Monday, February 17, 2020

Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

Pritzker plans $147 million boost for DCFS in second-year budget – Chicago Sun-Times

The governor plans to increase the agency’s headcount - a move intended to reduce caseloads for overwhelmed investigators. He also asked for COLAs and additional training for all staff.

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Editorial | The ugly truth: State budget numbers hide the real story – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

“'The bleeding has slowed, but we are still bleeding,' Richard Ciccarone, the Illinois-based president of Merritt Research Services, told The Bond Buyer. Despite revenue increases generated by tax hikes and a strong economy, state spending and increases in pension debt continue to drive a huge problem that legislators are doing their best to ignore."

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Which are the least tax-friendly states in America? California doesn’t crack the top 10, but Illinois sure does – MarketWatch

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Bill Brady Op-Ed: What’s to blame for public corruption in Illinois? The Democrats’ total control – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: Brady is the Illinois Senate Republican leader. See the story linked here, among many others, on his financial interests in the gaming industry on which he legislates. He has no standing to be lecturing on public corruption.

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U if Illinois student gov votes to divest from companies with ties to Israel, ICE

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Clarence Page: ‘A dream as old as the American dream’: Embrace black patriotism over victimization – Washington Examiner

Comment: A superb essay by Clarence Page on how to end the identity politics that are ripping Illinois and the nation apart.

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Judge says Cook County has to show Wells Fargo how much it made from processing foreclosures during housing crisis – Cook County Record

This ruling could damage the county’s lawsuit alleging the bank employed discriminatory lending practices.

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Bipartisan group of lawmakers, fair-mapping advocates speak out against gerrymandering – Prairie State Wire

Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), said, "Gerrymandering is ruining our democracy – the power of gerrymandering leads to extreme partisan politics. Those in the middle lose their seats; we lose any chance to have any healthy balance. 'Safe' seats must end – we need a system that shows voters that their vote matters."

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Analysis details how Illinois Republicans lost ground in Illinois – Center Square

But Illinois stands out as a blue island surrounded by Republican-dominated states, thanks to a Democratic takeover of the former GOP strongholds in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

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Illinois Gig Economy Bill could mean uncertainty for workers, businesses – Center Square

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Column: Rich Miller: Madigan ‘opponents’ won’t commit – Herald and Review

"(Candidate) Margaret Croke, who works for the Pritzker administration and has been endorsed by organized labor, confirmed that she thought it was time for Madigan to step down: 'I believe that Springfield would benefit from a new generation of leadership. However, as I have said on several occasions, I will vote for the Democrat for speaker which in all likelihood will be Mike Madigan.'"

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Column: Ethics reform rates high on Illinoisans’ wish list – Daily Herald

"Two new analyses underscore how large corruption truly looms over every move in Springfield. And they point toward a path forward."

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Illinois bail, sentencing reform conversation begins to take shape – The Southern Illinoisan

“For years, there has been a narrative that our cash bail system and sentencing laws are necessary for public safety, and we support this narrative with billions of dollars each year,” Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said as the hearing began. “But the stories we've heard call this narrative into question, and we must ask ourselves whether our current policies and practices are the best way to protect public safety.”

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Political operative Patrick Doherty indicted in federal red-light camera probe – Chicago Tribune

Doherty, who serves as chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, also worked as a sales agent for a red light camera company that has had a contract to operate cameras in Oak Lawn since 2014, according to the charges.

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Lincoln’s legacy offers lessons in statesmanship – Daily Herald

"Lincoln wasn't born with these qualities. He was a politician, there's no doubting that, but he was also a statesman. A politician is one who constantly thinks about the next election. A statesman is one who constantly thinks about the next generation."

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Kass: Illinois politicians talk of ethics, fairness and decency. But what they’re really saying is ‘Shut up and take it’ – Chicago Tribune

"Why should we stay in Illinois? They don’t give us a reason. They just keep talking about what matters to them. And what is most important to them is getting elected."

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Illinoisans most likely to move out would see higher taxes under Pritzker plan – Illinois Policy Institute

"New York was the only state to see a higher share of residents making more than $200,000 leave in tax year 2018 than left Illinois. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo put it this way: “‘Tax the rich! Tax the rich! Tax the rich!’ We did. Now, God forbid, the rich leave.”"

