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Quinn won’t support limiting free senior transit rides

Friday, Feb 27, 2009

* On the core populist issues, Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn are pretty close, even though I’m not so sure that Rod Blagojevich actually believed anything he ever said. Here’s a good example

Gov. Patrick Quinn said today that he would not sign legislation under consideration by the Illinois House to take away free bus and train rides from all but low-income seniors.

The governor said he thinks the free ride program, put in place last year under predecessor Rod Blagojevich, is worthy even as transit agencies face severe money woes.

“I think free rides for seniors is a good policy,” Quinn said following an appearance at a Joliet high school. “I hope they don’t pass a law ending the program. I think it’s a step forward.” […]

“I don’t think I would sign such a bill that would limit it so drastically,” [by basing the free rides on income] Quinn said. “I think we always want to keep an eye on everything, especially in tough economic times, but I’m not really interested in going to that program and slashing it. I think free rides for seniors is a basic public policy that we can support and maintain even in tough economic times.”


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:19 pm:

    There are tough choices to be made with a $9 billion hole. We can’t close the state parks, can’t raise the gas tax, and can’t reconsider the free transit ride giveaway. Are there any cows that AREN’T sacred?

  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    I think public transit should be free for EVERYONE, not just those who have lived to a ripe age.

    But as a matter of public policy, it doesn’t make sense to force poor people to pay MORE for public transportation so that rich seniors can ride for free.

    Make it free for low-income seniors, but put them ALL on the honor system. I trust grandma and grandpa not to lie their way into the program.

  3. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    It was a stupid political stunt everyone recognizes as such. End it.

  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:23 pm:

    well said, six degrees.

    One man’s budget scapegoat is another man’s sacred cow.

    That’s how they ended up in the budget in the first place.

    Well, someone’s cow is gonna be hamburger.

    I LIKE the state parks, I USE the state parks, and I think most people would be happy to pay higher park fees into what they knew was a dedicated fund to keep the parks open and improve them.

    There you go. Eat my cow.

  5. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:26 pm:

    I want that on a t-shirt: “Eat My Cow”.

    End free rides for anyone. The price is the price. Pay it.

  6. - enrico depressario - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:26 pm:

    Damn, when you are wallowing in a $9 billion hole, NOBODY gets a free ride! Everybody’s getting a screwing anyway, so be up front about it.

  7. - The Doc - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:30 pm:

    “I think free rides for seniors is a basic public policy that we can support and maintain even in tough economic times”

    I think the governor’s wrong on both counts.

    It’s not a basic public policy, it was a childish and rapacious reaction by a neer-do-well slumming for populist headlines.

    The tattered budgets of transit agenices more than suggest that it’s not a policy we can support and maintain, especially not in the current economic environment.

    I hear a lot of talk from Quinn about making tough decisions, and I realize we’re still a few weeks away from his budget proposal, but thus far he’s publicly rejected the few ideas floated as revenue enhancements without a whiff of an alternative.

  8. - Angry Chicagoan - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:30 pm:

    The senior free rides policy is plain wrong. In Chicago, what it very often amounts to is a 50-year-old housecleaner paying the price in higher fares and less service so that a 66-year-old CEO from the North Shore can commute for free.

    I’m all in favored of means-tested discounting of fares, but a blanket freebie for the demographic with the LOWEST poverty rate in the United States is beyond dumb, it’s immoral.

  9. - anon III - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:31 pm:

    The problem with Illinois government and finances is not that people who have been paying full fare to ride public transit for their last forty years are suddenly riding free.

  10. - True Observer - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:31 pm:

    He’s afraid of the seniors chasing him down the street like they did with Rostenkowski.

    Rostenkowski’s defeat has to have been the most unexpected out of left field election results in Illinois history.

    Quinn was around and doesn’t want the seniors chasing him.

    As to trusting grandma and grandpa, not in this day and age.

  11. - Skirmisher - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:37 pm:

    I had been optimistic about Quinn, but as time goes by I am not seeing much of anything that tells me that he has the “right stuff” for this financial crisis. The old folks don’t pay income tax on their retirement and for the most part have all they need and then some. They need to pay for their bus rides and quit expecting special entitlements.

  12. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:37 pm:

    anon III:

    Damn. And here, I thought I’d got it all figured out.

    We have a leader in the clubhouse for the most obvious statement of the day. You’re right, congratulations, have some ice cream.

