March 31, 2016

The State Journal-Register

The State Journal-Register
March 31, 2016

This article examines the nearly billion dollars of interest the State of Illinois has paid in penalties over the last several years because of its continually late bill payments. Civic Federation President Laurence Msall notes that these penalty payments are a fiscally irresponsible use of the State’s money. 

March 31, 2016 - 4:04pm


March 31, 2016

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 violation of the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution. 

 

Background 


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March 25, 2016 - 1:23pm


March 25, 2016

As the State of Illinois’ budget impasse continues to drag on, it is commonly overlooked that the underlying economy and tax base in the State continue to grow.

In FY2017 the State of Illinois is projected to have an additional $631 million in General Funds revenues available compared to FY2016, the current fiscal year. The Governor’s FY2017 recommended budget shows a maintenance level of revenues totaling $32.3 billion, which represents resources available based on current law, compared to $31.7 billion in FY2016.


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March 24, 2016

The Bond Buyer

The Bond Buyer
March 24, 2016

This article discusses the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision to uphold a Circuit Court ruling that reforms for two of Chicago’s pension funds are unconstitutional. The Civic Federation says the ruling limits financial options for strained local governments in Illinois and notes the need for clarity in the State’s pension protection clause.

March 23, 2016

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times
March 23, 2016

This article reports on the Illinois Supreme Court ruling overturning reforms for two of the City’s pension funds and the potential consequences for Chicago taxpayers. Laurence Msall, President of the Civic Federation, notes that the short-term savings from overturning the reforms would be outweighed by the eventual insolvency of the funds.

March 22, 2016

WBEZ Chicago

WBEZ Chicago
March 22, 2016

This segment examines the City of Chicago’s short-term borrowing to fund police and fire pensions. Civic Federation President Laurence Msall indicates that borrowing for pension payments is not an ideal situation.

March 17, 2016

Bloomberg Business

Bloomberg Business
March 17, 2016

This article discusses the Chicago City Council authorizing up to $200 million of bonds to help pay termination fees to exit swaps linked to its water debt. Civic Federation President Laurence Msall noted that, while this helps the city refinance its variable-rate debt, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the full cost and how it will impact taxpayers.

March 21, 2016

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times
March 21, 2016

This article reports on payments made to Chicago's police and fire pension funds using $220 million in short-term borrowing. Laurence Msall, President of the Civic Federation, called the borrowing an unfortunate, expensive, yet forseeable development, due to the lack of contingency planning in the City’s FY2016 budget.

March 16, 2016 - 2:38pm


March 16, 2016

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 Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street, and will feature distinguished healthcare, government and nonprofit expert panelists and speakers.


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March 10, 2016 - 5:39pm


March 10, 2016

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 2009 and 2011 as home values fell. Since then, the trend has continued, with the amount of taxable property value exempted by the Senior Freeze continuing to fall in tax years 2012, 2013 and 2014, the most recent years for which data are available.


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