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Judy Baar Topinka fed the FBI tips for years on possible corruption in the west suburbs, records show – Chicago Sun-Times

It’s clear from recently released FBI records - though redacted - that the colorful politician acted as an informant beginning in the 1970s, when she was a reporter for a newspaper in the west suburbs.

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Illinois Municipal tops benchmark with 19.6% return for 2019 – Pension & Investments

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North Carolina leads on retiree healthcare reform, but Connecticut may not have that option – Yankee Institute for Public Policy

Illinois and Chicago both get mentions in this discussion of how various states are handing pension shortfalls and healthcare liabilities.

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Column: State should focus on full tank of real problems – Daily Journal (Kankakee)

"Yes, headline-grabbing bills can be fun. And I’m all for having fun. But state lawmakers need to get serious. Illinois actually has pressing problems that need to be dealt with."

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Divorce rates are highest, lowest in these states. Illinois lowest. – Fox Business

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Illinois Democrats and Republicans want an end to gerrymandering. Here’s their plan. – Capitol News IL

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Pritzker proposes combining Labor, Employment Security departments – State Journal-Register

The Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing state labor laws and regulation of amusement rides; the Department of Employment Security administers unemployment benefits and runs employment services. Several business groups expressed reservations, saying they preferred the Department of Employment Security remain a separate entity.

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Illinois Bill Would Ban Adults From Pumping Their Own Gas – Reason

[Negative reactions] demonstrate the small-c conservativism of many voters; once people have the right to do something, they are not eager to lose it."

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Opinion – David Borris: Fair Tax will help everyone, including our small businesses – The Southern

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Madigan, Pritzker, Burke spent over $3M in campaign money on lawyers last year, and they’re not alone – Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) have tapped their campaign funds to cover more legal bills than any other Illinois officials have in the past year

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Illinois comes up short in another area: Prison health care – Crain’s

The Illinois Department of Corrections now faces several class action lawsuits and multiple individual cases brought by inmates and former prisoners alleging that inadequate medical care, including delayed treatments, has led to poor and sometimes fatal outcomes. A recent review by a court-appointed expert of 33 death records from 2016 and 2017 found more than half—58 percent—were preventable or possibly preventable.

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Bill to Ban Gas Powered Leaf Blowers Introduced – WLDS (Jacksonville, IL)

State Sen. Laura Fine (D-Glenview) argued that the machines generate noise at a decibel level that can cause hearing loss in a short amount of time, and send dust, other allergens, animal feces, and trace amounts of heavy metals into the air for considerable distances.

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Column: Charges against county official another indictment of red-light camera industry – Chicago Sun-Times

"I’m someone who doesn’t go around believing everyone in government is corrupt. In fact, I think most public officials are honest and try to do the right thing. But every time federal prosecutors pull back the curtain, what I find most striking is the depth of the corruption, how it extends even to the little people in the system."

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New Illinois law gives every child born after 2021 money for college – WQAD8 (Rock Island)

Quad City Investment Advisor Mark Grywacheski says the money won’t go far: “Over the course of 18 years, that $50 with dividends and interest is only going to grow maybe a few hundred dollars. If the state of Illinois was really serious about college education, it would restructure the out of control cost structure."

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Ahead of budget address, Pritzker touts $225 million in efficiencies – Capitol News

Pritzker said he is exploring consolidating a number of state agencies, merging the Department of Labor and the Department of Employment Security into a single unit, combining anti-fraud units at the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the Department of Insurance, and merging the Coroner Training Board with the Department of Public Health.

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Research & Commentary: Local Gas Taxes are One Tax too Many for Illinois Drivers – Heartland Institute

"Illinois will have to explore more efficient ways to fund road construction and traffic infrastructure."

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Legislation seeks to make McHenry County township consolidation law statewide – Northwest Herald

A bill filed last week by Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, seeks to make the township consolidation options for McHenry County – which were signed into law last year – statewide.

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Another monthly record for Indiana sports wagers – The Times of Northwest Indiana

Even if Illinois regulators finally green light sports wagering, Indiana still will be the only place for Illinois residents to wager on the No. 22 University of Illinois men's basketball team, since Illinois law prohibits in-state bets on Illinois college and university teams.

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Top Chicago Stories

High-ranking Cook County official indicted on bribery charges as political corruption probe gains steam – Chicago Sun-Times

Patrick Doherty, chief of staff for Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski. Patrick Doherty, chief of staff for Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, is accused of conspiring to pay bribes to secure approval for red-light cameras in the suburbs.

