Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Chicago, no room for new taxes at the inn – Chicago City Wire

The Chicago City Council recently added two more surcharges to its Chicago hotel bill, putting an industry already enduring the highest tax rates on hotel rooms in the country at an even bigger disadvantage against similar convention host cities.

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81-Year-Old Man Pushed Down CTA Stairs, Hospitalized After Loop Robbery – DNAinfo

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Walgreens’ downtown Chicago tech center to bring 300 new jobs – Chicago Business Journal

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University of Illinois plans public-private Chicago innovation center with Rauner backing – Chicago Tribune

U. of I. innovation center Gov. Bruce Rauner and the University of Illinois are pursuing a sprawling innovation center in the South Loop with two other research universities, but the project’s backers have yet to forge a political consensus and a lack of detail about how it would be funded has created uncertainty about the project. Comment: Long sought by Rauner, but lots of unanswered questions about funding and mission.

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Emanuel Budget Plan: 911 Tax Hike, Higher Uber Fees, Amusement Tax Redo – CBS Chicago

Rahm's annual  budget address coming this morning.

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Leftists planning to accelerate Chicago’s decline – American Thinker

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Class action seeks to force Cook County to pay property tax refunds owed to payers who won appeals – Cook County Record

Cook County is facing a class action complaint accusing it of being too slow - or outright refusing - to issue property tax refunds owed to taxpayers who had won a break on their taxable value from the county's appeal board.

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Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts on shortlist for next leader of Heritage Foundation – Chicago Tribune

The Heritage Foundation has narrowed its search for a new president down to a shortlist of finalists, a group that includes Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, and Marc Short, a senior Trump White House official, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

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Cashless Society? Not If Ald. Burke Can Help It – Downtown – DNAinfo

Ald. Edward Burke (14th) submitted an ordinance at last week's City Council meeting to ban businesses from banning cash. Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) immediately signed on as a co-sponsor.

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Haribo to create 55 new jobs in Rosemont for $1.67M in EDGE tax – Illinois Policy

Under its agreement with the state of Illinois, the candy company Haribo of America will bring 25 new jobs to its Rosemont headquarters by October 2018, followed by another 30 by October 2021.

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Emanuel to pile on to tax ‘fatigue’ with phone, ride-hailing increases – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago named the rat capital of the country for the third consecutive year, and other news – The Reader

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WBEZ Investigation: CPS Secretly Overhauled Special Education At Students’ Expense – WBEZ

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Emanuel to end scoop-and-toss borrowing one year early – Chicago Sun-Times

Though the city already did $440 million of it this year.

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Cook County’s budget problems stem from massive growth in payrolls – Illinois Policy

The average salary for Cook County workers has far outpaced that of the typical Cook County household since 2001, and that’s contributed to the county’s fiscal ills.

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Mayor Defies “Sanctuary Cities” Warning – WBGZ

Rahm Emmanuel

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City Workers To Get 8 More Weeks Of Parental Leave Under New Plan – DNAinfo

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Chicago named among safest cities in the world – New York Post

Comment: Huh? Well, this is based on a broad measure far beyond shootings. The Economist Intelligence Unit annual ranking assesses 60 global cities using four factors: personal safety, health security, digital security and the safety of infrastructure.

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Two Chinese bidders for Chicago Stock Exchange said to have dropped out – South China Morning Post

Just one China-based company now left in buyers group, with US approval of deal still pending

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Chicago Teachers Pension Fund described as bottomless pit into which Illinois dumps fortune – Chicago City Wire

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Socialist state rep. demands Chicago “rent control;” would be a boon to capitalist landlords – Chicago City Wire

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CPS Set To Hike Property Taxes $177 A Year On Most Homeowners – DNAinfo

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Cubs’ Joe Maddon compares plate-blocking rule to Chicago’s soda tax – USA Today

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$27M set aside for CPD reform in Emanuel’s city budget proposal – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: Rahm's annual budget address is coming next week. "Budget." Ahahaha.

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Chicago Is Fighting Climate Change No Matter What Trump Says – Huffington Post

Comment: Just don't ever expect to know how much it's costing.

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Chicago aldermen cast off skepticism to pass new securitization program – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

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Cook County soda tax repeal has S&P’s attention – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

Comment: Credit rating agencies love new taxes, so they're quite heartbroken about the beverage tax.

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Chicago Considers ‘Good Food’ Standards But Not Taxpayer Expense – Forbes

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is beginning a push to have the Chicago City Council pass a "Good Food" policy that will change the rules for all city food procurement contracts. While the city of Chicago is in terrible financial condition and has billions in underfunded pension liabilities, Mayor Emanuel is apparently more concerned with virtue signaling than either protecting taxpayers from unnecessary expenses or food borne illnesses.

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The soda tax was repealed, but Cook County still has to find a way to fund the government – The Reader

Comment: Shedding tears over not passing a Lasalle Street Transaction Tax. Wacko.

