Civic Federation Blog

07.20.16

Cook County Electorate to Vote on Referendum to Merge the Recorder of Deeds with the County Clerk

On June 29, 2016 the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a resolution to present a public question via a binding countywide referendum asking if the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds should be eliminated and all duties and responsibilities be transferred to the Office...

07.08.16

Cook County Issues FY2017 Preliminary Budget Forecast

On June 30, 2016, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued a preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins December 1, 2016 and ends November 30, 2017. The report also provided end of year estimates for fiscal year 2016. A public hearing on the preliminary FY2017 budget is...

06.23.16

Local Governments Must Repay $168 Million to the State

In April 2016, the Illinois Department of Revenue announced that it discovered a misallocation totaling an estimated $168 million in extra Personal Property Replacement Taxes (PPRT) distributed to 6,527 local government taxing entities throughout Illinois. This misallocation equals 6% of the total...

06.03.16

Chicago Police and Fire Pension Funding Changes Become Law

One year after passing the Illinois General Assembly, a bill that puts the City of Chicago’s Police and Fire pension funds on a 40-year plan to reach 90% funding has become law. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the legislation after it was sent for his consideration on March 31, 2016,...

05.25.16

The Final 2015 Cook County Equalization Factor is 2.6685

The Illinois Department of Revenue announced earlier this spring that the final equalization factor for the Cook County 2015 property assessment year (taxes payable in 2016) is 2.6685. The 2015 final equalization factor of 2.6685 is less than the final 2014 equalization factor of 2.7253. This does...

05.13.16

Alternatives to Bankruptcy for School Districts in Fiscal Crisis

The Chicago Public Schools faces a potentially devastating financial crisis. The elements of this crisis include:   An FY2016 budget that was not balanced as it depended on the vague hope that the State of Illinois will provide $480 million for pension relief, A forthcoming FY2017 budget that...

04.28.16

States and Localities Move to Eliminate Sales Tax on Female Hygiene Products

The City of Chicago and Cook County recently joined a number of states nationwide in a move to exempt female hygiene products from the sales tax.   At the Local Level On March 16, 2016 the Chicago City Council voted to exempt certain female hygiene products from Chicago’s Home Rule...

04.14.16

Civic Federation – Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Conference Checks in on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act

The Civic Federation co-hosted a conference with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on April 4, 2016 entitled, “Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Care Act: A Fiscal Checkup.” Experts, practitioners and academics from around the country gathered to discuss the choices states have...

03.31.16

Chicago Pension Reforms Struck Down by Illinois Supreme Court

On March 24, 2016 the Illinois Supreme Court filed its opinion affirming the Cook County Circuit Court’s ruling that the reforms made to the City of Chicago’s Municipal and Laborers’ Pension Funds in Public Act 98-0641 were unconstitutional because they reduced pension...

03.16.16

Register Now for “Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Care Act: A Fiscal Checkup”

The Civic Federation is proud to partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to co-host "Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Care Act: A Fiscal Checkup,” The event will take place on Monday, April 4, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Conference Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of...

03.10.16

Value of the Senior Freeze Homestead Exemption in Cook County Plummeted 71.7% Between 2009 and 2014

Three years ago, this blog examined the impact of the housing market collapse on a specific property tax exemption, the Senior Citizens Freeze Homestead Exemption, or “Senior Freeze.” We found that in Cook County the value of the Senior Freeze exemption fell sharply between tax years...

02.25.16

Chicago and Cook County Impose Tax on Electronic Cigarettes

Consumers of electronic cigarettes in the City of Chicago and Cook County as a whole will pay new taxes in 2016. As part of their FY2016 budget processes the City of Chicago and Cook County both expanded their taxes on tobacco products to include liquid nicotine products, also known as e-cigarettes...

02.12.16

Understanding the First Installment Property Tax Bill

On January 25, 2016, the office of the Cook County Treasurer mailed the first installment of the property tax bill to all homeowners in Cook County which is due on March 1, 2016. The bill lists all taxing districts to which property taxes are paid. The Treasurer also provides taxpayers with debt...

01.28.16

Short-term Liabilities of City of Chicago Increase through FY2014, while CPS and Cook County Short-term Liabilities Decrease

Short-term or current liabilities are financial obligations that must be satisfied within one year. They can include short-term debt, accounts payable, accrued payroll and other current liabilities. This blog post presents five-year trends for: 1) total short-term liabilities in the Governmental...

01.22.16

The Task Force on Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Makes its Recommendations to the Governor

The Civic Federation has long supported legislation aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations in Illinois by consolidating or abolishing redundant and/or anachronistic local governments. For example, on November 17, 2003, the Federation called on the State to...