Tuesday, September 24, 2019

August Snow Job: That’s what we’re seeing on Illinois finances. – Our monthly Crain’s article

Improvement, finally! That's no doubt how many Illinoisans reacted to news about Illinois' latest audited financial statements. Take a closer look, however, to get a major lesson on how misinformation about our financial crisis is spread.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Report: Nine Illinois cities among top 50 national housing markets “turning ugly”

Illinois homeowners: Is your city’s housing market is in danger of “turning ugly?” Peoria, Aurora, Elgin, Decatur, Joliet, Rockford, Champaign, Plainfield and Naperville are all in serious risk of trouble should a downturn occur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Illinois Comptroller’s Office Doubles Down, Calls Wirepoints’ Critique “Fringe, Apocalyptic Ranting:” Our Response.

Calling us "fringe" indicates more about the perspective of Illinois' political establishment than it says about us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Illinois Hit By Record $47 Billion Loss, Ignored by Regular Media. Why?

The State of Illinois recently reported its biggest annual financial loss ever. Instead of clear reporting on that, we’ve seen perhaps the most glaring example yet of how the state’s finances can be misunderstood, misreported and intentionally distorted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

“City workers are guaranteed benefits that ordinary workers have to pay for, even when they’re struggling” – Ted on The Chicago Way with John Kass

Ted was on with John Kass earlier this week discussing what Mayor Lightfoots' state of the city speech and what she should do to fix Chicago's problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Illinois’ financial decay spreads to cities across the state

Illinois’ finances aren’t just decaying at the top, they’re falling apart everywhere. Of the 630 downstate police and fire pension funds that reported data to the Illinois Department of Insurance in 2017, 57 percent had funded ratios lower than 60 percent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

To Bar Lawsuit Over Bond Issuance, Illinois Court Defies Law’s Most Fundamental Principle

Marbury vs. Madison be damned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

“Lightfoot inherited the worst crisis in the state, so she needs to champion the state’s boldest reforms.” – Ted on AM560

Ted talked to Dan and Amy about the scope of Chicago's financial crisis and what Mayor Lightfoot should be doing about it. Chicagoans are burdened with more debt than they can ever pay and the only way to reduce that burden is through structural pension reform.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Why Chicago’s Lightfoot should push for a pension amendment, not tax hikes – Wirepoints Special Report

If reports of Lightfoot’s plans are true – that she wants to increase taxes and push debts off further into the future – then it’s clear she doesn’t intend to fix Chicago’s problems. If she did, she would instead push for an amendment to the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause and take a hard line on contract negotiations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Wirepoints available for analysis, reaction to Mayor Lightfoot’s budget address

Experts on Chicago’s budget challenges are available for interviews to discuss Mayor Lightfoot’s first budget address.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Ominous Signs For All Chicago In Teachers Union Contract Negotiation

To many of us, some things seem obvious. When you’re so broke that your survival is threatened you don’t raise pay. You don’t keep facilities open that are half full. You don’t provide lavish retirement benefits. You expect employees to contribute to their own retirement. We think that way because we live in an alternate universe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

States Government’s Malfeasance Passes New Milestone As An Illinois City Fails To Deliver Essential Services

Failure to deliver essential service marks a milestone with statewide implications. It exposes just how long Illinois officeholders are willing to ignore the state’s fiscal crisis, and it has important legal implications as well.

Boiling Frogs, Brainless Frogs and Illinois – Our Monthly Crain’s Article

Why exactly doesn’t Illinois' political establishment recognize that only drastic policy changes will reverse the population outflow crippling the state?

Illinois’ shrinking tax base: $310 billion in accumulated losses from out-migration (Part 3)

The problem with Illinois’ chronic outflows is that one year’s losses don’t only affect the tax base the year they leave, but they also hurt all subsequent years. The losses pile up on top of each other, year after year, damaging the state's tax base.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s Venezuela solidarity trip: Salute to our tipster and certain teachers.

Thank you to our tipster for making this a national story and to teachers who know the difference between right and wrong.

Collapsing interest rates are devastating for Illinois’ troubled pensions

The world’s collapsing interest rates have made survival that much harder for Illinois’ pension funds.

Got a Problem With Hedge Fund Trying To Profit By Invalidating Certain Illinois Bonds? – UPDATED

An interesting debate has arisen on one particular aspect of the proceeding now pending in an Illinois court to invalidate certain state bonds.

Illinois’ shrinking tax base: Loss in income is one of nation’s worst (Part 2)

Illinois is an extreme outlier nationally when it comes to losing people to other states through domestic out-migration. Unsurprisingly, it’s also an outlier when it comes to losing the incomes those people take with them.

Opponents to TIF in New Trier Township shouldn’t assume all is lost

The Kenilworth Village Board may have voted for a TIF over the objection of its residents, but opponents of the TIF shouldn’t assume all is lost.

Illinois’ shrinking tax base: Residents are leaving and taking their incomes with them (Part 1)

Residents old and young, rich and poor are are leaving Illinois for warm states and cold states, big states and small states. And they're taking their taxable income with them, shrinking Illinois' tax base.

A tale of two manufacturing recoveries: Illinois vs. Michigan

Michigan has had the most successful recovery among the manufacturing states in the Midwest. In contrast, Illinois has had the worst recovery: over 88,000 manufacturing jobs are still missing.

Another major error in an op-ed on Illinois pensions – Quicktake

Those who write that a constitutional amendment to Illinois' pension protection clause are spreading a false, public union talking point.

Illinois finances: far from “stable”

Only in Illinois does a surprise increase in tax revenues and more pension debt equal “stability” for a state’s finances.

It’s not just property taxes Illinoisans should be worried about. It’s their home values, too.

Politicians obviously don’t care about how much damage they've already inflicted on Illinoisans property values. A review of median home values across the nation found that Illinois ranked 45th in median home value growth between 2005 and 2017.

Viva Maduro! The Chicago Teachers Union’s Solidarity Trip To Venezuela – UPDATE 2

You'd think this came from a parody site, but it didn't.

Event – Wirepoints at AFP on 7/31/19: Unbalancing Act: IL’s Busted Budget

Illinois' 2020 budget is an unbalanced mess. What does that mean for ordinary Illinoisans? Come and listen to Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski speak on July 31st at Americans For Prosperity in Rolling Meadows to hear the answer.

Progressive tax proponents say Illinois is a low-tax state, your tax bills say the opposite

Common sense says Illinois is a high tax state once all state and local taxes are added up. Analyses from a Chicago Fed economist to the Tax Foundation to personal-finance firm WalletHub all back that fact up.

Chicago’s Lightfoot demands a state taxpayer bailout, then offers CTU a 5-year contract, 14% raise?

Just three weeks ago, Lightfoot was demanding a state taxpayer bailout of her city’s nearly bankrupt pension funds. Now she's offered the Chicago Teachers’ Union a five-year contract that will cost taxpayers $325 million.

Forever Behind: Unfunded Pensions as a Permanent Hindrance to Competitiveness

New research by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the disparity between well-funded public pension systems and those that are fiscally strained has never been greater. 

Is the Lawsuit To Invalidate Certain Illinois Bonds Frivolous? An Education is at Hand. – Wirepoints Original

On the central issue important to Illinoisans – what the constitutional limits on state borrowing really are – bring it on. Let’s hear it.

Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon: This is why Illinois pols haven’t fixed our fiscal crisis – Crain’s


"They haven't had to figure it out because you voters haven't figured it out. Wake up. Tell Pritzker and Lightfoot that pretty much every financial reform you've heard about must be effectuated immediately."

Latest Fed Raid Should Have Madigan & Friends Sweating – Quicktake

Some of the arrows flying out of the massive federal corruption investigation centered in Chicago are now pointed in a new direction.

Kenilworth Trustees to use TIF as a runaround to home rule

Kenilworth has no business creating a TIF, but it’s an effective way for officials to evade residents’ wishes.

If lawsuit succeeds, Illinois politicians will get 4th-highest legislative pay in nation

If the assembly's wage freezes are reversed, state lawmakers could get years of back pay. In total, the additional back pay could cost taxpayers $13 million and much more in future pension costs.

Five reasons why New Trier Township residents should oppose TIFs in Kenilworth

This eblast is a follow up to Wirepoint's previous piece: Only in Illinois: Ultra-rich communities like Kenilworth want TIFs.

“Chicago and the state are running out of ways to kick the can on the pension crisis” – Ted Dabrowski on Newsradio WJPF

Ted talked with Tom Miller of WJPF Radio about Gov. Pritzker's rejection of Mayor Lightfoot's proposal for the state to take over Chicago's pension debt. Ted says there's some good news to take from that. It means state and Chicago politicians are running out of ways to kick the can on the pension crisis.

COGFA: Illinois tax revenue closes out fiscal year close to expectations – Quicktake

The June report for state revenue is out, which also provides totals for the 2019 fiscal year that ended June 30. Comparing this June to...

With Pension Advice Like This, Chicago and Illinois Are Doomed – Wirepoints Original

Just keep doing what we've been doing, wrote Amanda Kass in a new op-ed.

Only in Illinois: Ultra-rich communities like Kenilworth want TIFs

In no sane world does AAA-rated Kenilworth need a TIF to redevelop its business area. But if Kenilworth can get away with creating a TIF anyway, then every community in the New Trier area can justify having one, too. That would have serious fiscal consequences for the funding of school districts and other governments down the line.

Lightfoot wants state taxpayer bailout of Chicago pension debts

It didn’t take long for new Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to propose a plan that would wash her hands of Chicago’s pension crisis altogether. Lightfoot wants the state to take over Chicago’s pension debts and merge them with the other pension plans throughout the state.

Expect anger at the pump as Illinoisans begin paying nation’s 3rd-highest gas tax – Wirepoints Original

Expect the doubling of Illinois gas taxes to anger Illinoisans this summer. Before the hike, Illinois’ combined gas taxes ranked 21st in the nation. After taking into account the 19 cent tax hike, Illinoisans will pay the 3rd-highest tax on gas.

Illinois State Rep. Guzzardi wants you to pay for his Brown University bills

State Rep. Will Guzzardi wants the government to pay off his and all other student loans debts. What he's really asking is for taxpayers to pay for universities' bloated administrations and outrageously compensated bureaucrats. Even the Senate Democratic Caucus agrees that Illinois higher education needs reform.

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

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

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

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

Rank Dishonesty on Pensions From AFSCME’s Executive Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhode Island Supreme Court Shows Illinois The Way On Pension Reform

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

Illinois governor disregards state actuaries to claim “balanced” budget

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

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

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

The audacity of TIFs: Even “blighted” Kenilworth wants one

Whatever proponents might say, TIFs don’t provide “free money” for development, nor are their benefits guaranteed.

Illinois pols sneak teacher-salary-spiking boost into 2020 budget

Unexpectedly tucked away in Illinois’ $40 billion 2020 budget was another giveaway to the state’s teachers unions. School districts are once again more free to spike end-of-career teacher salaries and pass-on the resulting pension costs to state taxpayers.

Illinois rating still teetering on edge of junk after budget, capital deals

Illinois’ “historic” legislative session was enough to keep the state’s credit rating stable, but it did nothing to move Illinois away from the cliff of a first-ever junk rating for a state.

Republican Jim Durkin’s Astonishing Statement On The Legislative Session

The most "consequential" legislative session in Illinois history, many are saying. Let's hope it's consequential for Durkin.

Illinois’ Reckless $45 Billion Capital Spending Binge

A spending binge so massive, prepared by proven incompetents and dumped on the General Assembly along with thousands of pages of other budget and spending matters inevitably will be loaded with pork and waste.

State budgets don’t matter. Illinois will run massive deficits anyway.

No matter what budget politicians might pass this time, it’s going to be a sham anyway. Passing yet another budget with more spending, more deficits and no reforms is not an accomplishment.

Want to Fix Illinois Teacher Shortage? End the Tier 2 Pension Rip-Off – Updated

Younger teachers be damned. We have a bigger priority: More pension spiking.

Big win for tax hikes, big trouble for the middle class

Politico Illinois described the House vote as "Pritzker's big win." The better way to describe it is "big trouble" for Illinois' middle class. But you wouldn't know that from what tax hike proponents say. Their rhetoric about protecting the middle class falls short once you look at the math behind the tax. 

IMRF strips elected township officials of control as backroom maneuvering reinstates pension in Maine Township

On May 17, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Board voted to give itself the ability to override the decisions of local townships on pension eligibility for elected officials, stripping another element of local control from Illinois governments.