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Spike in IL lawsuits vs employers over fingerprints, other biometric data may be just the beginning – Cook County Record

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Chicago Teachers Pension Fund described as bottomless pit into which Illinois dumps fortune – Chicago City Wire

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PChicago alderman using his power to punish, cost a small business owner millions – Project Six

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CTU, community groups demand more funding for CPS – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: More taxes wanted, including a head tax on employers. These demands will never, ever end.

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Chicago Tax Repeal Shifts Momentum in Favor of Soda Industry – Bloomberg

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DOJ to Chicago: Drop ‘Sanctuary City’ Laws or Lose Federal Funding – WTTW

The U.S. Department of Justice says it's giving local officials a "last chance" to drop so-called "sanctuary city" policies and get into compliance with federal law or risk losing grant money moving forward. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the warning to officials in Cook County, Chicago and three other major cities this week, saying sanctuary laws in place within their jurisdictions may violate federal law and “undermine the safety of their residents.”

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Commentary: Why I voted to keep Cook County’s soda tax – Chicago Tribune

Larry Suffredin, an Evanston Democrat, is a Cook County commissioner for the 13th District.

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Cook County retailers cheer soda tax repeal: ‘This was a nightmare’ – Chicago Tribune

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Facebook reportedly quadrupling Chicago office, adding 500 new jobs – BuiltinChicago

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Chicago City Council Approves New Debt Structure – Reuters

Comment: See our article in Crain's about why this was a bad idea.

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Cook County Board repeals soda tax – Chicago Sun-Times

15-2 vote.

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Chicago taxpayers need more information on potentially risky sales tax finance scheme – Project Six

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The $200 Million Question: What’s Next After Pop Tax Repeal? – DNAinfo

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Glennon: Why Chicago’s new debt scheme is reckless – Opinion – Crain’s

By Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon: "If you think super-secured borrowing, albeit at better rates, is the path to solvency and stability, well, party on and enjoy the savings while you can."

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Chicago faces skeptics as it advances securitization plans – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

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Defiant Ald. Carrie Austin defends hiring son as ward superintendent – Chicago Sun-Times

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) on Tuesday defiantly defended her decision to hire her son Kenny as her ward superintendent, arguing there is nothing wrong with nepotism if the person on the other end of the favoritism does a decent job.

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Soda Tax Repeal in Cook County Marks Major Win for Industry – Governing

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Nearly 3,000 people shot in Chicago so far this year – Chicago Tribune

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Cook County Board to dump Soda Tax for their political health – Scott Stantis Cartoon

Soda tax revoked

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Almost unanimous: Cook County’s beverage tax one vote away from being repealed – INN

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CPS raising property taxes by $225M, or $177 for average homeowner – Chicago Sun-Times

CPS’s share of property taxes will total $2.929 billion in 2018 — up 8.3 percent from 2017’s $2.704 billion. More than half the increase to taxpayers — $154 million — will go to teacher pensions.

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Cook County taxpayers could be on hook for back pay in fired sheriff’s deputy cases – Chicago Tribune

A decision by Illinois' highest court could mean the Cook County sheriff's office will have to reimburse millions of dollars in back pay to more than 250 fired deputies or turn to the state legislature for help, officials say.

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Richard Thaler, the U of C Economist Who Realized How Crazy We Are, Wins Nobel Prize – Michael Lewis – Bloomberg

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Tax legalized marijuana instead of soda, Cook County commissioner suggests – Daily Herald

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Evanston City Council amends ‘welcoming city’ ordinance – Daily Northwestern

Aldermen formally amended Evanston’s “welcoming city” ordinance at Monday’s City Council meeting to include broader protections for undocumented residents.

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Cook County officials to vote on repealing soda tax – WGN

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Poll: TV ads haven’t sweetened opinions on pop tax – Chicago Sun-Times

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Rahm Donates $11K In Campaign Contributions From Disgraced Harvey Weinstein – DNAinfo

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left,  Monday donated nearly $11,000 in campaign contributions from disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to a a group that counsels Chicago girls exposed to violence, his campaign spokesman said.
Oh, the goodness that comes from getting caught.

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The kind of talk that could sink the Amazon deal – Crain’s

With an exception or two, the Democratic candidates for governor had a grand time yesterday bashing Amazon the evil and deploring the possibility that the city and state might offer the company big to enormous incentives.

I understand the sentiment—and, to a degree, share it. Under banners that declared "our revolution," the wannabe guvs were talking to a progressive audience at an event hosted by the Chicago Teachers Union. In that crowd, terms like "corporate welfare" are so much mother's milk.

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Suburban office vacancy hits three-year high – Crain’s

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Sorry to interrupt your victory lap, CPS, but … – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Public Schools officials can breathe easier now that Illinois lawmakers have lavished hundreds of millions more dollars on the district. But the district’s enrollment loss is relentless: CPS officials project another drop of at least 8,000 this year, to around 370,000 students. That comes after a plunge of 11,000 last year. Enrollment has been sliding for years as age cohorts shrink and neighborhoods empty out.