    BUT…stopping that program WOULD help, in some small way, balance the budget. It’s a luxury I don’t think we can afford at this time, whether it’s the biggest problem facing government or not.

  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:38 pm:

    I think public transit should be free for EVERYONE, not just those who have lived to a ripe age.

    Fine, if your county wants to subsidize it. Not fine, if our county (which will never be served like Cook) is expected to subsidize yours.

  14. - anon III - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:46 pm:

    C O — “BUT…stopping that program WOULD help, in some small way, balance the budget.”

    At what cost of obfuscating the true problems of the state, wasting legislative energy, and dragging yet another red herring throught the media?

  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:47 pm:

    Six Degrees -

    Let me know when they start charging everyone to DRIVE on the public roads in your county and the taxpayers of Cook County are no longer subsidizing YOUR roads.

    Then you can complain about how YOU are subsidizing public transit in Cook County.

  16. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:49 pm:

    At what cost of obfuscating the true problems of the state, wasting legislative energy, and dragging yet another red herring throught the media?

    At very little cost, if it’s part of the whopper package that is likely to be needed.

  17. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:49 pm:


    Therein lies the problem. Under RB, there was no such thing as a dedicated fund. We have changed the man, but we havn’t changed the rules. Is there such a thing as a dedicated fund now, just because Rod is sitting at home watching the Cubs instead of..oh wait, that is what he was doing before. But I think you get my point. I would be happy to pay a fee to use the parks if that is really where the money went, but I dont want to pay a fee to use the parks so that the money can be used for the latest pet project or to fill a general revenue shortfall.

  18. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:51 pm:

    Lost my quote somehow. I was comenting on Yellow Dog’s statement that most people would be happy to pay higher park fees into what they knew was a dedicated fund to keep the parks open and improve them.

  19. - jerry 101 - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:52 pm:

    This was a bad policy from the start, and should be dumped to help mass transit plug the hole. Service cuts hurt much more than making wealthier seniors pay for their transit rides. Lower income seniors will still be able to apply for free and reduced fares, just like anyone else with low income.

    The least painful cutbacks should be considered first…this would be among the least painful as the brunt would be felt by wealthier seniors.

  20. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    Anon, come on. You’re seriously going to suggest to me that the senior rides program — which the RTA doesn’t really like anyway — is harder to eliminate than any other random piece of legislation that crosses the docket? Really?

    Wow, is that a weak argument. But, okay.

    No obfuscation is needed, just some cojones. A legislator needs to stand up and say “Look, we need to do every little thing we can to help. This was a relatively unpopular idea when the last governor suggested it, it certainly wasn’t thought through before it was announced, and it needs to go.”

    “Legislative energy”? Really? Let me use your argument — one bill, one relatively small bill, is not the root cause of a “waste” of legislative energy in Springfield.

    And the Red Herring is already here, or haven’t you been reading the newspapers that have stories up on what Gov. Quinn said today?

    Finally, even if you were right about all of that — and you’re not — the cost would be infintesimal compared to the $45M or whatever it is the free rides are costing the state.

  21. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:00 pm:


    It is true we are cross subsidizing each other to a certain extent. Gas tax money from downstate is used to subsidize transit, of which 90% goes to RTA. Cook and collars generate 2/3 of motor fuel tax, while 55% (of what doesn’t get siphoned off in “diversions”) goes to downstate highways. The folks here can live with the current arrangement, but would be livid if all RTA riders got a free ride while their gas taxes were raised for the “privilege”. Those downstate roads (many of which are in dire need of repair) provide the means of production and marketing for one of the few things the USA exports anymore, so I would suggest we not kill one of our few remaining golden geese.

  22. - IrishPirate - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:02 pm:

    As a matter of national policy and even national security I think public transportation should be free and gas taxes hiked.

    That being said Governor Quinn is clearly making a political calculation here. Which means he is a politician………I’m shocked, shocked to find politics going on here.

    I guess he won’t be up on Mt Ilmore with Burris.

  23. - anon III - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:06 pm:

    C.O.– O.K., put the Senior-ride-chop in the same bill with capping pensions of elected officials after eight years of service, and limiting campaign contributions to $2000 per election per candidate, and non-partisan legislative redistricting.

  24. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:09 pm:

    Most of the Trib’s aging readership (who would presumably include a few free riders) seems to take Quinn to task here.

