Illinois Appellate Court ruled that the Illinois Commerce Commission had the authority to require ComEd and other utilities to impose a surcharge on all customers' bills to pay for power being generated by the $1.7 billion FutureGen 2.0 "clean coal" power plant planned for downstate.
There is a growing trend in emergency service that requires victims of car accidents to help fill municipal budget holes. It's known as a "crash tax" and it's quietly showing up in more communities as fire departments struggle to make ends meet.
The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits is now turning to the First District Appellate Court which agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis. Supporters sought the speedier process because the state board of elections, by law, must approve the Nov. 4 ballot by Aug. 22.
Island Lake isn’t the only municipality that has used pension funds to pay its bills. The Illinois Supreme Court recently handed down a decision involving the village of Riverdale in the southern suburbs of Chicago, which, like Island Lake, used money levied for the police pension fund to pay its bills.
One big question raised by the Kanerva decision is whether the state Supreme Court will rule that the current benefit structure is locked in for existing employees, which means a constitutional amendment would not retroactively allow reductions in the benefits in place when current employees were hired.
A problem that's as politically hard to solve as it is huge. There are actually 8,459 units of government in Illinois, not the commonly reported 6,968. By any measure, far higher than other states per capita.
Surrounding states Indiana and Wisconsin have made lawsuit reform a priority and as a result, they are adding jobs while Illinois continues to shed jobs. The situation in Illinois is so bad that according to a recent Gallup survey, half of all Illinoisans would leave the state if they could.
Comment: They certainly have. Ratings agencies are mostly staffed by people who want to be doing something else within a few years. They have a strong incentive not to rock the boat of the sell-side machine that dominates much of finance, and that's part of why they've missed every major recent financial meltdown.
"Chicago will have the longest wait for a full recovery among the top 10 metro areas. Zillow forecasts that its index for the Chicago area will hit its 2007 peak in 2026, while the New York area will recover fully by 2019, and Los Angeles by the end of next year."
A group of Chicago aldermen is planning to call on City Hall's top watchdog to launch an audit of the city's red light camera system with an eye toward issuing refunds to anyone who has been wrongly ticketed
"Imagine living in a place where homicides have been reduced by more than half in the past two decades, where robberies are less common than they've been in nearly half a century, where car theft is at levels not seen since "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was still in production."
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority has sold naming rights to the historic front entranceway to Navy Pier for $20 million. Sources say the Polk Bros. Foundation has stepped up to be the first organization to help underwrite a massive rebuilding project at the pier.
Cook County today launched a new website that details how much money has been collected in the hundreds of controversial special taxing districts spread across Chicago and its suburbs. The TIF Viewer can be accessed here.
Perhaps Chicago should be happy it lost its bid for the Olympics. Brazil has buyer's remorse about hosting the World Cup. Economists and budget analysts have long proclaimed the fiscal folly of hosting these events. The rosy economic estimates touted by sports leagues and politicians tend to use suspect methodologies.
The first major donations to Obama's presidential library are rolling in from New York and Chicago, two cities that are competing to host the future library. Tim Collins, a New York-based private equity investor gave between $250,001 and $500,000. So did James Simons, a mathematician and hedge fund manager. Another donation of more than $250,001 came in from Chicago's Michael Sacks, a business executive who leads Rahm Emanuel's World Business Chicago.
The solvency of the state and many of its cities, and their capacity to fund schools and other essential services, will depend heavily on arcane accounting assumptions set by pension trustees and pols choosing to ignore professionally established accounting principles.
This month marks the date of full implementation of new accounting rules that will dramatically worsen reported pension problems. Pensioners will be apoplectic. Chicago's unfunded pension liabilities may soar from the commonly reported $18-20 billion to $60 billion, according to one researcher.
Any time Citadel hedge fund manager Ken Griffin cuts a check for the Rauner campaign, it causes a commotion everywhere from broadcast TV news to print media. However, as Reboot Illinois has reported, nine of Quinn’s top ten donations have come from public sector unions and PACs. Beyond Reboot Illinois, the only other media entities to shed light on Quinn’s donors have been Crain’s Greg Hinz and the Chicago Sun-Times.