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Cook County commissioners poised to toss soda pop tax – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

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Christopher Columbus statue in Near West Side park defaced ahead of holiday – ABC Chicago

http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/wls/images/cms/automation/images/2507219_630x354.jpg

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Appeals panel: North Riverside can’t just end CBA to privatize fire department, save big pension bucks – Cook County Record

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County job supplements pol’s $161-an-hour township gig – Chicago Sun-Times

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County Board poised to can ‘pop tax;’ controversial tax rollout could also prompt rulemaking reform – Cook County Record

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Perpetual Mismanagement Threatens Solvency of the Chicago Pension Systems – Reason Foundation

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Chicago City Council Committee Approves Hands Off-Pants On Ordinance to Protect Hotel Employees – The National Law Review

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New Chicago debt structure wins initial approval – Reuters

Very dangerous, as we've been writing. More coming soon.

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Cook County soda tax to be repealed next week – Chicago Sun-Times

Hallelujah. Crank up the chorus and sing along.

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Cook County’s pension system hands out early retirements, multimillion-dollar benefits – Illinois Policy

More than 2,200 Cook County workers receive salaries over $100,000. For career county workers, that means pensions worth millions of dollars over the course of their retirements.

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Metra plans fare hikes, service cuts, citing ‘worst financial crisis’ – Chicago Sun-Times

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Preckwinkle unveils Cook County budget as soda tax repeal vote looms – Chicago Sun-Times

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Preckwinkle admits soda tax was ‘first and foremost’ about revenue – Illinois Policy

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Lincoln-Way schools chief responds to criticism of District 210; public asks for his removal – Daily Southtown

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Opposition intensifies to Obama Library road closures, lost parkland – Chicago Sun-Times

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Which American Cities Will File Bankruptcy Next? – ZeroHedge

JP Morgan ranked every major city in the United States based on what percentage of their annual budgets are required just to fund interest payments on debt, pension contributions and other post retirement benefits. The results are staggering.  To our great 'shock', Chicago residents win the award of "most screwed" with over 60% of their tax dollars going to fund debt and pension payments.  

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Worker’s compensation costs and Chicago manufacturing – Chicago Business Journal

Location, location, location. Long regarded as the number one rule in real estate, there’s no denying it plays an influential role in the manufacturing industry.

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Preckwinkle: Keep pop tax, or here’s what could suffer – Crain’s

Included as possible cuts: the closure of some county health clinics, "reduction of services at or closure of Provident Hospital or the Oak Forest Health Center" and possible "downgrading our Level 1 trauma center at Stroger" Hospital. Also, she warned, a recent cost-saving reduction in the inmate population at the jail, from 10,000 to under 7,500. And equally in jeopardy is "our ability to send out property-tax bills on time."

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CPS revises budget, owes its charter schools another $37 million – Chicago Sun-Times

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John Daley changes stance on sweetened beverage tax – Chicago Sun-Times

Could tip the vote to repeal.

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Here’s a smarter way to pursue Amazon — and help Chicagoans – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

Comment: One of the authors is Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union. Her suggestion? Why, slap spending mandates on Amazon, of course. "As a condition of any proposed subsidies, Amazon should agree to enter into a binding community benefits agreement designed to offset the company’s impact on schools, housing, job quality and state and local budgets. A CBA would include specific targets for investment in minority and low-income public schools, create affordable housing units to offset those that will otherwise be lost, support affordable health care for workers and their families, and ensure that all Amazon workers earn at least $15 an hour and have the right to form a union."

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Emanuel claims ride-hailing industry costing taxpayers $40M – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago’s once-dismissed sales tax lawsuit against Kankakee gets new life – Chicago Tribune

Chicago and Skokie, also a plaintiff in the 2011 lawsuit, alleged that the municipalities and several brokers, consultants and middlemen entered into sales tax rebate agreements with various retailers in which the merchants would report to the state that certain online sales occurred within Kankakee or Channahon, when in fact they occurred out of state.

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Alderman: Raise fees for Uber, Lyft rides to help balance budget – Chicago Tribune

“We should have went for the dollar and we negotiated down to the 50-cent (fee),” Beale said Wednesday. “Now here we are again, going for the dollar. And so, I think we could have been much further along if we had just stuck to our guns and gone for the dollar a couple years ago.” Beale also said the city should consider raising the $5 per-pickup additional fee ride share companies pay when they collect riders at McCormick Place, Navy Pier and O’Hare and Midway airports.

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Alderman dismisses audit of police overtime as ‘crock of b.s.’ – Chicago Sun-Times

The City Council’s champion for Chicago Police officers lashed out at Inspector General Joe Ferguson one day after Ferguson concluded that Chicago is wasting millions on police overtime because of an “unchecked culture of abuse” and “inefficient management” that has failed to control costs, eliminate fraud or prevent officer fatigue.

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Preckwinkle: Soda tax was all about money, and the county needs it – Chicago Sun-Times

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Amid state budget stalemate, Metra’s labor costs rose 32 percent in effort to maintain aging equipment – Chicago Tribune

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Emanuel claims ride-hailing industry costing taxpayers $40M – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears to be laying the groundwork to raise taxes and fees on ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft — by claiming that phenomenal growth in that industry has cost Chicago taxpayers more than $40 million in lost revenue from other sources.