  25. - Levois - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    What’s wrong with brining things back to where they used to be? Seniors used to ride with reduced fare let’s get back to that until transit agencies can put their financial house in order. At this point in time with the CTA for example concerned about their financial health, this isn’t a very good public policy.

  26. - Cassandra - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:12 pm:

    I haven’t heard how senior advocacy groups feel about this but I suppose it is reasonable to ask, in a state government system awash in perks both enjoyed and given why a pol would single out the senior free ride perk as the most egregious.

    We haven’t heard of any corporate tax perks being eliminated, for example.Or proposed legislation to accomplish this.

    Does he really want to go into the 2010 primary as having supported the elimination of senior free rides but precious few other perks, if any. Getting tough first on the seniors seems a bit risky. Good for his opponents though.

  27. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:12 pm:

    Free rides for seniors on Metra is real money, if you’re rolling from say Geneva, or Crystal Lake, or Mokena, to downtown.

    Quinn’s going to have to step up somewhere.

  28. - Abe's Ghost - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:17 pm:

    Isn’t this just an indication of how hard it is going to be for Obama to end programs that “aren’t working” as was promised on Tues nite? Besides, do you really think there are that many rich old CEO’s riding the CTA buses?

  29. - Greg - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:17 pm:

    Absolutely, wordslinger. Annoying to be a graduate student on the NW metra line, sitting among the Barrington execs who save $10/day.

  30. - George - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:18 pm:

    Its a good move by Quinn to get rid of this as anything close to resembling a “solution”.

    The CTA is in a hole primarily because they vastly overestimated the amount of Real Estate Transfer Tax they would bring in because they based their budget on an INCREASE in revenue off the HIGHEST YEAR ON RECORD. That’s $30+ million right there.

    And also because they are having to pay for massive cost overruns at Block 37 and other places. Look at their budget. They shift and hide money around - doubling spending (by $20 million in some line) in categories such as “other priorities” or “other spending” without saying what those things are. Its a real phony budget, but no member of the media has the gumption to challenge them on the details.

    Its not due to a couple extra seniors getting on already-running buses and trains.

    Limiting seniors by income is just not realistic (as I explained yesterday). So it is a question of returning ALL to half-fare, or keeping ALL at free fare.

  31. - Cynic - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:19 pm:

    I can appreciate the desire to extend this perk to seniors, but this state is in dire circumstances. Quinn seems to care more about being liked than making tough choices.

    So far, Quinn has really unimpressed.

  32. - zatoichi - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:20 pm:

    How many people actually have gotten those free rides? Don’t you have to be able to get to a regularly scheduled mass trans route? None of those in my area and most local seniors without a car need door to door. Seems this is a tiny sliver of the bigger problem, but a nice feel good news pop that avoids the issue.

  33. - Scooby - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:20 pm:

    Why not just allow for them to ride but discourage their ridership? You could print “A CTA bus ran over Matlock” on every wrapper of Werthers.

  34. - dupage dan - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:20 pm:

    If I recall correctly, free rides for seniors wasn’t even an issue for seniors at the time. It was a pure political ploy by RB to demagogue the GA. It is poor policy as a result. No matter how you pay for something you still have to pay for it. If there is free public transit as YDD would have, who pays for it? Martians? We all do, which means it’s not free. Free health care for all! Free ain’t free if you have to pay for it. It’s just plain silly. Sliding scale may make some sense but then you have to means test those who want the service. Then you have to hire people who will do the means testing. That costs money. Or, we can just have everyone be on the honor system. Yeah, that’ll work. Really, now that is just silly. Everyone will insist they are paying their way but the receipts will not reflect that. It is silly. Reckon the costs and assess the fees. A few discounts for seniors and the disabled who can show inability to pay and be done with it.

  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:21 pm:

    I’m not criticizing here, and I didn’t like the idea to begin with, but it never ceases to amaze me that so many Americans get so upset whenever a few people might be getting something free that they have to pay a few dollars for.

  36. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:23 pm:


    The whole idea is to look for ways to plug a $9 billion hole. This item is not, nor should it be, “singled out”, because it’s gonna take a whole laundry list of perks, entitlements, tax breaks, whatever you want to call them, to get there. And every little bit helps. As Dirksen is alleged to have said (but was never documented), “A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you’re talking real money.” If this little piece is off limits, we will have to search for another small non-sacred cow.

  37. - Gene Parmesan - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:26 pm:

    While we’re at it, can we take away the Senior Citizen property tax exemption? Not the Senior Freeze, which is linked to income, but the standard exemption for everyone over 65 despite their income level.

