Saturday, December 16, 2017

Top Illinois Stories

Progressives hunt down one of the last conservative Democrats – Politico

Rep. Dan Lipinski is pictured. | Getty Images Rep. Dan Lipinski is something of an exotic species: a Democrat who opposes abortion and cast votes against both the Affordable Care Act and the DREAM Act. |

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Shaking Up the Market for Municipal Bonds – Barron’s

"Tax reform does present fiscal challenges to state and local governments. And that’s on top of the better-known problems of public pension shortfalls in states such as Illinois and New Jersey."

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Rigged: How Illinois’ labor laws stack the deck against taxpayers – Illinois Policy Special Report

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Other Highlighted Illinois Stories

$100 million scholarship program gears up in a big hurry – Crain’s

The race is on to license organizations that will raise and dole out scholarship money under a controversial $100 million tuition tax-credit program for private elementary and secondary schools.

Five nonprofit groups have been approved by the state since the filing period opened Dec. 1, barely a month before the five-year program goes live on Jan. 2 for the 2018-19 academic year. One of them is backed by an ally of House Speaker Michael Madigan, real estate developer John Buck and other influential supporters.

And if other states are any indication, Illinois will want to brace for some serious interest.

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State misses deadline to comply with FAA aviation fuel tax regulation – INN

“Failure to comply could cost the state as much as $129 million in federal sanctions in 2018 alone and make the state ineligible for more than $67 million in federal assistance block grants under the Airport Improvement Program,” Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration said in a news release last Friday.

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Ives poses legitimate threat to both Rauner and Democrats – Daily Herald

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Illinois Women Tell Their #Metoo Stories – NPR Illinois

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Time for Chicago and other global cities to re-commit to climate action – HuffPost

Presented without comment.

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Rauner responds to Quincy veterans’ home story – IL Review

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University of Illinois cracks down on ‘heckler’s veto’ – Campus Reform

The U of I system released a new set of guiding principles Friday that explicitly prohibit students from exercising a “heckler’s veto” to prevent free speech on campus.

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Illinois residents still fleeing state in record numbers – American Thinker

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Illinois jobs’ outlook good in 2018, but worse than all its Midwest neighbors – INN

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Governor candidate Ives: ‘Every school district should be a unit district’ – Daily Herald

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Experts: Democratic candidates for governor float unworkable, expensive healthcare ideas – NewsBug

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Mining Set for a Comeback in Wisconsin After Scott Walker Ends 20-Year Moratorium – Governing

The law could usher in a new era of mineral mining in Wisconsin, which has deposits of copper, zinc, gold and silver. Mining companies have conducted exploratory drilling in several areas of northern Wisconsin in recent years.

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HUD’s new Midwest director was forced out as chairman of Illinois’ housing finance agency – The Southern

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In spite of tax hike, ratings agency eyes change that could junk Illinois – INN

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Here’s Where the GOP Tax Plan Stands Right Now – Bloomberg

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Surviving War, But Not The Veterans’ Home – WBEZ

Since July 2015, 13 residents of a veterans’ home in west central Illinois have died from Legionnaires’ disease. Eleven families are suing the state for negligence.

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Investigative Report: Illinois’ home health care industry rife with fraud, tainted by unscrupulous physicians – Chicago Tribune

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Illinois bond conduit’s slate is full amid tax reform threats – The Bond Buyer

The Illinois Finance Authority board is expected to clear $1.26 billion of deals at its meeting Thursday as borrowers rush to market ahead of federal tax legislation that is likely to end advance refundings and might strip not-for-profits of their tax-exempt borrowing powers. The IFA is the state’s primary avenue for nonprofits, such as hospitals, private universities, cultural institutions, housing groups, and charter schools, to access the municipal market.

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Illinois Drives People Away – Wall Street Journal

See our Quicktake on this article linked here.

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A Primary Challenge to a Right-Wing Democrat in Illinois Divides the Resistance – The Intercept

Late last month, a group of five national progressive organizations announced their support for Marie Newman, a Democrat running for Congress in Illinois. Nothing unusual there: Newman is a down-the-line progressive on everything from economic populism, immigration, LGBT rights, gun violence and a woman’s right to choose. What made the move so unusual is that there is already a Democrat safely in the seat - Dan Lipinski.

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6 States Raising Taxes in 2018 — The Motley Fool

Click to insert. "In terms of sweeping (and confusing) income tax reforms, Illinois just might take the cake among the states set to increase income taxes in 2018."