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Census Bureau: Chicago is now the nation’s best-educated big city – Crain’s

...yet the dumbest voters.

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University of Chicago’s Business School Gets $75 Million Gift – Bloomberg

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Portage Park Disability Center To Close Due To State Cuts: ‘It’s Atrocious’ – DNAinfo

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Glenbard schools super fights for higher taxes, but not his own – Dupage Policy Journal

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The movement for rent control in Chicago is gaining momentum – The Reader

The moonbats are ascending.

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Audit targets ‘culture of abuse’ that wasted millions in cop overtime – Chicago Sun-Times

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Probe Finds Chicago Police Overtime Not Closely Monitored – A.P.

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North Riverside waves white flag on fire privatization – Landmark

North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. said the village will drop its pursuit of privatizing firefighting services through the courts after the Illinois Court of Appeals on Sept. 29 upheld a ruling by the Illinois Labor Relations Board that the village engaged in an unfair labor practice by seeking to unilaterally terminate its contract with union firefighters while that contract was subject to arbitration.

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DuPage County proposes seventh year of not raising property tax rates – INN

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Lincoln Towing Says 464 Complaints Over Two Years A ‘Miniscule’ Number – DNAinfo

"Let's throw the bums out of town." That song about them, linked here, is now 45-years old! My own complaints against them, some 25 years ago, let me to suspect that the Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates them, was in cahootz at the time.

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Preckwinkle threatens 11 percent budget cut is soda tax repealed – Crain’s

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is going on offense as a vote nears on whether to repeal her highly unpopular tax on sweetened beverages, saying doing so could force an 11 percent across-the-board cut in county spending. Cook County Board President Toni PreckwinkleComment: Um, Tony. Oh, never mind.

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Rahm: Chicago welcomes Puerto Ricans fleeing their destroyed homes – Chicago Sun-Times

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Metropolitan Water Recovery District Facility earns Top Honor from Water Environment Federation – Press Release

Yum.

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Chicago sues Equifax, seeks millions in fines for failing to notify City Hall, residents of data breach – Cook County Record

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Chicago hotels would be required to provide portable “panic buttons” to workers like housecleaners who venture alone into guests’ rooms, under a plan aldermen advanced Monday. – Chicago Tribune

Chicago hotels would be required to provide portable “panic buttons” to workers like housecleaners who venture alone into guests’ rooms, under a plan aldermen advanced Monday. Comment: No reason to there. Just give one to every Chicago resident.

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Emanuel, Gutierrez push message to Puerto Ricans: Come to Chicago – Crain’s

Chicago is expecting and is ready to welcome a "huge" influx of immigration from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, with 1,600 people already here and lots more on the way, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said today.

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Maine Township trustee outraged expenses cost more than aid – Daily Herald

Administrative costs for a program for the poor that are more than three times the amount of aid actually provided to needy residents.

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Why Top VCs Are Betting Big On Chicago – Forbes

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Northwestern University offering $500 million of top-rated taxable paper – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

Comment: It's a safe place, evidently. But there was this trigger warning from one rating agency -- that the university is at risk of losing it top rating unless operating performance improves.

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Shocking CPD Suicide Rate Inspires Campaign Urging Cops To Get Help – DNAinfo

A new video gives a glimpse into the stresses facing Chicago police officers — and urges cops to call for help if they’re feeling overwhelmed. Posted on Thursday night to the Chicago Police Department Facebook page, the video has been viewed more than 9,200 times and is getting widely shared.

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Franks proposes eliminating pensions for McHenry County elected officials – Daily Herald

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Lobbying is all in the Zalewski family – Chicago City Wire

Dad, a Chicago alderman, lobbies Springfield. Son, a state rep, lobbies Chicago. Isn't that special?

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Neighborhood drug stores demand $1.5B, accuse Walgreens, Prime Therapeutics, Blue Cross of conspiracy – Cook County Record

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Bloomberg to the rescue – Eric Allie Cartoon Illinois Policy

chicago pop tax

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Red Light Cameras – Eric Allie Cartoon

video

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These 11 Chicago tech companies raised $385 million in September – Chicago Business Journal

Comment: Tech remains one of the sectors flourishing in the Tale of Two Cities that is Chicago.

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Emanuel is spinning—and fleecing—us taxpayers on CPS funding – Opinion – Crain’s

"What else, other than a bailout, could sending $450 million more in taxpayer funds to Chicago Public Schools be? And that's just to start."

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Chicago looks to add 50 “super” ticket writers to increase revenues – Illinois Policy

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CPS announces rules it could use to close or merge schools in June – Chicago Sun-Times

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Meager enrollment, generous salaries at Chicago State University – INN

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Fleeing or flocking? – Truth in Accounting

Cities with higher debt obligations have higher net out-migration based on moving truck data. The average Taxpayer Burden calculated for the nine cities with the highest in-migration is one-fourth as high as the average for cities with the highest out-migration.