How Springfield Should Authorize Lightfoot To Negotiate With Chicago Teachers Union (But Won’t)

“You will drop all your demands and accept what we offer. If you so much as blink, we will start from scratch with a new school district and run it as it must be. The old school district will be gone, you with it.”

Shattered Confidence In Illinois Government May Doom Even a Good Capital Bill

Take a look at the long list of new taxes on the table for Joe and Mary Six-Pack to pay.

What Mayor Lightfoot needs to know to take on the Chicago Teachers Union

Expect the Chicago Teachers Union to try to bully new mayor Lori Lightfoot as teacher contract negotiations heat up. The problem is, Lightfoot has nothing to give. Windy City residents simply can’t afford the union’s new over-the-top demands, so Lightfoot must stand up to the CTU.

Illinoisans will be among nation’s hardest hit in next recession

Illinoisans have another reason to worry about their future – their state government is unprepared for the next recession. That means when the national economy finally slows, Illinoisans will get hit far harder than residents nationally.

Why some Illinois Republicans are making the wrong argument against a progressive income tax

Using a windfall revenue bump in a budget that's already phony solves nothing and misleads the public in the same ways they've always been misled.

If a decline in births is a problem nationally, it’s a full-on crisis in Illinois

Fewer young people could mean a shrinking population and a workforce too small to support the country’s ever-growing number of retirees. If that’s a problem nationally, then it’s a full-on crisis in Illinois.

Property tax pains in Maine Township, Illinois

In Park Ridge, and across Illinois, property values still haven’t recovered from the effects of the Great Recession. Yet local officials continue to tax more and more, especially to pay for schools and local pensions.

Illinoisans still waiting for home values to return to pre-recession levels

Average Illinois home prices are still 12 percent below their pre-Great Recession peak. That’s the 7th-worst recovery in the nation. In contrast, the average home prices in all of Illinois neighbors have surpassed their pre-recession peaks.

Despite nurse shortage, bill would mandate 20,000 more nurses – Quicktake

What’s worse than an unfunded mandate? An unfunded mandate worsening existing problems.

Mission Impossible: Moody’s requirements for a “credit positive” progressive tax scheme in Illinois

Look for lawmakers to paint Moody’s recent report on Illinois’ proposed progressive tax scheme as a positive endorsement. But the agency's requirements for a credit "positive" outcome for the tax are nearly impossible for Illinois to achieve. And if lawmakers fail to meet the agency’s requirements, the tax could even lead to more downgrades.

The CTBA’s Latest Deception To Promote The Graduated Income Tax – Quicktake

The folks so fond of saying Illinois has a revenue problem not a spending problem want you to think the new progressive tax would be the end of it.

Why Warren Buffett is right to warn about Illinois: The state’s true retirement costs now total 50% of annual budget.

Warren Buffett says he wouldn’t relocate a business to a state like Illinois. He doesn’t want to get stuck paying for its pension crisis. His concerns are actually an understatement considering just how bad Illinois' crisis is.

Pork Stew On The Menu In Springfield

The ingredients are lined in the remaining four weeks of this legislative session to cook up a particularly nasty dish.

Waking to the reality of teacher pension ‘inequity’ – Quicktake

Nice to see at least some in the education establishment acknowledging something we've long said.

Fake Property Tax Freeze And More Gimmicks: Illinois Senate Passes Tax Hike

It won't take long for most Illinoisans to see through this.

Bill introduced for Chicago Machine to repoliticize Cook County property assessments – Quicktake

Who would have the gall to introduce such a bill? Why, that would be a leading Machine politician -- one who happens to have a big tax appeal practice  Rep. Robert Martwick.

Toilets and skyscrapers: How Chicagoland’s elite push their property tax bills onto ordinary residents

Many of Chicagoland’s elite know exactly how to pass the property-tax buck. For decades they’ve been using their powerful connections to cut their property tax bills, pushing the costs onto other unsuspecting residents. And that’s left many lower-income homeowners footing ever-larger tax bills.

The myth of the progressive tax panacea: What you need to know

Wirepoints has a new handout explaining why Pritzker's progressive tax rates aren't credible.

Loaves, Fishes and the Illinois Graduated Income Tax – Quicktake

Embracing essential reforms would be the true miracle.

A couple simple videos exposing phony pension accounting posted by a top economist – Quicktake

William F. Sharpe is a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Stanford University. He has long been critical of the phony way public pension numbers are...

There’s No Legal Reason Not To Pursue An Illinois Constitutional Amendment For Pension Reform

Reform opponents say it's a waste of time to pursue a constitutional amendment. They're wrong.

Chicago’s pension funds looking more like a collapsing Ponzi scheme

If you look at Chicago’s collapsing demographics and consider how they’re threatening the solvency of the city’s government-run pensions, you can’t help but call it a Ponzi scheme.

Sticker shock: Some New Trier residents stunned by property assessments

Some New Trier Township residents were stunned to see the assessed value of their homes jump by as much as 40, 60 or even 100 percent this year.

The Fine Art of Kicking the Pension Can Down the Road – Wirepoints Guest

Also see our related article linked here on the "town hall" meeting discussed herein.

Legislators’ ‘Town Hall’ Becomes Metaphor For Failing Illinois

Might as well have said, “If you have any questions about Illinois’ budget and pension crisis, buzz off and talk to the union guy.”

The Case For Illinois’ Graduated Income Tax Is Dishonest

The campaign for the Fair Tax – a graduated income tax in Illinois – is being made so dishonestly that a detailed look is in order.

“The progressive tax is being presented as nirvana…but it isn’t” – Ted on Fox 32 with Mike Flannery

Ted was on Fired Up with Mike Flannery last week debating Pritzker's progressive tax rates with two progressive tax supporters. Ted's message was simple, "Anyone who thinks tax hikes are the solution to Illinois' problems are just flat out wrong."

Massive borrowing binge on tap in Illinois

In yet one more snub to Illinoisans, state politicians are ready to go on another borrowing binge.

Every Illinoisan Must See These Two Charts

Illinois politicians may carry on in their alternate universe, but the national press is waking up.

Chicago’s south suburbs struggle under Springfield’s continuing neglect

Places like Harvey in Chicago's south suburbs no longer function for the residents that live there. Many blame local corruption and the nation’s manufacturing woes as the cause. They contributed, but the real problem is the failed public policies the state has imposed – the same ones that are hurting municipalities across the state.

Jobs, temporary jobs, renewable energy and bunk – Quicktake

The renewable energy industry needs to get its story straight.

Why California’s (and especially Illinois’) Pensions Only Deepen Inequality – Quicktake

But defenders of our pension system a the little guys' champions, right?

Is Lori Lightfoot ready for a potential Chicago teachers strike?

Rahm Emanuel caved to the Chicago Teachers Union early on in his first term. He was never the same after that. That's a lesson incoming Mayor Lori Lightfoot should heed. She needs to give as good as she gets from the union. Wirepoints has several facts about CPS that should help her during negotiations. 

Illinois Supreme Court Thumbs Nose At Balanced Budget Law

The manner in which it dismissed the case was exceptionally irresponsible, imperious and cowardly.

A New Call For Expanding ‘Racist’ Labelling By Reporters

Under new Associated Press guidelines, reporters should forget what it calls euphemisms like racially charged, racially divisive and racially tinged, and just say racism or racist.

Pritzker’s progressive tax push: A guide for the ordinary Illinoisan – Wirepoints Special Report

If you’re an ordinary Illinoisan, you may be tempted to support Gov. Pritzker’s plan to change Illinois’ flat tax structure to a progressive one. He’s promising to lower your taxes if you’ll support the switch. You should reject his offer. Simply put, the governor’s progressive tax numbers aren't credible, nor is his offer of tax breaks for the middle class. Illinoisans might think they’ll get a deal, but in reality, they’re setting themselves up to take a hit.

“Whoever becomes Chicago’s next mayor will face a host of financial crises” – Ted on The Chicago Way with John Kass

Talking about the Jussie Smollett scandal and having broader discussions about racial and identity politics in Chicago is important, but it's distracting from an even more pressing problem: The Windy City's impossible financial math.

CTU-backed bill would cancel some Chicago school reforms – Quicktake

Yes, Chicago Teachers Union, whatever you'd like.

Illinois’ Top Legal Officer Turns His Back On Jesse Smollett Issues

Then again, maybe we're better off if he says in hiding.

Kim Foxx’s Botched ‘Recusal’ Should Render Dismissal Of Smollett Charges Unlawful And Voidable

By not formally recusing herself, Foxx circumvented the law that probably would have taken the case out of her office's hands.

Neighbors improve on migration numbers while Illinois worsens

There’s nothing in the U.S. Census migration data to tell us what exactly Illinois’ neighbors have done to improve their migration demographics. But whatever it is, their numbers have become better over time, especially compared to Illinois.

“Illinois’ growing bills will fall on the next, shrinking generation” – Ted with Tom Miller on Newsradio WJPF

Ted talked with Tom Miller on Newsradio WJPF all about Illinois' demographic collapse earlier this week.

Pension charge added to Lake Forest utility bills – Quicktake

Another signal to residents that "they're coming for your money," as Warren Buffett recently said about Illinois and other states with severe pension crises.

Illinois Teachers’ Pension Slaps Pritzker Budget Proposal

Teachers: JB, don't you dare kick our pension can.

Illinois’ demographic collapse: fewer immigrants, fewer babies and fleeing residents – Wirepoints Special Report

Illinoisans are leaving in record numbers. Fewer people want to come here. Our birth rate is down significantly, as millennials are also fleeing. Even international immigration has dropped by half. All of the state’s woes are captured in one sad statistic: Illinois is shrinking.

Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon Interviewed on The Illinois Channel – Video

An extended interview on Illinois' state and local fiscal crisis.

OOBs: The next borrowing idea for Illinois politicians?

Don’t be surprised if Illinois politicians say they want to pursue yet another bad borrowing idea in the near future. This time the excuse won’t be to pay off pensions. Instead, it will be for health insurance benefits owed to government retirees.

Cook County Treasurer’s Blunt Debt Report – Quicktake

A report released this week by Cook Country Treasurer Maria Pappas isn’t getting the attention it deserves in the regular press.

Waiting For Pritzker Administration To Backward Solve For Its Revenue Claims – Quicktake

If they have an excuse for this, none is apparent, and we can’t think of one.

Oh, the places they’ll go: The impact of Pritzker’s progressive tax on wealthy Illinoisans

Oh, the places Illinois' wealthy will go. Under the governor’s new plan, everyone with incomes above $250,000 will get hit with tax rates of 7.75 percent or more. That’s higher than the top tax rates in 44 other states.

Maine Township $1.25 million tax abatement: Hard-fought tax relief for local residents

Maine Township, located in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, has agreed to give property owners a $1.25 million tax break. That’s thanks to the efforts of two trustees who fought to prove the township’s reserves were bloated and far higher than what the township needed.

Busted: Pritzker’s Mythical Revenue Panacea Fully Exposed

Contrary to his persistent claims that a progressive income tax is Illinois’ ticket to salvation, $3.4 billion isn’t remotely close to solving Illinois’ fiscal crisis, much less funding all the other promises he has made.

Who’s responsible for Illinois’ near-junk credit rating?

Don't forget: Illinois was downgraded 13 times by the big three rating agencies during the Gov. Pat Quinn years. And it was already the nation's worst-rated state by 2010. 

Radicals Positioning To Destroy Illinois If Its Fiscal Crisis Doesn’t

They probably comprise no more than 20% of the general population, but they’ve learned how to mau-mau Democratic Illinois moderates into compliance or silence and, unlike America as a whole, their party controls all of Illinois government.

Indiana keeps its AAA credit rating, Illinois is still stuck near junk – Quicktake

If Illinois politicians were to focus on the goal of becoming a competitive, AAA-rated state, their policy solutions would be the exact opposite of what they are today. All they have to do is look next door at Indiana for inspiration, which has maintained its AAA status for years.

Chicagoans, pensioners: Beware a stock market shock

Moody’s worries that major stock market drops, like the kind seen late last year, will damage pension funds' limited liquidity. Chicagoans should worry too. The city's pension funds can't afford another drop in assets.

Buyers’ remorse about Pritzker? Overwhelming opposition to his budget proposal? – Quicktake

It won’t get any better for Pritzker as reality and math sink in further, especially after he is forced, as we hope we will be, to get specific on his progressive tax panacea.

Warren Buffett, ‘The American Tailwind’ and Illinois – Quicktake

His new letter ends with humility and inspiration, but Illinois isn't helping.

Press Should Be Demanding New Pension Funding Schedule From Pritzker Administration – Quicktake

Huge consequences result longer term from Pritzker's can-kick on pensions, and he is hiding the ball.