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Dabrowski: When will Springfield accept the blame for the pension crisis? – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

By Wirepoints' Ted Dabrowski

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Illinois lawmakers allowed to pick which harassment cases their own ethics watchdog pursues – INN

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Illinois drops predictive analytics for at-risk children — GCN

Rather than help evaluate risk to children, the system overwhelmed caseworkers, flagging 4,100 children as facing a 90 percent or greater probability of death or injury. And it did not predict deaths of children who had been subject of several abuse investigations, according to the Tribune.

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What Does 2018 Hold for Left-Wing Democrats? – Chicago Magazine

From Daniel Biss’s first (shortlived) pick for a running mate to Virginia’s election of Lee Carter, Democrats are contending with a new political reality.

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Cook County Republican Files For Illinois Treasurer Seat – NPR IL

Jim Dodge currently serves as an Orland Park village trustee.

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Mike Wons, Architect of Illinois’ Technology Modernization, Returning to Private Sector – Government Technology

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Illinois employers to face shifting regulatory burdens in 2018 – Cook County Record

As 2018 looms, employers in Illinois are bracing for another wave of employment and labor regulations on the local, state and federal levels.

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Don’t Rush New Sexual Harassment Policies, Some Women Lawmakers Warn – Governing

Several women in the Illinois legislature, which has already passed new laws in response to the outcry, caution that lawmakers should take their time when writing new sexual harassment policies.

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Public union’s endorsement of Pritzker provokes criticism of fair share dues – INN

100,000 members are all happy that the Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsed Pritzker?

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Lawmaker criticizes new state law tracking food deserts as ‘feel-good’ redundancy – INN

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Democratic candidates for governor gather for women’s forum – Chicago Sun-Times

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Governor Rauner calls for Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios to resign – ABC Chicago

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Illinois public school personnel to be trained in detecting racial bias – Illinois Review

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Top Chicago Stories

President Trump on violent crime in US: ‘What the hell is going on in Chicago? – ABC Chicago

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Hey, Rahm — Lay Off Trump and Start Fixing Chicago – RealClearPolitics

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Lawsuit targets Berrios over biased residential assessments in Cook County – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios A group of public-interest lawyers filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that embattled Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios violated state and federal civil rights and housing laws by knowingly producing inaccurate assessments that punished poor and minority homeowners across the county.

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Other Highlighted Chicago Stories

Father returns from overseas, surprises suburban boy at school assembly – WGN

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3 weeks into new budget, Kane County sheriff coming up short – Daily Herald

"(Inmates) probably get better medical services than you or I do," Kramer said. "But if you don't have good medical services, and someone has a beef with you, it's probably going to go to the federal courts. Lawsuits cost the county a lot of money."

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Rahm Emanuel’s infrastructure trust: Is it a bust? – Chicago Sun-Times

The bold idea was that private financing could be found for much-needed, big-ticket improvements for the city, making it possible to get more of them done sooner and sparing taxpayers from having to foot the bills. City Hall says that still can happen.  But the infrastructure trust has fallen short of the expectations the mayor laid out. It has yet to raise a dime in private financing for a single public works project, records show. At the same time, it has cost Chicago taxpayers more than $5.1 million to pay for its handful of employees, offices on Wacker Drive, consulting fees and other expenses.

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The board members of Evanston Township High School District 202 have no business throwing up roadblocks between the public and that information. That’s exactly what they’ve done by passing a resolution enjoining themselves from sharing memos and emails written by the superintendent and board president. Comment: The president of that school district is Pat Savage Williams. You'll be hearing more about her and her central role in "equity training" for area teachers.

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Chasing winter lakers on Chicago lakefront: Fish of the Week – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago companies fear unknown in net neutrality repeal – Chicago Tribune

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Emanuel rolls out Chicago ID for ‘undocumented’ and those ‘on the sidelines’ – FOX Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has officially unveiled his city's new ID program.

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Wirepoints founder fears another tax hike coming down the road – Chicago City Wire

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Do You Have Any Idea How Crazy High Illinois Property Taxes Can Be? – ChicagoNow

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Mundelein approves property tax hike to cover pension payments – Chicago Tribune

“Before we even started the process of working on the levy, we were already sitting in a hole of $1 million that we had to make up or figure out how to handle,” a village trustee said. “The pension contribution, every year it’s becoming more and more of a surprise.”

