Friday, May 29, 2020

John Kass: Could Sen. Mitch McConnell’s bankruptcy idea actually save Illinois and Chicago taxpayers? – Chicago Tribune

“Without bankruptcy, what happens is that people continue to leave, the debt gets bigger, the taxes get higher and the spiral continues,” said respected financial analyst Ted Dabrowski, of “You’re just stuck in a spiral and everything just gets worse."

Comptroller defends her payment choices – Illinois Review

Comment: Much ado about nothing in what's really just an administrative office with no policy or spending authority.

Opinion: It’s time to get special interests out of workers’ comp – Illinois News Network

For the Schrimpf family, high costs could mean losing 17 union jobs. And for Paul Levin, an outdated system has caused a lifetime of...

Amending Illinois Constitution a tough path for pension reform – Business Insurance

One big question raised by the Kanerva decision is whether the state Supreme Court will rule that the current benefit structure is locked in...

New bill would hike, expand obscure tax for Illinois small businesses – Illinois Policy

State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch has proposed a measure that would increase by 400 percent the personal property replacement tax imposed on partnerships, LLCs and other types of businesses.

Pritzker names new ICC chair – Crain’s

Carrie Zalewski has no experience in the complex energy and utility industries other than the cases she handled on the board that involved power plants. But those who know her describe her as intelligent and a quick study.

Wall Street ratings firm: COVID-19 could mean ‘long-term damage’ to already woeful Illinois finances – Chicago Sun-Times

The state could see an upgrade by enacting “recurring financial measures that support sustainable budget balance,” taking “decisive action to improve funding of the state’s main pension plans” and making “progress in lowering the bill backlog that does not rely on either long-term borrowing or on a significant decrease in non-operating fund liquidity,” according to Moody’s.

Too many governments? Downstate is worst – Tribune

A problem that's as politically hard to solve as it is huge. There are actually 8,459 units of government in Illinois, not the commonly reported 6,968. By any measure, far higher than other states per capita.

IL high court home warranty decision prevents unneeded home price markups, limits impact, builders say – Cook County Record

Home builders breathed a sigh of relief when a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision upheld the status quo for home builders' liability when a...

Facebook’s on a Chicago hiring binge – Crain’s

They've hired 25 recruiters in Chicago who are poised to add hundreds of employees in the Windy City.

A Small Chicago Firm Has Quietly Funded Nearly Two Dozen Anti-Union Lawsuits – The Intercept

The firm, Juris Capital, is in the business of bankrolling litigation upfront, making bets that it will enjoy an ample cut of a plaintiff’s proceeds.

Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury accuses State Rep. Bob Rita, gaming industry interests of seeking to knock down village’s new ‘push tax’ on video gaming machines – Chicago Tribune

Oak Lawn’s push tax, seen as an innovative way of generating revenue without raising property taxes, is expected to bring in more than $1 million annually for the village and has the potential to spread “like a virus” to other cash-strapped communities across the state, Bury said.

Governor candidate Biss is a traitor, say private-equity investors – Crain’s

Dan Biss is a shamelessly opportunistic, lying rat. As one who knows him, worked in the venture capital community on his previous work, and is a constituent of his, I can attest directly. He knows full well he's peddling nonsense, exploiting misconceptions of the far left.

The Governments (plural) of Chicago -Truth in Accounting

The average Chicago citizen is walking around on real estate with a number of different, overlapping governmental jurisdictions, each of which poses financial implications...

Chaos in Cairo – The Southern

While some of the state’s poorest residents and children have been living in public housing here described as “third world” and unfit for humans, some employees and management of the Alexander County Housing Authority have collectively taken home hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars via questionable payments, bonuses, consultant contracts, retirement incentives and legal settlements in addition to their regular pay.

Rep. Sosnowski: Governor’s “Restore Illinois” data-driven plan simply ignores data – Illinois Review

"We need to look rationally at the virus. Protecting the most vulnerable, particularly seniors in nursing homes and the dedicated health care professionals that care for them, is the most important priority. This can be accomplished without keeping our state and local economy on perpetual lockdown. "

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Despite national economic recovery, Illinois’ debt per taxpayer worse than during Great Recession – INN

Truth In Accounting's ninth Fiscal State of the States report reviews states’ comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFR) for the overall financial condition for all 50 states. From there, TIA offers up a letter grade for each state, from “A” to “F,” where Illinois lands.

Editorial: As Springfield dawdles on reforms, put your property tax bill on the fridge. – Chicago Tribune

"Long story short: Property taxes can’t plummet until legislators put forth a constitutional amendment that allows for pension reform. That notion tosses Illinois Democrats, their Springfield apologists and their union allies into conniptions. Which leaves Democrats arguing about whether to, say, expand the sales tax base. That new revenue could go to school districts and other local governments, and they in turn could reduce their property tax levies."

Forecast: State should see modest revenue growth in FY 2021 – Daily Herald

"All three large categories -- individual income tax; corporate income taxes and sales taxes -- are trending upward," Revenue Department Director David Harris said after briefing the House Revenue and Finance Committee.

Illinois towns with the worst-funded police and fire pensions – Reboot

Latest Illinois Employment Numbers – IDES

The unemployment rate went up in 12 of Illinois' biggest 14 metro areas, but that was due mostly to people reentering the workforce. Businesses added jobs in 10 of those areas.

A war like no other: Inside the Illinois National Guard’s unprecedented coronavirus mission – Chicago Tribune

It’s the first time the Illinois National Guard has been mobilized to primarily combat a medical issue. By necessity, much of the typical military protocol has been turned on its head.

How Did These Illinois Towns Get Their Names? – Reboot Illinois

Sandwich, Illinois is named for Sandwich, New Hampshire, which is named for the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, who is said to have...

Illinois’ Newest Boom Industry Could Be Gun Instructors – NBC Chicago

New law aimed at reducing Illinois’ teacher shortage – A.P.

Rauner signed a measure Friday that will make it easier for teachers who move to Illinois to transfer a teaching license, provided the state...

Some Illinois business owners look for loans to stay afloat amid pandemic – Center Square

A number of small business owners struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak took part in a teleconference Monday to learn about federal disaster loans.

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

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

IL Supreme Court denies Erin Andrews’ request to continue lawsuit vs hotel booking firm over stalking – Cook County Record

Physician dispensing: Illinois’ 2011 workers’ compensation reform revisited – Illinois Policy

Illinois’ 2011 reform of its workers’ compensation law left a loophole that's driving up overall costs.

IL House Republican Leader Tom Cross stepping down from leadership post – abc7chicago

Editorial: Another bad report – Champaign News-Gazette

"The report said 'recession-induced declines in asset values could result in a sharp and sudden increase' in unfunded liabilities. That could require 'increased pension contributions,' making even less money available for the state to fund core state functions like highways, law enforcement and education."

No work, no Medicaid? Illinois reviews new federal guidelines – Chicago Tribune

Illinois is reviewing new guidance from the Trump administration that opens the door for states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, but there is no indication yet that it will follow the lead of neighboring states that are pursuing plans to tighten their rules.

Fees That Sickly Public-Pension Funds Can’t Afford – WSJ

From the Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment: Illinois paid hedge-fund managers $180 million over three years, with underwhelming results.

POLITICO moves Illinois gubernatorial race from a “toss-up” to “leans Republican”

“In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn’s terrible approval rating and the state’s struggling economy threaten his reelection efforts. We are now making venture capitalist Bruce...

Rauner-created business development group gets new name – A.P.

The Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation announced Monday that it will now be known as Intersect Illinois. Rauner used his executive powers in...

Judge says Rauner former firm not responsible for nursing home fraud – Chicago Tribune

Rauner’s Chief Of Staff Exiting To Work On State GOP Legislative Races | Progress Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's chief of staff, Mike Zolnierowicz, is leaving his position to work on state legislative campaigns for the Illinois GOP.