Pritzker’s 2020 budget: A broken bridge to nowhere

Pritzker's 2020 “bridge” budget to his progressive income tax panacea is almost entirely comprised of exactly the kinds of measures that broke the state. And as usual, it’s only "balanced" under phony government budget accounting. 

Why Pritzker Must Finally Get Specific On Progressive Tax — Now

Wednesday's Budget address is time to put up or shut up..

“Politicians are running out of options on pensions. They’re desperate. Now they want to give state assets away” – Ted on WTAD

Ted was on WTAD with Quaid earlier this week talking about Gov. Pritzker's idea to transfer public assets, like the lottery or the tollways, into the state's pension funds. The plan is a financial trick on taxpayers.

4 reasons why Pritzker should abandon his progressive tax plan

Illinoisans shouldn’t fall for Pritzker's progressive tax push. The state is already too uncompetitive with its neighbors. It’s too much of an outlier on taxes. And it’s losing too many people.

Hey Gov. Pritzker, Illinois’s budget shortfall is more than $9 billion, not $3.2 billion

If Pritzker really wanted to break the cycle of fiscal dishonesty in Illinois, he’d tell the truth about how the big the real budget hole is for 2020: $9.4 billion.

Trifecta: Pritzker Administration’s Pension Plan For Illinois Will Center On Three Strokes Of Folly

Borrowing to pay off debt, kicking the can and gifting public assets to pensions.

‘Asset Transfers’ To Pensions: Be Afraid

Get ready for smoke and mirrors.

Civic Fed budget proposal: Another $3 billion from taxpayer wallets

The Civic Federation is back with its annual budget plan for the state. Rather than offer a reform-driven proposal, the group wants another $3 billion annually from Illinoisans’ wallets.  

Rewriting Illinois’ crisis: Deputy Gov. Hynes forgets his own words

Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes just authored a new report blaming Rauner for just about everything that’s wrong with Illinois. There’s one big problem with that, though. Hynes himself declared Illinois was already in crisis a decade ago. 

Illinois’ crisis: 20 facts Pritzker doesn’t want ordinary Illinoisans to know

There’s no argument that Illinois is a wreck. But read Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes’ new “budget” report and you might get the impression that former Gov. Bruce Rauner alone caused that wreck. However, Illinois was a fiscal and economic basket case long before 2015 and no amount of anti-Rauner rhetoric should let Illinoisans ignore that reality.

“Chicago’s civic titans would never invest their money into something so broken, so corrupt as Illinois’ government, yet they say taxpayers must” – Ted on the Morning Answer

Ted was on Chicago's Morning Answer talking about the Civic Committee's proposal to hit Illinoisans with $6 billion in new taxes - in part by taxing retirements and raising sales taxes on services.

Moody’s to Pritzker: “New taxes could threaten to increase the outflow of Illinois residents”

It appears the flight of Illinoisans has gotten so big that Moody’s can no longer ignore it. The agency has included outmigration among its top-three Illinois credit concerns for the first time.

Illinois Democrats’ Astounding Reversal On Pensions

Five years ago they told the public and the courts the opposite of what they say now.

Illinois education officials want half of state budget for K-12 education

The State Board of Education’s latest budget request calls for an 86 percent increase in state operating spending on education. With this request, education would consume more than 50 percent of the state’s current budget.

Some Illinois governments are hoarding taxpayer funds

It’s bad enough that Illinoisans are forced to pay the nation’s highest property taxes. It’s even worse if many of those dollars sit idly in the coffers of their local governments.

Irrational exuberance in a post-Rauner Illinois

Rauner’s exit might seem like a cause for celebration for many Illinoisans, but they’ll want to reconsider their exuberance. In their distaste for Rauner, they’ve forgotten how dysfunctional the state had become in the years before he took office.

“Pritzker gave state workers a raise as his first act, but he doesn’t know the cost, or won’t say it” – Ted with Tom Miller on WJPF

Ted talked with Tom Miller of WJPF this week about Gov. Pritzker's first act in office: he granted raises to state workers, worth hundreds of millions, before contract negotiations with AFSCME have even begun.

Illinois’ lethal combination: Rising property taxes and stagnant incomes

More and more of Illinoisans’ hard-earned incomes are going toward paying property taxes. In 2017, 6.73 percent of household incomes went toward property taxes. That's up 55 percent compared to 2000.

Chicago Teachers Union says ‘Tax the rich.’ More like ‘burden the poor.’

Tax the rich. That’s the extent of the CTU’s ideas. But their ideas don’t match their rhetoric. Not this time, anyway.

Illinoisans to Comptroller Mendoza: It’s not the weather…

If Mendoza was joking, then it’s yet another example of politicians not taking seriously Illinois’ increasing flight of residents. And if she wasn’t, then it’s an example of just how out of touch Illinois politicians really are.

Pritzker’s First Day Giveaway On Step Pay Will Cost $200 Million Per Year

Pritzker wouldn't provide the cost to reporters, but we have it.

The progressive tax rates Pritzker didn’t address

Newly-minted Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker boxed himself into a corner when he delivered his inaugural address on Monday. He promised to balance the budget, spend billions more on programs and spare Illinois’ middle class from an income tax hike – all while keeping the state’s core spending drivers intact. What he promised simply isn’t possible.

Illinois a national outlier when it comes to losing residents

Illinois residents are fleeing the state in record numbers. The most recent U.S. Census numbers showed Illinois netted a loss of 114,000 residents to other states in 2018. How does Illinois rank under an apples-to-apples comparison based on population? Illinois is the nation’s third-biggest loser.  

Huge ‘Opportunity Zone’ Program Coming. Will It Work In Illinois?

How might you 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 and perhaps backfire? Washington managed to find a way – with bipartisan support.

Moody’s vs. Illinois politicians: $100 billion difference in pension debts

Moody’s recently released what fiscal realists would say is the true estimate of Illinois’ unfunded state pension liability – $234 billion. The rating agency’s calculation dwarfs Illinois’ official shortfall estimate of $134 billion

Illinois Auditor General pension report: Everything’s fine (but not really)

The latest Illinois Auditor General report doesn’t read like something authorized by Springfield politicians. It criticizes much of the state’s pension reporting methodology while making valid recommendations to fix them. That's important, as Illinois politicians will never truly address the crisis as long as they can paper over it with their own numbers.

Coveting California? Beware Its Perverse Tax Envy.

While Illinois progressives envy California's income tax, California progressives are making headway steering their state a little more in Illinois’ direction with higher property taxes.

Seven reasons why Mayor Emanuel’s proposed pension plan fails

The good: Rahm Emanuel's new pension plan includes a call to amend the pension protection clause in Illinois’ constitution. The bad: other than that, Emanuel’s proposal is a litany of wrongs, many of which are the very ones that created the fiscal crisis that has crippled Illinois, Chicago and most of its municipalities.

New U.S. Census data: Shrinking Illinois loses population 5 years in a row

Blame whatever you want: pensions, corruption, property taxes or perpetual budget crises, but there’s no denying Illinoisans are fleeing the state. New U.S. Census data shows that Illinois’ population declined by 45,116 in 2018, a record loss for the state.

Emanuel’s call for a constitutional amendment shouldn’t be narrowly construed

Most of his speech was a disappointment, but kudos to Rahm Emanuel for embracing a constitutional amendment for pensions and highlighting the expensive cost of COLAs. However, it would be a mistake – as some may be tempted to do – to think that an Illinois fix is as simple as COLA reforms via a narrow, Arizona-style constitutional amendment.

Flashback to 1994 reveals Edgar’s ramp up of Illinois pension crisis

Former Gov. Jim Edgar is on Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s transition team, providing advice on how to "fix" the same problem he created. An old Daily Chronicle piece from 1994, sheds some additional light on the Edgar Ramp, the pension “reform” that helped unleash Illinois’ current pension crisis.

“Illinois true retirement costs would consume 50% of the budget. In most states, it’s 15%” – Ted on WJPF

Ted was on WJPF with Tom Miller last week discussing Illinois' other retirement debt: The $73 billion the state owes in retiree health insurance benefits to state workers. Increasing healthcare costs, coupled with even higher pension payments, will eat up even more of the state's budget in the future.

“Illinois has $73 billion in retiree health insurance debts, nobody talks about it, but it’s there, and it’s scary.” – Ted on Illinois Rising

Ted was on Illinois Rising earlier this week discussing Illinois' massive retirement crisis at the state and local level. Everybody wonders what to do about pensions, but the retirement problem is even bigger than that.

As markets warn of a recession, Illinois is nation’s least prepared

Wall Street's best predictor of a recession has reared its ugly head and Illinois is nowhere near ready for a slowdown. In fact, Illinois is the nation’s least-prepared state for an economic downturn. When that recession finally comes, Illinoisans should expect to get hit hard.

Beware Revenue Hopes From Expanded Gaming As Industry Cannibalizes Self

Recent evidence shows tax revenue from gambling in one form reduces revenue from other forms.

Illinois’ official pension shortfall worsens to $134 billion despite strong markets, increased contributions

COGFA says that the state’s unfunded pension debt grew to nearly $134 billion in 2018. Pension debts rose by more than $4 billion despite strong stock markets, a booming national economy and billions more in taxpayer contributions.

Illinois’ other debt disaster: $73 billion in unfunded state retiree health insurance benefits – Wirepoints Special Report

Illinois' $130 billion in official pension debt gets 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 retiree health insurance for state workers. Illinois owes another $73 billion in retiree health insurance debt and doesn't have a single dime set aside to pay it.

IL Supreme Ct. Reaffirms Constitutional Suicide Pact; Rules Union Work Is Pensionable Salary

Take time off to work for the union? Taxpayers will cover your pension based on higher union salary.

That Crazy Statewide Property Tax For Illinois Pensions Idea Is Alive

The longer it has life the more property values suffer, so kill it.

“AFSCME wants even more benefits even though Illinoisans can’t afford the burden they already bear” – Ted on WTAD

Ted was on WTAD earlier this week discussing Pritzker's upcoming negotiations with AFSCME over their stalled contract. With Rauner on his way out, the union will likely push for even more generous benefits.

Half of Illinois’ 650 public safety funds are less than 60 percent funded

The small Illinois village of Norridge just announced a municipal tax hike of 35 percent so it can make its required police pension payment. For residents, it’s another hit to their home values. Norridge’s pension problem is unfortunately the norm in Illinois. 335 of Illinois’ 650 public safety funds are less funded than Norridge’s police fund.

“Politicians’ pension ‘fixes’ will kick the can, pass the bill onto your children and grandchildren” – Ted on WJPF

Ted was on WJPF earlier this week with Tom Miller discussing the role Gov. Jim Edgar had in creating Illinois' pension crisis and the can-kick "solutions" politicians are going to promote in the coming months.

Six facts Pritzker can’t ignore when negotiating AFSCME’s contract

Pritzker can’t give in to AFSCME’s demands if he’s serious about putting dollars back in ordinary Illinoisans’ pockets. If he gives the union what they want, he’ll have to take dollars instead.

Despite $5B tax hike, Illinois forecasts billions in future deficits

GOMB has released its five-year budget projections. The forecast, not surprisingly, is alarming. Despite last year’s 32 percent tax hike, GOMB expects Illinois to maintain average budget deficits of about $3 billion over the next five years.

The only options for Illinois millennials: fight or flight

Kudos to the recent Crain’s opinion piece that called for Illinois millennials to wake up. If politicians have their way, millennials will shoulder the whole burden of the state's pension crisis. Millennials have two options, to fight or leave.

Gov. Jim Edgar’s starring role in Illinois’ pension crisis: It’s bigger than just the “Edgar Ramp”

Pritzker has included former Gov. Jim Edgar in his transition team to add bipartisan legitimacy to his upcoming policies. But Edgar’s reputation and legitimacy isn’t deserved when it comes to Illinois' biggest problem: pensions. The bipartisan compromises Edgar championed are responsible for turning the state’s pension problem into a full-blown nightmare.

Progressives Zero In On Exit Tax On Illinois Wealth

Think you’re going to sell your expensive home and move to Tennessee? Sorry, that will cost you.

Pritzker, the winner’s curse and Illinois’ fiscal reality

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker may have celebrated his win over incumbent Bruce Rauner, but his resulting hangover will last for his entire term. Pritzker's campaign promises for more spending and higher taxes will set him up for failure. Combine that with the mess Illinois is already in and Pritzker could see the state collapse around him. Call it the winner’s curse.

