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  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017
    JPMorgan Chase Deploys First $10 Million of Chicago Investment
    Chicago (16) , Economic Development (35)
    Initial investments focused on creating economic opportunity through job training, revitalizing neighborhoods, small business expansion and financial health

    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced that it has deployed the first $10 million of its $40 million, three-year investment to create economic opportunity in Chicago’s underserved neighborhood...   read more >
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  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017
    How Springfield self-interest left local students behind
    Education Funding (36a) , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)
    Cahokia School Superintendent Art Ryan is about to retire, which means he and his mission to protect his students are no longer at the mercy of state leaders. He can freely speak his mind, and he recently did.

    It’s just too bad those in Springfield seem immune to shame.

    “No one wants to say, ‘Here’s the problem and the only way to address this is ...   read more >
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  • Monday, November 20, 2017
    Experts: Not many options to fix Illinois’ worst in the nation pension problem
    Pensions (70) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6
    Illinois has the worst-funded public sector pensions in the country and those who know the numbers well say there’s not much that can be done to fix it.

    During a panel discussion with the Citizens Club of Springfield Friday, Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability Pension Manager Dan Hankiewicz, longtime political observer and University of Illinois Professor ...   read more >
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  • Monday, November 20, 2017
    State employee health insurance accounts for vast majority of Illinois’ 2017 deficit spending
    Budget--State (8) McSweeney, David--State House, 52
    Gov. Bruce Rauner has a lot of power when it comes to spending tax dollars, and a state representative says the governor and the state's largest public employee union are mostly to blame for deficit spending from the previous fiscal year.

    The Rauner administration overspent $2.8 billion last fiscal year. That was disclosed just last month when the state had to show bond investors i...   read more >
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  • Friday, November 17, 2017
    State political bickering led to local pain, local officials say at state budget forum
    Budget--State (8)
    EDWARDSVILLE

    Schools districts, social service agencies and local governments felt the pain of the two-year budget impasse caused by political bickering, panel members said Thursday.

    Art Ryan, the superintendent of Cahokia School District 187, said partisan politics led to budget issues and hurt local entities.

    “No one wants to be the guy who’s goi...   read more >
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  • Friday, November 17, 2017
    Cities across Illinois feeling pension squeeze
    Local Government (60) , Pensions (70)
    A growing number of cities across Illinois are cutting services or hiking property taxes in the face of growing pension costs.

    This is the time of year when many municipalities in Illinois are putting the finishing touches on their budgets for the coming year. A number of them are falling short on funds because of their growing pension bills. City of Normal officials blame their la...   read more >
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  • Friday, November 17, 2017
    Ominous implications for Missouri, Illinois in tax-cut bills
    Taxes, misc. (89)
    There are ominous implications for Missouri and Illinois in the hodgepodge Republican tax-cut bills under consideration in Washington. State Treasurer Eric Schmitt, who was in Washington Thursday to discuss the tax plan, owes it to all Missourians to understand the serious potential financial impact before throwing his support to it.

    In Missouri, the already-stressed state budget c...   read more >
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  • Thursday, November 16, 2017
    Why is Springfield’s #MeToo movement still in the dark? The Ethics Commission, some say
    Legislature (56) , Sexual assault, Sex Crime (96) Bivins, Tim--State Senate, 45
    Anti-sexual harassment advocates, workplace harassment lawyers, even lawmakers themselves say stories of a rampant sexism and harassment culture under the dome in Springfield show that legislators are incapable of policing themselves. A new bill could provide an answer to that problem.

    The Legislative Ethics Commission is a panel of lawmakers, four Democrat, four Republican, that o...   read more >
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  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017
    DCCC recognizes Brendan Kelly as part of 'Red to Blue' program
    Candidates--Federal (13)
    Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján has announced that Brendan Kelly has earned a spot on the first round of the DCCC’s Red to Blue program, according to a news release from the organization.

    Kelly is one of 11 Democratic candidates in the country to receive this designation. Kelly seeks to oust Republican incumbent Mike Bost in the 12th Di...   read more >
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  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017
    Chicago taxpayers on hook for $41,700 each to cover city's debt
    Chicago Mayor (16) , Taxes, income (86) , Taxes, misc. (89) , Taxes, property (87) McCarter, Kyle--State Senate, 54
    With Chicago's $37 billion shortfall, mainly from unfunded pension obligations, each of the city's taxpayers would be on the hook for more than $41,000 just so Chicago could break even.

    Accordingly, the city received an “F” grade for its fiscal health in a new report from government finance watchdog Truth In Accounting.

    “If everybody kindly sent a check...   read more >
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  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017
    Ethics task force says change needed in Springfield’s approach to sexual harassment
    Legislature (56) , Sexual assault, Sex Crime (96) Tracy, Jil--State House, 94
    Newly tabbed members of the General Assembly’s ethics task force say Springfield’s approach to sexual harassment is going to have to change.

    State Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, served on the Legislative Ethics Commission during her time in the House of Representatives. She said the process of making complaints about harassment needs marked improvement.

    “The...   read more >
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  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017
    Crowded field of AG candidates place differing emphasis on priorities for state's top law office
    Attorney General (6) , Candidates--Statewide (12)
    SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's sudden announcement earlier this year that she will not seek another term has led to an avalanche of candidates announcing intentions to run, at least on the Democratic side.
    read more >
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  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017
    Building a bridge where the destination is reelection
    Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating , Budget--State (8) , Capital Development Board, Capital Construction Plan (14) McCarter, Kyle--State Senate, 54
    Apparently we owe you an apology, gentle readers: We’ve been lax in pointing out just how dire our state’s financial situation is.