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Chicago’s Motorola Solutions Wins $765 Million Over Theft by Chinese Radio Rival – Bloomberg

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Cook County chief judge withheld key court data; under Tribune pressure, he’s reversed that policy – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans appears at a news conference in Chicago in 2017. He recently announced he was reversing a policy against providing full access to digital criminal court records.

Comment: Salute to the Tribune on this. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans for nearly two decades has had a policy of restricting the public’s access to digital criminal court records. Last month, after the Tribune filed a legal challenge, Evans announced he was reversing his policy and will release complete records to the newspaper in the coming weeks and months.
 

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Lawmakers introduce new real estate transfer tax proposal for Chicago – TheRealDeal

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Chicago Police Don’t Arrest As Many Murderers As You Might Think – Patch

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More Highlighted Chicago Stories

As Trump Plans To Bring Border Patrol To Sanctuary Cities, Mayor Lightfoot Pushes Back: ‘We Will Not Be Bullied’ – Block Club Chicago

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Distressed properties hitting market on South Side – Crain’s

Dozens of buildings in neighborhoods like South Shore and Washington Park are hitting the market, the aftermath of an alleged $135 million Ponzi scheme by EquityBuild, their Florida-based owner. Another landlord, the Better Housing Foundation, could flush about 1,000 more apartments into the market after the nonprofit defaulted on more than $84 million in bonds it used to pay for them.

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Is Requiring 12,500 Petition Signatures To Run For Mayor Unfair? New Proposal Would Lower The Requirement – Block Club Chicago

In 1995, candidates running for mayor of Chicago needed to gather 2,261 nominating signatures from residents to earn a spot on the ballot. But in the most recent election, candidates were required to collect 12,500 signatures just to be considered.

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Officials announce $75M for Chicago-area public housing – WREX (Rockford)

The money is coming through a capital program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Development and the bulk of it, nearly $65 million, will go to the Chicago Housing Authority. Other recipients including housing authorities in Joliet, Aurora, Waukegan and Oak Park.

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Could Scurrilous Second City Cop Blog’s Strategy Oust Kim Foxx? – Patch

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Chinatown Is Safe And Open For Business, Officials Say As Coronavirus Fears Hit Restaurants, Shops Hard – Block Club Chicago

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Prominent Obama donors will hold Chicago event for Bloomberg – The Guardian

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Chicago high school students hold sit-in in defense of students who refused to stand for national anthem – World Socialist Website

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Kim Foxx makes court appearance for Jussie Smollett case – WGN

Judge Michael Toomin denied a motion Friday to block Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx from using public funds to hire outside counsel in the Jussie Smollett investigation.

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City Hall ‘Do Not Rehire’ List Omits Chicago Hall of Shamers – Patch.com (Chicago)

Chicago City Hall's employment blacklist is 29 pages long. Former Alds. Isaac Carothers (29th) and Arenda Troutman (20th), who went to jail on federal corruption and bribery charges, respectively, are the only former elected officials banned from getting city jobs.

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Fired CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson and ousted Law Department spokesman land on city’s do-not-hire list – Chicago Sun-Times

Critics say the current criteria for landing on the DO NOT HIRE list - and the process for appealing that status - leave too much room for individual discretion and political retribution.

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Commentary: The CTA Red Line extension is a mistake — Metra is ready to better serve the South Side – Chicago Tribune

"The proposed project is not just expensive for an aboveground rail line — its cost, $2.3 billion for 5.3 miles, could pay off CTA’s entire unfunded pension liability — but it also serves an area already covered by two Metra lines."

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Chicago aldermen move to try to tighten up rules on outside employment for city officials – Chicago Tribune

The City Council Ethics Committee passed an ordinance designed to prevent commissioners and others in city departments who have decision-making power on who gets lucrative government deals from working for firms that are subcontractors on projects they oversee.

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Sanders endorses progressive lightning rod Chicago DA Kim Foxx – Politico

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Why the Lincoln Park High School administrators were fired – Chicago Sun-Times

CPS officials told representatives at a meeting that school officials minimized sex misconduct allegations, didn’t protect whistleblowers or alleged victims from bullying, withheld key evidence from investigators and lied to families, sources with knowledge of the meeting told the Sun-Times.