BP’s history of environmental violations on Lake Michigan – Better Gov. Assn.

The Indiana refinery at the center of a March oil spill in Lake Michigan hasn't been fined once in the past 12 years for...

5-member task force will handle McHenry County township consolidation effort – NW Herald

The group will have two goals – create a resolution for the County Board to vote on, and present a proposed consolidation map.

Un-Kind Benefits: The Inequitable Assignment of Teacher Pension Debt in Illinois –

Should federal funds designed to support the education of low-income students be diverted to paying down state pension debts?

Illinois Senate Democrats twerk taxpayers with latest budget attempt – Belleville News-Democrat

"It is just a performance." Illinoisans are overwhelmingly against what is coming out of the statehouse. The state budget impasse is worrying 94 percent of Illinoisans and 67 percent said their families have been directly impacted, according to a new poll of voters by the Illinois Policy Institute. Nearly two-thirds are against raising the state income tax. Half want cuts as the only tool to close the budget gap and half are against an income tax hike even with property tax relief.

Illinois flash index shows state’s growth slowing –

A sharp monthly drop in the University of Illinois flash index means economic growth in Illinois is slowing, economist J. Fred Giertz said.The flash...

Tax credit for job training gains new life in Springfield – Crain’s Chicago Business

A possible tax break for business — a significant payroll credit for new hires — has surfaced in Springfield amid end-of-session scrambling.

Prison Boycott in Illinois Targets Costs of Incarceration – TruthOut

During the month of April, at least 100 of those incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, about an hour outside of Chicago, Illinois, participated in...

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...

More Illinois high school grads are leaving, for better and for good – Editorial – Belleville News Democrat

The problem is increasing. In 2000 about one in six Illinois students attended college outside of the state, but by 2016 that doubled to one in three students.

Hastert loses one Illinois pension, keeps another after sentencing – Reuters

The state Teachers' Retirement System moved swiftly after Hastert's sentencing by ending his $16,622-a-year annuity from 16 years of teaching in a far western...

Temporary raises. Masks. Sneeze guards. Workers are demanding more protections as COVID-19 spreads, a push that could continue even after the pandemic ends – Chicago Tribune

Experts say the pandemic could lead to lasting gains in employee benefits and safety protections. It also could embolden union organizing efforts and drive greater support for nationwide paid sick leave. Already, one hurdle has been cleared: The public is more aware than ever that low-wage workers are the backbone of the economy.

Do Illinois’ public colleges pay off for students? – Crain’s

A study by Third Way, a nonpartisan research group that tries to straddle Washington's ideological lines, finds that "expensive" schools actually are worth the...

Market, clout shrinking for ethanol producers – Crain’s Chicago Business Good. Kill it.

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.

The Man Stopping Illinois From Digging a Deeper Fiscal Hole – Wall Street Journal

"Free-spending Democratic lawmakers have been blocked by the Republican governor. Result: No budget for seven months (so far)."

State of Illinois confirms new budget is out of balance by $1.2B – IL Policy

Comment: Remember all the bragging about the budget being "balanced" from leadership in both parties? And this $1.2 billion is just the usual phony budget accounting. It does not capture growing debt, including unfunded pension liabilities, which make the true deficit many times higher.

Illinois colleges receive credit rating upgrade, but structural problems remain – Illinois Policy

Many reforms are still needed in Illinois higher education system despite credit rating affirmations and upgrades to seven Illinois universities.

Pritzker used LLC to donate to Madigan – WCIA

Democrats running against billionaire front runner J.B. Pritzker in the upcoming March primary contest are targeting the wealthy philanthropist with accusations that he bought his way into the good graces of powerful House Speaker and Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan in a scheme to consolidate party support and deny them the nomination.

UI puts Indian office on back burner while re-evaluating strategy – News-Gazette

Though an office in Shanghai continues to operate, the New Delhi office never opened, and interim Provost Edward Feser said the campus is re-evaluating...

CTBA study: Tax breaks fall short of their job creation, business-boosting targets – Reboot

Warehouse Boom Creates Temp Worker Problems – WNIJ and WNIU

Comment: The progs are gearing up to try to regulate the temp industry hard.

Audit: Illinois paid $12 million in health costs — for dead people – Early & Often

Cook County has long been ridiculed for allowing dead people cast votes, but the state may have just garnered a new distinction.  It paid...

Addressing unemployment claims mess, Gov. J.B. Pritzker promises computer upgrades; House GOP leader says ‘this was an avoidable problem’ – Chicago Tribune

“The computer system that was built to handle unemployment claims for our state was built in 2010 in the wake of the Great Recession, and it was built with the idea that unemployment would never really exceed what we saw in 2009,” Pritzker said. “But today we are seeing five times that number of claims.”

Nearly 1 Million Job Losses Reported in State and Local Government Sector – Route 50

Comment: But in Illinois, all state workers are paid in full with full pension accruals, regardless of whether they are working, and many have a pay raise coming July 1.

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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...

New poll shows opposition to extending income tax hike, support for spending cuts

Harvard Study: It Pays to Write Well

"Overall, our evidence supports the notion that firms can meaningfully increase their market value by increasing the readability of their annual reports. By the...

Illinois Public Employees Prepare for a Bruising Fight with Bruce Rauner – In These Times

New law increases scrutiny of Illinois’ ailing pension funds – Illinois Policy

HB 422 mandates more frequent examination of Illinois’ pension funds and promotes a much-needed increase in state retirement fund oversight.

Illinois Is Back in Court Over Medicaid Bills – Bloomberg

Illinois is bracing for another hit to its finances if a judge forces the state to immediately accelerate payments on its $2.8 billion backlog of Medicaid bills as a June 30 deadline to pass a budget approaches. UPDATE: The judge has given until Friday to negotiate the payment.

Secession fever spikes in five states as conservatives seek to escape blue rule – Washington Times

You’ve got Oregonians seeking to cascade into Idaho, Virginians who identify as West Virginians, Illinoians fighting to escape Chicago, Californians dreaming of starting a 51st state, and New Yorkers who think three states are better than one. Illinois state Rep. Brad Halbrook said, "Downstate voices are simply not being heard.”

Illinois entrepreneurs deserve the right to earn a living – Illinois Policy

Illinois lawmakers should support a statewide law that limits government business regulations to only those necessary and carefully tailored to serve a legitimate public...

Transforming Illinois’ digital landscape – KFVS

Rauner and State CIO Hardik Bhatt have announced the administration is moving forward in the formation of the new Illinois Department of Innovation and...

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...

Hope for Illinois GOP – The American Thinker

"Oberweis has more name recognition and money than does Truax. If Republicans don't look deeper, those variables could determine this race. But with one...

Illinois sending local schools into debt ‘free fall’ –

Illinois Public Hospitals Pay $180 Million For Wrongful Death Cases – BGA

Employers may start dropping healthcare – Chicago Tribune editorial

Abbott Laboratories chief executive Miles White said something last Tuesday that should jolt tens of millions of Americans who watch from a comfortable distance...

Moody’s says lowering TRS investment rate is positive for the state – State Journal-Register

"However, the service also said that contributions to the Teachers’ Retirement System should be $1.5 billion higher if the state wanted to ensure the...

Measure to partially ban red-light cameras passes Illinois House – Center Square

The measure wouldn't apply to Chicago or municipalities with more than 25,000 residents that have home rule status.

House committee approves bill addressing domestic violence – Capitol News

The 20-member task force would also consider creating a specialty court to handle domestic violence cases — such as those that exist for drug offenses and mental health matters — and carve-outs for bail in such trials.

New Administration Promises Change After Repeated Errors Found In Audit – WUIS

A recent audit of the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services showed repeated problems from the previous administration, including recording mistakes allowing...

