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UnionsAmendment 1 to the Illinois Constitution remains too close to call.

The government union-backed amendment can pass in one of two ways. Either at least 60% of Illinoisans vote “yes” on the ballot question, or more than 50% of all voters in the election approve it.

The New York Times reported 58% of Illinoisans voted in favor of the constitutional amendment based on data from over 95% of counties Nov. 11. That number alone would mean the amendment would fail unless the uncounted ballots give it 60% of the vote on the question, but there is another way it could pass.

The second way for it to pass is to get at least 50% of the total votes cast in the election. That number remains elusive because of those uncounted ballots.

Illinois accepts mail-in ballots for up to two weeks after Election Day if the envelope was postmarked by Nov. 8. That means a final tally could take weeks and it could be that long before voters know whether over 50% of all Illinois voters in the election approved the change to the constitution. All ballots cast must be counted before election officials are able to make that calculation.

Election officials said they expect a smaller share of voters to cast mail ballots than in 2020, reducing reporting times. The number of mail ballots requested but that had not been returned can be tracked here, but was nearly 235,000 early on Nov. 10.

Government workers in Illinois already have the right to unionize and collectively bargain for wages, hours and working conditions. They have some of the strongest labor rights in the nation.

But Amendment 1 would add “economic welfare” and “safety at work” as subjects, which lawmakers haven’t defined and isn’t mentioned in any other state constitution. The definitions and other issues are expected to be decided by the courts, but could take years to litigate.

More here.

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220 Enrolment

“At the Nov. 1 Board of Education meeting, the Board heard an update on student enrollment numbers in Barrington 220. Thirty days into the 2022-23 school year, the district’s total enrollment was 8,221 students, which is an increase by 56 students compared to last school year.

The 30-day enrollment figures are a snapshot in time. Enrollment will fluctuate during the school year as it has in the past and the district will continue to monitor it accordingly. Click here to view the full presentation.”

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RCBH-logo-4-768x421

The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • 2023 Tax Levy Ordinance, and
  • Large Equipment To Purchase

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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Barrington

Prepare to get Darched Barrington taxpayers.

Barrington home rule:

Voters in Barrington have approved a ballot measure giving the village home rule authority, with 2,488 votes in favor and 2,102 against, unofficial results showed late Tuesday.

Village officials said home rule status would give them more local control to invest further in roads, bike paths and community spaces. One proposal is the creation of Park Avenue Plaza, a community gathering space and al fresco dining area. To ease residents’ concerns about tax hikes, village trustees approved an ordinance that would prevent them from raising the property tax levy above the current cap set on non-home rule communities.

Voters rejected a similar home rule measure in 2014.

Cook County forest preserves:

Voters across the county agreed to a property tax hike that will help the forest preserve district acquire more land, restore some existing sites, fund maintenance projects, pay down pension costs and expand programming. A portion of the funds will also go to Brookfield Zoo and Chicago Botanic Garden.

With 92% of precincts reporting, unofficial results show 731,555 favored the tax hike and 350,547 opposed it.

Approval of the ballot measure — providing a $43 million boost to the district’s annual budget — will mean paying about $20 more in property taxes a year, on top of about $36 to $48 that currently goes to the district. A coalition of more than 150 organizations supported the request for additional funds for the county’s nearly 70,000 acres of forest preserves.

More here.

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Top 2022

For three years running, District 220 was named to the list of, “Top Workplaces in Chicagoland,” by the Chicago Tribune. Unfortunately, 220 did not make the Tribune’s list for 2022 as seen here.

Perhaps it was the BHS traffic that turned off would-be voters (seeDistrict 220’s ‘Nightmare on Main Street’ starts tomorrow”), but no public or private schools were named to this year’s list either.  The other possibility is 220 cut their marketing budget too far.

Better luck next year!     

Related:Barrington 220 (again) named “Top Workplaces 2021” by the Chicago Tribune

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Unions

Crain’s Chicago Business’ editorial board is endorsing a ‘no’ vote on Amendment 1. Two Crain’s columnists did so, also, because of the unchecked power it would grant government unions.

Crain’s Chicago Business is the newest editorial board asking Illinoisans to reject Amendment 1.

Prior to the editorial board’s endorsement, two of their columnists wrote against the amendment as well as The Wall Street JournalChicago TribuneDaily Herald and News-Gazette in Champaign.

In addition to editorial boards, a prominent Democrat, former Chicago 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith, endorsed voting “no” on Amendment 1.

Crain’s Editorial Board

Crain’s endorses a no vote because of the effect Amendment 1 would have on Illinois’ business climate. Voters will decide its fate Nov. 8.

“In fact, it’s the very last thing this state needs. Bestowing special constitutional status on unions would give companies one more reason to avoid Illinois.”

This year, businesses such as Tyson, Citadel, Boeing, Caterpillar, FTX and Highland Ventures announced moves out of Illinois. McDonald’s restaurants said its headquarters’ future in Illinois is uncertain.

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited the Crain’s editorial board, he discussed impediments to businesses coming to Illinois. The state’s fiscal mess creating tax uncertainty and Chicago crime were on his list, but the editorial board had a third.

“Though Pritzker didn’t list it, there’s a third impediment – one the governor was eager to back away from in our Oct. 12 conversation. It’s the perception that labor runs the show in Illinois, making it costlier to do business here and nearly impossible to solve the biggest budgetary burden we face as a state – namely, the unfunded obligation of about $130 billion that every man, woman and child in this state owes to our public employee pension systems.”