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Chicago’s Bonds Aren’t Akin to Puerto Rico’s – Letter – Wall Street Journal

"Chicago has been clear that the proceeds will repay higher-cost debt. That’s not a con but the equivalent of refinancing a mortgage to help pay for a child’s education."

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Legislators tout real estate transfer tax proposal as ‘win-win’ compromise for Lightfoot and the homeless – Chicago Sun-TImes

Higher real estate transfer taxes with a portion set aside for low income housing.

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State Rep. Camille Lilly on proposed bill: It was ‘never the intent’ to make pumping own gas illegal in Illinois – Chicago Tribune

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Related Midwest unveils first phase of The 78, anchored by Discovery Partners Institute – RE Journal

<strong /><br /> DPI, which is part of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) and funded through a combination of private and public funds, would be a one-stop solution to cultivate and retain new-economy talent at scale, expand the diversity of Chicago’s tech workforce and boost research and development activity to drive the local economy. Construction should break ground on the DPI in the next 12 months.  

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City’s new congestion tax puts burden on Uber and Lyft drivers – Medill Reports Chicago

In January, the City of Chicago implemented a new congestion tax on ride-hail providers to encourage riders to either use public transport or shared trips in the downtown area. Chicago’s ride-hail tax ranked as the highest in the country.

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CPS offers millions in added support for special ed students illegally denied services – Chicago Sun-Times

More than 10,500 special education students are set to receive extra support from Chicago Public Schools in an effort to make up for service cuts found to be in violation of federal and state law. The remedies, which will likely to cost CPS $10-$15 million, are an unprecedented move to help correct a system so broken that a state monitor was put in place to oversee it.

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Chinatown takes a hit as coronavirus fears keep customers away. Business is down as much as 50% at some restaurants. – Chicago Tribune

Pedestrians walk through the Chinatown Square area Feb. 12, 2020, in Chicago. The epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak is 7,000 miles away, but fear of the illness has turned Chicago’s Chinatown into a veritable ghost town, with customers staying away in droves, leaving some restaurants and businesses nearly empty during lunchtime this week.

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1,500 Amazon jobs? No thanks, says Bolingbrook mayor – Crain’s

Amazon wants to build an 825,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Bolingbrook that would employ 1,500 people. “I told them I wouldn’t support it when they met with us,” said Mayor Roger Claar. “Then they closed two weeks later.”

Claar adamantly opposes Amazon’s plans for 119 acres of land it recently acquired in the southwest suburb, saying the 825,000-square-foot fulfillment center the e-commerce giant wants to build there would be too tall and unsightly. He worries that truck traffic from the property would choke a nearby intersection on Interstate 55. And all those jobs? At about $15 per hour, they wouldn’t pay enough.

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Global Warming Blamed For Evaporating Great Lakes; Now Blamed For High-Water Levels In Chicago’s “Climate Emergency” – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Column: Chicago’s three-card monte – Chicago Reader

There are three general problems with TIFs: equity, transparency and cost. "Here’s hoping that Mayor Lightfoot is a little truer to her word about TIF reform than Mayor Rahm, though, as you can see, the bar is low."

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750,000 Reasons Sun-Times’ Kim Foxx Endorsement Shouldn’t Shock – Patch

What the paper doesn't tell readers is that members of the Sun-Times ownership team, who rightfully wield influence over editorial board decisions, also play a significant role in bankrolling Foxx's campaign -- $750,000 worth.

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13 More Convictions Tied To Corrupt Chicago Officers Overturned – WBEZ

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City of Chicago declares climate crisis after storms cause millions of dollars in damage to Lake Michigan shoreline – ABC News

Comment: Seven years ago, when Lake Michigan was at record low levels, Al Gore, Senator Dick Durbin and many others blamed climate change for evaporating the lake. Now climate change is blamed for high water level necessitating an emergency declaration. See our article on that linked here.

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‘Once-in-a-generation’ South Loop project gets $500M boost from Pritzker – Crain’s

In a huge boost for Chicago’s tech industry and for development of the South Loop, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has decided to release $500 million in state capital funds for the budding Discovery Partners Institute in the 78 real estate project on the Near South Side.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Dims Hopes For City Hall Takeover Of ComEd – WBEZ Chicago

Whatever the precise price tag, Lightfoot called municipalization a “very, very, very steep hill to climb,” and noted the city’s other ongoing financial challenges, including its underfunded pensions.

