Civic Federation Blog

12.18.14

Rocco Claps Honored at 23rd Annual Excellence in Public Service Award Breakfast

On December 11, 2014, the Motorola Solutions Foundation and the Civic Federation honored the outstanding public service of Rocco Claps, current Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the longest-serving Director in the agency’s history. The annual award recognizes a non-...

12.11.14

Issues with Annexation of Cook County’s Unincorporated Areas

The Civic Federation’s recent report profiling unincorporated areas in six townships within Cook County examines issues related to annexing unincorporated areas. Based on interviews conducted with various stakeholders involved in a decision to incorporate a previously unincorporated area in...

12.03.14

Measuring the Productivity of the Chicago Transit Authority

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently released its FY2015 proposed budget. While the Civic Federation traditionally analyzes features common to all local government budgets, our analyses of the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) budgets include additional productivity measurement data....

11.25.14

A Potential Mental Health Reform Model for Cook County: Saving Money and Improving Outcomes through Coordination in Bexar County

Local governments across the country are searching for ways to more humanely and cost-effectively treat individuals with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system. According to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics from 2006 (the most recent year for which...

11.20.14

How Property Taxes are Distributed in the City of Chicago

The Cook County Clerk’s Office annually releases a tax rate report that provides the tax rates for various taxing agencies within Cook County. It is important for property taxpayers to have an accurate picture of which governments receive their property tax dollars and for what purpose so...

11.12.14

Chicago Park District Pension Fund Shows Positive Impact of Pension Reforms

The provisions of Public Act 98-0622 will not go into effect until January 1, 2015, but the changes to Chicago Park District employee and retiree pension benefit levels contained in the legislation have already reduced the fund’s unfunded liability by $109.4 million or 18.5% and increased the...

11.05.14

City Continues “Scoop and Toss” Borrowing to Balance the Budget

For the third year in a row, the budget proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the City of Chicago relies on the use of refunding bonds to pay for principal owed in the coming year rather than making payments from operating resources. Although the details of the refunding bonds are not included in the...

10.28.14

Rocco Claps to Receive 2014 Motorola Solutions Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award

The Civic Federation and Motorola Solutions Foundation are pleased to announce the 2014 Excellence in Public Service honoree, Rocco Claps, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The award recognizes a non-elected government official who has had an extraordinary impact on the quality...

10.22.14

Unfunded Public Pension Liabilities Nearly $20,000 Per Resident of Chicago

The total unfunded liabilities for the State and local public employee pensions that Chicago residents fund reached $19,579 per capita for fiscal year 2012. That is up from $6,175 per capita in FY2003. Like comparing unfunded liability to payroll, calculating the unfunded liability per capita...

10.15.14

How to Calculate an Effective Tax Rate for Your Community

Since the release of our 2012 Effective Tax Rates report on September 29th the Civic Federation has fielded many inquiries about how to calculate the rates for municipalities outside the study. In response, this blog will go through the steps to calculate an effective tax rate for tax year 2012 (...