Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Illinois lawmakers push for recreational cannabis legalization – Fox IL

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Southern Illinois farmers see improvements, hope for more under Trump presidency – The Southern

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Hospitals worry about closures, layoffs as they brace for Medicaid funding changes – Chicago Tribune

At issue is the state’s hospital assessment program, which distributes about $3.5 billion in Medicaid funding to 200 hospitals across Illinois. That’s more than half of the institutions’ total Medicaid money. The problem is that the formula hasn’t been updated in over a decade and still bases the amount hospitals pay and receive on 2005 inpatient data and 2009 outpatient data, which officials say doesn’t reflect how and where Medicaid recipients are currently getting their care.

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IL Minority Leader Brady sees a very tough year trying to balance the state’s budget – WJBC

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Pritzker Under Fire As Dem Candidates Meet With Tribune – CBS Chicago

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Illinois state Sen. Donne Trotter retires – INN

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Why the 2017 tax hikes will harm Illinois’ economy – Illinois Policy

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Rauner Starts New Policy Blog – Policy POV

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University of Illinois Board Chairman Re-Elected to 2nd Term – A.P.

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Federal government shutdown: Chicago and Illinois – ABC7

If Congress fails to pass a spending bill Friday, many of the nearly 80-thousand federal employees in Chicago and across Illinois will be on the sidelines during the political melee...or at least they will be unpaid.

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Washington County has lowest jobless rate in Illinois – WSIL

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New Federal Tax Breaks Do Not Apply to Illinois Taxes When Paying Private Grade, High School Expenses – Illinois Treasurer

Families that use their Bright Start or Bright Directions college savings accounts to
pay for tuition, fees or other expenses at private or parochial schools, including Catholic schools, would violate Illinois’ tax code, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs cautioned today.

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Wealthy exodus to escape new tax rules worries California Democrats – Sacramento Bee

Democratic state lawmakers are worried because California relies so heavily on the income taxes it collects from high earners to fund government services.

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Chicago Democrats throw Lipinski under the bus — and blame Trump – Politico

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Rauner signs executive order targeting lawmaker conflicts of interest in property tax appeals – INN

Comment: It's about time! In addition to signing the executive order barring lawmakers from arguing cases in front of the Illinois State Tax Appeals Board, he proposes a law to ban lawmakers from making money from property tax appeals.

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Hold on to your wallets, Springfield back in session for 2018 – IL Policy

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The Unedited Pritzker-Blagojevich Wiretap – Bruce Rauner – YouTube

video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=801&v=-DBy6wR9XkU

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What Role Should Data Analysis Play in Health Care Policy? – Chicago Tonight

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‘Independent’ city watchdog Khan’s secret backer? Right-wing policy group – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: We trust the Sun-Times will also be telling us who funds, say, left-leaning ProPublica, and maybe some occasional reminders that organized labor owns the Sun-Times.

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Illinois State Board Of Education asks for $7 billion more for next year’s budget – INN

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Illinois vs Hawaii emergency alert – Scott Stantis Cartoon

Illinois v Hawaii alert

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A 16-year-old Anna teen is being honored for saving a man’s life – The Southern

A Christmas Eve Good Samaritan.

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Statehouse bill would connect rural Illinois schools to high-speed internet – JournalStar

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ISBE Doubles Budget Request, Seeks $15B to Fund Evidence-Based Model – WTTW

See our own article linked here on this stunningly naive proposal.

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Lawmakers highlight what they’d like Rauner to address at State of the State – INN

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One poll shows Rauner over Ives 65% to 21 – We Ask America

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Democrats running for governor spar over Blagojevich, black exodus and big bucks in Sun-Times forum – Chicago SunTimes

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Wisconsin & Foxconn: The Most Expensive Taxpayer-Funded Jobs Program In History – RealClearMarkets

Comment: Supporters counter that the breaks are mostly in the form of tax reductions -- taxes that wouldn't be paid at all if the company was elsewhere.

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Would you move to Wisconsin to save 10 minutes? – Crain’s

The state of Wisconsin this month launched a new ad campaign aimed at luring Chicago millennials to move north. The focus is on Wisconsin's...