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

New IRS migration numbers confirm flight of Illinois’ wealthy – Our Monthly Crain’s Article

A summary of our recent series of stories taking a close look at what the IRS data say about Illinois -- loss of taxpayers and income, which income groups are moving and how other states compare.

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Illinois lost $1.1 million per hour since 2001. Think about that. – Quicktake

With Governor JB Pritzker's annual budget address coming up next week, it's a good time to step back and look at the big picture.

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Opportunity zones floundering in Chicago. No Surprise. – Quicktake

With Opportunity Zones, we got what looks like an attempt to reinforce the worst stereotypes of both parties – greedy Republicans handing a pointless tax break to the rich, and reality-challenged Democrats wasting money on a well-intentioned program for the poor likely to fail.

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Kim Foxx’s reaction to new charges agains Jussie Smollett: Orange Man Bad – Quicktake

Is there anything in politics today that somebody somehow won't tie to Trump?

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Global warming was blamed for evaporating the Great Lakes, now blamed for high water levels in Chicago’s ‘climate emergency’ – Updated 2

"What we are seeing in global warming is the evaporation of our Great Lakes." That was Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in 2013 when Lake Michigan was at a record low. You can find plenty of claims to the same effect from the time. Nobel Prize winner Al Gore chimed in around then, too, saying climate change caused evaporation, driving Great Lakes levels down.

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Illinois politicians want to pile a municipal gas tax on top of the nation’s third-highest gas taxes – Wirepoints Original

Municipal gas taxes would pile on yet another layer on top of the state and federal gas taxes that already exist. The proposal comes less than a year after the state passed a record gas tax hike of 19 cents a gallon as part of the state’s massive $45 billion infrastructure plan. 

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

If the wealthy flee, ordinary Illinoisans will be left holding the progressive tax bag

At the rate Illinois is losing people, it wouldn’t take long at all for Pritzker’s progressive tax hike to bleed away Illinois’ million-plus earners. There just aren’t that many of them to begin with. And faced with a 60-percent tax increase, the chances are higher they’ll leave.

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Interim financial report shows Illinois lost another $3.7 billion in 2019 – Quicktake

Illinois' Total Primary Net Position worsened from negative $184.0 billion to  negative $187.7 billion at June 30, 2019 according to an interim report recently released by Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

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Legislation proposed to ban pumping your own gas. What are they thinking? – Quicktake – UPDATED

They've lost touch.

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While Ohio cuts health benefits to save pensions, Illinois’ crisis deepens – Wirepoints Original

Illinoisans will want to pay attention to how Ohio recently responded to its state retirement debt crisis. There, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System board (OPERS) voted to cut health-care benefits for its 500,000-plus members to ensure its retirement funds don’t collapse.

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Biometric privacy law heating up Illinois’ ‘judicial hellholes’ – Quicktake

You may never have heard of it or even been harmed, but chances are good if you live in Illinois that you are a plaintiff in one of hundreds of class action lawsuits it has spawned.

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Yes, the rich are fleeing Illinois and they’re taking billions with them – Wirepoints Original

We’re often told that Illinois is not losing its highly taxed residents. Don’t worry about lost income from the rich leaving, we’re supposed to believe. It’s just poorer folks fleeing. But that's simply not true.

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Who will represent Illinois consumers as new energy bill takes form? – Quicktake

Brace yourselves to get snowed (but not literally).

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Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

We’re a 501(c)(3) now!

Wirepoints Original Stories

New IRS migration numbers confirm flight of Illinois’ wealthy – Our Monthly Crain’s Article

A summary of our recent series of stories taking a close look at what the IRS data say about Illinois -- loss of taxpayers and income, which income groups are moving and how other states compare.

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Illinois lost $1.1 million per hour since 2001. Think about that. – Quicktake

With Governor JB Pritzker's annual budget address coming up next week, it's a good time to step back and look at the big picture.

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Opportunity zones floundering in Chicago. No Surprise. – Quicktake

With Opportunity Zones, we got what looks like an attempt to reinforce the worst stereotypes of both parties – greedy Republicans handing a pointless tax break to the rich, and reality-challenged Democrats wasting money on a well-intentioned program for the poor likely to fail.

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Top Illinois Stories

Pritzker plans $147 million boost for DCFS in second-year budget – Chicago Sun-Times

The governor plans to increase the agency’s headcount - a move intended to reduce caseloads for overwhelmed investigators. He also asked for COLAs and additional training for all staff.

