Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

Pritzker signs ‘most equity-centric’ marijuana legalization bill in nation – Capitol News IL

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Illinois becomes the 11th state to legalize marijuana – IL Policy

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Illinois Democrats to get more than Republicans in $45 billion capital plan – Center Square

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Commentary: Illinois is making a bad bet on its sports gambling tax – Chicago Tribune

"Lawmakers clearly did not pay attention to what is working across the country."

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Illinois’ rich millennials are moving to other states – IL Policy

SmartAsset recently looked at population shifts for those younger than 35 with adjusted gross incomes of at least $100,000, and found Illinois was losing these successful young adults at a faster pace than every other state except New York. The referenced survey is linked here.

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Nearly $2.5B in Illinois public pension payments flow to 70K out-of-state retirees – IL Policy

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When all you have is a hammer – Eric Allie Cartoon

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Despite Surplus Claims, CA Can’t Fund Pensions – Epoch Times

Comment: Sound familiar. Most of this fits Illinois, except the surplus.

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Illinois SURS Gears Up for Unique Crisis-Prevention Allocation – Chief Investment Officer

The State Universities’ Retirement System of Illinois is allocating 20% of its portfolio to an asset class called the Crisis Risk Offset Class (CRO), a new segment dedicated to insulating the pension’s assets to major market swings.

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SALT Cap Repeal Would Be $40 Billion Windfall for Millionaires – Bloomberg

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Union ratifies state employee contract, but total cost unknown – Center Square

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Chicago wants receivers on bond-financed housing units now in default – The Bond Buyer

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Pritzker heirs: Tax us more, 2020 Dems – Crain’s

The letter was published Monday on Medium.com and details the “support [for] a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest 1/10 of the richest 1 percent of Americans.”

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Illinois governor touts cradle-to-college support in state budget – Center Square

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Repeating same pension mistakes – Opinion – Northwest Herald

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Illinois’ population losses greater in youth, working-age residents than retirees – Center Square

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Illinois governor signs bill banning private immigrant detention centers – The Hill

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Decatur-areas businesses, motorists brace for higher fuel costs on July 1 – Herald & Review

“The common man will be spending more on the fuel cost,” he said. “There won’t be any money left for them to reward themselves to buy a drink or candy or a snack item.”

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More car crashes, increased insurance rates likely to follow pot becoming legal Jan. 1, experts say – Naperville Sun

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Cinda Klickna: A full pension payment? Don’t be fooled. – IL Times

Comment: How 'bout that -- we agree with Ms. Klickna! She was long the president of the Illinois Teachers Association, and we've criticized her for many reasons for years. But she's stating here what we've also long told you -- that claims about pension "full funding" are a lie.

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Big end-of-career raises return – Daily-Journal

More on the recent authorization for more pension spiking.

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Crain’s forum on pensions

A lengthy new forum collected viewpoints from all sides.

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Illinois is coming back – Opinion – State Journal-Register

Comment: Meanwhile, the nation's leading financial paper, the Wall Street Journal, is writing about Illinois' "inevitable financial collapse." You decide.

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Lawmaker’s accomplishments will weaken the state – Opinion – News-Gazette

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Incentives Aimed at Helping Illinois Land Data Centers – A.P.

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State employees ratify new union contract – AFSCME

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Pritzker Says New Laws Make Illinois ‘Firewall’ Against Trump On Immigration – NPR IL

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Debt Collection Reform Goes To Governor’s Desk – WSIU

The measure calls for lowering interest rates on outstanding consumer debt from 9 percent to 5 percent. It would also trim 10 years off the time a lender can pursue collection. The legislation would only apply to consumer debt — that is, debt for personal, family or household expenses. It's also limited to debt under $25,000.

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Illinois teachers pay for representation, but priorities rarely focus on members – IL Policy

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More money, mandates for state’s public schools – Capitol News IL

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Concerns linger over new ownership at Rivers Casino – Capitol News IL

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I-80 labeled “signature’ project – Herald-News

The acting head of the Illinois Department of Transportation on Thursday called the $848 million Interstate 80 plan the "signature" project in the state's largest capital bill ever. "We are committed to it," Omer Osman, the acting state transportation secretary, said of the I-80 project at a luncheon meeting for the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Illinois politicians have school choice. But they want to curb it for other people’s kids. – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

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Illinois governor could soon consider watered-down corporate diversity bill – Center Square

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Pritzker praises pension buyout program, backs public safety pension consolidation – Center Square

Comment: Savings from the buyout program will be negligible; it's a sham. Consolidation is a good idea and will result in some savings for the local pensions, but nothing that meaningfully alters their course.

