Tuesday, May 26, 2020

More budget cuts on the way in Danville – Editorial – Commercial News

Danville City Council members recently approved a budget for the new fiscal year that begins Monday that included cuts of about 3 percent to...

Suburban Mayors Band Together Against Property Tax Freeze – Associated Press

The proposal is a key element of Gov. Bruce Rauner's agenda. The Republican has insisted on the freeze before agreeing to a state budget. Leaders representing more than 150 cities and villages surrounding Chicago say a freeze would handicap local government and do nothing to address Illinois' budget problems.

Think Public Pensions Can’t Be Cut? Think Again. – Governing

The only truly secure guarantee that a public employee has is a fully funded pension system. But that's a guarantee that's likely to become rarer as cities face mounting fiscal strains. Of the nation's 89,000 local governments, some 11,000 have defaulted on bonds at some point in our history. As pension costs continue to escalate, it's nearly certain that the number of defaults will rise. How lucky do you feel? Will your city run out of money?

Independent grocery store workers seek union decertification – INN

“Every single employee on the grocery side would like to just be rid of them,” Madden said. "They are intimidating people. They will lie...

Solar interest shines on Illinois farmland – Iowa Farmer Today

Comment: Let's hope farmers are being very careful about this, and see our own article from yesterday about related pending IL legislation.

U.S. Farmers, Who Once Fed the World, Are Overtaken by New Powers – WSJ

The data streaming in isn’t from Illinois or even the American Midwest. It is from half a world away in Brazil, where farmers are...

Illinois lawmakers return to unresolved issues – JournalStar

After a two-week spring break, state lawmakers return to Springfield this week to resume work on an end to the budget stalemate that has...

Struggling NEIU paid big for years for grad speakers – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: Paid to a bunch of losers, too, starting with Donna Brazile.

Illinois foreclosure rates among worst – JournalCourier

ATTOM Data Solutions’ latest foreclosure information for the first three months of 2017 says Illinois has one foreclosed home for every 317 housing units....

San Bernardino could end up in bankruptcy again, Moody’s warns – KPCC

"The plan calls for San Bernardino to leave bankruptcy with increased revenues and an improved balance sheet, but the city will retain significant...

State senator wants to bar ZIP code from car insurance equation – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: To accept the charge that racism is at work here, as Senator Biss has claimed, you'd have to picture insurance people sitting around...

Illinois manufacturers’ default rate doubles year over year – INN

A Thomson-Reuters poll of small manufacturing businesses shows Illinois' manufacturers were approved for 3.4 percent fewer loans in April 2017 than the same month last year. The national average was a 1.2 percent decline. At the same time, manufacturers have doubled their rate of defaults in the past year.

Illinois lawmaker targets Jackson Jr.’s workers’ comp – Chicago Sun-Times

The law allowing former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., to collect about $100,000 a year in workers’ compensation, even though he pleaded guilty to...

How The Ethanol Mandate Is Killing The American Prairie – Investors’ Business Daily

According to a report by the Organic Consumers Association, 95% of the 240 million acres of prairie land that once blanketed the middle of...

While devastating some programs, Rauner’s cuts wouldn’t be enough – Chicago Sun-Times

Altogether they represent only $242 million in savings. That's one-half of 1 percent of what Illinois spends in a year. Comment: How about a 15% ...

Unqualified? Unreasonable salary expectations? You’re hired in Illinois – Editorial – Belleville News-Democrat

Rod Blagojevich was pretty open about his view on patronage hires and power politics, even trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat....

Illinois homeowners need relief, but don’t be duped by fake property tax reform – Illinois Policy

Effective property tax reform must rein in the government costs that drive up taxes.

Southern Illinois’ wide range of property taxes – Illinois Policy

When it comes to property taxes in southern Illinois, homeowners face a wide variety of rates. Though not as expensive as the record-high property...

Kentucky to get nearly $3B in new business investments since passing economic reforms – Illinois Policy

Companies have announced billions in new business investment in Kentucky a few months after the state passed key economic reforms. Illinois lawmakers should take...

Durbin’s Debit-Card Price Controls Hit the Poor Hardest – WSJ

Limits on fees lead banks to charge the poor more for other services—or to stop offering them at all. Comment: Classic grandstanding from a leader...

Capital One received more than $20 million in tax breaks from Illinois in 2015 – Illinois Policy

The state agreed to the tax credits in exchange for Capital One hiring 210 new employees and retaining 900.

Illinois could be punished by bond investors over Puerto Rico bailout – Opinion – Crain’s

"The problem this would create for Illinois...is that investors will surmise that legislation that allows Puerto Rico to write down a portion of all...

Illinois manufacturing crisis is nearing critical stage, manufacturing leaders warn – WQAD

The numbers are prompting a warning from the Illinois Manufacturers' Association: this crisis will keep eroding the middle class.

Puerto Rico Declares a Form of Bankruptcy – The New York Times

Comment: Well, that didn't take long. (We said yesterday this was coming.)

Illinois’ Late Payments Could Cost Medicaid Patients Access To Doctors – WBEZ

More than two dozen doctors, health care providers and insurance companies are warning a federal judge in Chicago that they may stop serving hundreds...

Krug: Batting below the Mendoza line – Opinion – INN

In states where “plasma donor” is not as popular a livelihood among the citizenry, and where the legislature types don’t operate their state at...

After mass layoffs, a chilling look back at CAT’s plea for reforms – Illinois Policy

In February 2012, Caterpillar’s then-CEO Doug Oberhelman outlined needed reforms to save Illinois manufacturing jobs. State lawmakers have failed to act, and the Land...

Lawmakers use ‘shell’ bills to avoid accountability – INN

One committee of Illinois lawmakers voted for more than 1,400 bills in less than three minutes. And just like that, hundreds of what are commonly...

Federal lunch changes maybe not enough for Illinois school – INN

Monticello High School is one of a several Illinois schools that dropped out of the USDA lunch program because of the regulations and the...

Property tax freeze opposition is premature – Editorial – QC Online

"A long-term property tax freeze alone is ill-conceived, especially if any companion revenues could later be independently changed or dropped. But the action by...

Want to see how America is changing? Property taxes hold the answer – MarketWatch

Comment: "The wrong side of the Laffer Curve." If you don't know what that means, you should. That's how we've been putting it here...

Puerto Rico union sues to block pension cuts – ABC News

The suit filed by the United Public Servants union said the plan violates a law protecting the pension system as well as constitutional guarantees...

Ever downward – News-Gazette

Failing to decide about how to fix our sorry state is deciding to fail. So why do our legislators focus more on social welfare...

5 consequences of decades of Illinois’ bad budget deals – Illinois Policy

Another Band-Aid budget deal won’t fix the financial problems that plague Illinois or stop the state’s credit rating from falling to junk.

Report: Labor unions outspend Soros and Koch brothers in politics – INN

A new report says big labor nationwide spent more money in the 2016 campaign season than George Soros and the Koch brothers combined. In...

Puerto Rico hit with lawsuits after litigation freeze ends – A.P.

Comment: This will be a teaching moment for broke Illinois municipalities and perhaps, eventually, for the state itself. It will rapidly become clear that insolvency without bankruptcy means chaos and and a tsunami of litigation, so Puerto Rico will go into the form of bankruptcy Congress authorized in the PROMESA legislation for it. Insolvent entities need structured, fair reorganization proceedings.

Manufacturers call for “Meaningful” Workers’ Compensation Reform – Illinois Review

"This week, House Democrats passed two bills under the guise of reform. Nothing could be further from the truth," the IMA statement said. "It's window dressing and a political sham...."

High-speed rail closer to reality in Bloomington-Normal – Editorial – Pantagraph

High-speed rail is expected to shave about an hour off the Chicago-St. Louis run, which now takes about 5½ hours. The entire corridor is...

Decatur property taxes put the hurt on remaining residents – Illinois Policy

With an average property tax bill of more than $2,000 a year, Decatur continues to hike taxes on a shrinking population.

Nearly 170 Professors to Strike at U of Illinois-Springfield – A.P.

At issue are reappointment, tenure, and promotions.

Illinois’ medical debt spiral injures people, economy – Chicago Tribune

Late payment by the state if medical and insurance claims is an acute and escalating problem, one that threatens the fiscal health of all...

Illinois skews national data on universities’ overall health downward – INN

The drop in state funding for colleges and universities in Illinois was so dramatic last year that it skewed data on a national report...

Familiar Theme in Work Comp Report – WBGZ

A new report about Illinois’ workers’ compensation shows a 6 percent cost decrease, but it remains more expensive than other states, bolstering one of...

U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Review Detroit Pensioners’ Benefit Cuts – Law360

Comment: The Court left intact a U.S. appellate court's rejection of the last of the challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy plan. That plan included cuts...

Milkweed, bacon and bikes; your Illinois General Assembly at work – Editorial – Rockford Register-Star

State lawmakers assure us that they can walk and chew gum at the same time, which is how they justify passing inconsequential legislation while...

