a tough call on returning to school: Risk possible COVID-19 exposure or accept ‘heartbreaking’ limits of remote learning – Chicago Tribune*

At Northside Learning Center, Jeannie Liu’s 16-year-old son is struggling to learn through a screen. She felt the district should have stuck with its hybrid plan this fall, and that CPS took the choice away from parents. Engagement with families has been lacking, she said. “You get a Google survey in your inbox ... and you don’t hear what happens to it. You get the survey and then a decision gets made....It’s just so heartbreaking as his mom, I can’t provide anything comforting other than, ‘I know how you feel.' I can’t say when it will be normal again.”

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Downtown Chicago faces an office glut – Chicago Sun-Times*

In comparison, trends in suburban offices are less severe and leasing interest is picking up, brokers said. Some analysts expect the suburbs will emerge as a lower-rent alternative for companies eager to spread out their workforce post-pandemic.

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How The Super-Rich And Ex-Cons Squeezed Through Loopholes In A COVID-19 ‘Small Business’ Program – WBEZ (Chicago)

The SBA’s regional administrator for the Great Lakes states, including Illinois, said Monday, “Could we have done a better job? Yeah. But the goal of the program was to get the money out as fast as possible — save as many businesses and jobs as fast as possible. We were flying the plane and building it at the same time."

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As Evanston stares down major budget deficit, the town’s financial ties to Northwestern University become even more apparent – Pioneer Press*

In a memo to the council, Evanston’s economic development division manager Paul Zalmezak wrote that Northwestern’s undergraduate student body of about 8,000 and an estimated 10,000 full-time and part-time faculty and staff "creates a dynamic that is arguably underappreciated by local residents."

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Pritzker, Lightfoot trade barbs over COVID clampdown – Crain’s

The two leaders have quietly disagreed over a variety of issues over the past year, from pension reform to fiscal policy and authorizing a Chicago casino to canceling the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But what’s sparking the new and more open exchange was Pritzker’s decision earlier Tuesday to suspend indoor restaurant service. That decision was at odds with Lightfoot’s earlier move to end indoor service at bars only. It appears the mayor, who has argued that restaurants are particularly important to the city's economy, did not take kindly to Pritzker's move.

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Editorial: Mayor Lightfoot’s call for more speed camera tickets is a dead end – Chicago Tribune*

"You would think any conscientious elected official would be looking for ways to reduce their reliance on this source of revenue, which often inflicts hardship on those least able to afford it. But Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is doing just the opposite."

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Roughly ‘1-in-50′ Chicago Residents Could be Actively Infected With COVID-19: Arwady – NBC5 (Chicago)

In all, more than 94,000 Chicago residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus since the pandemic began. Of those residents, 88% have recovered, while a reported 3,037, or 3% of those infected, have died.

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Florida added to Chicago’s travel order; Michigan on warning list – WGNTV (Chicago)

There are 33 states now on the order.

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Parents, Advocates Want Transparency from CPS Before a Return to In-Person Learning – WTTW (Chicago)

“I don’t believe the schools are disinfected or clean, and because my son is always sick, his life is at higher risk,” Maria Carrasco, the parent of a Corkery Elementary School cluster program student who has both Down syndrome and leukemia. “I think CPS is seeing our children as numbers, but for us as parents, we see our children as life. They are our life.”

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Lightfoot, Budget Officials Defend Expanding Speeding Tickets: ‘This Is About Keeping Communities Safe’ – Block Club Chicago

Multiple aldermen panned the proposed new fine during a nine-hour public hearing on Monday, saying it could punish the residents who can least afford it.

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Chicago Could Soon Lose Indoor Restaurant, Bar Service If Coronavirus Numbers Keep Pace – Block Club Chicago

Starting Wednesday, six of Illinois’ 11 regions, including the suburbs in Cook County, will be under what Gov. JB Pritzker has dubbed “enhanced mitigations.” And Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said the city could bring back its own Phase 3 restrictions even before Pritzker imposes the state’s stricter rules.

