Category Archives: Springfield

Illinois Lawmakers Stipends

For Illinois lawmakers, leadership stipends can add as much as 40 percent to a legislator’s base salary of $64,717 for what is considered a part-time job. Nearly three-quarters of the General Assembly received leadership stipends ranging from $1,600 to $26,000 for holding a committee or party leadership position. Illinois Comptroller’s Office, cited by the Daily Herald.

Chicago Papers to Voters: Don’t Be Chumps

The Chicago Tribune editorial board  says anyone who votes for the pension amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot is a chump. “Don’t be a chump,” says the Trib. It adds that what we really need is a constitutional amendment that gives lawmakers some guidelines for what can and can’t be done to fix the pension disaster Illinois faces. Rival The Chicago Sun-Times agrees: “Voters should say no to the constitutional amendment and send the message that Illinois residents want real pension reform, not potentially harmful window dressing.”

 

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“Cut the Budget, but don’t Cut THAT!”

As candidates how they’ll fix the state budget and you’ll hear this: Cut, cut, cut. Ask voters how the state should fix its budget: Cut, cut, cut. So what happens when something gets cut? “Whoa! Don’t cut that!”

Correctional Facility Block Leads to IL DCFS Reorganization

Gov. Pat Quinn planned to use money saved by closing prisons and other correctional facilities to reverse big cuts to the Department of Children and Family Services. Now that a judge has prevented closing the facilities, Quinn says the cuts are canceled and DCFS will be reorganized. “Makes you wonder why this reorganization plan wasn’t considered in the first place rather than putting employees and DCFS clients through the wringer for the past few months,” notes Statehouse reporter Doug Finke.

Illinois Constitutional Amendment Mocked as Meaningless Gesture

A constitutional amendment on the ballot in Illinois Nov. 6 has been mocked as a meaningless gesture by lawmakers to give the appearance of action on the state’s pension crisis. But a U of I professor emeritus says it’s far from meaningless: It “creates a constitutional blank check to override benefits accrued by state employees, including pensions and health care,” says legal policy expert John Kindt.

Tribune: Speaker Madigan must Unwind his Financial Fiascoes

The Chicago Tribune editorial board has been unsparing in its criticism of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. It scorches Madigan again after its own survey last week had some unflattering numbers on Madigan (depending on your interpretation). The Tribune believes Madigan is more concerned about maintaining his majority than the state’s well being. “If only Madigan would spend his skill and clout unwinding the financial fiascoes he and his cronies created.”

Brizard’s Departure Resonates Beyond Chicago Politics

The departure of Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard is a story that resonates well beyond the Chicago city limits. It’s another chapter in the ongoing story of implementing new state education reforms.

Michael Madigan has 22% Approval, 38% Had No Opinion

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan gets a 22 percent approval rating in a new WGN/Chicago Tribune poll. Only 16 percent had a favorable opinion of him. But that’s not as bad as it sounds: 40 percent of respondents had neither a favorable or unfavorable view of Madigan, and 38 percent had no opinion on whether they approved of his job performance as speaker. Your thoughts?

Even Rahm Has to Answer to the State Pension Issue

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s biggest financial problem comes not from the city he runs, but from the state capital 200 miles south. Unless lawmakers in Springfield act to change the way public pensions are funded, the city in 2015 will have to come up with another $700 million for two of its four municipal pension funds. That’s a total of $1.2 billion – 22 percent of the entire city budget – to fund pensions for city workers.

Great News! Illinois is only $7.6 Billion Behind in Paying its Bills

Great news, Illinois! In nine months, state government will be only $7.6 billion behind in paying its bills. That’s a 14 percent reduction, reports the Civic Federation, reports the Civic Federation of Chicago. But it’s also the most fragile of reductions – pension costs that continue to rise and other variables could delete it, the group warns.

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