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Morning Shorts

Friday, Feb 27, 2009

* Integrys keeps dividend, cuts capital budget

Peoples Gas is cutting its capital budget by a whopping 46% this year as parent Integrys Energy Group Inc. conserves cash in large part to continue paying a dividend — one that it just raised — to investors.

* Economy Shrinks Faster Than Expected In 4Q

6.2 Percent Contraction In 4th Quarter Of 2008, Worst In 25 Years

* Foreclosure crisis: Federal aid to help Joliet and Will County fix and resell foreclosed homes

* Sidetracked by slump, realty pros eager to get back on course

* GM posts $30.9 billion loss, keeps spending billions

* Tough times drive up community college enrollment

* More students a two-edged sword

* Northwestern approaches $50,000

Facing a steep drop in its endowment, Northwestern University says its tuition, room and board will rise 3.6 percent this fall, — to nearly $50,000.

* Dire Budget Predictions for Chicago Schools

There is the perfect storm of reduced revenues, and ballooning and explosive pension payments. And the only word I can use for it is explosive, because they go up by hundreds of millions of dollars in one year.

The district will not be able to plug budget holes with an estimated $390 million from the stimulus package, since much of that money is earmarked. Huberman, who’s been on the job about four weeks, said he’ll cut central office jobs before touching schools.

* Unfiltered: Ron Huberman on the CPS Budget

* Chicago schools chief wants kids safe from crossing gang turf

Ron Huberman, the chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools, said he wants to replace a piecemeal approach with a districtwide effort with police to evaluate how gangs affect school attendance boundaries, what gang boundaries students must cross to get to school and even how CTA bus routes intersect boundaries as they carry students to class.

* Low CPI has local school districts slashing expenses

Stimulus plan or no stimulus plan, many suburban school districts are hacking away at next year’s budgets because of a steep drop in the Consumer Price Index, a figure that determines how much property tax revenue schools can collect.

* Lake County Journals Honors Congressman Mark Kirk and Sheriff Mark Curran, Jr. with ForeFronts Award

* Democrat Bean votes against spending plan

U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean was one of 20 Democrats to vote against this fiscal year’s federal appropriations plan Wednesday, putting the Barrington resident on the side of Republicans in the suburbs.

* Southland reps bring home projects

Local members of Congress used their clout on Capitol Hill to include millions of dollars for Southland projects in a $410 billion spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday.

* County Budget Axe Spares Jobs at Health Bureau

Cook County health officials say they can absorb the latest budget cuts without trimming more jobs or services. But one heavy-hitter in county government says he’s not so sure.

* Whose side is he on?

Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis thinks it’s a bad idea to release the names of officers who have multiple citizen complaints against them—such a bad idea that he’s defying a federal judge’s order to do so.

* Aviation, CTA get new chiefs

* New CTA President Will Face Serious Challenges

When he takes over as the new president of the CTA on Thursday, Richard Rodriguez will face a bevy of challenges and a $242 million budget gap.

* Mayor Richard Daley names new CTA, aviation bosses

Richard Rodriguez had barely enough time to learn his way around Chicago’s airports before he was reassigned Thursday to the CTA, the nation’s second-largest transit system.

* A look inside Illinois’ only super=max prison

* Tollway directors push for high-tech violation process

- Posted by Mike Murray        

  1. - John Boy from Oswego - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 9:54 am:

    No comments on Dick Durbin’s attempts to get the Fairness Doctrine reinstated without needing Congressional approval?

    I’m not sure if this is an Blago-esque end run around those less enlightened, a dose of Obama-esque hope, A Burris-esqu ‘misunderstanding’, or just another Durbin-esque embarrassment.

    But I’m not surprised, though. This is what Illinois politicians do.

    Hope it doesn’t end up affecting blogs like yours, Rich.

  2. - Scooby - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 9:59 am:

    “6.2 Percent Contraction In 4th Quarter Of 2008, Worst In 25 Years”


  3. - Independent - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 10:05 am:

    Amen, Scooby. This may be the most depressing list of Morning Shorts yet. I’m not blaming Mike as these are the headlines.

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 10:07 am:

    –(Crain’s) — Peoples Gas is cutting its capital budget by a whopping 46% this year as parent Integrys Energy Group Inc. conserves cash in large part to continue paying a dividend — one that it just raised — to investors.–

    This is what passes for responsibility to stockholders these days. The MBA factories continue to churn out robots who can see no further than the next quarterly dividend.

    There’s a whole generation out there that believes a constantly rising stock market is an entitlement, and the only measure of an economy or a society. I know 20 and 30-somethings who were shocked to find out their 401Ks were not guaranteed like their bank accounts.

    Think there will be a rate increase to meet “dire infrastructure needs” in the near future?

    Are these the business principles we’re always told need to be applied to government?

  5. - The Doc - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 10:40 am:

    Amen, Wordslinger.

    CUB should hit them hard in the likely event that they attempt to increase rates.

  6. - Amy - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 11:24 am:

    Jerry Butler does not like the health cuts. very amusing.

  7. - BannedForLife - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 11:53 am:

    as if there’s a map of gang boundaries

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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