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With state grants flowing, Chicago Public Schools ready to pay off GANs – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

Chicago Public Schools will pay off its nearly $400 million of grant anticipation notes Friday, according to disclosure filings. The junk-rated and cash strapped district, which relies heavily on short term credit lines, had closed on two costly tranches of notes, one for $275 million and the other for $112 million, on June 19 and June 26, respectively.

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New State Law Increases Cook County Property Tax Homestead Exemptions – The Civic Federation

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Chicago only global city where housing is undervalued – Crain’s

In Chicago, where home values still are 30 percent below their 2006 peak, "sluggish employment and lackluster economic and income growth hinder the recovery of broad-based demand in the housing market," according to the Global Real Estate Bubble Index for 2017, published by UBS Wealth Management's chief investment office.

UBS expects home price growth in the Chicago area "to lag behind the national average in coming quarters."

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Chicago Sues Equifax Over Massive Data Breach – WBEZ

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Nationwide ICE busts target “sanctuaries” including Chicago – ABC Chicago

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Ald. Lopez wants city to hire 50 super ticket-writers – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: I'd save this in my You_gotta_be_kidding folder but it's maxed out already.

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Equifax lawsuit a no-lose political proposition for Emanuel – Chicago Sun-Times

If Mayor Rahm Emanuel gets every dollar that he’s seeking from Equifax, he could repeal the $1.3 billion in property tax increases he’s already imposed for police, fire and teacher pensions and fund the city’s contributions well into the future. What’s more likely, however, is that Emanuel will gain political capital by filing one of many lawsuits triggered by the company’s massive data breach–and that whatever money the city gets will be negligible.

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Red-light cameras blanket suburbs at safe intersections – Illinois Policy

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Ex-U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds guilty on four misdemeanor tax counts – Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago’s Personal Bankruptcy Boom — ProPublica

Almost exclusively fueling this rise are residents of the district’s black communities, where the rate of filings has doubled since 2009. The primary cause is surprising: traffic-related tickets.

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What Are Cities Spending Big On? Increasingly, It’s Debt. – Governing

Comment: But note, as the article points out, these numbers are about actual spending and don't include what's being accrued but not paid. That's...

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All hands on deck to pitch Amazon? How ’bout more than 1,200 hands – Chicago Sun-Times

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My advice to Chicago bondholders: Sell – Opinion – Crain’s

From Tom Larm a financial adviser with Edward Jones: The city continues to project budget shortfalls, even under a positive outlook scenario with faster economic growth. What's more, the disclosed projected budget gaps do not consider the expected increased costs for police reform and the pension payment shortfalls that remain even as tax increases are phased in. Pension funding status is expected to remain weak for years"

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One more farewell letter, Chicago — Chicago Tribune

"We have lived here for 27 years, the last few as retirees, and have come to the conclusion that living on a fixed income is incompatible with the insatiable rapacity of House Speaker Michael Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Chicago Teachers Union.... It would be more palatable if we had a voice, but as Chicago residents, we have exactly two votes that count: for governor and senator. All other offices are settled by a faceless political machine. The number of uncontested races on the ballot seems to grow with each election."

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Illinois General Assembly Could Soon Consider $100M in Funding for Obama Library – NBC Chicago

Sources: General Assembly Could Soon Consider $100M in Funding for Obama Library

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Mike Ditka on NFL controversy: ‘Just play football’ – Sun-Times

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Proposed DuPage budget calls for cuts to cover state revenue loss – Chicago Tribune

DuPage County departmental budgets would be cut by up to 4 percent to compensate for a $2.7 million loss in state revenue under a new proposed budget for the county.

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Case Shiller Monthly Index: Chicago Area Home Prices Left In Dust Of Other Cities – ChicagoNow

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Chicago’s Health-Tech Hub Attracts Jobs, Startups – Video – Bloomberg

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Chicago is better poised to survive climate change than New York or LA – Chicago Reader

Comment: Phew.

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Despite Dip in Enrollment, No Budget Cut for Some CPS Schools – WTTW

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Rahm praises CPD officers reprimanded for taking a knee – ABC Chicago

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Alderman wants to know why city leaving $10M on the table in land sale – Chicago Sun-Times

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) is demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel explain why he wants to sell a fleet maintenance facility site on prime riverfront land in the North Branch Industrial Corridor to a developer who is not the lowest bidder.

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Chicago’s Amazon bid committee includes area corporate chiefs and 600 members – Chicago Tribune

Comment: A 600-person committee?! And Toni Preckwinkle is the Honorary Vice Chair! Imagine the taxes for serving soft drinks at the committee meetings.

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These Super Rare Chicago Properties Are Underwater – DNAinfo

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What We Know (and Don’t) About Soda-Pop Taxes – Chicago Magazine

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Emanuel’s affordable housing pilot plan clears key committee hurdle – Sun-TImes

Comment: Read the boneheaded comments by alderman about this boneheaded proposal. At some point soon, builders will just pack up and leave instead of dealing with this.