How Trump’s tax proposals would affect Illinois – Illinois Policy

The corporate tax reforms under President Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan could strengthen Illinois’ position as a home for businesses, but the state’s uncompetitive...

IL representative pushes for $15 per hour minimum wage – WSIL

State Representative Will Guzzardi claims his bill "would generate billions of dollars in new revenue and ease the budget crisis." Comment: Meanwhile, a new Harvard...

Chicago Teachers Union seeks more negotiating power, strike authority in HB 1253 | Illinois Policy | Illinois’ comeback story starts here

While states surrounding Illinois are enacting labor reforms that benefit residents, Illinois remains a bastion of labor power. Now the Chicago Teachers Union wants...

Southern Illinois County Suing Manufacturers Of Opioid Painkillers – WBEZ

St. Clair County, which covers East St. Louis, claims it is in the center of an opioid addiction epidemic that has plagued the Midwest,...

Durbin Lauds $1 Trillion Spending Plan As ‘Dramatic Victory’ – CBS Chicago

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin applauded the $1 trillion spending deal reached in Washington as a “dramatic victory” that would fund the government through September;...

Illinois House proposes ‘privilege tax’ on investment managers – Illinois Policy

The Chicago Teachers Union now has a lobbying effort going to support this moronic idea, which we wrote about earlier.

Illinois Equal Pay Act Goes To Senate – Peoria Public Radio

It received support from both sides of the aisle.

ISBE report: Almost half of Illinois school districts are deficit spending – INN

More Illinois school districts are turning to deficit spending and long-term borrowing to meet operational costs, according to an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) report released last week.

Trump’s policies provide Illinois manufacturers some optimism, but not as much as other states – INN

A nationwide survey of manufacturing executives revealed record-breaking optimism, but those rosy economic sentiments were tempered in Illinois in the wake of fiscal uncertainties...

Flash Index Down Slightly, as Illinois’ Slow Economic Growth Continues – Illinois Public Media

The University of Illinois Flash Index measured the state’s economy for April at 104.3, down a tenth of a point from March. Any number...

Illinois Is Prepared—for Zombies – Wall Street Journal

"But what about the state’s fiscal apocalypse, which is not only happening right now but has pl"unged Illinois into a bona fide financial disaster"

Illinois Universities Feel the Brunt of State’s Fiscal Woes – WSJ

“We are in a crisis situation,” said Beth Purvis, the state’s education secretary. “The next set of cuts will affect outcomes for our postsecondary...

AT&T wants out from ‘old-phone’ requirement – INN

If you have a landline, chances are it's not from the phone company. More likely it’s provided by your cable company. And that's why...

Schools: ‘Dire decisions’ could come without state budget – A.P.

Superintendents in hundreds of Illinois school districts are imploring lawmakers and the governor to end the state’s budget stalemate, with one official saying schools...

No certainty on on budget, economic reforms in final few weeks of session – INN

Lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a balanced, full year’s spending plan with simple majorities.

Leftist Illini ‘harass white men’ at College Republican event – Campus Reform

Leftist students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed that “punching fascists” was more than social media bluster by attacking a College Republicans...

Illinois universities: Administrative costs too complicated to measure – INN

Comment: If a CEO said these kinds of thing on an earnings conference call, he'd be laughed off and his stock would plummet.

15 southern Illinois counties drop in population – Illinois Policy

Fifteen counties in the southernmost part of Illinois lost population from July 2015 to July 2016, fueled by significant domestic migration.

Stuart sponsors legislation to give free hunting and fishing licenses to Illinois state employees – Illinois Policy

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, would waive fees for obtaining hunting and fishing licenses for retired and current government workers...

House bill would regulate ‘trampoline safety’ – Illinois Policy

Instead of spending time on economic reforms, politicians crafted a bill that would apply new rules and regulations on trampoline safety that would add...

Political scale tips toward GOP in southern Illinois, northeast Missouri – Herald-Review

Four of the nation's 19 congressional districts with the biggest shifts toward Republicans between the 2012 and 2016 elections either encompass or come close...

Illinois officials monitor use of synthetic opioid – A.P.

Officials say U-47700 is eight times stronger than heroin. It can be purchased online from Chinese manufacturers at a low cost.

Illinois tax burden on businesses exceeds over Midwest neighbors – IL Homepage

According to a national report done by the Anderson Economic Group, Illinois is ranked 30 for the amount of taxes business pay. The state...

Sheet metal fabricator moving from Illinois to Kenosha County – BizTimes Milwaukee

The move is the latest in a long line of Illinois-based companies relocating to Kenosha County, or establishing operations there. On Thursday, the Rosemont,...

Rauner OKs decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot – Sun-Times

Possession of small amounts of marijuana is now a civil offense across Illinois, punishable only by fines — not jail time.

Illinois Joins R3, Unveils Expansive Blockchain Support Plan – CoinDesk

While much of the US is working to piece together a patchwork of blockchain regulations, Illinois unveiled a sweeping plan yesterday that would see...

Cullerton: Illinois Senate will vote on stopgap budget Rauner opposes – Chicago Tribune

Democratic Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said Tuesday that his chamber will vote this week on a proposal to send more than $815 million...

Rauner signs bill to rehabilitate prisoners, expand probation – Sun-Times

A wider range of crimes will be eligible for probation, rather than prison terms, and “trauma centers” might be built within state prisons under...

Is There Any Reason To Stay In IL? Michael Lucci Answers That Question — Video – Upstream Ideas

Comment: This is a must-watch hour interview for everybody seriously interested in the crises facing Illinois and Chicago -- Mike Lucci of the Illinois...

Illinois’s Seven Universities Face Downgrades Over Budget Morass – Bloomberg

Another day, another blow to institutions that rely on Illinois. Four of the seven already have junk ratings on their bonds, while two others...

‘Me, me, me! Did I mention me?’ The greed of Illinois’ pay-us-first legislators – Chicago Tribune

"It's maddening but not surprising. In Illinois, clout wins. Politicians win. Rank-and-file citizens are at the back of the line. Yet voters keep sending...

The cost of California’s public pensions is breaking the bank. Here’s one reason this problem is so hard to fix – Los Angeles Times

The fate of reform measures hangs on ballot language written by the state attorney general, usually a Democrat elected with strong union support.

Expert: Illinois lacks discipline, dollars for pension plans – Sangamon Sun

Andrew Biggs, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank, believes that ideally, governments would get out of the plan altogether.

State of Illinois Economic Forecast – Moody’s Analytics and COGFA

A comprehensive look at the state's economy by Moody's and Illinois' Commission on Governmental Forecasting and Accountability.

It’s a hybrid: Surprising DNA results of Illinois-record crappie – Sun-Times

Looks like our earlier story about the monster crappie was crap. (And it's a slow day for news.)

Illinois to preserve tax exemption for not-for-profit hospitals – Modern Healthcare

Although the ruling allows not-for-profit hospitals in Illinois to breathe a sigh of relief, the law isn't safe yet. The Supreme Court didn't weigh...

Video Gambling Jackpot For Pols And Pals – Better Government Association

The growth of video gambling in Illinois and the riches that go with it has opened new vistas for clout. Some politicians and their...

Illinois universities’ credit descends into junk territory – Illinois Policy

Illinois universities have hiked tuition and relied on state subsidies to pay for exorbitant administrative salaries – and now they’re feeling the effects of...

Your state is probably facing a new dawn of public finance problems – The Hill

S&P Global Ratings: "We now see a profound shift unfolding in states such as Illinois, Kentucky, and New Jersey, whose pension systems are funded...

AFSCME’s battle with Rauner is far from over – Illinois Policy

An Illinois appellate court ruled in favor of AFSCME March 1, but that isn’t the end of the court battle between the state and...

Must be fun to be a state lawmaker these days – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

With each passing month, it's becoming clearer that the current crop of elected officials isn't up to the task of fixing our state. They...

Illinois’ Unpaid Bill Pile Hits a Record $12.8 Billion – Reuters

That's $1,000 per person. Multiply that by ten for the unfunded pension debt.

Rauner Slammed For Blocking Undocumented Immigrants From UI Student Trustee Post – Progress Illinois

Undocumented Illinois college students upset by a recent veto from the governor are set to speak out Friday morning. The students plan to hold a press conference and rally...

Was Pat Quinn running the state of Illinois — or a job fair? – Chicago Tribune

To accommodate all the requests, Quinn staffers foisted new hires on state agencies, sometimes creating a new position or displacing a candidate who'd already...

Lucci: Illinois Democrats responsible for the nation’s highest black unemployment rate – Opinion – INN

Economic success starts with education. Yet my experience showed me that Illinois’ education system is a failure, especially for black families. I tested and taught...

Chicago to replace computer-automated dispatch system – Chicago Sun-Times

The computer-automated dispatch that forms the guts of Chicago’s 911 emergency center will be replaced with an upgrade that allows people to text and...

State senators tout ‘Taxpayer Bargain budget plan – Chicago City Wire

"McPlan," it has been called. State Sens. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) and Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) have a budget plan they say calls for spending reductions,...