Time for all-new plan on pensions – Chicago Sun-Times Yes! The Sun-Times earlier said we needed a "Plan B" in case SB1 was invalidated. Now, they correctly say we need a "Plan A",...

Owners of COVID-19 sites that haven’t opened asking the state for millions in rent – Daily Herald

The facilities are the former Sherman Hospital campus in Elgin, the former Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, the former MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, and the former Vibra Hospital in Springfield. The emergency taking orders cite state law, saying compensation shall include 6% annual interest on the fair market value of the property.

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Prison system grappling with new hepatitis drug – Quad-City Times

Faced with thousands of prison inmates suffering from the deadly virus, the Illinois Department of Corrections recently approved the use of a drug called...

Illinois Counties On Poverty Warning List Climb – NPR IL

Of the state’s 102 counties, 67 are on a watch list — or more serious warning list — created by the research arm of the Heartland Alliance, which works on social issues in areas that include poverty. That’s up from 52 last year.

New Illinois Law Helps Military Families – A.P.

Advocates say the change eliminates unnecessary delays preventing children from being in school.

Exelon, ComEd donate $2M to Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund – WGNTV (Chicago)

The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund is a joint effort between the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor.

Will The Coronavirus Be A Death Knell For Retail Lending? – BisNow

“As a landlord, I feel like a ping-pong ball going back and forth between our tenants and lenders, trying to figure out what will work for everybody.”

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock wins in state campaign fundraising race – Illinois Review

Schock raised $150,000 in Peoria for statewide candidates Bruce Rauner and Judy Baar Topinka; $50,000 in donations to treasurer candidate Tom Cross through a...

37 lawmakers decline pensions while state faces unfunded liability – Illinois News Network

Documents obtained by Illinois News Network through the state Freedom of Information Act found that 37 lawmakers have opted not to participate in the...

Illinois named the least tax-friendly state by MSN – Prairie State Wire

Ideas Illinois has shared stories of residents who shared their personal tax story using #YourILTaxStory on social media, and calls Pritzker’s call to spend and tax more to solve the state’s financial problems a “false choice.”

Illinois lawmaker says no tax dollars for public universities that limit free speech – Center Square

Comment: But count on the progressive legislators to squelch any discussion of this proposal.

Far South Suburban Counties Hope to Open Sooner Than Chicago Area Amid Pandemic – NBC5 (Chicago)

According to the guidelines set forth by Pritzker’s administration, a region must have a positivity rate of lower than 20 percent for a period of 14 days, and must not rise more than 10 percent during that time. Grundy County, with a positivity rate of 7.1 percent, and Kankakee County, at 13.9 percent both meet that threshold.

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Chuck Sweeny: Illinois still lags in creation of manufacturing jobs – Register Star

Despite our superior location, workforce and assets, surrounding states lead Illinois in creating manufacturing jobs

Capitol architecht says Gov. Quinn’s criticism ‘completely unfair’ – Chicago Sun-Times

U of Illinois says no to sanctuary status for immigrants – A.P.

The president of the University of Illinois says its three campuses cannot legally serve as sanctuaries for immigrant students illegally living in the country...

Unions spent $100 million since 2000 to buy Illinois elections, but this year will be challenging – Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois Health Department refutes complaints about its COVID-19 data – Prairie State Wire

"Wirepoints Founder Mark Glennon took the state to task last week over its reporting of hospitalizations and resource availability information related to the COVID-19 outbreak in an April 6 article, alleging that publishing the number of new COVID-19 cases is not enough."

Tier 2 in Illinois: The Next Pension Time Bomb – Illinois Issues

We've been telling you about these Tier 2 problems for a long time.

Poll shows diverse support for Illinois pension reform – Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois Democrats, union members, government or nonprofit workers, and people of all income groups support a pension amendment that allows for changes in cost-of-living raises and other future benefits.

Detroit shows 401(k)’s virtues for government retirees – Opinion – USA Today

Local-government employees and retirees should get in front of this spreading problem and adopt a strategy that keeps them from holding the bag. Switching...

County Treasurers Discuss Property Tax Interest Delay For IL – Patch Across Illinois

At the moment, these discussions over the pros and cons of a tax interest rate and late penalty delay are just that: discussions. Any action authorizing a delay of those rates and penalties would have to be passed by the state legislature, and it is not known when the legislature will next convene.

Madigan’s Democratic lawyer sues to block redistricting reform referendum – Chicago Tribune

The legal move comes less than a week after the Independent Maps coalition filed more than 570,000 petition signatures with the State Board of...

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...

Illinois Budget Woes Stir Businesses to Action – Wall Street Journal

A major business group has started a lobbying, social-media and letter-writing campaign directed at legislators called LOL Illinois—a play on the Land of Lincoln...

Union arbitration bill would hurt Illinois taxpayers – Illinois Policy

If Madigan has his way, this nearly $4-billion contract would have those workers’ compensation and benefits determined by someone who has no accountability to voters, and who would not face a future election.

Top Madigan aide has lucrative side deals with clients that rely on state funding – Sun-Times

Comment: Great article on Madigan's mouthpiece, press aide Steve Brown. A long overdue look at how he gets paid.

Illinois Forest Preserve Downgraded by Moody’s – The Bond Buyer

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Kendall County Forest Preserve District in Illinois by one level to A2 and warned of further action by assigning...

Puerto Rico is the frightening Ghost of Illinois Future – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Comment: The Tribune's editorial board are among the very few in our press who understand the depths of our problems.

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....

GOP Senators Side With Democrats to Bail Out Miner’s Union Pension – Daily Signal

It’s not every day you see a significant portion of Republican senators supporting a taxpayer bailout—especially for a private union pension plan. But today, six...

Lawmakers could return briefly in May to address budget, other critical issues – Capitol News Illinois

Asked when he plans to release concrete details of the budget adjustments he will recommend, Pritzker said he is working with members of the General Assembly.

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Major battle shaping up over SB16 — bill to change school funding

Designed to aid poorer downstate districts, critics say the bill would devastate some suburban Chicago districts.

Report: State and local tax revenue from undocumented immigrants in Illinois – Reboot

Undocumented immigrants living in Illinois pay an estimated $743 million in state and local taxes a year, according to a report by the Institute...

Eleven States Don’t Track Or Reveal COVID-19 Hospitalizations – NPR CA

Comment: Illinois is listed as "nonresponsive." Pritzker said on Friday he will work to correct this. Let's hope that's true. There's no excuse. Hospitals inventory the information at least once a day and there's no reason why it can't be forwarded.

Columbus, Ohio: Midwestern Breakout?

Columbus, Ohio, is firing on all cylinders—demographically, economically, and culturally

8 gifts for people who love Illinois – La Cross Tribune

Suggestion to buyers: Wait for the inventory liquidation sale.

Amazon convenience could have fiscal consequences, report says – Chicago Tribune

In Illinois, the report says that Amazon in 2014 sold $1.8 billion worth of retail goods and would have avoided $36.1 million in sales...

Pritzker to face another lawsuit – this one from Will County – Illinois Review

Will County GOP Chairman George Pearson, Will County Board member Steve Balich, pet groomer Samantha L. Palya, a non-essential worker Amanda Hameran are all co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in federal court, focusing on the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment and the state of Illinois' Article 1, Section 15.

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Doing nothing while Illinois falls apart – Eden Martin

Illinois’ capital city suffers financially from pandemic – Belleville News Democrat

"Between the legislature not being in and losing conventions that were scheduled for March, April and May, if you’re just talking this spring, we’ve lost hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Lisa Clemmons Stott, executive director of business nonprofit Downtown Springfield Inc.

Illinois lawmakers studying local public safety pension consolidation – INN

Comment: Long overdue. The administration and lack of transparent, current financial reporting on local pensions is appalling.

Questions about spending of taxpayer money fuel movement to abolish township government – Chicago Tribune

Illinois has 1,428 townships, helping to account for more units of government than any other state. It’s a layer of bureaucracy formed primarily to serve rural communities, but most states do without them. Numerous studies have found that local government consolidation is likely to save money.