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Top Chicago Stories

Teens in DCFS care slept on floors of South Loop office – WGN

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Chicago’s new demographics: ‘A third San Francisco, two-thirds Detroit’ – Curbed Chicago

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More Highlighted Chicago Stories

Case Shiller Index: Chicago Area Home Price Gains Rise To Bottom 25% In Rankings – Chicago Now

According to the April Case Shiller Home price indices released this morning by Dow Jones S&P CoreLogic another of the 20 metro areas tracked - Seattle - fell below the Chicago area in the rankings of year over year single family home price appreciation. This left Chicago 5th from the bottom.

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Toni Preckwinkle reverses decision to retire — aide says she will seek third term in 2022 – Chicago Sun-Times

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North Chicago’s AbbVie set to acquire Allergan in $63 billion deal – Yahoo Finance

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North Side Homeowners See Property Tax Bills Rise By 11 Percent – Patch

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‘I Am Better Than This’: Ex-Chicago Ald. Cochran Gets 1 Year In Corruption Case – WBEZ

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Downtown, North Side homeowners in for big property tax bump this year – The Real Deal

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‘Back Off:’ Lori Lightfoot Issues Strong Rebuke of President Trump’s Immigration Policies – NBC Chicago

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Budget woes at Cook County health system threaten insurance program used by more than 300,000 residents – Chicago Tribune

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Trump pushes ICE raids back 2 weeks, after slamming Chicago as a high-crime sanctuary city – Chicago Sun-Times

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Lightfoot vows to tackle pension crisis once and for all, even if means risking her political future – Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot said Friday she’s willing to tackle Chicago’s “mounting, looming, all-consuming” pension debt once and for all, even if it means risking her political future. In a rousing speech at the Civic Federation’s annual civic awards luncheon, Lightfoot made it clear that Chicago needs help during the Illinois Legislature’s fall veto session to solve the problems that her predecessor left behind.

But the mayor didn’t say whether the help she was seeking would include merging city employee pension funds, a longer road to 90% funding or asking the General Assembly to empower the city to broaden its sales tax umbrella to include professional services.

“We cannot get there if we continue to lug this mounting, looming, all-consuming pension debt with us. This is our moment to solve this problem. We have to do it now. We cannot keep looking past the obvious,” she said.

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‘Charlatan Who Fomented a Hoax’: Read Judge’s Scathing Ruling Assigning Special Prosecutor in Smollett Case – NBC Chicago

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Joking Mick Jagger shines a light on Ed Burke during Stones’ show at Soldier Field – Chicago Sun-Times

“I want to welcome Lori Lightfoot... I’m sorry Ed Burke couldn’t make it tonight,” cracked Jagger, who is the same age as Burke, 75.

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‘It’s totally unfair’: Chicago, where the rich live 30 years longer than the poor – The Guardian

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Ex-Lincoln-Way superintendent has amassed nearly $600K in pension income since being indicted, records show – Daily Southtown

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Mayor Lightfoot Says CPD Will Not ‘Cooperate With Or Facilitate Any ICE Enforcement Actions’ – CBS Chicago

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Peoples Gas’ plan to replace all pipes in Chicago could cost consumers much more – Crain’s

A massive project to replace all of the natural gas pipes that run beneath the city of Chicago could leave hundreds of thousands of Peoples Gas customers paying 10 times what they do now by the time the work is finished in 2040, a new analysis finds.

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Cook County budget gap shrinks to lowest of Preckwinkle’s reign – The Bond Buyer

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Property tax pinch: Average North Sider’s bill to rise by $536, South Sider’s by $23 – Chicago Sun-Times

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Miami targets Chicago’s financial firms – Crain’s

Representatives of the Miami Downtown Development Authority arrived in Chicago this week on a four-day mission to lure Chicago firms to their sunny city. They’re particularly focused on small and mid-sized financial firms that can more easily pick up their lucrative businesses and head south, but they’ll take any firm, or those interested in simply opening a new Miami outpost. “We’re coming after Illinois,” said Miami DDA Deputy Director Christina Crespi, noting that their efforts were spurred partly by the proposed Illinois graduated income tax that would increase levies on the state’s richest residents. Florida has no personal income tax.