Analysis: school districts suing Rauner, state over money have seen large funding increases, enrollment declines – Sangamon Sun

Comment: All districts complaining about funding need spotlights put on the facts comparing them to other districts around the state.

Kudos for the Senators’ “McPlan” budget prescription – Illinois Review

There's a state budget plan circulating Springfield circles that is 1. balanced, 2. hides no tax hikes, and 3. actually makes budget cuts.

Illinois lawmakers want to tax laundry, storage unit services – Illinois Policy

Senate Bill 9 would apply a 6.25 percent sales tax to laundry, dry cleaning, storage units and parking garages, among other services.

Bill making it easier for non-citizens to run for student trustee goes to Governor – Illinois Review

Residency proof requirements are too stringent for non-citizens to run for university student trustee, the University of Illinois argues, so House Democrats pushed through...

New ranking shows Illinois’ economic split – Illinois News Network

Site Selection magazine ranks Illinois as the third best state for new or expanding businesses, with 434 major projects coming to the state in...

Rasmussen: Women’s march on Springfield promotes status quo – Opinion – INN

So to those organizing this week’s march, they may preach “progressive” ideals and a path forward. But really, they are marching to keep Illinois...

Illinois Democrats aim high with minimum wage proposals – A.P.

Amid a national push by unions and worker advocates for a $15 minimum wage, Illinois Democrats hope to pass an ambitious hike during the...

Report: Increased foreign demand for Illinois crops could mean fewer jobs – INN

"This could occur if higher foreign demand for agricultural products led to a strengthening of the dollar, making other Illinois exports less competitive." Comment: Hmm....

2 Illinois lawmakers among 312 state employees who haven’t filed 2014 tax returns – Chicago Tribune

The lawmakers appear to be the highest-ranking stragglers out of thousands of state workers whom the revenue agency originally identified and contacted after matching...

Rauner to consolidate Human Rights Commission within department – Chicago Sun-Times

Rauner plans to sign an executive order on Friday to consolidate the Human Rights Commission into the state’s Department of Human Rights — a...

Clueless In Springfield – Ignoring Legislative Costs – Wandtv.com

When it comes to voting on bills impacting taxpayers wallets lawmakers rarely have any idea how much the legislation will cost according to an...

Powerful pols got in on illegal state hiring scheme – News-Gazette.com

Top aides to former Gov. Pat Quinn, powerful legislators and state bureaucrats ignored the law barring patronage hiring to put friends, family members and...

Illinois Senate’s spending “cap” doesn’t protect taxpayers, core services – Illinois Policy

The Senate’s “grand bargain” contains a one-year spending “cap” that won’t improve fiscal responsibility. A real cap must come with structural spending reforms to...

Who’s to blame for high property taxes? Look in the mirror – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

"Is it fair, then, to assert that if you can't be bothered to vote in local elections, you don't have grounds to gripe about...

Federal investigation exposes Madigan patronage – Illinois Policy

With House Speaker Mike Madigan’s longevity comes a patronage army paid with public dollars.

Berg: Feckless Frank and the arrogance of Illinois’ political insiders – Opinion – INN

Mautino’s few critics in the General Assembly were dismissed as petty, partisan and paranoid. But outsiders knew something was fishy about Frank. And they were...

Illinois Partnership to Bolster Talent Pipeline, Grow Smart State Initiatives – Government Technology

Illinois IT officials talk a lot about their plans for cutting-edge technologies like the ever-expanding Internet of Things, and now they're taking action to...

Several industries ask state lawmakers for tax carve outs – INN

From film production to data centers to historic districts and even video game developers, several sectors of Illinois’ economy are asking for tax credit...

We’re getting better at paying the mortgage on time – Crain’s

More Illinois homeowners are caught up on their mortgages than at any time since the dawn of the housing bust, a report shows. In...

How Chicago’s Largest Pension May Run Out Of Cash In As Little As 4 Years | Zero Hedge

"The risk associated with America's pension ponzi schemes have largely been overlooked by investors to date because so long as they can meet annual...

Rivian Automotive gets $49.5 million in state tax credits for 1,000 jobs over 10 years – Illinois Policy

The car manufacturer is going to bring more than 1,000 jobs to Normal, Ill., after being offered $49.5 million in state tax credits and...

United Airlines Isn’t the Problem—It’s Good People Doing Nothing – Observer

What the hell were all the people on that flight thinking to allow this to happen? Nobody said, “You know what, I can catch...

Senators’ Op-Ed: “Taxpayer Bargain” Budget Puts Taxpayers First – Illinois Review

A no-tax-increase budget proposal by State Sens. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) and Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods).

NEIU’s $30,000 commencement speaker contract sparks bill to ban the practice – INN

Northeastern Illinois University's board was shocked last week to hear that the school had signed a contract to pay former Barack Obama adviser Valerie...

Lawsuit says bars, restaurants should make more off video gambling – Chicago Sun-Times

A Cicero restaurant brought in more than $845,000 from video gaming machines last year but took home just $295,000 after taxes and handing over...

New regulations could mean longer waits for medicine – INN

The idea is simple: make sure pharmacists are't overworked and that they have time to talk with patients. The proposed fix isn't as simple. Rob...

Illinois Senate’s spending “cap” doesn’t protect taxpayers, core services – Illinois Policy

Calling a one-year, $37.9 billion limit a “cap” on spending – especially when the Senate deal calls for a nearly $7 billion tax hike...

Illinois taxpayers and Boss Madigan’s stockpot – John Kass – Chicago Tribune

"Boss Madigan is beholden to the public-sector unions. Gov. Bruce Rauner appealed to the private sector. Yet he seems to be talking past many...

Teachers Union and Hedge Funds War Over Pension Billions – WSJ

Labor leader aims to pull money from managers who promote retirement cutbacks; a billboard over Times Square. Comment: A shameless attempt to squelch free expression,...

In Quad Cities, Rauner praises Senate Democrats – Quad-City Times

Rauner praised Senate Democrats, even more so than last week, and said they want a balanced budget and a deal to end the two-year...

US Attorney Zachary Fardon Asked to Resign – WTTW

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the immediate resignation of 46 remaining U.S. attorneys that were appointed under the previous presidential...

Illinois Title 1 reform for schools inches forward – Rockford RegisterStar

A pair of bills — House Bill 656 and Senate Bill 195 — are seeking the same thing: to eliminate the state’s “federal funds rate” or “pension surcharge.” It’s an additional fee that school districts have to pay into the Illinois Teacher Retirement System if they use federal Title 1 dollars to hire certified teachers.

Illinois’ manufacturers default at greater rate than U.S. average – INN

Illinois had a significantly higher percentage than its neighbors, who were all less than half of Illinois.

Senate Narrowly Passes Rollback of Obama-Era ‘Auto-I.R.A.’ Rule – The New York Times

The consequences of the Senate’s votes could be significant. The Labor Department rules were designed to give around 13 million people in  five states,...

Road Closed: Snakes Crossing – NPR Illinois

There’s a 2 ½ mile stretch of road in southern Illinois that is off limits to vehicle traffic for the next couple of months....

Dynegy to decide by year-end whether to exit southern Illinois – Crain’s

Illinois' largest downstate power generator will decide by the end of this year how much of a presence, if any, to retain in the...

Turning point in Puerto Rico’s debt crisis bears close watching for mainland America – Commentary – The Bond Buyer

While many obstacles are ahead on Puerto Rico’s path to financial health, the success of PROMESA and the prioritization of the $17 billion COFINA...

Illinois: So long, it’s been good to know ya’ – Jim Nowlan – Viewpoints – QCOline

Jim Nowlan is a former Illinois legislator and state agency director. He is a retired senior fellow at the University of Illinois Institute of...

Southern Illinois’ Congressman: ‘Balance’ needed in energy economy – INN

Republican Mike Bost is quick to say Illinois has more energy under its soil than Saudi Arabia. But regulations, both state and federal, are...

Proposed laws seek sales tax parity for brick-and-mortar merchants – Pantagraph

In Illinois, Amazon and other e-commerce merchants are required to collect and remit the state's 6.25 percent sales tax under the state "e-fairness" law...

Illinois pitches sales tax for Netflix, Spotify, other streaming services – Illinois Policy

A new proposal from state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, would tax internet streaming services in Illinois, much like the potentially illegal internet streaming...

Growth to be part of school grade, not just test scores – INN

Starting in the fall of 2018, Illinois schools will get as much credit for how their students 'grow' in reading, math, and science as...

Stakes are high for workers, businesses as Illinois considers minimum wage hike – Chicago Tribune

"I'd give us five years and we'd be out of here. Whether we sell it to somebody or just be done, I don't know."...

Illinois on track to become first ‘junk’-rated state in nation – Illinois Policy

The state of Illinois’ financial condition is just one month shy of being designated “junk” by the nation’s credit agencies. The agencies have warned...

Report Says Illinois and Indiana highlight Rich State/Poor State differences – INN

llinois doesn't need any tax increases or pension debt to have one of the country's worst economic outlooks. State lawmakers simply need to keep...