    Seems like if the free rides bother you, you ought to be in favor of getting rid of this too.

  38. - anon III - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:27 pm:

    Cassi– When Dirksen long ago said it, it was “A million here, a million there … .” Ev would qualify for a senior ride.

  39. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:33 pm:

    Anon said, “O.K., put the Senior-ride-chop in the same bill with capping pensions of elected officials after eight years of service, and limiting campaign contributions to $2000 per election per candidate, and non-partisan legislative redistricting.”

    Well, I’m with you on the last two of those things, and I can compromise on the first one, so fine. No problem.

    I want to solve all the problems the state has, sure. I also want to get rid of many of the luxuries that we can not afford right now. If those go hand-in-hand, great.

    Also, Rich — it doesn’t bother me that seniors ride free. It bothers me that the money the state is losing because those seniors are riding free is not being applied to what I consider to be more worthy causes.

  40. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:37 pm:

    Rich, I agree with you to an extent. But there’s a whale of a difference between the old cleaning lady getting a couple of free rides from the West Side to Wilmette to work, and someone from Wilmette getting a couple of free rides to go to the West Side for a Bulls game.

  41. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:41 pm:

    They were both getting half off before. Nobody complained. How many Wilmette types are taking mass transit to Bulls games anyway? Doing income verification would probably cost more than the actual discount.

  42. - dupage dan - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:43 pm:

    I don’t have an absolute problem with providing some services for a reduced rate for those who may qualify. I just find it silly that people can just say, “make it free for all” without any consideration for the costs. Where do we draw the line? Who pays for it? Relying on the gov’t to provide such services frequently results in poor serivce w/high cost. I should know, I work for the gov’t. Free health care in those countries that have it are rife w/problems because there are too few dollars chasing after the services. No different here w/public transit. If you want more people to take public transit and thereby increase ridership/income, make driving in those congested areas more costly. Fees for driving in central London, England went up and single driver cars in the city center plummeted. Public transit ridership went up. Costs remained the same but recipts have increased. You have the right to drive your car just pay for it.

  43. - Ghost - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 3:45 pm:

    This looks to me like it may be a tempest in a tea cup. How much money are we really talking about if we provide free rides to seniors with “low” income. keep in mind most seniors have substantial out of pocket medical and prescription costs, especially with what bush did to part d. So how many truly wealthy seniors money would we really capture? administration of the limitation may consume or exceed the cost saved. Penny wise pound foolish and all that.

    I would support free rides for all low income persons. Eat that bleepin cow! :)

  44. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:02 pm:

    How much money are we really talking about if we provide free rides to seniors with “low” income.

    I dunno, but the whole thing costs $55 million a year to RTA, or so they say.

  45. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:02 pm:

    == How many Wilmette types are taking mass transit to Bulls games anyway?==

    Granted, a tad extreme, but some do. Lyric Opera, too. The point is that income and wealth of seniors varies quite widely.

    I’d be more interested in revamping the CTA fare structure to go by the mile, a la Washington Metro.

    I hop on at the end of the line Oak Park, 10 miles from the Loop; I can’t tell you the number of folks who hop on at Garfield Park or Ashland, much closer to their Loop stops who are honked off (rightly) for having to pay the same fare when they can’t get a seat (I, of course, as a gentleman, stand.)

  46. - dupage dan - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:07 pm:


    Define low income persons. RB put into effect “free” medical care for children in families where the household income approached 80k. Does that consitute low income? The estimate in recent articles put the cost to provide free rides for all seniors at 38mil. I don’t know how much different that would be if you made the rich ones pay. Administrative costs to ensure only those elgible to ride have to be considered.

    The reality is that 38mil may not mean much when we are talking about 9bil. Dirksen was right - a million here, a million there. It does add up and it has to come from somewhere. Raise taxes and the economy takes a hit. It has been proven again and again. We don’t have much choice here but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. My state job is at risk if the taxes aren’t raised but I am quite clear on the consequences to the health of our great state and our great nation if we crush the economic engine.

  47. - carbon deforestation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:10 pm:

    Today’s statement on “free rides is a policy I can support” marks my first major disappointment in Governor Quinn. Clearly he is showing that is a panderer. Hopefully, he can still demonstrate that he is at least equally interested in good policy.