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Chicago housing strength rises—from dead last – Crain’s

Of 100 big U.S. cities in the annual forecast Realtor.com released in late November, Chicago is expected to have the 84th-strongest residential real estate market in 2018, far better than this time last year, when Chicago placed dead last out of 100.

The forecast sees Chicago-area home prices rising by 2.57 percent during the year, up from last year's forecast, for a 1.9 percent increase. The improved forecast shows that "we see room for more price growth in Chicago," Vivas said.

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Garry McCarthy meets with top adviser in possible mayoral bid – Chicago Sun-Times

   

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County commissioner will ask the United Nations to help solve Chicago’s gun violence – CLTV

Image result for united nations blue helmet Boykin isn’t getting specific about what exactly he thinks the United Nations can do.    

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CTA votes to increase bus, train fares for first time in 9 years – ABC Chicago

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Emanuel breaks silence on Berrios, calls for review of property tax assessments – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago offering gold-mine deal to one lucky concessionaire at O’Hare Airport – Chicago Business Journal

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Elmhurst City Council OKs property tax hike for pensions – IL Policy

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Objector: ‘Collusive’ Chicago red light camera class action deal pays lawyers too much, lets city off cheap – Cook County Record

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CPS lawyer quits days after ethics report that cost Claypool his job – Chicago Sun-Times

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Toni Preckwinkle Op-Ed: How GOP tax bill hurts County County health care

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Lewis Manilow dies, helped found Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago Sun-Times

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Southland homeowners feel impact of Cook’s flawed assessment system – Chicago Tribune

Comment: The bigger problem in the south suburbs is the rates, not the assessment process. For that, you'd think the Tribune would use their own database of real, effective rates, rather than the confusing nominal rates used here. See our earlier article on that linked here.

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List of Top 200 Pension Earners Shows Potential for Big Payouts – WTTW

It’s no surprise that working for the city can land someone a pretty sweet retirement deal. A taxpayer watchdog group Tuesday released a list of the top 200 pension earners in Chicago, and all of them make more than six figures annually. The top earner on that list could make more than $7 million off of taxpayers over his lifetime.

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GOP tax overhaul will hit these Chicago-area home values hardest – Crain’s

Home values in several Chicago-area counties would take some of the biggest hits in the nation under the tax rewrite in front of Congress, according to a national forecast.

Lake, McHenry, Will and DuPage are listed among the 30 U.S. counties that will lose the most potential growth in home values if the tax package goes through, according to a report released last week by Moody's Analytics.

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Chicago violence hovers near 20-year high, with pockets of improvement – Chicago Sun-Times

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Emanuel calls Chicago a ‘Trump-free zone’ on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ – ABC Chicago

Click to insert. Emanuel described Chicago as welcoming for immigrants from around the world and explained why local police are not enforcing federal immigration laws.

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Chicagoans are jumping into the world of bitcoin: ‘Everyone thinks I’m crazy’ – Chicago Tribune

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Why the average tax bill is set to drop $670 for District 303 homeowners – Daily Herald

The vote St. Charles Unit District 303 taxpayers have been waiting for finally arrived Monday night. Grins accompanied a sense of mission accomplished as school officials voted in a levy that will bring significant savings in local tax bills.

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Chicago beefs up transportation security after NY bomb – A.P.

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Chicago police union official blasts $31 million wrongful conviction settlement as part of ‘cottage industry’ – Chicago Tribune

“What is happening in this city is that the civil rights lawyers have carved out a cottage industry in the name of wrongful convictions,” Preib told aldermen. “They look to this chamber as their blank check. Their playbook is simple: they claim police misconduct, get the prosecutors to exonerate, draft a willing media and then manipulate the citizens of Chicago out of their tax money.”

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Wirepoints Original Stories

US markets up 200 percent, Illinois pensions down 65 percent – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ pension funds have collapsed during one of the longest bull markets in historySince the end of the Great Recession, the S&P 500 index has recovered and grown by more than 200 percent. At the same time, Illinois’ pension shortfall worsened by 65 percent, to reach $129.1 billion.

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Springfield fiddles while Illinois cities burn – Wirepoints Special Report

Special report: Decades of state mandates have pushed up costs, taxes and debts to unsustainable levels for many cities. They’re either at the brink of bankruptcy because of unfunded pensions or have lost people and businesses due to high taxes and fewer services. The most unfortunate cities, like Danville Illinois, are suffering from both.