Illinois lawmakers passed 938 bills that became law from 2015 to 2017 – just 3% had a price tag – Illinois Policy

Illinois lawmakers vote on bills without fully understanding how the legislation will affect the state’s finances. That goes a long way toward explaining the...

Amazon received more than $112 million in EDGE tax credits in 2016 – Illinois Policy

In exchange for more than $112 million in tax breaks, Amazon promised to expand its Illinois operations and hire 7,200 new employees in Aurora,...

Sugary drink tax would be a bitter pill to swallow – Editorial – mywebtimes

Excel is growing at a healthy clip. Rising demand for craft soda in the St. Louis market means they’ve run out of space and...

Duckworth, Durbin to oppose Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination – Chicago Sun-Times

In announcing her no vote on Thursday, Duckworth noted that Gorsuch never met with her to discuss his confirmation. Comment: Days of hearings apparently not...

Summer jobs tax: SB 9 would tax landscaping and other yard services – Illinois Policy

SB 9 is part of the package of bills that make up the Senate “grand bargain,” which would have hiked taxes by $7 billion.

Unbalanced Budget Response Act would allow Rauner to make cuts to balance the budget – Illinois Policy

Illinois House Bill 3868 would give Gov. Bruce Rauner the authority to trim costs and reorder the state’s spending priorities to balance the budget.

Indianapolis sitting pretty with light pension burden, report says – Indianapolis Business Journal

The S&P report, issued Wednesday, looks at pension pressures facing the nation’s 15 largest cities. In addition to Indianapolis, those cities are Austin, Texas;...

Analysis: University of Illinois budget grew 13 times faster than enrollment – Chambana Sun

The University of Illinois System today has 258 percent more employees and its annual budget is 389 percent higher than it was 45 years...

Heroin and opioid epidemic hits home in southern Illinois – WSIL

"We do routinely seize heroin now in arrests and it was almost never the case in years past, now it's pretty common."

Emails to Emanuel raise questions about dozens of possible lobbying violations – Chicago Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's personal email accounts have served as a private avenue of influence where executives and investors sought favorable action from City Hall,...

Budget fury boils over in town hall – IllinoisHomepage

The 'Enough is Enough' town hall drew more than 150 people to a hotel venue in downtown Springfield where a panel of guests gave thorough explanations for how Illinois arrived in this unprecedented budget crisis and floated theories on how the state's leaders might forge a comeback.

Rauner Gives Illinois a Grade A – WTTW

Comment: Will Rauner go with a tax increase or not? Amanda Vinicky does a good job here pressing that question, on which Rauner has...

In Illinois, a unique effort to protect the grid from hackers – Midwest Energy News

State regulators in Illinois are staking out a unique foothold in an area of growing concern among public utilities: the security of information and...

Lucci: Construction season means high costs for Illinois taxpayers – Opinion – INN

Research from economists Lawrence Katz from Harvard and Daniel Kessler from Stanford shows that prevailing wage laws slash the wages and job opportunities for...

Fake property tax relief: 3 reasons HB 156 fails taxpayers – Illinois Policy

Despite being sold as property tax “relief,” new legislation in Springfield would only shift property tax burdens on to certain taxpayers, while complicating an...

Vacant Illinois Agency Jobs Could Move to Springfield Area – NBC Chicago

Illinois agencies under Gov. Bruce Rauner have been told to decide whether vacant positions can be moved to the Springfield area as part of...

Q&A: Why special state funds have money in them – State Journal-Register

Comment: The rest of the story is in this link to our earlier piece, to our ear. There is no sound rationale for sitting...

Democrats tout their agenda – News-Gazette

"It's definitely a plan. But it's more than that — a liberal wish list that presupposes unlimited tax revenues to support hugely ambitious social...

Your state is probably facing a new dawn of public finance problems – The Hill

Comment: Good article, but you gotta laugh at this as it relates to IL: "States continue to benefit from certain inherent advantages that result...

Pension reform plan for Illinois: Right under its nose – Illinois Policy

Illinois crafted the solution to its pension crisis nearly 20 years ago. The problem is many lawmakers don’t even know that solution exists. Since...

Rauner: Democrats leading a ‘coordinated activity’ to ‘create a crisis’ in Illinois – Chicago Tribune

Rauner's comments came one day after his administration lost a court challenge to Comptroller Susana Mendoza over which state fund should be used to...

Frightening Totality of NJ Pension Crisis – Burypensions

New Jersey will suffer financial collapse when its pension funds are depleted, beginning in 2021. The Court will decide whether hundreds of thousands of...

Illinois Supreme Court says redistricting referendum unconstitutional, can’t appear on November ballot – Associated Press

Text of full decision linked here. Comment: Considered together with the court's other rulings on pensions and tort reform, the court essentially thinks the Illinois...

Berg: Don’t be fooled by ‘penny for schools’ tax – Opinion – INN

A Missouri corporation is making a pretty penny helping to hike local sales taxes across Illinois. But in the process, it’s proving how local...

AT&T wants out of Illinois-wide mandate to run landline phones – Chicago Tribune

A longstanding rule requiring AT&T to provide landline service to everyone in Illinois could be going away, but watchdogs say the proposal needs more...

Illinois public universities trying to find efficiencies during budget impasse – INN

It’s a mixed bag for Illinois’ public universities, which have gone two years without full appropriations from state taxpayers. Some say they’re managing, while...

Illinois Bill Could Keep Presidential Candidates Off the Ballot – CBS St. Louis

Presidential candidates would have to release their tax returns under a bill passed by the Illinois Senate.

Hearing Probes Illinois Auditor General’s Campaign Spending – A.P.

An Illinois State Board of Elections hearing officer is expected to issue a recommendation next month regarding allegations that the state's auditor general violated...

Illinois loses nearly 9,000 jobs on net in March; unemployment rate drops – Illinois Policy

Illinois lost jobs across several industries including construction, manufacturing, and professional and business services. The only employment category to see significant growth was leisure...

Who’s ‘elitist’ in NEIU’s $30,000 commencement controversy? – Opinion – INN

Northeastern Illinois University is struggling, but it did have enough money, apparently, to agree to pay Valerie Jarrett, former president Barack Obama's longtime adviser,...

Trump signs resolution to effectively kill city auto-IRA rule – Investment News

Five states have passed legislation to set up auto-IRAs, and several others are considering doing the same. Observers expect this push will slow if...

Failure across the board – Editorial – News-Gazette

Is Illinois really one of 50 states in the United States? Or is it some kind of alternative universe of government dysfunction?

Union leader calls Rauner a ‘jackass,’ vows to ‘take him out’ in 2018 – Chicago Tribune

"I think the best speaker I had for today was Terry O'Sullivan" the guy who made those comments, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said...

Pew: Illinois’ pension funds invested in risky, alternative investments – INN

 The report featured three Illinois funds: Illinois Teachers Retirement System (TRS), Illinois State Employees Retirement System (SERS), and Illinois State University Retirement System (SURS).

‘First step’ to budgeting, revenue estimate, not coming, finance committee chair says – INN

“It would tie our hands in a way that if we had to do a revenue increase, at some point I think members would...

Gov. Rauner’s ‘superstar’ team runs into political reality – Chicago Tribune

Comment: This article focuses on people long gone, though Rauner indeed has a problem with lousy staff.  

Rauner takes union fight to Illinois Supreme Court – The Souther

Rauner said Friday that his office has asked the high court to uphold a labor board ruling in his favor. That ruling last fall...

Illinois trial bar peddles myths about workers’ compensation – Illinois Policy

The trial bar’s claim of profiteering is misdirection from the real issues. But if the trial bar wants more regulation of profit rates, it...

New study finds Illinois has highest overall tax burden in the nation – Illinois Policy

A new report from WalletHub finds Illinois’ combined state and local tax burden is higher than that of every other state and the District...

Let’s do the time warp, again – Comptroller Mendoza’s financial statements – Truth in Accounting

Truthful financial reporting includes timely financial reporting. But truthful financial reporting also includes truthful assertions about the timing of financial reporting. Who gets this stuff...

Rauner aide seeks Chicago schools’ support for pension plan – A.P.

Beth Purvis said Wednesday the plan would provide $215 million for retirement accounts administered by Chicago schools. Purvis wants support for proposals by Republican...

Competency-based graduation program launches for 2018-19 school year – INN

The new program shifts the focus off of graduating high school in four years and pushes students to master skills necessary for reaching the...

Bill to shore up Chicago municipal workers’ pensions passes House – Chicago Sun-Times

The Illinois House on Thursday once again passed a bill designed to shore up the pension funds for Chicago laborers and other city workers — a measure with identical language to a bill Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed in March. Comment: No, it doesn't shore up anything. It delays the contribution schedule -- kicks the can. Additional revenue that would go to the two funds was the city's separate undertaking.

Illinois lawmakers, public don’t know cost of vast majority of new legislation – INN

Between January 2015 and January of this year, Illinois lawmakers approved just under 1,000 proposed laws. But only 27 of them came with a...