    I still am hopeful that he can be a good governor, but today he took some of my hope away. Free rides for seniors is not only bad policy, but it is a clear remnant of Rod Blagojevich’s worst type of behaviors: over the top pandering / demagoguery.

  48. - Transit Supporter - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:12 pm:

    6 Degrees - No gas tax money from anywhere in the state goes to Chicago area transit. None. Federal support, local sales taxes, local real estate transfer tax, fares and other revenues (ads, rent) support transit - other than a small amount of state money for paratransit and a small match from the Public Transportation Fund. Only the people who have access to transit, pay for it. There is this notion that downstate or suburban taxpayers are subsidizing a portion of the system they don’t use. It is demonstrably not true. And even if it were, it would make no sense. I have no kids, so my education property taxes should be rebated. I have never called the police so I should get their portion rebated. I have never used the fire department so send me my money back. And I haven’t gone to the public library this year so I want that money back, too.

  49. - Legaleagle - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:17 pm:

    Why don’t we just make everything “free” to everyone -transit, health care, pensions, guaranteed job, food, shelter, etc. That worked really well in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Red China!!!

  50. - anon III - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:30 pm:

    One more time:

    The problem with Illinois government and finances is not that people who have been paying full fare to ride public transit for their last forty years are suddenly riding free.

    Do gangs, crime and drugs have anything to do with lack of quality education and an taxes that drive jobs away? Do the highest sales taxes in the nation have anything to do with government payrolls loaded with relatives of public officials and political workers? Do sky-high real estate taxes have anything to do with 450 plus TIF districts in Chicago? Does one Gov. in the slammer and another on the way have anything to do with pay to play public contracts?

    Let’s not deal with reality; let’s pretend.

  51. - honesty in government - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:33 pm:

    The issue is a drop in the bucket and Daley had blown the whole thing up to avoid his short coming. It is Black Friday at IDOT with the Secretary of Transportation being walked out and head of Finance and Administration told to leave. There is also Stanley Moore Director of the infamous OBWD also on the short list with the Dinosaur.

  52. - Sap - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 4:55 pm:

    Lucky for me I can afford the train. What bugs me is that the rich, old guy gets a free ride while a single mom making minimum wage has to drop an hour’s pay just to get back and forth to work. Like Parmesan said, same thing happens with the senior property tax exemption. Why is the 70-year old who make $40,000 a year more deserving of a tax break than the 28 year old parents of 2 trying to make it on $30,000 per year who isn’t going to retire until well after social security goes belly-up? I’m fine with people who need freebies getting them, but the test should be financial means, not age.

  53. - Justice - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 5:27 pm:

    Free rides was a Blago ploy and the more things change….the more things stay the same. His people are still here and Quinn is keeping them right where they are. I will give Quinn more time just to be fair, but I don’t believe he has what it takes. But they do have a new dumping ground ……at IDOT…..and a new sec. Only in Illinois! I am about to give up!

  54. - Taxation without Representation - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 9:14 pm:

    If it is free, who pays for it?
    The people who use the service should be paying for it. Quit taxing the “Rich” so you get a free ride.

  55. - John in Oswego - Saturday, Feb 28, 09 @ 8:30 am:

    Would you want your elderly parents to have to chose between buying medicine and transportation to see their doctors?

    If the rhetoric of the last twenty years has taught me anything, I surely do not want seniors to have to eat dog food in order to cover their transportation costs.

    Keep the free rides. I shudder to think of the Illinois we could be living in. This is one benefit we as taxpayers both need and deserve.

  56. - The Fox - Saturday, Feb 28, 09 @ 8:41 am:

    Are Madigan and Cullerton leaders of the Dem party I used to know? Raising gas taxes on working stiffs who have to drive to work and denying free rides to the elderly who occasionally or even often take a ride on the “L” or bus or Metra?

  57. - It's Just Me - Saturday, Feb 28, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    The bigger issue is what will the free rides for seniors cost in 20 years. The RTA already does free rides for disabled in the circuit breaker program, it wouldn’t be all that hard to give it to seniors in the circuit breaker program too.

  58. - Marianne North - Monday, Mar 2, 09 @ 6:34 am:

    The problem with Quinn’s statement, and this has been an ongoing problem with the state legislature and previous admins, is it’s a budget policy based on a feel-good decision. It is not fiscally sound. What he should’ve said is he’ll review all of Blagojevich’s programs and the boards he created in light of the budget shortfall. That’s all. The comments Quinn made re: filling the vacant Obama seat and now this makes me think he’s a knee-jerk reactor.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Cross Supports New Appointee - Alton Daily News..
* Rauner on Refugees - Alton Daily News..