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Aircraft parts business looks for tax break in move from Glenview to Northbrook – Northbrook Star

Comment: This is crazy. Just one suburb cannibalizing another.

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Emanuel budget hole now tops $259 million – Chicago Tribune

Comment: That's using phony government "budget" numbers, of course. Real numbers that include pension deterioration are far worse.

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CPS to hold school budgets harmless but won’t say how – Sun-Times

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University Park misappropriated nearly $8M in TIF funds: lawsuit – Daily Southtown

Comment: University Park is another town that has collapsed.

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The US murder rate was up again—and 20% of the national increase came in Chicago – Reuters

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Chicago Bears chairman: ‘Divisive’ feud with Trump ‘unified our franchise’ – The Hill

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IL Supreme Court: Lawyers can be sued for ‘reverse redlining,’ but A/G overstretched discrimination case – Cook County Record

Professionals, including lawyers, who don’t make home loans could yet be eligible under the law to get nailed with state legal actions alleging housing discrimination, the Illinois Supreme Court said.

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‘War-Torn’ Chicago Is More Popular With Tourists Than Ever – Bloomberg

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Chicago Bears Lock Arms for National Anthem – Video – YouTube

video
The Pittsburg Steelers stayed in the locker room.

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Soda Tax Follies: The Backstory of Preckwinkle and More – Stump

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Cook County’s ‘health’ lie, in black and white – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

"Tell us the truth, which is that you didn’t set out to reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease — you set out to make $200 million a year without raising property taxes. That health shtick is a pretense plainly contradicted by that untaxed Reese’s sugar-and-fat bomb. Do you think taxpayers are stupid?"

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Cook County grocers say they’re losing sales up to 47 percent over soda tax – Illinois Review

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Clarence Page – Students like free speech as long as they like the speech – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Good to see that some liberals still value what the left historically stood up for -- free speech.

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Madigan Could Undo Soda Tax if County Board Doesn’t – NBC Chicago

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Wrigley deal: Bars, rooftops get home-run breaks on property taxes – Chicago Sun-Times

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Feds allege ex-top Chicago labor leader took even more bribes – Sun-Times

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Could Historic Stock Yards Bank Be Turned Into New-Age Power Plant? – DNAinfo

Helmut Jahn's firm, JAHN architects, has developed a proposal for the massive building at 4146 S. Halsted St. to be turned into an "energy bank" that would store and provide renewable energy for businesses in the stockyards industrial area.

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McHenry County, Sheriff Bill Prim hit with another lawsuit over Trust Act – Northwest Herald

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O’Hare climbs in airport ratings – Sun-TImes

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Madigan moves to pull plug on Preckwinkle’s soda tax – Crain’s

In an usual split between two powerful Chicago politicians who are normally allied, signs are rapidly growing that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is trying to kill off Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's penny-an-ounce tax on soda pop and other sweetened beverages.

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A colourful way of bringing attention to South Side Chicago – The Economist

Amanda Williams painted dilapidated and abandoned houses in vibrant hues as an instinctive act that has become a celebrated art project.

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Claypool part of ‘apparent whitewash’ of CPS lawyer’s conduct, IG says – Sun-Times

Comment: Doesn't seem like a terribly big matter: “Ronald Marmer violated the code of ethics by exercising ‘contract management authority’ over legal work performed by his former employer Jenner & Block because he clearly has an ongoing ‘business relationship’ as defined by the code,” Schuler wrote in his report.

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel searches for Amazon HQ2 home – Chicago Business Journal

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KFC restaurants hit with class action over collection of Cook County ‘pop tax’ – Cook County Record

Comment: Fifth one. This is turning into a bonanza for class action lawyers.

Here’s the latest area to see recovering home values – Crain’s

Click to insert. The median sale price of homes is up at least 10 percent in five Southwest Side neighborhoods, including Archer Heights and Garfield Ridge, and four inner-ring suburbs nearby, including Cicero and Oak Lawn. (See our map below.) That's according to data released this week by the Chicago Association of Realtors, showing year-to-date price growth through the end of August compared with the same period in 2016.

You’re not imagining it, Cook County: Property values still lag here – Crain’s

But don't pop the bubbly just yet.

Regarding that Civic Federation report linked below on property values: Compared with 2006, the total value of all property in the county was still down $137 billion, or 20.57 percent, in 2015.

The decline was steepest in the southwest suburbs (29.7 percent), and the smallest drop-off was in the city of Chicago (15.7 percent). The northwest suburbs were in the middle, at 22.3 percent.

Industrial properties took the biggest hit: Value there was off 54.5 percent over the decade. The commercial sector was down almost as much, 40.8 percent.

Activists: ‘Soul of city’ at stake in Obama library agreement flap – Sun-Times

About 300 residents packed a South Side auditorium Wednesday night to demand that the promise of jobs, economic development and other benefits of the Obama presidential library center be put in writing.

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.

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.”

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.

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!

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.