Rauner’s improbable fundraising pitch: Balanced budget without tax hike – Chicago Tribune

In a fundraising letter sent to Republican supporters from the governor’s campaign, Rauner says: “Speaker Mike Madigan and the Springfield Democrats REFUSE TO FIX...

Can Bruce Rauner save himself? – John Kass – Chicago Tribune

"Rauner has been battered, but he's not broken. He has to make his case, not with kitsch but with information and passion so taxpayers...

State support for higher education increased in 2016, not counting Illinois – Inside Higher Ed

Support for public higher education rose in 33 states and declined in 17 in 2016 -- including a massive drop in Illinois.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, Legislature drain Illinoisans’ patience – Kadner – Chicago Sun-Times

To get anything close to a balanced budget and address the long term deficit, the state is going to need higher income and sales...

Sister of Mercy answered his cry for help; now ex-offender repays gift of redemption – Chicago Tribune

"That simple act of mercy and kindness with no expectation of payment was enough to make me understand my experience and education is unique,"...

New data show Illinoisans pay more than 2 percent of home’s value in property taxes – INN

ATTOM Data Solutions' latest report on 2016 property taxes shows that Illinoisans averaged $4,845 in yearly property tax payments, more than two percent of...

25 Percent Of Illinois School Districts Are Borrowing To Pay Bills – WBEZ

The state pointed to a troubling trend of more districts taking on long-term debt — not to construct schools or pay for other capital...

Economics Shouldn’t Be an Elective – WSJ

Comment: The article doesn't mention Illinois, but financial illiteracy has everything to do with Illinois.

Are Collapsing Pensions “About To Bring Hell To America”? – Zero Hedge

"Something massive has been swept up just under the carpet." (Not if you've been a Wirepoints reader.)

Krug: Establishing priorities differentiates ILNews.org – Opinion

"There were more than two dozen other original stories in which ILNews.org brought truth to light for Illinoisans – in real time, without rumor...

Rahm Emanuel gears up for a modern-day Brown v. Board – The Washington Post

Though the problems behind the case were made in Illinois, its implications are national. The defendant is the state government, for allegedly sending a...

DeKalb County voters take stand with failed property tax increase proposals – Daily Chronicle

There lies the shame in the ever-growing property tax burden Illinois homeowners face: Important causes get the thumbs-down because people are concerned they’ll be...

Donor spares struggling NEIU from paying Valerie Jarrett $30K fee – Chicago Sun-Times

Three class days were cancelled to cut costs during the budget impasse, and union leaders are planning a rally to protest the school’s financial...

Barely 18 and elected to a Lake County school board – Daily Herald

Comment: A fantastic young guy who is better informed than 95% of people in government, in my opinion as somebody who knows him.

Wisconsin and Indiana hit new all-time highs for number of people working – Illinois Policy

Illinois had 350,000 more people working in the state than in Indiana and Wisconsin combined just 10 years ago, according to the Bureau of...

Senate votes to kill city auto-IRA rules – Investment News

Five states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and Oregon — have passed laws to set up these plans for private-sector workers. One of the...

St. Louis Just Hiked Minimum Wage By 43%; Guess What Happens Next – Zero Hedge

Comment: We'd be so much better off if all the effort going into the $15/hour minimum wage movement went instead towards $50,000 and higher...

Prestige Metals to move from Illinois to Wisconsin – Illinois Policy

The small sheet metal fabricator will move from its current facility in Antioch, Ill., to an 8-acre location in Bristol, Wis.

House translation bill fails after GOP lawmakers introduce free option – Illinois News Network

The Illinois House nearly passed a bill that would have spent up to $1.5 million to do what Google Translate already does for free. Kudos...

Illinois’ health care worries show downside of Medicaid expansion – Illinois News Network

The Republican plan to move past Obamacare could see the biggest change to Medicaid in 50 years. And that’s precisely what scares leaders at...

Federal reform could lead to lower fed taxes, higher state taxes – Illinois News Network

Tax experts say that a number of Illinoisans could be paying more to the state due to the Trump-GOP tax reforms.

Cruel cuts signal CA pension crisis – San Francisco Chronicle

For a small but probably growing number of California’s government workers, the worst-case scenario is here: The failure to adequately fund public pensions is...

Lawmakers looking to divert scarce state funds to cities and counties – Illinois News Network

Illinois has not had a budget since June 2015, and court-ordered spending had the state government spending $8 billion more than it took in...

Illinois’ deficit grows to $9.6 billion in fiscal 2016: audit – Business Insider

Comment: "It's Rauner's fault," says Comptroller Mendoza, who was a legislator who helped do this to the state.

Dentists want out from fronting Illinois state employees’ dental costs – Illinois News Network

Dentists across the state, and around the country, who do work on patients with Illinois state employee insurance are forced to treat patients with...

Stakes high in Illinois as Congress rethinks Medicaid – Chicago Tribune

Under the Affordable Care Act, about 650,000 Illinois residents who didn't previously qualify for Medicaid, a health insurance program for the poor and disabled,...

Illinois Tax Heist – Wall Street Journal

"Democrats bet they can break Rauner or elect a tax raiser in 2018."

Here’s why Moody’s is warning of an Illinois death spiral – Illinois Policy

Moody’s warns that Illinois’ weak economic growth and population loss are credit negative and that the state may be entering a financial death spiral.

Illinois Senate committee OKs immigrant protections – Associated Press

The plan by Senate President John Cullerton would require federal immigration authorities to have a criminal warrant to enter schools or clinics in search...

National retailers may avoid investing in ‘expensive’ Illinois – Illinois News Network

“If you have a certain amount of capital investment you can make every year, you’re going to make it where you can get the...

House Republicans Offer Comprehensive Pension Reform Proposal and CPS Relief – Office of the Republican Leader – Jim Durkin

Comment: We'll be writing soon about this pending pension legislation. One thing for sure is that it shouldn't be called "comprehensive." Maybe "comprehensive given...

US judge: prison officials wrong to punish inmate for rude letter to governor – Injustice Watch

Comment: Writing expletive-laden things about Pat Quinn might be punishable? Oh oh.

Report: Illinois spends $518 per student on administration, second highest in country – INN

The finding suggests to some education reformers that the funds now going to top-heavy school districts would be better directed into the classroom, especially...

Low discount rates take toll on largest corporate DB plans – Pensions & Investments

Comment: The average discount rate used by the plans in P&I's universe of private sector plans was 4.39% in both 2015 and 2016, yet...

Illinois lawmakers vote against bill to protect state workers from having their Social Security number shared with unions – Illinois Policy

Through collective bargaining agreements with the state, government-worker unions require access to workers’ social security numbers – even if those workers are not members...

Illinois schools overspend on administrative expenses: study – Crain’s

llinois' 850 school districts—only two states have more—collectively spend more than $1 billion a year in administrative expenses, the most in the country by...

Illinois governor seeks to oust improperly hired employees – Associated Press

The administration of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says it wants a judge to decide whether state employees who were improperly hired under former Gov. Pat Quinn should keep union contract job protections.

Chicago home sales come roaring back in March – Chicago Tribune

The Illinois Realtors reported Friday a 13.1 percent jump in sales and a 10 percent climb in the median price over the last year...

Illinois is losing its core income tax base – Illinois Policy

People earning $100,000 or more per year provide more than 60 percent of Illinois’ income tax revenue, for a total of $11 billion out...

Opinion: San Diego Ruling Could Be First Step to Real Public Pension Reform – Times of San Diego

Sound judgment, which is too rare in the halls of California officialdom, won a round on Tuesday when the state’s Fourth District Court of...

Transform Illinois Coalition Pushes Ahead on Government Consolidation

Transform Illinois is one group leading the charge for consolidation. Transform Illinois is a collaborative of local elected officials, civic organizations and research institutions...

State Makes Last-Gasp Pitch To Build 3rd Chicago Area Airport – CBS Chicago

The Illinois Department of Transportation said it will submit a “request for information” next week, asking for a company to come in and build...

California Cities’ Pension Tab Seen Almost Doubling in 5 Years – Bloomberg

Comment: A reminder that California is right up their with Illinois on impossible pension loads, as is New Jersey.

Bill to stop privatization of DOC medical care headed to Rauner’s desk – INN

The Illinois House has joined the state Senate in approving legislation that would prevent the Department of Corrections from privatizing nursing services.

Already among the nation’s highest, DuPage property tax rates to increase this year – Illinois Policy

With hundreds of taxing bodies in their county and inaction from Springfield, DuPage homeowners will soon see yet another property tax increase.

Opioid insurance claims soar in Chicago and Illinois – Crain’s

Private insurance claims related to opioid abuse and dependence diagnoses increased 329 percent in Illinois between 2007 and 2014, according to data from Fair...

Illinois Supreme Court won’t hear state employee pay case – Illinois Policy

The Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s request to stop state employees from getting paid until a budget is...

Temp agency boss: Lawmakers don’t understand workplace – Illinois News Network

One temporary employment firm owner says part of the problem with lawmakers in Springfield is that they don’t understand the real world. Case in...

