Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Top Illinois Stories

Illinois Unpaid Vendor Backlog Hits A New Record At Over $16 Billion -ZeroHedge

The bill backlog is growing despite the enactment of a fiscal 2018 spending plan and income tax increase in July. “What is going to take this backlog down is the borrowing, said Abdon Pallasch, spokesman for Democratic state Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Rauner points out that there is a small problem with Mendoza's magical $6 billion debt cure-all, namely that there is no funding available to pay 12 years worth of interest payments.

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With Foxconn Coming, Wisconsin Gov. Walker Isn’t Eager To Share Economic Bounty With Illinois – Forbes

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has a message for Illinois: Finders, keepers; losers, weepers.

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Truth-in-Accounting: Illinois is Second Worst ‘Sinkhole State’

Their annual Financial State of the States.

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Rauner to lawmakers: Help me balance the budget – JournalStar

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday continued to insist the recently passed state budget is wildly out of balance and called on state lawmakers to work with him to find cuts that will bring it into balance.

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Illinois Poverty Numbers Are Lower, But Still Higher Than National Average – No. Public Radio

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Other Highlighted Illinois Stories

Illinois, the nuclear waste state – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

The road from Illinois to the Nevada site has been blocked by an array of regulatory hurdles and lawsuits. Even more troublesome was another immovable obstacle: Nevada’s Sen. Harry Reid, the longtime Senate Democratic leader, who declared in 2006, “Yucca Mountain is dead. It’ll never happen.” He and fellow Senate Democrats kept it from happening, and President Barack Obama, who campaigned on a promise to stop it, was fully on board with them — a political reward for Reid’s fealty.

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Why international trade matters for Illinois – Illinois Policy

Comment: Yes, trade is good for everybody, especially Illinois, but this author is dead wrong to understate the harm in chronic trade deficits, especially those that result from unfair trade terms. Every dollar of trade deficit results in a dollar increase in foreign ownership of some U.S. asset. And, on trade terms, we have been the world's dupe for decades.

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Rep. Scott Drury drops out of governor’s race, enters AG’s race – INN

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Illinois offering big tax breaks to lure Amazon HQ – FOX Chicago

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New England’s Illinois: Connecticut’s Budget Mess Shows That States Can’t Tax Themselves to Prosperity – Reason

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A chilling study shows how hostile college students are toward free speech – The Washington Post

Truly depressing and terrifying.

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A Belleville sales tax was set to expire at the end of the year. Now it’s permanent. – Belleville News-Democrat

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Rauner boosting Amazon bids of both Chicago and St. Louis – Chicago Tribune

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East Peoria sales tax increase on City Council agenda – JournalStar

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Rauner signs bill reinstating business tax credit program – Illinois Policy

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Governor Rauner Broadens Access to Child Care Assistance Program

The move fulfills an agreement made with the legislature in 2015 to raise the income eligibility criteria to 185% of the federal poverty level from 162%. It means 16,000 more children will receive child care each month, for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018.

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Walker signs $3 billion Foxconn incentives bill – Associated Press

Comment: Lots of jobs for northern Illinoisans, too, who may or may not move.

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Rauner Signs Revamp of EDGE Business Tax-Credit – A.P.

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Rep. Brady: Conversation is not about raising gas tax, it’s about how high to raise it – INN

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State Budget Whodunit Raises Doubt About Quick Savings From Pension Overhaul – Better Government Association

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Todd Maisch: Time for leaders to keep their promises on reform – Opinion – Daily Herald

Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce: "The business community finds it unacceptable that a 32 percent tax increase was implemented in early July without some much-needed reforms -- workers' compensation and property tax relief -- aimed to help bring jobs to Illinois and maintain the jobs already here."

Comment: Don't get your hopes up. Not with this General Assembly.

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Pension Storm Warning – Mauldin Economics

Comment: We quantified the storm analogy for Illinois five years ago when we started here. See the article linked here. http://www.mauldineconomics.com/frontlinethoughts/pension-storm-warning

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Nekritz says she’s serious about run for attorney general – Daily Herald

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Jim Dey: Did Madigan act under color of law? – News-Gazette

"Mike Madigan will leave Illinois politics, either in handcuffs or a coffin or I will beat him," said Gonzales.

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How Does Your State Measure Up On Student Free Speech? – ZeroHedge

Comment: As you will see, we stink on this, as do most states.

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General question: Who’ll aim to fill AG Lisa Madigan’s powerful seat? – Chicago Sun-TImes

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Are legislative leaders discussing more tax increases to pay for road construction plan? – INN

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Fed-Up Illinois Legislators Head for the Exit in Big Numbers – Associated Press

Illinois residents aren't the only ones throwing up their hands at the gridlock and increasingly polarized politics that have defined state government in recent years.