* Chicago schools prepare lesson plan on teen's shooting
* EXCHANGE: Augustana digitizing Hauberg glass plate images
* Chicago Public Schools reverses special education cuts
* Former Chicago Transit workers sentenced in fraud scheme
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield police chief bemoans body-cam 'burden'
* Illinois makes tax break deals with 3 companies
* Most Illinois metro jobless rates fall but many lose jobs
* EXCHANGE: Fire training buildings adapt to versatile needs
* Amtrak ramps up service, offers tips for holiday travel

* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Springfield police chief sees problems with body cam law
* Lawsuit challenges Illinois ban on marijuana campaign money
* Number of Illinois inmates released on parole climbing
* Bryce Benton circulating petitions to challenge Sen. Sam McCann in GOP primary
* Executive Mansion roof repairs nearing completion
* Candidates begin filing petitions for March primary election
* Benton circulating petitions to challenge McCann in GOP primary
* Rauner administration says House Democrats holding local aid hostage

* Review: Sociale in the South Loop
* Her Barbie was a lawyer. Now she defends victims' rights
* Meet the guy making money off your food scraps
* Anger, pain and calls for change in response to police video
* United, Delta bet on long oil slump

* 16 reasons every Blackhawks fan should be thankful on Thanksgiving
* Blackhawks cool off Sharks; Kane extends point streak to 17
* Four more Laquan McDonald police dashcam videos released
* President Obama: ‘Disturbed’ by Laquan video, grateful for ‘peaceful’ protests
* Black leaders call for Supt. McCarthy to resign
* Viktor Tikhonov embraces off-ice role as Artemi Panarin’s guide
* Ex-Hawks winger Ben Smith working his way back from a concussion
* FOP posts notice on raising bail for officer charged with murder
* Brian Bliss remains employed by Fire
* Black Caucus renews calls for McCarthy’s ouster

* Four new Laquan McDonald shooting videos raise more questions
* Calls for reform after McDonald video release; protesters march in Loop
* Teen dead, 3 other people wounded in city shootings
* Live blog: Laquan McDonald protests in Chicago
* Man charged with home invasion after woman reported taken from Oak Park house
* Questions remain on long inquiry before Laquan McDonald shooting charges
* Police: Two girls struck by SUV while walking on sidewalk
* Indiana's proposed new religious freedom plan draws ire
* Charges dropped against protest leader accused of striking cop during Loop march

* Eugene Robinson: The GOP's political correctness dodge
* Douglas Holt: Woman's protest of Trump was misguided, inappropriate
* George Will: Muzzling pet advice another case of free speech erosion
* Bernard Schoenburg: Josh Langfelder took father's advice on election petition signatures
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Michael Gerson: The Trump effect, still 'understated'
* Catherine Rampell: For millennials, first comes love — then what?
* Springfield police chief sees problems with body cam law
* Lawsuit challenges Illinois ban on marijuana campaign money

* Clubs listings, Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 2015
* Area update: Soup kitchen needs help with backpack giveaway
* Frank's Faves: Giving thanks
* Golf links swap hits roadblock
* Chuck Koplinski: Beautiful 'Brooklyn' a love story for the ages
* Update on candidate filings in Vermilion County for 2016
* 80th N-G All-State Football: POY Josh King
* Notes-Worthy: Kvn Tajzea
* Illini marching in the big time
* 80th N-G All-State Football: First team and special mention

* How Periscope, other social media apps can help you shop
* Tree lightings and holiday celebrations, listed by suburb
* How to buy gift certificates from small suburban stores
* South Korea: VW rigged emissions in 125,000 diesel vehicles
* How to shop for suburban charities to donate money to

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Nebraska ethanol producers name former Dur......

* Opinion: Sen. Kirk must stand with crimina......

* Don't Let The Turkeys Get You Down
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* IDOT Debuts Winter Weather Driving Tips Video
* Pot Dangerous? Mother's Testimony Says Yes [video]
* Happy Thanksgiving
* It seems like it’s everywhere, that video of the final moments of Laquan’s life
* Laquan McDonald.
* Sixteen shots. The story that broke the silence.
* Thomas Francis McGuire interviewed on NTNM
* Random thoughts.

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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