Lawmakers hashing out details on state-granted tax breaks – Illinois News Network

The Illinois Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credit, or EDGE credit, is a tool that the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic...

Lottery lawsuit moves from St Clair County IL court to federal court – Belleville News-Democrat

The lawsuit, filed in February in St. Clair County, accuses Northstar Lottery Group of manipulating the number of winning tickets available for purchase and...

Threatened private pension cuts will test Trump ties to U.S. Rust Belt voters – Reuters

The threatened benefit cuts, which could impact 1.5 million retirees and workers, stem from deep financial problems affecting some multiemployer pension plans - traditional...

Jim Dey: Change-agent Rauner still stuck in batter’s box – News-Gazette

He may be governor, and the Illinois Constitution may give extraordinary powers to its governor, but other people and organizations have a big say...

Illinois Losses Mount on ‘Build America Bonds’ – Fidelity Investments

From The Bond Buyer's Yvette Shields: Illinois governments could lose up to $400 million in federal interest rate subsidies for Build America Bonds under...

Parsing through some good news for Illinois — it’s tricky: WirePoints Original

  All's not lost in Illinois. Let’s pull together a few recent articles on the good stuff -- carefully. First, downtown Chicago is thriving. In a...

Don’t Mess Around With Government Pensions – Bloomberg

"If the U.S. government has gone down and Illinois is just a name in the history books, the status of the state teachers’ pension...

Uncertainty looms for Illinois companies affected by Brexit – Chicago Tribune

Illinois companies are already feeling it, warning stakeholders that negative effects could ripple in their direction.

Illinois’ April 30 Tax Freedom Day tied for latest in Midwest – Illinois Policy

When it comes to taxes, everyone works for the government. Illinoisans worked 120 days – from Jan. 1 until April 30 – to pay...

Analyst: Border-wall divestment bill would hurt state’s pensioners, businesses – Chicago City Wire

“I think it’s an embarrassing, silly proposal,” Glennon told Chicago News Wire. “First of all, the pensions should be honoring their fiduciary duties to...

Jim Nowlan: Things are sure different now. Why? – DailyJournal

Great article by Jim Nowlan: "The overriding, really complex challenge for the future is how to provide support for the increasing numbers among us...

An Illinois city just stepped into the war against big pharma over drug pricing – Business Insider

Rockford, Illinois, is suing Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals over the price of one of the company's blockbuster drugs.

Property tax relief bill described as stunt, not solution – Dupage Policy Journal

“Your bill essentially is protecting only one certain type of property owner to the detriment of all others to the detriment of commercial...

Illinois employers announce more than 2,500 mass layoffs – Illinois Policy

Numbers from the March WARN report show that employers in Illinois across various industries laid off 2,573 workers; 267 of the layoffs were in...

Senators offer up ‘taxpayers bargain’ featuring cuts, reforms and no tax increases – INN

Two Republican Illinois senators said Tuesday that, while it won’t be pretty, it is possible to get state government out of its fiscal mess...

Responsible Budget Coalition lists human costs of budget inaction

Comment: True enough, but what’s not shown is what nobody ever shows: A balanced budget with a survivable tax increase that will fix these...

What the Unemployment Drug-Testing Bill on Trump’s Desk Means for States – Governing

The president is expected to sign legislation that undoes an Obama-era regulation about who can be drug tested. States will likely get more say...

Illinois needs to end the third-party payer problem for teacher pensions – Illinois Policy

Illinois’ teacher pension system is structured to allow local school boards to agree to generous contracts, knowing taxpayers across the state will foot the...

Each Illinois household on the hook for $56K in government-worker retirement debt – Illinois Policy

In just six years, the total debt Illinois households are on the hook for has jumped to $56,000, or 31 percent. That’s a $13,000...

High-Level Rift Spotlights Fiscal Troubles in Illinois – Fidelity Investments

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza warned that the state is “coming apart at the seams” and blamed Gov. Bruce Rauner for the budget crisis that...

University of Illinois wants dedicated funding to support in-state students – WJBC

The Invest in Illinoisan’s fund or the Triple-I fund would give $170 million each year to in-state college undergrads.

How teachers’ sick leave pension perk might save you money – Daily Herald

Comment: Doubtful. The assumption is that teachers will retire early if they can spike using sick leave.

Opting out of AFSCME membership: FAQs on fair share payers – Illinois Policy

AFSCME Executive Director Roberta Lynch announced Feb. 23 that union members voted to authorize a state worker strike. But state workers have another option....

St. Clair County proves justice is blind, to anything but big state union’s demands – Belleville News-Democrat

Get this: The union argued that Rauner couldn’t impose the changes because the state labor board initially issued an oral opinion, and a written...

Ill. House OKs millionaire tax question – NWI Times

The Illinois House endorsed a plan Friday to place a non-binding question on the November ballot asking whether millionaires should be taxed at a...

State worker lands The Big One on disability – Belleville News-Democrat

Perhaps you’ve seen those signs popping up around the area: “We support state workers.” Lance Fancher is an Illinois Department of Corrections prison guard who...

New bill for $15 minimum wage in Illinois reopens wage fight – Chicago Tribune

A new bill to raise the Illinois minimum wage to $15 an hour is expected to be introduced in the state House this week...

Luxembourg’s ambassador sends letter to Illinois House leaders – Illinois Polic

Luxembourg’s ambassador to the United States has voiced objections to an Illinois House bill that would label Luxembourg a tax haven and subject corporations...

McCaleb: As lawmakers return, taxpayers need to watch these budget possibilities – Opinion – INN

State lawmakers have not passed a full budget in 22 months, and face a May 31 deadline to adopt a 2018 fiscal plan or...

Illinois State Senator Pushes Bill Allowing Government To Confiscate Guns Without Due Process – Zero Hedge

"Basically if this bill passes, then a resident of Illinois could have his or her firearms confiscated if a family member alleges that the...

Cairo IL searching for its hero – Opinion – The Southern

"Let’s cut right to the chase — the situation in Cairo is untenable."

Illinois’ Financial Grade: F — Audio – Upstream Ideas

Why is Illinois' financial grade an F? Are the bond agencies taking too rosy a view of our finances? How does Illinois have $200...

State: Did we say 16,700 jobs lost? We meant 2,000 gained – Chicago Tribune

What state officials described as a "troubling" loss of 16,700 jobs in December turns out not to have been so bad after all. In fact,...

The Week in Public Finance: What a Trump Presidency Could Mean for State and Local Finances and More – Governing

According to Fitch Ratings, Trump's proposals would "significantly lower federal transfers to state budgets and could negatively affect economic growth and revenues."

Forgotten Illinois: Newton and the reality of America’s heartland – Illinois Policy

Residents of Newton – working together, helping each other out and bonding, whether at Rotary Club meetings at Parklanes, MVP Happy Holler or anywhere...

A failing state – News-Gazette

"The public's instincts are right on the money about the state of the state."

Downstate schools sue Gov. Bruce Rauner over funding – Chicago Tribune

A coalition of 17 downstate school districts say they filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Gov. Bruce Rauner and his administration, contending the state has...

Rauner Says Companies Would Flee State If Income Tax Structure Changes – WNIJ and WNIU

Some Democratic candidates for governor are starting to campaign on changing to a graduated income tax rate - so wealthy people pay more. Rauner says...

Advocates File Complaint Alleging Illinois Isn’t Fulfilling Disabilities Consent Decree – NBC Chicago

Attorneys have filed a federal complaint alleging that the state of Illinois is not fulfilling its commitment to fund disability services as required by...

Still waiting: University funding cloudy as talk turns to FY18 – Pantgraph

The Illinois House approved a “lifeline” measure on Thursday that would bring ISU's state appropriation for this fiscal year to about two-thirds of what...

Lawmakers blame pensions for forcing Illinois school lawsuit – INN

More than a dozen downstate school districts are suing the state of Illinois over late or missing payments. But a handful of lawmakers say...

Rockford lawsuit: Pharmaceutical gouged city for drug used to treat babies – Rockford Register Star

City officials today filed a federal lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company they say cornered the market of a specialty drug and then jacked up...

A high-tech Illinois? We’ve got some obstacles in Peoria – JournalStar

Can Illinois become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest, as Gov. Bruce Rauner would like to see? Perhaps. If it happens, what does that...

Debate on Puerto Rico fate heats up—in Springfield – Chicago Sun-Times

"It’s fine to maintain interest in the homeland. But Illinois, not unlike Puerto Rico or Greece, has plenty of financial problems of its own....

People’s Court: How Judges Are Keeping Illinois (Mostly) Running During the Budget Impasse – WBEZ

Here’s a rundown of some of the big court actions that have kept many state residents from feeling the full effects of the budget...

‘Grand bargain’ would cut private sector pay and continue government worker perks – Illinois Policy

Illinois state government works to prioritize special interests over taxpayers – and the budget deal being negotiated in the Senate would continue that.

Poll results show only 1/3 of Illinoisans say they’ve been affected by the budget impasse – Illinois Policy

Comment: That's what's key to whether the grand bargain would induce more flight from the state. Fair or not, selfish or not, most Illinoisans...