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Could a Political Newcomer Unseat Illinois’s Most Conservative Democrat – Chicago Magazine

Marie Newman has never run for anything, ever, in her 53 years. Nonetheless, she’s certain she can be the one to finally unseat Dan Lipinski, a seven-term incumbent in the 3rd Congressional District, in the March 20 Democratic primary.

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Kennedy’s hot rhetoric, not policies, drawing attention – News-Gazette

His policy proposals are described. Too much quack populism to summarize.

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Kennedy quietly reversed Illinois tax break request – Politco

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Regarding that ‘Stop Digging’ Idea about When You’re Already in a Hole – Choice Media

Businessman Digging a Hole The Superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education is proposing spending $7.46B more of state general funds on public education in FY 2019, or $15.7B, a 90.9% increase or near doubling over the $8.2B allocated for FY 2018.

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Government report: Illinois GDP lagged behind Midwest, nation in last decade – INN

Real GDP expanded from $671 billion in 2007 to $696 billion in 2016. That growth of 3.8 percent pales behind the national rate of 10.7 percent, and 9.1 for the Midwest region.

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Testimony: UAW rep demanded oral sex in exchange for representation | Statewide | ilnews.org

Former and current employees of the Ford Motor Company who are suing the automaker claiming sexual harassment say the union leaders there not only failed to protect them but were the harassers themselves.

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Illinois House Primaries Will Be Early Testing Ground for Democrats – A.P.

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Illinois Delays Sending Voter Data to Multi-State Program – A.P.

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Giant sucking sound: Illinois lost $3.4B in income to neighboring states since 2010 – IL Policy

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One Wisconsin community is giving Illinois at least partial credit for an economic boom – INN

The town of Beloit is located just over the state line, about 20 miles north of Rockford. Town administrator Ian Haas says he’s seen several development projects roll out in just the past year. “In the past 12 months, we’ve seen a boon in all sectors,” Haas said. “In residential, we’ve seen the signing of three different development agreements that insure a little less than 400 housing units in the next 10 years. We’re looking at an increase of just over 20 percent of our population.”

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Illinois Treasurer Shoots Self In Foot Defending Activist Social Investing – Zero Hedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Watchdog: Illinois fudged jobs data to get federal OK to waive work requirement for food stamp recipients – INN

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It can be done: Northern Illinois village cuts property tax levy 10 percent – IL Policy

The village of Lakewood is making encouraging reforms in a county where residents pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

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A Lesson For How NOT To Do Bill-Making – NPR IL

Last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner used his veto authority to make big changes to a small clean-up bill that’s necessary to enact school funding reform.

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Rauner: ‘No Place’ For Trump Immigration Comments, Won’t Call President Racist – CBS Chicago

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Trump says ‘Dicky’ Durbin ‘misrepresented what was said’ at immigration meeting – Chicago Sun-Times

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SIU cheerleaders who took a knee during anthem honored at NAACP MLK Breakfast – The Southern

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Dick Durbin Has A History Of Lying About Private White House Meetings – Daily Wire

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If population loss continues, Illinois projected to lose two congressmen – INN

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Illinois property taxes rise six times faster than income during recession – Editorial – Belleville News-Democrat

Illinois property taxes rose six times faster than household income during the Great Recession.

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Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Among MLK's finest. Read it if you never have.

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What exactly has Bruce Rauner done to reduce state regulations? – JournalStar

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Another state mandate that’s ruining Illinois: ‘Prevailing’ wages – Crain’s

Alamy By Wirepoints' Mark Glennon. The all-in result: The average total full-time-equivalent compensation, including benefits, for all job categories over all counties is $119,000.

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Illinois’ higher education leaders at odds over proposed budget – Chicago Tribune

A rift has emerged as education leaders debate how aggressively to push lawmakers for state aid. At the heart of the issue is how to finance the state’s public universities following two years of almost non-existent state funding.

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Teacher shortage seen close to home – JournalCourier

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Dem Candidates In Lockstep At Justice Forum – NPR IL

Bob Daiber, state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Tio Hardiman, and Chris Kennedy Bold thinkers, all.

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Just reward: A 2017 comeback story for the ages – IL Policy

Her comeback story starts in the same place it ended, Decatur. More than 20 years ago as a teenage single mother, Creason stole money from a sandwich shop cash register in order to feed her daughter. She spent one year in prison as a result.

