Illinois

Darin Lahood's Campaign for Congress

Aaron Schock's soon to be vacant congressional seat is attracting the attention of some Illinois politicians.  The Republican is resigning following public scrutiny into his office's spending and use of taxpayer money. He plans to leave office next week.

Illinois taxpayers are waiting longer than usual for their state income tax refunds. 

Terry Horstman of the Illinois revenue department says the agency is working to fix the problem.

Author Thomas Gradel says when he first thought about the project that would become the book Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality, he envisioned it as an encyclopedia of corruption. But his collaborator Dick Simpson couldn’t picture that approach.

“Dick said he didn’t think we’d have time to do it in our lifetimes,’’ says Gradel, a media consultant and former staffer to then-Gov. Dan Walker, who previously worked on several political campaigns.

One in every 10 Illinois state employees earned more than $100,000 in 2014. That’s according to a published report. 

The employees included judges, prison guards and nurses. The Chicago Sun-Times cites public records, saying 682 workers made more than former Gov. Pat Quinn's six-figure salary.

More than 100 workers doubled their base pay by working overtime or through compensatory time, including more than a dozen workers who got at least $80,000 each in additional pay.

Thirty-eight days into his term as Illinois' governor, Bruce Rauner yesterday delivered his much-anticipated budget address. Amanda Vinicky recaps the financial reckoning.

Starting this year, home sellers in Illinois need to provide more information to potential buyers. 

Illinois already requires disclosure of problems like asbestos, radon, lead paint... and even if a home was used as a meth lab.  Add to that list... issues with doors and windows.

Some may be warped or leak... and lead to bigger concerns.  

Republican investor Bruce Rauner will be the next governor of Illinois — probably. He declared victory over incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn and is up by five percentage points, but the Democrat is refusing to concede.

Rauner made hundreds of millions of dollars as a private equity investor. Lately, though, he’s been investing in himself — spending $27 million of his vast fortune on a quest to become governor of Illinois.

Illinois Public Radio

Two major races in Illinois are going down to the wire.

Absentee Voting? Here Are The Details

Aug 6, 2014

Applications for absentee voting begin today. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, the first day for mailing-in absentee votes for the fall election is September 25th. Absentee voting forms must be postmarked by midnight on November 3, 2014.

Find out if you qualify for absentee voting here.

  Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing. The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.

It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.

  A year after Illinois legalized concealed carry, new rules are out to determine the process for deciding who can't carry a gun in public. The Illinois State Police issued the emergency rules Monday 7/14 afternoon.

Illinois Tourism Sets Another Record

Jul 14, 2014

There were more than 100 million visitors to Illinois in 2013. State agencies aim to grow those numbers more in the face of budget cuts. 

For the third year in a row, Illinois broke its own record for visitors to the state. In 2013, travelers spent $34.5 billion dollars in Illinois, according to the state's office of tourism.

en.wikipedia.org

Galesburg city council members are reviewing new zoning rules that accommodate medical marijuana facilities.

Illinois Ends Fiscal Year In The Black...Temporarily

Jul 10, 2014

The state took in over a billion dollars more in taxes than the prior year, thanks to an uptick in sales tax money.  Personal income tax revenue also rose , but the amount coming from corporate income taxes dropped. It's something Jim Muschinske, a budget forecaster for the state, said was predicted.

"That was not unexpected. In fact, we actually did better this fiscal year than what was initially assumed back when the budget was passed," Muschinske said.

Assessing The Minimum Wage Landscape

Jul 9, 2014

Despite Democratic majorities and a push from the governor, Illinois' legislative session adjourned without a bump in the minimum wage.

Lawmakers settled for putting a non-binding question on the November ballot asking if that's something voters want.

Part of the problem was that legislators from downstate -- from both parties -- were against a hike.

Andrew Biggs says it doesn't make sense to make sense to have a national, or even statewide, minimum wage. Biggs is a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C. think tank that leans toward free enterprise.

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