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Editorial | The ugly truth: State budget numbers hide the real story – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

“'The bleeding has slowed, but we are still bleeding,' Richard Ciccarone, the Illinois-based president of Merritt Research Services, told The Bond Buyer. Despite revenue increases generated by tax hikes and a strong economy, state spending and increases in pension debt continue to drive a huge problem that legislators are doing their best to ignore."

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Which are the least tax-friendly states in America? California doesn’t crack the top 10, but Illinois sure does – MarketWatch

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Bill Brady Op-Ed: What’s to blame for public corruption in Illinois? The Democrats’ total control – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: Brady is the Illinois Senate Republican leader. See the story linked here, among many others, on his financial interests in the gaming industry on which he legislates. He has no standing to be lecturing on public corruption.

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U if Illinois student gov votes to divest from companies with ties to Israel, ICE

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Other Illinois News

Clarence Page: ‘A dream as old as the American dream’: Embrace black patriotism over victimization – Washington Examiner

Comment: A superb essay by Clarence Page on how to end the identity politics that are ripping Illinois and the nation apart.

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Judge says Cook County has to show Wells Fargo how much it made from processing foreclosures during housing crisis – Cook County Record

This ruling could damage the county’s lawsuit alleging the bank employed discriminatory lending practices.

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Bipartisan group of lawmakers, fair-mapping advocates speak out against gerrymandering – Prairie State Wire

Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), said, "Gerrymandering is ruining our democracy – the power of gerrymandering leads to extreme partisan politics. Those in the middle lose their seats; we lose any chance to have any healthy balance. 'Safe' seats must end – we need a system that shows voters that their vote matters."

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Analysis details how Illinois Republicans lost ground in Illinois – Center Square

But Illinois stands out as a blue island surrounded by Republican-dominated states, thanks to a Democratic takeover of the former GOP strongholds in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

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Illinois Gig Economy Bill could mean uncertainty for workers, businesses – Center Square

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Top Chicago Stories

High-ranking Cook County official indicted on bribery charges as political corruption probe gains steam – Chicago Sun-Times

Patrick Doherty, chief of staff for Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski. Patrick Doherty, chief of staff for Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, is accused of conspiring to pay bribes to secure approval for red-light cameras in the suburbs.

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Chicago’s Motorola Solutions Wins $765 Million Over Theft by Chinese Radio Rival – Bloomberg

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Cook County chief judge withheld key court data; under Tribune pressure, he’s reversed that policy – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans appears at a news conference in Chicago in 2017. He recently announced he was reversing a policy against providing full access to digital criminal court records.

Comment: Salute to the Tribune on this. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans for nearly two decades has had a policy of restricting the public’s access to digital criminal court records. Last month, after the Tribune filed a legal challenge, Evans announced he was reversing his policy and will release complete records to the newspaper in the coming weeks and months.
 

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Lawmakers introduce new real estate transfer tax proposal for Chicago – TheRealDeal

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Chicago Police Don’t Arrest As Many Murderers As You Might Think – Patch

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Other Chicago News

As Trump Plans To Bring Border Patrol To Sanctuary Cities, Mayor Lightfoot Pushes Back: ‘We Will Not Be Bullied’ – Block Club Chicago

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Distressed properties hitting market on South Side – Crain’s

Dozens of buildings in neighborhoods like South Shore and Washington Park are hitting the market, the aftermath of an alleged $135 million Ponzi scheme by EquityBuild, their Florida-based owner. Another landlord, the Better Housing Foundation, could flush about 1,000 more apartments into the market after the nonprofit defaulted on more than $84 million in bonds it used to pay for them.

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Is Requiring 12,500 Petition Signatures To Run For Mayor Unfair? New Proposal Would Lower The Requirement – Block Club Chicago

In 1995, candidates running for mayor of Chicago needed to gather 2,261 nominating signatures from residents to earn a spot on the ballot. But in the most recent election, candidates were required to collect 12,500 signatures just to be considered.

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Officials announce $75M for Chicago-area public housing – WREX (Rockford)

The money is coming through a capital program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Development and the bulk of it, nearly $65 million, will go to the Chicago Housing Authority. Other recipients including housing authorities in Joliet, Aurora, Waukegan and Oak Park.

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Could Scurrilous Second City Cop Blog’s Strategy Oust Kim Foxx? – Patch

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