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Cook County predicts continued decline in budget deficit – Daily Herald

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Where Chicago property taxes are about to soar – Crain’s

Countywide, bills should increase about 3.7 percent on average, regardless of whether the parcel involved is a home or a commercial property. But there are wide variations by region and property type.

As a result, average bills in the north and central thirds of the city will be up 11.46 percent and 11.29 percent, respectively. But in the southern third of the city, where property values have risen more slowly, the hike will be just 0.98 percent for homeowners.

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African American, white population falls in Cook County as Asian, Hispanic population grows, U.S. Census data shows – Chicago Sun-Times

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Cook County predicts continued decline in budget deficit – Cook County

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says county’s facing ‘very modest’ budget shortfall – Chicago Tribune

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The Chicago Way: O’Hare Airport’s over-built expansion produces fewer flights – Editorial – Chicago City Wire

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Rep. Schakowsky backs Trump impeachment inquiry – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago housing market hurdle: As baby boomers stay put, millennials struggle to find starter homes – Chicago Tribune

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Lawsuit Challenges Chicago Towing Racket After City Destroyed Disabled Woman’s Van – Reason

The city of Chicago has been hit with a second class-action lawsuit challenging its massive and massively unpopular towing program, alleging that the city fails to notify vehicle owners of the impoundment and impending disposal of their cars.

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FBI agents raid ward office of Ald. Carrie Austin – Chicago Sun-Times

Part of the ongoing Federal investigation.

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Chicago’s Latest Megadevelopment? Lawmakers Boost One Central – WBEZ

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

“Wealthy” Chicago households on the hook for up to $2 million in debt each under progressive approach to pension crisis 

The total amount of city, county and state retirement debt Chicagoans are on the hook for is $150 billion. That's nearly $145,000 per household. Most can’t afford to pay that debt. If politicians put the burden only households earning $200,000 or more, those Chicagoans will be on the hook for more than $2 million in government retirement debts each.  

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Rationale For Politically Discriminating Capital Spending Allocation Admitted: They felt like it. – Quicktake

Unprecedented and brazen political discrimination. If you don't like it, tough.

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Rank Dishonesty on Pensions From AFSME’s Executive Director

Our pension hole is already impossibly deep, but it deepens every day thanks, in part, to shameless dishonesty spread by public unions.

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“Households in Chicago owe $150,000 in retirement debt. That’s an impossible number to pay off” – Ted on WJPF

Ted told WJPF all about how much retirement debt Illinois households are really on the hook for: downstate households owe $75,000 and Chicago households owe nearly $150,000. Those are impossible numbers for Illinoisans to pay.

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Ignoring the elephant in the room: Sun-Times advice to Chicago Mayor Lightfoot skips pension reform – Wirepoints Original

The Sun-Times Editorial Board has recommended several reform ideas to Mayor Lightfoot. Unfortunately, the Sun-Times ignores the elephant in the room – structural pension reform. There’s no fixing Chicago’s problems until pension costs are addressed.

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Come join Wirepoints on June 26th at Belvidere’s Progressive Tax Town Hall Event

Wirepoints will be in Belvidere on June 26th to tell the truth about how the progressive income tax will hit middle class Illinoisans. Come hear Wirepoints' Mark Glennon debate Ralph Martire of the union-backed CTBA.

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

Leaving Illinois: One woman’s search for better opportunities in Atlanta

Taxes get a lot of the blame for the exodus of Illinoisans, but for many, it’s just the sheer lack of opportunity that drives them away. That was the case for Tanya Wellmaker, a beautician who left Collinsville, Illinois for Sandy Springs, Georgia.

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Pritzker repeats Illinois politicians’ favorite lie – Our monthly Crain’s article

"Fully funded pensions" and "balanced budget." They're probably the most perniciously deceitful phrases used by Illinois politicians. If they were true, we'd have no fiscal crisis. The false narrative those phrases perpetuate is central to how Illinoisans allowed the state to snore into deep insolvency.

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“Illinois did not end up with the nation’s worst pension debt by being honest about its budgets” – Ted on WTAD

Ted explained to Quaid of WTAD why Gov. Pritzker's claim of a "balanced" 2020 budget is bunk. Lawmakers are only contributing what they want, not what the state's actuaries say is the responsible amount.