$125,000: The pension debt each Chicago household is really on the hook for

Originally posted August 15, 2018.  Officially, Chicagoans are on the hook for $70 billion in overlapping local and state pension debt. But Moody’s has the real number. They peg the total overlapping pension debt burden for Chicagoans at $130 billion, or $125,000 per household.

Bankruptcy by Billionaires – Wirepoints Guest

"Simply stated, the incumbent will solve the pension crisis by bankrupting the State while the challenger will solve the crisis by bankrupting the people in the State."

“Progressive tax schemes aren’t just hitting the rich, they hurt the middle class ” – Ted on WROK

Ted was on WROK Rockford this week talking about Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker's promises to spend billions more and enact a progressive income tax that only hits the wealthiest Illinoisans. Pritzker's promises are impossible to keep. The math says so.

Shut down Illinois lawmaker pensions (Part 3): Getting lawmakers on board

The hard part to ending legislative pensions will be getting lawmakers who are currently earning pension benefits on board. It will take lots of pressure from constituents to make that happen, but it’s not impossible. You can bet a bi-partisan public is fully behind ending legislative pensions.

Chicago Public Schools enrollment tanks, but state money keeps flowing

Illinois politicians are rewarding Chicago Public Schools for losing students and perpetuating the district’s failed brand of education. The new education funding formula protects the base amount CPS gets from the state even though the district lost another 10,000 students in 2018.

What Pritzker’s progressive tax rates will probably look like – Wirepoints Special Report

Reposted due to recent coverage in the Wall Street Journal editorial "Nickel-and-Diming Democrats." Based on the spending promises J.B. Pritzker made during his campaign, any realistic progressive tax rate structure will have to raise taxes on middle-income earners  

Illinois’ botched Tier 3 pension reform: Zombie legislation?

Tier 3 was a poorly-designed pension "reform" shoved into the state’s omnibus budget bill in July, 2017. It was one of the token gifts given to Republicans in exchange for their help in overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget veto. Now, nearly a year and a half later, the Tier 3 hybrid plan still hasn’t been implemented. 

Governor Rauner, Here’s The ‘Hail Mary’ Alternative I Hope You Will Consider

An Act of Contrition, not a Hail Mary. It will earn you at least some forgiveness and the state will be much better for it.

“We won’t get real pension reforms out of Springfield as long as politicians get big pensions themselves” – Ted on WTAX

Ted was on WTAX with Joe McLaughlin last week talking about Wirepoints' push to end lawmaker pensions in Illinois. 

How Wirepoints Helped Save Illinois Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars

Hundreds of millions of dollars saved. You're welcome, Springfield.

End this myth about public pensions

No, unfunded pension liabilities are not measured on the assumption that all workers retire today.

“Pritzker won’t name his progressive tax plan because it would reveal he’ll hit the middle class” – Ted on Illinois Rising

Ted was on Illinois Rising this week discussing progressive income taxes and J.B. Pritzker's refusal to put forth a specific tax proposal. The reason why is simple. Pritzker will have to hit the middle class with higher taxes to pay for all his promises.

Rahm’s Final Budget Address Summarized: Mission Accomplished

On behalf of his successor, thanks for nothing, Rahm.

If Emanuel won’t kill his $10 billion pension bond proposal, the markets might

Seems there’s very few willing to stand in the way of Mayor Emanuel’s hairbrained $10 billion pension bond idea. Fortunately, the market just might. Rising interest rates and a jittery stock market could kill Emanuel’s bad idea before it’s ever formally proposed.

“Madigan has been able to create a public sector middle class on the backs of ordinary Illinoisans” – Ted on Illinois Rising

Ted was on Illinois Rising this week discussing AFSCME's $768,000 campaign contribution to Mike Madigan and what it gets them. The average state AFSCME worker already gets $110,000 a year in total compensation, but the union wants even more out its next contract with the state.

Borrowing for pensions is a bad idea whether you’re in Chicago or Rochelle, Illinois  

Rochelle, Illinois, should drop the idea of borrowing money to fund its ailing public safety pensions. It's a bad idea in so many ways, most of all because a city can’t borrow its way out of a debt problem.

JP Morgan Expert: True Debt, Pension, Healthcare Payments Would Consume Half of Illinois Revenue, Bankruptcy Option Needed

"I think the expansion of Chapter 9 legislation for states makes sense, and I’m not the only one."

What AFSCME’s $768,000 contribution to Madigan just bought

AFSCME's record campaign contribution to Mike Madigan is more than just typical support. It’s insurance. AFSCME is making sure it will get extra benefits for state workers after years of deadlocked contract negotiations with Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

“This episode with Sen. Biss shows Illinois politicians think they can do anything they want and get away with it.” – Ted Dabrowski on AM 560

Ted tells AM 560 listeners about his recent encounter with State Sen. Dan Biss. It says a lot about Illinois politicians in general. They think they can get away with anything, from Biss insulting a constituent in a public place to Mayor Emanuel shoving a $10 billion borrowing down Chicagoans' throats.

Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss and the Maxine Waters playbook

Politics has moved from disagreement into rude, public attacks. When your own elected representative confronts you in public – as if taking cues from Sen. Maxine Water's political playbook – it becomes all the more outrageous.

Daily Herald wrong to oppose Lisle property tax relief efforts

Lisle residents are pushing for a referendum to lower their school property taxes by 10 percent. The Daily Herald opposes the idea because it cuts revenue, but the tax reduction isn’t about hurting classroom spending. It’s about making communities affordable and cutting the fat in Illinois’ education bureaucracy....and there’s plenty of fat to cut in Lisle.

Shut down Illinois lawmaker pensions (Part 1): They’re already bankrupt

There are plenty of reasons why Illinois politicians should give up their legislative pensions. First on the list is the fact that politicians have run the system into the ground. At just 15 percent funded, GARS is basically insolvent and requires an annual bailout by taxpayers to stay afloat.

Yes, middle-income Illinoisans would get “socked” under Minnesota’s progressive tax scheme

Rich Miller reposted a tweet that leaves unsuspecting readers thinking Minnesota’s progressive tax structure would be favorable to  individual “middle-income” Illinoisans. But it’s just not true. Most, if not all, individual middle-income Illinoisans would pay more in taxes.

Pension Intercept Comes To Chicago – Latest Dibs On Body Parts

Chicago firefighters' pension is the latest to intercept state money. Police pension may come next.

Chicago’s pension bond scheme: What an honest press conference with Rahm Emanuel might look like

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $10 billion pension bond idea deserves a brutal vetting. Since no real challenge will be made of the scheme by the Chicago media, I’ve decided to transcribe what an honest interview with Emanuel might look like. 

Chicago Lied To Court About Ongoing Obama Center Work, Plaintiffs Allege

Yet another chapter in the dishonest way the Obamaland is being rammed through.

A more likely reason Rahm Emanuel dropped out: the Chicago time bomb

We may never know why Rahm Emanuel decided to drop out of the Chicago mayoral race. But there’s a far more likely reason than the fear of losing. Chicago is a ticking time bomb and Emanuel is jumping ship just in case it goes off.

Chicago’s Pension Bond As Proposed Would Blow A Golden Opportunity For Pension Reform

If the bad idea proceeds, it it should be linked to reforms for Chicago's pensions that would reduce the unfunded liabilities crippling the city.

Rahm’s Exit Opens Chance To Crack Chicago Establishment’s Code Of Silence

The establishment business community's traditional excuses for not acting don't hold.

Botched Cook County Property Tax Relief Backfires On Working Class, Minorities

This one was so easy to see coming we can only say, “Duh,” instead of our usual “Told you so.”

Emanuel’s misleading pension bond presentation to Chicago aldermen

Wirepoints has obtained the handout Mayor Emanuel used to sell his $10 billion Pension Obligation Bond plan to Chicago Aldermen last week. It has no mention of the arbitrage risk. No stress tests. And no details of how “savings” are generated.

Liquidation Sale. That’s How To Think About Chicago’s Proposed Pension Bond

Chicago is looking around to hock whatever it has and borrow even more than $10 billion for its pensions.

“We’ll never get real pension reform as long as legislators are getting a pension” – Ted Dabrowski on WTAD

Ted Dabrowski was on WTAD earlier this week discussing Wirepoints' new initiative: calling on all Illinois legislative candidates to refuse a lawmaker pension if they are elected.

Illinoisans to pay $2.6B in “penalty interest” for state’s fiscal-deadbeat status

Illinois pays the highest "borrowing penalty" in the nation thanks to corruption and malgovernance. The state will pay some $2.6 billion in interest penalties on its $30.6 billion in general debt. That’s just wasted money.  

Emanuel’s real motivations for Chicago’s $10 billion pension bond plan

Pension obligation bonds are nothing more than gambling using taxpayer funds. But bad policy has never stopped a Chicago politician. The POB's are Emanuel's "solution" to his failed record on policing and as a property tax hiker.

Chicago CFO’s Stupendously Bad Timing On Her Last Pension Obligation Bond

August 2008. But the real lessons go beyond market timing.

Illinois Pension Actuary Defrocked. Finally.

Suspended for two years from the American Academy of Actuaries.

To all legislative candidates: Show leadership by refusing a legislative pension

Wirepoints has a new policy initiative: We call upon all legislative candidates and newly-elected legislators to pledge they will not to accept a legislative pension.

Pension Obligation Bonds Are Like Big, Fat, Dangerous Margin Loans For Stock

Pension obligation bonds like Chicago is considering violate the rationale behind the margin trading rules, making them unwise and unsafe for the very reasons we limit margin trading.

Illinois pensions sink during record bull market run

There’s little to cheer about in Illinois after the stock market’s decade-long rally just became the longest bull market run in U.S. history. Illinois’ unfunded pension liabilities have worsened by more than $50 billion during the same period.

BGA’s Fact-Check Corrupts The Terms ‘Fact-Check’ And ‘Corrupt’

The latest, goofy "fact-check" is out from the Better Government Association through its partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times and PolitiFact.

Unbalanced Illinois…again and again and again

Illinois’ sham state budget is officially unbalanced yet again. The budget imbalance of $1.2 billion was confirmed to prospective investors in an upcoming bond offering. 

Latest On Obama Center Fiasco: Federal Funding, Our WSJ Article, A Court Win And More

The bottom line is pretty simple. The center should not be in Jackson Park and taxpayers shouldn't be contributing a dime.

“After another bailout, you’d expect humility. But CPS is spending $1B more, hiring more admin, building more schools” – Ted comments on CPS’ latest budget

Ted was on Illinois Rising earlier this week discussing how CPS took the latest bailout from the state without tightening its belt or getting its books in order. Instead, it wants to spend nearly 20 percent more this year, increase its number of school administrators and build new schools even as student enrollment declines.

“You’re just borrowing $10B to pay off pension debt, Chicagoans’ burden is the same” – Ted comments on Rahm’s $10B pension bond

Ted was on Illinois Rising earlier this week discussing the plan Rahm Emanuel has floated to issue $10 billion in pension bonds. It's a terrible idea. You can’t borrow your way out of a debt problem and it requires Chicago to sell parts of its financial future.

Don’t buy into the Pritzker progressive tax pitch

 J.B. Pritzker promises to use a progressive income tax to hit the rich while lowering taxes on the middle class. Don’t buy it. It’s an empty promise. He’ll end up taxing the middle class as well. The proof is in the tax rates of Illinois’ neighboring states. 

It’s the pension promises, stupid!

You can trust public pension apologists to deflect any critique that calls out the failure of defined benefit plans. But the apologists don’t disprove the core findings of our research: that unrestrained growth in pension promises is behind many state fiscal crises.

Highlights Of Chicago’s Annual Financial Snow Job

Last week, Chicago released its Annual Financial Analysis and held a major conference for the municipal bond community.

Rahm Emanuel’s latest can kick: Borrow $10 billion for Chicago pensions

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has floated a new $10 billion POB plan. It needs to be slapped down for two key reasons. First, it simply won’t work. Second, it requires Chicago to sell parts of its financial future. 

Illinois taxpayers bailed out Chicago Public Schools so the district could do what?

Illinoisans knew CPS wouldn’t do the right things if taxpayers were forced to bail the district out. They were right.  

Leaving Illinois: How simple math chased away a village mayor and his family

Illinois’ failed policies discriminate against no one. People are being forced to do what’s best for their families. And if that means leaving, they’re doing it. 

Why Illinois mayors have little control over pension costs

State lawmakers impose one-size-fits-all government benefits and local governments – meaning local residents – have no choice but to pay them. For some cities, that’s bringing on bankruptcy.

Illinois State Rep. Batinick aligns with CTBA’s no-reform pension plan

How Illinois State Rep. Mark Batinick – typically known as a reformer – ended up legitimizing a slick, kick-the-can pension repayment scheme sponsored by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability is baffling.

