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*** UPDATED x1 *** Cullerton: Tax retirement income

Monday, Mar 7, 2011

* Cullerton touches a third rail

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton today suggested the state should start taxing the retirement income of senior citizens who are able to afford it. […]

“It would just be a matter of fairness,” said Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat.

Details are still being worked out, but Cullerton said the state could bring in could bring in upward of $1.6 billion a year. Cullerton said the money could be used to provide tax relief elsewhere, whether that be lowering the corporate income tax rate, reworking sales tax rates or some other idea. […]

“I think it’s important that we always be open to reviewing the tax code,” Quinn said, restating his call for a commission to review the state’s tax laws with attention to fairness to “everyday taxpayers” and economic growth. “I think everything should be looked at. You know, how we go about it is obviously something we have to work together on.”

Thoughts?

*** UPDATE *** I’ll have more for subscribers tomorrow, but Cullerton just told me the idea behind this proposal would be to lower overall rates. None of the money raised from tax retirement income would be used for programs. Instead, it would be used to lower the overall income tax rate.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


77 Comments
  1. - Obamarama - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:12 pm:

    Any opportunity to expand the tax base in a non-regressive manner floats my boat.

    I hate to say it, but a lot of wealthier seniors get off easy due to programs having age-only requirements.


  2. - Just Sayin' - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:13 pm:

    Although there’s something to be said for this idea, it is political suicide and a probable non-starter.


  3. - Been There - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:13 pm:

    I use to prepare tax returns. Always amazed me that somebody having hundreds of thousands in income coming out of their IRA account and they didnt owe the state anything. Some of these clients were worth millions. At a minimum they should be paying on their income in excess of their social security.


  4. - What's in a name? - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:14 pm:

    Yes, absolutely tax wealthy retirees. How can we justify taxing low income families and not the wealthy just because they’re old. Shared pain.


  5. - Skirmisher - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:15 pm:

    I have said this often: I am retired, and I think it is an outrage that young people with families and mortgages have to pay income tax and I do not. Any retired person who has a problem paying their fair share is a pretty self-centered individual. Yes, the State might want to make some sort of exception for persons relying solely on social security, or have some kind of means test if it can be done constitutionally. But retirement income over some base level needs to be taxed. I have understood that this has been under discussion for a number of months.


  6. - JP - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:18 pm:

    How about just taxing people till they are 70, then dropping it altogether.

    Would give a second thought to early retiree’s who skate from age 55+

    JBP


  7. - Leave a light on George - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:18 pm:

    Who knew? From my keyboard to Cullerton’s ears.


  8. - OldIllini - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:19 pm:

    I am retired and think this idea is overdue. The means test is important. A phase-in would also be nice. How about guaranteeing that the $1.6 billion is an extra payment to the Illinois pension funds?


  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:20 pm:

    Ut Oh …

    Thank goodness for Cullerton and his Democratic Allies that THEY will control the malking of the map. Can you hear the retirees now?

    “We were smart enough to prepare, why should WE have to pay for the State’s failure to prepare?”

    Gonna make interesting theatre, going to be more than just theatre if it passes.


  10. - A SENIOR - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:20 pm:

    I understand the concept…………but realize many Illinois retirees reamin in the State for this reason and a tax will drive many to other States. Many Seniors, who spend money and pay other taxes, will move if this is approved


  11. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:21 pm:

    Great idea, but this is troubling, “…who are able to afford it.”

    Given the travesty surrounding means-testing free public transit rides, I cannot imagine the furor over who decides this little nugget.


  12. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:21 pm:

    After the free rides on public transportation, it wouldn’t hurt for the wealthy to give something back.


  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:21 pm:

    I am a state retiree and believe my benefits should be taxed. I also believe Social Security benefits should be means tested as well. Maximize efforts to reduce fraud, even if that means hiring more staff to do so.


  14. - Lakefront Liberal - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:22 pm:

    At last!