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Gotta Be Kidding: Illinois Senate Democrats’ ‘Top 10 New Laws For 2018’ – Wirepoints Original

Drum roll, please.

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Fitch Ratings: Illinois debt burden highest in nation – Wirepoints Original

Fitch Ratings says Illinois is the worst in the nation when it comes to debt and pensions as a share of residents’ personal income. The state's total debt amounted to more than 28 percent of Illinois residents’ personal income.

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Quicktakes

Update on impact of new tax law on Illinois home values and property tax burden – Quicktake

We now have the key provisions of the new tax bill likely to become law that relate to Illinois home values and our property...

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Major attention to Illinois emigration data from Wall Street Journal but nothing in Illinois press. What gives? – Quicktake

Read, if you have access to it, that Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "Illinois Drives People Away." The primary data it cites is this: The Prairie...

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Teachers’ union to Rauner: Thanks for the money, now we’re endorsing your opponent – Updated – Quicktake

Still largely unnoticed is that the new school funding formula provides an additional $350 million for schools every year for ten years. Governor Rauner...

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

Illinois: Beware a junk bond rating – Wirepoints Original

Moody’s wants to update its rating methodology to increase the influence that debt and pensions have on the overall ratings of state governments. That’s bad news for Illinoisans and the state’s economy. Illinois’ credit is already just one notch above junk – the worst of any state.

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Mandatory ‘Implicit Bias’ Training For Illinois Teachers Quietly Became Illinois Law – Wirepoints Original

Coming to your local school, whether you like it or not.

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Chicagoans seeking Amazon: beware the Foxconn effect

Overlapping local government debt for Chicagoans – that from the city, its sister governments and the city’s proportional share of Cook County debts – now totals $71 billion. More debt to fund Amazon’s investment would only make things worse for the Windy City and its residents.  

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Pension update: Illinois pension debt stuck at $129 billion despite market gains – Wirepoints Original

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability has announced that the state’s pension debt remained virtually unchanged from last year, despite a continuing surge in stock markets globally.

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Cook County pop tax repeal: One tax revolt doesn’t make a revolution – Wirepoints Original

At the very moment that the Cook County Board repealed its $200 million pop tax, the Chicago Public Schools publicly announced it was hiking property taxes by another $225 million. Politicians imposed one $200-million tax hike just as another one was killed.

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Tax hike fail: 2019 budget deficit to push $3 billion – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ record-sized budget and its $5 billion tax hike haven't solved the state’s chronic fiscal mess. The “balanced” 2018 budget has turned out to be anything but balanced. And new numbers show the state's deficits will only get worse in fiscal year 2019.

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Chicago leaders’ hypocritical stance on school choice – Wirepoints Original

Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union have been practicing a corrupted version of school choice that’s done little to improve the lives of CPS students. Instead, it’s led to perverse consequences that actually perpetuate the systemic failures of CPS, leaving far too many students without an education

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Media Watch

“I Feel Tremendous Guilt”: Former Facebook Exec Says Company Is “Ripping Apart The Social Fabric Of Society” – ZeroHedge

Not specific to Illinois, but it applies here as much as anywhere.

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Durkin threatens litigation over questions from LGIS reporters -Prairie State Wire

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Goodbye Tribune Tower: We’ll miss our cathedral when we have to move out – Chicago Tribune

Tribune Tower

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Why Crain’s is no longer allowing comments – Crain’s

Comment: Bitchers and moaners, you're still welcome here.

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

Wirepoints Original Stories

US markets up 200 percent, Illinois pensions down 65 percent – Wirepoints Original

Illinois’ pension funds have collapsed during one of the longest bull markets in historySince the end of the Great Recession, the S&P 500 index has recovered and grown by more than 200 percent. At the same time, Illinois’ pension shortfall worsened by 65 percent, to reach $129.1 billion.

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Springfield fiddles while Illinois cities burn – Wirepoints Special Report

Special report: Decades of state mandates have pushed up costs, taxes and debts to unsustainable levels for many cities. They’re either at the brink of bankruptcy because of unfunded pensions or have lost people and businesses due to high taxes and fewer services. The most unfortunate cities, like Danville Illinois, are suffering from both.

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Gotta Be Kidding: Illinois Senate Democrats’ ‘Top 10 New Laws For 2018’ – Wirepoints Original

Drum roll, please.

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Quicktakes

Update on impact of new tax law on Illinois home values and property tax burden – Quicktake

We now have the key provisions of the new tax bill likely to become law that relate to Illinois home values and our property...