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‘Blindsided and heartbroken.’ Mood of restaurant, bar owners dismal as COVID rules are rolled back in suburban Cook – Chicago Tribune*

“All the progress we’ve made over the last two months is out the door now, and we have to start back from zero,” said Arnie Krause, owner of The Claim Company restaurant in Northbrook.

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Lightfoot optimistic for return to normalcy next summer, early fall – FOX32 (Chicago)

The mayor said Chicago’s huge-but-ailing travel- and tourism-related businesses are showing some signs of new life. “I think there's less planes flying, but the ones that are flying are full. And both O’Hare and Midway seem to be seeing an uptick in traffic."

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As Chicago Budget Hearings Start, Ratings Agency Sounds Alarm – WTTW (Chicago)

“If the city’s final budget and management’s plans to address potential pressures beyond 2021 don’t make sufficient progress to return to structural balance, the rating will be pressured further,” according the report from Standard & Poor’s. “The city’s ability to absorb the additional pension expenditures and stay on a course to structural balance will be critical to maintaining the rating.”

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot defends plan to start issuing speed camera tickets for cars going 6 mph over the limit as ‘safety’ issue. City data shows a more complicated picture. – Chicago Tribune*

The Tribune analyzed 2019-2020 city crash report data available online, and found that fatal crashes blamed specifically on people driving recklessly, over the speed limit, too fast for conditions or too fast to avoid a crash are up by one — from 19 to 20.  

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Parents weigh reopening decisions as tensions between Chicago leaders and union mount – Chalkbeat Chicago

“I wish CPS and CTU would come together and work together on behalf of the families and the students,” said Beth Van Opstal, a mother of three district students, including a pre-kindergartner.

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5 Things To Know From The First Day Of Chicago Budget Hearings – WBEZ (Chicago)

The $1.7 billion proposed refinancing and restructuring will involve several complicated steps that Ald. Michele Smith compared to refinancing a mortgage and then taking out a second loan. “It’s like refinancing your mortgage and taking the savings and using it to finance another component of a mortgage,” confirmed CFO Jennie Huang Bennett. To which Smith replied: “To pay for the furniture?”

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Aldermen pressure Lightfoot to find alternative to $94 million property tax increase – Chicago Sun-Times*

Lightfoot has called the $94 million increase “modest” because it will cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 only $56 more each year. But Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett acknowledged the actual annual increase would be $112 when property taxes for Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges and Cook County are factored in.

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‘They’re chasing people out of the city’: New property tax report shocks Cook County treasurer, residents – WGNTV (Chicago)

At the upper end of that that average is a modest house on West Cortland in Bucktown. Where, since 2000 property taxes have increased. From about $2800 to more than 19,000. That is a 573% increase. In Ravenswood, one home has had a 563% increase in property taxes since 2000.

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Commentary: 5 ways CPS could better serve students during the pandemic – Chicago Tribune*

Paul Vallas: "Empowering parents and the community by providing them real choices is a direct threat to the union. However, they would be an effective way of ensuring that decisions better reflect the needs of the children and their communities."

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Editorial: No, that property tax squeeze is not in your head – Chicago Tribune*

"Pappas, in a first-ever report, calculated that homeowners and business property owners have seen their tax bills increase 99% in the past 20 years, far outstripping both inflation (36%) and wage growth (57%). The increased tax burden — a result of state and local government’s irresponsible spending habits — is putting some taxpayers in the dire situation of not being able to pay their bills, Pappas warned."

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Proposed 2021 CTA budget relies on new federal funding to support service – Mass Transit Magazine

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) projects that if Congress or the administration do not provide additional emergency federal transit funding, six in 10 public transit agencies will have to consider service cuts or other cost-cutting measures.

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In 1-on-1 Interview, Lightfoot Defends Budget Plan, Details Concern Over COVID-19’s Spread – NBC5 (Chicago)

“There’s not a lot of good choices,” she said Monday. “If somebody’s got a better idea on how to close a $1.2 billion dollar budget deficit that doesn’t hurt our economy and doesn’t decimate city services, we’re open to it.”

