Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Feds may force well-run states to bail out Illinois, Iawmakers’ emboldened spending, and Pritzker’s failed $500 million business tax hike. – Wirepoints on AM560’s Black and Right with John Anthony

Ted was on Black and Right with John Anthony this week talking about the how the Biden stimulus will ultimate force taxpayers in well-run states to pay for Illinois' self-inflicted crises, how Madigan's departure might hasten Illinois' decline because big-spending politicians have more power, and lawmakers' failure to pass Pritzker's $500 million tax hike on businesses.

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Want to save more Illinoisans from COVID? Vaccinate the elderly first. – Wirepoints

Now that vaccines are finally available, Pritzker is including a host of “essential workers,” at the same level of priority as the elderly and calling it an “equity-centric vaccination approach.” It’s a huge mistake to give all those groups equal priority.

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Proposal To Expand CTU Strike Power Would Betray History – Wirepoints

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, it’s often said. But what can we say about undoing a history lesson already learned?

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Madigan’s loss, Illinois’ damaging COVID restrictions and the potential impact of Biden’s new stimulus – Mark Glennon on AM 560’s The Steve Cortes Show

Mark was on the Steve Cortes Show this week talking about Mike Madigan's historic fall from power, the continued destruction wrought by the state's overly-restrictive COVID lockdowns, and the potential size and impact of Biden's stimulus plan.

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Illinois may be in line for nearly $14 billion in federal help for state and local government – Quicktake

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday provided some details on his proposed $1.9 billion pandemic relief bill, called The American Rescue Plan. It includes $350 billion for state and local governments.

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Please, Illinois, lift the ban on high school sports – Wirepoints

Tragedy should beget solace, but not silence.

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Illinois A.M. (After Madigan) – Wirepoints

Mike Madigan’s tenure as House Speaker is over after nearly 40 years at the helm. In his place, Democrats have elected Hillside Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch to lead the chamber. Madigan’s loss of power is a monumental change, but just because he’s gone it doesn't mean Illinois’ problems are over.

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The potential end of Mike Madigan, why federal aid won’t help Illinois, and the new laws politicians are passing – Ted on AM 560

Ted was on with with Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson discussing Madigan's chances of being reelected Speaker, how a federal bailout of Illinois will only makes things worse for the state and how pols are passing their equity agenda instead of reforms.

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Priorities: Illinois lawmakers move to increase Chicago pension benefit and grant more power to Chicago Teachers Union – Quicktake

It's difficult to believe, but guess what the Illinois General Assembly was quick to move on  -- after not meeting for over seven months.

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Illinois pols might get rid of Madigan, but don’t expect them to get rid of his machine – Wirepoints

House Speaker Mike Madigan’s iron grip on Illinois could be nearing an end. While that’s a cause for celebration, the party should be brief. Ending Madigan’s personal patronage machine is one thing, but unwinding the infrastructure he’s built over three decades is another.

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School Closings, Sports And A Tragic Suicide At An Illinois High School

Rest in peace.

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The Capitol Building, Illinois And The Suppression Of Political Dissent – Wirepoints

If the current surge of authoritarian suppression persists, so too will violent opposition to it. That violence must end, and the best way to end it is by assuring robust, free expression of political opinion.

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“The Quincy region is losing people just like the rest of Illinois. The area’s population has shrunk 5% since 2010.” – Ted on The Mary Griffith Show on WTAD Quincy

Ted was on with Mary Griffith of WTAD talking about the loss of population in the Quincy area and across Illinois as a whole. Illinois competes with its neighbors for people, jobs and businesses, and right now it's losing. In all, the Quincy area has lost over 5 percent of its people since 2010.

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The Illinois General Assembly finally meets, but won’t tackle what matters. – Wirepoints

There’s so much at stake you’d think lawmakers would act with urgency to help Illinoisans struggling under the weight of lockdowns and the state’s general malgovernance. Forget it. This legislative session will likely be full of drama, but little substance.

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Wisconsin puts Illinois to shame on financial performance – Quicktake

Pop quiz: 176 billion is the difference between Wisconsin and Illinois by what measure?

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“Illinois’ population losses add up. You need people for investment, entrepreneurship and a tax base…Illinois is losing all of that.” – Ted on WGN Radio 720

Ted was on WGN Radio 720 discussing why Illinois is losing more people than any other state in the country. Illinois used to be a destination state. Now it has shrunk seven years in a row. 

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Deniers Still Refuse To Face Causes of Illinois Population Loss – Wirepoints

You’d think we’d be past this, but we are not. The same voices that have denied Illinois’ horrendous trajectory for years are still at it. The latest example is Tuesday’s article by Greg Hinz on the state’s population loss.

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The sweet smell of federal bailouts for Illinois, Chicago and other broke states and cities came quickly last night – Quicktake

Democratic control of the United States Senate had barely become apparent at 11 P.M. last night. But Anne Caprera, Gov. JB Pritzker's Chief of Staff, knew exactly what it meant.

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Chicago Public Schools fiasco continues: Just half of teachers show up to class as CTU threatens strike to keep schools closed – Wirepoints

The Chicago Teachers union continues to prove itself as the most extreme and militant union in the nation. After nine months of failed remote learning, CTU is now openly threatening to strike as early as mid-January to keep teachers out of classrooms.

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‘Excess Deaths’ Are Real Especially For Illinois’ Elderly, But Beware Conclusions About Covid-19 As Direct Cause – Wirepoints

Excess deaths are now more frequently being attributed to “deaths of despair." A new study projected that excess deaths resulting from the economic strain of the pandemic will amount to 900,000 over the next 15 years.

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Chicago’s COVID and crime mess captured in one graphic – Wirepoints Quicktake

For Chicagoans under the age of 40, death by homicide has been more likely than death by COVID, and in many cases, far more likely. 

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Chicago Teachers Union big shot says unsafe to teach live — from her pool side in Puerto Rico – Wirepoints

Sarah Chambers, who was also part of that "solidarity delegation" with other CTU members that went last year to communist Venezuela.

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“Nobody has a plan to fix the state. Not Republicans. Not Democrats. But that’s what we need in 2021.” – Ted Dabrowski on the Illinois Channel.

Ted was on with Terry Martin talking about how the COVID-19 crisis exposed to the nation just how much of an outlier Illinois really is, how politicians on both sides of the aisle have no plan to fix Illinois, how Mike Madigan's possible end as House Speaker won't likely change Illinois' status quo, the reforms that Illinois needs to turn itself around, and more.

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True inequality: In-class education at Chicago’s Catholic schools but remote learning at public schools – Wirepoints

CPS teachers haven't been in the classroom for nearly nine months and the CTU is hinting they’ll strike for the fourth time in less than a decade to stop any reopening from happening. In contrast, Catholic school teachers have been teaching in-person, five days a week, to 34,000 city students since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

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2017 Federal Tax Cut Turned Out To Be Progressive. A Few Lessons For Illinois And Beyond – Wirepoints

For the first time, we have the actual results from the IRS instead of estimates and assertions. The wealthiest Americans paid a greater portion of the burden than they did before. There’s more. The tax law changes lopped a full trillion dollars off the value of high-end homes, not middle-class homes, which was part of a trade-off that accrued to the benefit of the country as a whole.

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Mayor Lightfoot suggests how to start conversations about racism, inequality and injustice – Quicktake

“As you're connecting with close family and friends virtually, here are some suggestions on how to get the conversation started.”

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Inexcusable: COVID vaccine line-jumpers include Senator Duckworth and at least five House members from Illinois – Wirepoints

They cut in front of those who are at far greater risk, particularly those who are over age 70.

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Pritzker’s Latest Partisan Whoppers On Population Loss And Federal Bailout – Wirepoints

You'd think Gov. JB Pritzker would start worrying about being branded as entirely unserious, partisan and dishonest about Illinois’ problems.

“Illinois officials didn’t target those most at risk, but targeted restaurants and small businesses with shutdowns. It’s been a colossal mistake.” – Ted Dabrowski on AM560 Chicago

Ted was on with Amy Jacobson and Paul Vallas this week discussing Illinois' continued failure to protect retirement home residents from COVID and the LaSalle Veterans Home scandal.

Statewide retirement home deaths deserve same outrage, investigation as LaSalle Veterans’ Home outbreak – Wirepoints

The concentrated effort to find out what went wrong at the LaSalle Veterans Home begs a broader question: Why aren't state officials paying the same elevated attention to all Illinois retirement home deaths? Today, we’re at more than 7,500 retirement home deaths – the equivalent of 220 LaSalle Homes.

New 2020 Census shows Illinois population shrinks for 7th year in a row: Six facts you should know – Wirepoints

New U.S. Census Bureau data shows Illinois has cemented its place as the nation’s extreme outlier in population losses. When measured since 2010, the Prairie State’s population has dropped by 250,000, the most of any state in the country.

Now? Now the Illinois General Assembly will consider authorizing remote sessions? – Quicktake

With the end of the COVID-19 in sight, and having let the governor micromanage the state under an emergency order, it appears the General assembly may now seriously consider authorizing itself to meet remotely.

As COVID Deaths Soar In Illinois Nursing Homes, Let’s Revisit Who ‘Threw Granny Under The Bus,’ And What Went With Her – Wirepoints

“Who really threw those victims under the bus?” This is about a policy debate poisoned by noxious, politicized hyperbole that has twisted science and discredited much of science and media.

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying…many Illinois cities are trapped in a death spiral” – Ted on with Tom Miller on Newsradio WJPF

Ted was on with Tom Miller this week talking about how Illinois is shrinking more than any other state in the nation. "When you lose your population as Illinois is, restaurants can't stay open, small businesses can't stay open, companies can't hire enough high-quality people...you can't maintain your tax base, you can't maintain quality of life, it becomes a death spiral."

Our thoughts on Pritzker’s order for spending cuts of $711 million – Wirepoints

How the rest of the process will play out is unknowable, but it will be long and painful. Budget cuts and structural reforms have long been inevitable for Illinois. But the same powers and interests that crippled the state hold the scalpel. Their blame game and incrementalism will continue until they are forced to stop.

Bleeding people: 93 of Illinois’ 102 counties lost people between 2010 and 2019 – Wirepoints

Illinois’ population has dropped by nearly 170,000 since 2010 and few of the state’s counties have been spared. In all, 93 of the state’s 102 counties shrunk between 2010 and 2019. 

Why no post Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge? – Wirepoints Quicktake

A huge portion of Illinois is now immune to COVID-19, probably just over half. That’s a direct and simple implication of government numbers, though officials don’t say so outright.

Same old bad news in new 2020 Illinois pension report belies far worse reality – Wirepoints

On the surface, a new report on Illinois’ state-level pensions is bad enough: The official unfunded liability of the five state pensions grew to $144 billion in 2020 – a record high, and a $7 billion increase in just one year. But it gets worse.

Why the double standard for bars and restaurants at Chicago airports? (Hint: ka-ching.) – Wirepoints Quicktake

O'Hare and Midway bars and restaurants feast while in the city they struggle for survival.

As the Chicago Teachers Union and CPS battle over school reopenings, the exodus continues – Wirepoints Quicktake

The CTU recently hinted another strike is in the offing if CPS continues with its plan to reopen schools in January. Look for the administration to cave. It’s been that way over the past three strikes and there’s no reason to think it will be any different this time.

Look Who Is Standing In The Schoolhouse Door Now: The Chicago Teachers Union – Wirepoints

The damage inflicted by school shut-downs on Chicago’s youth, particularly minority youth, is already horrifying. Despite no meaningful risk whatsoever, the Chicago Teachers Union is now seeking an injunction against reopening.

Tech Censorship Hits Illinois: Center Square Tweets Blocked – Wirepoints

Americans better wake up now and turn this around. These are not isolated incidents.