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Jeanne Ives Wins Notable Endorsement in Republican Governor’s Race – NBC Chicago

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Guv candidates address social issues at Trinity’s public meeting honoring MLK – Chicago Sun-Times

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Biss calls for state pension funds to divest ‘dirty energy’ investments – News-Gazette

Comment: Just what pensions need -- another social justice warrior prioritizing his political views over returns and safety. Biss and Frerichs, what a pair.

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Rauner says no to debating challenger Ives – IL Review

Click to insert.

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Do Not Invest In A 529 (Or Able) Plan – Clear.Money

By a money manager discussing Illinois Treasurer Frerichs and social activist investing. See our own article on this linked here.

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State lawmakers continue to grapple with handling sexual misconduct complaints – Chicago Sun-Times

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Record number of Illinois college freshmen heading out of state – News Gazette

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Authority rated worst in America by HUD – The Southern

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Illinois Attorney General Candidate Robbed – Audio – NPR

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Patti Blagojevich rips Rauner campaign for using FBI wiretap of ex-gov in TV ad – Chicago Sun-Times

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Illinois nursing homes sue state over low Medicaid rates – Reuters

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Godzilla Property Taxes – Eric Allie

 

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IL State University to seek ways to help undocumented students – Pantagraph

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Cold snap taxes fruit, cattle operations in Illinois – The Southern

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Cook County assessor not cooperating with investigation, IG Complains – Chicago Tribune

Cook County’s inspector general took Assessor Joseph Berrios to task Friday for failing to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that an employee took property tax exemptions he was ineligible to receive.

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Why Illinois lost thousands of jobs to Alabama – Chicago Tribune

The list of reasons is obvious, but not to lawmakers.

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Wisconsin badgers Illinois millennials to hop the state border – IL Policy

A new ad campaign by the Badger State digs into millennials’ growing disillusion with the Land of Lincoln.

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Pritzker floats idea for revamped gas tax, refutes Blagojevich ties – Daily Herald

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S&P Talks Short vs. Long Term for Illinois – INN

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Illinois, meet Connecticut – News-Gazette

"One would think they might learn something from Illinois' failure taking that approach. Or vice versa."

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Early Voting for Illinois Primary Election Less Than a Month Away – WTTW

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Illinois should follow New York’s example on paid family leave – Opinion – Crain’s

Comment: Just what Illinois needs -- another unfunded mandate imposed on employers. What planet are these people living on?

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AG hopefuls spar over corruption, contributions — and Lisa and Mike Madigan – Chicago Sun-Times

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Moody’s report: If Springfield doesn’t change, credit rating will be downgraded – State Journal-Register

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Is another temporary state budget in the works? – INN

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No work, no Medicaid? Illinois reviews new federal guidelines – Chicago Tribune

Illinois is reviewing new guidance from the Trump administration that opens the door for states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, but there is no indication yet that it will follow the lead of neighboring states that are pursuing plans to tighten their rules.

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Higher Education Is Drowning in BS – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Comment: Off-topic for this site, but we couldn't resist.

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Illinois Democrats assail Trump immigration comments as ‘vile,’ ‘racist’ – Chicago Tribune

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, as first reported by the Washington Post. Democratic U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston responded by saying in a statement that “when you thought Donald Trump could not get any more racist, he digs down to an even deeper low.” “These vile comments are unacceptable and unbecoming of the presidency,” she said. “It is time for my Republican colleagues to say so. Enough is enough. Silence is complicity.” U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, a vocal advocate for immigrants, said “we always knew that President Trump doesn’t like people from certain countries or people or certain colors.” “We can now we say with 100 percent confidence that the president is a racist who does not share the values enshrined in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence,” he said. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg called Trump’s comments “un-American” and added: “In a time when we need to come together as a country, these comments drive people further apart.”

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Fiat Chrysler unveils $1 billion investment in Michigan, $2,000 bonus – CNBC

Comment: Another example of what Illinois could be getting if it would just keep up with Michigan on labor policy and other matters.