Rep. Batinick’s sham pension and property tax fix for Illinois

Batinick added distortions to an already phony pension plan offered by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. That's right, a Republican is using the union-backed CTBA as his foundation.

Overpromising has crippled public pensions: A 50-state survey – Wirepoints Special Report

Most reporting usually focuses on the underfunding of state plans and blames the crises on a lack of taxpayer dollars. But a Wirepoints analysis found that it’s the uncontrolled growth in pension promises that’s actually wreaking havoc on state budgets and taxpayers alike. Overpromising is the true cause of many state crises. Underfunding is often just a symptom of the underlying problem.

City, Chicago Public School finances “improve,” just in time for elections

After years of credit downgrades that pushed Chicago Public Schools' rating to B3, deep into junk territory, the district finally got a one-notch upgrade to B2 from Moody’s. Expect Mayor Rahm Emanuel to sell that as good news on the campaign trail, even if a B2 rating is still five notches into junk.  

Where Illinois’ skyrocketing pension promises came from – Wirepoints Original

Wirepoints' recent commentary on Illinois’ skyrocketing pension benefits left many readers questioning where that massive growth in pension promises came from. The answer is simple. The growth is due to overly generous benefits and more accurate reporting.

A ‘Nonlinear’ Life: R.I.P., Jeremy Gold

The leading figure in the effort to bring more honesty to actuarial reporting on pensions.

“Politicians consider it a badge of honor to put more Illinoisans on food stamps, Medicaid” – Ted Dabrowski on Upstream Ideas – Video

Ted was on Upstream Ideas last week discussing how millions of Illinois residents remain dependent on government through programs like food stamps and Medicaid.

Janus v AFSCME and the truth about Illinois pensions in one graphic – Wirepoints Original

One graphic perfectly captures the absurdity of Illinois pensions over the past three decades. It’s what Justice Samuel Alito described as Illinois’ “generous public-employee retirement packages” when writing for the majority in the Janus v. AFSCME decision.

Will History Record Illinois As A Failure Of Democracy? – Wirepoints Original

Yes, but don't blame the Founders or their vision of government.  

“The way public sector unions use their money is inherently political” – Ted Dabrowski on Upstream Ideas – Video

Ted was on Upstream Ideas last week discussing the Supreme Court's Janus v. AFSCME court decision and the positive implications it has for Illinois.

Surprise: All U.S. Taxpayers, Not Just Illinoisans, Will Cover Most Of The Public Funding For Obama Center Fiasco In Chicago – Wirepoints Original

Wirepoints has learned that at least $139 million -- 80% of the public funding for the center -- almost certainly will be reimbursed by the federal government.

Expect no near-term credit rating improvement for Illinois from Janus decision – Wirepoints Original

Don’t think that the Janus ruling by the Supreme Court will change how credit agencies rate Illinois. The decision, which allows public workers to opt out of union membership, didn’t fix any of Illinois’ problems overnight and the state is still on a trajectory towards a junk rating – now just one-notch away.

Illinois’ dysfunction made the Supreme Court’s Janus vs. AFSCME ruling inevitable – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ dysfunction, in large part influenced by the power of Illinois’ unions, made the majority’s decision inevitable. They couldn’t help but find that forced dues violate free speech, considering the negative impact Illinois’ public sector unions have had on the state and its residents.

Illinois state pensions: Overpromised, not underfunded – Wirepoints Special Report

Justice Alito wrote in the Janus vs. AFSCME decision that "Illinois’ pension funds are underfunded by $129 billion as a result of generous public-employee retirement packages. He's right. Wirepoints found that Illinois promised pension benefits have grown 1,100 percent since 1987, multiple times more than the state budget, the economy and taxpayers ability to pay.

A Particularly Foolish Pension Article By Somebody Who Should Know Better – Wirepoints Original

Automatic annual tax increases in whatever-it-takes amounts to fund all our pensions? Good luck.

FAQ: Why communities like Wilmette should reject Cook County’s minimum wage mandates – Wirepoints Original

The Wilmette Village Board is voting for a second time on a Cook County ordinance that mandates higher minimum wages and more sick leave days. Over 80 percent of Cook communities have already said no to the county's overreaching ordinance. Wilmette should do the same.  

Illinois lags nation, neighbors in getting residents off food stamps – Wirepoints Original

Apologists for Illinois’ fiscal and economic dysfunction have yet another bad statistic to defend: A full 15 percent of all Illinoisans remain enrolled on food stamps. Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana have all cut their enrollment by about 20 percent since March 2010 while Illinois enrollment is 17 percent higher.  

Obamaland Fiasco Worsens, Story Goes National – Wirepoints Original

The center will be known forever as Obamaland, a monument to little more than misuse of government power, hubris and Chicago machine control over Illinois government. 

“We’ve been wondering why pension trustees haven’t been intercepting” – Quaid of WTAD breaks down Wirepoints’ article – Audio

Earlier this week, Quaid of WTAD's News Roundtable took a deep dive into Wirepoints' recent piece: The Harvey fallout: Are Illinois public safety pension trustees protecting police and firefighters? He considered the question: Why hasn't there been a rush by police and fire pension trustees to intercept the money cities owe the funds?

IMRF Enters The Pension Intercept Mess: Implications For Hundreds Of Illinois Towns And Cities – Wirepoints Original

Since the Illinois comptroller has concluded that IMRF, too, has the right to intercept state money, hundreds of Illinois muncipalities may have some of that money seized.

$400 million for AFSCME back-pay would crush lawmakers’ “balanced” budget claims – Wirepoints Original

AFSCME workers are on track to receive $400 million in back-pay from the state. That will knock another hole the 2019 budget. The budget wasn’t balanced before, but adding another $400 million in spending will demolish any politician's claims that revenues will match expenditures next year.

Magicians: How Illinois politicians made $1.2 billion in budget deficits disappear – Wirepoints Original

If you want to understand Illinois’ corrupt budget making process, look at how lawmakers just “cleaned up” some unaccounted-for budget deficits. In the blink of an eye, Illinois politicians made $1.2 billion in deficit spending disappear. There was no debate needed over how to fund it. In fact, pols didn’t need to find any actual cash to pay for it at all.

The Harvey fallout: Are Illinois public safety pension trustees protecting police and firefighters? – Wirepoints Original

You’d think a newly-implemented law that allows pension trustees to effectively garnish monies owed to their funds would be getting lots of use. But other than Harvey and North Chicago, no other trustees have taken the next step. There are several reasons why trustees are ignoring their fiduciary responsibility to the pensioners they represent.

“You can’t be a destination state with the worst credit rating and highest property taxes” – Ted Dabrowski on Illinois Rising with Dan Proft – Video

Passing a budget does nothing to change the fact that Illinois is on the wrong track. "We're one notch away from a junk bond rating. You can't be a destination state if you have the highest property taxes in the nation, losing a third of our manufacturing jobs since the turn of the century, shrinking population three years in a row."

Cullerton Renews Infamous ‘No Pension Crisis’ Claim In Interview Crammed With Dishonesty – Wirepoints Original

How much distortion, blather and pure dishonesty can somebody cram into a ten minute interview on the state budget and pensions? An astonishing amount if it's Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.

“This budget is ‘progress’ for the political elite only” – Ted Dabrowski on Illinois Rising with Dan Proft – Video

"For the political elite, this budget is a perfect sign of progress. They're all getting along. There are no fights. No impasse. No real debates over reforms. Everybody is lined up to do the exact same things we've been doing forever. The sad thing for Illinoisans is this budget is not good for them."

Administrators over kids: Seven ways Illinois’ education bureaucracy siphons money from classrooms – Wirepoints Special Report

Listen to Illinois education officials’ demands for more money and it’s easy to believe Illinois grossly underspends on K-12 education. But the truth is Illinois already spends more on education than any other Midwest state. It’s just that much of the money is going to all the wrong places. Billions of dollars are being siphoned away from the state’s poorest districts by the state’s burgeoning education bureaucracy.

Madigan’s mistake: Illinois Speaker lauds progressive tax schemes that hit middle-income earners – Wirepoints Original

Somebody should have told Madigan that if he wants to be “...cutting taxes on the middle class, putting more money in the pockets of working families,” then the last thing Illinois should do is copy its neighbors' progressive tax schemes.

“This budget perpetuates the same bad behavior, doesn’t change the downward trend” – Ted Dabrowski on AM Quad Cities – Audio

Ted was on AM Quad Cities this week discussing Illinois' FY 2019 budget and why Illinoisans should be angry about its passage. The budget was negotiated in secret, introduced and passed with no time to read it and contains none of the reforms the state needs to turn itself around.

A budget for lawmakers, not Illinoisans – Wirepoints Original

Expect a major celebration from both sides about the civility and the bipartisanship that created the new FY 2019 budget. But what about the budget itself? Just because they say it’s balanced, is it? And just because they have a budget, is it good for Illinoisans? And just because there was no impasse, will Illinois avoid a junk rating? The answer is no, no and no.

Latest on Harvey’s Pension Intercept and Why it Matters for All Illinois Towns and Cities – Wirepoints Original

Is precedent being set to force a race to intercept? And a "credit negative" warning for all Illinois towns and cities.

5 reasons why Wilmette should opt out of Cook County’s minimum wage, sick leave mandate – Wirepoints Original

The Wilmette Village Board is revisiting Cook County's minimum wage and sick leave mandate. The city originally joined more than 80 percent of communities in rejecting the county's ordinances last year. Nothing has changed since then. The mandates are still a bad idea for Wilmette and all communities across Cook County.

Will Illinois budget negotiations reverse the 10 trends dragging Illinois toward insolvency, or simply perpetuate them? – Wirepoints Original

The media is reporting that all is quiet on the negotiating front, which confirms no real reforms are being debated. The status quo will continue. But the decline in Illinois has gone on long enough – certainly long enough to know the status quo isn’t working. To demonstrate, we’ve put together a list of trends that capture much of Illinois’ collapse.

Illinois budget negotiations: Five reasons no news is bad news – Wirepoints Original

Illinois media is widely reporting that no news on Illinois’ budget negotiations is good news – that a quiet battleground in the statehouse means all is well. But if you are an ordinary Illinois resident, don’t buy the “no news is good news” pitch. It’s bunk for a bunch of reasons.

‘Just Blow It Up’: Will That $7.2 Billion School Funding Lawsuit Do It To Illinois? – Wirepoints Original

The lawsuit appears viable, thanks to the state's own admissions, but there's no way to pay it.

From What Planet Is IL School Superintendent? Wants Another $7.2 Billion In Upcoming Budget – Wirepoints Original

REPOSTED DUE TO RECENT EVENTS. Twenty-two school superintendents have filed a lawsuit against the state. Their demand is identical to the State Superintendent's budget request earlier this year. Illinois K-12 Superintendent Tony Smith says he wants $7.2 billion more in funding right now – not over ten years. His demand reveals the complete disconnect between Illinois’ education bureaucracy and the real world.  

Who does Illinois’ Civic Federation really champion? – Wirepoints Original

It’s surreal to read the Civic Fed’s 2019 recommended budget plan for Illinois. Year after year the group continues to ask Illinoisans to pour billions of dollars more into the corrupt and nearly-bankrupt corporation that is the state of Illinois – while demanding little to none of the hard hitting reforms its trustees would demand with their own money.

“It’s hypocrisy. State legislators made a mess of pensions yet refuse to do reforms for all these municipalities” – Ted Dabrowski on WJPF – Audio

Ted was on WJPF's Morning Newswatch this week discussing the continuing fallout from Harvey and the broader problem of state control over local Illinois governments. Illinois cities are trapped by the pension laws, the collective bargaining rules and the unfunded mandates set up by the state. 

Illinois pension trustees’ failure to request intercepts exposes ugly reality – Wirepoints Original

After trustees from the Harvey and North Chicago pension funds paved the way on how to use the 2011 intercept law, it’s been virtual crickets from the other funds. Why aren’t the pension trustees busting down the comptroller’s doors? Why aren’t public safety pensioners demanding action from their trustees? As usual, you’ll find the answer in math.

“Progressive taxes give false hope: Don’t fix problems, just tax the rich” – Ted Dabrowski on Illinois Rising with Dan Proft – Video

"The scary thing they don't want you to know is, if you look at progressive tax rates around the country, they're not on the rich, they're on the middle class and working class...when you start these progressive taxes, politicians realize they need more money, so they bring that higher and higher rate down into the middle income and working classes."

