Archive for the ‘Pritzker’s Rules of Order’ Category


By Zeta Cross | The Center Square contributor

Illinois is the most expensive state for natural gas heating bills.

MoneyGeek, the financial planning website, has ranked Illinois No. 1 among states with the highest projected residential winter heating bills.

Anja Solum, data journalism manager for MoneyGeek, said the average natural gas heating cost for Illinois households this winter is expected to be $133 a month. That is $5 monthly more than residents in No. 2 ranked Oklahoma can expect to pay.

The good news is that natural gas prices have dropped from the highs that we saw last year. Illinois residents can expect to pay $35 less per month for home heating this winter than they did last winter when Illinois households paid an average of $168 a month for natural gas.

MoneyGeek used projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to rank states by heating cost, Solum said.

“EIA tracks the number of households that are using natural gas,” Solum said. “We compared that to the retail prices for residential customers.”

Heating costs in Illinois’ neighboring states are considerably lower. The average household cost in No. 8 Michigan is $106 a month. In Indiana, at No. 25, bills average $74 a month. At No. 26 Wisconsin, residents pay an average of $72 a month. For the complete list of ranked states, go to the MoneyGeek website.

More here.

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Illinois Budget Pensions

Unfunded liabilities for Illinois’ five statewide pension systems grew by $2.5 billion in a year, hitting its second-highest level since 2009. Researchers attributed most of the growth to “larger than expected salary increases.”

By Patrick Andriesen | Illinois Policy

llinois’ state pension debt grew by $2.6 billion between fiscal years 2022 and 2023, spurred primarily by “larger than expected salary increases” for state employees.

A new pension report from the state legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability shows statewide pension debt rose by 1.8% to $142.3 billion, based on the market value of the assets.

After growing for the second consecutive year, pension debt for the five statewide systems now sits at the second-highest level in the past 20 years. Federal pandemic funding allowed the state to temporarily arrest the deepening debt, but it is again growing.

Researchers attributed the rapid rise in pension debt to “larger than expected salary increases in all five systems.”

Pay raises for state employees in FY 2023 increased the unfunded liability by a total of $1.074 billion, with members of the three largest systems – the Teachers’ Retirement System, State Employees’ Retirement System and State Universities Retirement System – spurring most of the growth.

Pension Debt

Another $767.6 million in new debt was attributed to “demographic and other miscellaneous changes.” This includes differences between the predicted and actual benefits paid to employees as well as refunds.

Read more here.

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By Rick Pearson | Chicago Tribune

The host committee for next year’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago announced Wednesday the creation of an advisory council to assist efforts to ensure broad involvement of businesses owned by diverse racial, ethnic and gender entrepreneurs in the convention.

The council will work with the host committee to set diversity spending goals as well as to establish equity practices, community engagement strategies and contract and event execution plans, the host committee said.

Co-chairing the diversity council are Jaemie Neely, executive director of the Federation of Women Contractors, and Jackie Gomez, executive director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association.

The host committee wants to ensure that the August convention “highlights and utilizes Chicago’s robust diverse business community,” said Christy George, the committee’s executive director. Creating the council “is a critical step in ensuring business and individuals from a wide array of backgrounds have a seat at the table where decisions are being made,” George said.

Read more here.

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Bears SF

An aerial view shows parking lots near Soldier Field in 2014. (Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune)

By Robert McCoppin | Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Bears continue to check out a variety of sites in and around Chicago — including the site of Soldier Field — as potential homes for a new stadium, officials said Wednesday.

The Bears are doing due diligence on the viability of the south parking lot at Soldier Field as the location for their next stadium, according to unnamed sources cited by The Parkins & Spiegel Show on WSCR-AM 670 The Score.

The Bears have proposed building a $5 billion enclosed stadium and entertainment and housing complex on the site of the closed Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights. The project has stalled while the team tries to negotiate favorable property taxes for the site.

The Bears reportedly are using the same surveying firm, Compass Surveying Ltd. in Aurora, that they used for Arlington Heights and other potential locations.

In response, the Bears would not confirm the report, but issued the following brief statement:

“As we stated in September earlier this year, we want to appropriately explore all opportunities across Chicagoland for the development of a world-class stadium.”

More here.

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JH 20 - Website Header

By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square

A new report says that Illinois is home to one of the worst judicial hellholes in the country.

The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) identified Illinois, specifically Cook County, as the second worst, the worst ranking in more than a decade.

The report says Illinois rivals California and New York for the most food and beverage class actions in the country due to the state’s reputation for allowing no-injury lawsuits and plaintiff-friendly consumer protection laws. But also the state’s controversial Biometric Information Privacy Act or BIPA is a problem, it says.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that every individual biometric information scan counts as a separate violation, meaning a single instance of biometric data collection can result in thousands of distinct claims.

“The way the courts have interpreted the statute doesn’t require that someone suffered an injury in order to bring a case, and when you have matters like that, your going to have more litigation, you’re going to have abuse of outcomes and it fosters an environment of excessive litigation,” ATRF President Tiger Joyce told The Center Square.

The report notes that there are over 1,100 Biometric Information Privacy Act cases pending in Illinois state and federal courts, with just seven law firms representing nearly 70% of the plaintiffs.

