Thursday, May 28, 2020

From Ireland: Much in Tech Startups Familiar to Illinois, But Not All – WP Original

  Múineann gá seift. (Need teaches a plan.) -Gailic proverb   By: Mark Glennon*   A strange sense of  familiarity often strikes visitors to Ireland from Chicago, and no doubt...

Worst opinion piece of the week: Defending democracy requires keeping our 8,466 units of government

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Founders would surely be proud to know how long democracy has survived, but this would no doubt make them shit. (Even...

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.

New study totals city pension burdens as percent of their revenue: Chicago stinks

October 28, 2013 by Mark Glennon   The Center for State and Local Government Excellence is a non-partisan, non-profit research organization. They recently completed a comprehensive...

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

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

Why Jim Edgar Has Zero Credibility on Illinois Budget, Pensions: It’s Not Just the ‘Edgar Ramp’ – WP Original

  "Seems that not all recent Illinois governors end up in prison, but perhaps they should be jailed for this crap." -Actuary Mary Pat Campbell   By: Mark...

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

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

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.

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.  

The Confiscation Continues: New Study Shows Illinois Property Tax Over 2X National Average, Highest in U.S. – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   CoreLogic, a California-based financial data firm, today released its analysis showing average Illinois property taxes of 2.67%, over twice the national average...

“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.

Teachers’ unions and Quinn double down on hypocrisy – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Last week, the main political action committee supporting Pat Quinn used by public unions, particularly teachers' unions, signaled an ugly turning point.   The...

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

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

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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

Who will want to be a millionaire in Illinois?

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

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.

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

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

Illinois Auditor General Report Kicks Off Another Year of Pension Madness and Underfunding – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Each year, the Illinois Auditor General hires its own actuary and submits a review of the actuarial reports for each of the...

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.

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.

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.

“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.

The one question to ask every candidate for the Illinois House – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   In private, few Illinoisans of any ideology would disagree that House Speaker Michael Madigan is at the core of most everything rotten...

Latest monthly update on state revenue: Meh

By: Mark Glennon*   Every month, the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability updates its numbers on how much revenue the state is collecting for...

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.

Reporters, Politicians Vie for Dumbest Reactions to Illinois Pension Ruling – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   With fear palpable in Illinois since invalidation of pension reform, you'd think reporters and politicians would now be up to speed on...

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

Only a devastating shock will get real action on Illinois pensions, but what? – WirePoints Original

  "I think it's going to reach a point where there's either social disorder or bankruptcy before people will act." That’s what Richard Ravich said about...

Yes! Rauner to Appoint Leslie Munger as Illinois Comptroller – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Governor-elect Rauner today announced he will appoint Leslie Munger of Lincolnshire to replace Judy Topinka as Illinois Comptroller.   Munger, new to politics, recently...

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.  

Three Chicago Fed Economists Say They Know How To Tax Fleeing Illinoisans

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

Illinois, forget the usual resolutions: 2014 is about duty – WP Original

  January 1, 2014 By: Mark Glennon   Forget the usual New Years resolutions, important as some of them may be. A generational call of responsibility far...

Wirepoints’ speech to the City Club of Chicago: “By focusing on Chicago’s one-year budget, it’s like we’re treating an intensive care patient with an aspirin.”

We're here to talk about the city’s 2020 budget, but I’d argue that’s the wrong way to look at this crisis. By focusing on-one year budgets, it’s like we’re treating an intensive care patient with aspirin. Chicago’s problems are far larger than a one-year deficit. Its problems are multi-year, multi-government and structural. 

An Appalling Twitter Entry by the Illinois Education Association – WirePoints Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Most of you probably think kids should be taught that somebody's death is no time to insult them, even an enemy. Not...

Rahm’s Final Budget Address Summarized: Mission Accomplished

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

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

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

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...

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,...

“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.

$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.

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.

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.

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

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

Smash the Old Molds: Lt. Governor Candidate Evelyn Sanguinetti Will Surprise When You Hear Her – WP Original

October 13, 2013   Today I heard an important newcomer to Illinois politics speak: Evelyn Sanguinetti, candidate for lieutenant governor and Bruce Rauner's running mate. These...

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.

Updated: What Are the CTU and CPS thinking? No, seriously. – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   In its statement yesterday announcing rejection of the contract offer made by Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Teachers Union included this:        CPS’...

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

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

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.

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.

Time for Illinois to Learn Another Dirty Word: ‘OPEB’ – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   It's an overlooked add-on to our pension crisis, and it's huge. Like pensions themselves, the problem won't be solved until we size...

The money is gone — a timeless movie clip for IL legislators and public union bosses

    A financial advisor tries to explain what it means to "have no money" to Walter Matthau's character in A New Leaf linked here. Should be required...

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...

“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.

A Sadder Angle: Per Pupil Teacher Pension Debt in Illinois – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A different and more heartbreaking way to look at the Illinois pension fiasco is contained in a report just issued by the...

