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Recent Articles  - 71 articles found

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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    Be wary of confident promises for painless pension reform
    Pensions (70) Steans, Heather--State Senate, 7

    State Sen. Heather Steans knows how to get things done in Springfield, but her confidence that Illinois’ pension crisis is a “solvable problem” is worrisome given the ideas Democrats have floated.

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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    State income tax in Illinois amounts to 19% of total taxes collected
    Taxes, income (86)
    Illinois finished 35th in a new study by the Tax Foundation that ranks how dependent states are ...   read more >
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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    Will Chicago Be the Largest U.S. City to Declare Bankruptcy?
    Budgets--Local , Chicago Mayor (16) , Chicago (16)
    The city of Chicago is in dire fiscal and financial straits with an almost billion dollar budget deficit, bonds rated at junk status or below, numerous extremely costly legal judgments, a shrinking tax base, and unfunded public pension liabilities to the tune of an astonishing $42 billion.

    Other than that, it's a great place to live.

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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    Lawmaker’s private struggles help guide his work in public office
    Drugs (32) , Mental Health (64) Harris, Gregory--State House, 13

    ‘Alcohol was pretty much my drug of choice, but I certainly did enough other things as they came along, like a lot of other people,’ said state Rep. Greg Harris, now clean and sober for 19 years.

    Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris sat down with me Friday to discuss substance abuse, addiction and mental health treatment — just some of the many social issues the ...   read more >

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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    Judges in North Carolina barred gerrymandering. Why not judges in Illinois?
    Redistricting (78)

    In June, the U.S. Supreme Court disappointed Americans who yearn for an end to partisan gerrymandering — the drawing of legislative and congressional district lines to favor the party in power. The court admitted that these maps “are incompatible with democratic principles.” But it said it had no right to interfere.

     

    The decision seemed to close off judic...   read more >

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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    Illinois attorney general rejects reported settlement with OxyContin maker, files suit against 16 other opioid manufacturers
    Attorney General (6) , Prescriptions drugs (81)

    Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul this week said he would reject a settlement agreement with opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma under its reported current terms and announced a lawsuit against several other opioid manufacturers.

     

    In April, Raoul’s office filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the opioid OxyContin and defendant in thousands of o...   read more >

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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    Pritzker tells agencies to prepare for cuts
    Budget--State (8) , Pritzker, J.B.

    The governor's top budget people sent a memo last week to agency directors giving them a head's up about what will be required in their annual budget request submissions. They are not easy-peasy asks.

     

    This fiscal year's budget was originally supposed to be austere, but then a $1.5 billion flood of unexpected revenue poured in during April and eliminated the need for drast...   read more >

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  • Monday, September 16, 2019
    In era of legal pot, can police search cars based on odor?
    Drugs (32) , DUI (80a) , Legal System (27) , Recreational Marijuana
    Sniff and search is no longer the default for police in some of the 33 states that have legalized marijuana.
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  • Sunday, September 15, 2019
    Attorney: Back pay due to all lawmakers who served between 2009 and 2018

    Illinois’ chief fiscal officer has a “clear duty” to pay lost wages to all members of the General Assembly affected by two statutes a Cook County judge ruled were unconstitutional, the attorney for two former Democratic state senators wrote in a court filing.

     

     One law freezing cost-of-living increases and another implementing furlough days violated ...   read more >

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  • Saturday, September 14, 2019
    Administration wants agencies to find possible cuts
    Budget--State (8) , Pritzker, J.B.

    Officials in the administration of Gov. J.B. Pritzker are telling state agency directors to identify ways of cutting operating expenses by 6.5 percent as they begin drafting their budget plans for next year.

     

    In a memo from Deputy Governor Dan Hynes and Budget Director Alexis Sturm, directors were also told to identify “at least two significant efficiency and savings...   read more >

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  • Saturday, September 14, 2019
    Legislators unveil bill to keep ethylene oxide emissions away from ‘densely populated regions’

    A coalition of advocacy groups and lawmakers from both parties unveiled a bill Friday that would phase out emissions of a cancer-causing gas in densely populated areas and near schools or day cares by 2022.

     

    The measure, House Bill 3888, was announced at a Chicago news conference and is the latest step in a highly publicized series of legislative and advocacy efforts to re...   read more >

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  • Saturday, September 14, 2019
    Thumbs up to helping people save money
    Treasurer (92)

    The editorial board of The State Journal-Register offers this week’s Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down:

     

    Thumbs up: To efforts to solve the lifetime earnings issue by state legislators and Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs and the Illinois Secure Choice program.

     

    Frerichs reported this week that more than 24,000 private sector Illinois workers have collectiv...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to lead hunting party to Illinois looking to bag businesses
    Business (10) , Economy (34) , Taxes, property (87)
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is planning a series of trips to Illinois to convince businesses to move to the Sunshine State. 

    DeSantis recently told the Enterprise Florida board about the recruitment effort. He the deep pension debt in Illinois and Chicago make them unattractive places for businesses.