A note to readers: We’re getting our research spread and our viewpoint heard – Wirepoints Original

To you who think the establishment narrative about Illinois and its crisis is flawed, we have some good news. Our alternative viewpoint is being...

“Two hundred cities in Illinois could face garnishment” Wirepoints Press Conference, May 8, 2018 – Video

Wirepoints held a press conference on with Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) and Allen Skillicorn (R-Crystal Lake) after testifying in front of the Illinois House Cities and Villages Committee about Harvey, North Chicago, and the broader downstate pension crisis.

“Another $21 billion in debt is flying under the radar” – Ted Dabrowski on Illinois Rising with Dan Proft – Video

Ted was on Illinois Rising last week discussing the $21 billion in school district debt that most Illinoisans know nothing about. Illinois, with $10,400 in debt per student, has 70 percent more school debt than Wisconsin, 44 percent more than Iowa and 33 percent more than Missouri. Indiana’s debt load is just 2 percent more than Illinois’ own.

“Officials aren’t telling the truth about the severity of what’s happening” – Ted Dabrowski on WTAD with Quaid – Audio

Ted Dabrowski was on WTAD earlier this week discussing the implications of the downstate pension crisis and why Illinois politicians in Springfield don't seem to care about the financial stress hitting both community budgets and resident wallets across Illinois.

Three Chicago Fed Economists Say They Know How To Tax Illinoisans Fleeing Pension Liabilities – Updated – Wirepoints Original

Over a million readers have now clicked on this story here and in various republications across the country.

Beyond Harvey: Many Illinois municipalities running out of options – Wirepoints Special Report

Wirepoints has performed an analysis of 180 Illinois cities with both a dedicated police and fire pension fund, examining their finances and their pensions. The findings, which will be released in a forthcoming paper, are alarming. Look at the numbers – at the collapsing funding ratios, broken budgets, and unsustainable tax burdens – and anyone can see that many cities aren’t far off from a breaking point.  

“Nobody is winning; everybody is losing” Wirepoints testifies before the House Committee on Cities and Villages – Video

Mark Glennon and Ted Dabrowski joined Rep. Jeanne Ives on May 8th, 2018 to testify in front of the Cities and Villages Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives.

“This crisis directly affects people’s lives, but its been hidden from them” – Ted Dabrowski on Illinois Rising with Dan Proft – Video

Ted was on Illinois Rising earlier this week. He and Dan Proft talked to State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) about the state's garnishment of...

Why a bankruptcy option for municipalities is essential – Wirepoints Testimony

Chapter 9 bankruptcy for municipalities is a last resort and a bad option. The question, however, is whether it is the only option offering any hope to Illinois’ most distressed communities. I am convinced that offering the option isn’t just the right thing to do, but any delay will doom some communities to circumstances not even bankruptcy can help.

The $21 billion debt most Illinoisans know nothing about – Wirepoints Original

Illinoisans hear plenty about the state’s ballooning pension debt, its billions in unpaid bills and rising bond debts. But most don’t know that the state’s 860 school districts have put Illinoisans on the hook for another $21 billion in debt. 

CTBA’s New Progressive Tax Proposal Makes Our Case Against it – Wirepoints Original

"If there ever was a wake-up call of how deep we are in the abyss, this is it."

Seizing innocents’ assets, personal bankruptcies and Chicago’s champions of the little guy – Wirepoints Original

Those who can least afford it are getting hammered to pay up for a broke city.

No, Comptroller Mendoza, the Budget Impasse Did Not Cause Late Fees – Wirepoints Original

During the impasse, tax revenue came in and bills were incurred just as they did when there was a budget. The impasse made no difference.

Rating agencies warn, Illinois flirts with junk – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ brutal political campaigns may have distracted attention from the reality of the state’s crumbling finances, but an upcoming $500 million bond borrowing by the state will remind investors and Illinoisans alike how little has improved.

Second domino falls in Illinois: North Chicago revenues garnished for pensions – Wirepoints Original

Harvey was the first domino to fall in Illinois’ public safety pension crisis. Now North Chicago is the second. The state comptroller has begun to intercept the city’s revenues on behalf of its firefighter pension fund. Both cities are the vanguard of a much wider problem faced by municipalities across Illinois.

“No cash flow, no assets, no money, no choices” – Ted Dabrowski on WVON with Perri Small – Audio

Ted talked with Perri Small of WVON Radio on Wednesday about Harvey's lack of options. It's trapped by the one-size-fits-all state laws that rob every Illinois municipality of local control.

The Harvey crisis puts the Illinois machine in a bind – Wirepoints Original

Harvey has put the state political machine in a bind. If lawmakers allow garnishments to continue, a wave of intercepts could lead to struggling municipalities cutting pay and laying off public sector union workers across the state. On the other hand, if lawmakers reverse the garnishment law via legislation, they’ll reveal their unwillingness to defend public sector pensions.

“Communities are in straightjacket and being left to drown” – Ted Dabrowski on NBC Chicago – TV

Ted joined State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) in Harvey, Illinois on Monday to bring attention to the city's plight and discuss the solution it so desperately needs: bankruptcy.

“Harvey’s not alone with this kind of problem” – Ted Dabrowski on WJPF with Tom Miller – Audio

Ted talks with Tom Miller of WJPF Radio to discuss Harvey and the possibility that hundreds of other cities across the state could have their revenues garnished to pay their public safety pensions.

Harvey, the first domino in Illinois: Data shows nearly 400 other pension funds could trigger garnishment – Wirepoints Special Report

You’d be mistaken to think Harvey, Illinois has a unique pension crisis. The mess is everywhere, from East St. Louis to Rockford and from Quincy to DanvilleA review of Illinois Department of Insurance pension data shows that Harvey could be just the start of a flood of garnishments across the state.

It’s happening: The insanity in Harvey, Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Last year, the courts ordered nearly-bankrupt Harvey to hike its sky-high property taxes – even though they are already at confiscatory levels – to pay for pensions. Now the comptroller is confiscating the city’s local tax revenues to pay for them. One or both of those actions may accelerate what needs to happen in Harvey: bankruptcy.

A booming market can’t save Illinois pensions – Wirepoints Original

It's impossible to overstate how deep Illinois' pension crisis is. The market is experiencing remarkable returns and yet the state’s pension debts aren't improving. Imagine how the funds will collapse when the next recession inevitably hits.

Illinois’ Crashing Net Worth: Audio Interview with Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon – YouTube

Further into the abyss: $10 billion loss this year, $137 billion loss over the last ten years.

Illinois AFSCME: No contract, but higher pay anyway? – Wirepoints Original

It looks as if AFSCME will win yet another battle in its long-standing contract fight with the state. The state will have to back pay step increases to workers, costing taxpayers more than $400 million.

New Financial Statements: Illinois’ Net Worth Plummets Deeper Into The Red – Wirepoints Original

New financial statements released this month show actual results are far different than portrayed in budget negotiations and the press.

Math: The Biggest Loser in Illinois Election – Wirepoints Original

The speeches last night said most of what you need to know about the election.

Dog chasing tail? Legislation Proposed to Authorize Illinois Treasurer to Buy Receivables Owed by the State – Wirepoints Original

Are you overloaded with debt? Ever consider just buying the invoices you owe to your creditors? Lots of questions jump out about this.

Leaving Illinois: One family’s math – Wirepoints Original

Illinoisans don’t like how they’re being disrespected by their politicians – paying ever-higher taxes for ever-fewer services. So they leave. One of those people leaving is a North Shore neighbor of mine moving to Colorado. For him, the calculus was simple. Stay and pay more and more for a government he trusts less and less, or leave and save $1 million dollars.

“Taxpayers across the state are paying for those retirements” Ted Dabrowski on Newsradio WJPF – Audio

Ted talks to the Morning Newswatch about how the state's teacher pension funding scheme is regressive. Wealthy districts, with higher salaries and bigger bureaucracies, benefit most from state pension funding. Read on to compare your local school district’s pension subsidy to others around the state.

Florida focuses on tax base, Illinois on tax rate – Wirepoints Original

No, Illinois is no Florida. But we’d be dumb not take some lessons from their success. Illinois continues to grow its spending by borrowing, enacting massive tax hikes and growing its unpaid bills, even as its tax base shrinks. Florida, in contrast, has grown its spending by growing its economy and its tax base.

Illinois’ regressive pension funding scheme: wealthiest school districts benefit most – Wirepoints Special Report

The state's teacher pension funding scheme, where one unit of government doles out benefits while another one pays for them, has destroyed accountability and driven up taxes on struggling Illinoisans. And it’s regressive. Rep. McSweeney is wrong to ally himself with the IEA to block a pension cost shift.    

Chicago Treasurer Wants To Play Social Justice Warrior With $7 Billion Of Taxpayer Money – Wirepoints Original

Treasurer Summers says his ESG investment decisions would be similar to how the Cubs and other Major League Baseball teams rely on advanced analytics to assess players, with a system that draws in disparate bits of information to score companies based on ESG factors. Nonsense. It would be more like letting the girls in the grandstands select the players based on who looks nicest.

Ten trends dragging Illinois toward insolvency and what to do about it – Wirepoints Original

The decline in Illinois has gone on long enough to show anyone that the status quo isn’t working. To demonstrate, we’ve put together a list of trends that capture much of Illinois’ collapse.

Pay hikes in Maine Township? How about consolidation instead – Wirepoints Original

Maine Township is considering a move to merit-based pay. Given the struggles of Illinois taxpayers burdened under the nation’s highest property taxes, they should pursue consolidation instead.

What’s Ahead For Chicago: Forced Tax Increases, Priority For Pensions And Bonds – Wirepoints Original

Pension protectors and the municipal bond juggernaut have been aggressively passing into law whatever they can to ensure they come first if the city doesn't have enough money for everything. Who's doing the same for taxpayers and those who rely on city services? Not Chicago Democrats.

Why Rauner’s failures justify a reform agenda in Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s leadership failures have deflated the political pressure for reforms in Illinois. But his inability to change anything, ironically, only strengthens the case for structural reforms. The longer Illinois’ status quo policies remain in place, the more this state will continue to decline.

Changing the conversation on pensions, Ted Dabrowski on with John Kass – Audio

"If you care about your policemen, your firemen, your teachers, then we need to have pension reform. Because if we don't - people keep leaving, the tax base is shrinking - we'll have to start firing them...It's ironic, paradoxical, but to take care of workers we have to change pensions."

Chicago leaders’ hypocritical stance on school choice – Wirepoints Original

Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union have been practicing a corrupted version of school choice that’s done little to improve the lives of CPS students. Instead, it’s led to perverse consequences that actually perpetuate the systemic failures of CPS, leaving far too many students without an education

Governor Rauner’s New Budget Proposal – Wirepoints Original

Key points jump out that make a protracted fight look likely.

Press Release: Wirepoints available for comment on Gov. Rauner’s FY 2019 Budget Address

Gov. Rauner has proposed a far less transformational budget for FY 2019. It isn't the budget Illinoisans want or need. If Illinois is going to keep its people here, grow its economy and bring back jobs, lawmakers must pursue much deeper reforms.

Pension benefits overwhelm taxpayers, Ted on WTAD – Audio

Ted on WTAD Quincy. Quincy household incomes are up just 97 percent since 1990, total state pension benefits grew seven times more than than that.

Incomes in top 50 Illinois cities can’t keep pace with state pensions – Wirepoints Original

Illinoisans are losing out everywhere they turn. Their incomes are stagnant. They’ve just been hit with a record $5 billion dollar income tax hike. They have to pay the nation's’ highest property taxes. And they have to pay for the total state pension benefits that have grown exponentially over the past 30 years.

Illinois politicians: stop guilting taxpayers – Wirepoints Original

For years, the state’s political elite has blamed ordinary Illinoisans for the state’s pension crisis. They say that the state – and by extension taxpayers – have failed to put enough money into government-worker pensions to keep them solvent. We’ve always been suspicious of that claim, and as it turns out, we were right to be.

Illinois’ pension crisis: Incompetence or malice? – Wirepoints Original

If Illinois were a corporation, think Enron or Worldcom, all kinds of regulators would be sniffing around or breaking doors down. But where are the investigations here? Where are the legislative hearings? The odds of a real investigation happening are zilch. But it's still worth asking the right questions.

It’s Baaaaack: The Illinois ‘Privilege Tax’ Bill! – Wirepoints Original

Undeterred by national ridicule heaped on Illinois last year, statehouse Democrats are pushing again for passage of a 20% "privilege tax" on investment managers. Thanks to ZeroHedge for republishing.

Snake oil, the budget impasse and Illinois’ $1 billion in late payment penalties – Wirepoints Original

Pity the average citizen trying to understand any of this based on what politicians say.