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.

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.

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

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

Suicidal Property Tax Rates and the Collapse of Chicago’s South Suburbs – WP Original

"Don't go past the top of the curve." -Robert P. Inman, Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Wharton School By: Mark Glennon* Chicago's south suburbs are...

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.

Opportunity zones floundering in Chicago. No Surprise. – Quicktake

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

What? Chicago Pension Liability Jumped $11.5 Billion in an Instant? – UPDATED – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Bloomberg today reported that Chicago's unfunded pension liability jumped by a staggering $11.5 billion. For a little perspective, keep in mind that...

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

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

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Pure Treachery: IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan Seeks to Halt Paychecks to State Workers – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan went to court yesterday to stop state worker paychecks during the government shutdown or to allow payment...

Next time the CTU says Chicago teachers don’t get Social Security, show this graphic

Teachers in Chicago don’t get Social Security. They don’t pay into the fund and they don’t get the benefits. But what the CTU won’t tell you is that the average retired Chicago teacher gets far more in annual benefits than the average Chicago private sector worker gets under Social Security. 

Chicago Firefighter and Police Salaries and Pensions, Then and Now – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Compensation for firefighters and police is the third rail nobody wants to talk about. The key numbers are below, including what happened...

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

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

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.

New ‘Market Based’ Data Show Mind-Blowing Reality of Illinois Pension Debt – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research recently published a splendid new database, Pension Tracker, that includes "market based" numbers on state...

Watch IL State Sen. Don Harmon Make a Fool Himself on Minimum Wage – WP Original

Don't try to talk evidence with a champion of the underprivileged capitalizing on the popularity of raising the minimum wage.

Eternal Doom: The Implication of Democrats’ Legal Positions for Illinois Pensions – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If a leading voice for Illinois Democrats and public unions on the legality of pension reform is correct, this is the consequence:...

Why Progressives Should Support Repeal of Illinois’ Pension Protection Clause – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A core goal of progressivism is fundamentally right and noble -- helping those most in need. But what actually works is where...

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

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

‘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...

Onward and Upward: We’re cranking it up at WirePoints and making some changes

By: Mark Glennon*   Our readership continues to grow nicely here at WirePoints, and you will be noticing the following changes:   Nancy Mathieson joining as Contributing Editor....

Meet Mr. and Ms. Average. Firefighter & Teacher. Retired at 58. Cash Value of Pensions? About $3.5 Million – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Mr. Average was a Chicago firefighter who retired last year. His wife worked outside the home, as in most families today. Ms....

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...

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

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

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."

DuPage County Looking to Save $80 million: Local Government Consolidation – Part 2 – WP Original

  By: Nancy Mathieson*   Dan Cronin, DuPage County Board Chairman, thinks consolidating and streamlining special purpose taxing bodies doesn’t have to do with the county absorbing...

Why Chicago’s $500 Million Property Tax Increase Won’t Solve Much – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   You're dead wrong if you think the $500 million property tax increase now proposed for Chicago, the largest in its modern history,...

Illinois’ body parts likely to be divided among pensions and bondholders — WirePoints Original

December 6, 2012 Legislators in Springfield and public worker unions have said regularly that any pension reform measure should include a guaranty mechanism assuring that...

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...

Updated: New Biennial Report on All Illinois Pensions Shows Unfunded Liabilities Up $14 Billion – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*     The Illinois Department of Insurance publishes, every two years, a compilation of data submitted by all of Illinois' 672 public pensions. Hot...

Econ 101 for Progressives: Corporations Never Pay Any Taxes – WP Original

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  By: Mark Glennon* It's not opinion or economic theory, but undeniable fact: Corporations don't pay any taxes. They collect them. With the chorus on the left...

Why Chicago’s Reported Progress On Pensions And Finances Is Fake

Assuming things are better doesn't make things better.

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

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

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.

Who Is To Blame for the Status of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund? – WP Guest

  Preface: The following was submitted by “A Recovering Pension Actuary” – somebody I believe to be knowledgeable and credible who asked to be kept...

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

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

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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....

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...

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.”

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.

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.

When JB Pritzker Was A Fiscal Conservative

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

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

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

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.

A personal note of thanksgiving

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

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.

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.

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.

“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. 

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.

Why Illinois’ Pension Crisis Will Worsen Even Faster Than Before – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you think pensions for Illinois and its municipalities are in awful shape and worsening, just wait.   Illinois' five statewide pensions report their...

“Cities are being forced to choose: Do they short pensions or do they fire public safety workers” – Ted on WTAD News Round Table

Will Illinois cities be forced to choose between making pension payments and ensuring the safety of their citizens? That was the question Quaid asked Ted on the WTAD News Round Table.

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

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

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

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

$111,280,000,000: The cost to employ Illinois’ jobless at the price/job state paid to lure Cronus – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   The State of Illinois on Monday proudly announced it had succeeded in bringing Cronus Chemical Company into the state to build a...