  15. - D.P. Gumby - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:27 pm:

    Abso-freakin-lutely. The problem is will the proposal get messed up so that it is not based upon actual disposable income and somehow hits something non-disposable…farm land, granny’s Monet, etc.


  16. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:36 pm:

    Maybe the revenue could be used for school funding, just like the Lottery revenue.


  17. - Lakefront Liberal - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:36 pm:

    The comment above from “A SENIOR” made me curious as to how much seniors spend compared to other age groups. I did a quick google and came up with an article suggesting that someone in the 45-54 age group spends over twice as much as someone in the 75+ age group on things like clothes and food. In other words, we would only have to attract one middle-age person to the state to replace the spending every two seniors who leave because of taxes.

    http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2006/spring/article1.html

    Of course I am being a bit snarky here — I certianly think seniors offer a much larger contribution to our society than just their consumer spending — but a detailed spending comparison would be an interesting data set to have.


  18. - steve schnorf - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:37 pm:

    Good for President Cullerton. We need to braoden the tax base as much as possible, both for fairness and to control rates.


  19. - Ahoy - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:42 pm:

    The state nearly doubled it’s tax rate and is still in debt. Maybe they should look at just getting more revenue and no more programs.

    It’s a good idea, they should also look at lowering the sales tax and extending it to services. That would be a more fair tax as well.


  20. - amalia - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:43 pm:

    and let’s make sure to tax retired Illinois legislators even more!


  21. - jake - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:46 pm:

    I agree with the proposal.


  22. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:49 pm:

    No problem, and while I like the idea of means testing the rate I’m not sure that’s actually necessary…perhaps look at annuity rates and make a cut off somewhere there.


  23. - Bigtwich - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:49 pm:

    I do not object to the income tax applying to pensions, well, unless you do it to relive the tax burdens on corporations. Senior citizens have to bail out the Fortune 500?


  24. - MikeMacD - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:51 pm:

    I would be interested in the analysis behind the $1.6 Bn figure that Senate President Cullerton is offering as a high end figure.


  25. - Remember - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:56 pm:

    Wow… a great idea! Please tax me… Thanks.


  26. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 4:57 pm:

    “Instead, it would be used to lower the overall income tax rate.”

    Does anyone really believe this?


  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:01 pm:

    Somebody had to say it, but I don’t see it happening.


  28. - matt - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:02 pm:

    it’s absured they are not already taxed. It is income. plain and simple. It should not even be “for those who can afford it”. Every dollar of pension payment should have an income tax levied against it.

    the state should also drop retirees from their health insurance if they no longer live in Illinois. If they leave this state then the tax payers should not be footing the bill for their medical needs


  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:03 pm:

    ===Does anyone really believe this? ===

    That’s how it’s being presented. Tax seniors and then concurrently lower rates based on rev projections. It’s not like you do one, wait a year, and do another. It’s being presented as a package.


  30. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:05 pm:

    Hm. Depends on what happens to the overall tax burden. The fact pensions are not taxed is why my spouse and I continue to live in Illinois. If they try to get too much out of us, we’ll move to another state and take our property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes and license fees with us.


  31. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:05 pm:

    The devil is in the details. I wonder what the floor will be.

    100K pension, easy to claim as taxable. 20K pension easy to see as non-taxable. Where do you draw the line?


  32. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:07 pm:

    Taxing retirement income over X amount - good idea, expected it sooner or later. Still might run in to the “diminishment language” for state retirees.

    Not using it to retire overall debt and dig out of the pension shortage - bad idea.


  33. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:08 pm:

    ==It’s being presented as a package.==

    Ok, Rich, but wasn’t the original income tax increase including a property tax rebate also presented as a package, which didn’t quite work out?


  34. - Leave a light on George - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:11 pm:

    @ Matt - Are you serious? You want to tell retired people where they are allowed to live! That’s nuts - Charlie Sheen nuts.


  35. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:12 pm:

    ===You want to tell retired people where they are allowed to live! ===

    He didn’t say that.


  36. - Voted for Obama - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:15 pm:

    How about this idea.

