Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality – Opinion – New York Times

An endorsement of Illinois' progressive tax proposal.

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Nearly 2 Billion Opioid Pills Flowed Into Illinois, Data Shows – CBS Chicago

Yes, billion — enough for nearly 180 pills for every single person in the state.

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llinois home values down 21%, property taxes up 9% since 2007 – IL Policy

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Illinois lawmakers consider bill to make general contractors responsible for other’s unpaid wages – Center Square

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Illinois lawmakers propose property tax breaks for affordable housing – Center Square

Comment: The result would be that everybody else's property taxes would go up to cover the break.

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Refusing to walk away from chance to make Illinois better – Opinion – Daily Herald

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Poll says Pritzker popularity sagging – JournalStar

In a Morning Consult poll on popularity of governors, Pritzker finished 42nd on the list with a 44% approval rating and a 33% disapproval rating. Another 21% were undecided. At the bottom of the list was Ned Lamont, a Democrat from Connecticut, with a 32% favorable rating. Curiously, eight of the bottom 10 governors are Democrats. The only two Republicans in the bottom 10 are Jim Justice of West Virginia and Matt Bevin of Kentucky. Contrast that with the top 10, who all happen to be Republicans.

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State may be failing, but its legislators flush – Editorial – JournalCourier

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$300 million quickly for community colleges from state capital program: Is it for the right projects? – Daily Herald

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Illinois orgs refusing $8 million in federal money because of new, ‘unethical’ rules – Capitol News IL

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John Kass: Illinois After Boss Mike Madigan? Like Yugoslavia After Tito – Chicago Tribune

Madigan, like Tito, is an expert in holding rival constituencies in competition against each other. When he’s gone, whenever that might be, Illinois Democrats will become like their national counterparts, with a hard-left center and a far, far left fringe.

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Pensions in these 10 states have the biggest funding deficits – Yahoo Finance

We're only third-worst (though not by much).

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As Illinois lawmakers see pay hikes take effect, one pays it back – Center Square

Sen. David McSweeney.

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Retire in Illinois? Not for this Dixon resident. – Opinion – SaukValey.com

I can no longer defend my home state to others who are constantly asking me about Illinois’ financial ills. Pritzker, Madigan, et al have reversed my decision and I will spend the remainder of my career living in Colorado.

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3 other states, numerous public pension funds aiming to profit off legal weed in Illinois – Chicago Sun-Times

At least 14 pension systems outside of Illinois have put money into a publicly traded investment firm, San Diego-based Innovative Industrial Properties, that’s aiming to profit when recreational marijuana in Illinois becomes legal Jan. 1. No Illinois government agencies or public employee pension funds have invested, records show.

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Cash-strapped Illinois counties using collection agency to badger drivers over unpaid traffic tickets – Fox News

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Businesses oppose measure banning salary history question – Center Square

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Accused of easing way for ‘corporate polluter’ to reopen, Pritzker says he’ll call special session if GOP asks – Center Square

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Illinois delegation votes along party lines on federal “Raise the Wage” Act – IL Review

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Madigan’s 700K Club: Seven pols give big bucks to speaker — as his legal bills pile up – Chicago Sun-Times

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You’re On The Hook For Trillions In Pension Overpromises, And Divestment Is Making It Worse – The Federalist

"Losing Billions on Virtue Signaling."

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Illinois to defy Trump administration’s abortion referral ‘gag rule’ – Reuters

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FBI raids downstate home of longtime ComEd lobbyist who is close confidant of Speaker Madigan – Chicago Tribune

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Former GOP candidate for governor Jeanne Ives now seeking party nod to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten – Herald & Review

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A downstate Goodwill CEO resigns after threatening to stop paying disabled workers, sparking outrage across Illinois – Chicago Tribune

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Illinois ranks 12th highest for dependence on property taxes – Center Square

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Former ICE director gets into shouting match with Illinois congressman – Center Square

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Illinois Payrolls Up11,400 in June Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.3 Percent – IDES

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John Kass: FBI tracks Michael Madigan in Chicago’s great tiger hunt – Chicago Tribune

Column: FBI tracks Michael Madigan in Chicago’s great tiger hunt

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You think this weather’s bad? Illinois in the Depression was worse. – IL Times

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Lawmakers call for review of Goodwill’s state contracts after reports of disabled worker layoffs – Capitol News IL

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Illinois House Republican worries Democrats will use property tax relief task force to sell progressive income tax – Center Square

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Gun dealers up in arms over state’s new licensing requirements – Capitol News IL

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Florida agency using progressive tax, SALT cap to lure Illinois businesses to Miami area – KPVI

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Latest Chicago pension fund reports lay out frail conditions – The Bond Buyer

Warnings about the weak health and liquidity risks of Chicago’s pension system abound in the funds’ 2018 financial reports. The net pension liabilities of the four city pension funds grew to a collective $30.1 billion in 2018 from $28 billion in 2017. The funds all recorded negative investment earnings after double-digit returns in 2017.