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New Illinois law prohibits excessive accumulation of township reserve funds -INN

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Lawsuit vs Madigan over alleged dirty election tricks vs primary opponent given new life – Cook County Record

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How Chicago can lure Amazon: Ban employment noncompete agreements – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Comment: This may not be sufficient to lure Amazon, but it's the right idea anyway, subject to certain exceptions.

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AFSCME contract suit may not be heard until next year – JournalStar

It’s been so long now that some of you may have forgotten that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees still doesn’t have a new contract with the state to replace the one that expired in June 2015. The dispute was expected to have an appellate court hearing by now. It hasn’t, and it won’t for a while yet.  

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Trust Act goes too far – Editorial – Northwest Herald

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Chuck Sweeny: ‘Against public safety’? Hogwash. For tax accountability – Rockford Reg. Star

Comment: He asks the eternal question for all Illinois. "What part of “We are running out of money” do they NEVER seem to understand?"

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General confusion: Pols jockey for position after Lisa Madigan stunner – Sun-TImes

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Rising public safety costs pose problems for Peoria budget – JournalStar

In 2014, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis joined 25 Illinois mayors in Chicago to call for a solution to the pension issue. “Soaring pension costs aren’t just a Chicago issue or a state issue. Fire and police pension systems are suffocating the budgets of every town, village and city in Illinois,” he said.

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State universities rolling out red carpet for Illinois high-schoolers – News-Gazette

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Deputy Gov. Munger is state’s ‘point person’ luring Amazon here – Chicago Sun-Times

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J.B. Pritzker firms got over $1.9M in state tax credits in four years – Sun-Times

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Illinois universities’ problems are largely self-inflicted – Illinois Policy

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Top Chicago Stories

Walgreens cleared to purchase 1,900-plus Rite Aid stores and more for $4.4 billion – MarketWatch

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Chicago Puts Millions of Deposits Into Its Last Black-Owned Bank – Bloomberg

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Chicago Says It Has Met 40 Percent of Paris Climate Agreement Goals – WTTW

Comment: As usual there's not a word on, what's that word? Oh yes, "cost." Not important. Never is. Not that anybody could know how much it will cost to commit to 100% renewables by 2025 instead of going with the least costly.

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The Multiplicity of Local Governments in Northeastern Illinois – The Civic Federation

390 of the local governments in the northeastern Illinois region are general purpose and 893 are special purpose units of government.

That's 1,283 total units of government just in northeastern Illinois!

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Other Highlighted Chicago Stories

Gutierrez, other Democratic lawmakers arrested outside Trump Tower for DACA protest – The Hill

Laws, of course, aren't meant for those who are morally anointed.

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2 Investigators: Few Arrests As Chicago Carjackings Spike – CBS Chicago

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Exploring Construction Boom in Chicago’s ‘Super Loop’ – WTTW

The Loop is expanding further west and further south. It’s bounded by North, Ashland, the Stephenson and the lake.

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Rauner, Rahm sending team to Amazon’s Seattle HQ — to look, not talk – Chicago Sun-Times

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Elgin looks at options for budget cuts, tax increases – Daily Herald

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Chicago to host global summit on climate change – Chicago Sun-Times

Rahm: “It’s incumbent on us…to continue to show examples where making good policies on climate change and greenhouse gases complement your social and economic goals. If we can do that, you’re gonna continue to get public support for bolder and bolder actions that reach deeper and deeper in making sure we stay on track for 2025.”

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Emanuel says Trump’s unpopularity with Chicagoans makes his job easier, politically – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago among 10 worldwide candidates Hyperloop One chooses for hyperloop route – Chicago Business Journal

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River Forest District 90 will pay 100 percent of teacher pension contributions

In the midst of Illinois’ pension crisis, River Forest District 90 has agreed to pay 100 percent of teacher contributions to the Teachers' Retirement System – and it did so secretly.

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New Chicago Police Oversight Agency to Begin Operations – A.P.

New Chicago Police Oversight Agency to Begin Operations

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Four-year deal ends Chicago-area auto mechanics strike – Chicago Sun-Times

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District 15, support workers stalled over contract length – Daily Herald

Comment: Ten-year contracts? Meanwhile, in the private sector, most employees are at-will.

