THE ECONOMIST ON ILLINOIS I guess I’ve been so
immersed in all that has gone on this summer – the pension committee, Gov.
Quinn canceling lawmakers’ salaries, lawmakers suing Quinn, Mike Madigan and
the Metra scandal, former White House chiefs of staff running for governor and
running Chicago, which is a city facing pension debt disaster in a state facing
the same – that I never looked at it all as one picture. The respected,
London-based magazine The Economist does in its current issue,
and what a picture it is. For once, an outside media outlet (with an
international readership, no less) sizes up Illinois and gets it right. It's
not the kind of press any state wants, though it's hard to argue that it's not
the press Illinois government deserves. I've got excerpts and a link to the whole
piece here. Don't miss this one.
PENSION PROGRESS No one in Illinois has
sounded the warning of Illinois' looming pension disaster longer or with more
credibility than Civic Federation President Laurence Msall. With the General
Assembly's conference committee on pension reform now nearing its second month
of work, we caught up with Msall for a quick Q&A on reform progress. Msall
is cautiously optimistic. Then again, that might be because he knows what could
await if the committee fails: "(I)t is increasingly difficult to envision
what the future holds for our state and local governments under the current
unsustainable system." Read the whole interview here.
PENSION OBSTRUCTION Chicago attorney and
Sun-Times columnist Eden Martin is not so optimistic. He believes public
employee unions in Illinois have a five-point plan to stop real pension reform
then initiate a new tax system to fund generous benefits for years to come. He explains the whole process in his
PERFECT STORM Without
substantial changes, Illinois' pension crisis threatens the entire state
budget. This is the greatest financial threat the state ever has faced, and we
got here through years of bad decisions and unrealistic promises. Help us keep
the pressure on Springfield to make the difficult decisions today that will
bring retirement security and a sound state budget in years to come. Sign our pension petition and take a look at our timeline of events
that created this crisis.
TAX TALK We'll be
discussing the effort to bring a progressive income tax system to Illinois in
Springfield on Thursday with proponent Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and
Budget Accountability and opponent Ted Dabrowski of the Illinois Policy
Institute. The future of Illinois' income tax is shaping up to be the biggest
issue of the 2014 race for governor. Join us at 10 a.m. at the Hoogland Center
for the Arts for what promises to be a spirited discussion. Find out more here.
RECORD REVENUE With Illinois' backlog
of unpaid bills expected to hit $7 billion this month, you might not guess that
the state is bringing in more income tax revenue than ever. It's true. Take a look at this infographic to
see how Illinois' tax collections compare to other states in the region in
recent years. These numbers are more evidence of the damage done by pension
debt in Illinois.
PHOTO CONTEST: WE LOVE
ILLINOIS Reboot Illinois wouldn't exist if we didn't believe Illinois is
a great state that deserves better government. There are many things that make
Illinois great -- probably as many things as there are Illinoisans. Do you have
a vision of something that represents what makes Illinois great to you?
Photograph it and enter it in our "Why Is Illinois Great" photo contest.
A sunrise, a farm field, kids having fun in Illinois' four distinct seasons.
Anything that makes you proud of your home state. Click here to find out how to enter
(it's easy). You could win one of three Visa gift cards. Come on! Join the fun!
TOP 5 Here are links to 5 key Illinois news and opinion items you should check out today. You'll find links to and summaries of many more in the Daily Tip-Off section of our website.
- 5. Chicago Public School
leaders insist they are ready for the first day of the new school year. (Chicago Sun-Times)
4. Chicagoans have written letters to the judge sentencing Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Sandi Jackson letting the judge know they’re fed up with corruption. (Chicago Sun-Times)
3. Jesse Jackson, Jr. would prefer to spend a prison term in either Alabama or North Carolina. (Chicago Tribune)
2. Opinion: Politicians are costing taxpayers too much money when they travel by air instead of by car or train. (Rockford Register Star)
1. Democrats have picked former Ald. Dick Mell’s top aide to replace his daughter, Deb Mell, in the Illinois House. (Chicago Tribune)