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Madison County offices raided by police armed with 8 search warrants – Belleville News-Democrat

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Skipping over Illinois, Toyota-Mazda plant heading to Alabama – IL Policy

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S&P: Illinois’ long term debt obligations won’t be solved by short term increased economic activity – INN

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Republican Tax Plan Hurts Colleges in Blue States Most – Bloomberg

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Kennedy releases economic plan, says ‘structural racism’ must be addressed – Chicago Sun-Times

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‘Moneyball’ : The 2018 Illinois Governor’s Race – NPR IL

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Too many governmental entities spoiling property-tax broth – News-Gazette

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Pritzker, Rauner spar over veteran home deaths, Blagojevich ties in dueling ads – Chicago Sun-Times

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Why am I paying union dues when the union won’t protect me from sexual harassment? – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

What happens when a female union member in Chicago reports sexual harassment in the workplace? If she’s a member of the United Auto Workers, nothing. Well, that’s not completely accurate. She’ll get rebuked for tattling on a union brother. She’ll be bullied into tolerating the disgusting as normal. She’ll be belittled for being sickened by graphic images and demeaning comments. She’ll get brainwashed into believing that an attack isn’t harassment if it only happened once. And she’ll realize her cries to her union for protection are meaningless because of the inherent conflict of interest that exists when a union tries to represent both the victim and her attacker.

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New tax law means fighting over unfunded state pension plans is about to get worse – MarketWatch

It will have a particularly draconian impact on states with large unfunded liabilities for pension benefits and retiree health care, in particular the residents of Illinois, Kentucky, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

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Embezzlement plagues union offices around U.S., records show – Detroit Free Press

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Look past ‘accounting gimmicks,’ and Illinois’ fiscal health is much worse – INN

Joe Nation, professor of public policy at Stanford University, said the result is a debt snowball that eventually crowds out services.

“The people who are being hurt the most by this fake math are the poorest people in society,” he said.

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Too many governmental entities spoiling property-tax broth – Opinion – News-Gazette

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Most employees with public pensions that are underfunded don’t know it – BenefitsPro

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18 states, including Illinois, may introduce sports betting bills in 2018 – A.P.

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Gov Vetoes School Funding Trailer Bill – NPR IL

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Official: State’s Response to Legionnaires’ Outbreak ‘Quick,’ ‘Decisive’ – WTTW

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Wisconsin launches campaign to steal Chicago talent – TMJ4 Milwaukee

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Kadner: Close Illinois Veterans Home — and the entire state of Illinois – Chicago Sun-Times

"Close the place up. It doesn’t work."

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A lower black jobless rate. Somebody tell Illinois. – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

The U.S. unemployment rate for black Americans is 6.8 percent. That’s the lowest level since 1972, when the government began tracking that data. More people are finding work, more households are seeing their prospects improve. Now the news in Illinois, where over the decades politicians have sent employers an inescapable message: We like your private sector tax dollars, but have you thought about moving your business to Indiana, to Wisconsin, to Texas? So we aren’t shocked that the unemployment rate for African-Americans in Illinois is 10 percent. That’s the highest of any state, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Yes, the lagging economy in Illinois hurts millions of people — African-Americans disproportionately so.

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Illinois Working Together…And Against You – Citizen vs Machine

ILWT Twitter2 A close look at a union front group and how dues money is spent for political gain.

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Rauner vows fairness in school funding veto, but lawmaker sees ‘absolute chaos’ – Chicago Sun-Times

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Ousted Rauner staffer sues gov’s office over first lady’s emails on abortion – Chicago Sun-Times

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For your own good: Illinois the seventh-most ‘paternalistic’ state in the country, study finds – Illinois Policy

The Land of Lincoln is also the land of “sin” taxes, “saint” subsidies and other nanny-like policies, according to a new study.

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Illinois Treasurer uses college savings investment money to pressure Facebook on fake news – INN

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“It’s Not His Job” – Illinois Treasurer Plays Liberal Activist With College-Savers’ Cash – Zero Hedge

A reprint of our Wirepoints story.

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Not much happening in high-tax Illinois in reaction to federal tax reform – INN

From proposing state tax cuts or even lawsuits against the feds, a number of high-tax states like California and New Jersey are looking at ways to lessen the impact of federal tax reform on their state’s bottom lines. What’s happening in high tax Illinois? Not much.

