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Civic Federation
PI Original
by Matthew Blake
Wed Sep 19, 2012

Teachers Strike Over But Budget Problems Have Only Started

The Chicago Public Schools management team breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted to suspend the CTU strike and let their membership consider a new contract. But while teachers are expected to green light the deal, CPS does not know how to pay for it.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Mon Jun 25, 2012

Clear Examples Of Waste Are Hard To Find In State Budget

Christopher Willis of the Associated Press does some good digging into the state budget passed by the General Assembly last May, uncovering a few state grants Democratic lawmakers slipped in for pet local projects.

But the headline “Special grants helped state Democrats pass budget” could be a bit misleading. As Willis points out, grants are the exception in the state budget, and such pet spending has especially decreased since the General Assembly impeached Rod Blagojevich as governor in January 2009. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Progress Illinois
Tue Jan 31, 2012

Op-Ed: AFSCME Debunks Business Lobby's State Budget Report

The following is a statment from AFSCME on the Civic Federation's new report on the state budget.

The patient, state government, is ailing. Symptoms include chronic failure to adequately fund basic services or pay bills, forcing harmful cuts. But this report fails to diagnose the cause, while the bitter medicine it prescribes offers no cure.

Illinois’s persistent mismatch between costs and revenues—its structural deficit—results from a broken and unfair tax system that fails to capture economic growth and squeezes the middle class while granting rich people lower effective tax rates and allowing two-thirds of all corporations to pay no corporate income tax at all.

Read more »

PI Original
by Adam Doster
Mon Nov 15, 2010

Rumblings Under The Capitol Dome

On the eve of the state legislature's fall veto session, which we previewed last week, lawmakers and stakeholders in Springfield are racing to build support for some important -- and often controversial -- pieces of legislation.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
Mon Apr 26, 2010

A Question For Bill Brady

After analyzing Gov. Pat Quinn's 2011 budget proposal, the Civic Federation came to the conclusion in their new report that the plan relies too much on borrowing, does not impose enough spending cuts, and does not "stabilize the state’s finances." GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady thinks the report undercuts his opponent's proposal to raise the income tax rate from 3 percent to 4 percent. From a statement he released today: "The Civic Federation's report should act as a wake up call for Gov. Pat Quinn to finally drop his 33 percent income tax increase plan and instead make meaningful cuts to government overspending."

Now that he's such a fan of the Civic Fed's research, reporters might want to ask Brady if he supports their own budget plan, released back in February.  In it, the watchdog group urged lawmakers to raise the income tax from 3 to 5 percent, in tandem with substantial spending cuts.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
Wed Mar 24, 2010

Marketplace Gets The Pension Debt Right

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), which covers about 182,000 municipal workers outside of Chicago, is basically solvent. That's the message Laurence Msall of the Civic Federation expressed to American Public Media's Marketplace reporter Jay Field in a piece that aired yesterday on Illinois' pension debt. And he's right. Unlike the state's five other public pension systems, IMRF is funded to the tune of 81 percent of its current actuarial value.

What accounts for the difference? IMRF benefits are virtually identical to those that employees in the State Employee Retirement System receive, so it's not the size of the retirement package. That's what makes Field's takeway -- that "the state legislature gave its Board of Trustees special power to force municipalities to pay into the fund even when they're broke" -- so critical in understanding the problem we face.  Illinois legislators don't have a similar mandate. Maybe it's time they should.

PI Original
by Angela Caputo
Fri Mar 5, 2010

Doomsday: New Report Details Looming Budget Cuts

In its latest policy brief, the child-advocacy group Voices for Illinois Children examined Gov. Pat Quinn's preliminary budget figures to deduce exactly how the potential cuts would impact education and social service programs. Their findings aren't pretty.