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Top Chicago Stories

Lincoln Park: Seven shot on lakefront near Fullerton – CWB Chicago

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Clout contractor in Carrie Austin probe got millions in no-bid add-ons on city deals – Chicago Sun-Times

A construction company whose records have been subpoenaed as part of an investigation that also includes Ald. Carrie Austin and a Chicago building inspector has gotten no-bid increases worth $2 million on two city deals to put in noise insulation for homes near O’Hare Airport.

Oakk Construction Co. offered City Hall the lowest price to win two city contracts in 2012 to soundproof 350 homes, according to city records that show the deals were supposed to cost the city a total of about $3.8 million.

Oakk has made millions of dollars under a city program to repair porches and roofs for low-income homeowners. The company and its president, Alex Nitchoff, were named in a grand jury subpoena seeking a wide range of information about them, about other businesses owned by or affiliated with the clout-heavy Nitchoff family and about Austin’s purchase of a new, $236,000 home on the Far South Side with a $231,000 loan guaranteed by the federal government, the Sun-Times has reported.

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How high will natural gas utility bills go? – Fox Chicago

The man who runs a multi-billion dollar construction program for Peoples Gas said the work is desperately needed to reduce leaks and improve safety. He strongly disputed an estimate by the Illinois Attorney General's office that massive projects will eventually raise consumers' bills by $750 a year.

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More Highlighted Chicago Stories

Real estate tax escrow shortfalls plague North Side homeowners – Loop North News

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Wirepoints: Denied pension bailout, Lightfoot makes generous offer to Chicago Teachers Union – Chicago City Wire

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Businesses try to cut losses in the Fair Workweek Ordinance – Chicago Sun-Times

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The story behind those commercial assessment hikes everyone’s mad about – Crain’s

There's some reason to believe Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi is reversing favoritism shown to well-lawyered business folks by predecessor Joe Berrios. Check out the handwritten evidence.

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Lightfoot’s about to make a bad bet – Editorial – Crain’s

If a casino is to serve its function—namely, drawing lots of dollars out of the wallets of out-of-towners rather than locals—then it must be located in places where visitors want to be. That means picking a location close to downtown. By those lights, the best location of the lot now being studied by the Lightfoot administration is the Michael Reese site, within a dice toss of McCormick Place. There could be even better options closer in, but none of those possibilities seem to be on the table at the moment.

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Here’s how the ‘fair workweek’ rule would hurt us, safety-net hospitals say – Crain’s

Facilities that serve low-income patients say they won’t survive under the proposed work-scheduling ordinance unless they get additional funding.

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Soften the blow to Chicago employers, Mayor Lightfoot – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

An ordinance scheduled for the full City Council next week will present Mayor Lori Lightfoot with an opportunity to prove she takes seriously Chicago’s business community. The council is poised to vote on an ordinance that would create new, sweeping regulations for employers by controlling how they schedule their employees’ hours. Restaurants, hotels, hospitals, manufacturers, retail stores — industries with hours that can be less predictable than those for office jobs — would be required starting in April 2020 to adhere to strict scheduling rules.

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Potential Chicago teachers strike would come end of September at earliest – Chicago Sun-TImes

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Todd Ricketts owes back taxes after skirting assessments on rebuilt Wilmette home – The Real Deal

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Investing in Chicago Stocks – Motley Fool

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‘Do you know who I am?’ Not yet, but the people of Cook County deserve to find out. – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Cook County forest preserve police Chief Kelvin Pope resigned Tuesday, quick on the heels of a scathing inspector general report that said an official helped a county commissioner quash a $250 parking ticket for a political associate.

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Willowbrook area community, politicians outraged over plan to reopen Sterigenics facility – ABC Chicago

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Chicago’s Lightfoot Demands State-Taxpayer Bailout, Then Offers CTU A 5-year Contract, 14% Raise – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Preckwinkle letter to Lightfoot leads to war of words over gun violence – ABC Chicago

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Other sites still possible for Chicago casino, Lightfoot said — even downtown – Chicago Sun-Times

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Aldermen say they’re surprised by Lightfoot’s casino site picks – Chicago Tribune

https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-chicago-casino-alermen-react-20190717-6loq765ssbhavm35sec53enh5u-story.html

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Cook County’s forest preserve police chief has resigned, days after scathing report on a $250 parking ticket spat – Chicago Tribune

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Takeda, Walgreens, Mondelez are moving thousands of office jobs out of Lake County. Who’s going to take their place? – Chicago Tribune

Even after years of high-profile office moves from the suburbs to downtown Chicago, Lake County’s current predicament stands out. The far north suburban county is bracing for the loss of about 2,700 office jobs by early next year, from prominent companies Walgreens Boots Alliance, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Mondelez International.