Madigan says he’d support income tax increase (as if there’s not enough reason for him to go) – Quicktake

He sure seems to have missed the memo about Illinoisans wanting reforms instead of taxes.

25 times more Chicago youth have died from homicide than from COVID – Wirepoints Quicktake

As of December 1, four Chicago youth have died from COVID but over 90 have died by homicide. That’s 25 children dead from homicide for every COVID death.

Illinois still fails its elderly, veterans as COVID deaths hit record highs – Wirepoints

An analysis of data from Dec. 2, Illinois’ single-deadliest COVID day, shows the elderly continue to dominate the state’s fatalities.

Will Illinois’ two new homebuyer assistance programs really help anybody? – Quicktake

Governor JB Pritzker’s administration on Tuesday announced two new programs to encourage home ownership.

AFP’s Brian Costin and Wirepoints’ Ted Dabrowski discuss Illinois’ financial calamity – Wirepoints

Last week, Ted was on with Brian Costin of Americans for Prosperity discussing Illinois' worsening financial crisis and what it means now that the election is over.

O.K. readers, you tell us how Illinois’ fiscal crisis will turn out – Wirepoints

Our answer never seems very satisfying so now we are putting it on you. Have at it.

Amend Illinois’ Pension Protection Clause Right, and Act Now – Wirepoints

Priority No. 1 couldn’t be more clear. Pensions are Illinois’ biggest problem and they cannot be fixed without an amendment to the state constitution. Proceed now.

Nine facts Chicago’s City Council ignored when passing the city’s 2021 budget – Wirepoints

Have Chicago’s financial advisors ever shown the mayor and her city council what an extreme national outlier Chicago has become? Do the city’s top officials have any idea just how poorly the Windy City stacks up against the nation’s other major cities? Do they have any clue how much stress Chicagoans live under?

Illinois Unemployment Fund Now Owes $2.6 Billion To U.S. Treasury – Wirepoints

That’s separate and apart from loans by the Federal Reserve Bank to the state that we recently wrote about, which will increase to $3.2 billion when Illinois completes a recently announced addition to its Fed loans.

Illinois to borrow billions from the Feds AGAIN, only state in country to tap government lending program – Wirepoints

Illinois has announced $2 billion more in additional borrowing from the Federal Reserve. Only one state or city in the entire country has borrowed from the facility since its inception: the state of Illinois. All others have successfully raised billions from the traditional markets during the pandemic.

How To Focus Protection On Those Truly At Risk From Covid-19 – Wirepoints

Obsess about those at risk. Keep them alive until the vaccine arrives.

Illinois Senators Durbin and Duckworth Are Among The Book Burners Happy With Big Tech Censorship – Wirepoints

The subversion of democracy by suppression of the free exchange of information and opinion is no longer just a threat. It’s here.

The right COVID policy for Illinois? Obsess about the elderly and infirm. – Wirepoints

The strategy of shutting much of the state down – from lockdowns to school closings – has done far more harm than good, in part because it’s taken health officials’ eyes off of the elderly and the infirm.

Support for school reopenings grows across the political spectrum – Wirepoints Quicktake

While school openings have become heavily politicized in recent weeks, the good news is that more experts on all sides agree schools should strive to reopen and stay open.

Public safety payrolls or pensions? Illinois cities’ impossible choice. – Wirepoints

Mamie Cosey and her family are victims of a growing malaise impacting cities across Illinois, where residents are taxed out, services are being slashed, police and firefighters are losing their jobs, and public pensioners are losing their retirement security. A recent law that garnishes city tax revenues to pay for pensions is making things worse.

Will COVID-19 lead to “pension intercepts” and cuts to core city services across Illinois? – Wirepoints Special Report

Wirepoints found that 351 of Illinois’ 643 downstate public safety pension funds did not receive their full contributions in FY 2019. Without pension reform, local funds will either end up closer to insolvency, or city services will go unfunded in an attempt to keep failing public safety pensions afloat.

Cloak Lifted on Chicago’s Latest Financial Can-Kick: $2 Billion Cost For Taxpayers – Wirepoints

Props to the reporters who pestered the city into finally coming clean.

Every Illinois school parent, teacher should know these COVID-19 facts – Wirepoints

Many Illinois school districts are reverting fully to online-learning due to the jump in COVID-19 cases, but another set of numbers argue that schools should stay open – and in fact, open even more. The survival rates since the beginning of the pandemic for those 20 years and younger is 99.99%.

“The ratings agencies are set to downgrade Illinois to junk if they don’t see a plan.” – Ted on with Tom Miller on Newsradio WJPF

Ted was on with Tom Miller this week talking about the state of Illinois' fiscal crisis now that the progressive tax failed and a federal bailout seems less likely. The rundown: Illinois has $7 billion in unpaid bills, a budget $6 billion in the red, 5-year projected deficits of $4 billion each year, over $300 billion in state retirement debts and the state is rated just one notch from junk status.

Updated 5-Year Budget Deficit Estimates From Illinois Governor’s Budget Office – Wirepoints

The revised cash-based deficit projection for the current year is $3.9 billion, but with a total bill backlog of $10.2 billion remaining at the end of the year.

Political Indoctrination In Illinois Schools Would Be Mandatory Under Pending Rule – Wirepoints

Make no mistake. The pending rule would be another major step in the conversion of education into state-controlled autocracy. It is a direct assault on free society.

“Illinois’ collapsing COVID fatality rates show we can have our schools reopen safely and responsibly.” – Ted on AM 560’s Chicago’s Morning Answer

Ted was on with Amy Jacobson and Paul Vallas talking about the collapse in the state's case fatality rates. Illinois' COVID crisis is still centered in retirement homes. Over 40% of all deaths between September and November were linked to Long-Term Care facilities.

Two ‘news’ front pages from the past week – Quicktake

Regardless of your views on the status of the election or of the candidates, are these appropriate front pages for news sources?

Illinois’ COVID fatality rate plummets: Cases skyrocket, deaths down since last peak – Wirepoints

Lost in the attention over Illinois’ massive spike in COVID-19 cases is the collapse in the virus’ case fatality rate, or CFR. The latest COVID data is quickly revealing how less fatal the coronavirus really is, and that has major implications for lockdown policies and, in particular, for school shutdowns.

Give Us Better Data And Projections: With COVID-19 Cases Soaring, Officially Reported Information Is Increasingly Useless – Wirepoints

A lesson in how lacking the data and analyses are that health officials have provided to the public on COVID-19.

Audio: Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon on the Financial Survival Network discussing the exodus from Chicago and other big cities

Thanks to Kerry Lutz for having Mark Glennon on to discuss the potentially historic flight from big cities to smaller communities.

Profiles In Courage? Top Illinois Officeholders Turn On Michael Madigan. – Quicktake

What do Illinois' top politicians know now that they haven’t always known that would cause them to throw House Speaker Michael Madigan under the bus? You’d think they’d have at least have tried to spin up some pretext.

Reforms Instead Of Taxes. Here’s A List For Illinois To Start With. – Wirepoints

Illinoisans know the state faces a massive budget hole., though they rejected the "Fair Tax increase. What do they want instead of higher taxes? We don’t know, but we know what they should want: reforms.

“The governor has only himself to blame for the tax hike failure. It was a bipartisan rejection of his plan.” – Ted with Tom Miller on Newsradio WJPF

Ted was on with Tom Miller this week talking about the clear rejection by Illinois voters of Gov. Pritzker's progressive tax hike.

Illinois’ progressive tax amendment fails – Wirepoints

Everything was aligned in favor of the amendment. And yet, it failed. The reason why likely boils down to one word: trust.

Illinois’ own COVID-19 data reveals the state’s coronavirus policy is upside down – Wirepoints

Last month’s COVID-19 data reveals just how flawed Illinois’ response to the coronavirus continues to be. The recent spike in cases has the government shutting down large parts of the state again in a brute-force approach, when its efforts should, instead, be hyper-focused on the elderly and opening up the economy for everyone else.

Illinois Media Again Joins National Media To Silence Major Story – Wirepoints

The betrayal by the American media of its essential role in democracy will perhaps be remembered as more consequential than this election, and the Illinois media aren't helping.

“Major cities across the nation are hemorrhaging people to rural areas. The jury is out on if they’ll ever return.” – Mark on the Coffee and a Mike Podcast

Mark was on the Coffee and a Mike podcast last week discussing the flight from America’s big cities the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, and the corruption of the federal government.

Black Lives Matter Vs. What Matters To Blacks – Quicktake

BLM is a poor label for the movement, which should distance itself from BLM the organization because the organization does not represent the views of any race.

New poll details Chicagoans’ opinions about policing, race and Mayor Lightfoot’s performance – Wirepoints Special Report

While Chicagoans share many concerns over the city’s policing practices, 79% want the police to spend the same amount of time or more in their neighborhoods. That’s one of the key findings of a new Wirepoints/Real Clear Opinion Research poll that looked at a range of attitudes in Chicago on policing, race and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s performance.

Illinois media join national media to black out Biden scandal – Quicktake

The Biden family's influence peddling may end up ranking among America's biggest political scandals, but the blackout on coverage of it is already the media's biggest. The Illinois press is part of it.

Taxpayers and smaller retailers hammered by $741 million subsidy for Amazon in Chicago area – Quicktake

It's beggar-thy-neighbor policy at its stupidest. Instead of banning it, the state participates in it through its EDGE program.

Read it and weep: Cook County Treasurer Pappas details 20 years of astronomical property tax hikes – Quicktake

Here's something you don't see every day: A politician providing excruciating details on tax increases.

Illinoisans Apparently Seeing That ‘Fair Tax’ Is The Wrong Amendment On The Ballot – Wirepoints

Which amendment should be on the ballot, the progressive tax increase or pension reform? The silence of Fair Tax supporters tell us why they aren’t asking.

Was Thomas Jefferson right? New study quantifies flight from America’s big cities during pandemic. – Wirepoints

Jefferson's views about cities were not embraced by the nation for 230 years, but that may be changing. Most of his other views were held sacred, but that, sadly, is also changing. Time will soon tell which ones prevail.  

20 facts every Illinoisan should know about the progressive tax amendment – Wirepoints Special Report

The airwaves are being bombarded with emotionally charged ads for and against the progressive tax. Still confused? Here are the 20 facts you should know about the progressive tax amendment.

Commentary by Wirepoints: A 60% tax hike on Illinois’ richest won’t be a free lunch for the rest of us – Chicago Tribune*

Illinois' wealthy don’t need defending. They know how to take care of themselves just fine. But don’t assume that a tax hike on them will be a free lunch for the rest of us. If too many wealthy leave, our reform-shunning legislature will only have one place to make up for the loss in tax revenues: Illinois' middle-income earners.

“Illinois borrowing from the Fed a second time is a real signal of just how deep this state’s problems are.” – Ted on the Coffee and a Mike Podcast

Ted was on the Coffee and a Mike podcast earlier this week discussing Pritzker's announcement that he'll tap the Fed's borrowing program a second time and Chicago's continued financial desperation.

Bravo! Northwestern University President Blasts Extremist Protesters – Wirepoints

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro has had more than enough of his students' means of protesting for abolishing campus police. His words are unequivocal and scathing.

Too Many Units of Local Government: Illinois the Outlier – Wirepoints Video

Illinois residents pay some of the nation’s highest taxes. One of the big reasons - Illinois has 7,000 units of local government. That’s by far the most in the nation. Consolidation would help ease the outrageous tax burden on the average Illinoisan.

A preview of Chicago’s 2021 budget: more taxes, phantom savings and no reforms. – Wirepoints Quicktake

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is considering a slew of one-off actions to help close what city officials claim will be a $1.2 billion shortfall in next year’s budget – including a $94 million property tax hike. Absent in the list of savings is anything that can be considered a structural reform.