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.  

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.

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.

About that Surprise Jump in Revenue for Illinois – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Despite the rollback in personal income tax rates from 5% to 3.75% in January, which also shrank withholding rates paid over to...

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

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

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Wrongheaded: Civic Committee’s ‘What If?’ Initiative for Illinois Pensions – WP Original

A better question to be asking is, "What if SB1 is upheld?"

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.

Lame: Illinois’ new law criminalizing public record destruction – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Governor Quinn this week signed HB 4216 that criminalizes hiding or destroying public records by government officials.   Sort of.   It provides that, “Any person...

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.  

To Judge Rauner’s First Year, Step Back, Think Broadly – WP Original

  "There is no history, only biography." -Ralph Waldo Emerson   Don't look just at the trees as you read the articles grading Bruce Rauner on this first...

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, don’t throw the game to reform opponents: Reject what’s coming from the pension committee

November 3, 2013, By: Mark Glennon "We're at the one yard line." That's how State Rep. Elaine Nekritz recently described progress by the special Illinois...

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

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

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.

Lessons for Chicago from Detroit’s Bankruptcy: By the Book – WP Guest

  By: Joe Mathewson*   As the City of Chicago prepares to borrow still more to pay current bills, we taxpayers are constrained to wonder: where’s the...

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.

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

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

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Illinois Democrats’ Astounding Reversal On Pensions

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

‘Why Are Conservative Girls So Pretty?’ — The Great Debate Begins

  By: Mark Glennon*   Hey, that's not our our question or our headline, so chill.   It is, though, for a rather serious article yesterday in the right-leaning...

Another Record Month for Our Readership and a Note to Our Readers – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   July is another record month for our online traffic, which continues to surge.   Special thanks to some particularly well-informed readers who give us...

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”...

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

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

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...

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.

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

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

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

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

Bankruptcy is not an option for Illinois cities or other units under current law

  July 29, 2013   Perhaps you've started wondering whether the Bankruptcy Code could offer a fresh start to Illinois, Cook County, Chicago, or other units of...

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.

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

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

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.

Pritzker doubles down on linking critics and Republicans to Nazism, anti-Semetism or whatever – Quicktake

Everybody should back off on extreme comparisons.

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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.

Illinois, NOW You’re Figuring Out That SB-1 Pension Reform Was a Gimmick? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   J. Fred Giertz is emeritus faculty at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. Last week, he...

“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.

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.

US stock markets up 200%, yet Illinois pension hole deepens 75%

Despite a tripling in the value of the S&P 500 index since July 2009, Illinois’ pension shortfall has worsened by 75 percent during the same period. The warning this trend provides is stark: if pension debts in Illinois continue to grow during a period of remarkable stock market returns, imagine how those funds will fare when the next recession inevitably hits.

A truly eerie pre-election evening in Illinois – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Such a strange and scary feeling in Illinois tonight. I've certainly never felt something like this before an election. It's a sense...

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. 

WirePoints Original: If Illinois’ business climate is so bad, why are startups here flourishing?

Startups are thriving in Illinois and entrepreneurs in Chicago's tech community now have a dazzling ecosystem envied by most other places in the country. ...

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.

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.

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

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

Chicago Public Schools offers CTU record contract even as enrollment shrinks by another 6,000 students

CPS says enrollment fell by another 6,000 students in 2019. How can Mayor Lightfoot and CPS grant the CTU what the mayor calls the “most generous contract” in the union’s history when the school district continues to shrink? 

“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.

Insidious Unfunded Mandate in 2010 Pension Law Looms; Drastic Reactions Begin – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Mostly unnoticed in a 2010 pension bill is a state mandate that towns and cities start a payment plan, in whatever-it-takes yearly...

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.”

End this myth about public pensions

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

More evidence big taxpayers are fleeing Illinois – WP Original

November 7, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Spend some time collecting signatures on petitions in high income areas like Kenilworth, Lake Forest or Winnetka to put...

Chicago’s Pitch For New Bond Refinancing Is Mighty Fishy

$200 million of savings to be booked in the first year on $1.3 billion bond refinancing in a highly controversial form.

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.

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.

‘How Money Walks’ — Especially from Illinois

  If you wonder what out-migration does to Illinois' tax base, take a look at numbers compiled by Travis Brown, author of How Money Walks....

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.

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...

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.

“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.

Illinois teachers’ pension responds: says their assumptions are fine

    In the attached letter to the Wall Street Journal, the head of the Illinois Teachers Retirement System, the state's largest pension fund, responds an...

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.

“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.

Emanuel Administration Using Repealed Contribution Schedules for Police and Firefighter Pension Numbers – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   In picking which decepton to write about in the City of Chicago's PR offensive last week about the its finances, I'm suffering...

‘Super Chapter 9’ Bankruptcy: Start Following the Debate – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you haven't followed Puerto Rico's financial crisis, serious debate now focuses on authorizing it to file a "Super Chapter 9" municipal...