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Man murdered on Red Line was trying to stop killer from attacking another commuter: prosecutors – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago International Port Considering Massive Investment Deal – WTTW

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Lightfoot selects five sites, all on South and West sides, as possible casino locations – Chicago Tribune

City officials stressed that the casino won’t necessarily wind up at one of the five spots, which they characterized as test sites. The five are the “Harborside” location at 111th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway, near the Pullman neighborhood; the former Michael Reese Hospital site at 31st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue; a site at Pershing Road and State Street, which is near Guaranteed Rate Field; the former U.S. Steel parcel, known as South Works, which is between 79th and 91st streets along South Lake Shore Drive; and the lone West Side site, at Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue.

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South Suburban Crestwood Seeks Casino Proposals – The Street

Beyond ridiculous.

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Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts faces big property tax hike, even bigger bill for back taxes after Tribune review spurs new look at his designer Wilmette house – Chicago Tribune

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Humboldt Park Alligator – Eric Allie Cartoon

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‘Legal work … can be done in Naperville’: City services tax idea has professionals, associations on guard – Cook County Record

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Snuff out the Peotone airport pipe dream – Chicago Tribune

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Lori Lightfoot’s high-stakes test: Cutting a CTU deal (and paying for it) – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

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Office vacancy rate hits two-year low – Crain’s

The driving force behind the suburban-to-urban migration—access to city-dwelling talent—is evolving as more millennials with young families embrace the suburbs, said JLL Director of Research Hailey Harrington. That gradual shift has pushed some companies to split their operations between downtown and the suburbs, she said.

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Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel spent $600K on send-offs for himself – Chicago Sun-Times

Beneficiaries of Emanuel’s generosity — through donations made by the former mayor’s political fund — included five of Emanuel’s favorite causes.

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Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn says federal investigators have not contacted him, despite raid of brother’s home: ‘I know what you know’ – Chicago Tribune

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

Sham Buyout Solution For Illinois Pensions Now Being Exposed – Quicktake

Told ya.

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Chicago’s Lightfoot demands a state taxpayer bailout, then offers CTU a 5-year contract, 14% raise?

Just three weeks ago, Lightfoot was demanding a state taxpayer bailout of her city’s nearly bankrupt pension funds. Now she's offered the Chicago Teachers’ Union a five-year contract that will cost taxpayers $325 million.

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Forever Behind: Unfunded Pensions as a Permanent Hindrance to Competitiveness

New research by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the disparity between well-funded public pension systems and those that are fiscally strained has never been greater. 

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Event – Wirepoints at AFP on 7/31/19: Unbalancing Act: IL’s Busted Budget

Illinois' 2020 budget is an unbalanced mess. What does that mean for ordinary Illinoisans? Come and listen to Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski speak on July 31st at Americans For Prosperity in Rolling Meadows to hear the answer.

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Is the Lawsuit To Invalidate Certain Illinois Bonds Frivolous? An Education is at Hand. – Wirepoints Original

On the central issue important to Illinoisans – what the constitutional limits on state borrowing really are – bring it on. Let’s hear it.

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Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon: This is why Illinois pols haven’t fixed our fiscal crisis – Crain’s

"They haven't had to figure it out because you voters haven't figured it out. Wake up. Tell Pritzker and Lightfoot that pretty much every financial reform you've heard about must be effectuated immediately."

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

Latest Fed Raid Should Have Madigan & Friends Sweating – Quicktake

Some of the arrows flying out of the massive federal corruption investigation centered in Chicago are now pointed in a new direction.

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Kenilworth Trustees to use TIF as a runaround to home rule

Kenilworth has no business creating a TIF, but it’s an effective way for officials to evade residents’ wishes.

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If lawsuit succeeds, Illinois politicians will get 4th-highest legislative pay in nation

If the assembly's wage freezes are reversed, state lawmakers could get years of back pay. In total, the additional back pay could cost taxpayers $13 million and much more in future pension costs.

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Five reasons why New Trier Township residents should oppose TIFs in Kenilworth

This eblast is a follow up to Wirepoint's previous piece: Only in Illinois: Ultra-rich communities like Kenilworth want TIFs.

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“Chicago and the state are running out of ways to kick the can on the pension crisis” – Ted Dabrowski on Newsradio WJPF

Ted talked with Tom Miller of WJPF Radio about Gov. Pritzker's rejection of Mayor Lightfoot's proposal for the state to take over Chicago's pension debt. Ted says there's some good news to take from that. It means state and Chicago politicians are running out of ways to kick the can on the pension crisis.

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COGFA: Illinois tax revenue closes out fiscal year close to expectations – Quicktake

The June report for state revenue is out, which also provides totals for the 2019 fiscal year that ended June 30. Comparing this June to...