Martwick’s reckless proposal to borrow $107 billion in Illinois pension bonds – Wirepoints Original

State Rep. Robert Martwick wants the state – meaning taxpayers – to borrow a massive $107 billion so that those proceeds can fund the state’s pension plans.

Pritzker: Let Cities Dictate What The Rent Should Be – Wirepoints Original

The dumbest policy proposal yet from a major candidate in Illinois' race for governor.

Illinois Treasurer Shoots Self In Foot Defending Activist Social Investing – Wirepoints Original

If you're going to claim that "socially responsible investing" is the right way to manage money, you might want to check the stock price before bragging about an example. Over $20 billion of shareholder value lost in an instant.

Lakewood’s Serwatka shows what reform-oriented leadership could do for Illinois – Wirepoints Original

To see what a reform-oriented Illinois might look like under different state leadership, just look at the small village of Lakewood, Illinois. Since a new board was elected last year, the village has abolished its TIF, reduced the village’s property tax levy and even returned some tax dollars back to residents located in the terminated TIF.

Wisconsin Foxconn handouts demonstrate peril of business “incentives” in Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Wisconsin's residents are now finding out that the price tag for the Foxconn deal is $4 billion, much higher than Wisconsin politicians originally advertised. That should serve as a warning to Illinoisans. In this state politicians like House Speaker Mike Madigan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner pick winners and losers directly with taxpayer dollars.

Illinois Treasurer Frerichs Playing Activist Shareholder With College Savers’ Money – Wirepoints Original

It's not his mission and they aren't his shares. It's bad policy and a dangerous precedent.

What if Illinois manufacturing had grown at the pace of its neighboring states? – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ manufacturing recovery has been paltry. The state would have 150,000 more jobs if it had followed the same recovery path that Michigan has taken.

Illinois’ manufacturing sector stagnates while neighboring states recover – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ manufacturing sector is going to need a lot more than just federal tax relief to get growing again. The number of manufacturing jobs in the state has collapsed by more than 300,000 jobs since the turn of the century and there’s been little sign of recovery since the end of the Great Recession.

Chicago’s Best News Piece Of News In 2017 – Wirepoints Original

Huge drop in the number of teenage mothers. Maybe the cycle of poverty is finally breaking.

Illinois Comptroller: Moving Debt From One Credit Card To Another Is ‘A Win Win Win’ – Wirepoints Original

Illinois will start the new year heading straight into the abyss with it's foot firmly on the gas pedal. Nobody in government is saying how bad it is, including two who are in particularly good positions to do so -- Comptroller Mendoza and Governor Rauner.

Turmoil Grows Over Disparity In Rules For Prepayment Of Property Taxes – Wirepoints Original

What a mess! A tax matter of immediate importance to many property owners — prepayment of property taxes — is rapidly descending into chaos and unfairness.

Illinois’ Lakewood Village breaks mold, lowers property taxes – Wirepoints Original

Few Illinois governments seem to understand – or care – about the implications of the state’s shrinking populationHowever, there are a few governments willing to actually find ways to make things more affordable for their residents. Lakewood Village is one of them. The village recently found the resolve to cut its property tax levy by 10 percent.

New Census data: Illinois shrinks again while neighbors grow – Wirepoints Original

Don’t blame the weather. Illinois has shrunk four years in a row, while its neighbors have all grown during that same time period. As Illinoisans leave, so does the tax base.

Chicago’s Pension And Debt Load Worse Than Puerto Rico’s, And A New Moody’s Report Zaps Chicago – Wirepoints Original

By far the worst debt load among major local governments. Worse than Puerto Rico on per household basis.

Squeezed out, fed up: Property tax hikes from Wilmette to Danville threaten Illinois’ tax base – Wirepoints Original

State and local officials keep raising taxes despite the sobering fact that Illinois and Chicago have both lost population three years in a row. Illinois will never recover if its tax base continues to flee. Even those in more affluent areas of the state will become fed up and leave when tax burdens get too high.

US markets up 200 percent, Illinois pensions down 65 percent – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ pension funds have collapsed during one of the longest bull markets in historySince the end of the Great Recession, the S&P 500 index has recovered and grown by more than 200 percent. At the same time, Illinois’ pension shortfall worsened by 65 percent, to reach $129.1 billion.

Springfield fiddles while Illinois cities burn – Wirepoints Special Report

Special report: Decades of state mandates have pushed up costs, taxes and debts to unsustainable levels for many cities. They’re either at the brink of bankruptcy because of unfunded pensions or have lost people and businesses due to high taxes and fewer services. The most unfortunate cities, like Danville Illinois, are suffering from both.

Fitch Ratings: Illinois debt burden highest in nation – Wirepoints Original

Fitch Ratings says Illinois is the worst in the nation when it comes to debt and pensions as a share of residents’ personal income. The state's total debt amounted to more than 28 percent of Illinois residents’ personal income.

Illinois: Beware a junk bond rating – Wirepoints Original

Moody’s wants to update its rating methodology to increase the influence that debt and pensions have on the overall ratings of state governments. That’s bad news for Illinoisans and the state’s economy. Illinois’ credit is already just one notch above junk – the worst of any state.

Chicagoans seeking Amazon: Beware the Foxconn effect – Wirepoints Original

Overlapping local government debt for Chicagoans – that from the city, its sister governments and the city’s proportional share of Cook County debts – now totals $71 billion. More debt to fund Amazon’s investment would only make things worse for the Windy City and its residents.  

Pension update: Illinois pension debt stuck at $129 billion despite market gains – Wirepoints Original

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability has announced that the state’s pension debt remained virtually unchanged from last year, despite a continuing surge in stock markets globally.

Cook County pop tax repeal: One tax revolt doesn’t make a revolution – Wirepoints Original

At the very moment that the Cook County Board repealed its $200 million pop tax, the Chicago Public Schools publicly announced it was hiking property taxes by another $225 million. Politicians imposed one $200-million tax hike just as another one was killed.

Tax hike fail: 2019 budget deficit to push $3 billion – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ record-sized budget and its $5 billion tax hike haven't solved the state’s chronic fiscal mess. The “balanced” 2018 budget has turned out to be anything but balanced. And new numbers show the state's deficits will only get worse in fiscal year 2019.

Moonbeam Illuminates California On Pension Reform While Illinois Hides In Darkness – Wirepoints Original

Don't count on any taxpayer savings from the recent Tier 3 pension "reform."

A District’s Survey Finds Anger Over Anti-Conservative ‘School Climate’ – Wirepoints Original

A surprise for the administrators which, not surprisingly, they didn't even ask about.

Springfield residents on hook for $500 million in local retirement debt – Wirepoints Original

Add up city police, fire, IMRF and retiree healthcare costs and Springfield taxpayers are on the hook for $517 million in local retirement debt. That’s up from approximately $180 million in 2005.    

A near-perfect way to hike property taxes in Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Local officials and union leaders have employed a near-perfect method to pressure residents into accepting higher taxes year after year: Sell the idea that communities around them are more generous than their own.

Rising property taxes and stagnant incomes: A lethal combination for Illinoisans – Wirepoints Original

A lethal combination of rising property taxes and stagnant incomes has forced many Illinoisans to rethink their relationship with their state. More than a million net residents have already fled the state since 2000 - and you can’t blame others for thinking about joining them.  

Pending Federal Tax Changes Would Lower Illinois Home Values And Deepen Property Tax Rage – Wirepoints Original

An overall tax cut wouldn't change those results.The effect of doubling the standard deduction is being overlooked

An omen of things to come for Illinois downstate police and fire pension funds – Wirepoints Original

In Illinois, 118 fire funds already have more pension beneficiaries than active workers. Another 73 police funds are in the same dire position. That’s 191 of the 653 fire and police funds, or nearly 30 percent, that are upside down.

Mussman’s property tax bill: from bad to worse – Wirepoints Original

Lots of reasons why this property tax "freeze" is a failure, but these latest additions have made it even more of a mess.

Illinois lawmakers poised to embrace good-for-nothing property tax freeze – Wirepoints Original

The latest proposal that may get fast tracked and passed immediately is a good-for-nothing property tax freeze introduced by Rep. Michelle Mussman.

Understanding the numbers behind Illinois’ dramatic pension shortfall – Wirepoints Original

The first number you’ll need to know is $550 billion. That’s the total amount state workers are owed in pension benefits over the next 30 years.

Pension costs drive up Schaumburg property taxes – Wirepoints Original

By: Ted Dabrowski* I was recently invited to speak on a panel in Schaumburg on the topic of pensions. Skyrocketing pension costs are pushing property...

In Depth: $13 Billion Still Languishes With Illinois Treasurer, Misuse Mounts – Wirepoints Original

A trillion dollars per year of investment activity that's largely unnecessary, billions left unused and a Treasurer unilaterally using the resulting power for political benefit and policy goals unrelated to his office. Using taxpayer money at the Treasure's office to fix the fake news problem?

New Report: Illinois Pension Unfunded Liabilities Worsened By $17 Billion In A Year – Wirepoints Original

A comprehensive, apples-to-apples report on all 671 pensions in Illinois.

Selectively Deleting Comments is Dishonest – Wirepoints Original

Selectively deleting comments is among the ways of bias. We have two conspicuous offenders in Illinois. It’s dishonest and wrong.

That Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Ruling Will Have Implications for Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Dry stuff for some, but this will be critical in Illinois, sooner or later.

Is Illinois’ New Budget Balanced? Oh, Please. – Wirepoints Original

Remember the surge of relief in early July when so many celebrated passage of a "balanced budget"? Well, never mind.

Court-Ordered Taxes For Pensions Begin In Illinois; Litigation Turmoil Looms – Wirepoints Original

With effective property tax rates already 5.7%, Harvey is a bloodless turnip. Where else will the courts order higher taxes?

Chump Media: Why Sham Votes Happen In Springfield – WP Original

The Wall Street Journal and FOX Business are among those who botched this one worst.

Rahm’s Ramp And The Fate Of Chicago’s Pensions – WP Original

The can has now been kicked on all four city pensions, as shown on the chart.

Plain English Video On Why Phony ‘Balanced’ Budgets Are Key To Our State And Local Fiscal Crises

If you don't know that state and local budgets are deceitful and nearly meaningless, or you don't know why that's so important to understanding our crisis, spend a few minutes watching the video.

Illinois Stumbles Through Fog Towards New School Funding Formula – Wirepoints Original

We know more now, but distortions abound and key points remain unreported or unknowable.

Cook County’s Outrageous Attempt To Charge Plaintiffs $17 Million In Beverage Tax Case – WP Original

Sanctions against the county's lawyers? Maybe, but without a firm and unequivocal decision against Cook County a dangerous precedent will be set.

Education Funding Bill is a Monstrosity of Unknown Proportions – Wirepoints Original

Shame on everybody who has let SB1 get as far along as it has with such little understanding, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Rauner’s New Staff, Extremism and the Stockholm Syndrome – Wirepoints Original

That which can't pass the establishment in the General Assembly and its enablers in the press is "too radical" for Illinois.

The Importance of Being Scared (in Illinois) – WP Original

"If you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.”

Outrageous Giveaway to Muni Bond Buyers Hidden in Massive Budget Bill – Wirepoints Original

We are being looted. The muni bond industry is going all out to keep raising the credit card limit and sucking every ounce of blood out to ensure it gets repaid.

Speech Muzzlers Triggered: Chicago’s Theater Community On The Attack – WP Original

Together we make great theater -- unless you disagree with us, in which case you're a bigot.

New Study Details How Pensions Exploit New And Younger Teachers – Wirepoints Original

Illinois gets an 'F' as you'd expect, but we have plenty of company on this.

Why You Shouldn’t Believe The Illinois Budget Deficit Numbers Released This Week – Wirepoints Original

True numbers are 2X or 3X worse and show the genuine bind Illinois is in -- not just an ego clash between Rauner and Madigan.

Would Congress Authorize Bankruptcy for Illinois and Other States? Yes, Inevitably. – Wirepoints Original

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. -Arthur Schopenhauer.
And thanks to ZeroHedge for republishing this article.

COGFA: State of IL Revenue Up In May But Still Down For Year – WP Original

Up 7% for the month but still down 3.5% for the year-to-date.

Video: IL State Senator, Clueless About Bill He Sponsors, Blames Questioning On His Mexican Heritage – WP Original

Truth is, most of the rest of the legislature doesn't know what the bill does either. It still passed. Same with most of what they rushed through this week.

Brace for a Major Worsening in Illinois’ Fiscal Crisis – Wirepoints Original

A far deeper crisis for Illinois is inevitable, we've long said, but it's now more imminent because that certainty is becoming more obvious.

