Four Illinois pension solutions we ought to be pushing

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In a recent post, I focused on the fact that we still have the worst pension debt among all U.S. states and yet there seems to be little focus on trying to do something about that this spring in Springfield.

Don’t get me wrong. A budget deal with cuts, purchasing reforms, efficiencies and an actual balance without gimmicks would be welcome.

Only in Illinois (12/4/2015)

from Reboot Illinois

When reporter Kurt Erickson began covering the Illinois Statehouse, Jim Edgar was governor, George Ryan was secretary of state, Rod Blagojevich was a little-known state representative and a civil rights attorney from Chicago named Barack Obama was about to win election to his first term in the Illinois Senate.

In nearly two decades of covering Illinois government and politics for Lee Enterprises newspapers, Erickson saw a transition from an atmosphere of deal-making amid a healthy state economy to the current state of budget gridlock and partisan bickering as leaders argue over the cause of the economic malaise that’s gripped Illinois since the Great Recession. He has covered five governors, including two who would go to prison on corruption charges.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has worked all year to show Gov. Bruce Rauner that he’s still the most powerful person in Springfield, but that wasn’t the scene when Erickson arrived at the Statehouse. Continue reading

Only in Illinois (11-27-1015)

A coalition of business groups fro the greater Chicago area this week sent a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four leaders of the Illinois General Assembly pleading with them to get a state budget passed and bring some stability back to the Illinois economy. As the Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the budget impasse, things only are getting worse. Expectations are low for the first meeting between the governor and the four leaders next week, but pressure is high from those afftected by the current state of affairs. That’s our topic on this week’s “Only in Illinois.”

Only in Illinois (11-20-2015) [Video]

from Reboot Illinois

This week Gov. Bruce Rauner was part of a wave of governors who announced their states were suspending acceptance of Syrian refugees in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. Unfortunately for the governors, they have no authority to do so. Refugee and immigration policy is the exclusive province of the federal government. They’re not helpless here, however. Governors do have authority to make their states inhospitable to refugees. Whether and how Rauner plans to do that is our topic on this week’s “Only in Illinois.”

Speaker Madigan Starting to Lose Control

-Excerpt by Rich Miller featured on Reboot Illinois

…House Speaker Michael Madigan clearly had a very bad week.

Madigan, who has long been considered the most successful Democratic politician in Illinois history, had hoped to finally knock down the Republican Rauner’s solid GOP legislative wall on Tuesday and force the House Republicans to defy their governor by voting to rescind Rauner’s slashing of the state’s child care program and social services for the elderly and disabled.

But the rug was pulled out from under Madigan.

Only in Illinois (11-6-2015) [Video]

Rauner’s money, looming March primary will make Illinois budget vote especially complicated

by Matt Dietrich and Madeleine Doubek | Reboot Illinois

We’re within three weeks of candidate filings for the March 2016 primary.

By January, all legislative candidates should know whether they’ll have a challenger in the primary, which means a lot of lawmakers will find out if they’re “safe” for the November general election.

This is important, because passing a long-overdue state budget will mean voting to raise taxes, and no lawmaker in a tight reelection or primary race wants to go on record raising taxes right before an election.

With Gov. Bruce Rauner dispensing limitless sums to support Republican candidates, Democrats are especially wary.
Continue reading

Only in Illinois (10-30-2015 )

by Matt Dietrich and Madeleine Doubek | Reboot Illinois

This week Illinois saw some examples of technology moving faster than government’s ability to define and regulate it.

In Chicago, the city budget added fees to ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft amid protests from traditional cab drivers, who say ride-share drivers are unfairly being allowed to put them out of business.

Also, two state lawmakers introduced a bill to define and regulate daily fantasy sports operations like DraftKings and FanDuel. If not for smartphones, neither of these industries would exist.
Continue reading