Category Archives: illinois

Is an Illinois Flat Tax a Fast Track out of Debt?

It’s no secret Illinois is in a financial bind: A stack of unpaid bills totaling more than $8 billion is proof. Some people say the state would dig itself out quickly if it switched from a flat, 5-percent income tax for everyone to a progressive tax in which the wealthiest Illinoisans pay a higher percentage. But opponents say this is just a ruse for a huge tax increase that will only feed lawmakers’ desire to spend beyond the state’s means. We’ve got both sides at today. What do you think?



Without a Passed Bill This Week, Chicago Must Announce School Closings by Saturday

No matter where you live in Illinois, your legislators will hear from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week. Emanuel’s Chicago Public Schools desperately wants a change in state law so it will have until March to decide which of up to 120 schools it will close as it struggles to balance its budget. If lawmakers don’t pass a bill this week, the district will have to announce all closure plans by Saturday

Illinois Close to Losing “Gambling Boarder War”

Gambling expansion supporters want lawmakers to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill that would bring new casinos to five Illinois cities, including Chicago and Rockford. Proponents say it will bring 20,000 jobs to Illinois. The Rockford Register Star wants the veto: “If legislation doesn’t pass soon, Illinois will lose the gambling border war as plans for a megacomplex in Beloit, Wis., move forward.”

Journalist Natasha Korcecki: “Blago was radioactive” but politicians dealt with him anyway

Jesse Jackson Jr. was part of “a whole cadre of politicians who knew Blagojevich was radioactive, but dealt with him anyway,” writes Natasha Korecki.  Korecki covered both Blago trials for the Sun-Times and had a ringside seat as prosecutors untangled the web of corruption that defined the Blagojevich administration. Her book, “Only in Chicago: How the Rod Blagojevich Scandal Engulfed Illinois; Embroiled Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Jackson Jr. and Enthralled the Nation,” details a dark chapter in Illinois’ political history.

For Joe Berrios, Illinois Government is a Family Business

Government is a family business for Joe Berrios, the Cook County Assessor and chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Thirteen members of the Berrios family have government jobs, the Sun-Times reported Sunday. Berrios has ignored fines from the Cook County Ethics Board and calls that he remove family members from county employment.


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Indicted State Rep Derrick Smith will Serve Through a Full Legislative Session While Awaiting Trial

Indicted, expelled and now reelected former State Rep. Derrick Smith will serve through a full legislative session as he awaits trial on federal bribery charges. His trial for allegedly accepting a $7,000 cash bribe has been set for October 2013. His House colleagues could kick him out again, but they can’t do it a second time on the bribery charges.

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Illinois Did Not Make The Top 25 List of Best Business Climates

Three main issues dominate congressional races in Illinois: jobs, jobs and jobs. Whether you’re a job-seeker or a business owner, this should come as no surprise. The state last week didn’t even make the Top 25 of a corporate journal’s list of the nation’s best business climates. All Illinois’ neighboring states except Missouri made the cut — as did fellow Midwest states Michigan and Ohio (rated second best in the nation).

Fact of the Day: I Wish This Wasn’t a Joke…

Fact of the Day — The tiebreaking process in the event of a deadlocked legislative remap panel is to pull one party’s name randomly from a hat. The winning party’s map then passes. 73.5% of Illinoisans disapprove of this tie-breaking method. (Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll, September 2012)

New York Magazine does a deep dive on Jesse Jackson Jr.

New York Magazine goes deep on Jesse Jackson Jr.’s decline and gives a detailed look into Illinois’ pay-to-play political culture. Despite the piece’s tale of political intrigue and the health problems that have kept Jackson away from his public duties since June, a landslide victory tomorrow is almost assured for the Democrat with the famous name.


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Legislative Maps the Cornerstone of Illinois Re-election Successes

Ever wonder why you see the same names on the ballot year after year? Why there aren’t more legislative races that really are races? Chris Mooney, a faculty member at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs and a political scientist at the University of Illinois at Springfield, blames it on Illinois’ highly politicized system of drawing legislative maps.


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