Rauner picks have been in key posts before – Pantagraph

$129 Billion Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Plan Could Be Model for States – New York Times

See our own article on this NYT story and more on the topic linked here.

Illinois fix to unpaid bills may end up as financial time bomb – Reuters

Comment: I don't get that headline. The state has far, far bigger problems than those associated with the late payment fees and VSI program...

Land O’Frost HQ move to shift 50 jobs to Indiana from Illinois – Post-Tribune

Voters could seek lower property taxes under new school funding law – Chicago Tribune

The provision allows 10 percent of registered voters signing a petition to call for a referendum in April of odd numbered years requesting up to a 10 percent reduction in the property tax rate, provided the district is at "110 percent of adequacy."

Michigan projects unexpected $483 million budget surplus – The Detroit News|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Video gaming licenses in limbo costing Illinois millions – WLS

Right now, 832 video gaming licenses are in limbo because the gaming board has not met in months to conduct business including the approval...

What The Janus Ruling Means For The State of Illinois Credit – Axios Research

"As Ted Dabrowski pointed out in a recent Wirepoints piece, one should hardly expect the unions to roll over and play dead. If nothing else, the SCOTUS decision may serve as a rallying cry for Illinois' public employees and their Democratic Party allies and, perhaps, solidify their support for J.B. Pritzker, the Democratic candidate for Governor."

Case against Mautino moves forward – Opinion – Reboot

"Illinoisans should thank fellow citizen David Cooke for taking on a fight of biblical proportions.  In a figurative David vs. Goliath contest, Mr. Cooke...

Some Illinois Democrats defy leaders on tax rises – Associated Press

"We all asked the governor yesterday 'Do you have a Plan B? Because this isn't working,'" Rep. Deb Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat, said...

Rauner says Madigan budget “not honest,” but won’t speak V-word – Chicago Sun-Times

The Illinois Senate did not take up the bill on Thursday. Madigan chose to put the entire budget in one bill, which will force...

New Illinois doesn’t sound any better than the old one – Opinion – Chicago Sun-Times

"Something you should probably understand is that a lot of people are serious about this separation business, even if most of us regard it as kooky."

Analysis: Chicago journalists overwhelmingly vote Democrat – Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire examined 366 primary ballots cast over the past three decades by 68 active reporters, editors and news anchors from leading media...

Naperville Park District may take legal action to reopen parks and facilities on its own schedule – Naperville Sun

The only description of what discussion on the topic could include is listed under “supporting rationale,” which argues Pritzker is not justified in requiring the entire state abide by the same rules when it comes to reopening.

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What Rauner really walked into – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

"Has state government's fiscal condition worsened under Rauner? Yes, it has, largely because he won't go along with budget gimmicks and because he wants reforms that would give employers confidence in Illinois' economic climate and future governance. Was Springfield a Utopia of comity and balanced budgets in the decades before voters elected him to shake up the town? That's the fiction some rival politicians now peddle."

Rauner on union bill override: ‘Let me do my job’ – Sun-Times

Rauner on Tuesday sent a memo to lawmakers, asking them to not overturn his veto of the union arbitration bill which would allow an arbitrator to decide labor talks between the state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), its largest employee union.

Zalewski: Little consensus around property tax reform – Capitol News

“There's no real one solution that I think is going to offer comprehensive, one-size-fits-all relief. And as a result of that, you have things like the Property Tax (Relief) Task Force where you have all these ideas that come together and no one can gain a majority to author a finalized report.”

Kavanaugh would not uphold that which we value – Op-Ed – State Journal-Register

By the Executive Director of the IL Democratic Party: "Make no mistake: Everything we value as Illinoisans, and the things that make our state and country strong, are in jeopardy."

Act locally: Right-to-Work zones can spark IL comeback – Illinois Policy

Pensions, salaries, pension: Illinoisans pay 2.5 times for their politicians – Illinois Policy

Taxpayers pay once for state politicians’ salaries and another 1.5 times for their bankrupt pension system. In 2017, taxpayers will contribute the equivalent of...

Full text of Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State Address

Below is the full text of Gov. Pat Quinn's 2014 State of the State Address, as prepared and provided by the governor's office:   President Cullerton,...

Taxpayers of Illinois win 1 battle but may lose 3 others – JournalStandard

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.

Illinois is already in the peak for COVID-19 deaths – but projections show the pain is far from over – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: This article contains new information about new projections and data the Pritzker Administration says it is using. Why was it released only to the Sun-Times as an exclusive? We've been asking to see this for over a month. Shouldn't it have been made generally available?

On top of top salaries and health care, AFSCME contract includes lesser known provisions unheard of in private sector – Illinois Policy

AFSCME’S outrageous demands when negotiating for a new contract led to an impasse in negotiations. Now the union is suing to keep the state...

Illinois’ Cash-Strapped Public Golf Courses Turn To Video Gambling – Better Government Association

More than a dozen taxpayer-funded golf courses in Illinois have turned to legal gambling in the past three years, though with mixed results.

The Illinois Pension Plaintiffs’ Brief – JDSupra

McCormick Place Gets Hospital Beds; Deaths Include Inmate – NPR Illinois

Clusters of cases at nursing homes were reported in Joliet, Taylorville and Belleville. In addition to the beds at McCormick Place, the state is expected to open temporary beds at now-closed MetroSouth Hospital in Blue Island and Advocate Sherman hospital in Elgin.

Rising Tax Rate Can’t End Illinois’ Economic Drought – Reason

Yet leading candidates to replace Gov. Bruce Rauner think the only problem with the state's income tax rate is that it doesn't go high enough.

Shaw Media’s Rauner endorsement

"Simply put, Quinn’s tenure as governor has been a complete failure." Rauner offers hope. via Shaw Media Endorsement: Rauner offers hope for Illinois |

Column: Deferring late fees a ‘lifeboat’ for property owners – Lake County News-Sun

"When asked about other counties offering taxpayers effected by the COVID-19 health crisis a break, one Lake County Board member replied flatly: “They’re wrong.” He said several cash-strapped county taxing bodies, which strongly oppose delaying tax bills and the fee waiver, have threatened to sue the county for any action delaying tax payments."

Groundbreaking engineering-based college of medicine to be created at U. Illinois – USA TODAY

Integrating engineering with medicine.  

Statewide program to provide merit-based aid – The Daily Illini

As part of an effort to curtail the number of Illinois high school students leaving the state for college, the Illinois general assembly passed the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program, which will provide $25 million in merit-based aid to be matched by Illinois public universities.  

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...

Study: Illinois teachers have third highest pay in nation – Reboot

Do Illinois hospitals have enough beds? Yes for now, but coronavirus threat has officials eyeing more space – Chicago Tribune

At this point, Illinois hospitals still have more than enough beds and ventilators for people who need them. But with eyes toward Italy and New York, local health officials took additional actions.

High-Tax State Exodus – Editorial – Wall Street Journal

High-Tax State Exodus Includes citation to Wirepoints. Growth-friendly states gain population, and it isn’t just the weather.

More federal education funding in Illinois will be spent on ages 0-3. – Tribune,0,1841883.story?track=rss

Trump tax-cap workaround picks up steam—and some legal backing – Crain’s

Despite that momentum, major doubts remain about whether such a provision would be upheld by the IRS. Specifically, some financial experts say, establishing a system in which Illinois taxpayers would donate to a charity supporting local public schools and, in exchange, get a credit on state income taxes that would be fully deductible on their federal returns is a little too cute to make it past the tax agency.

But now, a Chicago tax law expert who has researched the issue says he's concluded conventional wisdom is wrong, and the proposed workaround "might just work."

Rauner vetoes bill that would bar employers from asking about salary history – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Good. Another stupid bill that would make life worse for employers.