    “Warren Buffett said recently to be wary of investing in states like Illinois...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    Illinois tax burden jumped in 2016 compared to other states, analysis shows
    Taxes, income (86) , Taxes, misc. (89)
    When Illinois raised its flat income tax, its tax burden went from slightly higher than other states to higher than most states, according to an analysis of the change. 

    The Taxpayers Federation of Illinois released its Illinois Chartbook, an annual analysis and compa...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    Is hope of casino jackpot a sucker bet? State’s gambling tax revenue booming, but it’s not from casinos
    Gambling, Gaming

    Gambling generated a record $1.4 billion for the state over the last year, but that’s despite a seventh straight year of declining returns from Illinois’ 10 existing casinos. Six more casinos in the pipeline could ‘exacerbate’ the problem, a state commission found.

    Statewide gambling tax revenue is at an all-time high, but the percentage of those funds coming fro...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    Tight-knit female lawmakers behind legal marijuana have new nickname
    Marijuana, Medical, Recreational

    State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, admitting she’s the most foul-mouthed of the group, said she came up with the name as a counterweight to a more wholesome moniker that had been ascribed to them.

    By Mitch Dudek Sep 12, 2019, 5:49pm CDT

    Sun-Times

     

    It’s got a nice ring to it. It might stick.

     

    The female state legislators behind ...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    A suburban man lost his life — and his nephew lost his arms — from an improperly installed ComEd wire. State regulators can’t guarantee it won’t happen again.
    ComEd (94) , Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) (52)

    In the final moments of his life, Robert Zulauf administered CPR to his nephew and ordered bystanders to move away from the deadly power line that arced and bowed just a few feet from a Circle K parking lot.

     

    Flames danced around Jordan Zulauf as thick black smoke billowed and his uncle worked to save him. Above the men, a Commonwealth Edison line crackled and hummed so lo...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    If flavors are banned, vape shop owners warn they’d have to close — and e-cig users would go back to regular cigarettes
    Tobacco, Smoking Ban, E-Cigarettes

    Reid Nuttall sees all types of customers wandering into his Evergreen Park vape shop — cops, teachers, construction workers.

     

    But one kind of customer sticks out in his mind: cancer patients who stop by his store, Cool Clouds Vapor Shop, after leaving Advocate Christ Medical Center, which is less than a mile down the road.

     

    They want to learn ho...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    Illinois college enrollment numbers are out. Two schools broke their all-time records this year — again.
    Education--Higher (37)

    College enrollment has dropped for years in Illinois, from a high of more than 930,000 students in 2010 to just under 768,000 in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

     

    Multiple factors have contributed to this decline. The number of high school-age children in the Midwest is dwindling, a demographic shift borne out in other regions of the country.

      read more >
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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    Nestle to close Glendale Heights distribution facility and lay off 121 workers
    Business (10)

    Nestle is closing a frozen food distribution facility in west suburban Glendale Heights and laying off 121 workers beginning in October.

     

    The facility, which houses products such as Dreyer’s ice cream and DiGiorno pizza for direct-to-store delivery, is one of 8 such company-owned centers being shut down across the U.S. as Nestle shifts to a third-party warehouse dist...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    State revenue from casinos continues to drop as Illinois prepares for massive gambling expansion
    Gambling, Gaming

    As Illinois embarks on a massive gambling expansion of up to six new casinos and the addition of slot machines and table games at horse tracks, revenue from the state’s 10 existing casinos last year dropped more than 3% , continuing a decadelong slide.

     

    The loss in revenue from casinos, however, was more than offset by a continued increase in the state’s take f...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    The Spin: Tonight’s presidential debate could be a battle — in a good way | Edelman, Hobson sign gun control letter to Congress | How’s Gov. Pritzker feeling?

    Sign up for The Spin to get the top stories in politics delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons.

     

    For those already experiencing some fatigue over the Democratic presidential debates, tonight’s Round 3 may offer a different experience, with a single-night platform and 10 candidates hungry to move ahead of the pack — both to capture voters and deep-pocketed d...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    When taxpayers trust Springfield ... Part 5: How many Illinois pols would return this money to taxpayers?
    Legislators (former) (58)

    In the years after the Great Recession, Illinois legislators repeatedly cast votes to freeze their salaries. What martyrs they were. And what hypocrites some of them are. How many of them? We may soon learn.

     

    At the time, many lawmakers who voted to nix their own cost-of-living raises and imposed unpaid furlough days on themselves boasted of their self-sacrifices. In a May...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    A snow job in August: That's what we're seeing on Illinois finances Here's a major lesson on how misinformation about our financial crisis is spread.
    Comptroller (21)

    Improvement, finally! That's no doubt how many Ill...   read more >

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019
    Vaping fears threaten Illinois' budding cannabis industry
    Recreational Marijuana

    Health concerns bring uncertainty to an industry poised for growth. Would vapers turn to joints, or just turn away?

    An outbreak of unexplained, sometimes deadly illnesses has cast a cloud over the marijuana business just as it gears up for a big expansion with legalized sales for recreational use in Illinois.  read more >

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