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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:36pm
Fri Apr 11

Report: TIFs Play A Role In Chicago's Pension Crisis

With the media and public spotlight on Chicago's pension crisis, the non-partisan research center Good Jobs First is turning the attention to the city's controversial tax increment financing, or TIF, program.

In its recent "Putting Municipal Pension Costs Into Context: Chicago" report, the Washington, D.C.-based group asserts that the TIF program has played a part in the underfunding of pensions in the city.

"It's really hard to ignore the evidence that TIF has had some sort of impact on pensions," said Tommy Cafcas, research analyst at Good Jobs First, which works to promote corporate and government accountability.

"We know that TIF costs grew, and they started growing really quickly after 2000. We know that general fund revenues declined ... and we know that the city addressed its budget gap in part by making inadequate contributions to public pensions, so it seems reasonable that TIF plays a role in how the city thinks about addressing the pension issue."

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
9:15pm
Tue Apr 8

Number Of The Day: 78

Illinois women make 78 cents for every dollar that a man earns, which is an especially disheartening statistic on Equal Pay Day. 

“If someone does the same work, they should earn the same pay,” said Gov. Pat Quinn, who observed Equal Pay Day with fellow lawmakers Tuesday. “Yet here we are in 2014 — 51 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act — and women on average still don’t earn as much as their male counterparts in the workplace. We won’t be satisfied until all workers are equally compensated for the same work, regardless of their gender. When women succeed, our economy grows.”

In Illinois, female workers who feel their lower wages are attributed to gender-based pay discrimination can seek assistance at the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL), which is tasked with enforcing the Illinois Equal Pay Act. Female workers across the state have been successful in getting the money due to them, according to the agency. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Wed Apr 2

Chicago City Council Roundup: Emanuel Defends Pension Plan, Aldermen Call Mental Health Service Hearings

Progress Illinois provides some highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:13pm
Tue Apr 1

Race For Illinois Treasurer Heats Up

The General Election is not for another seven months, but the nominees for Illinois treasurer are wasting no time in taking jabs at each other. Progress Illinois takes a look at the race for treasurer that pits State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) against State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego). 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:39pm
Tue Apr 1

Revised Chicago Petcoke Ordinance 'Opens The Door' For More Dirty Facilities, Environmentalists Say

Environmentalists and Southeast Side Chicagoans are furious over recent changes made to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed ordinance to crack down on petcoke, claiming the revisions have weakened the legislation.

The mayor’s measure, initially introduced at March’s city council meeting, originally sought to ban new petcoke facilities from opening in the city and prohibit existing sites from expanding. But at the council’s zoning committee meeting Tuesday, the public learned the pending petcoke ordinance, co-sponsored by Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and John Pope (10th), has since been revised.

“That blindsided us,” Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force told Progress Illinois after the nearly two-hour committee hearing. “How can they provide us with information, an ordinance to review and evaluate … then when we get here to testify and speak [on] the ordinance, they give us something totally different than what we did all that work on? How can they do that? How is that allowed?”

The council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards agreed to defer consideration of the measure until its April 24 meeting to allow the public more time to review the substitute ordinance.

“I think there may be a few more items we can add,” Pope said before asking the committee to defer the vote.

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