Without budget, Illinois owes $2.8B for worker health care – A.P.

Comment: That's just the current cash bill. The unfunded liability for healthcare for pensioners, also constitutionally protected, exceeds $50 billion.

Mitch Daniels: These American states are drowning in ‘irretrievable’ debt – Fox Business

Comment: We've been saying "insurmountable," but "irretrievable" will do. His Op-Ed in the Washington Post on this is linked here.

Christmas wish list: 12 gifts for Illinois taxpayers in 2019 – IL Policy

In 2018, Springfield handed Illinoisans more of the same repackaged policy failures. Lawmakers in the coming year should tape to their desks this wish list of taxpayer-friendly reforms.

Employment Security department utilizes new alphabetized benefit schedule – Capitol News

Claims now must be filed online and by phone on days and at times set by the Illinois Department of Employment Security based on the first letter of the filer’s last name.

Higher ed officials paint grim picture – Illinois News Network

Of about $4.1 billion appropriated for higher education in fiscal 2015, more than half went to pensions.

Proposed Illinois Senate Bill Would Have Government Match Small Donations In State Elections – WNIJ and WNIU

Comment: Taxpayers would put up $6 for every $1 dollar privately contributed!.  Dan Biss (D-Evanston) knows exactly what he is doing. It will never...

Senate panel torpedoes GOP term-limit plan for governor – Early & Often

However, this vote has no effect on the petition initiative led by Bruce Rauner to impose term limits. Look for those petitions to be...

Editorial: Promote democracy, battle corruption via civic education – Quad-Cities Online

Civic education proponents offer compelling arguments for pushing good citizenship training to the head of the line, particularly in a state among the most...

2.3 million more Illinois jobs at risk: The devastating economic toll of the virus in 6 charts – Chicago Tribune

The percentage of vulnerable jobs is slightly higher in Illinois than nationally, but overall, the trends in the state mirror what is going on around the country.

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Illinois Congressman expects President-elect Trump to move quickly against Obamacare – Illinois News Network

LaHood: “I think in the first 100 days, you have to repeal Obamacare,” LaHood said. “I think that will be easy in some respects....

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.

Filing by attorney general to block state worker pay uncalled for – Editorial – State Journal-Register

"Unnecessary. That is the only way to describe Attorney General Lisa Madigan's action...." Comment: The State Journal-Register's hallmark is sucking up to state workers who...

AG to Judge: Governor can extend disaster until everyone is vaccinated – Edgar County Watchdogs

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Illinois to put social service providers on pay for performance – Crain’s Chicago Business

A coalition of Chicago-area foster care agencies and other providers of youth services will lead the state's first effort to pay for successful outcomes,...

SIU-Carbondale building will receive $83 million upgrade – The Paducah Sun

A portion of that initial disbursement will be used to finish planning the construction, a process begun in Fiscal Year 2010 but derailed by...

Illinois-based Quest Products moving to Wisconsin – Journal-Sentinal

Quest's $3.6 million investment will bring 28 jobs, with another 28 employees and $1.5 million in additional investment expected within the next three years. via...

Illinois soon may be surrounded by right-to-work states – INN

As right-to-work-laws sweep the Midwest, Illinois business leaders worry that the state will continue to lose jobs and businesses to its neighbors.

Illinois House torpedoes doomsday budget by 5-107 vote – Early & Often

How do state Democrats balance a budget? Irresponsibly. – Chicago Tribune

"Don’t say Democrats are incapable of cutting spending. They are. Skip bills that come due, whip out the credit card, destabilize the state’s retirement system and keep poor kids in failing schools. Now that’s a plan they can get behind."

Time for the bankruptors to put up or shut up on state budget – Chicago Tribune

Rauner criticizes bureaucratic waste at colleges — in a college commencement address – WJBC AM

Comment: Think what you want about Rauner's budget approach, but nobody can say he has no balls. Same with his speech to Chicago City...

Taxpayers United of America looks at SURS Pension

One guy collects an incredible $564,298 annual pension. Retiring at only 55 years old, his total accumulated pension payout will be more than $22.3...

Layoffs looming in Illinois courts – WQAD

The deadline is looming on layoffs for court reporters in the state of Illinois, and judges are holding a special meeting Friday to talk...

Struggling Illinois homeowners get extra $151 million in federal help – Chicago Tribune

Illinois homeowners may be able to get help with their mortgages later this year after the federal government awarded the state an extra $151...

Berg: llinois’ employment drought and the oases next door – Opinion – INN

What happens when there’s no opportunity? People pack up and search elsewhere. Multiple different data sources – including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IRS...

University of Illinois professors ‘do not recommend’ mask requirement for general public without COVID-19 symptoms – Chicago City Wire

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Notable & Quotable: Teacher Segregation in IL School – Wall Street Journal

"During this Thursday’s staff meeting we will continue on our journey of equity.... Our affinity groups will be based around racial identification, with one of our two groups consisting of staff that identify as individuals of color and our other group consisting of those that identify as White. "Affinity groups are an effective means through which people can explore and affirm aspects of their identity...."

Help Illinois workers save for their retirements – opinion – Chicago Tribune

"Illinois Senate's sole research mathematician, Evanston Democrat Daniel Biss, proposes a clever savings plan for some 2.5 million private-sector Illinoisans whose employers don't offer...

Bruce Rauner secures pre-primary endorsement by the Cook County Republican Party – Chicago Sun-Times

Rauner-63%; Dillard-10%; Rutherford-6%; Brady-0%. Frst time in history that the Cook County Republican Party has endorsed someone pre-primary. “If Rauner wins the endorsement, it will be...

Rebuttal from Julie Hamos about Medicaid expansion – Chicago Tribune Ms. Hamos was formerly director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services.

Illinois is losing one person to another state every five minutes – Illinois Policy

The new report from the U.S. Census Bureau drives home the state’s desperate need for pro-growth economic, spending and political reforms.

Slow job growth predicted for Illinois in 2020 – Center Square

The state will have to work hard to move past the challenges noted by Kiplinger’s, including flat employment numbers outside of Chicago and ongoing trade difficulties between the U.S. and China. Unsettled trade policy means slower and fewer exports through Chicago’s trading platforms.

Illinois House passes measure to raise assault-style weapon buying age to 21 – A.P.

...and require them to turn in those weapons. See the American Thinker article linked here.

Business Tax Breaks Draw Review From U.S. States Seeking Revenue – Bloomberg Business

An ideological aversion to the breaks is also at work. Illinois’s Rauner wants to make changes such as capping a tax credit that he...

Illinois soybean farmers hurt by coronavirus hit to Chinese economy – Capitol News Illinois

The deadly Wuhan coronavirus currently overwhelming China is also damaging its economy. Experts fear that China might not be able to buy all of...

Editorial: Not running the numbers – Champaign News-Gazette

"Every month for the past 25 years, Giertz has produced an economic flash index derived from receipts from sales, personal-income and corporate-income taxes in the state. Viewing that information in its totality provides valuable information about the strength — or weakness — of the economy...Giertz won’t be publishing his flash index this month."

Lawmakers Considering How to Pay for an Education Funding Overhaul – WTTW

A commission of state lawmakers has been meeting twice a month to discuss how we can change Illinois' education funding formula.

Illinois inaction on Office Depot could mean a win for Florida – South Florida Business Journal After completing its merger with rival OfficeMax last week, the new company is still in the midst of deciding whether it will keep its...

Lisa Madigan Op-Ed on [We’re not really sure] – Chicago Magazine

The article has no headline, which is probably sensible because it's strangely vacuous.

In Illinois, Medicaid Expansion Sign-Ups Double Predictions – A.P.

Illinois and Cook County eventually will have to bear 10 percent of the cost of expanding the safety-net insurance program for the poor. The...

Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2016: Unfunded Public Pension Liabilities Near $5.6 Trillion – American Legislative Exchange Council

State public pension plans are now underfunded by nearly $5.6 trillion – an increase of almost $900 billion from State Budget Solutions’ (SBS) last...

Without pension reform, progressive income tax amendment guarantees tax hikes on Illinois’ middle class – IL Policy

If annual income tax revenue growth caused by secular income growth matches the state’s recent experience, the progressive income tax rates passed by the Senate will fail to pay off the state’s pension debt – ever.

Illinois’ top educator: Funding problems to remain regardless of election – A.P.

The Illinois state superintendent of schools says the outcome of the governor's race won't make a difference for the state's education funding problems. via Illinois'...

Union leaders, lawmakers jeer Rauner as “mega-millionaire that doesn’t care” – Illinois Review

Thousands of state workers rallied at the Capitol Wednesday to demand a state budget, collective bargaining and voice their disapproval for Governor Bruce Rauner's...

An Unsolvable Math Problem: Public Pensions Are Underfunded By As Much As $8 Trillion – Zero Hedge

Defined Benefit Pension Plans are, in many cases, a ponzi scheme. Current assets are used to pay current claims in full in spite of...

Illinois Dealing With Out-Migration Crisis – ABC20

7th Circuit says town’s prohibition on inflatable rats violated union’s free speech rights – Cook County Record

An unusual way for a court opinion to start: “Rats. This case is about rats. Giant, inflatable rats…Cats too—inflatable fat cats, wearing business suits...

Springfield video gambling wagering totals $96M in 2 years – State Journal-Register

Gamblers in the city of Springfield bet more than $96 million at video gaming terminals from September 2012 to September 2014. The city’s share...

Illinois Lottery Being Audited – WTVO

Illinois Lottery finds itself under scrutiny after a state audit found numerous errors, inaccuracies and incomplete data.  The Lottery defended itself after the audit...

Voice of The Southern: Madigan pleads innocence as Rauner attacks

State House Speaker Mike Madigan just wants to be the victim. His history, unfortunately, won't allow it.

7 Republicans call to resume union talks – Gatehouse

Seven Illinois House Republicans – including three from the Springfield area — are asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to return to the bargaining table with...

Jim Dey: Criticism from all corners on the Illinois map decision –

"Unfortunately, the vigorous protests are so much water off the backs of Madigan and the four Democratic high court justices who decided to rescue...

Illinois jobs training bill passes General Assembly – Reboot Illinois

One piece of legislation intended to spur Illinois jobs growth made it out of the 98th General Assembly with bipartisan support.

Comptroller Munger Tells Service Providers Taxes Alone Will Not Solve Debt Problem – WNIJ and WNIU

“If we go down that path of taxes only, it will be devastating for our state’s economy because businesses will say, ‘Been there, done...

South Florida Mansion Sales Surge as Tax Exiles Seek Savings – Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s tax overhaul got Bloomington, Illinois, executive Jim Morris looking at South Florida for a $10 million-plus mansion with his own piece of beach, low property levies and no state income tax. “It’s not just the weather,” he said. “The advantages of the tax code are greatly appreciated.”

CTA retirees OK to sue over health benefit changes, but modifications not forbidden – Cook County Record

The Illinois Supreme Court has again sided with public worker retirees, saying retired Chicago Transportation Authority workers have a right to sue the CTA...

Kirk proposes five month unemployment insurance extension – Illinois Review

"Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and it has been a priority of mine to find a financially responsible...

Illinois tax filing delay will add to its cash flow strains – The Bond Buyer

Illinois’ liquidity is being tested as the state grapples with revenue losses, emergency spending and delayed income tax payments that have muddled the budget picture and prompted worries of longer term fiscal strains due to COVID-19.

Many of state’s worst-performing schools are outside Chicago – Journal-Star

More than half of Illinois’ worst-performing schools are nowhere near the concrete jungles of Chicago that most people associate with low test scores and high dropout rates.

Taxing insurance to pay for the state’s shortfall – Daily Journal

Comment: We have not yet gotten a full understanding of the net impact of this new $390 million tax on MCOs proposed by Pritzker. That's because, allegedly, much of it comes back in the form of federal reimbursements.

Illinois becomes first state to list companies banned for business due to boycotting Israel – Jerusalem Post

An Illinois state agency named 11 companies barred from doing business with the state for boycotting Israel or its settlements, the first such designation...

A $10 Million Boondoggle You’re Going to Pay For – Illinoyances

Last week, the Democrats in the House rammed through a piece of legislation (HB 2622) in which the state will loan $10 million to a new “public” workers’ comp insurance company to compete with the over 300 companies now licensed to sell such insurance in Illinois.

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...

Study Examines Public Pension Investment Costs – Civic Federation

TRS and two other Illinois funds are highlightetd.

Prosecutors Say Chicago Gets 1st Cryptocurrency Case – A.P.

The suspect is a 24-year-old trader accused of misappropriating more than $2 million in Bitcoin and Litecoin. Charging documents say Joseph Kim was an assistant trader for a Chicago firm that recently formed a virtual currency group. He was charged Thursday.

CUB critics say the utility rate watchdog is more focused on politics than advocating for consumers – Legal News Line

Comment: It's true. CUB, which taxpayers help pay for, is also taking sides on energy issues that do not relate to its mission of...

Would You Believe Illinois’ Home Prices Are Just Average? – Reboot Illinois

Illinois' real estate market is actually two markets working side by side, which helps explain Illinois' middle-of-the-road rating on list prices. The city of...

A worker’s right to choose – Illinois Policy

Hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers are forced to pay union dues to keep their jobs. But close by, worker freedom reigns.

Illinois’ latest pension changes can’t touch state’s pension debt – INN

Illinois lawmakers agreed to almost a dozen new pension laws this year. But none of them will address the state's biggest pension problem: The costs.

Landmark Stockton bankruptcy ruling that public pensions can be cut in bankruptcy – Reuters Earlier, the city said this ruling could mean a 60% cut to Stockton pensioners, discussed here. Cities in Illinois cannot now file for bankruptcy,...

Illinois payrolls see largest monthly drop since Great Recession – Illinois Policy Institute

The only area of the economy that did not experience payroll declines was the government sector, which added 1,000 jobs. Two hundred of those jobs came at the federal level, while state and local government each added 400 positions during the month.

VIDEO: GOP governor candidate Jeanne Ives: ‘Not hiding’ after loss to Rauner – Herald-Review

Ives said she plans to tour the state raising awareness of issues such as pensions and fiscal responsibility, and campaigning for fellow Republican candidates in an effort to win a majority in the state House of Representatives.

The number of millionaires in Illinois is shrinking – Reboot Comment: Love them or hate them, we need them here and paying taxes. That's especially so for multimillionaires -- those earning $1M per year...

Chicago’s GrubHub plans 2013 IPO, sources say

Coronavirus pandemic could cause $560 million in Illinois gas tax revenue losses this year, possibly delaying some road and rail plans: report – Chicago Tribune

Last year, the Illinois legislature passed a six-year, $45 billion infrastructure package that provided $33 billion in funding for transportation, including road repairs around the state, train line extensions, new locomotives and other equipment. The legislation came after a 10-year drought in funding for transportation projects.

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Legalizing pot deliveries gains momentum during coronavirus crisis – Chicago Sun-Times

Rep. Sonya Harper introduced legislation last month that would allow cannabis dispensaries to deliver weed. Now, she’s calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to take immediate action.

Rauner: Illinois to review new federal power plant limits – A.P.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is reviewing a federal plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants to determine whether the state should...

Illinois Stopgap Budget No Cure for State University Financial Woes – Barrons

Illinois passed a stopgap budget Thursday, the last day of its fiscal year. But it isn’t enough to make credit rating agencies more optimistic...