Things That Make You Say ‘Hmm’ About Illinois’ New Bond Offering – Wirepoints

It’s always fun to compare what governments say in bond documents, where falsehoods can lead to fraud charges, to what the general public has been led to believe. Illinois newest bond offering is no different, and what might be more interesting is what’s not written and is between the lines.

UPDATED: Amazon’s Attempt To Muzzle Shelby Steele Says Volumes About Race In America – Wirepoints

It’s tempting to dismiss this as just another instance of media censoring views it doesn’t like, but it’s about far more. It’s about the entire “conversation” we supposedly are having on race in America, and why it’s no conversation at all.

Gov. Pritzker ignores Illinois’ expensive COLAs as he pursues multi-billion dollar tax hike – Wirepoints

Gov. Pritzker has no problem hitting up Illinoisans with a tax hike, but he won’t reform one of the richest public sector benefits in the country – Illinois’ automatic, compounded, 3-percent cost-of-living adjustments for pensions.

The Nation’s Least Tax-Friendly State: Illinois the Outlier – Wirepoints Video

Illinoisans bear one of the nation’s heaviest tax burdens. Kiplinger, the personal finance company, calls Illinois the “Least Tax-Friendly State” in the country.

No shame: Illinois set to borrow from Fed’s “lender of last resort” facility a second time. – Wirepoints

Illinois is set to borrow from the Federal Reserve for a second time if a new stimulus package and a progressive tax hike scheme for Illinois don’t come through. Illinois is the only state in the nation to resort to borrowing from the Fed.

Why Illinois hasn’t gotten the federal aid it wants to balance its budget — in one paragraph – Quicktake

Is there really too much stuff in the House's bill to find agreement on? Take a look.

Tests Show Six Times More Chicago COVID-19 Infections Than Reported ‘Cases.’ Surprised? You Shouldn’t Be. – Wirepoints

That means about 520,000 Chicagoans have been infected, which is over six times more than the 83,500 officially reported number of cases, and those individuals likely have significant immunity.

Moody’s new estimate of Illinois pension shortfall increases to $261 billion – Quicktake

Moody’s estimates the shortfall in Illinois’ five state-run pension funds will jump to $261 billion in 2020

“One of the problems with the COVID crisis is people keep falling for the fallacy of averages.” – Mark on the Coffee and a Mike Podcast

Mark was on the Coffee and a Mike podcast earlier this week discussing the highlights of Wirepoints recent article on the CDC's new COVID-19 case fatality data.

Tax Foundation: Illinois business competitiveness would plummet to 47th nationally under progressive tax – Wirepoints

The report's final warning shouldn’t be ignored: “Were the proposed graduated-rate income tax adopted, Illinois would trail its peers in just about every aspect of its tax code. If businesses and individuals are leaving the state now, these policies can only make the problem worse.”

COVID’s curious course in Wisconsin – Quicktake

Wisconsin is undergoing a true surge in COVID-19 but the reasons are unclear.

Illinois granting $4.5 million it doesn’t have for racial healing dialogue – Quicktake

Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton announced on Tuesday Illinois' “Healing Illinois Initiative to Advance Racial Healing.”

“Since Illinois won’t reform anything, it’s only a matter of time before Gov. Pritzker and the legislature come after the middle class” – Ted on NBC 5

Ted was on NBC 5 this week explaining why Illinois politicians will inevitably use the progressive tax to hit the middle class. He was interviewed for a news segment on IPI's lawsuit against the misleading language on the progressive tax ballot.

COVID-19 Debate Infected By Fallacy Of Averages – Wirepoints

Can you walk across a river with an average depth of five feet?

The Ultimate ‘Fair Tax’ Treachery Is The Ballot Itself – Updated – Wirepoints

Illinoisans voting on the “Fair Tax” constitutional amendment who have not already studied it probably will be duped into the wrong choice because the ballot is deceitful and incomplete.

Why Is Criminal Investigation Of Pritzker Toilet-Removing Property Tax Scheme Taking So Long? – Wirepoints

Justice delayed is justice denied. That goes for both Pritzker and the people of Illinois.

“Este estado es el más corrupto del país. Si damos miles de milliones de dólares mas a los políticos, empeorará la situación.” – Ted on Univision

Ted was on Univision warning Illinoisans about the negative impacts of tax hikes like the progressive income tax. He warned that giving billions more to the most corrupt politicians in the nation would only make things worse. 

“Fix the problems instead of throwing more money into the bottomless pit that is unreformed Illinois” – Mark on with Mike Flannery

Mark was on with Mike Flannery of Fox 32 Chicago last week discussing why reforms are needed in Illinois, not a progressive income tax.

New CDC Estimates: Fatality Rate For COVID-19 Drops Again And May Surprise You – Wirepoints

Earlier numbers, which were far more frightening, got extensive press coverage. Very little media attention, however, has gone toward the new numbers.

New CUB Scandal Is Another Reason To Kill The Clean Energy Jobs Act – Wirepoints

It’s a scandal unto itself about the organization that’s supposed to be looking out for Illinois consumers in utility rate-making. But the story’s significance goes beyond that scandal. It should also seal the case against CEJA, the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Commentary by Wirepoints’ Ted Dabrowski: A solution for Illinois’ state retirement crisis – Chicago Tribune*

What Illinois needs is a road map to reform that’s readily available when the state’s finances finally break down. At Wirepoints, we’ve laid out a path for fixing Illinois’ biggest problem: pensions.

Gov. Pritzker’s Office Responds To Wirepoints’ Pension Report – Wirepoints

No substantive response, just name calling and labeling.

“Illinois’ numbers are so overwhelming. There’s no way that people in states that managed their affairs properly are going to pay to bail out Illinois and Chicago.” – Mark on with AM 560’s Dan Proft

Mark was on with with Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson discussing Wirepoints' new report on the need for comprehensive pension reform, the push for a progressive tax and the potential for a federal bailout for irresponsible states like Illinois.

Wirepoints’ reform plan can solve Illinois’ retirement crisis – Wirepoints Press Release

Wirepoints’ plan immediately cuts the state’s official unfunded pension and retiree health liabilities by over $70 billion, dropping debts to $120 billion from $192 billion. That reduction saves the state an average of $5 billion a year in retirement costs and reduces retirement costs as a share of the state’s budget to 17 percent from 26 percent.

Solving Illinois’ Pension Problem: Why It’s Legal, Why It’s Necessary, and What It Looks Like – Wirepoints Special Report

Stopping the growth in accrued pension promises is the only way Illinois can guarantee an end to its public retirement crisis. Wirepoints' reform plan protects state workers’ retirement security and ensures Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens no longer suffer from ever-higher taxes and a lack of core services.

Solving Illinois’ Pension Problem | Part 4: A Solution for Illinois’ State Retirement Crisis

Wirepoints lays out a baseline restructuring for Illinois’ five state-run pension plans and the retiree health insurance plan for state workers. The plan significantly reduces Illinois’ retirement debts, helping Illinois escape its downward spiral. By reforming pensions, we can avoid tax hikes and reestablish a competitive level of services, tax rates and economic growth for Illinois.

“With unemployment so high, with the economy struggling, Pritzker must make government less costly for taxpayers.” – Ted on Chicago Tonight

“Other states were prepared for a rainy day and we weren’t. Pritzker has to look at payroll because that’s the biggest part of the expense. The bottom line is that with unemployment so high, with the economy struggling, he’s got to make government more efficient and less costly for the taxpayers.”

Illinois COVID-19 cases triple since June, but hospitalizations, deaths remain flat. What gives? – Wirepoints

It’s not cases that matter, but hospitalizations and deaths. That’s important because there’s been no real increase in hospitalizations or deaths for three whole months. Cases have tripled since their lows on June 18, yet the average daily death rate has actually fallen from 50 then, to about 19 today. 

The case for reopening New Trier schools: Ted talks with New Trier Neighbors – Wirepoints Video

And after months of learning to deal with the coronavirus, Illinois is in far better shape for reopening schools than it was just three months ago. Here’s what New Trier parents should know about returning to in-person schooling.

Commentary by Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon: Yes, Illinois pension reform can come through a constitutional amendment – Chicago Tribune*

Pritzker is wrong to say pension reform is a "fantasy." Well-established federal law says he is wrong. Precedent from other states show why he is wrong. And Pritzker’s own lawyers have effectively explained why he is wrong.

Pritzker’s Upside-Down Message On Budget Cuts And Federal Help – Wirepoints

It's partly because Illinois has shown no willingness to cut even a dime that Washington has been unable to agree on a federal relief package for states.

Solving Illinois’ Pension Problem | Part 3: Why Pension Reform is Legal

State and federal case law is clear. Amending the Illinois Constitution and passing comprehensive pension reform is both possible and essential. Only a lack of political will stands in the way.

Illinois pension reforms would survive federal constitutional challenges – Wirepoints Press Release

Gov. Pritzker’s declaration of comprehensive pension reform as a “fantasy” is wrong. Case law and other states’ experiences show reforms would survive federal constitutional challenges.

A Shrinking Population: Illinois the Outlier – Wirepoints Video

Illinois is the extreme outlier nationally when it comes to losing people. Illinois is one of just four states to shrink over the past decade and no state has lost more population during that time period. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s the central, misleading claim constantly made about the ‘Fair Tax’ proposal – Quicktake

There is nothing about rates in the what you will vote on. Springfield would be free to increase rates at any time on any income group if the measure passes.

Illinois And The Mail-In Voting Election Mess – Wirepoints

Illinois may be in somewhat better shape to avoid the fiasco likely in many other states, but serious trouble still looms.

LIVE at Noon: A graduated tax talk hosted by Rep. Sosnowski with Wirepoints, AFP Action and CTBA

Watch live at noon, a graduated income tax discussion hosted by Illinois State Representative Joe Sosnowski.

“The Illinois Constitution says that pension benefits can’t be diminished. But there’s nothing in there that says politicians can’t continue to dole out more and more.” – Ted on WJPF NewsRadio

Ted was on WJPF radio this week talking to Tom Miller about the total pension promises made to government workers for the state’s five pension funds.

Note To Our Readers About Links To Subscription-Based Articles – Wirepoints

We will soon start marking with an asterisk those that might require a subscription, but we will continue to link to them, for several reasons.

Solving Illinois’ Pension Problem | Part 2: Illinois Pensions – Overpromised & Overgenerous

Underfunding isn’t the problem. The true cause of Illinois’ crisis has been the dramatic overpromising of benefits.

Overpromised benefits, not underfunding, have been the real cause of Illinois’ pension crisis – Wirepoints Press Release

Wirepoints’ new report shows how overpromised and overgenerous benefits have created Illinois’ worst-in-nation crisis.

Fact Check: The Latest Deception From Supporters Of Progressive Tax Increase – Wirepoints

A response to their recent op-ed in the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois’ latest progressive tax ad: Seven things every Illinoisan should know – Wirepoints

The latest progressive tax ad claims Illinois has “one of the most unfair tax systems in America,” ignoring that 35 states actually have tax structures similar to Illinois. The ad also says 97 percent of Illinoisans will pay the same or less under the progressive tax. That certainly won’t be true in the future.

Commentary by Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon: The path to Illinois pension reform – Chicago Tribune

The rotunda in the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield on May 20, 2020. Glennon: "Instead of pension reform, the state’s political establishment has chosen to focus on a misguided and false alternative — a progressive income tax, which Illinoisans will vote on in November. Recognize the progressive tax proposal for what it is: just another tax increase."