What next for Illinois? – Wirepoints

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

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.

Illinois politicians who hauled in the most union PAC money, 2002 – 2012

  September 14, 2013   Listed below are the 20 biggest recipients in Illinois state government from 2002 to 2012 of campaign contributions from major union political...

Should a Trustee of an Underwater Pension Cut Payouts Now to Save for Future Claims? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* It's a question several readers have asked in various ways, so let me take a crack at it. To illustrate the issue...

New Jersey Comes Clean on Pension Numbers; Will Illinois? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   "Our state pensions are really only 33% funded, not 54% as we have been telling you." That's a pretty fair summary of...

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.

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.

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 Supreme Court Thumbs Nose At Balanced Budget Law

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Colossal Deceit and Hypocrisy in Illinois Public Union Ad Campaign Against Rauner – WP Original

  "Would Cinda Klickna and her teachers' union like their pension investment in Bruce Rauner's firm rescinded, profits disgorged, and their vote for it annulled,...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puerto Rico Reviving Bankruptcy Debate for Illinois and Other Insolvent States

The discussion is returning and this time it will be informed and rational, if Friday’s New York Times article is an indication.

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.

Illinois Congresswoman’s Hypocrisy on $15 Minimum Wage Shows Its Flaw – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon Hiring a Field Organizer, says a posting by Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: "Hours are very long and irregular." Responsibilities include maintaining "7...

COGFA monthly report: Illinois personal and corporate income tax receipts up, sales tax flat – Quicktake

The report also includes discussion of Illinois' comparatively low consumer debt level.

Program by Teachers Union to Crush Political Activity on Pensions Expands in Illinois; Multiple Questions of Impropriety and Illegality Arise – Updated – WP Original

March 15, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Conduct taken by a major teachers' union should shock the conscience of anybody concerned about government abuse and respect...

The teachers union ‘enemies list’ scandal – more deceit, more facts – WP Original

March 17, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Last week we wrote about the liability issues raised by the "enemies list," as Bloomberg called it, whereby the...

“Reform” Committee Teeing Up Pension Liability for Huge Kick Down the Road – WirePoints Original

  August 23, 2013   An outline of ideas being considered by the 10-person Illinois pension committee circulated today. Links are here for Reuters and AP articles....

Labor Day 2014: Face it, we’ve failed workers – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   It seems simple enough that we should have figured out how to get it long ago -- an economy where people trade...

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

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

Attorney General Filings Summarized: Illinois is Screwed (and Nuts) – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* To grasp the real scope of the Illinois pension catastrophe, think hard about what the state said about itself in court...

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.

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.

Junior High Kids Put National Debates to Shame – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Seventh and eighth graders chose the questions for their two candidates for the U.S. Congress in a forum Tuesday evening. Check out...

Lightfoot’s budget won’t stop Chicago’s downward spiral

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has released her 2020 budget. Like her predecessors, she’s chosen to focus on plugging a one-year budget deficit largely with a one-off deal and a number of tax hikes. And also like her predecessors, she’s failed to attack the real sources of Chicago’s slide toward insolvency.

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.

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...

The Key Number in Chicago’s Pension Crisis Nobody Has – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   With tax increase proposals "popping up like weeds," as one headline put it today, voters, particularly in Chicago, are justified in asking...

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...

To a few of the good guys behind the scenes in GrubHub’s formative years: Bravo – WP Original

April 9, 2013  By: Mark Glennon How did two young guys with a business plan become a two billion dollar public company in eight years? ...

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.

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.

“Ordinary Chicagoans can’t afford either Lightfoot’s proposal or the CTU’s demands.” – Ted on the Illinois Channel

Ted appeared on the Illinois Channel TV to talk about the Chicago teachers strike. He told Illinoisans what they need to know: that all Chicagoans will lose no matter how the strike is resolved, that taxes will continue to go up, that property values will continue to stagnate, and that people will continue to leave the city.

Thanks to a Local ‘Steed of Apollo’ for a Magical Christmas Eve – WP Original

December 24, 2013  By: Mark Glennon Had I known 45 years ago that someday I'd be introducing my son to Jim Lovell, Christmas Eve that...

Jobs, temporary jobs, renewable energy and bunk – Quicktake

The renewable energy industry needs to get its story straight.

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.

“Full” Pension Payments Aren’t Full in Illinois – WP Guest

By: Tia Goss Sawhney, DrPH, FSA, MAAA* In the October 9 gubernatorial debate between Governor Quinn and Bruce Rauner. Gov. Quinn said he deserves credit...

Five reasons why defined benefit pension plans are poison and must be replaced ASAP – WirePoints Original

The pensions at the center of the storm for Illinois and its localities are “defined benefit” plans -- pensioners receive fixed amounts each month...

Could NRI money have been decisive in Quinn’s 2010 election win? – WP Original

Different ways of determining whether Pat Quinn stole the 2010 election for governor.