Cullerton’s complicated exit: disgruntled aide muzzled after money went missing – WCIA

WCIA's examination of financial documents, interviews with top lieutenants and staff, and an investigation of his private business dealings reveals that behind the scenes, his caucus was devolving into a tailspin and his campaign operation was already in tatters. Whichever of the 39 other Democratic senators should replace him in January will inherit a thorny tangle of ethical and legal headaches, as at least three sitting members of the caucus are either facing federal indictment, under investigation, or wiring up for the FBI.

Breaking up with House Speaker Michael Madigan – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

If re-electing an incumbent in your district means continuing to empower Madigan, think twice. If it means giving Madigan a supermajority that can ram...

‘Nearly bankrupt’: A multi-part review of how the ACHA ended up broke: Retirement contracts – The Southern

In a heartbreaking letter, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently told the Cairo school district that there’s just not a lot of...

Lawsuit Pits Businesses vs. Pritzker in COVID-19 Legal Battle – WTTW (Chicago)

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will hold an emergency meeting Monday to withdraw a temporary, emergency rule put in place earlier this month that ensures “first responders and essential front-line workers, who are most susceptible to exposure to COVID-19, are afforded the full protections of the Workers’ Compensation Act in the event they are exposed to or contract the virus.” But Gov. J.B. Pritzker Saturday said that is not an acknowledgement that commissioners overstepped their rulemaking authority, and indicated the commission will in the near future adopt a modified version with a similar goal.

Illinois budget deal delivers relief, more uncertainty for higher education – QC Times

Although the funding guarantees that universities and community colleges will be able to operate through the fall, it does little to ensure the long-term...

Pension buyouts for Illinois budget remain in flux – The Bond Buyer

Comment: What a joke. We'll be writing more on this soon.

Our monthly Crain’s article: You’re not imagining it: That property tax pain is real

Residential property tax collections have grown three times faster than incomes in Illinois since 2000. The Wirepoints report with background research is linked here.

Midwest business conditions soften in early 2017, Chicago PMI shows – MarketWatch

Business in the Midwest grew in January at the slowest pace since last spring, largely because of a decline in orders, according to the...

Illinois Considers an 11.25 Percent Tax on Small Businesses – Tax Foundation

A proposal under consideration in Illinois would convert the state’s single-rate individual income tax into a four-bracket tax with a top rate of 9.75...

CTBA’s Ralph Martire Added to 80 Percent Funding Hall of Shame – Stump

Stump is an actuary who writes about pensions.

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...

Quinn finds millions for dog parks, disc golf and bathhouses to fund in last days – Illinois Policy

Illinois governments eye postponing property tax payments – Center Square

There’s a new push to waive any penalties for taxpayers not paying their summer property tax bills as long as the payments are made before the September bill comes due. While state law allows counties to delay payment, East Dundee Republican Rep. Allen Skillicorn has filed legislation that would make it explicit.

Mr. Madigan, Mr. Cullerton, Wisconsin thanks you for blocking Illinois reforms – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

"We hope Michael Madigan and John Cullerton realize they've delivered more for the governor of Wisconsin than for the people of Illinois."

Gutierrez, Durbin blame U.S. House Republicans for Obama amnesty delay – Illinois Review

Two of Illinois' staunchest amnesty advocates  - U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin - are not happy about President Obama's decision...

Bruce Rauner opens huge lead in latest poll – WGN/Tribune

Rauner at 40 percent support, more than his top two rivals combined. State Sen. Bill Brady - 20%; Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford - 13%;...

Illinois Senate budget proposal weak on consolidation – Illinois Policy

Instead of giving Illinois residents the power to initiate referendums on local government consolidation, Senate Bill 3 vests this power in government officials, who...

Zurich North America to get $20.35 million from state; building headquarters in Schaumburg – Daily Herald

While Zurich North America prepares to break ground on Tuesday for its new headquarters in Schaumburg, state officials agreed to a tax incentive package...

Illinois’ union contracts expire July 1 … then what? – Illinois Policy

The deadline to reach an agreement looms large, but if talks break down, work stoppages aren’t a given.

National election results give Rauner opportunity for Medicaid overhaul – Illinois Policy

The time is ripe to offer private insurance options to needy Illinoisans through premium-assistance programs and Medicaid savings accounts.

Southern Illinois doesn’t have clout like it once did – The Southern

It’s April in Illinois. Guard your wallet, taxpayers. – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

The argument that other states are “doing great now” simply because they have a graduated income tax is a grossly elementary perspective on why Illinois should pass one. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats from presenting it.

Gutierrez won’t seek reelection – Politico

Gutiérrez's spokesman, Douglas Rivlin: "I don't know anything. I don't know anything,"

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.

Rauner’s new ad says Illinois ‘f—ed’ with Prtizker/Madigan – YouTube

Comment: True, but then again, it probably doesn't matter.

Health officials warn against visiting nursing home residents – WGNTV (Chicago)

There about 1,200 long-term care facilities in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Officials suggested alternative ways of communicating with loved ones such as phone calls, texts, FaceTime or Snapchat.

Obamacare repeal and replace should be done carefully, Rauner administration urges – Crain’s

In a highly unusual, carefully worded letter obtained by Crain's, Rauner's insurance chief told House leaders that the state and Congress "must work together"...

Schillerstrom GOP patronage at the Illinois Tollway – Crain’s

When it comes to good old-fashioned political patronage, few places compete with Democratic Chicago City Hall better than the usually Republican-run Illinois Tollway.

The truth about Sam McCann – Editorial – Chicago Tribune.

A vote for McCann is a vote for Pritzker and Madigan and the big-government status quo.

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

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

Fracking supporters frustrated with delays – The Southern

The rules to implement the act have still not yet been completed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the agency charged with writing...

Illinois’ Fastest Growing Cities – WBGZ

  What are Illinois' fastest-growing cities?  According to a ranking by Nerd Wallet Finance, Chicago Heights is #1, followed by Melrose Park, Champaign, Woodstock, Rolling...

Former Gov. Jim Edgar urges Gov. Bruce Rauner to quit holding budget hostage – State Journal-Register

Comment: Edgar must be getting nervous about whether the $300,000 per year he gets from taxpayers will still be arriving.

Illinois wastes taxes supporting too many school district bureaucracies – Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois is the only state that spent more than $1 billion on district-level administrative costs in 2017, the most recent year of data available from the U.S. Census Bureau; This spending only represents costs of the superintendent and school board. It does not include administrative spending within schools.

McCaleb: Adios Illinois; more consider fleeing tax unfriendly Illinois – INN

"Since last month's tax increase, I've sadly heard from too many others who say they either are definitely leaving or considering leaving because of the tax burden."

Comment: Same here.

Analysis: Illinois public school spending grew 12 times faster than enrollment – Chicago City Wire

"It grew 12 times faster than the system’s student population, which rose just six percent over the same period.... All spending numbers are inflation-adjusted."

TIA Says Illinois Owes $45K per Taxpayer in Pension Debt – MyStateline

Comment: Keep in mind that most taxpayers have little or no ability to contribute to that. Half of Chicago is near or below the...

Abbott workers, author Michelle Malkin protest H-1B visa program in Chicago – Illinois Review

"The American worker was born in 1776, but murdered by Beltway Crapweasels," she told about 50 people at Flanagan's Restaurant in North Chicago.

High Tax States Are a Sign of Inefficiency – Bloomberg

"This strategy of tax increases that encourage taxpayers to leave is the government equivalent of a private sector firm raising prices when its products are already overpriced."

Nation’s CEOs Slam Illinois Business Climate, Political Leadership – CBS Chicago

“Illinois is a horrendous state in which to do business,” one CEO said in the survey. “It is governed by a class of incompetent,...

Group Says Illinois Is Losing Renewable Energy Jobs – WUIS

Comment: They didn't look at the other side of the equation -- the positive effect on employment from spending the money elsewhere.