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Pritzker: Illinois Has ‘No Current Plans’ to Turn McCormick Place Into Field Hospital – NBC5 (Chicago)

The governor also said that MetroSouth Hospital is being “kept warm” as a potential option for state health officials to use in the event that hospitals near Chicago become overrun with coronavirus patients.

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Cook County Releases Statement to Residents Ahead of Added Restrictions – NBC5 (Chicago)

“[Sunday] the state reported over 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period. The numbers are very concerning and a wake-up call as we head into colder weather, flu season and the holidays,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “We are all experiencing COVID fatigue, but we must remain vigilant."

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Amazon’s Massive Chicago-Area Expansion Was Fueled By $741 Million From Taxpayers – WBEZ (Chicago)

“You’d think Amazon coming would lift people’s spirits, but we’re still feeling a sense of depression,” said Theo Brooks, the lone University Park trustee to vote against the deal. “You come home to a majority Black town, and there’s no grocery store, no life in the town center and crumbling streets. Amazon isn’t putting more police officers on the street. Amazon isn’t helping me with my taxes.”

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Chicago’s Biggest Coronavirus Surge Is On The Southwest Side, Where Groups Are Begging For More Testing – Block Club Chicago

“When the city’s numbers begin to spike, the working class people who keep industries running are being affected at a disproportionate rate,” said Antonio Santos, co-founder of the Gage Park Latinx Council. One in every 18 Southwest Side residents has had a confirmed case.

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Ban on indoor dining coming to suburban Cook County after rise in COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations – WGNTV (Chicago)

While other regions have come under added restrictions after passing the sate’s “failsafe” level, officials said suburban Cook County will be the first to see them imposed after passing the limit based on days with a “sustained increase” in both positivity rates and hospitalizations.

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To Protect Staff From Virus, Some Restaurants Stick To Carryout — But They Face ‘Mass Extinction’ Without Help – Block Club Chicago

“It’s not really about the bottom line anymore,” one Wicker Park restaurant owner said. “It’s about humanity. This is the side of history we want to be on.”

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Looking back at the Chicago teachers strike a year (and a pandemic) later: Was it worth it? – Chicago Sun-Times*

"A rollercoaster strike that featured personal attacks but ended with a historic contract should have seen both the union and district move toward a productive relationship. Yet with a deadly pandemic that requires more cooperation than ever, the memories of a bruising contract fight have lingered, hindering any agreement over a potential school reopening even as districts and unions across the country have resolved their differences."

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

Illinois’ COVID-19 data: Daily update for October 28, 2020 – Wirepoints

Daily COVID-19 data update for October 28, 2020.

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Taxpayers and smaller retailers hammered by $741 million subsidy for Amazon in Chicago area – Quicktake

It's beggar-thy-neighbor policy at its stupidest. Instead of banning it, the state participates in it through its EDGE program.

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Read it and weep: Cook County Treasurer Pappas details 20 years of astronomical property tax hikes – Quicktake

Here's something you don't see every day: A politician providing excruciating details on tax increases.

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Illinoisans Apparently Seeing That ‘Fair Tax’ Is The Wrong Amendment On The Ballot – Wirepoints

Which amendment should be on the ballot, the progressive tax increase or pension reform? The silence of Fair Tax supporters tell us why they aren’t asking.

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Was Thomas Jefferson right? New study quantifies flight from America’s big cities during pandemic. – Wirepoints

Jefferson's views about cities were not embraced by the nation for 230 years, but that may be changing. Most of his other views were held sacred, but that, sadly, is also changing. Time will soon tell which ones prevail.  

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20 facts every Illinoisan should know about the progressive tax amendment – Wirepoints Special Report

The airwaves are being bombarded with emotionally charged ads for and against the progressive tax. Still confused? Here are the 20 facts you should know about the progressive tax amendment.

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

Commentary by Wirepoints: A 60% tax hike on Illinois’ richest won’t be a free lunch for the rest of us – Chicago Tribune*

Illinois' wealthy don’t need defending. They know how to take care of themselves just fine. But don’t assume that a tax hike on them will be a free lunch for the rest of us. If too many wealthy leave, our reform-shunning legislature will only have one place to make up for the loss in tax revenues: Illinois' middle-income earners.