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

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

$12 Billion Sits Unused With Illinois Treasurer. Why? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* What sense is there letting $11.5 to $14 billion of state money sit around indefinitely, unused, invested mostly short term and earning...

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.

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.

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. 

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

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

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.

‘Socialism in the air’ as Sharkey assumes Chicago Teachers Union leadership

By: Mark Glennon*   Should our kids be taught how to function in a market based economy by those who are lead by somebody who despises...

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

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

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

No Easy Task: Consolidating Illinois’ 8,466 Units of Government – WP Original

By: Nancy Mathieson*   Illinois is #1 on another list, this time comparing number of units of government to all other U.S. states. 6,963 is our...

Illinois Teachers’ Pension Slaps Pritzker Budget Proposal

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

Bad Pensions Meet Bad Journalism: An Example and a Lesson – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Usually, Illinois' 600-plus municipal pensions are ignored by local papers. Maybe that's a blessing because, when they try, they often do readers...

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

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

Past the Breaking Point: Tax Revolts Brewing in Illinois – WP Original

  “What we need is to work in moderation, not in the extreme." -Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan   "Yeah my blood's so mad feels like coagulating." -Barry McGuire,...

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.

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

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

New Workers Subsidizing Illinois’ Surging $100,000/Year Pension Club – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The number of public retirees receiving pensions over $100,000 in Illinois jumped this year to 7,407, up 1,384 since last year. The...

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...

Government workers, Quinn have deal for new contract – just don’t ask what it is – WirePoints Original

Congratulations, Illinois. Governor Quinn and AFSCME, the union representing some 35,000 state workers, announced they have reached a deal for a new contract. Just...

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Sued for Refusing to Properly Defend Workers’ Comp Claims – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Late yesterday the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) filed a lawsuit against Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan alleging she is...

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.

Entrepreneurs at the Polls

  By: Mark Glennon*   My daughter and friend with a hot chocolate stand outside polling place.   Expecting swat team from Quinn's regulators to arrive any minute to...

‘And now I will say my remarks in English for the Spanish deficient audience,’ says Pritzker’s guest speaker – Quicktake

Imagine if somebody said, "I will translate for the English deficient audience."

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

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

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...

Cook County Pension Liability Leaps by 130% in 2015 by Switching to New Accounting Standards – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you follow our pension problems closely, you probably think Cook County faces an unfunded pension liability of about $6 billion, which...

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.”

Municipal Bankruptcy Brings Joy to Taxpayers – WP Guest

  By: Joe Mathewson*   Chicago Public Schools’ desperate and very costly quest for buyers of its recent $725-million bond issue (cut from $875 million) is a...

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.

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

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

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.

$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.

Oh, by the way, those troubled pensions now officially several times worse than you were told – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Reality is on its way. This month marks the date of full implementation of new accounting rules that will dramatically worsen reported...

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.

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

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

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.

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?

Bad Public Pension Bailout Ideas Now Surfacing – Wirepoints

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

More crisis for East St. Louis: Police pension fund also demands Illinois Comptroller intercept

First, it was the trustees of the East St. Louis firefighter pension fund that asked the Illinois Comptroller to intercept city funds on its behalf. Now, it’s the police pension fund’s turn.

Big Mistake: New Chicago Treasurer to Divert Pension Money to Economic Development – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Let's hope sincerity isn't among the attributes of Chicago's new Treasurer, at least when it comes to his action plan for city...

UPDATED: Unions pour more money into phony ‘Republican’ PAC running negative ads – WP Original

March 5, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Over the past two days five labor unions contributed an additional $485,000 to the "Republican Fund for Progress and...

Failure of New Pension Accounting Standards Shows in Chicago Police, Fire Pension Reports – WP Original

  Even under the new accounting standards, Chicago's police and fire pensions are using a single discount rate of about 7.1%, though both are under...

Open Illinois’ economy: Recessions and depressions kill – Wirepoints

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

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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.

Chicago has more retired police and firefighters than working – WP Original

By: Nancy Mathieson* Among the many reasons Chicago’s police and fire pensions are grossly underfunded are inadequate long-term planning, legislated benefit increases, pension holidays and...

“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.

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?

“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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

How Illinois’ police and fire pension consolidation bill went from good to bad

Politicians are once again doing pension reform on the cheap – stuffing piecemeal changes in an unrelated bill with no numbers and no debate. If Tier 2 is changed, it should be part of a dedicated pension reform bill that fixes all the funds at once, not snuck in as part of unrelated legislation.

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.

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.

“What’s behind Chicago’s broken budget? – Ted on the Illinois Channel

Ted was on the Illinois Channel discussing the origins of Chicago's broken 2020 budget.

Chicago’s Friday Bunk Dump – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Fridays in the summer are a great day to dump news you don't want scrutinized, as reporters will tell you. Today, we...

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.

