Civic Federation Blog

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, 2015 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 benefits in...

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...

12.30.15

2015 Year in Review on Civic Federation Blog

The following are the five most read posts presented by the Civic Federation blog in 2015. These posts examine a number of closely followed local government issues, ranging from City and County taxes to Chicago pension debt.   Where Do Your Property Taxes Go? April 7, 2015 This blog post...

12.17.15

FY2016 Budget Season Summary

FY2016 Budget Season Summary December 3, 2015 marked the end of the budget season for the eight local governments monitored by the Civic Federation. These governments include: the City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, Cook County, Chicago Transit Authority, Forest...

12.14.15

Karen Tamley Honored at 24th Annual Excellence in Public Service Award Breakfast

On December 10, 2015, the Motorola Solutions Foundation and the Civic Federation honored the outstanding public service of Karen Tamley, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). The annual award recognizes a non-elected government official who has had an...

12.11.15

Popular Annual Financial Reports: The Potential for Increased Transparency, Accountability and Public Inclusion

Popular Annual Financial Reports: The Potential for Increased Transparency, Accountability and Public Inclusion The Civic Federation has long encouraged government transparency and accountability, both of which are emphasized in our Mission Statement. To promote financial transparency many local...