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

New Chicago Police Oversight Agency to Begin Operations

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Citing ‘storm’ of budget troubles, Metra and Pace propose 2018 fare hikes – Chicago Tribune

This would be Metra's fourth fare hike in as many years, if approved by its board. The commuter rail service is proposing raising fares by 25 cents on one-way tickets, increasing the costs of 10-ride and monthly fares between 4.1 percent and 12.6 percent, and eliminating the monthly reduced fare pass for seniors and the disabled. Metra also plans yet-to-be-specified service cuts to help cover a projected $45 million deficit.

JPMorgan Chase to invest $40 million in Chicago’s South and West sides – Chicago Tribune

The three-year initiative by the nation's largest bank is its second-biggest commitment to a single city, following an infusion of $150 million into Detroit. It amounts to a 50 percent increase in JPMorgan Chase's philanthropic contributions in Chicago. The bank typically has invested $8 million to $9 million annually.

U.S. state pension liabilities hit $1.3 trln in FY 2016-Moody’s – Reuters

Illinois, which has been hindered by its state constitution from reducing retirement benefits to cut pension costs, had the biggest unfunded liability in fiscal 2016 equal to 487 percent of its revenue versus a median of 82 percent for all states. Alaska came in second at 443 percent of revenue, followed by Connecticut at 285 percent.

Obama to bring civic leaders to Chicago in October – Associated Press

  Hundreds of leaders from around the world "to exchange ideas and plan ways to solve some of the world's common problems." Barack Obama Presented without comment.

Chicago Tops List of Cities Residents Are Moving From: Report – NBC Chicago

According to a new report from moving company United Van Lines, Chicago was listed as no. 1 on the list of top cities residents are leaving.

Developer has $10 billion plan to lure Amazon HQ2 to Chicago – Chicago Business Journal

Sterling Bay will court Amazon with a mixed-use development, enticing the Seattle-based e-retailer to build its second North American headquarters in the city

Will County officials tell state lawmakers they are ‘tired of their rhetoric’ – Daily Southtown

Comment: Love the quote from Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), and she's right. McDermed claimed that as a member of the minority party, she "had nothing to do with the budget. How it was put together? I have no fricking clue. What are the details? Who the hell knows."

Amazon’s red herring – Brookings Inst.

"There’s a very good chance Amazon already knows exactly where it would like to open its second headquarters, which would mean its request for proposals is a way of inviting the place it has already chosen to foot the bill for Amazon’s new digs."

Unionized city workers near deal; would include higher health premiums – Chicago Sun-TImes

Union leaders are closing in on an agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that could pave the way for increased health care premiums for more than 10,000 city tradespeople, a powerful labor leader disclosed Tuesday.

Rep. DeLuca saves the day – Fra Noi

"It’s amazing what someone can accomplish with a little passion and diplomacy. State Rep. Anthony DeLuca’s recent defense of Columbus Day is a shining example." Comment: The other lesson is "Don't mess with guys named DeLuca from Chicago Heights" (which I know from going to high school there). Seriously, good work, Rep. DeLuca.

What the New Illinois School Funding Formula Means for Chicago Public Schools – The Civic Federation

"This historic new funding formula will help alleviate the ailing finances of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) by providing approximately $300 million in additional funding for teacher pensions and general funding, but will not pull CPS out of its liquidity and debt crisis and will likely mean a property tax hike for Chicago taxpayers."

State Rep. Sente says she won’t seek re-election – Daily Herald

Comment: Good. She was a Madigan puppet who pretended to be otherwise and ran a "disgusting" campaign, as the Chicago Tribune said.

Rahm Emanuel is losing his right-hand man — again – Chicago Sun-Times

Mike Rendina, "who helped Rahm Emanuel put city employee pension funds on the road to solvency, avert a teachers strike and secure a $450 million windfall for Chicago Public Schools is calling it quits." Comment: Um, no, he didn't put the pensions on a road to solvency.

Want better ROI? Come to Chicago – VentureBeat

In one key measure important to venture capitalists, Chicago already surpasses Silicon Valley: return on investment (ROI). Nearly half of Chicago tech investments (45 percent) have provided a 10-times return on investment compared to 25 percent ROI in Silicon Valley.

10 Months After Rahm Promised 1000 More Cops, Chicago Had Gained 37—Most Districts Have LOST Officers – CWB Chicago

Comment: Echoes of the phony promise of 100,000 more cops claim Rahm and Bill Clinton made.

Our Lady Of Angels Campus, Known For Tragic 1958 Fire, Sees New Life – DNAinfo

90 children and three nuns died there in fire in December 1958.

How Chicago is morphing into Detroit in one easy lesson – American Thinker

My heart is breaking for Chicago, and for all Americans, as one of our greatest cities crumbles before our (and the world’s) eyes. I don’t see any way out of the vicious circle of political corruption, irrevocable pensions obligations overwhelming tax revenue, vanishing public services, and a decline in civil order.

‘Underground city’ set to become Chicago’s next attraction – The Guardian

Not many people know about the Pedway, a network of tunnels connecting shops and businesses beneath downtown Chicago, but it could become the city’s oddest tourist destination.