Math: The Biggest Loser in Illinois Election – Wirepoints Original

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

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

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

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.

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. ...

It’s Just Math: Time for Illinois’ Pension and Fiscal Reform Opponents to Put Up or Go Away – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It comes down to a single question in Illinois. Everybody with an opinion about the financial mess should be forced to try...

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.

Madigan offers his pension reform proposal – WirePoints Original

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan finally weighed in yesterday on pension reform, offering a proposal that will surely become the front runner. It already...

Where it really matters, Chicago’s unfunded pension liability per household is a whopping $900,000 – WP Original

  September 27, 2013 If you follow the pension crisis you're probably especially alarmed by the per-person estimates of unfunded pension liabilities.  What's overlooked, however, is...

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

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

$16 Billion to Fix VA Problems; in Illinois, Maybe Not – WP Original

By Nancy Mathieson   Last week Congress approved and the president signed into law a $16.3 Billion plan to ease health care delays at Veterans Affairs...

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.

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

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

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Illinois as Unhappy with its Direction as Ukraine, Nigeria, Egypt…Yet Still no Fight – WP Original

In those places at least they are willing to fight for change, however wrongheaded some of them may be on the ends for which they fight and on violence as their means.

Prediction: Right-to-work will come to Illinois, locally — WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Here's a flat-out prediction: Home rule units of government in Illinois will begin enacting right-to-work locally, and it doesn't matter what Springfield...

Salary and Pension Hikes Far Beyond Inflation Account for Most of Chicago Property Tax Raise – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   How could a city that seems so prosperous be so broke? Why the big tax hikes?   Aside from pensions, the most obvious reason...

Illinois Treasurer Churns $12.5 Billion Portfolio Every 3 – 4 days — $1 Trillion Per Year – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said last week on CNBC that his office does a staggering $1 trillion per year of investment activity....

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.

Mind-blowing: The stealth price paid by Illinois homeowners for bad government – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Home values in Illinois have lagged behind national averages in recent years, but the staggering total dollar cost to homeowners is never...

‘Staggering,’ Says New Report on Chicago’s Pension Contribution Shortfalls – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A research report recently issued by Nuveen Asset Management provides another take on the total annual liability Chicago taxpayers would face if...

OK, Who’s the Joker Who Gave Rahm A Different City’s Budget Address to Read? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Man, what a screw up. Mayor Rahm Emanuel yesterday gave Chicago's annual budget address. The one he gave must have been meant...

U.K. May Include Pensions in ‘Stress Tests.’ IL & U.S Would be PTSD Corpses if Fed Did Same – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The U.K.'s central bank was reported today to be considering expanding its stress tests to include pensions. Stress tests are done by...

Public Bankruptcy Talk Isn’t ‘Dangerous.’ Denial and Dereliction Are – WP Original

  "Bliss just isn't worth the price." -Rich Miller   By: Mark Glennon*   Dangerous talk of Chicago schools bankruptcy, -- that's the headline description today in a Crain's story...

‘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...

The Madness Continues: What You Need to Know About the Chicago Pension Decision – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* A Chicago trial judge, Rita Novak, today ruled that the pension reform law for two Chicago pensions is unconstitutional. Her full opinion...

Where Hate Has A Home: Oak Park, Illinois – Videos

Despite national embarrassment from an initial incident earlier this month, many Oak Parkers are doubling down. They seem intent on making their town a national showcase for the manic intolerance of diversity of opinion into which identity politics have devolved.

Latest Bad Pension Idea: Transfer Midway Airport And Other Chicago Assets To Its Pensions

If only things were as simple as the Harris School sees them.

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...

A Frightening Week Awaits CPS and All of Chicago – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   There's no point in sugarcoating this. The financial crisis at the Chicago Public School District may come to a head this week,...

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.

The Dumbest Case Yet For Illinois’ ‘Fair Tax’ Is By A Nobel Economist

If you can't follow this economist's reasoning, it's not you.

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

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

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’ 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.

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.

Coronavirus could wreak additional havoc on Illinois – Wirepoints

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

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.

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.

Is Pension Reform Constitutional? Heck, yeah. Well, maybe, if we ask the right question – Guest Opinion

  Mitchell I. Serota, Ph.D., Fellow, Society of Actuaries   The Attorney General, though her Solicitor General, needs a more potent argument to convince the Illinois Supreme...

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.

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.

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

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

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.

The Civic Federation Has Lost Its Way – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Civic Federation had a long, proud history providing an important check on state and local financial management. It sounded the alarm...

Illinois Fire and Police Pension Actuary Facing Actuarial Discipline – WP Exclusive

  By:  Mark Glennon*   WirePoints has learned that the Actuarial Board of Counseling and Discipline (the ABCD) recently recommended that Timothy Sharpe, actuary to dozens of...

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.

Pension Lawsuits and the Blame Game: Detroit is Harbinger of the Inevitable – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Detroit last week gave us a glimpse of what to expect on a much larger scale in Chicago and across the country...