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IL GOP hands out Rauner funds before March 20th primary – IL Review

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Apple battery-throttling lawsuit could be heard in Illinois – INN

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A financial ‘bomb cyclone’ is coming for the states in 2018 – Washington Examiner

Truth in Accounting's Sheila Weinberg: "When the data is taken as whole it is hard to understate the scale of the precarious fiscal situation at the state government level."

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How the new tax bill will cut infrastructure investment – Brookings Inst.

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Illinois Higher Ed Enrollment Continues to Decline – Peoria Public Radio

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Some Illinois village managers outearn every state governor – IL Policy

The Mount Prospect village manager is set to receive a $214,000 salary in 2018, joining a long list of other Illinois municipal officials collecting similar and even larger paychecks.

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What you need to know about Illinois’ new tax credit scholarship program – Chicago Sun-Times

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Report shows federal bloat in Illinois – INN

OpenTheBooks.com 2016 Federal Employee Map

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If You Work Remotely, Move to One of These States – Zero Hedge

And, they ask, "where are people moving out of?" You already know whose No. 1.

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The top 10 governor’s races of 2018 – Politico

We're No. 1.

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States exploring tax changes in response to federal overhaul – ABC News

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Few specifics are available on progressive tax amendment – NewsGazette

You'll be hearing more here on this particular bit of quackery.

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Illinois House panel to study how bitcoin’s underlying technology can aid government – Chicago Tribune

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America’s top five inbound vs. top five outbound states: How do they compare on a variety of economic, business climate and political measures? – AEI

"Who’d a-Thunk It? Americans vote with their feet because they value jobs, economic freedom and prosperity, entrepreneurship, lower taxes, and less government over the opposite?"

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Letter: What a couple of Illinois transplants learned in California – Chicago Tribune

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Or they could just lower the taxes … Nah. – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

In the past, politicians could increase these state and local taxes to high heaven, then tell angry taxpayers to stop squealing: Hey, the IRS...

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AP: Illinois’s biggest problem is pot – American Thinker

The investors aren't recouping their investment, so we've got to find a way to get more people buying pot.

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U. of Illinois Extends Tuition Freeze to Stem Enrollment Slide – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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‘Worst-ever’ 2017 can still get worse in 2018 – Opinion – The Southern

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Water mains breaking throughout Central Illinois – WAND

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Ives sees latest out-migration numbers as just tip of iceberg – DuPage Policy Journal

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Connecticut’s Money Is Moving Out – Hartford Courant

Comment:  But, but but folks like Ralph Martire from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability have assured us that people don't move because of taxes.

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Illinois governor names new budget director as market watches for gridlock – The Bond Buyer/SourceMedia

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Unaccountable and Unaffordable: Unfunded Public Pension Liabilities Exceed $6 Trillion – ALEC

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Chris Kennedy’s divisive fantasy – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

"Kennedy apparently believes taxpayers should waste much of that money to keep open half-empty schools in shrinking neighborhoods.... But Kennedy isn’t running for mayor. He’s running for governor. And he’s doing it by fomenting the fiction that the state’s population losses are being driven by a 'strategic gentrification plan' in Chicago instead of the tax-happy, business-hostile mindset in Springfield. There’s nothing prescriptive about it. It’s just a cheap shot."

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Illinois Legislature ethics commission under fire for neglecting complaints – INN

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ComEd to cut your bill in light of tax law – Crain’s

ComEd plans to file today with regulators to pass on savings from the new federal tax law that it says would save the average residential customer an estimated $2 to $3 a month on their bill.

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Illinois Health Officials: State Facing ‘Unprecedented’ Opioid Epidemic – WTTW

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In Offering Details Of Progressive Tax Plan, Gov Candidate Daiber Standing Alone – NPR IL

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Illinois legislators react to possible DOJ move on marijuana prohibition – INN

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Illinois property taxpayers suffer while pols rake it in – Kadner – Chicago Sun-Times

"Through the decades, Democrats not only played with the numbers in ways that ought to be illegal, but set up law firms that have made many millions of dollars off tax appeals.,,, Freezing property taxes, the governor’s solution, would only damage public school funding unless the state decides to pay its fair share, 51 percent of the bill.,,, The fact is that politicians failed to pay the state’s bills, can’t balance the state’s budget and forced property taxes to skyrocket by refusing to adequately fund education for decades."

