Sunday, February 25, 2018

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Highlights of Rauner’s State of State speech. Hint: This is short. – Quicktake

Governor Rauner's fourth State of the State speech today was mostly a pep rally about Illinois' potential and a list of what he sees...

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Rauner attacks self in face-off with Jeanne Ives – Quicktake

Cold cash is great, but the currency of the realm in Springfield is something more. In yesterday's joint appearance before the Chicago Tribune's editorial board,...

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Leaked Outline of Territorial Debt Relief Act: Any relevance to Illinois and bankruptcy-for-states? – Quicktake

An outline of federal legislation to help Puerto Rico got leaked yesterday. It's linked here. Before you laugh at me for seriously discussing a potential...

New session will bring new efforts at pension reform? Ha! – Quicktake

Get this through your head, Illinois: The only ways to significantly reduce our state and local unfunded pension liabilities is through either 1) amending...

Fire them: Illinois’ top educrats teach fiscal fantasy by proposing utterly impossible budget – Quicktake

Get real, ISBE. Last year's $5 billion tax increase wasn't close to enough, says ISBE, the Illinois State Board of Education. Schools need another $7.2...

Chris Kennedy’s appalling response to Jeanne Ives – Quicktake

"We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit...

Sham panacea of progressive income tax starts getting exposed – Quicktake

There's a simple reason why Illinois Democratic candidates for governor don't get specific about the progressive income tax they all want: The numbers immediately...

Can Illinois Democrats’ two-faced campaign strategy continue? – Quicktake

Which is it? 1) The sky isn't falling and there's nothing a tax increase won't fix, or 2) The sky is falling but it's...

Lackluster monthly report on state revenue from COGFA – Quicktake

The monthly report for December is out from Illinois' Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. It includes a comparison of state revenues for the fiscal...

A shameless election stunt but we’ll take it: LLC filing fees lowered – Quicktake

Lots of articles recently on the new law lowering the punitive fees Illinois charged for starting a new business by forming a limited liability...

A short update on prepayment of property taxes – Quicktake

You'll find dozens of articles online today, for Illinois and nationally, about issues surrounding deductibility of prepaid of property taxes. You may even find...

Nice graphics showing Illinois population loss, near-term and long-term – Quicktake

Check out the great display of state population trends in the Washington Post article linked here. It makes the point that the big population losers...

Finally, a college ranking that means something. Two extremes in IL – Quicktake

There's a beacon of light in the academic world. With political indoctrination replacing education on campuses, free-thinking professors resisted by founding the Heterodox Academy. "We share...

A Sun-Times editorial about ‘fake news’ that’s, well, fake – Quicktake

Governor Rauner on Tuesday accused WBEZ of discontinuing an “Ask the Governor” segment with him because “it’s really more of a Democrat station." The Chicago...

Finally, a candidate for governor says something serious about pensions – Quicktake

State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who is challenging Governor Rauner in the Republican primary, today announced how she'd like to tackle our pension crisis....

UPDATED: 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...

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...

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...

Due process thrown under the truck: A Sun-times editorial to agree with – Quicktake

The Sun-Times editorial board finally wrote something everybody should agree with, linked here. "Do the time, then we’ll decide if you’ve done the crime." That's...

You knew Cook County property taxes were rigged, but read that new report – Quicktake

Even if you're already off-the-charts cynical about how things work in Cook County, Part 4 of that Chicago Tribune/ProPublica report on commercial property may...

Texas vs Illinois: One glimpse at how Illinois’ stagnant economy hurts — local sales tax sharing – Quicktake

Texas, like Illinois, splits its sales tax collections with local governments. Unlike Illinois, its economy and tax base are growing. Result: Texas today announced it...

Deluge of towns and cities across Illinois raising property and other taxes – Quicktake

Danville, Waukegan, Normal, Palatine, Hoffman Estates, Lake Zurich,  Elgin, Peoria, Normal are just a few of many I've seen reported in the last two...

Illinois prepaid college tuition program is $320 million short of what it needs, halts new investors – Quicktake

Crain's reported today that College Now, Illinois' prepaid tuition program for state higher education, has closed to new investors while it sorts its future....

Why you should expect another budget impasse next year – Quicktake

A whopping $3 billion budget deficit looms next year despite the recent tax increase, and that's using the usual phony budget accounting that ignores...

Stage is setting for GOP primary for governor, just not a debate stage – Quicktake

What we need most in the primary between Bruce Rauner and Jeanne Ives may not be in the cards: a debate. Rauner today would...

What that Wall Street Journal article on Chicago’s new bond scheme left out – Quicktake

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The state is obligated not stick up for bondholders over other city stakeholders, and it's not just Chicago.

New IRS data on Illinois exodus should be on every front page – Quicktake

On November 30 the Internal Revenue Service released new data on the deterioration in Illinois' tax base. So far, Illinois Policy is the only...

Pending federal tax bill could whack home values 2.4 trillion nationally, 53 billion in Chicago area – Quicktake

The numbers may be staggering, but the calculation is pretty straightforward. It's just a matter of multiplying publicly available total home values by the...

So near and yet so far: Wisconsin launches national ad campaign to find more workers – Quicktake

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker today announced a national ad campaign to bring needed workers to his state. Walker said it was "critically important" to...

$750 million in new borrowing: Who will watch how it’s spent? – Quicktake

Governor Rauner today announced pricing on $750 million bond issue, mostly for capital expenditures. The full press release is below. Capital spending in Illinois is...

Rockford looks to Band-Aid of home rule, higher taxes while underlying causes in Springfield go unaddressed – Quicktake

Take a look at that INN story today on Rockford. There's a broader lesson being played out in many Illinois towns and cities. The city...

Since cities required to have balanced budgets, why is Chicago talking about its ‘structural deficit’? – Quicktake

Through tax hikes and other actions taken since Emanuel took office, Chicago has reduced its structural budget deficit from nearly $636 million to $114.2...

Rahm’s big confession – Quicktake

In the Chicago City Council discussion Tuesday about the budget it passed, Mayor Emanuel was asked what the plan is to deal with big...

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...

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...

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...

Bloomberg article echoes our warnings about Chicago’s cash-for-body-parts financing

Read yesterday's Bloomberg piece, "Bondholders Fret as Alchemy Turns Chicago's Junk to Gold." It's about Chicago's new sale of ownership to some of its future...

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...

‘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 --...

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...

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...

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....

‘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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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

Why Rauner’s failures justify a reform agenda in Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s leadership failures have deflated the political pressure for reforms in Illinois. But his inability to change anything, ironically, only strengthens the case for structural reforms. The longer Illinois’ status quo policies remain in place, the more this state will continue to decline.

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Changing the conversation on pensions, Ted Dabrowski on with John Kass – Audio

"If you care about your policemen, your firemen, your teachers, then we need to have pension reform. Because if we don't - people keep leaving, the tax base is shrinking - we'll have to start firing them...It's ironic, paradoxical, but to take care of workers we have to change pensions."

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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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Recent Quicktakes

Rauner’s attack ads further undermine his credibility in General Assembly – Quicktake

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Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ― Alice in Wonderland Governor Rauner, your own party's legislators already think you're...

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What could possibly go wrong with court-ordered tax increase for pensions? Bonds, says Moody’s – Quicktake

In August, we wrote here about an unprecedented appellate court decision affirming an order to an Illinois city to approve a property tax increase...

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Jeanne Ives’ fiery description of how Chicago’s new bond scheme sold out pensioners and taxpayers – Quicktake

I've written constantly over the past year about dangerous, new legislation that authorized Illinois towns and cities to sell off body parts through a...

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