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Former Lincoln-Way chief Wyllie could lose $321,000 annual pension if convicted – Daily Southtown

Since the former superintendent of Lincoln-Way High School District 210 retired in 2013, his annual pension, currently north of $321,000, has ranked among the top teacher pensions in Illinois. But after a federal grand jury this week indicted Lawrence Wyllie on fraud charges stemming from his tenure leading the south suburban school district, he stands to lose that pension distinction — and income — if convicted.

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A Chicago judge amazingly rules that grant money can be mandatory – Hot Air

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Preckwinkle, Other Officials Jump In Chicago River – CBS Chicago

Comment: Schakowsky and Quigly jumped, too. Shoulda been "into the lake," proverbially.

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JPMorgan Chase’s Press Release on its $40 Million Commitment to Create Economic Opportunity on Chicago’s South and West Sides

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Former school official in Chicago suburbs charged in case centered on bond proceeds – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

More on Thursday's charges against Lawrence Wyllie, accusing him of using bond proceeds to inflate the apparent fiscal health of Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210.

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The Cook County Board’s legacy: Killing Cook County jobs – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

There will be no Fresh Markets in Cook Country thanks to the soda tax and other job killers.

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Chicago scores legal victory in sanctuary city battle with Sessions – Chicago Sun-Times

The city of Chicago has scored a victory in court Friday as a federal judge granted most of its requests to freeze what it called U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “unprecedented seizure of power” as he tries to deny federal law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities like Chicago — a victory that will apply to sanctuary cities nationwide fighting the Trump administration effort.

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Big Brothers Forced To Turn Boys Away Because There Aren’t Enough Mentors – DNAinfo Chicago

Comment: As one who served as a big brother in the program earlier, I can tell you this is truly heartbreaking to read. It's a wonderful program doing a small part to address the primary cause of poverty and suffering, which is young women bearing children before they have a committed partner.

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Poverty fell, income rose last year in Illinois, Chicago – Chicago Tribune

Poverty fell and median income rose substantially last year in Chicago and Illinois, mirroring national trends. The Chicago metro area saw its poverty rate drop to 12.4 percent in 2016 from 13.3 percent the year before, according to American Community Survey data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, median household income increased 3.2 percent in the Chicago metro area, to $66,020. Nearly all of the other metro areas saw increases as well.

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Census: Hispanics surpass blacks as Chicago’s 2nd-largest racial group – Chicago Sun-Times

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40,000 African Americans left Chicago last year; no jobs a big factor – FOX 32

Comment: They're being pushed out, perhaps intentionally.

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Chicago mayor signs water and innovation deals in Israel – ISRAEL21c

Rahm Emanuel comes to Haifa, Tel Aviv and Beersheva to ink agreements with two Israeli universities and the city of Tel Aviv.

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Aldermen fail to get straight answers at CPS finance briefing – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool finally briefed the City Council Thursday about the shaky state of school finances, but aldermen came away from the closed-door meetings frustrated by his evasive answers.

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Luring Amazon To Chicago Will Include A Full-Court Press From Rahm Emanuel – DNAinfo

Comment: It's a long shot, but the prize is so huge it's worth a good shot.

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Garry McCarthy For Mayor? Exploratory Committee Formed For Fired Top Cop – DNAinfo

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Former school official in Chicago suburbs charged in case centered on bond proceeds – The Bond Buyer

The Bond Buyer's report on the criminal fraud charges filed against the former superintendent of a suburban Chicago school district accusing him of using bond proceeds to inflate the apparent fiscal health of Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210.

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Feds say ex-superintendent blew suburban school cash on dog school – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: It will be interesting to see if there is an SEC action also -- on the related bonds.

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Former Lincoln-Way superintendent Lawrence Wyllie indicted on fraud charges – Daily Southtown

 Lawrence Wyllie, the former Lincoln-Way superintendent who led the south suburban district into academic prominence and then set it on a course of fiscal ruin, has been charged with fraud.
The federal indictment alleges Wyllie hid the "true financial health" of Lincoln-Way High School District 210 by misusing bond funds and said he fraudulently used school district funds for personal projects, including Superdog, a dog-training school he built.

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Wirepoints Original Stories

That Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Ruling Will Have Implications for Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Dry stuff for some, but this will be critical in Illinois, sooner or later.

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School Board OKs 100% Teacher Pension Pick-Up; Board President Is Leading Union Activist – Wirepoints Guest

But the new teachers' contract sure hides it well.

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Glennon's Quicktakes

Limiting workplace noncompete clauses should get bipartisan support in Illinois

A movement is slowly forming around the country to ban or restrict noncompete clauses in employment contracts. Those clauses prohibit workers from joining a...