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U. of I. plans in-state tuition freeze for 4th straight year – Chicago Tribune

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Rauner Checks Into Veterans’ Home Under Fire For Deadly Legionnaires’ Outbreak – CBS Chicago

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Illinois lawmakers look to see if they can regulate Bitcoin – INN

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Slow growth, low patient count, political uncertainty: The state of medical pot in Illinois – Chicago Tribune

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Hello, exodus deniers: No, it isn’t Illinois’ weather – Opinion – Chicago Tribune

So who’s living in a bubble these days? I’ll tell you. It isn’t the contemplative, responsible taxpayers making the grueling decisions to move. It’s the dismissive elitists who think they know better.   Comment: This is a must-read by the Tribune's McQueary, though it's what we've been saying for years here at Wirepoints.

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Mr. Passive on Lowering Costs, Chasing Alpha – Video – Bloomberg

An interview with Illinois State Board of Investment Chairman Marc Levine.

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America Is Migrating To Trump States – Investors Business Daily

"It takes some doing to get people to flee one of mankind's greatest artifacts, Chicago. But Michael Madigan, speaker of the Illinois House for all but two years since 1983, has proved that he's up to the task."

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Investigation details secretive contacts with lobbyist on $2 billion lottery contract – Chicago Tribune

A top staffer for the Illinois Lottery failed to disclose her relationships and contact with lobbyists for a firm that was bidding for a massive contract to manage the lottery, a state investigation has found. For further background, see the earlier Prairie State Wire article linked here.

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The Math Behind Gerrymandering and Wasted Votes – Wired

For wonks only.

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How tax reform could impact Illinoisans – WSIL

An analysis by the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C. based think tank, shows that 85 percent of Illinoisans will see a tax cut next year, while just seven percent would see a tax hike, with most of those in the top 30 percent of earners. On average, the bottom 60 percent of Illinoisans would receive a tax cut of about 540 dollars next year. But the analysis shows, when the tax cuts are set to expire in 2025, it's the poorest Illinoisans that will be hit the hardest.

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Sangamon County’s population declines by 2,500 in five years – Fox IL

“That represents about $70 million in wealth that's walked out of the county."

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Illinois Farmers Plan Another Push for Industrial Hemp – NPR IL

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Index: Illinois’ Economic Growth Remains Slow and Steady – WSIU

The final reading from the from the University of Illinois' Flash Index supports a description of "slow and steady" for the Illinois economy in 2017. The December Flash Index measured 104-point-one, down one tenth of a percent from November. Anything over 100 indicates a growing economy.

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Taxpayers give $36M to scholarships on 1st day of new credit – Associated Press

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No thinking required with more than 200 new Illinois laws – Editorial – Belleville News-Democrat

More than 200 new laws are on the books in Illinois, trying to legislate everything from dry cleaning bills to circus elephants to rowdy youngsters to where ashes can be spread to car sales stickers to pet custody. No one tackled the real issues of spending, pensions, too much government or too many taxes. "They played Big Brother without ever looking at the Big Picture."

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Q&A: Gov. Rauner talks infrastructure, politics and his plans for 2018 – Herald-News

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Rauner calls Republican federal tax overhaul ‘punishing’ to Illinois – Chicago Tribune

“That’s going to hurt a lot of middle-class families and higher income families and it’s going to push more employers out of the state. That’s going to hurt job creation and that’s going to increase the cost of living for the people of Illinois.” The governor also repeated his belief that the state and local tax deduction limit could give a boost to his call for freezing property taxes and rolling back a state income tax hike.

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Mattoon Township businesses see over 100 percent property tax hike in one year – INN

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Coles County contracting assessment work violates settled law – Edgar Country Watchdogs

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The Undocumented Immigrant Next Door: He came to America to buy his dying sister medicine, shoes – The Southern

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Wave goodbye to your Illinois neighbors, unless you plan to follow them – Editorial – Belleville News-Democrat

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Who gets the interest from the property taxes you paid early? – Daily Herald

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Conservative Groups Appeal in Public-Pay Abortion Challenge – Associated Press

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Why the University of Illinois Is Investing in Farmland – Bloomberg

The university is aiming to make farmland about 10 percent of its $1.8 billion endowment. Separately the university manages an additional $800 million, which also includes farms.