Addison, Algonquin and Mundelein earn high marks on government transparency audit while 18 cities fail – IPI

Burbank, Lansing and Calumet City. Burbank, Lansing and Calumet City failed the audit, with Burbank recording the lowest score.

Infant among 13 new COVID-19 deaths in Illinois; Nearly 3,500 cases reported – WGNTV (Chicago)

Illinois now has 3,491 COVID-19 cases and 47 deaths after the governor announced 465 new cases of the virus Saturday. 13 more deaths were announced, including an infant and a state worker.

Detroit, Stockton bankruptcies may flag wider problems: Fed’s Dudley – Business Insider

"In Chicago, for example, unfunded pension liabilities for the city, the board of education and other local governments that draw taxes from it exceed...

Illinois Auditor Ordered To Provide Details On Campaign Spending – Progress Illinois

Illinois Auditor Frank Mautino has been ordered by the Illinois State Board of Elections to explain his campaign spending during his time as a...

Post Platte Default: Sell All Your Appropriation-Backed Municipal Bonds? – Forbes

This is not the first appropriation-secured bond issue to run into the failure-to-appropriate issue. For example, Lombard, Illinois failed to fund an appropriation for debt issued through its Public Facilities Corporation for a hotel and conference center. In that case as well, the rating agencies were swift to act. Moody’s withdrew its rating; Standard & Poor’s dropped Lombard’s rating down to a speculative grade B.

Editorial | Flat failure on property taxes – News-Gazette

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas recently made an announcement that deserved far more attention than it received — both for what it says about the present, and more ominously, what it portends for the future. Pappas disclosed there are 57,515 property owners who need to pay their property taxes to avoid foreclosure at a May 8 tax sale.

Why you might pay more to buy a car in Illinois: a trade-in tax credit cap – Daily Herald

Car buyers are on the hook for an estimated $40 million extra in sales taxes thanks to an Illinois law starting next year that will cap trade-in tax credits for most motor vehicles at $10,000.

Currently, car buyers pay sales tax on the difference between the value of a new car and the value of the car they're trading in. But starting Jan. 1, car buyers will receive sales tax credit on only up to $10,000 of the value of their trade-in.

Bloat expands as enrollment drops, tuition spikes in Illinois higher education – Illinois Policy

Growth in administrative bloat is sucking up money that would otherwise go toward the classroom and tuition grants for low-income students in Illinois’ higher education system.

Why Municipal Bankruptcy Is ‘Riddled With Uncertainty’ – Knowledge@Wharton

Good summary from a Wharton prof on the open issues a municipality faces in Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Illinois again second worst state for out migration – annual United Van Lines study

Same as 2012. New Jersey was the worst, again.

Illinois Policy victories: 2014 in review – Illinois Policy

Lawsuit by Madigan ally aims to head off constitutional amendment ballot questions – Tribune

Even before supporters filed proposed constitutional amendments to The was I recommend leaves! Look I kamagra forum uk but? Daily and paroxetina noline...

Illinois eyes final attempt at state-run Obamacare exchange – Associated Press

Springfield may have one more chance to approve a state-run health insurance marketplace during the fall legislative session that starts Wednesday, but will have...

Union money has business leaders telling IL GOP voters to know the messenger –

General Assembly Heading Into The Home Stretch – News-Gazette

With just 12 days remaining before the May 31 legislative adjournment, much of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s ambitious legislative agenda remains unfulfilled. That’s led to uncomfortable speculation in some quarters that Pritzker doesn’t have the clout his supporters expected, as well as anonymous quotes from legislators questioning the rookie governor’s political skills.

Boss of the House – Editorial – News Gazette

"It's time to give the devil his due, even though the real devil bitterly resents being compared to Speaker Madigan."

Is Illinois Promising to Give Amazon All Its Workers’ Salaries for a Headquarters? – Chicago Magazine

"Not really, no. What we’re offering the company is pretty straightforward, but how we think and talk about that is anything but."

Kadner: Proposal on November ballot an insult to Illinois voters – Sun-Times

You won’t get a chance to vote on term limits for elected officials in Illinois in November or have an opportunity to reduce the...

Joining the Illinois Exodus: Mish, of Global Economic Trend Analysis

From Mish: "I am currently planning my own escape from this madness."

Illinois’ Revenues in FY2014 Exceed Expectations – Civic Federation

Illinois’ operating revenues, which are expected to decline this year due to the partial rollback of State income tax rates, exceeded expectations in FY2014,...

Chief Judge Warns Shutdown Will Close Federal Courts | NBC Chicago

Castillo issued an order putting all civil cases on hold. More than 1,000 were frozen. Ironically, those civil cases often generate huge sums of...

Bill Would End IMRF Abuse – Alton Daily News

High-level municipal workers are taking advantage of taxpayer-funded pensions. Public-sector workers across Illinois are able to spike their pay shortly before they retire. Comment: Another...

Editorial: Bipartisan support grows for prison reform – Sun-Times

We see a growing bi-partisan consensus that presents our nation with the best chance in generations to divert many more non-violent offenders — especially...

Pritzker’s pension silence speaks volumes – Crain’s

He went on for 2,600-plus words without mentioning the most urgent and potentially destructive crisis facing Illinois. The new governor had nothing to say about $130 billion in unfunded pension obligations to state employees, a yawning black hole of debt that threatens to swallow the state budget and suffocate Illinois’ economy.

Comptroller says ‘time for new programs is over’ – Daily Herald

"I see a fish and wildlife fund. OK, that had a certain amount of money in it. I see a salmon fund," Munger said...

Event honoring Quinn raises ‘pay to play’ issues – A.P.

Three key Democratic operatives sponsoring the event  -- Mike Noonan, Victor Reyes and Maze Jackson -- are the same ones soaking the government for...

How bad does the ‘Illinois Exodus’ have to get? – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

The release on Wednesday of new census data about Illinois was alarming: Not only has the flight of citizens continued for a fifth straight year, but the population loss is intensifying. This year’s estimated net reduction of 45,116 residents is the worst of these five losing years.

Docs in the medical pot business can’t recommend their patients to use it – Sun-Times

At least three Illinois doctors are getting into the legal medical marijuana business, according to a review of records of the companies recently approved...

Rauner signs stopgap budget — but he and Madigan still at odds – Sun-Times

Coming in just under the wire, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed budget bills Thursday to fund state operations until the end of the year and...

Nursing home deaths soar past 2,600 in alarming surge – WGNTV (Chicago)

"Alarming outbreaks in just the past few weeks have included one at a nursing home in suburban Richmond that has killed 39 and infected 84...And those are just the outbreaks we know about. Most states provide only total numbers of nursing home deaths and don’t give details of specific outbreaks."

Illinois governor’s office warns of crippling pension payment hike – Reuters

A Monday memo from a top Rauner aide said the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) board could decide at its meeting this week to lower...

Illinois tax credit program Edge is dying – Crain’s

In the latest casualty of Springfield's bitter budget wars, the state's Edge tax-credit program will expire on Dec. 31. Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative...

Catholic, Lutheran churches in Minnesota defy state order to limit worshipers – MSN

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Illinois’ fracking regulations put thousands of jobs on the back burner – Illinois Policy

More than 450 days after Illinois lawmakers legalized fracking, the state has yet to dispense a single permit.

Public Union Urges Crossover Vote for Dillard – WTTW

Illinois might start charging $1,000 per year to own an electric vehicle: ‘It’s outrageous’ – Chicago Tribune

A proposed hike in Illinois’ annual registration fee for electric vehicles, from $17.50 to $1,000, is being called unfair by current EV owners, and a sales disincentive by manufacturers — just as the new technology is beginning to gain broader traction.

Unfinished Business: Illinois General Assembly Fails to Repeal Self-Procured Insurance Tax – National Law Review

McSweeney Refuses Legislative Pension; Files Bill to Eliminate Them for All New Lawmakers – Illinois Review