March 16, 2015

Crain's Chicago Business

Crain's Chicago Business
March 16, 2015

This article discusses Chicago’s Tax Increment Financing program and counters the argument that TIF districts take money that would otherwise go to public schools. When a TIF district is created its EAV at that time remains frozen, so tax revenues generated from the incremental growth in EAV above the frozen base are used for TIF projects. This does not change the levy collected by individual governments on the frozen base EAV. The Civic Federation explained that in recent years CPS has collected the maximum property tax levy allowed by law, so what it doesn’t get from TIF districts it collects from all other property taxpayers.

March 14, 2015

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune
March 14, 2015

This article looks at both mayoral candidates’ proposals for addressing the City of Chicago’s financial challenges, which include severely underfunded pension funds, a high debt level and Chicago Public Schools’ $1 billion deficit. The Civic Federation said that even after pension fund reforms it is hard to see how these liabilities could be fully addressed without future property tax increases.

March 11, 2015

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times
March 11, 2015

This article covers the Illinois Supreme Court’s consideration on March 11 of oral arguments for the State’s pension reform law. The court took the case under advisement. The Civic Federation said that if the court does not find the pension reforms constitutional, it should provide direction on how the State could maintain the current system without debilitating service cuts or extreme tax hikes.   

March 12, 2015

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune
March 12, 2015

This article discusses the status of the City of Chicago’s swap contracts following a recent credit downgrade issued by Moody’s Investors Service that had the potential to terminate certain contracts. The Civic Federation said these types of contracts are adding more pressure to the City’s already dangerous financial position. 

March 12, 2015 - 5:05pm


March 12, 2015

UPDATE: New information from City Colleges of Chicago has been provided to the Civic Federation that makes adjustments to past years’ Statements of Net Position to comply with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statements 54 and 63. It will be included in the FY2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The District’s Unrestricted Fund Balance in FY2010, FY2011, and FY2012 increases significantly as a result of the changes.


We welcome any questions and feedback about the content of this blog. Please e-mail blog@civicfed.org with your query.

March 11, 2015 - 12:48pm


March 11, 2015

Under Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed FY2016 budget, one of the largest sources of state funding for local governments in Illinois would be reduced by half. The reduction is part of more than $4 billion in spending cuts and $2.2 billion in estimated pension savings recommended by the Governor to close a projected budget gap of over $6 billion in fiscal year 2016.


We welcome any questions and feedback about the content of this blog. Please e-mail blog@civicfed.org with your query.

March 7, 2015

Crain's Chicago Business

Crain's Chicago Business
March 7, 2015

This column discusses Governor Rauner’s pension reform proposal which accounts for $2.2 billion of the projected savings in his FY2016 budget recommendation. The key component of the proposal is a freeze on the State’s Tier 1 pension benefits, which the Civic Federation’s Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability examined in a recent blog.

March 6, 2015 - 5:09pm


March 6, 2015

Governor Bruce Rauner’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2016 includes a new plan for reducing the State of Illinois’ massive pension costs. As discussed here, the plan could cut the State’s unfunded pension liability by approximately $25 billion and save $2.2 billion on pension contributions from general operating funds in FY2016, according to the budget proposal.


We welcome any questions and feedback about the content of this blog. Please e-mail blog@civicfed.org with your query.

March 4, 2015

Daily Herald

Daily Herald
March 4, 2015

This article analyzes the health of the financial reserves of 90 northeastern Illinois suburbs in response to Governor Rauner’s FY2016 budget proposal that included reducing municipalities’ shares of State Income Tax revenues. The Civic Federation said it would be very difficult for some local governments to absorb the revenue reduction and recommends the General Assembly and Governor work to ensure that the effort to balance the State budget won’t result in greater fiscal crises for local governments. 

March 5, 2015 - 10:19am


March 5, 2015

Even after lowering the City of Chicago’s bond rating another step last week, Moody’s Investors Service maintains a negative outlook on the City, heightening the risk of additional ratings actions and possibly increasing termination costs on its swap agreements.

On Friday February 27, 2015 Moody’s reduced the City’s General Obligation Bond rating by one step to Baa2 from Baa1. This move triggered the termination clauses of several of the derivative instruments tied to the City’s variable rate bonds, also referred to as swaps.


We welcome any questions and feedback about the content of this blog. Please e-mail blog@civicfed.org with your query.

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