Saturday, June 24, 2017

Top Illinois Stories

Madigan and the Do-Littles – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Day Two of the Illinois General Assembly's special session wound down Thursday without passage of a state budget. Surprised? Only 24 of the Senate's 37 Democrats showed up. Seventeen House lawmakers missed the day altogether. Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago, wasn't in Springfield because she was presenting her credentials to the Cook County Democratic Party. She'd rather be a commissioner on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and she wants the party's endorsement.

Other Highlighted Illinois Stories

Medicaid expansion could end early in Illinois under Senate Obamacare replacement bill – Chicago Tribune

Many low-income adults across the nation could lose Medicaid expansion coverage under the Senate's Obamacare replacement bill — but in Illinois those losses could come three years earlier because of a state law.

Judge’s ruling in trade secrets case indicates ‘inevitable disclosure’ doctrine still applies in IL – Cook County Record

Important to those of you who have or deal with non-compete agreements.

Democratic gov candidates upbraid Rauner for ‘racist’ campaign tactics – Chicago Sun-TImes

Comment: Of course they did. SOP for the today's left.

Metra inks $2.7M in contracts to lobbyist firms – Illinois Policy

Comment: We respectfully disagree that this is unwise spending, PROVIDED the lobbyists are good at the federal level, and assuming you look at this from a selfish perspective for Illinois. Billions of dollars can be had for millions properly spent. Sad, but that's the way Washington works if Illinois wants to get its fair share.

Day 2: Illinois House and Senate adjourn special session after only 23 minutes

Less than 43 minutes of work over two days has cost Illinois taxpayers $100,000.

Illinois legislators meet for 2nd day of budget session – NWI Times

Comment: And they did nothing but some virtue signalling and grandstanding -- voting on a bunch on nonbinding resolutions unrelated to the budget.

Thanks, Wall Street Journal, but Illinois doesn’t need your help – Editorial – Crain’s

Comment: After years of incompetent coverage and negligent inattention as this crisis grew, we're now supposed to listen to the Illinois media's advice about how to deal with the explosion?

Illinois’ fiscal mess is all too familiar to Californians – Orange County Register

"If we don’t get a handle on our debts, without bleeding employers and individual taxpayers dry in the process, Illinois could be our future as well."

Top Chicago Stories

Chicago Looks to Become Fintech Mecca As Lawmakers Show They Actually Understand Blockchain – International Business Times

Comment: To be fair, the headline should be "Rauner Administration understands...." This is their initiative. The tech folks in the administration are doing great work under tough circumstances, and should be recognized.

Guns Waved Around In Music Video Shot During 1,000-Person Gang Bash – DNAinfo

A music video shot during a raucous gang party that brought 1,000 people to the Near West Side last weekend shows shocking images of men and even children flashing guns while others party, drink and dance in the middle of residential streets as police idly sit by.

What shoppers need to know about the Cook County soda tax – Chicago Tribune

A 2-liter bottle, which usually costs about $1, will incur a 67-cent soda tax.

Looming ACA changes pose a drag on Cook County finances: Fidelity Investments

From The Bond Buyer's Yvette Shields: Cook County, Illinois will work in the coming months to close a $97.6 million gap without tax increases but dark clouds loom that could cause the red ink to swell due to the prolonged state budget impasse and GOP efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Other Highlighted Chicago Stories

Speed up the foreclosure process so real estate can rebound – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Comment: McCarron's instinct is dead on this time. You gotta flush the toilet fast and often to get rid of the problem but we haven't done that.

Obama Library’s Wish List Is Long, But Who Will Pay For It All? – Hyde Park – DNAinfo Chicago

Plans for a place for concerts, a farmers market and community events first proposed as part of a new visitors center by Project 120 for the eastern side of the park are now listed among the amenities the center wants to incorporate. Sledding hills, a public garden, children’s play areas and walking and bike paths are also on in the works.

Dems to nix Rauner official as potential pick for top fed Chicago spot – Chicago Sun-TImes

Congressional Republicans from Illinois have recommended four lawyers to the Trump White House for the U.S. Attorney post in Chicago, with one of them, Maggie Hickey, likely out of the running because Democrats don’t want Hickey — now a top official for GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner — in the spot, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

City Colleges of Chicago Fund Balance Continues to Decline – The Civic Federation

Fund balances are down to just 4.8% of annual operating expenses, far worse than a recognized standard of 16.7%.

Ald. Reilly makes ‘urgent request’ for more downtown police patrols – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: We've noticed a frightening surge over the past couple weeks in reports of violent crimes downtown and in other neighborhoods that are usually safe, often in daylight.

