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[24 Oct 2017 | One Comment | ]

SB 1905 is stunning in its severity.
It doesn’t just prohibit local Right-to-Work zones. It would hold criminally liable any official who violates that prohibition.

Specifically, the bill states:
“Any officer, representative, director, elected official, or the like of any local government or political subdivision, or agent thereof who knowingly or willfully violates this Act, or who knowingly or willfully fails to comply with this Act, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.”
That means the bill equates Right to Work – an economic policy that has been adopted by the majority of states and is …

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[22 Jan 2016 | No Comment | ]

In Illinois, the right political connections command a premium.
John Bills – the former Chicago transportation official indicted on corruption charges in August 2014 – knows this as well as anyone.

Federal prosecutors allege Bills received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and perks from Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. in exchange for bringing the company’s red-light cameras to Chicago.
Now, the admitted bagman for Bills’ scheme with Redflex, Martin O’Malley, said Bills ordered him to cut checks totaling $5,500 to Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Mike Madigan’s 13th Ward Democratic Organization, according …

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[23 Dec 2015 | No Comment | ]

Owners of the “Home Alone” house in Winnetka, Illinois have paid nearly $750,000 in property taxes on the home since 1990 – close to half the home’s value.

Who’s the real thief? Joe Pesci in a ski mask? Or a property-tax system that makes families pay twice for their house?
Read more at Illinois Policy

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[15 Jul 2015 | No Comment | ]

Buying local just got a lot less appealing for Chicagoans.
The city reclaimed the highest sales-tax rate in the nation on July 15, when the Cook County Board, which oversees Illinois’ largest city, voted to raise its portion of the sales tax, bringing Chicago’s combined rate to 10.25 percent from 9.25 percent.
Chicago is now right back where it was in 2008, when the county raised its rate to 1.75 percent from 0.75 percent (the same leap as the 2015 increase).

Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger hiked the sales-tax rate in …

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[19 May 2015 | No Comment | ]

It’s a common misconception that none of Illinois’ state workers are eligible for Social Security benefits.
This misconception is often used as a way to justify Illinois’ generous pension system.
But when it comes to government employees who participate in the State Employees’ Retirement System, or SERS, that argument is far from the truth.
In fact, 96 percent of the 62,844 active members who participate in SERS also participate in Social Security. That group represents more than 20 percent of the 277,000 active members in Illinois’ five state retirement systems.

Read more at Illinois …

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[21 Jan 2015 | No Comment | ]

Illinois has used the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, Tax Credit Act to dole out nearly $1 billion in tax credits to businesses since 2001. The act establishes that EDGE tax credits can only go to businesses creating new jobs in the state. But the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, or DCEO, created its own regulations under which the agency gave out EDGE tax credits to companies for “retained” jobs.

The Liberty Justice Center, a public-interest law center, filed a lawsuit on Jan. 9 on behalf of …

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[14 Jan 2015 | No Comment | ]

During his last days in office, Gov. Pat Quinn doled out $24 million in taxpayer money to local park districts for luxury items such as dog parks and disc-golf courses.

Quinn signed off on this spending despite Illinois’ overdue bill backlog of over $6 billion and the nation’s worst credit rating.
The governor’s most recent handouts came from Illinois’ Open Space Land Acquisition and Development, or OSLAD, program, which is financed via a portion of the state’s real estate transfer tax.
Read more at Illinois Policy Institute

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[9 Jan 2015 | No Comment | ]

“Solidarity” is central to how unions view themselves. The belief that all working men and women share essentially the same aspirations is supposed to run through workers’ blood. And in union lore, when that singleness of purpose is realized, “there can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun.”
But in the real world, conflict between different groups of workers is constant, and one old division – between government employees and private-sector workers, is reopening. Signs of the conflict are easily visible in Illinois, and rifts are opening across the country.

Maybe …

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[19 Aug 2014 | No Comment | ]

Illinois’ labor force shrank by 17,100 people in July, according to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS also reported that the state’s unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent from 7.1 percent. However, the entire decline in the July unemployment rate came as a result of workers quitting the workforce.

This grim news comes after a disastrous June, when 21,600 people dropped out of the Illinois workforce – more than any other month in state history.
In the last four months, a total of 63,000 Illinoisans have quit the labor force. Workers quitting the …

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[29 Jan 2014 | One Comment | ]

New information from an Illinois state agency raises questions about whether the state was right to make home health care workers eligible for unionization, a case now before the Supreme Court: It is not clear that the state ever properly verified the vote that first organized the workers.

In a Dec. 12 letter, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services conceded it could not produce any documentation showing that it had authenticated the union’s 2003 claim that it had the workers’ majority support.
Nor was the state able to provide any after …