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Illinois General Assembly, 2017 in review: State pet, state grain, but no fixes – Illinois Policy

Illinois lawmakers passed hundreds of bills in 2017, but enacted no real reforms to boost the state’s economy, rein in the cost of government or provide relief to taxpayers.

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Land of leaving: Moving companies rank Illinois No. 1 for outbound vans – Illinois Policy

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Report: Only One US State Pension has Funded Level Above 50% – Chief Investment Officer

A recent report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), said that, based on its calculations, every US state’s pension system has a funded level below 50%, except for that of Wisconsin, which has a funded level of 61.5%.

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Chris Kennedy Rips Illinois Dem Leadership On Property Tax Racket – JournalStar

"This is not the Democratic Party that represents Kennedy values. These are people who are making money off the system as property tax appeals lawyers that’s destroying our ability to educate the next generation of kids in our state. You want economic development? Jobs go to where the highly educated high school and college kids are. You can’t produce highly educated high school kids when you rely on property taxes. Everybody knows that, yet we cling to that system because our leadership is property tax appeals lawyers, and they’re destroying our state."

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New Voter Registration Expansion Funding Needed – IRN

Automatically registering voters anytime they register with certain state government agencies was considered a major legislative priority by some at the statehouse, but lawmakers haven’t put the necessary tax dollars behind it to get it started.

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Medicaid overhaul adds clients, bumps up cost – WAND

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will take on 800,000 new clients in an effort to be efficient and cost-effective. The clients were added to HealthChoice Illinois on Jan. 1. The deal is expected to double the cost, moving that number to $60 billion in a four-year plan.

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Illinois Tax Credits For Private Schools Expected To Be Claimed In Days – WBEZ

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Foxconn got a really good deal from Wisconsin. And it’s getting better. – CNN Money

Associated sweeteners have now grown to more than $4 billion -- adding in the cost of local government incentives and various infrastructure projects, like roads and highways, sewer and power lines.

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U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME could cripple labor unions – NY Daily Nws

DC 37 is a charter member of AFSCME, the national union that’s being sued by Illinois government employee Mark Janus. Janus has argued that he doesn’t agree with AFSCME’s political positions and that he should not be forced to pay fees to support the union — even though it collectively bargains and protects Illinois state employees, including him.  

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Illinois governor announces staff changes – A.P.

Comment: Hans Zigman to GOMB. Outstanding choice.

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Illinois taxpayers expected to snap up credits for scholarships – JournalStar

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Lobbyists also targeted by ‘sweeping’ new laws meant to curb sexual harassment in Springfield – INN

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Why There Exists A Legal Basis To Challenge The GOP Tax Law – HuffPost

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Democrats in High-Tax States Plot to Blunt Impact of New Tax Law – The New York Times

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Incumbents face primary challenges in Illinois congressional districts – IL Review

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New Illinois gun law cracks down on repeat offenders – INN

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The escape from Illinois – Editorial – Las Vegas Review-Journal

"Illinois is a financial basket case — which is what you get when you combine political patronage with powerful public-sector unions that control leftist politicians. The state should be a case study for other jurisdictions on how not to conduct public policy."

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New Law Protects Customer Reviews From Retaliation – IRN

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Is Property Tax Next in Line for an Overhaul? – Bloomberg BNA

Maybe the understatement of the year: "Newly emerging issues concerning the cap on SALT deductions raise questions about whether states and local governments will start the new year looking for a more permanent solution to ease property tax burdens for individuals without reducing the essential revenue that cities, counties, and municipal governments rely on to fund public services, and without driving out businesses who will migrate elsewhere if they are subject to a significant increase in property taxes."

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Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of senior care program jeopardizes services: advocates – Chicago Sun-Times

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This Is Where America’s Most Debt-Burdened People Live – Zero Hedge

1

Note that this is private debt, not share of government debt.

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Reversing the Illinois exodus – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

Stantis cartoon - Illinois exodus The new year brings a chance for voters to factor this accelerating decline into their choices come Election Day. The people of Illinois should elect leaders who’ll recognize the crisis, restore the state’s squandered reputation for opportunity, and halt this exodus. The alternative: Return to office pols who’ll rule as they have for decades — while more For Sale signs sprout on lawns and more young people depart for college, many never to return.