    That’s the likely explanation for most of our state lawmakers thinking now is the time for a spending spree on roads and other infrastructure.

    Well, there could be another explanation for their cluelessness or lack of concer...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017
    New Jersey, Illinois finish last in fiscal health in new study
    Economic Development (35)
    New Jersey and Illinois rank poorly in a new study of fiscal health among the 50 states.

    The analysis, conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, shows Illinois as 49th and New Jersey as 50th in terms of expenses outpacing revenues during the years 2002 to 2016.

    “Illinois’s revenue was 94.2 percent of expenses over that time period,” said Matt McKillop, an...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017
    Silverstein and Manar want transparency for us, not themselves
    Internet, Social Media (98) Manar, Andy--State Senate, 48 , Silverstein, Ira--State Senate, 8
    Following the uproar over Russian meddling in our presidential election process – specifically, the use of Facebook ads to sway public opinion or just wreak havoc – social media companies are establishing disclosure requirements for purchasers of political advertising.

    As private companies, it'...   read more >

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  • Monday, November 13, 2017
    The case of the hidden property tax
    Taxes, property (87)
    To the Editor:

    In December of 2015 Belleville set their levy at $9,050,000 and in December of 2016 at $9,772,000. The levy amounts show that the increase was 7.9%, yet the city claims only a 4.9% increase. This had me confused, so I started digging into the details.

    What I discovered is that for many, many years the St Clair County Clerk has been increasing specific levy...   read more >
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  • Monday, November 13, 2017
    Fifth District rejects workers' compensation appeal
    Workers' Compensation (97)

    The Fifth District Appellate Court has ruled that a man failed to prove his disability claim with the state’s Workers Compensation Commission.

    In the Oct. 30 order, court noted that the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission ruling that found that Rick Bailie failed to prove he was disabled by a work accident was supported by the evidence.

    Justice Thomas Hoffman deliver...   read more >

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  • Sunday, November 12, 2017
    Big state worker union courting disaster for Illinois taxpayers
    Governor (44) , Unions, labor (55)
    If your employer is going bankrupt, do you push for a 29 percent wage increase? If you see inventory running low and orders falling off, do you demand to work fewer hours than almost everyone else?

    Yup, if you are one of about 38,000 Illinois state workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Twenty Illinois public employee unions made co...   read more >
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  • Sunday, November 12, 2017
    Forsaken Egypt: Poverty darkens Southern Illinois’ beautiful Ohio River Valley region
    Economic Development (35) , Economic Stimulus , Employment, Jobs (40) , Rivers (23)
    The 981-mile Ohio River begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and borders or runs through six states, including a 133-mile leg along the southern border of Illinois. The Ohio enters the state near Uniontown, Kentucky, which is about 15 minutes from Old Shawneetown in Gallatin County, and then runs alongside Hardin, Pope, Massac, Pulaski and Alexander counties.

    It ends in historic Cai...   read more >
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  • Saturday, November 11, 2017
    Illinois politicians want to improve roads and bridges, but can the state afford it?
    Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating , Transportation (91)
    Legislators could begin considering major investments in state infrastructure needs in the future, just in time for election year politics.

    Lawmakers in Springfield have been discussing the need for a capital bill in the state, the first in nearly a decade.

    The last time the state had a capital bill was in 2009 when Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly approved a $31 ...   read more >
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  • Saturday, November 11, 2017
    Program change proposals for academic reorganization released
    Education--Higher (37)
    University administration released program change proposals for the chancellor’s plan to reorganize campus academic units Friday, according to the Faculty Association website.

    FA President David Johnson wrote on the website that the major changes included the new proposals, sent to him by Associate Provost David DiLalla, include moving the School of Homeland Security into the...   read more >
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  • Saturday, November 11, 2017
    Are "secret negotiations" the biggest reason why businesses aren't picking Illinois?
    Economic Development (35)
    Some lawmakers want state economic development leaders to show all their cards when trying to lure businesses to Illinois. Others say closed door negotiations to attract businesses isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s the state’s business climate.

    State Rep. Andre Thapedi, D-Ashburn, said during a committee hearing this week that lawmakers are being frozen out of t...   read more >
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  • Saturday, November 11, 2017
    McCarter calls Springfield a 'gross atmosphere' in wake of sexual harassment allegations
    Sexual assault, Sex Crime (96) McCarter, Kyle--State Senate, 54 , Silverstein, Ira--State Senate, 8
    SPRINGFIELD - Programs on how not to engage in sexual harassment were given to lawmakers this week following recent bombshell allegations made by a lobbyist who claimed a ranking member of the state Senate harassed her.

    Training sessions were conducted Wednesday for the House - with separate sessions for Democrats and Republicans and the same split for the Senate on Thursday.
    ...   read more >
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  • Thursday, November 9, 2017
    Illinois taxpayers, but not health care carriers, will pay for elective abortions in 2018
    Abortion (1)
    WASHINGTON DC - Taxpayers in Illinois will be paying for elective abortions for expectant mothers on Medicaid and employed by the state - but private companies in Illinois will not be offering the same coverage, a new study on Illinois programs said Wednesday. 
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  • Thursday, November 9, 2017
    Woolsey says 'burdensome,' 'costly' regulations lead to end of Illinois' first fracking permit
    Energy, Alternative Energy (93) , Fracking
    ENFIELD — With Woolsey Operating Company walking back its efforts to frack for oil in Enfield, what was seen as a potential boon to the state’s rural economy has been dashed.

    Citing onerous rules and regulations, Woolsey, a Kansas-based oil and natural gas company, earlier this month terminated its hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, permit with the Illinois Department o...   read more >
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