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“Illinois borrowing from the Fed a second time is a real signal of just how deep this state’s problems are.” – Ted on the Coffee and a Mike Podcast

Ted was on the Coffee and a Mike podcast earlier this week discussing Pritzker's announcement that he'll tap the Fed's borrowing program a second time and Chicago's continued financial desperation.

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Bravo! Northwestern University President Blasts Extremist Protesters – Wirepoints

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro has had more than enough of his students' means of protesting for abolishing campus police. His words are unequivocal and scathing.

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Too Many Units of Local Government: Illinois the Outlier – Wirepoints Video

Illinois residents pay some of the nation’s highest taxes. One of the big reasons - Illinois has 7,000 units of local government. That’s by far the most in the nation. Consolidation would help ease the outrageous tax burden on the average Illinoisan.

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A preview of Chicago’s 2021 budget: more taxes, phantom savings and no reforms. – Wirepoints Quicktake

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is considering a slew of one-off actions to help close what city officials claim will be a $1.2 billion shortfall in next year’s budget – including a $94 million property tax hike. Absent in the list of savings is anything that can be considered a structural reform.

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Pritzker told Congress his leadership got virus under control despite Trump, now he blames Trump for surge – Wirepoints Quicktake

That was then and this is now.

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Things That Make You Say ‘Hmm’ About Illinois’ New Bond Offering – Wirepoints

It’s always fun to compare what governments say in bond documents, where falsehoods can lead to fraud charges, to what the general public has been led to believe. Illinois newest bond offering is no different, and what might be more interesting is what’s not written and is between the lines.

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Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

ILLINOISANS NEED PENSION REFORM,
NOT TAX HIKES.

Wirepoints Original Stories

Illinois’ COVID-19 data: Daily update for October 28, 2020 – Wirepoints

Daily COVID-19 data update for October 28, 2020.

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Taxpayers and smaller retailers hammered by $741 million subsidy for Amazon in Chicago area – Quicktake

It's beggar-thy-neighbor policy at its stupidest. Instead of banning it, the state participates in it through its EDGE program.

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Read it and weep: Cook County Treasurer Pappas details 20 years of astronomical property tax hikes – Quicktake

Here's something you don't see every day: A politician providing excruciating details on tax increases.

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Top Illinois Stories

Pritzker nixes basketball with guidelines for winter sports in Illinois – Center Square

“Wrestling and hockey continue to be categorized as high risk as well,” the announcement said. “Cheer and dance will be categorized as lower risk, only if masking and distance are enforced. Low risk sports like bowling, gymnastics, swimming and diving will be permitted to play during winter."

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Illinois Gov Ends Indoor Dining Across 2/3rds Of State As Winter Cold Looms – ZeroHedge

And with the holiday season approaching, both mayor and governor are threatening harsher restrictions if the situation doesn't improved.

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Commentary: ‘Fair Tax’ makes it easier to impose city income taxes – Champaign News-Gazette

Amy Korte, vice president of policy for the Illinois Policy Institute: "Initially, state lawmakers saw the potential for city taxes to spread and included language in the amendment proposal that prohibited them. That changed by the time they approved the ballot question, and the current progressive-tax amendment offers no protection against local-income-tax hikes."

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Other Illinois News

Trust Me – Eric Allie for Illinois Policy

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Illinois’ Governor Begs Citizens To Let Government Tax Them Even More – Reason

"Here's the problem. Voters aren't actually voting to implement Pritzker's specific tax numbers. They are, in fact, just voting to grant lawmakers the authority to set graduated tax rates. It just so happens that Pritzker and lawmakers have this particular plan that will be implemented should the vote pass. But those numbers aren't going to be set in stone in the constitution."

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Editorial: Closing arguments, Part Six: Because Illinois politicians refuse to do the hard work – Chicago Tribune*

"The pols simply haven’t done the hard but fundamental work of reforming how governments here do business. As virtually every company in the private sector reduces expenses to match revenues, the officials elected to run our public sector refuse to consider serious spending economies."