‘Seismic Disruption’: Chicago Estimates Combined Budget Shortfall of $2 billion for This Year And Next – Wirepoints

Illinois faces a “seismic disruption” of its economy, Lightfoot said. Unfortunately she offered no seismic response or reforms, just vague aspirations and stronger rhetoric.

Illinois’ extreme outlier status on debts, taxes and out-migration highlights the need for pension reform – Wirepoints Press Release

Press Release: “Illinois is the Nation’s Extreme Outlier” includes a 50-state analysis detailing Illinois’ outlier status and the negative impact that status has on people’s lives and livelihoods.

Chicago area police warned about gang alliance to shoot them – Quicktake

The Strategic Operations Center of the Cook County Sheriff's has distributed a warning to Chicago area police of a possible alliance among area gangs to shoot officers making arrests.

Over two-thirds of downstate COVID-19 deaths tied to Illinois retirement homes, and the portion is growing – Wirepoints

The real problem downstate is, and continues to be, the failure of the state to protect nursing home residents. A new analysis shows that between 68 to 73 percent of COVID-19 deaths downstate are tied to retirement homes.

RFK would turn in his grave at his party’s reaction to Kenosha shooting – Quicktake

You’d think the primary point of that speech -- his call for a peaceful reaction -- would be honored and quickly echoed by his party after police shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha on Sunday. Not so.

Being a financial deadbeat has its costs: Georgia borrows at 1.5%, Illinois at 5.6% – Wirepoints Quicktake

Georgia just borrowed $1.1 billion at an average cost of 1.5 percent, the lowest interest rate ever for the state. Near-junk Illinois last borrowed from the market at a rate of 5.65 percent.

Questions and problems grow over Illinois’ handling of retirement homes – Wirepoints

Not only did the state fail to effectively protect retirement home residents from COVID-19, but in its rush to manage the situation it failed to protect them from neglect and abuse as well.

These Words of Mayor Lori Lightfoot Should Echo Across America: ‘I Have A Right To Make Sure That My Home Is Secure’ – Wirepoints

That words so simple, so innocuous and so true could raise as many core issues as they do says so much that’s extraordinary about the circumstances we are in. Those issues go far beyond Lightfoot and Chicago.

Questions and problems grow over Illinois’ handling of retirement homes – Wirepoints

Not only did the state fail to effectively protect retirement home residents from COVID-19, but in its rush to manage the situation it failed to protect them from neglect and abuse as well.

Ignorance About Covid-19 Risk Is ‘Nothing Short of Stunning,’ Research Report Says; Huge Age Variance – Wirepoints

Americans have been “blinded from science” according to a recent research report about their understanding of COVID-19. And it’s not about the controversial aspects like treatments and lockdown policies. It’s about ignorance of fundamental, undisputed facts on who is at risk.

More reasons why Illinois’ credit rating is circling junk: Bond lawsuits and Fed borrowing – Wirepoints

If the lawsuit is successful, it could hurt Illinois’ ability to borrow its way out of the current crisis. But even if it fails, the fact that it’s moving forward could cause problems for the state.

As Chicago Nears Panic, Lightfoot’s Partisan Blather On National Television Only Hurts – Wirepoints

Chicagoans terrified about the city’s future will take no solace hearing their mayor put national politics over their interests.

Ignore Illinois cases, positivity and focus on hospitalizations, deaths – Wirepoints

The persistent reporting of rising cases and high positivity rates invoke fear, but the public should know that cases alone don’t matter. What really matters are hospitalizations and deaths. And those have yet to rise in Illinois, even if cases have risen significantly for more than a month and a half.

BLM Chicago Says Sunday night was a ‘slave revolt’ and we can’t expect rioters to play by the rules – Updated – Quicktake

For a change, it seems like almost everybody is calling Sunday night’s riot in Chicago what it was -- a riot. Almost everybody. Not Black Lives Matter Chicago.

Illinois second-worst state for flight of well-off millenials – Quicktake

New York, Illinois and Massachusetts, in that order, were were the worst off for net loss of that group of the population.

Mendoza, Pritzker warn of budget cuts without federal money – Center Square

Ted Dabrowski said the state had problems long before COVID-19 and now is an opportune time to get reforms in places to shore up how the state spends the taxpayers’ money. “This is a big chance for him to actually be the guy that fixed Illinois, he’d be the first guy to actually solve Illinois’ problems. Right now we don’t hear any of that at all.”

The facts support in-person learning for most Illinois schools. Case study: New Trier High School District 203 – Wirepoints

It’s only natural for parents and teachers to be worried about the impact of returning students to the classroom. But it’s important to look at the science and data of the coronavirus. The reality is children are far less likely to get infected with COVID-19, are far less likely to get seriously ill, and are far less likely to spread the virus to adults and other children.

No, Illinois Does Not Send More To Federal Government Than It Gets Back – Wirepoints

You cannot claim that Illinois has an unfair balance of payments deficit with the federal government if you also believe that progressive federal tax rates are fair.

Where’s the reporting on downtown Chicago havoc? – Quicktake

Videos and pictures don't lie. But if you saw those videos then surveyed the news Sunday morning you'd think you woke up in a different city.

“Speaker Madigan and others have built up this amazing machine that garners money, laws, and power. If Madigan is gone tomorrow that legally corrupt machine is still there.” – Ted Dabrowski on with Tom Miller

Ted was on with Tom Miller of WJPF this week talking about ComEd, Speaker Madigan and the Illinois machine. "If Madigan is gone tomorrow Illinois' legalized corruption machine is still there. It's not just Madigan, it's the machine that must be deconstructed."

The Chicago Tribune Union’s Depraved Assault on John Kass – Wirepoints

It’s perhaps the most vicious effort to date in the cancel culture’s assault on journalism, and it’s based on a charge that’s entirely fabricated.

Chicago Devoured by the Tiger JFK Warned About – Wirepoints

It's no accident that his warning is forgotten as the city struggles for its life. And the tiger is still hungry.

Seven facts parents and teachers should know about the risks of reopening Chicago Public Schools – Wirepoints

School reopenings have become the next major political football in America, and the opening of Chicago Public Schools is no exception. But how risky is it really for CPS children to return to school? And how risky is a reopening for teachers? Let's look at the data.

“The individuals with BLM signs in their yards may be well-intentioned people, but they’re just not paying attention to what the organization is really about.” – Mark Glennon on the Steve Cortes Show

Mark was on with Steve Cortez this week. "Some say it's the movement I support, it's just a phrase, I don't care about the organization.' But that's the problem, by using that phrase, you are supporting that organization, giving them credibility."

Dear Black Lives Matter Supporters, Chicago’s Latest Riot is on You – Wirepoints

Ditch the BLM yard signs. Find a better slogan than Black Lives Matter. Defund its network.

Claiming ‘Unique Opportunity to Lead the Nation,’ Parents Ask High School to Adopt ‘Freedom of Expression Resolution’ – Wirepoints

Has the cancel culture infected your kids' school? A parent group may have a partial remedy.

Mayor Lightfoot doesn’t get it. A broke Chicago can’t ‘eliminate inequalities’ or ‘expand opportunities.’ – Wirepoints

As long as the mayor continues to ignore the city’s slide toward bankruptcy, she won’t “eliminate inequalities” or “expand economic opportunities” for Chicago's minority communities. Broken cities have little to no chance of helping those most in need.

Illinois’ Defense of Eviction Moratorium Includes an About-Face on State ‘Police Power’ – Wirepoints

The sanctity of contracts shoe apparently fits depending on who is wearing it. It fits public workers but not those randomly forced to provide free housing.

Why Governor Pritzker’s Congressional Testimony on COVID-19 Was False and Hypocritical – Wirepoints

Let’s hope that, when this is over, a quality review is undertaken that produces a useful assessment akin to the 911 Commission’s report. Hopefully, it will be free of self-aggrandizing politicians who have plagued the debate so far.

Illinois schools must reopen in August, but teachers unions may say no – Wirepoints

Evidence shows the mental and emotional harm done to children by not being in school is outweighing the potential harm of the coronavirus. The good news is the risk of a full-time, in-class reopening is far lower than originally feared. But don't expect the teachers unions to make reopening easy.

Kudos to Chicago on its new broadband program — ‘Chicago Connect’ – Quicktake

Best of all, the city was able to cobble together a diverse coalition of private sector donors and philanthropists to pay for at least the first two years of the program.

Chicago restored to financial stability? No. – Quicktake

Come on, PNC. Financially smart people will read your release. They know.

Illinois pension costs will devour a quarter of state budget for 25 more years, and that’s the rosy scenario – Wirepoints

The state projects that pension costs will devour more than a quarter of the budget for the next 25 years. The problem is, Illinois’ pension crisis is far worse than even the state’s official numbers show. In reality, the state needs to devote half its budget to retirements just to get the crisis under control.

Chicago home prices at the bottom of the barrel nationally – Wirepoints

The short-term data for Chicago home prices is bleak, and the longer-term picture captures just how badly the Windy City area has done since the new Millennium.

Mayor Lightfoot Returns to Ol’ Standby Slush Funds to Help Pay Bills – TIFs – Wirepoints

It’s not often that we’re on the same page with Tom Tresser of CivicLab and Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader. But on the central problem with tax increment financing in Chicago – their abysmal lack of transparency -- we’re on common ground, along with most everybody else.

A mortgage-sized bill of pension debts awaits anyone who moves to Illinois – Wirepoints

The state is drowning in public pension debt and anyone living here will be forced to pay that debt down over the next two to three decades. For many considering a move, that’d be reason enough to avoid this state.

What’s Illinois’ true COVID-19 fatality rate? – Wirepoints

Antibody testing results from around the country are showing the actual lethality of the virus is far lower than originally feared. CDC findings suggest that the true number of U.S. cases total 24 million, not the 2.4 million reported officially. That would drop the virus fatality rate to 0.5 percent from the known-case death rate of 4.9 percent.

Illinois homeowners beware, COVID-19 means even higher property taxes – Wirepoints

Illinois homeowners should count on higher property taxes next year to be one of the many negative outcomes of COVID-19. As commercial property assessments drop due to the economic consequences of the coronavirus, residential property owners will be forced to pick up the slack and pay a larger share of local government tax bills.

Pritzker Says Masks ‘Turned the Corner’ on COVID-19; Data Say Otherwise – Wirepoints

Does he assume (as he probably can) that nobody in the press will question him?

Where’s the Omelet? Black Lives Matter Chicago Answers George Orwell’s Question – Wirepoints

If the two-thirds of Americans who believe all lives matter continue to remain silent, expect more violence from many causes.

“It’s not just the poor. It’s not just the rich. It’s everybody leaving the state. You just can’t tax your way out of this.” – Ted on Capitol Connection with Mark Maxwell

Ted was on Capitol Connection last week talking with Mark Maxwell about the impact of COVID-19 on downstate Illinois and how a progressive tax is a terrible idea, especially when Illinois faces the worst economic crisis since the 1930's.

Illinois downstaters had it right all along. COVID-19 data shows Pritzker should have reopened downstate weeks ago. – Wirepoints

Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s own COVID-19 metrics, Illinois’ downstate regions should have entered Phase 4 of his reopening plan weeks ago. The data supporting that claim is overwhelming, especially when the downstate numbers are compared with those of the Chicagoland region.

Lesson from Wisconsin: Reopening didn’t doom its coronavirus efforts – by Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon – Chicago Tribune

Linda, 72, eats ice cream next to her husband Joe, 76, as a pedestrian walks by on May 14, 2020, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Most people acted sensibly even though their governor wasn’t micromanaging their lives.

Pritzker’s Latest Data Blather and a Broader Look at His COVID-19 Shutdown Order – Wirepoints

Ironically, Illinois actually does have genuinely good news to report on the virus, but it may convey a different lesson, so it’s a good time to consider a broader perspective on Illinois’ shutdown rule.