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Major attention to Illinois emigration data from Wall Street Journal but nothing in Illinois press. What gives? – Quicktake

Read, if you have access to it, that Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "Illinois Drives People Away." The primary data it cites is this: The Prairie...

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Teachers’ union to Rauner: Thanks for the money, now we’re endorsing your opponent – Updated – Quicktake

Still largely unnoticed is that the new school funding formula provides an additional $350 million for schools every year for ten years. Governor Rauner...

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Top Illinois Stories

Progressives hunt down one of the last conservative Democrats – Politico

Rep. Dan Lipinski is pictured. | Getty Images Rep. Dan Lipinski is something of an exotic species: a Democrat who opposes abortion and cast votes against both the Affordable Care Act and the DREAM Act. |

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Shaking Up the Market for Municipal Bonds – Barron’s

"Tax reform does present fiscal challenges to state and local governments. And that’s on top of the better-known problems of public pension shortfalls in states such as Illinois and New Jersey."

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Rigged: How Illinois’ labor laws stack the deck against taxpayers – Illinois Policy Special Report

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Other Illinois News

$100 million scholarship program gears up in a big hurry – Crain’s

The race is on to license organizations that will raise and dole out scholarship money under a controversial $100 million tuition tax-credit program for private elementary and secondary schools.

Five nonprofit groups have been approved by the state since the filing period opened Dec. 1, barely a month before the five-year program goes live on Jan. 2 for the 2018-19 academic year. One of them is backed by an ally of House Speaker Michael Madigan, real estate developer John Buck and other influential supporters.

And if other states are any indication, Illinois will want to brace for some serious interest.

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State misses deadline to comply with FAA aviation fuel tax regulation – INN

“Failure to comply could cost the state as much as $129 million in federal sanctions in 2018 alone and make the state ineligible for more than $67 million in federal assistance block grants under the Airport Improvement Program,” Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration said in a news release last Friday.

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Ives poses legitimate threat to both Rauner and Democrats – Daily Herald

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Illinois Women Tell Their #Metoo Stories – NPR Illinois

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Berg: Government unions, your property tax bill and the power of giving – Opinion – INN

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Top Chicago Stories

President Trump on violent crime in US: ‘What the hell is going on in Chicago? – ABC Chicago

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Hey, Rahm — Lay Off Trump and Start Fixing Chicago – RealClearPolitics

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Lawsuit targets Berrios over biased residential assessments in Cook County – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios A group of public-interest lawyers filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that embattled Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios violated state and federal civil rights and housing laws by knowingly producing inaccurate assessments that punished poor and minority homeowners across the county.

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Other Chicago News

Father returns from overseas, surprises suburban boy at school assembly – WGN

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3 weeks into new budget, Kane County sheriff coming up short – Daily Herald

"(Inmates) probably get better medical services than you or I do," Kramer said. "But if you don't have good medical services, and someone has a beef with you, it's probably going to go to the federal courts. Lawsuits cost the county a lot of money."

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Rahm Emanuel’s infrastructure trust: Is it a bust? – Chicago Sun-Times

The bold idea was that private financing could be found for much-needed, big-ticket improvements for the city, making it possible to get more of them done sooner and sparing taxpayers from having to foot the bills. City Hall says that still can happen.  But the infrastructure trust has fallen short of the expectations the mayor laid out. It has yet to raise a dime in private financing for a single public works project, records show. At the same time, it has cost Chicago taxpayers more than $5.1 million to pay for its handful of employees, offices on Wacker Drive, consulting fees and other expenses.

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The board members of Evanston Township High School District 202 have no business throwing up roadblocks between the public and that information. That’s exactly what they’ve done by passing a resolution enjoining themselves from sharing memos and emails written by the superintendent and board president. Comment: The president of that school district is Pat Savage Williams. You'll be hearing more about her and her central role in "equity training" for area teachers.

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Your email address will not be published.

Chasing winter lakers on Chicago lakefront: Fish of the Week – Chicago Sun-Times

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Media Watch

“I Feel Tremendous Guilt”: Former Facebook Exec Says Company Is “Ripping Apart The Social Fabric Of Society” – ZeroHedge

Not specific to Illinois, but it applies here as much as anywhere.

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Durkin threatens litigation over questions from LGIS reporters -Prairie State Wire

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Goodbye Tribune Tower: We’ll miss our cathedral when we have to move out – Chicago Tribune

Tribune Tower

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