They said passing Amendment 1 would be a major mistake.

Read more here.

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Springfield

An audit of Illinois public employee salaries and pensions found a staggering number of employees were in the six-figure club.

The nonprofit government watchdog organization OpenTheBooks.com found educators, city managers, bus drivers and even barbers were pulling in more than $100,000 a year. A total of 132,188 public employees made six-figure salaries, costing taxpayers $17 billion.

“Six-figure public employees skyrocketed from 94,000 in 2018 to just shy of 133,000 in 2021, so there is a new minimum wage for government work in Illinois and it’s $100,000-plus,” said OpenTheBooks founder and CEO Adam Andrzejewski.

The audit found that nearly 500 educators in public schools earned salaries between $200,000 and $439,000. Several superintendents of school districts are pulling down more than $350,000 a year, including Edward Mansfield, the head of the Homewood Flossmoor school district, who made over $434,000 in 2021.

Eighteen retired school superintendents received $300,000 in retirement pensions, including Lawrence Wyllie from Lincoln-Way school district, who made $361,787.

City managers in Illinois made more money than all 50 governors. The city managers of Rolling Meadows and Evanston, and the village managers of Grayslake and Palatine all made more than $300,000 last year.

Andrzejewski said the startling figures are another reason Amendment One should be defeated in the Illinois statewide election.

“Amendment One would enshrine public sector unions with very aggressive negotiating advantages, for higher salaries, more perks and constitutionally-backed pension mandates,” Andrzejewski said. “Public sector employees, they don’t need any further help, they are living the good life right now.”

More here.

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52

The candidates in the 52nd House District include incumbent Republican state Rep. Martin McLaughlin and Democratic challenger Mary Morgan. (Provided by candidates)

While incumbent state Rep. Martin McLaughlin said the state of Illinois needs to cut its spending, Democratic challenger Mary Morgan said she appreciates a balanced budget but doesn’t want cuts to come from education.

McLaughlin, a self described “numbers guy,” is finishing his first term after winning election in 2020, said he sees his role as calling out expense spending by the Democratic supermajority in Springfield. Morgan, by contrast, said she will fight to fund programs, including education.

Before becoming a state representative, McLaughlin was a pension fund manager and the village president of Barrington Hills for eight years. Morgan spent several decades working in various marketing and management positions for Motorola and later the Brightstar Corp., before she took a job as an administrative assistant in the curriculum office at Wauconda School District 118 in 2021.

“Springfield has a spending problem,” McLaughlin said, noting that Illinois is ranked last among states by Moody’s credit rating.

“They need outsiders like me to explain to them how debt and high property taxes hurt families,” McLaughlin said. “We won’t get government bailout money again. But we already spent that money in this year’s budget. Where is that money coming from in the next budget? Middle class taxpayers, unfortunately.”

While McLaughlin said most of the time that means generating public awareness of financial issues, McLaughlin said he’s proud of sponsoring House Bill 4772, which deals with design-build contracts – where a single contractor provides design and construction services – that could lower construction and engineering costs for county projects. It unanimously passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law in May.

“Doing that as a Republican in the supermajority Democrat chamber was not easy,” McLaughlin said. “It shows that I can get things done.”

While Morgan, who touts her own business acumen working in the wireless industry, agreed it was important for politicians to have some understanding of business principles, she doesn’t think that governments need to be run as a business.

Read more here.

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220 Admin

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. Topics on their agenda include:

  • 07 Special Public Comment on IASB Resolutions
  • 01 Consideration to Approve Professional Development for B. Altshuler, L. Collister-Lazzari, and S. Wang
  • 02 Consideration to Approve IASB Delegate
  • 03 Consideration and Approval of Resolution and Intergovernmental Agreement for Sale of Woodland School to the Dundee Township Park District

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.

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333

A new survey by SmartAsset.com has found that New York, California and Illinois are losing more highly paid workers under 35 than they are gaining.

SmartAsset, a website that provides financial advice to young professionals, compiled the survey data by comparing the tax returns of workers making over $100,000 during the survey period of 2019 to 2020.

The Prairie State finished third, behind New York and California, for net loss of sought-after workers under 35. The District of Columbia and Massachusetts came in fourth and fifth behind Illinois for net loss of those workers, the survey found.

Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said the survey numbers are small, but businesses in Illinois continue to be concerned about retaining workers.

Illinois gained 6,527 highly paid professionals during  2019 and 2020, but it lost 9,386 comparable workers, SmartAsset found. That is a net loss of 2,859 top-talent workers.

“Whether you are a trucking firm or a McDonald’s franchisee or an IT consultant, everybody is competing for talent,” Maisch told The Center Square. “Illinois is still attracting talent, but the big thing that comes to my mind is, can we keep it?”

The most popular destinations for rich young workers are Washington state, Texas and Florida, SmartAsset found. Maisch said highly paid workers in their 30s are looking for mid-career lifestyles.

“Another state might not have the Chicago lakefront, but it can have a lot of things that Chicago has,” he said. “Recruiters from other states say, ‘We’re safer. We’re more stable. You won’t have to worry about the government zigging and zagging on you all the time.’ That’s our competition.”

More here.

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