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:

  • Open Public Hearing On Property Tax Levy
  • Public Comment
  • Informational (FOIA) Reports
  • Revised Personnel Report
  • Second Reading of Board Policy

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. The meeting will be live-streamed on the district YouTube channel.

Related: “District 220 Board approves estimated 2023 tax levy

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Senate Judiciary Oversight Committee Chair Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. PHOTO: JACQUELYN MARTIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democrats bulldoze the rules in order to tarnish conservative Justices and their friends.

By The Editorial Board | The Wall Street Journal

Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin has reached the age and tenure at which he might fancy himself a Lion of the Senate, but what a joke after his grubby power play Thursday in the Judiciary Committee. In a rush of rule-breaking at the end of a meeting, Mr. Durbin moved to bluster through subpoenas for two friends of Supreme Court Justices on a partisan vote.

This is part of a Democratic political campaign to portray the High Court as a trinket bought by billionaires. Without finding any substantive legal conflict of interest, the press has played up reports that Justice Clarence Thomas took vacations with an old friend, Harlan Crow. “The pair have become genuine friends, according to people who know both men,” as even the left-leaning ProPublica admitted. Under the rules at the time, such travel by Justices did not have to be disclosed.

Yet in May the Judiciary Committee sent Mr. Crow a letter with sweeping demands, including: “An itemized list of all transportation or lodging provided by you, or any entity you own or control or for which you have served as a partner, director, or officer, to a Justice of the Supreme Court or a member of the Justice’s family.” Please include dates, itineraries and approximate values. Ditto for “gifts, payments, and items of value exceeding $415.”

The tempting response to this kind of fishing expedition is a four-letter word followed by a three-letter word. Mr. Crow is more polite. Last month Judiciary Democrats complained he’d offered to provide a response “only for the past five years,” which they called “wholly inadequate.” Dear Mr. Crow, please inform the committee if you picked up the check in 1997 when you had dinner with your longtime pal Justice Thomas, and we trust that you have retained itemized receipts.

Read more here.

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Plan B

“At the Nov. 21 Board meeting, the Board continued its discussion about possibilities for new fine, visual, and performing arts spaces at Barrington High School. The design work for these new spaces was an identified project within the $147 million dollar referendum that Barrington area voters approved in 2020. The cost to build these new spaces was not included in the referendum.

The Board is planning to form a referendum advisory committee in order to gain feedback from the community about projects that should be included in a potential (likely) referendum question during the 2024-25 school year. The committee will meet during the second half of this school year.”

Related: Barrington School District 220 could ask taxpayers for $50M by referendum to pay for arts space at Barrington High School,” “220 Board plans to form referendum advisory committee to gain fine, visual & performing arts feedback,” District 220 Board plans to seek community feedback about new fine, visual & performing arts spaces at BHS

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JB Spin

By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner | Wirepoints

There’s no denying Gov. J.B. Pritzker should be one of the state’s biggest cheerleaders, consistently accentuating Illinois’ positives. It’s what any good governor should do.

But Pritzker too often corrupts his message with dishonest spin and, in the process, buries the real day-to-day struggles ordinary Illinoisans face. The governor was at it again when he spoke to Crain’s recently about the state of Illinois’ economy. Watch his talk here.

His comments to Crain’s were particularly dishonest when it comes to employment and crime. Jobs up, he says, crime down. It’s all part of the governor’s refusal to acknowledge Illinois’ extreme outlier status on the problems of high taxesspiraling crime, poor economic growthmassive pension debtsdismal education results, and much more.

Below we show how Pritzker’s jobs and crime rhetoric doesn’t match the facts on the ground – the facts that Illinoisans and Chicagoans must deal with every day.

1. Illinois employment growth lags entire nation under Pritzker

Gov. Pritzker had a lot to say about Illinois’ jobs climate, telling Crain’s the state is attracting new employers and jobs and that it’s in the best position in many years to boost its economy. He also told Crain’s: “Companies are coming to us. They want to do business in Illinois…we’re now in discussions with 25 companies, big companies with billions to invest and up to 4,000 jobs.”

Pritzker’s 4,000 jobs claim may sound impressive until you look at just how behind Illinois has fallen on employment during his tenure.

Nearly 125,000 fewer Illinoisans were employed in October 2023 than when Pritzker took office in Jan. 2019 – a decline of 2 percent.

Not only is that equivalent to the entire population of Springfield losing a job, but it’s the 2nd-worst employment growth performance in the entire county, behind only Massachusetts.

JB Lies

Read more here.

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“At the Nov. 21 Barrington 220 Board of Education meeting, the Board heard an update from district leaders about Barrington 220’s annual report card, which is assembled by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The report card reflects data from the 2022-23 school year in areas of student achievement, growth, attendance, indicators of college and career readiness, as well as school climate and culture. During the 2022-23 school year, Barrington 220 students performed better than more than 90% of students across the state.

Illinois has five summative designations for schools: Exemplary, Commendable, Targeted, Comprehensive, and Intensive. All Barrington 220 schools received either exemplary or commendable status, and it is important to note that the schools that received commendable designations are very close to earning exemplary.

One area of focus for the district is improving student attendance, which weighs heavily on a school’s summative designation status. Chronic absenteeism has increased in Barrington 220 and across the state since the pandemic. In addition, the district is focusing on how it can accelerate growth for all students through rigorous academic opportunities. Click here to listen to the presentation.”

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