Dear Amazon, We Picked Your New Headquarters for You – The New York Times

"It’s hard to argue that Chicago could have had a great chance while the finances of Illinois are a wreck."

Will latest tax increase further chill the high-end market? – Crain’s

If the Chicago Board of Education enacts its newly authorized property tax hike, the property tax bill on this Lincoln Park mansion could go from about $87,100 to almost $89,300 a year. - Coldwell Banker

The late-August news that a statewide school-funding bill comes with authority for a $125 million property tax hike in Chicago is just one more straw added to the back of a slow-moving camel that's also known as the luxury home market.

That's the consensus of several agents and others who deal in high-end homes. Although none said this is the straw that will break that camel's back, some said it will further slow down sales and dampen buyers' enthusiasm for big-ticket purchases.

What about sanctuary for us? – Opinion – Chicago Sun-Times

"The welfare of Chicago’s growing immigrant class has become a fevered priority for the city’s powers.... But black voters, the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency, wonder: What about sanctuary for us?"

“An absolute disaster”: Chicago developers cringe at “affordable housing” plan – Chicago City Wire

An initiative to expand affordable housing being rushed through Chicago's City Council will “shut down a good chunk of development” in large areas of the city, one prominent developer told the Chicago City Wire recently. “I don’t know of one person in the industry who has read this proposal and thinks that it’s anything but an absolute disaster,” he said.

Goodbye Chicago: What It’s Like To Live In A City You Tried To But Couldn’t Love – Huffington Post

Comment: Written by somebody who you'll probably be happy to be rid of.

Chicago will bid for Amazon’s second headquarters — and its 50,000 jobs – Chicago Tribune

Comment: The important take-away here is that Rahm evidently has known about this for some time and has been talking to Amazon about it but not including the state in the discussions. That's foolhardy.

Amazon HQ2: Chicago, Denver, Toronto and more North American cities are lining up to host Amazon’s new headquarters — Quartz

Comment: Yes, Chicago has a good case to make and, yes, this would be a game-changer. But keep enthusiasm contained because many cities think it's theirs to lose. And one of Amazon's stated requirements is this, which is a problem: "A stable and business-friendly environment."

Aldermen take another stab at relaxing ethics rules for contractors – Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago aldermen are taking another stab at relaxing ethics standards that apply to their independent contractors five months after a blast from the Ethics Board chairman gave them cold feet.

Weighing third term, Emanuel relies on campaign donors who get City Hall benefits – Chicago Tribune

Emanuel's donors respond With the February 2019 mayoral election still a year and a half away, Emanuel has collected $3.1 million in high-dollar contributions. And more than $2.1 million of it — nearly 70 percent — has come from 83 donors who have benefited from actions at City Hall.

Preckwinkle says Big Soda driving pop tax opposition – Chicago Tribune

She compared the situation to the tobacco industry, saying there's been an overall drop in pop consumption as consumers turn to healthier alternatives."Big Soda knows that, and they are fighting in the same way the cigarette companies fought against taxation, against public-education campaigns to try to reduce the amount of smoking," Preckwinkle said.

Sub-Chicago and America’s Real Crime Rate – City Journal

Neighborhood, not citywide, crime data show how deadly some portions of American cities have become—especially Chicago’s West and South Sides.

Prime real estate: Amazon looks for 2nd headquarters – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has had several conversations with Bezos about putting Amazon’s second headquarters in Chicago, according to a City Hall source, who asked not to be named.

Massive development planned along Chicago River’s North Branch – Chicago Tribune

700 W. Chicago A 310-unit apartment tower and more than 1.2 million square feet of office space are part of a four-building redevelopment planned along the Chicago River near Chicago Avenue.

As CPS Begins New Year, Union Seeking To Restore Slashed Funding – CBS Chicago

The Chicago Teachers Union – and many parents and students – have said CPS still needs more money. At a protest rally outside Thomas Kelly High School, activists demanded CPS restore funding cuts that were forced on schools over the past few years.

Chicago moving on new sales-tax backed bond program – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

Comment: You, too, could get lower interest rates if you conveyed ownership of future income to the bank. That's what this program does.

As CPS Begins New Year, Union Seeking To Restore Slashed Funding – CBS Chicago

Comment: The teachers' union wants to restore the head tax. Should be called "shoot self in head tax."

Rahm tells returning CPS students schools are ‘Trump-free zone’ – Chicago Sun-Times

“Chicago, our schools, our neighborhoods, our city, as it relates to what President Trump said, will be a Trump-free zone. You have nothing to worry about,” Emanuel said. Comment: WTF?

Two new taxes may be coming to Oswego – Beacon News

Trustees will vote Tuesday night on a four-cent per gallon motor fuel tax and a 1 percent tax on the sale of food and beverages prepared for immediate consumption.

Rep. Schneider Withdraws Endorsement of Daniel Biss – NBC Chicago

Schneider said that he was “surprised” to learn that Biss’ running mate Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, a Chicago alderman, was a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a pro-Palestinian group.