New Stanford Study Exposes Illinois Pensions as the Farce They Are – Wirepoints Original

Using a "market value" discount rate, just to keep Illinois pensions from sinking further into debt, the state would have to contribute "well over twice of what it actually contributed." Chicago and Cook County are toast, too.

NOTE TO READERS: New Software and Other Changes

By: Mark Glennon* We've switched over to a new software program, so please excuse us if we are down for a bit and you encounter...

Illinois Isn’t Puerto Rico, But…. – Wirepoints Original

...Stockton and San Bernadino weren't either. Not being Puerto Rico doesn't mean you can't run out of money and go bankrupt. And it doesn't mean Puerto Rico won't frame the debate about how to resolve government fiscal crises.

COGFA: State Revenue Weakness Continued in April – WP Original

Total tax receipts compared to April last year were off 1.3%. However, transfers from the federal government increased, putting total sources $216 million ahead for the month (a 6.5% improvement for the month). For the fiscal year to date, however, the decline remains troubling.

How About an Illinois March for Math? – Wirepoints Original

It’s hard to see thousands of people rallying to the cry, “no unsustainable pension systems,” but it might do more good than yelling about “science.”

Myth on Top of Myth: Illinois’ Bill Backlog and the Temporary Tax Increase – WP Original

"If only Illinois had extended the temporary income tax increase we'd be in good shape." Wrong.

Crony Capitalism’s Latest Scheme for Illinois is Green – WP Original

“Sweet,” the guys who sell renewable energy hardware must be saying.

Sellouts, Handouts and Bailouts: The Illinois General Assembly is Out of Control – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* It's hard to overstate how bad the Illinois General Assembly has become. Let's look at just three sets of bills this session that...

How to Publish Fake News and Get Away with It: Eric Zorn and Deanna Isaacs Show Us the Way – Wirepoints Original

Just write a story about somebody else's fake news without saying it's fake.

Simple Math Shows Absurdity of Illinois’ Progressive Tax Cure – Wirepoints Original

To pretend that progressive taxes like those proposed in Illinois are the answer, with little else is, is quack demagoguery.

To Grasp Illinois’ Fiscal Predicament, Take Off Six Zeroes – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Billions are harder to fathom than thousands. Former Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger had a good way to illustrate Illinois' financial status: Just...

Is Bankruptcy for States Illinois’ Answer? A Primer. – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Could a formal bankruptcy proceeding for the State of Illinois be the answer to it's fiscal crisis? If you think that's out...

My Near Death Experience – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Five years ago this week I almost died off a beach on the Atlantic near Fort Lauderdale. I tell this not just...

A Horrible Bill Illustrates Illinois General Assembly’s Bumbling Dysfunction – Updated – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon* You might remember when the capitol lights almost were shut off a couple years ago because the bill wasn't getting paid. That...

Study Says Illinois Doesn’t Know All it Spends on Higher Ed. Not Unusual. – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A new study by Pew Charitable Trusts tried to measure how much states spend on higher education. The challenge is measuring spending...

How New Trier High School Educated Us All – Updated – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon* The day itself mattered little -- one high school's all day seminar on racial civil rights, controversy over which captured national headlines....

Two Sets of Numbers We Want From Illinois. Now. – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I'm fed up with the entirely fictional debate about the Illinois budget being played out in the press. One cause is the...

Illinois’ Grand Bargain: 12 Bills But One Overriding Question – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Step back from the trees and see the forest as you go through the "grand bargain" legislative package Springfield is considering. The...

‘Like a Broken Record,’ IL State Revenue Dropped Again in February; Downward Projection Expected – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon* Base revenues for the State of Illinois fell again in February (compared to last Feburary) according to today's report from COGFA, the...

Illinois Bill to Prioritize Bondholders Over the Public Must Be Stopped – Updated – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon* What could be worse than bankruptcy for an Illinois town or city? An assetless bankruptcy. That's when even a formal bankruptcy proceeding can't...

Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon Joins WBEZ’s Tony Sarabia for Discussion on New Trier High School’s Controversial Seminar Day on Racism – Audio

Comment: Special thanks to Joan Oh, on the other side, for being so gracious -- in stark contrast to so many on her side...

The Closing of New Trier’s Mind – Wirepoints Guest

  By: Chris Robling*   New Trier Township High School has been a national model at least since World War II. Today, unexpectedly, it models the nation’s...

Does the Grand Bargain Budget Package Violate Illinois’ Constitutional ‘Single Subject’ Rule? – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I’ll ask a leading authority on Illinois' single subject rule about it and the “grand bargain” budget solution under discussion in Springfield,...

Bondholders Taking Dibs on Public’s Bones While Illinois Taxpayers Snooze – Wirepoints Original – Updated

  By: Mark Glennon* Most readers' eyes surely glazed over when they read last week about the cat fight between two of the agencies that rate...

Authoritarians at the Gate: How One High School is Ripping its Community Apart – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon* Not since the Vietnam War have I seen as much strife and personal hostility within an otherwise friendly community. Thank the administration of...

Good Move: Former Comptroller Leslie Munger Named Deputy Governor – Wirepoints Original

*Mark Glennon   Governor Rauner today hired Illinois' previous Comptroller, Leslie Munger, as Deputy Governor.   "Deputy Governors" are essentially close advisors to the elected governor. Their duties...

January’s COGFA Report: Further Decline in State Revenue – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Tax receipts and other revenue for the State of Illinois declined again in January, continuing an ominous trend, according to the monthly...

Mad World: Dysfunctional Thought in a Rigged System — Rep. Jeanne Ives — Wirepoints Guest

  By: Rep. Jeanne Ives*   No one should be surprised that group think instead of rational choices surround the 13 interconnected bills of the “Grand Bargain”...

Mark Glennon Is One Of The Most Dangerous Men In IL – VIdeo – Upstream Ideas

"Glennon's facility with translating the Illinois Ruling Class' fantasy math into the tangible human costs it imposes makes him a dangerous man to Illinois...

Illinois Considers New Tax Called (Are You Ready?) the ‘Business Opportunity Tax’! – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The introductory language in the bill is so perfect. The tax is imposed "for the privilege of doing business in the State."   And...

Horrible ‘Grand Bargain’ for Illinois Budget is Strike Three for Sen. Christine Radogno – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon* Illinois Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) took the lead with Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to negotiate the "grand bargain" budget proposal for...

Ignore Meaningless ‘Budget’ Numbers in Illinois’ Fiscal Debate – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon* From news reports about the "grand bargain" budget solution on the table in Illinois you might be thinking, “Well, I don’t like...

‘Fake Policy’ on Pensions is a Key Piece in Pending Illinois Budget Deal – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If I offer you an equal trade for something which you are free to accept or reject, have you sacrificed or given...

It’s Happening – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* The figure I deeply admire in The Big Short, Mark Baum (Steve Eisman was his real name), had a simple reaction when...

Illinois Tax Revenue Declining Like We’re in a Recession, Slipped Again in December – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   The monthly report on state revenue was published today for December by COGFA (Illinois' Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability). It's dismal...

Freeze Property Taxes NOW or Illinois Homes Will Become Roach Motels – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A tipping point is at hand in Illinois. It’s the point when potential homebuyers conclude they’ll never cash out whole because of...

Four Ways Illinois Failed to Confront Reality in 2016 – WP Guest

By: Dalton*   Political dysfunction in Illinois runs deep. Chicago is the epicenter of the state’s political dysfunction and from Chicago emanates a broken politics that...

Clueless: Illinois Dems Proudly Celebrate Year’s Legislative Accomplishments – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Senate Democrats posted their "Top 10 New Illinois Laws for 2017." If it weren't labeled as being for Illinois, you'd seriously...

Another Banner Year for Boneheaded Chicago Leadership: Six Examples – WP Guest

By: Dalton*   The Seinfeld-inspired Festivus holiday has launched a bold new tradition of airing one’s grievances at the end of the year. And a Festivus-style...

Rahm’s Reaction to a Wirepoints Article in Those Personal Emails Tell Us How He Thinks – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   On October 16, 2015 I wrote an article here, The Shock and Awe Budget Address Rahm Should Have Given. It outlined the...

Who is AFSCME at Impasse With? Illinois Taxpayers, That’s Who. – WP Guest

By: Dalton*   All the resources at stake in the AFSCME state union negotiations are extracted from private-sector taxpayers. AFSCME’s high pay, 37.5 hour work-week, platinum...

Manufacturing Job Creation Not Everything: Motivation Also Needed – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   "About a third of our applicants fail the drug test. Another third lack basic life skills -- like showing up for work...

Most outrageous opinion piece of the year on pensions is from pension executive director today – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* I must have fallen asleep outside last night in the -12°. I can't be reading correctly the guest opinion piece in this...

Expansion Coming to Wirepoints — a Note to Readers

  By: Mark Glennon*   Our readership numbers continue to set new records and we're sure grateful for your support. It's especially nice to see the appetite...

The Joke is on Illinois Taxpayers: Dallas and IMRF Pensioner Savings Accounts Compared – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A crisis in the Dallas police and firefighter pension has captured national and international headlines thanks largely to a particular form of...

‘Sanctuary’ Efforts Poisoning Efforts for Real Immigration Reform – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If there's any major officeholder in Illinois in either party who opposes comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to normalization for illegals...

Ominous Decline in State of Illinois Revenue Continued in November – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Total revenue for Illinois continued to decline in November. That's based on comparison of both this November to last November and this...

NBC5 Chicago Spins Saturday Night Live as Real News – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The top listed story on the "News" section at NBC5 Chicago's site right now is headlined, Even During a Security Briefing, SNL's...

Thanksgiving in Illinois: Be Thankful Today is Not Tomorrow Because Tomorrow Will be Worse – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois and many of its municipalities, including Chicago, are bleeding red with no end in sight. It doesn't matter whether one side...

Universities Demanding Place in Election’s ‘Biggest Loser’ Contest – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Nobody should have been surprised. You'd think they'd realize they're admitting their own incompetence. But the supposed scholars in all things pertinent...

Big Implications for Illinois: U.S. Appellate Court Upholds Local Right-to-Work – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a Kentucky county’s right-to-work ordinance, validating enactment of right-to-work at the local level....

Illinois’ True Budget Hole is About 2X What’s Being Negotiated. It Won’t be Plugged. – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Governor Rauner and legislative leaders were widely reported today to be discussing how to fill a budget hole of about $7 billion....

Best of the Web: Trump vs. Political Correctness – Wall Street Journal

Our article on the GrubHub affair is cited in this WSJ article. Our shameless self-promotion here.

Trump’s Likely Impact on Illinois’ Economy, Part 2 – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Yesterday we covered the likely effects on Illinois from Trump's appointment of a ninth justice to the Supreme Court, which are alone...

Yuge: Trump’s Likely Impact on Illinois Economy, Part 1 – the Supreme Court – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Straight to the point, we'll focus in this first part just on the impact of Donald Trump's appointment of a ninth justice...

Maybe the Smarmiest and Most Hypocritical Election Reaction Yet is from Evanston/North Shore YWCA – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* "We need to build bridges.... The more we talk about the divisions, without finding common ground, the more polarized we become as...

Cook County, Your New Soft Drink Tax Will Go Towards Pensions, and Appears to be Illegal – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Cook County on Thursday slapped another $224 million tax on its residents, this time in the form of a "sugary drinks" tax. ...

Election Made You Suicidal? Better to Jump Than Take This Sun-Times Columnist’s Advice – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Neil Steinberg of the Sun-Times yesterday gave his suggestions for folks contemplating suicide over Trump's election. Yes, it was a serious article,...

The Real Lesson in Grubhub CEO Telling Trump Supporters to Resign (Plus an Earlier, Personal One) – Updated – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A firestorm broke out today in the national media over an email by the Founder/CEO of Chicago-based GrubHub, Matt Maloney, to all...

Why This Election Wasted Illinois’ Time – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Regulars here may have noticed there hasn't been much to read in the last couple weeks. The reason should tell you something...

The Last Straw: President of the United States Encourages Illegals to Vote – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   There is no room for any different interpretation of Obama's words. In an interview Friday and now made public, President Obama encouraged...

Not Good: Illinois Tax Revenue Declining – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   This is very bad news indeed. COGFA, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Illinois, just released its Illinois state revenue report for...

My, What an Exceptionally Stupid and Irresponsible Headline Rewrite by Crain’s – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Yesterday, Bloomberg ran a syndicated story under its headline, "New Jersey Tops Illinois as State With Worst-Off Pension System." The story covers...