Progressive tax states lose people, income to flat and zero income tax states – Wirepoints

Flat and no-income tax states are beating out progressive tax states in the contest for people and their incomes. The nation's seventeen flat and no income tax states won a net 1.9 million residents and $120 billion in Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from progressive tax states during the 2000-2018 period.

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank Bows to the Mob – Wirepoints

If you are among the two-thirds of Americans opposing calls by Black Lives Matter to defund the police, think twice about saying so in public.

New study finds ‘no evidence’ of COVID outbreak in Wisconsin after lockdown order voided; other metrics continue to improve – Quicktake

Most people, it turned out, behave responsibly even when their governor isn't micromanaging their lives.

Pritzker has no excuse to extend his shutdown of Illinois. His own data says reopen. – Wirepoints

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s justifications for maintaining one of the strictest reopening schedules in the country are falling by the wayside. Even his own science and data are working against him. 

“The 2021 budget sends the message to Illinoisans that the political elite don’t consider them a priority.” – Video

This is by far the most irresponsible budget ever passed by an Illinois legislature. It’s no wonder that the words bankruptcy and Illinois increasingly go hand-in-hand.

Blistering Take-Down of Gov. Pritzker’s COVID-19 Order by a Suburban Mayor – UPDATED – Video

If you have any interest at all in Gov. J.B. Pritzker's shutdown order, the video by Village of Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau is a must-watch.

Facebook event: Join Ted at 6 pm today as he breaks down Illinois’ budget with Brian Costin of AFP-Illinois.

Tuesday, June 9th: Come listen in at 6 pm today as Ted breaks down Illinois' budget with Brian Costin, Deputy State Director for AFP-Illinois. Illinois' 2021 budget is the latest failure out of Springfield. It runs a $6 billion deficit, has no cuts, no reforms, and is dependent on a federal bailout

COVID-19 Peaked In April in Illinois Just When Pritzker Changed ‘Science and Data’ To Say Otherwise – Wirepoints

The bottom line is clear: The virus peaked even before Pritzker claimed the science and data had changed to say it would peak later. And that was just when Pritzker needed to build up his case for extending his stay-at-home order and his reopening plan, which has been rated the harshest in the nation, a plan that makes no sense on its face.

Call Rioting What It Is: Moral Depravity. And Hold Its Enablers Accountable – Wirepoints

Justice of some form will only come if those in positions of influence and power who condoned and even encouraged violence start getting the blame they’ve earned. Remember their names. Hold them accountable. This is about moral depravity and they are culprits.

Mismanaged Illinois becomes first state to borrow from new Federal Reserve facility – Wirepoints

Illinois has abandoned hopes of affordably raising $1.2 billion from the bond market and has turned, instead, to a new Federal Reserve lending facility known as the Municipal Liquidity Facility. Illinois will be the first state to tap the Fed, which is meant to be a lender of last resort

S&P’s nine biggest criticisms of Illinois finances – Wirepoints Original

S&P Global Ratings just released its analysis of Illinois’ 2021 budget. When all their criticisms are highlighted, it’s a pretty scathing list.

The Social Contract Between Government and People Is Unraveling – Quicktake

Numbers, budgets, charts and graphs about government finances. That’s what we do here. We try to understand where public money should be spent and what it accomplishes. Through that lens, it’s difficult to know where to begin on what has befallen the Chicago area and most of the country.

“The longer the economy is shut, the worse Illinois’ revenues and deficits will be. Politicians expect jobless Illinoisans to pay for those deficits.” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

"You've got one million Illinoisans unemployed, nobody knows what's happening with the economy, we're only now starting to open up. And yet the government passed a record spending budget – the biggest ever – with no cuts, no furloughs, no kind of savings whatsoever to give relief to Illinoisans that have to pay for that government."

Pritzker Wilts Hours Before United States Supreme Court Review, Double-Talks About-Face on Churches – Wirepoints

Was it because his “science and data” somehow changed? Or was it because he feared having his vast emergency powers challenged in the United States Supreme Court?

Illinois government jobs protected, private sector jobs decimated during COVID-19 shutdown – Wirepoints

Two months and more than 800,000 lost jobs later, we now know which job sectors are the shutdown's biggest losers. The least impacted sector in Illinois? State government. 

No cuts, record spending, and hoping for a bailout. Eight things you need to know about Illinois’ 2021 budget. – Wirepoints

The Illinois General Assembly has finally passed an emergency budget for 2021  Tax revenues have taken a severe hit due to the impact of the shutdown in response to COVID-19, yet that hasn’t stopped lawmakers’ spending priorities. The state will spend a record $42.9 billion while bringing in just $36.8 billion. 

Never mind the courts, says Pritzker. Only his views of the ‘science and data’ matter. – Wirepoints

Pritzker is now out of touch -- oblivious to the firestorm surrounding his order, disdainful of the rule of law and confident he can dismiss all critics as political grandstanders and much worse.

Big raises for Chicago Teachers Union, state’s AFSCME shows where federal aid to Illinois will end up – Wirepoints

Public payrolls are getting slashed around the country to keep government more affordable for the devastated private sector, but not in Illinois. Quite the opposite.  Pritzker and Lightfoot are doling out raises while saying Illinois’ financial problems can’t be solved without help from the federal government.

COVID-19 Appears to Have Peaked and be Declining in Illinois – For Now – Quicktake

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois has dropped below 4,000 and is now lower than April 9.

Our Rebuttal to BGA’s David Greising’s Defense of Pritzker’s Emergency Order – Wirepoints

A more classic straw man case could barely be made, nor a more shallow treatment of the opposition to Governor JB Pritzkers emergency COVID-19 order.

Illinois No.1: The Harshest Coronavirus Lockdown Restrictions in America – WalletHub – Quicktake

Illinois is worst on the list, ranking 51st among states and DC for least restrictive.

COVID-19 spreads to half of all Chicagoland retirement homes. How did this happen? – Wirepoints

When this crisis is finally over, Illinoisans will look back at the failure to protect the vulnerable residents of retirement homes as one of the worst tragedies of the COVID-19 crisis. The fact that cases and deaths have been so widespread means there was a systemic failure in protecting the elderly.

“People are waking up. Overwhelmingly people are indignant about this emergency rule.” – Mark Glennon with Steve Cortes

“Something is happening here. People are waking up. Overwhelmingly people are indignant about this emergency rule. People are starting to understand the danger of the precedent that would be set here if indefinite powers, like Gov. Pritzker claims he has, are allowed to stand.”

Trading at junk levels: Illinois borrowing costs 5 times higher than AAA-rated states – Wirepoints

To see how punitive borrowing has become for Illinois, look at the interest rates the state is paying on its 10-year bonds. At 5.65 percent, Illinois’ rate is now five times higher than the 1.13 percent rate it costs AAA-rated states to borrow.

Morning Parking Ban to Crush Chicago Churchgoers: Entire Neighborhood Gets No Parking/Tow Warning – Updated – Wirepoints

A travesty on many levels. Just don't call it a police state because cops around Illinois are standing up as civil libertarians.

Pritzker Criminalizes Violators of His Shutdown Order Using His Own Rule-Making Power – Wirepoints

The new rule effectively directs county state’s attorneys and other officials to enforce the governor's emergency order, making violations punishable by fines up to $2500 and/or imprisonment.

Illlinois’ overly-restrictive shutdown rules make it a national outlier – Quicktake

Thirty-one states are already reopening, while 11 other states are reopening on a regional basis. Six additional states – Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont – are set to reopen next week. Notably, Illinois was one of the first to shut down and it will be one of the last to reopen.

Illinois eying loan from Fed, but who would certify state is solvent? – Quicktake

We've been trying to envision the meeting among Pritzker Administration officers and staff when they found that requirement in the paperwork.

Illinois teachers’ union is quite pleased by radical opportunities they would have in an economic depression – Quicktake

Hoping that a "millennial-led militance" will use a depression to make palpable gains for the radical left.

Two Articles About Wirepoints by Greg Hinz in Crain’s Chicago Business

Greg Hinz has long been among the most prominent of Illinois' reporters and commentators on Illinois government given his position as such at Crain's Chicago Business. Here are his two recent articles directed to us at Wirepoints. We reproduce them in full with no further comment, for now, except to highlight the portions pertaining to Wirepoints, and to ask our regular readers to consider in light of what we've actually written.

COVID-19 deaths and pre-existing conditions. What Illinois’ data says about who’s at risk. – Part 2 – Wirepoints

Not all Americans with one or more pre-existing conditions are at serious risk of death from COVID-19. Illinois’ fatality data shows that the virus has had a limited impact on younger demographics.

Facing Growing Defiance, Pritzker Thumbs Nose at AG Opinion, Insults and Threatens Dissidents – Updated – Wirepoints

Nobody should be surprised. Pritzker is responding to dissent exactly as we should always fear when czarlike powers are challenged – with vengeance, claims to superior knowledge and assertion of still more power.

Mayor Lightfoot, why stop with GrubHub on your demand for disclosure? – Quicktake

“Hey, Hostess company, my Twinkies cost too damn much. Tell us how much you are charging Jewel for them so I can judge if that’s fair.”

“Illinois politicians can keep playing games as long as the market keeps bailing out the state. But when the market stops, the choice is chaos or reforms.” – Ted on AM 560 Chicago’s Morning Answer

Ted talked about the impact of Illinois delaying its latest bond offering and the fact that nearly half of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois are linked to retirement homes. "As long as the market or federal government keeps bailing out Illinois, politicians can keep playing games. But when that stops, the choice is chaos or reforms."

Half of Illinois’ COVID-19 deaths linked to retirement homes. Five key facts you should know. – Wirepoints

In all, half of Illinois’ COVID-19 deaths are linked to long-term care facilities, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That percentage has been rising since IDPH began posting retirement home deaths on April 19.

Wirepoints analysis reveals 92 percent of Cook County COVID-19 victims had pre-existing conditions – Part 1 – Wirepoints

A Wirepoints analysis of COVID-19 deaths from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office reveals that 92 percent of victims from the virus had pre-existing medical conditions.

Who’s most at risk for COVID-19 and why isn’t Illinois publishing that data? – Wirepoints

You’d think with more than 3,200 deaths, Illinois’ Department of Public Health would share how many of those deaths had underlying causes. It doesn’t. But it should.

With New FDA Action, Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike Have No Excuse for Further Stonewalling Antibody Testing – Updated and Corrected – Wirepoints

One provider in Illinois is finding a stunning 60% of those tested have antibodies, which is potentially great news. Illinois never did have a good excuse for not collecting and publishing antibody testing. Now it has none.

Pritzker’s top-down reopen strategy will fail large parts of Illinois: He should expect pushback – Wirepoints

It only takes a glance at Illinois’ statewide COVID-19 data to realize what a big difference there is between Chicagoland and the rest of the state.

Governor Pritzker’s Plan to Reopen Illinois Makes No Sense – Wirepoints

Extension of the plan’s logic would mean that countless activities we routinely engage in despite some level of risk should be banned until the risk is eliminated.

Illinois delays $1.2 billion bond issue. Will it tap new Federal Reserve program? – Wirepoints

Illinois has postponed a planned $1.2 billion short-term bond issue. If Illinois can’t access the financial markets, it may eventually end up going to the Federal Reserve. Implications are twofold: it would increase the state’s borrowing costs further and signal Illinois’ further distress to the market.

April State of Illinois Revenues Tank, Special Funds Raided – Quicktake

Base revenues for the State of Illinois for April sank by 46% from compared to April of last year, a $2.7 billion drop.

