Tag 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 rebootillinois.com 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.”

On the Dockett for the Lame Duck Sessions? Casinos, for one.

Illinois lawmakers over the coming 10 days could cast votes to bring a long-awaited (and much coveted) casino to Chicago, among many other issues, as they begin their lame duck session. For 35 members of the General Assembly whose terms will end Jan. 9, this is a chance to cast controversial votes – like reforming the state’s public pension system – without worry of facing the wrath of voters. Not an especially courageous or efficient way to operate.

Squeezy-Mania Hits Illinois

In a mere 24 hours, Illinois has caught a severe case of Squeezy-mania, thanks to the Illinois’ pension predicament’s new mascot, Squeezy the Pension Python. Through no fault of his (her?) own, Squeezy attracted mostly derisive commentary when he/she debuted Sunday. Really, though, the video in which Squeezy appears offers a pretty good explanation the problem. Plus, it opens the exciting possibility of a pension reform bill written in Parseltongue.

Squeezy The Python Reboot Illinois Pension Issue



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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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Chicago Civic Committee: Illinois Pension Can’t Be Fixed

Yesterday we posted that Gov. Pat Quinn’s office now says the state’s pension liability is $95 billion. One group that has been advocating long and hard for pension reform now says the system can’t be fixed. Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago has a four-point plan: eliminate all cost of living increases, impose a salary cap at which pensions are calculated, raise the retirement age to 67 and shift all pension costs to local bodies (translation: school districts) over 12 years.

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Unfunded Pension Liability up to $95B from $83B

Breaking news!
The governor’s office has updated its pension numbers over the past week. With the state’s largest retirement system expecting to earn less on its investments, the state’s unfunded pension liability now stands at $95 billion. That’s up from the previous figure of $83 billion. And it will only grow without significant reform to the current pension system.

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The Educational State We’re In Isn’t a Good One

Only a third of Illinois students are proficient in reading after fourth grade. Only a third enter high school academically prepared. More than a quarter of Illinois students who enter high school won’t graduate. Those are among the facts noted in education reform group Advance Illinois’ new study, “The State We’re In,” which says education reform is moving at a glacial pace.


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Jesse White Hopes Derrick Smith Can Get Booted Out Twice

Secretary of State Jesse White was the political sponsor of indicted and now reelected former State Rep. Derrick Smith. Now he hopes the House — which kicked Smith out in August because of his pending bribery trial — can figure out a way to expel Smith a second time.


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