Civic Federation Blog

09.22.16

Chicago City Council Approves Water-Sewer Tax for Municipal Employees’ Pension Fund

On September 14, 2016, the Chicago City Council approved a tax on water and sewer usage in the City of Chicago in order to fund the City’s Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF). In a 40-10 vote, the City Council passed an ordinance that amends the Municipal Code of...

09.16.16

Another Chicago Pension Fund Reduces its Assumed Rate of Return on Investment

Decisions by two of the largest State of Illinois pension funds to reduce their expected rates of return on investment have garnered headlines, but they were not the only funds to change their assumptions recently. On May 11, 2016, the Retirement Board for the Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit...

08.31.16

Chicago Public Schools Pension Liabilities as Reported Under Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statements Number 67 and 68

In 2012 the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued new accounting and financial reporting standards for public pension plans and for governments, Statements 67 and 68. According to GASB, the new standards were intended to “improve the way state and local governments report...

08.26.16

Chicago Public Schools Reinstates Teachers Pension Levy

The Chicago Board of Education approved a reinstated dedicated pension levy as part of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) FY2017 budget on August 24, 2016. The levy will allow the District to bring in $250.0 million in new revenue in FY2017. This additional property tax revenue will be used to fund...

08.18.16

Evanston Township Dissolution Saves Taxpayers Nearly $780,000

The City of Evanston recently released a white paper on the initial results following the dissolution of its coterminous township. Based on the results of a fiscal analysis of the dissolution of Evanston Township, taxpayers have saved $779,668 in fiscal year 2015, the first full year following...

08.05.16

City Reduces Budget Deficit but Long-Term Challenges Remain

The City of Chicago recently released its mid-year Annual Financial Analysis for 2016, which provides financial estimates for the City’s fiscal year ending on December 31, 2016 and a forecast for the next fiscal year. The analysis shows improvements toward reducing the budget deficit and...

07.27.16

A Comparison of Community College Tuition Rates in Northeastern Illinois

The Civic Federation recently released its analysis of the City Colleges of Chicago FY2017 Tentative Annual Operating Budget. This blog examines City Colleges of Chicago tuition rate changes for in-district, out-of-district and out-of-state tuition rates per semester hour over a ten year period....

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...