2

Jun

2019

Illinois Senate approves legalizing sports betting, gambling expansion and funding for nearly $45 billion capital construction plan

Author: Editor

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session Sunday and delivered first-term Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “think big” agenda as the Senate voted to raise motorists’ taxes and fees and embark upon a massive statewide gambling expansion that included a Chicago casino and legalized sports betting to pay for new roads, bridges and public buildings.

The new governor took to the floor of the Senate as the chamber concluded its work, with Democratic Senate President John Cullerton saying that lawmakers and the public would have “all summer to thank and pay tribute to him” as he signs into law various portions of his agenda. That included legalizing recreational marijuana, endorsing a sweeping abortion-rights bill and lawmakers putting a measure on the 2020 ballot asking voters to amend the state constitution to allow for a graduated-rate income tax to replace the mandated flat-rate tax. Lawmakers also reached a bipartisan agreement on a $40 billion state spending plan that legislators in both parties said was balanced.

Despite being forced into overtime this weekend after failing to meet its scheduled May 31 adjournment date, the size and scope of Pritzker’s achievements less than six months into office — often with Republican support — represented the release of a pent-up desire among lawmakers to show accomplishments after four years of governmental dysfunction and gridlock due to the ideological battles between former one-term GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature.

 

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Categories: State Issues

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25

May

2019

Did Congress read the Mueller report? More than a quarter of these key lawmakers won’t say.

Author: Editor

Rep. Justin Amash broke ranks with fellow Republicans when he said special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report shows that President Trump took actions that “meet the threshold for impeachment,” arguing that the stark partisan divide over the findings was because “few members of Congress have read the report.”

While it’s common for politicians to draw very different conclusions from the same set of facts, the Michigan congressman’s suggestion in several tweetstorms this past week is bolder — that most lawmakers simply ignored Mueller’s report.

So how many lawmakers actually read the entire 448-page, redacted report released on April 18?

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Categories: National Issues

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18

May

2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker set to unveil $41.5 billion ‘Rebuild Illinois’ capital plan that includes $1.8 billion in new and increased taxes

Author: Editor

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to unveil a six-year, $41.5 billion plan to repair Illinois’ crumbling roads, bridges, public schools and university buildings in a massive proposal that calls for nearly $1.8 billion in new taxes and tax increases, according to documents provided to lawmakers at a Friday briefing.

Dubbed Rebuild Illinois, it would be the state’s first large-scale infrastructure improvement program in a decade and would result in higher costs for everything from ride-sharing to cable and streaming services, as well as a significant hike at the gas pump.

The long-awaited proposal, which comes as lawmakers are working to finalize the state budget before their schedule May 31 adjournment, received a lukewarm response from some of the governor’s fellow Democrats and pushback from some Republicans. The preliminary drafts distributed Friday follow behind-the-scenes negotiations with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Changes are expected even before Pritzker makes a formal announcement next week.

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Categories: State Issues

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12

May

2019

Will County Clerk's 2019 election report lists costs, challenges

Author: Editor

Will County Clerk Lauren Staley-Ferry presented a report of last month’s consolidated municipal election, spelling out the work her staff did as well as the costs and challenges associated with it. 

On Thursday, Staley-Ferry presented the report to members of the Will County Board.

“It really details the processes, the deployment of staffing and equipment, and the costs,” Staley-Ferry told board members. “It’s certainly meant to be as comprehensive and as transparent as possible.”

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1

May

2019

Yes, there is a fact-based argument regarding graduated income tax

Author: Editor

Anyone who pays attention to state government knows Illinois' fiscal system is a hot mess. Illinois has a huge -- as in $8 billion plus -- accumulated deficit in its General Fund. Not good, considering over $9 out of every $10 of spending on services goes to the four core areas of education, health care, social services and public safety.

On top of that, Illinois is also one of the most notoriously unfair taxing states in the nation. The reason: Illinois over taxes low- and middle-income families while under taxing the wealthy. Also not good, given research by Professors Piketty and Saez covering the 1979-2015 sequence which found that over 108 percent of all real growth in income -- or more than all of it -- went to the wealthiest 10 percent in America. Which means everyone in the bottom 90 percent made less after inflation in 2015 than in 1979.

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Categories: State Issues

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