Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Wisconsin looks to ‘kick Illinois a little harder’

Take a look at the piece linked here from The Badger Institute, a conservative Wisconsin think tank. It lays out how they figure Wisconsin can...

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‘Wishing for a storm’ validated

Two years ago Chicago Tribune editorial board member Kristen McQueary was savaged by liberal critics around the country for writing that she wished --...

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New York also grappling with constitutional impediments to pension reform

Crain's New York had a good piece yesterday on efforts in New York to amend its state constitutional pension protection clause. Our clause is...

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Debate on bankruptcy option for Illinois municipalities likely to heat up

For Illinois towns and cities to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, authorization must first come from the...

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A story I’m proud of and a promotion at the Chicago Sun-Times

By: Mark Glennon* Three years ago I wrote here taking a close look at a front page Chicago Sun-Times story I thought was dangerously unfair....

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‘Yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘hell no’ on state money for the Obama Library?

Obama hasn't even said he needs Illinois taxpayer help for construction of his presidential library in Chicago! It's no surprise Chicago Democrats who run the...

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Two of Illinois’ most fiscally reckless and dishonest lawmakers push resolution on federal spending priorities

Four Illinois House Democrats sponsored a resolution last week calling on the United States Congress to change its spending priorities. As reported by Illinois...

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Wow. Crain’s endorses local right-to-work for Illinois

How 'bout that! Crain's Chicago editorial board, which generally leans Democratic and liberal, just came out opposing further efforts to prohibit local ordinances creating...

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Nice returns for the year at Illinois teachers’ pension, but….

TRS, the Illinois pension for teachers outside of Chicago, reported today that it generated a positive 12.6 percent rate of return, net of fees,...

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A typical Illinois pension editorial

Not having facts sure doesn't stop the press from editorializing on pensions. The latest is from the State Journal-Register. "We’re wondering why Rauner is pursuing...

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Fear him: Florida Governor Rick Scott in Chicago to poach employers

I got to know Scott quite well some years ago when we were law partners and worked together often on venture capital and corporate...

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Welcoming Ted Dabrowski to Wirepoints

By: Mark Glennon* I'm very proud to have Ted Dabrowski joining Wirepoints as President. Our press release is linked here. Nobody has as comprehensive an understanding...

Tax increase not working. Illinois bill backlog hits record $16.3 billion.

Illinois' tax-increase-with-no-reforms would "save the state," some supporters told us. Others claimed the new tax increases would cap growth of the unpaid bill balance: "We've...

Still no press on state’s largest pension report

It's no wonder so many Illinoisans remain in the dark on the severity of our pension crisis. On October 6 Illinois published its 900-page Biennial...

The split within the Illinois GOP over Rauner

We try to stick to policy instead of politics here, but if you want to get a quick sense of the huge debate going...

Dusting off the annual budget address Rahm should give

With Mayor Emanuel's annual budget address coming next week, just a few tweaks are needed to the shock-and-awe one we suggested two years ago....

My article in Crain’s

After all the shots I've taken at Crain's over the years, I have to say it was pretty big of them to ask me...

Rasmussen leaves as Rauner’s Chief of Staff. Who is Rauner? Critics will need new spin as head-scratching expands.

Kristina Rasmussen resigned today as Gov. Diana Bruce Rauner's Chief of Staff. Remember the claim a couple months ago by Dems and certain friends in...

Phony budget savings of $500 million from pension change now fully exposed

The JouralStar reported yesterday that the new Tier 3 pension plan can't be implemented before next fiscal year for TRS, the state teacher's pension...

Smack down: A village president unloads on an activist – Video

If you long to see a politician just say what he thinks to a lying activist, refresh yourself by watching the video linked here of Bob Bielinski, Village President of Wilmette at a board meeting last week.  

This face will appear prominently in the books about Rauner’s (and perhaps Illinois’) last gasp

Just a short and simple prediction, offered for now without the factual backup that exists: The overbearing role of Diana Rauner, a liberal Democrat, in...

Just ‘blah, blah, blah’: City Club panel on Illinois fiscal crisis

If Illinois had a buck for every time a panelist said "we'll have to live within our means" at a City Club of Chicago...

Why that U.S. Supreme Court announcement is crucial for Illinois

How have public-sector unions in Illinois managed to take over so much of our government? Their members represent just three percent of Illinois' population but...

Detroit to Amazon: Forget Chicago, we’ve already been bankrupt.

"Unlike so many other communities, we've cleared our legacy costs," said Eric Larson, CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. "You think about Chicago, which...

More lawmakers like this, please

Columnist Rich Miller wrote that he noticed Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) doesn’t have a legislative district office, which is unusual, so he asked her...

About that ‘whodunit’ on apparently false pension savings in new Illinois budget – UPDATED

UPDATE 10/1/17: TRS, which is over 60% of the state's pension system, now says they won't be able to implement Tier 3 changes until...

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...

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...

$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...

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...

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...

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...

Note To Readers — A Couple New Features

By: Mark Glennon* Our readership continues to grow rapidly. Thank you. We've added a new section at the top right for our quicktakes on major daily...

Wow, a few progressives figure out what’s regressive

You read that headline right on the posted article: "Citing social equity issues, Illinois utility seeks to cut efficiency targets." It's about the Future Energy...

Easy on the Amazon hype

What's up with Chicago's approach to luring Amazon's new 50,000-job second headquarters? Rahm apparently knew about it well before the stories broke yesterday and...

CTBA’s latest spin on Illinois’ out-migration

The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has a piece out today linked here challenging the "narrative," as they call it, about shrinking Illinois...

Recent Wirepoints Originals

Pending Federal Tax Changes Would Lower Illinois Home Values And Deepen Property Tax Rage – Wirepoints Original

An overall tax cut wouldn't change those results.The effect of doubling the standard deduction is being overlooked

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An omen of things to come for Illinois downstate police and fire pension funds

In Illinois, 118 fire funds already have more pension beneficiaries than active workers. Another 73 police funds are in the same dire position. That’s 191 of the 653 fire and police funds, or nearly 30 percent, that are upside down.

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Wilmette tax hike discussions distract from administrative bloat, pensions (Part 2) – Wirepoints Original

Reform obviously needed, not higher taxes.

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Recent Quicktakes

Wirepoints now in Crain’s as a regular column

I'll now have a regular, monthly column in the Government section of Crain's Chicago Business, both online and print editions. It will appear around...

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Watch this speech and imagine it’s an Illinois Democratic newcomer – Quicktake

Somebody gave a remarkably good speech at the City Club of Chicago this month about our fiscal crisis that' s worth watching. Never mind...

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Are Chicago transplants trashing border states? – Quicktake

"These are people who grew up in a certain type of environment, and behave in a certain way. And not all of them have...

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