Pension Crisis Too Big for Markets to Ignore – Bloomberg

Big salute to Jack Dean, discussed in this article, who saw this coming and has covered it doggedly at PensionTsunami for twelve years.

Pritzker Moves Closer To Illinois Gubernatorial Bid – CBS Chicago

"Entrepreneur and investor J.B. Pritzker moved a step closer to running for Illinois governor on Tuesday, with the announcement that he has started an...

CCC tweets opposition to ‘opportunity tax’ proposal – Chicago City Wire

"Illinois senators have put off a planned vote on the state’s nearly two-year budget stalemate until later this month at the earliest, but in...

Illinois Finances Watch: Places to Cut – Stump

By Mary Pat Campbell, an actuary.

Administration implementing bereavement leave for AFSCME members – State Journal-Register

The administration said the move was made possible by last week’s ruling of the Illinois Labor Relations Board that contract talks between the state...

California’s Pension Crisis Has Arrived – The American Interest

The pension crisis in California is no longer just visible in actuarial projections; it is starting to show up in government workers’ reduced benefit...

Budget impasse spurs question: Should unpaid dentists be allowed to bail on state contracts? – Chicago Tribune

Dentists should be allowed to back out of their contracts to care for state employees if Illinois doesn't pay them for six months, says...

The latest budget proposal for Illinois: A no-tax-hike plan – Illinois Policy | Illinois’ comeback story starts here

State Sens. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, and Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, released a plan April 4 called the “Taxpayer Bargain,” which relies on spending reforms...

Restaurant chain Jimmy John’s reports data breach – Reuters

Sandwich restaurant chain Jimmy John's said there was a potential security breach involving customers' credit and debit card data at 216 of its stores. ...

Multibillion-dollar tax hikes will only exacerbate Illinois’ weak economic activity – Illinois Policy

The latest report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability shows Illinois experienced falling tax collections, indicating trouble in the state economy. Spending...

States Warned of ‘Profound Shift’ in Finances, Hurting in Illinois and More – Governing

Some states might soon be facing a come to Jesus moment. That was the sobering message this week from a senior analyst at S&P...

Population Declines Accelerate in Many Large Urban Areas – Governing

The latest Census estimates show urban counties in the Northern U.S. and Midwest, in particular, are losing residents to the suburbs and Sun Belt.

Poll: Voters dislike Rauner and Madigan equally – Sun-Times

Three out of five voters had a negative opinion of each politician’s job performance. Comment: Not surprisingly, the Crain's headline on the same poll is...

Illinois trails national average – News-Gazette

There's good — and bad — news about the employment picture in the nation and Illinois. As has been the case for months now,...

Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk – ProPublica

And IL Sen. Dan Biss, candidate for governor, tweeted this story saying, “People say this is about risk. It's about racism, plain and simple,"...

Rauner offers few details on pension crisis – Tribune

Comment: The truth is that the details of his vision are academic. He will still have to get anything past a majority Democratic House...

Rock Island looks at police, fire pension obligations – QCOnline

The pension funds take up more than half of the city's estimated $11.2 million property tax levy. Similar struggles going on in municipalities across...

Forum speakers: Illinois’ over-regulations ‘grind down small businesses’ – INN

“From my experience working with low-income entrepreneurs in Chicago every day, I have seen the way over-regulation can grind down small businesses,” Elizabeth Kregor,...

Jarrett gives up university speaking fee amid Illinois budget feud – Politico

Valerie Jarrett has ended up in the middle of a politicized budget storm in Illinois — unwittingly, she says — following news that she...

Illinois schools given a failing grade in administrative costs – Chicago City Wire

Andy Shaw, the author of the BGA article, said what might be worse is that the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission said the state...

‘Privilege tax’ bills described as Illinois exit signs – Sangamon Sun

Rather than bring in more money for the state, a pair of bills will probably drive more businesses out of Illinois.

Wind turbines around the Great Lakes? A terrible idea for birds, bats – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

The rush is on to build scores of large, commercial wind energy facilities in and around the Great Lakes, in Canada and the United...

Why are Illinois Democrats preparing to bail out bankers and cash-strapped local governments? – Illinois Policy

Bailout bills moving in the Illinois General Assembly would attempt to turn Illinois’ massive debt problems into guaranteed profits for banks and bondholders and...

Asbestos plaintiffs seek friendly results in Madison County – INN

A county in downstate Illinois has almost three times as many asbestos-related lawsuits as any other county in the nation. Reform advocates say it's...

New Pro-Growth Dem group ‘fed up’ with Dems, will spend $20 million on Springfield’s budget war – Crain’s

From the head of the new group, Illinoisans for Growth and Opportunity: "There are a bunch of Democrats who are fed up with the...

One sweet payday for public officials – News-Gazette

After going seven months without a check, legislators represented by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's lawyer/consigliere Michael Kasper prevailed upon a Chicago judge to...

Illinois moves to implement internet privacy safeguards – A.P.

Democratic lawmakers in Illinois are considering implementing their own internet safeguards at the state level after Republicans in Washington voted to roll back Obama-era...

Illinois Bills Seek to Legalize, Tax Marijuana Sales to Adults – Reuters

Illinois would legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults and tax it to raise at least $350 million a year for the cash-strapped state...

Michigan has reversed the flow of interstate migration with Illinois – Illinois Policy

Illinois once enjoyed an annual population boost from Michigan. But in Illinois’ downward economic spiral, migration between Illinois and Michigan has tipped to favor...

Comptroller Mendoza is no independent voice – Chicago Tribune

"She is a mouthpiece for the Democrats, and an acerbic one at that."

Proposed ‘Grand Bargain’ spending cap to be enforced by state official under federal investigation – Illinois News Network

Current Auditor General Frank Mautino would be tasked with overseeing the proposed cap. He's under federal and state investigations around questions of campaign spending...

ILexit: Time to Pull the Plug on a Failed State – RealClearPolitics

"I’m joking about “ILexit,” but less than you might think." "Let’s face it, Illinois currently has only two things going for it: The Cubs, and...

Pension debt: The elephant in the halls of higher learning – The Southern

State taxpayer support for higher education in recent years has reached all-time highs. It’s just that the new money isn’t going into classrooms.

Only Way to Save Public Pensions – Burypensions

By John Bury, an actuary: "Kill Defined Benefit plans. They do not work when run by governments. The main reason being that there are...

Democrats start moving stopgap state budget despite clear hurdles – Chicago Tribune

llinois House Democrats on Wednesday advanced a plan to rush more than $815 million to state universities and social service providers, but that money...

Illinois Medicaid expansion costs are already double initial projections – Illinois Policy

Between 2014 and 2016, Illinois’ Medicaid expansion cost $4.6 billion more than its supporters had forecasted, crowding out services for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair: ‘Grand Bargain’ is dead – Illinois News Network

The chairwoman of the Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee said during a hearing Wednesday morning that the “Grand Bargain” is dead, and it’s time to...

Comptroller halts funding for state IT modernization program – Illinois Policy

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is suspending funding for a technology initiative Gov. Bruce Rauner has said would save taxpayer money and promote efficiency, data...

Legislative pay an easy target for opinion writers – Opinion – INN

Opinion writers across Illinois had plenty of options when deciding on topics for the weekend.

Several industries ask state lawmakers for tax carve outs – INN

From film production to data centers to historic districts and even video game developers, several sectors of Illinois’ economy are asking for tax credit...

Report: Income Inequality Is Worse For Black Workers Today Than In 1979 – Progress Illinois

Comment: Due in part to "lax enforcement of discrimination laws"? Come on.

Ruling in Wisconsin redistricting lawsuit could provide pathway for reform in Illinois – Cook County Record

A legal fight over the way legislative districts are drawn in Wisconsin could have implications for Illinois voters who have called for similar reform.

Illiberal arts colleges: Pay more, get less (free speech) – Brookings Institution

Comment: They're not mentioned specifically here, but the University of Chicago is clearly the outlier in this data. As for Northwestern, well....

llinois budget feud deals ‘unconscionable’ blow to police, fire widows – Reuters

Illinois owes a group of women whose police officer and firefighter husbands died in the line of duty more than $351,000 apiece for their...

With plan to tear down housing, HUD could hollow Cairo – Opinion – The Southern

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has decided on the most extreme option in Cairo.

The shrinking Metro East – Illinois Policy

Recently released census data reveal that St. Clair and Madison counties saw combined population losses of more than 1,600 people due to out-migration to...

Illinois income tax code leads nation in one category: Confusion – INN

While there is currently a conversation in Washington to simplify the federal tax code, there is a state-level tax that varies so widely across...

In Illinois, a Push to Create a Distressed Local Government Authority – The Bond Buyer

Distressed local governments struggling under the weight of pension, healthcare, and other debts could turn to a special authority for fiscal guidance under legislation...

The reason underfunded pensions are a disaster waiting to happen – MarketWatch

Nothing Wirepoints readers haven't known for years.