JP Morgan’s Cembalest: COVID-19 shutdown drives Illinois’ true retirement costs to 60 percent of budget – Wirepoints

Illinois was in a mess long before the COVID-19 crisis came along. Now the shutdown will make things worse. Overall, Illinois’ true retirement costs would consume a bit less than 60 percent of the state’s budget after taking the shutdown into account.

Illinois lets Fair Maps amendment deadline expire. Gerrymandering will continue. – Quicktake

Remember Governor JB Pritzker's promises to end gerrymandering in Illinois? Maybe you were among the nearly 600,000 people who signed the petition to end it. Polls have long showed overwhelming, bipartisan support. Well, forget it.

Indifference to Illegality of Illinois Stay-at-Home Order is Frightening – Wirepoints

Pity us if the arguments made to defend Governor Pritzker's emergency order are accepted and become precedent. From Cicero to Star Wars, the challenge remains the same.

Open Illinois’ economy: Recessions and depressions kill – Wirepoints

Recessions and depressions kill. We don’t need models to know that, just past experience. It’s not a trivial concern to be dismissed out of hand. But dismiss is exactly what Crains’ Chicago columnist Greg Hinz did.

Now A Government Official is Arguing in Federal Court that Pritzker’s Emergency Order is Unconstitutional – Quicktake

The plaintiffs caused their own problem, the answer basically says, because they were foolish enough to take Pritzker’s order seriously.

Section 1983 grants ordinary Illinoisans the power to sue Pritzker for constitutional violations – Mark on the Steve Cortes Show

Mark was on the Steve Cortes Show this week discussing the various lawsuits that have sprung up challenging Pritzker's stay-at-home order.

IL pols are out of can-kicks but reject reforms. Americans won’t bail out Illinois. Bankruptcy might be the only option left. – Ted on The Chicago Way with John Kass

Ted was on with John Kass last week to discuss what bankruptcy could look like for Illinois and Chicago. Now that Illinois Senator President Don Harmon has breached the subject of a bailout and Senator Mitch McConnell opened up the possibility of bankruptcy, Illinois' fiscal mismanagement is in the national spotlight.  

Will Pritzker’s Attack on State Rep Who Blocked Stay-at-Home Order Trigger Section 1983 Lawsuits? – Wirepoints

Governor JB Pritzker’s tirade against State Rep. Darren Bailey may be turn out to be as self-destructive as it was improper, encouraging more lawsuits including damage claims and assertions of personal liability.

COVID-19: Seven facts that tell us Illinoisans can and must get back to work – Wirepoints

For many ordinary Illinoisans, fear over the killer virus is now morphing into a fear of survival without a job or income. The health data from the past month bolsters their desire to get back to work, while worsening economic data supports their urgency to do so.

COVID-19 pushes nation’s weakest public pension plans closer to the brink: A 50-state survey – Wirepoints Special Report

The nation’s weakest public pension funds may soon be among the casualties of COVID-19. Many were facing insolvency even before the virus hit and the stock market meltdown will only accelerate their decline. In 2018, the most recent year with comparable nationwide data, some of those funds had assets equal to just a few years’ worth of benefit payouts.

Governor Pritzker Should Collect and Publish Critical Antibody Testing – Wirepoints

Illinois should be collecting and publishing antibody test results just as other states are. Scrubbing hands is good. But scrubbing key data is abuse of power.

‘Contract’ is no excuse for upcoming pay raise for Illinois unionized state workers – Quicktake

Contracts can be adjusted when a crisis such as this makes full contract performance unreasonable. Where's the "shared sacrifice?"

Reopen the Economy While Protecting Those Truly at Risk or Face Another Great Depression – Wirepoints

If you don't think we are facing a severe economic depression, read up.

“Illinois Senate Democrats have asked the federal government for what New York Times calls a bailout.” – Ted with Tom Miller on Newsradio WJPF

Ted was on this week with Tom Miller of Newsradio WJPF. He talked about how Illinois Senate Democrats have asked the federal government for what New York Times and others call a "bailout". The response: "No, you can’t use the pandemic as a cover to try to get funding for previous problems."

Huge Flaw in Federal Guidelines Feeds Wrongheaded Thinking on ‘Opening Up’ – Wirepoints

Poverty kills. Recessions kill. Depressions kill tens of millions. Can we at least approach this rationally?

Illinois Republican Congressional Delegation Responds to Request for Federal Bailout – Wirepoints Original

On Friday, Wirepoints published a letter from the Illinois Senate President to the Illinois Congressional delegation. The letter, sent on behalf of Illinois Senate Democrats, requested a large federal bailout of Illinois pensions and other shortfalls the state is facing. Here is response sent by Republican members of the Illinois Congressional delegation.

Purchaser of Illinois’ Late Payment Obligations Says They Are Getting Illegally Shorted by the State – Wirepoints

Here’s another chapter in the mess that is unfolding as the State of Illinois’ revenue collapses.

Illinois enacting a progressive tax hike is like Sears attempting a turnaround by hiking prices. COVID-19 only makes it more absurd. – Wirepoints

Wirepoints published a version of this article last year. We’ve updated it to reflect the new reality of the COVID-19 crisis.

Illinois Senate Democrats Seek Massive Federal Bailout for State, Going Far Beyond Coronavirus Impact – Wirepoints

Wirepoints has obtained a copy of letter detailing a federal bailout request sent by Illinois Senate President Don Harmon.

Crises demand maximum scrutiny of government. Illinois is failing. – Our Monthly Crain’s Article

"In war and in all crises as swiftly moving as this pandemic, leaders acquire enormous latitude. There is no time for fact checks, court challenges, FOIA, legislative hearings, elections and all the rest. The opportunity for deceit, political manipulation of news and suppression of basic rights is at its apex. Vigilance in the watch over government, too, therefore must be at its apex."

Fitch downgrades Illinois to one notch above junk, warns state will be challenged to maintain investment-grade rating – Wirepoints

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Illinois’ credit rating to BBB-, one notch above junk, in response to the continued negative impact of the Coronavirus and Illinois’ already-tenuous financial position. It also assigned a negative outlook to the state, meaning another downgrade is likely as the pandemic continues.

Bond market trades Illinois like it’s already junk – Wirepoints

The bond markets are already trading Illinois bonds as if they were junk rated. As deficits and pension debts pile up in Illinois, let’s see how long it takes for the rating agencies to catch up. 

Note to Wirepoints Readers

We're going strong.

Illinois pension plans were running out of cash long before the Coronavirus hit – Wirepoints

Many pension funds across Illinois were running out of cash even before the Coronavirus reared its ugly head. The proof is in the collapsing asset-to-payout ratios of most Illinois pensions. Illinois’ worst-off funds only had two to five year’s worth of payouts left in 2018. 

“There are projections of unemployment of up to 30 percent. That’s about 2 million Illinoisans unemployed.” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

"What’s the impact on the economy and the people in the economy? There may be up to 2 million Illinoisans unemployed. If the economy stays closed for too long, we can have more opioid deaths, more suicides, more mental health issues, more domestic violence, much more poverty...all these need to be weighed against the risks of the virus."

Pritzker Still Stonewalling What Illinois Department of Public Health Says is ‘Most Important Information’ – Wirepoints

Pritzker has effectively been saying, “Just trust us. Never mind the numbers behind the curtain.” He has been stage managing the facts and data since the crisis started. These are not matters we should blindly entrust to any government.

Illinois’ expected deaths, hospital resource needs drop dramatically under IHME’s latest COVID-19 forecast – Wirepoints

IHME projections show Illinois has already passed its peak resource needs for hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators. As the curve flattens and the economic damage grows, Pritzker won’t be able to keep shrugging off questions about the models and the data he’s using to make the state’s big health and economic decisions.

Here are the details on COVID-19 hospitalization numbers Illinois should have collected and published weeks ago – Wirepoints

For more than a month now, Illinois' public has largely been in the dark about the state health care system’s capacity to handle the Coronavirus crisis. The state finally began collecting and releasing hospitalization data on April 3rd.

California Governor Gavin Newsom vs. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker: You Decide Who is Right – Wirepoints

Illinois Governor Pritzker has accused effectively accused the White House of nothing less than reckless homicide. California Governor Newsom has a different view and a different philosophy. Take your pick.

Federal Government, Too, Has Been Derelict on Key Coronavirus Hospitalization Numbers – Updated – Quicktake

Without real time updates on current capacity and utilization, projections almost certainly will be wrong. Both the federal government and State of Illinois failed.

With Not a Dime of Spending Cuts Anywhere, Illinois Banking on Federal Bailout – Quicktake

We expect Congress, especially the Senate, will say "cut spending, make reforms or drop dead." Illinois is banking on a fairy tale.

“It’s time for shared sacrifice in Illinois” – Ted Dabrowski on the Illinois Channel

It's time for shared sacrifice in Illinois. It's not fair for the private sector, which is getting crushed – up to 2 million Illinoisans may lose their jobs – to pay for a public sector that continues untouched, protected by long-term contracts and guaranteed pensions. It's not fair to ordinary Illinoisans.

Illinois had one hour’s worth of rainy day funds before the Coronavirus hit – Wirepoints

Illinois had just $4 million of rainy day funds before the Coronavirus hit. That was enough to cover just one hour’s worth of the state’s $40 billion operating budget.

The COVID-19 crisis: “If this goes on for another six weeks, we’d be destroyed.” – Wirepoints

Tony Duncan is just one of the millions of small business owners across America who will have to permanently close their doors if the shutdown continues much longer. As testing ramps up and COVID-19 data becomes more robust, the federal government and states must urgently begin to address both the public health and economic crises simultaneously.

Parroting Replaces Reporting: Pritzker’s Daily Coronavirus Briefings – Quicktake

Reporters, here are a few questions you should be asking and writing about.

Illinois Finally Starts Collecting Key Coronavirus Hospitalization Info. The Backstory is Shameful. – Wirepoints

Until April 3, Illinois failed to collect daily information critical to assessing and managing the COVID-19 crisis. It began doing so only under pressure, in which Wirepoints played no small role. Now the state is bragging about the simple step it should have taken long ago, citing it as an example of its prowess in science and data, and using it for a political jab.

Join Wirepoints for an online event on Monday, April 6, 2020 – “COVID-19 and the Illinois Pension Emergency: A $300 billion problem?”

Join Wirepoints on Monday, April 6, 2020 at 12 p.m. for an online event hosted by Americans For Prosperity Illinois. Ted Dabrowski will take participants through the impacts of the Coronavirus on Illinois' people, economy and government finances.

Illinois’ near-insolvent unemployment trust fund can’t handle surge in unemployment claims, will need to tap federal loans – Wirepoints

Illinois' unemployment trust fund is one of the nation’s most insolvent. Pritzker says Illinois will have to borrow money from the federal government to help make payments to the 178,000 Illinoisans who applied for jobless benefits last week.

Mayor Lightfoot’s Astonishing Denial of Chicago’s Fiscal Crisis – Wirepoints

We cheered Lori Lightfoot for defeating The Machine, for her triumphs over personal hardship and for her genuine commitment to ethics reform, but she’s clearly incapable of dealing with this crisis. The notion that tax revenues crash when the economy crashes seems beyond her. She has no concept of the scope of the crisis at hand.

Ten lessons from an old friend that just survived an ugly bout with Covid-19 – Wirepoints

An old friend of mine from my childhood years in Georgia just survived an ugly bout with Covid-19. He recently wrote about his experience with the virus and I want to share it with you. It’s a smart, inspiring piece that everyone should read. 

Why is Mayor Lightfoot talking about 40,000 Chicago hospitalizations when projections for all Illinois show just 9,300 at the peak? – Quicktake

Isn't it time for reporters to start asking why Illinois doesn't provide hospitalization numbers as other states do?