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With Pension Advice Like This, Chicago and Illinois Are Doomed – Wirepoints Original

Just keep doing what we've been doing, wrote Amanda Kass in a new op-ed.

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Wirepoints Original Stories

Sham Buyout Solution For Illinois Pensions Now Being Exposed – Quicktake

Told ya.

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Chicago’s Lightfoot demands a state taxpayer bailout, then offers CTU a 5-year contract, 14% raise?

Just three weeks ago, Lightfoot was demanding a state taxpayer bailout of her city’s nearly bankrupt pension funds. Now she's offered the Chicago Teachers’ Union a five-year contract that will cost taxpayers $325 million.

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Forever Behind: Unfunded Pensions as a Permanent Hindrance to Competitiveness

New research by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the disparity between well-funded public pension systems and those that are fiscally strained has never been greater. 

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Top Illinois Stories

State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality – Opinion – New York Times

An endorsement of Illinois' progressive tax proposal.

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Nearly 2 Billion Opioid Pills Flowed Into Illinois, Data Shows – CBS Chicago

Yes, billion — enough for nearly 180 pills for every single person in the state.

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llinois home values down 21%, property taxes up 9% since 2007 – IL Policy

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Illinois lawmakers consider bill to make general contractors responsible for other’s unpaid wages – Center Square

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Illinois lawmakers propose property tax breaks for affordable housing – Center Square

Comment: The result would be that everybody else's property taxes would go up to cover the break.

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Other Illinois News

Refusing to walk away from chance to make Illinois better – Opinion – Daily Herald

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Poll says Pritzker popularity sagging – JournalStar

In a Morning Consult poll on popularity of governors, Pritzker finished 42nd on the list with a 44% approval rating and a 33% disapproval rating. Another 21% were undecided. At the bottom of the list was Ned Lamont, a Democrat from Connecticut, with a 32% favorable rating. Curiously, eight of the bottom 10 governors are Democrats. The only two Republicans in the bottom 10 are Jim Justice of West Virginia and Matt Bevin of Kentucky. Contrast that with the top 10, who all happen to be Republicans.

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State may be failing, but its legislators flush – Editorial – JournalCourier

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$300 million quickly for community colleges from state capital program: Is it for the right projects? – Daily Herald

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Illinois orgs refusing $8 million in federal money because of new, ‘unethical’ rules – Capitol News IL

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Top Chicago Stories

Lincoln Park: Seven shot on lakefront near Fullerton – CWB Chicago

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Clout contractor in Carrie Austin probe got millions in no-bid add-ons on city deals – Chicago Sun-Times

A construction company whose records have been subpoenaed as part of an investigation that also includes Ald. Carrie Austin and a Chicago building inspector has gotten no-bid increases worth $2 million on two city deals to put in noise insulation for homes near O’Hare Airport.

Oakk Construction Co. offered City Hall the lowest price to win two city contracts in 2012 to soundproof 350 homes, according to city records that show the deals were supposed to cost the city a total of about $3.8 million.

Oakk has made millions of dollars under a city program to repair porches and roofs for low-income homeowners. The company and its president, Alex Nitchoff, were named in a grand jury subpoena seeking a wide range of information about them, about other businesses owned by or affiliated with the clout-heavy Nitchoff family and about Austin’s purchase of a new, $236,000 home on the Far South Side with a $231,000 loan guaranteed by the federal government, the Sun-Times has reported.

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How high will natural gas utility bills go? – Fox Chicago

The man who runs a multi-billion dollar construction program for Peoples Gas said the work is desperately needed to reduce leaks and improve safety. He strongly disputed an estimate by the Illinois Attorney General's office that massive projects will eventually raise consumers' bills by $750 a year.

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Your email address will not be published.

Other Chicago News

Real estate tax escrow shortfalls plague North Side homeowners – Loop North News

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Wirepoints: Denied pension bailout, Lightfoot makes generous offer to Chicago Teachers Union – Chicago City Wire

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Businesses try to cut losses in the Fair Workweek Ordinance – Chicago Sun-Times

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The story behind those commercial assessment hikes everyone’s mad about – Crain’s

There's some reason to believe Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi is reversing favoritism shown to well-lawyered business folks by predecessor Joe Berrios. Check out the handwritten evidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Lightfoot’s about to make a bad bet – Editorial – Crain’s

If a casino is to serve its function—namely, drawing lots of dollars out of the wallets of out-of-towners rather than locals—then it must be located in places where visitors want to be. That means picking a location close to downtown. By those lights, the best location of the lot now being studied by the Lightfoot administration is the Michael Reese site, within a dice toss of McCormick Place. There could be even better options closer in, but none of those possibilities seem to be on the table at the moment.

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