Chicago Public Schools pay high price for needed cash – Fidelity Investments

By The Bond Buyer's Yvette Shields.

Projection: Chicago’s police pension fund will be broke in 2021 – Chicago City Wire

Comment: Chicago pension shortfalls are particularly terrifying for pensioners and taxpayers alike. The funded ratio of the police and fire pensions is around 20%, making it difficult to see how a reasonable pension can ever be paid out to those who will need them.

No Buyers for Chicago School Bonds Causes Rates to Hit 9 Percent – Bloomberg

"The spiraling interest bills are reminiscent of the chaos that erupted in the wake of the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in 2008."

U.S. Supreme Court decision could have big impact on mass actions in Cook County, elsewhere – Cook County Record

"This ruling could prove to be a powerful tool in stopping the kind of venue abuse we see all of time in Cook County."

The unexpected journey of a young software developer – The Distance

Part of a regular series about people and businesses with staying power. Henikoff is more than a successful entrepreneur. His pro bono work has helped put Chicago's tech sector on the map.

Chicago NOT most dangerous U.S. city, new report says – WGN

In gun violence per capita, Chicago isn’t even in the top 10 — or the top 15.

Chicago Public Schools borrow $275 million at sky-high interest rate – Chicago Sun-Times

More than four times the interest rate a typical government would pay on the same borrowing deal, financial experts say.

Packers fan sues Bears over dress code – Crain’s

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A Green Bay Packers fan is taking the Chicago Bears to court over his right to wear Packers apparel on the field during a pregame warmup session he had access to through the team's rewards system.  

Chicago goes high-tech in search of answers to gun crime surge – BBC

In a cramped office in a police station in Chicago's 11th district, the sound of gunfire is a little computerised ping that rings out a few times a day.

Deep State: Persecution or Paranoia? – Chicago Council on Global Affairs

What does this have to do with our scope here? Nothing. Just shamelessly promoting my big brother's event.

Chicago’s slow housing recovery has a huge price tag – Crain’s

The Chicago area's slow housing market recovery comes at a price: $107 billion. That's the difference between the current market value of all residential property in the six-county area and what it would be worth if the Chicago real estate market's recovery were keeping up with the nation's.

Wirepoints Original Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better Government Association Could Use Some Better Pension Research – WP Original

The fog of misunderstanding about Illinois' crisis remains thick.

Media Watch

We stand by our critic and a vital Chicago theater scene – Sun-Times

Comment: Good for the Sun-Times, though a simple "drop dead" would have been better.

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

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

Unanimous Supreme Court Upholds Free Speech – USA Today

Thank God for the First Amendment and courts that uphold it.

Eisendrath wants Sun-Times to serve ‘the 99 percent’ – Feder

Comment: An overtly and open liberal bias is what he wants. Just what we need.

The Daily Line will cover Springfield news

Comment: Excellent. Let's hope they will be better than the others.

— Connecting the dots between our economy, government and business —

Top Illinois Stories

Madigan and the Do-Littles – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Day Two of the Illinois General Assembly's special session wound down Thursday without passage of a state budget. Surprised? Only 24 of the Senate's 37 Democrats showed up. Seventeen House lawmakers missed the day altogether. Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago, wasn't in Springfield because she was presenting her credentials to the Cook County Democratic Party. She'd rather be a commissioner on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and she wants the party's endorsement.

Top Chicago Stories

Chicago Looks to Become Fintech Mecca As Lawmakers Show They Actually Understand Blockchain – International Business Times

Comment: To be fair, the headline should be "Rauner Administration understands...." This is their initiative. The tech folks in the administration are doing great work under tough circumstances, and should be recognized.

Guns Waved Around In Music Video Shot During 1,000-Person Gang Bash – DNAinfo

A music video shot during a raucous gang party that brought 1,000 people to the Near West Side last weekend shows shocking images of men and even children flashing guns while others party, drink and dance in the middle of residential streets as police idly sit by.

What shoppers need to know about the Cook County soda tax – Chicago Tribune

A 2-liter bottle, which usually costs about $1, will incur a 67-cent soda tax.

Looming ACA changes pose a drag on Cook County finances: Fidelity Investments

From The Bond Buyer's Yvette Shields: Cook County, Illinois will work in the coming months to close a $97.6 million gap without tax increases but dark clouds loom that could cause the red ink to swell due to the prolonged state budget impasse and GOP efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Wirepoints Original Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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