Down the Drain: Cook County’s New Pension Report and its Sales Tax Increase – Updated – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Make no mistake about where the additional one percent Cook County sales tax will go, along with much more -- into its...

Union, Democrat funded campaign to commandeer Republican primary launches: Just imagine if situation were reversed – WP Original

February 12, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Suppose right wing groups started pouring big dollars into an Illinois Democratic primary race through PACs they passed off...

The Usual Suspects Helped Kill the Fair Map Amendment – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Who helped kill the widely popular constitutional amendment to take politics out of how legislative maps are drawn? The assumption all along...

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. 

Ugly: Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension Releases New Actuary Report – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Last week, the Chicago Public School Teachers' Pension Fund posted its actuarial report for the 2015 fiscal year that ended June 30....

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

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

Bullseye: Why Gov. Rauner’s Order on Forced Union Dues is so Important for Illinois – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If you follow the state and local fiscal crises, you know the bulk of our problems derive from 1) public pensions, and...

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund’s Shameful Bragging Tour – WP Original

  "Gall: Brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence." -  Merriam-Webster Dictionary By: Mark Glennon* IMRF, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, went on a "statewide informational tour"...

A Protest I’ll Be Marching In – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I've never marched in a protest before, but this one's important -- and personal.   A woman in my area has organized a demonstration...

Inadequate Actuarial Work meets Underfunded Pensions and Poor Journalism – WP Guest

  *Tia Goss Sawhney, DrPH, FSA, MAAA*   This article is in response to a recent article in the Forest Park Review, Police and fire pensions in...

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

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

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.

Why Unions Cheered Can-Kick on Chicago Pensions: Automatic Tax Levy, Casino! – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you're scratching your head about why public unions are thrilled with the override of Governor Rauner's veto of SB777, which reduces...

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

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

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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

In Depth: The Hidden Perils in Illinois Local Police and Fire Pension Plans – WP Original

February 27, 2014 by: James T. Palermo* Every Illinoisan who follows the news knows our five statewide public pension funds are in terrible condition. According...

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

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

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Brace for reduced state and local revenues in Illinois – Quicktake

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

Our Ten Most Popular Stories of 2015

  By: Mark Glennon*   These stories got the most page views on this site over the past year. This is perhaps a bit distorted towards more...

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

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

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

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

Updated: Bombshell provision in Illinois pension “reform” efforts – WirePoints Original

UPDATE- John Bury, a widely read actuary focused on pensions and quoted in this post, emailed me with his comments on this post, which...

Does Illinois violate its own budget and accounting laws? The state itself says yes — WirePoints Original

By: Mark Glennon*   One reason why Illinois is a fiscal wreck is that the state's budget and accounting are muck, and they are prepared...

Wholesale ‘Reconstitution’ of CPS: The Only Real Option? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* For the Chicago Public School system, it's not just the near term cash crunch or the $634 million payment to its pension...

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...

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.

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.

Donald Trump, We Don’t Do Ethnic Cleansings – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It would take the equivalent of loading over 500 trains to ship all of Illinois' illegal aliens out. Nationally, it would take...

A WirePoints Article That Should Have Saved Taxpayers Millions – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   “Prepare to get sick,” we wrote, and “stop this now,” we put in bold face. That was on Thanksgiving Eve last year...

Third domino falls: Illinois Comptroller set to confiscate East St. Louis revenues to pay for city’s firefighter pensions

Harvey was the first domino to run afoul of Illinois’ pension intercept law. North Chicago was the second. Now it’s East St. Louis’ turn. 

“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.

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...

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.

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...

New Study: Corruption and Pension Debt Go Hand-in-Hand – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A research report published by Morningstar yesterday empirically validates a central criticism of public pension plans -- that corruption and excessive public...

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.  

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

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

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“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.

“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.

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...

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

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

The Best, Worst, Wisest and Dumbest Quotes on Illinois’ Economy and Government of 2015 – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Steel yourself. Don't expect many laughs. This site is about economics, "the dismal science," and something more dismal, Illinois government. Here are...

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.

WirePoints’ Mark Glennon Interview on AM560 on that $12.2 Billion Sitting with Illinois Treasurer

Audio of the interview linked here. The article discussed in the interview is linked here.

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

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

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.

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.

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...

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

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

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.

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.

Staged: A Particularly Dishonest ‘Town Hall’ Meeting on Budget With IL Rep. Robyn Gabel – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) is a member of the Illinois House, representing the 18th District in Chicago's north suburbs. Monday evening I went...

Illinois’ shrinking tax base: State is a national outlier when it comes to losing wealthy residents (Part 4)

Though Illinois’ wealthy make up a relatively small share of the people lost to out-migration, they’re responsible for the largest share of income lost to other states. Illinois suffered a net $4.87 billion loss in AGI in 2016. More than 50 percent of that came from losing people who made $200,000 or more. 