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Why that municipal bond purchase by Illinois Treasurer makes me nervous

The Daily Herald reported today on Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs boasting about his purchase of a new issue of Kane County forest district bonds...

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$350 million indeed just a ‘down payment’ on new school funding bill

Read Thursday's WBEZ article on what they correctly call the "down payment" we'll be making this year under the new school funding bill. Most people...

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New Census Bureau data show Illinois income growth still lagging national average

The Census Bureau today released its numbers on household income for 2016. Nationwide, median household income increased a respectable 2.4%. For Illinois, the increase...

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Huh? Martire is president of a school board that gives 100% pension pick-up — and hides it?

The thing about writing about Illinois government, particularly pensions, is that you're forever discovering new things that make your jaw drop. I only recently learned...

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Kudos to the IL Dem who saved Columbus Day in Illinois

It appears we have somebody to thank for saving Columbus Day in Illinois -- Rep. Tony DeLuca of Chicago Heights. See the article linked...

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

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?

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.

Rahm’s Ramp And The Fate Of Chicago’s Pensions – WP Original

The can has now been kicked on all four city pensions, as shown on the chart.

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.

Illinois Stumbles Through Fog Towards New School Funding Formula – Wirepoints Original

We know more now, but distortions abound and key points remain unreported or unknowable.

Media Watch

Naked Ignorance: Sun-Times Editorial Board Goes Exhibitionist – Wirepoints Original

The editorial board last week pulled its pants down to say they really just don't know what they're talking about.

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WBEZ-FM’s new political reporter about to face off against nemesis Gov. Rauner – Chicago Business Journal

Comment: Read the piece linked here about how Dave McKinney peddled, or was suckered by, Rahm's B.S. He was among the most biased reporters in town when he was at the Sun-Times.

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Chicago Sun-Times sporting full-page union labor ad in today’s newspaper – Chicago Business Journal

"The evolution of the Chicago Sun-Times took a new — and potentially disturbing — twist in today's issue, which prominently carried on page 5 a full-page display ad from [unions]."

Wife’s Cook County position draws line in sand for Tribune reporter – Chicago City Wire

The managing editor of the Chicago Tribune assured Chicago City Wire that reporter Kim Janssen is taking every precaution to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest given that his wife, Becky Schlikerman, is a spokesperson for Cook County.

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

Top Illinois Stories

Illinois Unpaid Vendor Backlog Hits A New Record At Over $16 Billion -ZeroHedge

The bill backlog is growing despite the enactment of a fiscal 2018 spending plan and income tax increase in July. “What is going to take this backlog down is the borrowing, said Abdon Pallasch, spokesman for Democratic state Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Rauner points out that there is a small problem with Mendoza's magical $6 billion debt cure-all, namely that there is no funding available to pay 12 years worth of interest payments.

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With Foxconn Coming, Wisconsin Gov. Walker Isn’t Eager To Share Economic Bounty With Illinois – Forbes

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has a message for Illinois: Finders, keepers; losers, weepers.

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Truth-in-Accounting: Illinois is Second Worst ‘Sinkhole State’

Their annual Financial State of the States.

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Rauner to lawmakers: Help me balance the budget – JournalStar

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday continued to insist the recently passed state budget is wildly out of balance and called on state lawmakers to work with him to find cuts that will bring it into balance.

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Illinois Poverty Numbers Are Lower, But Still Higher Than National Average – No. Public Radio

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Top Chicago Stories

Walgreens cleared to purchase 1,900-plus Rite Aid stores and more for $4.4 billion – MarketWatch

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Chicago Puts Millions of Deposits Into Its Last Black-Owned Bank – Bloomberg

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Chicago Says It Has Met 40 Percent of Paris Climate Agreement Goals – WTTW

Comment: As usual there's not a word on, what's that word? Oh yes, "cost." Not important. Never is. Not that anybody could know how much it will cost to commit to 100% renewables by 2025 instead of going with the least costly.

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The Multiplicity of Local Governments in Northeastern Illinois – The Civic Federation

390 of the local governments in the northeastern Illinois region are general purpose and 893 are special purpose units of government.

That's 1,283 total units of government just in northeastern Illinois!

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Wirepoints Original Stories

That Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Ruling Will Have Implications for Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Dry stuff for some, but this will be critical in Illinois, sooner or later.

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School Board OKs 100% Teacher Pension Pick-Up; Board President Is Leading Union Activist – Wirepoints Guest

But the new teachers' contract sure hides it well.

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Is Illinois’ New Budget Balanced? Oh, Please. – Wirepoints Original

Remember the surge of relief in early July when so many celebrated passage of a "balanced budget"? Well, never mind.

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