Civic Federation Blog

07.02.15

Statement on Proposed One Percentage Point Cook County Sales Tax Increase

Civic Federation Statement on Proposed One Percentage Point Cook County Sales Tax Increase The Civic Federation cannot support an increase to the Cook County sales tax in the abstract and does not believe that County Commissioners should be asked to vote on such a significant revenue increase...

07.02.15

Civic Federation Awards to Honor Tyrone C. Fahner and The Boeing Company on September 21, 2015

The Civic Federation’s Annual Civic Awards Luncheon honoring Tyrone C. Fahner and The Boeing Company has been rescheduled for Monday, September 21 at 11:30 a.m. at the Palmer House Hilton. The event was not held on Thursday, June 18 as originally planned due to logistical conflicts with the...

06.18.15

City Council Approves Major Debt Restructuring and Future Capital Borrowing

On June 17, 2015 the Chicago City Council approved the largest borrowing of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s tenure, totaling $1.1 billion. The issuance pays for the current costs of refinancing the City of Chicago’s variable rate debt, ending its outstanding swaps, extending the life of other long...

06.05.15

Chicago Police and Fire Employer Pension Funding Changes Passed in Illinois General Assembly

In December 2010 the Illinois General Assembly passed and then Governor Quinn signed legislation (Public Act 96-1495) that created a new tier of pension benefits for public safety employees in Illinois hired on or after January 1, 2011, including Chicago police and firefighters. The legislation...

05.22.15

Chicago Area Governments Bond Ratings Fall Below Investment Grade

Recently, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and the Chicago Board of Education’s general obligation bond ratings below investment grade, with a negative outlook. Soon after, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services both...

05.06.15

Chicago Public Schools Releases Scaled Back Capital Improvement Plan

On May 1, 2015, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released their proposed FY2016 capital budget and an updated Five-Year capital improvement plan for FY2016-FY2020. The exhibit below shows the amounts proposed by CPS for FY2016-FY2020 for capital spending. In those five years, a total of approximately $...

04.23.15

Civic Federation Releases Plain English and Visual Guides to Illinois Pensions

This week the Civic Federation released a set of two primers on public employee pensions in the State of Illinois. The primary document, A Plain English Guide to Public Employee Pensions in the State of Illinois, answers ten basic questions about Illinois pensions: What is a public pension? Who...

04.16.15

Civic Federation – Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Forum Examines Sin Taxes

The Civic Federation joined with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on April 2, 2015 to co-host a conference on the use, efficacy and future of sin taxes. Experts, practitioners and academics from around the country gathered to discuss the theories surrounding governments’ use of sin taxes...

04.07.15

Where Do Your Property Taxes Go?

What local government purposes, services, or expenditures does your property tax dollar fund? Governments traditionally use property tax revenues to pay for a wide variety of expenditures, including employee salaries and pensions, debt service and administrative costs. But, there are significant...

04.01.15

More Government Consolidation and Efficiency Efforts in Illinois

The Civic Federation has long supported sensible legislation aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations in Illinois. The purpose of this blog is to summarize briefly consolidation legislation and initiatives that have been proposed since our last update on this...

03.24.15

12-Year Short-Term Liability Trends for Chicago, Cook County and Chicago Public Schools

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 12-year trends for 1) total short-term liabilities in the Governmental Funds...

03.19.15

Register for the Civic Federation - Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Conference Today!

The Civic Federation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will co-host a conference, “Sin Taxes: The Sobering Fiscal Reality,” in two weeks on Thursday, April 2, 2015. The conference will examine the theories behind these ubiquitous taxes and their implementation across the country,...

03.12.15

City Colleges of Chicago Ends FY2014 with Lower Level of Budget Reserves

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...

03.05.15

Chicago Rating Downgrade Triggers Swaps Terms, Outlook Remains Negative

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,...

02.25.15

Chicago Pension Reform Litigation on Hold Pending Illinois Supreme Court Ruling

Two lawsuits seeking to overturn a pension reform law for the Chicago Municipal and Laborers’ funds have been put on hold pending the outcome of State pension litigation at the Illinois Supreme Court. Oral arguments for the State pension case have been scheduled for March 11, 2015. In...