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Unemployment Rate Drops in All Metro Areas for Sixth Consecutive Month – IDES

Data also show nonfarm jobs increased in ten of the metropolitan areas and decreased in four.

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Home sales: Up or sideways? – News-Gazette

While the median home price in the Champaign County area nudged upward year over year — $150,000 through November versus $145,000 a year ago — sales volume is down. Through November, local home sales stood at 2,681, down 4.45 percent from 2,806 sales through November 2016, according to the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

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Judge rejects anti-abortion groups’ lawsuit against Illinois abortion law HB40 – ABC Chicago

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Foxconn got a really good deal from Wisconsin. And it’s getting better – CNN Money

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Illinois schools will get new focus on spending in 2018 – INN

First, the state's new evidence-based school funding formula will have schools figure out their adequacy target and their extra needs, and then ask the state to fill in the gap. Also, the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for the first time requires individual schools, not just school districts as a whole, to let parents know how much they are spending on kids, administrators, teacher salaries and other expenses.

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Will property tax prepayments matter in all counties? – Sun-Times

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Wave goodbye to your Illinois neighbors, unless you plan to follow them – Editorial – Belleville News Democrat

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Secret political donors to judges hurt the image of the bench – Editorial – Chicago Sun-Times

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Late trains sap enthusiasm about high speed rail – INN

Lincoln is one of the stops along the railroad between Chicago and St. Louis that got a new station to go along with Illinois' high speed rail project. Those waiting for the train in Lincoln say they didn't notice that high speed rail made much of a difference because a few miles per hour faster doesn't fix what's wrong with train service in Illinois.

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This one weird trick lets blue states avoid Trump’s tax hike – Vox

Lots of potential tricks, actually.

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Chicago PMI advances to best level since March 2011 at 67.6 in December

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IRS Sets Conditions for Deducting 2018 Property Taxes This Year – Bloomberg

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Gamblers in Biggest Illinois Valley Cities Lost Nearly $20 Million in Last 12 Months – WAJK

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State requires new sexual harassment policies for all local governments – Daily Herald

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You owe $52K for state employee pensions, and the bill is overdue – Belleville News-Democrat

"Someone worked hard to design a system so inherently inefficient and costly, and with such wide ranging standards for what should be in the pot to cover future obligations."

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Parents and donors are gearing up for the rollout of Illinois’ new tax credit scholarship program – INN

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U of IL stands alone with enrollment increase – News-Gazette

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Illinois Trial Lawyers Association disagree with recent “judicial hellhole” report – WSIL

In other news, germs said diseases aren't so bad.

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Americans Fled Blue States in the Hundreds of Thousands Due to High Taxes, Leaving Fewer to Pay the Democrats’ Tab

Americans Fled Blue States in the Hundreds of Thousands Due to High Taxes, Leaving Fewer to Pay the Democrats’ Tab

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Illinoisans stand in line to pay 2018 property taxes early – Illinois Review

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The rush is on—to pay taxes before cap kicks in – Crain’s

DuPage's surge relative to Cook could be a result of its accepting payments equal to 105 percent of last year's tax liability, while Cook is limiting the amount to 55 percent—the portion attributable to the first of two annual installments. (Will County is allowing up to two years' tax.)

Pappas says Cook County can't accept full-year payments because of a requirement to distribute funds it collects to taxing bodies within 30 days, before the levy extension is known. Inflated as the numbers are this year, prepayments involve a small portion of Cook County's 1.8 million taxable parcels.

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IRS: 2018 property taxes deductible if assessed and paid in 2017 – The Hill

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Turmoil Grows Over Disparity In Rules For Prepayment Of Property Taxes – Our article reprinted in ZeroHedge

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Stock market gains cannot catch up to Illinois’ massive pension deficit – Belleville News Democrat

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A Smaller Public Workforce Means Deteriorated Services, Right? Not Necessarily. – Governing

The barriers are obvious: decades-old civil service laws; elected officials focused on public-policy issues and who have little if any experience managing large employee groups; unions and an aging workforce that resist change; and supervisory practices that make government jobs unattractive to millennials.

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Stocking full of coal: Illinois shrinkage poses major problems – Opinion – Daily Herald

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Abuse Claims of Human Services Residents Up, Reviews Slower – A.P.

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