Coronavirus impact may push Illinois state pension debt to over $300 billion – Wirepoints

If you thought Illinois was already up to its neck in pension debts, just wait until the impact of the Coronavirus is tallied up. The state's shortfall will jump to over $310 billion in 2020 if conditions hold through June.

UPDATED: Illinois Still Not Providing Essential Covid-19 Hospitalization Numbers It Promised – Wirepoints

Illinois either doesn't have the most important numbers or isn’t providing them. Governor JB Pritzker, when asked for them last week, said his staff would be working on it over the weekend. We still don’t have them and there is no excuse.

As the crisis deepens, keep an eye on Illinois’ unpaid bills – Wirepoints

The full financial and economic impact the Coronavirus will have on Illinois is impossible to predict. For now, Illinoisans can keep an eye on the state’s $7.5 billion unpaid bill backlog to see how the state's finances are holding up.

Wirepoints: Don’t Let States Rob COVID-19 Funds to Bail Out Pensions – RealClear Politics

https://assets.realclear.com/images/50/505702_6_.jpg From Wirepoints' Ted Dabrowski and Mark Glennon, "Illinois is a perfect example of a state that shouldn’t be bailed out at the expense of fiscally responsible governments. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the state legislature and Chicago Mayor Lightfoot all reject structural pension reforms that would fix Illinois’ problems."

Bad Public Pension Bailout Ideas Now Surfacing – Wirepoints

The first specific proposal we’ve seen would be a three-fer, piling wrong on top of wrong on top of wrong. It’s from the Rockefeller Institute’s Liz Farmer, published nationally and in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Pending $2 trillion federal aid bill would single out Chicago from other Illinois towns and cities to get certain aid – Quicktake

The Illinois Municipal League is angry, as they should be, about federal bailout money for Chicago as the only Illinois town or city to get federal aid.

Who Are the Real ‘Covidiots,’ Rich Miller? – Wirepoints – UPDATED

ProPublica was right to ask for hospitalization numbers, and so were we.

What next for Illinois? – Wirepoints

The Coronavirus is a terrible crisis that threatens everyone, but the silver lining for many will be the clarity that only structural solutions can fix Illinois’ problems.

Unacceptable: Illinois and Certain Other States Not Releasing COVID Hospitalization Numbers – Wirepoints – UPDATED

We need daily hospitalization numbers and we need them now, on both people currently in hospitals and those who have been released. There’s no excuse for not having them.

State of Illinois provides first look at possible revenue impact from downturn – Quicktake

A revenue loss of $8 billion is a reasonable scenario – about 20% of the state budget – though it likely would be spread over several years.

Senator Dick Durbin demanding direct federal bailouts for broke states and cities behind the scenes, says Senator Tom Cotton – Quicktake

You knew this was coming. Trying to use the crisis to bail out Illinois and Chicago for years of fiscal madness.

Immoral: Paid Vacation for State and Local Workers; Pensioners Held Harmless as Taxpayers Face Ruin – Wirepoints

Illinois state and local governments have committed Illinois taxpayers essentially to holding harmless public sector workers from any loss. It's immoral.

Focus On Chicago’s Immediate Crisis, Mayor Lightfoot, Not Political Grandstanding – Wirepoints

A month ago she brushed off the threat of the the coming health and financial crisis, claiming Chicago was fully prepared and the federal government was overreacting. Her latest message is that use of the term "Chinese virus" is false and racist.

‘Act of God’: Illinois Teachers Get Full Pay, Pension Accrual While Schools Closed – Wirepoints

Millions of Illinois taxpayers who have been laid off or had their pay cut will pay for public work but see no shared sacrifice.

Spend like you never have, if you can afford it, and do it smartly – Quicktake

Government can’t solve this crisis and we don’t know how long it will last. It’s up to us.

“At what point will the human and economic toll of shutting down America, Illinois surpass the potential human toll of the virus?” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

Ted was on the Illinois Channel last week speaking to Jeff Berkowitz about the impact of the coronavirus and the toll it's taking on Illinois' economy, government and people.

Will cabin fever eclipse Wuhan virus and undercut social distancing? – Quicktake

People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.

Will Recession Revive Discussion of Illinois Municipal Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy-for-States? – Wirepoints

Crisis and necessity haven't gotten action earlier, but maybe this time will be different.

Expect the coronavirus to hit these parts of Chicago’s budget, jobs hardest – Wirepoints

Chicago's economy, budget and residents are in for a nasty shock. Altogether, at least half of the city’s revenues will be exposed directly to the impact of the coronavirus. If those budget lines alone suffer a 20 percent decline for the year, that will add another $500 million hole in the budget.

Champaign, Illinois attempts to suspend constitutional rights and impose martial law – Quicktake

Do they have the slightest understanding of the United States Constitution?

“The last decade has hidden all the cracks that exist in Illinois. The booming stock market, the national economy, those really helped Illinois hide from its problems. Now those problems are going to be exposed.” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

Ted discussed the impact of the Coronavirus on Illinois and Chicago's budgets, the effect of the market crash on Illinois' already crisis-level pension funds, and how these recent events make the push for a progressive tax all the more foolhardy.  

Brace for reduced state and local revenues in Illinois – Quicktake

Even if things return to normal well before the end of the year, a big hole probably will be blown in Illinois' pending budget for 2021. And the deficit left for 2020 surely will be bigger than expected.

Stock market meltdown, collapsing bond rates will wreak havoc on Illinois’ weakest pension plans – Wirepoints

Nobody is certain about the severity and duration of the market impact of the Coronavirus and the same goes for its impact on pension assets. What’s clear, however, is that taxpayers are on the hook for whatever shortfalls occur.

‘I Gotta Get Outta Here’: Cook County Treasurer’s Further Comments on Spike in Delinquent Property Tax Bills – Wirepoints

Maria Pappas' further comment on the Cook County’s 42 percent spike in delinquent property tax payments and the causes thereof, which she earlier said were “beyond human imagination.”

42% Jump in Property Tax Delinquencies as Cook County IL Treasurer Warns of Problems ‘Beyond Human Imagination’ – Wirepoints

Referring to the 57,515 Cook County tax-delinquent property owners facing a May 8 scavenger tax sale, Pappas said, “That is exactly 17,000 more than last year” at this time.

As markets tank, Illinois prioritizes social justice for investing public money – Quicktake

Does it undermine the goal of maximizing returns? Yes, of course it does -- by definition.

Are certain media elites math-challenged? Consider Exhibit A. – Quicktake

Aside from the math issue, they are apparently relying on Twitter for analysis.

Pritzker Press Secretary’s Effort to Squelch a News Story Was Deceitful and Malicious – Wirepoints

And bravo to the Jacksonville Journal-Courier. They ignored Abudayyeh and let the article stand.

The progressive tax panacea: What you need to know

Everyone should reject Pritzker's progressive tax. Not only are his rates not credible, but real home values in Illinois are falling. Residents are leaving in record numbers. Tax rates are already among the highest in the nation. And our politicians are the country's most corrupt. A multi-billion dollar tax hike will make every one of those things worse.

Coronavirus could wreak additional havoc on Illinois – Wirepoints

Illinois has no financial reserves to weather a recession. The state had no plan to stop the state’s rapid fiscal decline even before the virus and it has no plans now. It’s impossible to know how the impact of the virus will play out and whether a recession is imminent or not. But one thing we do know. Illinoisans are totally exposed to the risks.

Trees in the Wind: R.I.P., Jim Spiotto – Wirepoints

“The tree that does not bend in the wind is uprooted.”

Chicago ranks 45th out of 53 largest metropolitan areas for job creation. Austin, Nashville top the list. – Wirepoints

Chicago’s Loop might be hot, but city politicians will want to look at two big cities down South to see what real job creation looks like. Austin and Nashville led the Wall Street Journal’s survey of the nation’s hottest job markets in 2020. Chicago, in contrast, ranked 45th.

Even some Cook County residents are looking for a new Illinois – Wirepoints

After looking at the pain of those in Palos Heights and the refusal of Illinois politicians to fix anything, it’s no wonder some residents are looking for a fresh start.

Proposed increases for Illinois’ ‘rainy day fund’ and pensions are piddly – Quicktake

It's not just radicals who apply the rule: "The moment one gets into the area of $25 million and above, let alone a billion, the listener is completely out of touch, no longer really interested, because the figures have gone above his experience and almost are meaningless. Millions of Americans do not know how many million dollars make up a billion."

Bernie Sanders leading Democratic pack in Illinois, too – Quicktake

Sanders ahead with Bloomberg in second, though the poll was taken before Bloomberg's disastrous debate performance.

Governor Pritzker, pension reform is not fantasy. Other states prove it. – Wirepoints

A plain English explanation of why Pritzker is wrong about a state constitutional amendment for pension reform.

Pritzker’s 2021 Illinois budget: Unbalanced. No reforms. More spending. And of course, more tax hikes – Wirepoints

Pritzker's 2021 budget accelerates Illinois' downward slide by embracing the same policies that have driven Illinoisans out for years, while rejecting the structural reforms Illinois needs.

UPDATE: Michael Bloomberg’s Insertion of Paid Lawyers Into State AG Offices is Dangerous and Must be Stopped – Wirepoints

All attorneys general, including Illinois' Kwame Raoul, should terminate the program and it cannot be allowed to become the norm.

“Pritzker’s budget doesn’t change the trajectory of Illinois, it’s not a budget for a nearly junk-rated state that’s losing people.” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

"The budget that Governor Pritzker just delivered isn't a budget for a nearly junk-rated state. It's not a budget for a state that's losing more people than every other place except New York. It's not a budget for where home values are some of the lowest in the nation and not rising here like they are everywhere else. It's not a budget for a state that has some of the highest taxes, and definitely the second highest property taxes in the nation."

It’s unethical for Pritzker to suggest his progressive tax plan can fix the deficit and offer both property and income tax relief. Simple math shows he can’t do it all. – Wirepoints

If you’ve listened to Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the past few weeks, you’ve heard him play games with words. We called him out on it recently and now he’s doing it again. If the progressive tax fixes the budget deficit and delivers a tax cut, then there will be no money for property tax relief.

Beware These Likely Gimmicks in Wednesday’s Budget Address – Wirepoints

Certain things we expect he will say that you should treat skeptically or reject entirely.

“The poor and rich are voting with their feet…people from every income group are leaving Illinois.” – Mark on WGN’s Roe Conn Show

Mark Glennon was on the Roe Conn Show talking about the mass annual exodus of people and their wealth from Illinois. The state's growing pension crisis, constant political corruption and the crushing impact of property taxes have driven over a million people out of the state since 2000.

Illinoisans overwhelmed by a ‘shadow mortgage’ of pension debts – Wirepoints

Illinois’ combined state and local pensioner debts have reached absurd levels. When divvied up between Illinois’ households, the “shadow mortgage” each one is on the hook for now totals hundreds of thousands of dollars per household, if not more, depending on who politicians target to repay those debts.

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

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

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

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

Opportunity zones floundering in Chicago. No Surprise. – Quicktake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brace yourselves to get snowed (but not literally).

Governor Pritzker, we’re still waiting for the proof you claimed on supposed savings from pension buyouts – Quicktake

C'mon, Governor. You either have it or you don't. Give it to us or admit you had no reasonable basis for your claim.

Illinoisans feel the pain of stagnant incomes and skyrocketing property tax bills

Illinoisans’ pain from punishing property tax burdens has been building for decades. Property taxes per household in Illinois increased by 109 percent since 2000 and household incomes have failed to keep up, rising just 37 percent over the same time period.

The Faceless Genius Behind Another Great Year for Venture Capital in Chicago

It wasn’t the vision of a central planner in City Hall, Springfield or Washington. Minimal taxpayer money went into the effort.