More Illinois residents streaming into Indiana – Northwest Indiana News

More than 34,220 Illinois resident decamped across the state line to Indiana in 2015, the most recent year for which data was available, according...

Forced union dues lawsuit on to U.S. Supreme Court – Illinois News Network

Two state of Illinois employees who do not want to pay dues to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union...

‘Evidence-based’ education funding doesn’t work, would cost Illinois taxpayers billions – Illinois Policy

An education-funding plan in the General Assembly is already proven to make unattainable goals at a high cost to taxpayers.

Comptroller must pay lawmakers: judge – Chicago Sun-Times

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said Thursday she will start issuing paychecks to state lawmakers, after a Cook County judge ruled that the law requires...

‘Obama holiday’ bill fails, saving Illinois taxpayers nearly $20M – Illinois Policy

Proposed legislation to commemorate former President Barack Obama’s birthday as a state holiday in Illinois would have cost taxpayers nearly $20 million in state...

Worried about the national debt? It’s even worse for our cities. – The Hill

"Ignorance toward local government issues is a plague that has the power to take down our country.... The reality is, while it may not...

$15 minimum wage could hit downstate Illinois’ businesses hard – Illinois News Network

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of the jobs in some areas of downstate and central Illinois pay wages less...

Senators back next week to work on ‘grand bargain’ – Illinois News Network

Lawmakers wrapped up the week without acting on the so-called grand bargain in the state Senate. Leading Democrats say they’re waiting on Republicans to...

Farmers Say Crop Has Record Potential In Illinois – Agweb

"The saying ‘rain makes grain,’ may actually be true this year for Illinois." Helps keep the murder rate down in Chicago, too.

Medicaid math and Illinois: How lawmakers’ money grab primed taxpayers for a reckoning – Chicago Tribune

A reckoning looms.  an astonishing 1 in 4 Illinois residents — 3.14 million people — is now on this federal/state health program. Right now,...

Brain Freeze? Illinois Spending Billions on Global Warming – WP Original

  January 6, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   If you've been outside today and need something to steam you up, this should work: Illinois is spending untold...

Really big brown trout in Indiana from shore: Fish of the Week – Sun-Times

Our Hoosier readers will no doubt be bragging about this now, too.

Rauner-AFSCME ‘hot potato’ stuck in limbo – News-Gazette

The Illinois Supreme Court earlier this week declined to get involved with a state management/labor contract dispute, a decision that paves the way for...

Illinois Eyes Expanded Trade With Cuba – WTTW

Relaxing trade barriers between the U.S. and Cuba could unlock millions of dollars in exports for Illinois agriculture producers, estimates show, and industry advocates...

Two Years After Rauner’s ‘Turnaround Agenda,’ Democrats Offer ‘Comeback Agenda’ – NPR Illinois

A priceless line from State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park):  “We wanted to be for something. We wanted to outline a vision of where...

Legalized Weed Would Help Solve Illinois’ Budget Problems, Lawmaker Says – DNAinfo

Two bills now pending in the General Assembly authored by state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Edgewater) would create a system for regulating and taxing marijuana...

Legislation would eliminate Illinois’ soy-based ink requirement – INN

According to a lawmaker and a local printer, a law still on the books since the late 1990s meant to help local farmers has...

State Sen. Radogno: Running for Illinois governor? Offer real solutions – Op Ed – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Christine Radogno is the Illinois Senate Minority Leader. Not a big fan of hers, but she's right on all this.

Education reform? – News-Gazette

Illinois is overflowing with township supervisors, assessors and highway commissioners, all overseen by township trustees, government entities about which most people know little to...

Why private universities should — like the rest of us — pay property taxes – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

The property tax exemption is so generous that it even covers real estate owned by the Big Ten Conference. Yet the Big Ten is...

Voters take baby steps to shrink Illinois government. Only a few thousand fiefdoms to go – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Lost in the spend-vs.-save highlights are a handful of referendum questions on government consolidation. No, voters didn't wipe townships off the map or downsize...

Cullerton at college event: Support for redistricting reform; pension reform hard because unions opposed | State Politics | ilnews.org

Comment: I think this is Cullerton BS. The pension bills will not reduce the unfunded pension liability (benefits already earned, where the union fat...

Poll: Plurality say government causes poverty – INN

What started as a poll about Obamacare turned into revealing information about what Illinoisans think causes poverty.

State Chamber CEO: Illinois needs fiscal sanity – Herald-Whig

"We need to fix worker's compensation. The huge issue is causation," which would tie injury claims to work, Maisch said. Illinois is one of a...

Taxpayers deserve say in the teachers’ union contracts they pay for – Illinois Policy

Negotiations between government-worker unions and governing bodies are conducted behind closed doors, away from public scrutiny. And yet taxpayers are required to pay for...

Gov. Rauner Talks Pension Reform Via Facebook – WICS

Gov. Bruce Rauner took to social media to push for a part of the senate's grand bargain to move forward.

Bankruptcy for troubled cities, states topic of Stranahan National Issues Forum

Comment: Professor Skeel is among those advocating for changes in the federal Bankruptcy Code to allow states to file bankruptcy, which Illinois should be...

Yet Another Illinois Legislative Panel Works on School Funding Reform – A.P.

The House panel, which met for the first time Tuesday, aims to pick up where members say a previous commission convened by Republican Gov....

How Long Can Illinois Hold Onto Investment Grade Ratings? – The Bond Buyer

As the state's budget deficit, bill backlog, and unfunded pension obligations climb to record levels, some market participants and politicians are questioning how long...

Big Companies Offload Pension Plans – The American Interest

Corporate behemoths are trying to shed the last vestiges of their pension plans even for current retirees—yet another manifestation of a blue model system...

Lawmakers try to consolidate local governments – Illinois Times

The grand bargain bill on government consolidation is only permissive and only for townships that share a border.

Gov. Rauner pushes Medicaid reboot at huge savings to taxpayers – Sangamon Sun

Gov. Bruce Rauner is aggressively pushing a plan that could mean major changes to the way most of Illinois' poorest residents receive their health...

Republican lawmakers say they’re skipping town halls for ‘safety reasons’ – WLS

Congressman Randy Hultgren announced Friday afternoon that one of his staff members quit this week because she was worried about her safety at the...

America’s Largest Pension Fund: A 7.5% Annual Return Is No Longer Realistic – WSJ

Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos and two other executives with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System plan to propose next Tuesday that their board...

Illinois Issues: The Real Chilling Effect Of A Property Tax Freeze – Peoria Public Radio

Comment: The extreme problems caused by a freeze may be true, but the fact remains that rates are already suicidal in large parts of...

Actuarial leaders disband task force, object to paper on public plan liabilities – Pensions & Investments

The American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries Monday abruptly disbanded its longtime joint Pension Finance Task Force, objecting to a task...

Illinois governor announces $1 billion cybersecurity plan – A.P.

The plan would pool $900 million in existing state agency spending. It would also require $250 million to connect agency systems. Rauner says a...

Madigan passes on meeting with Rauner, other leaders – Sun-Times

Gov. Bruce Rauner had hoped for a post-election sit-down Monday with all four of Illinois’ top legislative leaders — Democrats and Republicans. But the Democrats...

Illinois can choose SEIU to represent all home caregivers in negotiations: Appeals court – Cook County Record

On March 9, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Service Employees International Union in its dispute...

IHSA retiree costs rise, but court says details can remain secret – Sun-Times

The not-for-profit association that oversees high school sports in Illinois can continue to keep details about its contracts, sponsorships and other financial matters secret...

Schools using federal funds to offset state pension costs – JournalStar

Only in Illinois, the line makes a trick turn and shifts a large chunk of federal funds meant for poor children to pay down...

Poll: Rauner approval rating up, but still near bottom nationwide – Sun-Times

Morning Consult poll finds that Rauner improved his approval rating to 42 percent, compared to the 33 percent he fared in September, prior to...

Downstate business owners concerned with potential $15-an-hour minimum wage – INN

Communities downstate would see a massive shift in their economy. Les O'Dell, executive Director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, says it would shutter...

Workers’ compensation estimated to cost Illinois taxpayers nearly $1 billion per year – Illinois Policy

Two Republican Illinois senators said Tuesday that, while it won’t be pretty, it is possible to get state government out of its fiscal mess...

Alarms Sound About Illinois Ratings – The Bond Buyer

Alarms are rising about Illinois' dismal ratings and a possible fall to junk unless it resolves a nearly two-year-old budget impasse.

With insulting 2-week vacation coming, lawmakers should do no harm this week – Opinion – INN

When Illinois lawmakers return to session Tuesday, they'll have four days of work to try and get closer to passing a balanced budget. Then...

Illinois has hurt its economy by piling on taxes since the Great Recession – Illinois Policy

State and local tax hikes in Illinois have hurt economic growth, lowered the standard of living, and contributed to out-migration.

Illinois has unusually strong jobs growth in February – Illinois Policy

Illinois now sits at an all-time high for total jobs count as a result of gaining 25,600 jobs in February and having an upward...