    All those making more than 250,000. per yr… retired or not.

    Clinton/Obama tax rate (A) - Bush tax rate (B) added to the base Illinois tax rate (C) (A - B +C) = new rate for all those making more than 250,000. per year. Should raise a heck a lot more than 1.6 billion.


  37. - fed up - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:15 pm:

    I could see this as a positive set the means test around 50k. What this looks like tho is even after a massive 66% tax increase the dems still want more money from taxpayers. No I dont for a second believe this will be a part of some even tax swap. Cullerton Madigan and Quinn need to get cutting the budget. Not Quinns so called cuts where he claims to spend less but the budget gets larger thats just more Quinnspeak (lies)


  38. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:16 pm:

    Wensicia, yes. However, the idea was supremely goofy on several levels and it was dropped.

    Look, it’s almost assuredly impossible to pass this idea. But there’s even less likelihood if they take all the money. Using it to lower the overall rate would reduce some of the sting from January’s actions. Of course, it would come at the cost of upsetting huge numbers of active voters with lots of time on their hands. And that’s why it won’t pass.


  39. - GOP - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:18 pm:

    Republicans should love this…it gives them a fighting chance to win some seats in the newly redrawn Dem map. Radogno should thank Cullerton for this idea.


  40. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:27 pm:

    John Cullerton is my state senator and he has my vote until further notice.

    All of the money that I put aside for retirement comes out of my check pre-tax. I have no problem with the state getting its fair share once I start living off of it. Of course there should be a means test–not everyone is in that situation.


  41. - fed up - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:29 pm:

    To reduce the sting of January’s actions. You meant the 66% increase in tax passed at 2am on the last day of the legislature using votes bought of by Quinn by promising jobs to legislators who campaigned against the tax increase. I don’t think it will sooth that sting at all.


  42. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:38 pm:

    @Rich Miller

    I agree with your conclusion.


  43. - aufjunk - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:42 pm:

    Taxing pensions of State retirees and using the money to give tax relief to non-State retirees…. Hmmm, why does this remind me of STAR bonds? And never mind the broken promise involved - after all, aren’t these the same people who promised that the State would always run the lottery to keep it clean?


  44. - Monstrum - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:43 pm:

    I see the point that this could inspire lots of seniors to leave Illinois. But added to Lakefront Liberal’s equation about how much seniors spend and therefore generate in tax revenues would have to be the impact on healthcare costs. Vast majority of healthcare expenditures are at end of life.
    I don’t like that sort of $$ assessment of people’s lives, but somebody doing the State’s budget-crunching is. A ruthless approach that deters seniors could be viewed as a way to save on social service costs.


  45. - mokenavince - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:50 pm:

    When do our polticans take a pay cut. And since when do part-time workers get full benefits ?


  46. - soccermom - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 5:56 pm:

    Good for President Cullerton. A gutsy move. Now let’s expand the EITC and the personal exemption, so families — and individuals — who are just scraping by don’t have to pay this big hike in the income tax.


  47. - Decaturite - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:17 pm:

    Being one of the few states that doesn’t tax retirement income is the only reason I’m considering Illinois after I retire.If this
    tax comes about then many people with the means
    will leave.


  48. - Amuzing Myself - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:17 pm:

    This all depends on how “retirement income” is defined. If we put after-tax income into Roth IRAs during working years, the whole idea is they’re not taxed later… meaning the growth isn’t taxed. If you pay taxes, and put money away for retirement, it absolutely is NOT fair to be taxes when you go to spend the retirement you’ve built up. If they’re aiming at some other sort of income, then maybe. Clearly, money you have saved in a retirement plan should not be taxed as income. That’d be like taxing savings account withdrawals.


  49. - Bigtwich - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:24 pm:

    “Ten states exclude all federal, state and local pension income from taxation.”

    for a full list see

    http://retirementliving.com/RLtaxes.html


  50. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:28 pm:

    –Republicans should love this…it gives them a fighting chance to win some seats in the newly redrawn Dem map.–

    Absolutely. The GOPs long tradition of protecting Social Security has them on real good paper with retirees.