Illinoisans need reform, not Gov. Pritzker’s false optimism

With nothing to back him up, the governor is asking Illinoisans to simply ignore the reality they are living in – that taxes are too high, services are being crowded out, real home values continue to fall, and that residents are leaving at a record pace.

Don’t be fooled by claims that a progressive income tax for Illinois would mean property tax relief – Wirepoints Original

The progressive tax will reportedly bring in just $3.6 billion in new revenue, which would be swallowed immediately by the state’s billion-dollar budget deficit, pension costs and unpaid bills. That leaves nothing for property tax relief.

Stonewalled Again on Savings Claimed from Illinois Pension Buyout Program – Wirepoints Original

The latest in bipartisan baloney on Illinois pension buyouts.  

Who will want to be a millionaire in Illinois?

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

Illinois spends 30 to 50 percent more than its neighbors on education, but results don’t budge

In a nutshell: Illinois spends far more than its neighbors on education and yet its politicians are committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars more every year. All to achieve student outcomes that haven’t improved in a decade and are, in most cases, worse than in neighboring states.

Why Nobody But Bond Buyers Should Like Chicago’s Latest Deal – Wirepoints Original

The toddlin’ continued for now, but the music can’t go on forever.

Wirepoints’ Monthly Crain’s Article: Chicago doubling down on dangerous ‘securitized bonds’

The losers in Chicago's bond scheme may end up being taxpayers, service recipients, public pensioners and everybody else except the muni bond community—bondholders, underwriters, bankers and lawyers.

   

WCIA TV: “A study by Wirepoints tracks population losses from 2010 to 2018, and Macon County ranked 4th out of 102 counties.”

WCIA Decatur used Wirepoints' report to tell its story on Macon County's loss of people. 93 counties in Illinois lost population between 2010 to 2018. Macon County suffered the 4th worst loss - over 6,000 people.

Illinois’ Early Move to Kill the Electoral College May Be Nearing Success

Survival of the Electoral College depends on how remaining states will vote on NPV and what the courts would do with it.

Why an aging and shrinking Illinois is a threat to public sector pensions

There’s a perfect demographic storm brewing in Illinois that threatens to take retirement security for government workers from bad to worse: Illinois’ boomer generation is hitting retirement age just as Illinoisans and their wealth are migrating out of the state at a record pace.

Quotes and No-Quotes from a Day in Springfield’s Unfolding Email Scandal – Quicktake

“Not knowing is foundational and fundamental to the entire design of the organization.”

“People move to states where there is opportunity, jobs, growth potential, affordable housing…people aren’t choosing Illinois, they’re leaving Illinois.” – Ted on WJPF NewsRadio

Ted was on WJPF radio this week talking to Tom Miller about Illinois' constant loss of people. "The people who are productive are leaving Illinois and going to places like Florida or Texas or Indiana..."

93 of Illinois’ 102 counties lost population from 2010 to 2018 – Wirepoints Original

If you’re wondering how widespread Illinois’ problems really are, look at county populations: 93 of the state’s 103 counties have shrunk since 2010. 

Illinois Comptroller Mendoza Exercises Her ‘Moral Authority’ – Wirepoints Original

Dare I say that Susana Mendoza is not the person to be exercising moral authority on use of state resources to victimize taxpayers?

New IRS data reveals winners and losers of wealth migration across 50 states – Wirepoints Original

The winners of the battle for people and their incomes included states like South Carolina, Arizona, Texas and Florida. On the other end of the competition are states that have become perennial losers. Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois and New York have experienced some of the nation’s biggest drain of people and their money.

Pathetic. Summary of the Draft Report by Illinois Property Tax Task Force – Wirepoints Original

It’s a hodgepodge of may-be-this-maybe-that non-conclusions and half-baked evasions from different subcommittees. It omits any quantification of the ideas it presents and offers no concrete recommendations whatsoever that can reasonably be expected to lower taxes meaningfully.

“Illinois is really sick and needs dramatic reforms, not the tax hikes, record spending and progressive tax threat we’ve got.” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

Ted was on the Illinois Channel last week taking a look at what happened to Illinois in 2019 and what the state needs to do to make 2020 a better year.

UPDATED: Report of Illinois Property Tax Relief Task Force Was Due at Year-End. Where is it? – Quicktake

Would it be too much to ask why it's late and when we can expect it? We've seen no answers from anybody.

New IRS data release: Record losses of taxable income and taxpayers for Illinois – Wirepoints Special Report

Illinois’ new decade is starting off with the same bad news the state struggled with throughout the 2010s – the increasing flight of Illinoisans to other states. The IRS has just released new domestic migration data and it shows Illinoisans left the state in record numbers.

Lieutenant Governor Stratton’s Shameful First Day With Legal Marijuana – Wirepoints Original

Instead of using Illinois’ first day of legalization to warn of marijuana’s undisputed dangers, she celebrated the event as if it were the end of prohibition of apple pie.

The Roaring Twenties Begin Again in Illinois. Well, Actually….

Let’s hope that by the end of this decade people of basic decency and common sense will have roared, giving future historians a different reason to call this decade, too, the Roaring Twenties.

To our readers: Support Wirepoints to speed our growth and deepen our impact.

2020 was a defining year for Wirepoints and the path is open for us to have an even bigger impact – with your support.

Happy New Year? New Census data shows Illinois lost population for the sixth year in a row – Wirepoints Original

New U.S. Census data shows that Illinois’ population fell again in 2019, making this the sixth year in a row Illinois has shrunk.

Overreach in Illinois’ New Employer Mandate on Anti-Sexual Harassment Training

You’d think a state struggling to keep its tax base from fleeing would avoid passing a law that has a lot of employers “panicking.”

Searching for common sense, regulation reduction and cost cutting in Illinois’ 255 new laws

Finding a law that reduces regulation and cuts costs within Illinois’ 255 new laws wasn’t easy. But I found one.

250 new laws will greet Illinoisans January 1, but none slow the state’s steep decline

Do a quick scan of the 255 new laws taking effect in Illinois on January 1 and it won’t take you long to realize that Illinois pols have done nothing to fix the state’s broader mess. None of those laws stop Illinois’ deep fiscal dive and the record flight of its residents.

When JB Pritzker Was A Fiscal Conservative

Pritzker was at one time one of the big donors to the fiscally conservative Concord Coalition and a supporter of the organization’s goals.

Gov. Pritzker, don’t blame Wirepoints. The math diminishes your ‘monumental’ claims, not us.

Pritzker does Illinois no favors when he declares that Wirepoints’ fiscal realism is nothing more than pessimism. 

This One Chart From Moody’s Illustrates Chicago’s Fiscal Plight – Quicktake

Chicago has iron ball strapped to its back far bigger than most other cities have to carry.

Illinois enacting a progressive tax is like Sears attempting a turnaround by hiking prices

Imagine how ludicrous it would be if Sears announced a turnaround plan based on just one thing: price hikes. No operating reforms, no change in strategy, no improvement in products – just price hikes. Such a strategy might sound absurd, but it’s precisely the approach politicians are pushing in Illinois.

Our Monthly Crain’s Article: Changing the narrative isn’t a credible strategy, Governor

  He might as well designate Lt. Frank Drebin of “The Naked Gun” as his spokesman. “Nothing to see here, move along,” Drebin said as the world exploded behind him. A central strategy based on changing the narrative just isn’t credible. It’s a transparent attempt to substitute political spin for sorely needed action.

Why Illinois Property Taxes Won’t Drop Without Major Spending Reform – Wirepoints Original

Any meaningful property tax reduction, such as matching rates for neighboring states, would require reforms that our political establishment won't consider.

Illinois owes $68 billion in health benefits to government retirees. Politicians haven’t set aside a penny to pay for them – Wirepoints Special Report

Pensions get all the attention when it comes to Illinois’ collapsing finances. But there’s another government-worker benefit also wreaking fiscal havoc – free and heavily-subsidized health insurance for retired state workers, teachers and community college employees. Illinois owed more than $68 billion in retiree health benefits to state workers as of 2018.

Chicago, Detroit “least-prepared” for a recession, says new Moody’s report

Moody’s says 23 of the nation’s 25 largest cities are ready for a recession. Two aren’t: Detroit and Chicago.

“This is about as good as it gets when it comes to the economy and jobs. We’re at a 50-year low in unemployment. This is the moment to get people into meaningful work and off food stamps.” – Ted Dabrowski on Chicago Tonight

Ted appeared on Chicago Tonight this week, saying Illinois has lagged far behind the rest of the country in getting people off of food stamps and that the new federal rules provide a good opportunity to get able-bodied Illinoisans back into the workplace.

Trump’s new food stamp rules in Illinois: If not now, when?

It’s been nine years since the Great Recession. Stock markets are at all time highs. The national economy is booming. Minority unemployment is at record lows. Even Illinois is riding the nation’s coattails with a record low unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. If Illinois can't help get single, childless, able-bodied Illinoisans back into meaningful work and off of food stamps now, then when?

World Turning Against Unchecked Green Energy Spending But 93 Programs Aren’t Nearly Enough For Illinois

Illinois spends blindly on what other nations and states increasingly protest, even violently.

“The debts aren’t going anywhere, but the people are.” – Ted Dabrowski on Newsradio WJPF

Ted talked with Tom Miller of WJPF Radio about all the tax and fee hikes that were a part of the 2020 budget state budget and the massive $45 billion infrastructure bill. Some of those hikes have been in place since July, but even more are going to be imposed come January 1st of next year.

Dismal 2019 numbers show why Illinois pensions will continue to fail

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s special pension report released this week shows yet again how strong markets and ever-more taxpayer funds can’t fix the flaws in the state’s politician-run pension system.

Expect property tax hikes to hit Chicago’s stagnant home prices hard

Don’t be surprised if Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ends up hiking property taxes multiple times during her term. That should scare Chicago homeowners. Chicago already sits at the bottom of the 20-city Case-Shiller Index – a leading measure of U.S. home prices – with only Cleveland and Detroit home values performing worse since 2000. 

Extra Time Testing Accommodation For Students Is A Scandal Spinning Out Of Control

Hey kids, want extra time on college entrance exams and tests in school? Just get an “accommodation.” It’s easy. But a rude shock awaits students and parents who’ve cheated or exploited the gray areas of disability. Our schools are enabling them.

A personal note of thanksgiving

My parents were just two of the many immigrants attracted to Illinois decades ago. I’m thankful for the opportunity they got, even though life for them was never easy. The ups and downs were many and real. But Illinois was the place where with deep faith and a strong work ethic, anyone could grit it out.

Success For Illinois’ Secure Choice Program? Better Check The Numbers.

The Illinois Treasurer is boasting about success of Illinois' new retirement program. His numbers actually show it's a failure.

Leaving Illinois for Alabama

Alabama is attracting many Illinoisans because parts of the state are booming in jobs, investment and population. More than 29,000 Illinoisans have moved to Alabama since 2010, according to U.S. Census data. In contrast, just 15,000 Alabamans moved to Illinois over that same time period. Illinois was the 2nd-highest net supplier of residents to Alabama over the period.

Pritzker’s Latest Pension Flimflam And Contradictions With Illinois Bond Documents

Pritzker should have added something else to what he thinks isn’t politically feasible in Illinois: honesty.

Governor of Illinois, home of nation’s worst fiscal crisis, slams door on pension reform

The argument that “nothing is going to happen in Illinois until things blow up” got a major boost this week. Pritzker once again rejected calls to put a pension amendment on the ballot in 2020.

“The consolidation bill went bad when politicians added changes that increase the cost of pensions” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

In concept, the asset consolidation bill is a good idea. But the legislation went from good to bad when lawmakers added unrelated benefit changes into the law. They stuffed piecemeal changes to Tier 2 into the bill and voted to pass it without any public analysis and little debate.