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Judge prohibits COVID-19 enforcement against Geneva restaurant as attorneys look to expand case – Center Square

FoxFire attorney Kevin Nelson said it’s about following the Illinois Public Health Act. “And in there every restaurant, every business is afforded due process, and if you’re going to shut them down you’ve got to get them advanced notice and ultimately the decider of that is a local judge."

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Senate committee discusses police reforms – Center Square

“One party like the police cannot be judge, jury and deliberator,” said Amy Campanelli, the Cook County Public Defender. “When that happens, you get people pleading guilty that shouldn't be pleading guilty.”

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Top Chicago Stories

Lightfoot Calls on Pritzker to Reconsider New COVID-19 Restrictions Taking Effect Friday – NBC5 (Chicago)

“If the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s really effectively shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are really hanging on by a thread,” she said. “So we’re going to try to continue our engagement with the governor and his team, but it’s not looking good.

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Monthly Case Shiller Index: Chicago Area Home Prices Rise Faster But Still Slowest In Nation – ChicagoNow

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Chicago budget must thread needle on ratings, investors and city council – The Bond Buyer

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Indoor Dining Banned In Chicago, Governor Cites Rising COVID Case Numbers – CBS2 (Chicago)

As for restaurants that have been putting up igloos, tents, bubbles, or other temporary structures to expand outdoor dining in the winter, Arwady said city officials have been evaluating all of the designs to make sure they have proper air ventilation, fire safety measures, and proper entries and exits. “I have every confidence that the structures that are being put up are COVID-appropriate, and generally good for use."

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As Private Students Return To School, Teachers Unions Block Chicago Public Schools From Opening – The Federalist

“While the district is doing everything in its power to plan for all possible scenarios, the CTU refuses to even discuss a return to in-person learning,” district spokeswoman Emily Bolton said.

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Other Chicago News

For special education students, a tough call on returning to school: Risk possible COVID-19 exposure or accept ‘heartbreaking’ limits of remote learning – Chicago Tribune*

At Northside Learning Center, Jeannie Liu’s 16-year-old son is struggling to learn through a screen. She felt the district should have stuck with its hybrid plan this fall, and that CPS took the choice away from parents. Engagement with families has been lacking, she said. “You get a Google survey in your inbox ... and you don’t hear what happens to it. You get the survey and then a decision gets made....It’s just so heartbreaking as his mom, I can’t provide anything comforting other than, ‘I know how you feel.' I can’t say when it will be normal again.”

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Downtown Chicago faces an office glut – Chicago Sun-Times*

In comparison, trends in suburban offices are less severe and leasing interest is picking up, brokers said. Some analysts expect the suburbs will emerge as a lower-rent alternative for companies eager to spread out their workforce post-pandemic.

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How The Super-Rich And Ex-Cons Squeezed Through Loopholes In A COVID-19 ‘Small Business’ Program – WBEZ (Chicago)

The SBA’s regional administrator for the Great Lakes states, including Illinois, said Monday, “Could we have done a better job? Yeah. But the goal of the program was to get the money out as fast as possible — save as many businesses and jobs as fast as possible. We were flying the plane and building it at the same time."

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As Evanston stares down major budget deficit, the town’s financial ties to Northwestern University become even more apparent – Pioneer Press*

In a memo to the council, Evanston’s economic development division manager Paul Zalmezak wrote that Northwestern’s undergraduate student body of about 8,000 and an estimated 10,000 full-time and part-time faculty and staff "creates a dynamic that is arguably underappreciated by local residents."

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Pritzker, Lightfoot trade barbs over COVID clampdown – Crain’s

The two leaders have quietly disagreed over a variety of issues over the past year, from pension reform to fiscal policy and authorizing a Chicago casino to canceling the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But what’s sparking the new and more open exchange was Pritzker’s decision earlier Tuesday to suspend indoor restaurant service. That decision was at odds with Lightfoot’s earlier move to end indoor service at bars only. It appears the mayor, who has argued that restaurants are particularly important to the city's economy, did not take kindly to Pritzker's move.

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