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

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

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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.

Great summary of the Illinois pension crisis

You may or may not like libertarian politics, but if you want hard facts on the Illinois fiscal crisis you'd be wise to follow...

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.

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.  

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.

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

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

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How Chicago Stiffed The Rest Of Illinois For Cost Of Its New Teacher Pension Giveaways

Illinoisans outside Chicago may be laughing at the city’s reckless new contract with its teachers, but the real joke is on them.

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.

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. 

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.  

Economic suicide: New study of Chicago area effective property tax rates should leave you speechless – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon,* Updated 9/30/14   A study by the Civic Federation released yesterday computes true, effective property tax rates for Chicago area communities -- the...

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

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

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.

“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."

“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.

Governor Quinn’s Whopping Lie About the Pension Deal – WP Original

  November 28, 2013, By: Mark Glennon   Yesterday, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn issued a statement about the recent pension agreement among legislative leaders in which he...

Governor Rauner’s New Budget Proposal – Wirepoints Original

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

Harshest Critics of Public Pensions are Nobel Prize Winning Economists

By: Mark Glennon* Nobel Prize winning economists aren't the hyperbolic type. They usually speak in measured tones, careful to protect the precision of their academic ...

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...

Haves and Have Nots in Illinois Pensions – WirePoints Original

Illinois public pensioners range from the deserving, borderline impoverished to the undeserving, shameless pigs, yet those disparities are all but ignored in pension reform...

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.

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.

Huge, Blind Reliance on State Exposed by Illinois Fiscal Crisis – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Did you know Catholic Charities is Illinois' largest social service provider and gets 70% of its funding from the state? I didn't....

Rich = Bad: Kirk Dillard’s new ads make unequivocal attack on wealth – WP Original

February 6, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Kirk Dillard, Republican candidate for Illinois governor, just released some new ads against opponent Bruce Rauner, a couple of...

Chicago Laborers’ Pension ‘Rescue’ is Just Another Can-Kick – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   "We'll worry about fixing the pension in five years and hammer new workers for now." That's a pretty fair summary of the...

Why Lincolnshire’s Right-To-Work Enactment Is So Important – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   We told you early this year that right-to-work would likely come to Illinois but it would have nothing to do with what...

“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.

The Shock and Awe Budget Address Rahm Should Have Given – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* If Mayor Emanuel was intent on halting Chicago's downward spiral and if we had a General Assembly in Springfield willing to authorize...

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.

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

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

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.

Intergenerational Theft: Illinois Teacher Pension Debt Per Student Rivals College Loan ‘Crisis’ – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois is among the worst states in the college student debt "crisis," as it's often called. Per student college debt here averages...

“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 hiding from data essential to considering Madigan’s surcharge on the rich – WP Original

  March 21, 2014 By: Mark Glennon How much of the new revenue that would come from higher taxes on Illinois' rich would be cancelled out...

Mr. Market says Chicago bonds are junk – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Moody's says Chicago's credit is junk bond equivalent, but Fitch and S&P say 'no.'   Take your pick, but the market now says its...

School districts don’t want to miss opportunity to raise property taxes, even in Wilmette (Part 1) – Wirepoints Original

Wilmette school district officials pursue more tax hikes despite falling property values, jump in property taxes.

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.

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

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

Are We Crazy in Chicago? Seriously, That Is. – WP Original

  “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland   By: Mark Glennon*   Is some...

The other curve: We’re not flattening it, it’s flattening us. – Wirepoints

A teaching moment is at hand.

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“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.

Nobel Prize Winner Flags the Central Lie in Illinois Pensions – WP Original

  December 19, 2013  By: Mark Glennon This year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Eugene Fama from the University of Chicago, recently made...

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.

Updated – He’s Back: Dave McKinney, Pensions, and Partisan Reporters – WP Original

Update 9/2/14. Dave McKinney has accepted a job a Reuters, and apparently will cover Illinois issues. This is a tragedy. Political reporters are not...

Municipal Bankruptcy Debate Begins in Illinois: Expect Mass Ignorance and Distortion – WP Original

Behold the Chicago Cubs. By: Mark Glennon* The inevitable is here. The real importance of Governor Rauner's proposal to authorize optional bankruptcy for Chicago Public Schools...

Why Michigan’s Approach for Detroit’s Schools is Better Suited for Chicago’s – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* The Detroit Public School District, like Chicago's, is struggling for its financial life. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder earlier this year proposed a...

Questions Illinois Reporters Should Ask Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ezike – Wirepoints

And they need to start demanding answers.

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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.

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

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

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.

This Should be Clear: Chicago Not Liable on Pension Obligations – WP Original

An update on a crucial issue getting no attention.

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.    

Hate-Baiting and Race-Baiting Turned Surreal in Chicago on Friday Night – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I was at the Illinois GOP event at the Palmer House in Chicago Friday night, which was the other target of protesters...