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Another budget surprise: Pritzker hits up middle-class Illinoisans for more AFSCME raises, stipends and bennies

Pritzker's new contract with AFSCME made it into the budget, and now Illinoisans are learning more about where their new tax dollars are going – to multi-year, guaranteed raises and potentially pensionable stipends for state workers who are already some of the highest paid government workers in the nation.

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Rhode Island Supreme Court Shows Illinois The Way On Pension Reform

What’s clear is that, contrary to persistent claims by public unions, the Contract Clause does not spell doom for addressing our pension crisis through a constitutional amendment. Rhode Island indicates it would work.

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Illinois governor disregards state actuaries to claim “balanced” budget

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinois’ budget is balanced ”for the first time in decades.” That’s the claim he made upon signing Illinois’ $40 billion budget for 2020. Pritzker’s claim is simply not true. According to the state’s own actuarial calculations, his budget is billions in the red.

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“Like every other year, this budget was a sham – debt untouched, property tax relief untouched” – Ted on The Chicago Way with John Kass

Ted was on the Chicago Way last week with John Kass discussing what the state's $40 billion budget and $45 billion capital bill mean for ordinary Illinoisans. Hint: It's about to get a lot more expensive to live, and especially drive, here. 

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Wirepoints Original Stories

“Wealthy” Chicago households on the hook for up to $2 million in debt each under progressive approach to pension crisis 

The total amount of city, county and state retirement debt Chicagoans are on the hook for is $150 billion. That's nearly $145,000 per household. Most can’t afford to pay that debt. If politicians put the burden only households earning $200,000 or more, those Chicagoans will be on the hook for more than $2 million in government retirement debts each.  

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Rationale For Politically Discriminating Capital Spending Allocation Admitted: They felt like it. – Quicktake

Unprecedented and brazen political discrimination. If you don't like it, tough.

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Rank Dishonesty on Pensions From AFSME’s Executive Director

Our pension hole is already impossibly deep, but it deepens every day thanks, in part, to shameless dishonesty spread by public unions.

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Top Illinois Stories

Pritzker signs ‘most equity-centric’ marijuana legalization bill in nation – Capitol News IL

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Illinois becomes the 11th state to legalize marijuana – IL Policy

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Illinois Democrats to get more than Republicans in $45 billion capital plan – Center Square

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Commentary: Illinois is making a bad bet on its sports gambling tax – Chicago Tribune

"Lawmakers clearly did not pay attention to what is working across the country."

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Illinois’ rich millennials are moving to other states – IL Policy

SmartAsset recently looked at population shifts for those younger than 35 with adjusted gross incomes of at least $100,000, and found Illinois was losing these successful young adults at a faster pace than every other state except New York. The referenced survey is linked here.

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Other Illinois News

Nearly $2.5B in Illinois public pension payments flow to 70K out-of-state retirees – IL Policy

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When all you have is a hammer – Eric Allie Cartoon

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Despite Surplus Claims, CA Can’t Fund Pensions – Epoch Times

Comment: Sound familiar. Most of this fits Illinois, except the surplus.

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Illinois SURS Gears Up for Unique Crisis-Prevention Allocation – Chief Investment Officer

The State Universities’ Retirement System of Illinois is allocating 20% of its portfolio to an asset class called the Crisis Risk Offset Class (CRO), a new segment dedicated to insulating the pension’s assets to major market swings.

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SALT Cap Repeal Would Be $40 Billion Windfall for Millionaires – Bloomberg

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Top Chicago Stories

Teens in DCFS care slept on floors of South Loop office – WGN

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Chicago’s new demographics: ‘A third San Francisco, two-thirds Detroit’ – Curbed Chicago

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Other Chicago News

Case Shiller Index: Chicago Area Home Price Gains Rise To Bottom 25% In Rankings – Chicago Now

According to the April Case Shiller Home price indices released this morning by Dow Jones S&P CoreLogic another of the 20 metro areas tracked - Seattle - fell below the Chicago area in the rankings of year over year single family home price appreciation. This left Chicago 5th from the bottom.

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Toni Preckwinkle reverses decision to retire — aide says she will seek third term in 2022 – Chicago Sun-Times

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North Chicago’s AbbVie set to acquire Allergan in $63 billion deal – Yahoo Finance

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North Side Homeowners See Property Tax Bills Rise By 11 Percent – Patch

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‘I Am Better Than This’: Ex-Chicago Ald. Cochran Gets 1 Year In Corruption Case – WBEZ

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