    Every lifelong GOP member of my family became a Democrat once they retired and checked out the fine details of “privatizing” Social Security.


  51. - Edition Parker - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:31 pm:

    Probably a good plan to get affluent seniors to stay in Florida or Arizona long enough to claim there as primary (if they don’t already).


  52. - Retire on what, exactly? - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:32 pm:

    My mom is elderly, can’t work, gets a very meager pension from my late dad, and some social security. Dad paid off the mortgage before he died, but mom had to enter a reverse mortgage and use income off the house we grew up in, just to pay the annual property taxes and things like fixing the roof or the plumbing. She’s on the LINK card. She’s not rich. I live far out of town and can’t help her much. I would like to see anybody’s mom in that situation not have to pay any taxes, as she’s been doing that since the forties. Give those folks a little rest. I am NOT happy with Cullerton’s idea, as you can tell. Not every elderly person out there is having a golden retirement in these hard days. Of all the people to tap for more taxes, are we really so desperate we’re going after elderly widows and veterans?


  53. - Edition Parker - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:32 pm:

    Should’ve added “if they don’t tax it or have lower taxes”


  54. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:41 pm:

    Decaturite, where you gonna go?
    There’s a good chance your retirement is already taxed in that state.


  55. - Robert - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:54 pm:

    bravo to cullerton for raising the idea.

    @Monstrum 5:43 PM - you’re honest, not just ruthless, in raising the question. the problem is that it is two different groups of seniors - high income folks who might leave the state wouldn’t qualify for medicaid.

    regarding the means-testing point, can an Illinois state tax be means-tested? I thought Hynes’ graduated income tax proposal required a state constitution change?


  56. - out of pocket - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 6:56 pm:

    John Cullerton should make the tax voluntary so all of you people that want to spend for others’ could put your money where your mouth is.


  57. - justsickofit - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 7:08 pm:

    @amuzing myself, good point about the Roth’s, and taxing saving account withdrawals — don’t give them any ideas :) Tax all state pansions above the average, which AFSCME is fond of saying is 22,000. Put every dime into the pension fund, and then move all state workers into a 401K type plan. Do not tax private retirement savings, or social security. I already own property in the south, and am a stone’s throw from retirement. Yes, where the primary (or sole) residence will be all depends on what is smart financially.


  58. - justsickofit - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 7:18 pm:

    @JP I like your idea of stopping it at 70. Those in private industry must now work until 66 for full retirement, anyway, unlike the current state workers who get pensioned off at 55, and then get another job.


  59. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 7:20 pm:

    {attention to fairness to “everyday taxpayers” and economic growth.}

    If they are going to tax retirement benefits, than a key to economic growth, and “everyday taxpayers” could be to eliminate the sales tax entirely, which virtually every taxpayer pays something towards it everyday.


  60. - mushroom in the dark - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 7:33 pm:

    Constitutional for existing state employees and retirees?


  61. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 7:52 pm:

    @Michelle Flaherty: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, SD, Texas, & Washington at least. None have an income tax at all. The Olympic peninsula in the summer and Florida in the winter is sounding pretty good.


  62. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 8:59 pm:

    Bye. Why you still here here? Enjoy young families supporting all your senior benefits with their higher tax rates that put them further and further behind?
    Tell Jimmy John hi.


  63. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 9:03 pm:

    And ER, Washington has a gross receipts tax so businesses shoulder the tax burden for everyone else regardless of profit. Wonder how a GRT would fare here?


  64. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 9:08 pm:

    It’s not hard to insert a provision taxing pension benefits above some income level, say $50k for an individual, $75k for a couple, etc. All this rhetoric about hungry grannies is ridiculous.


  65. - waitress practicing politics. . - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 9:21 pm:

    =Any retired person who has a problem paying their fair share is a pretty self-centered individual=and that sums it up. and as someone else said-the devil is in the details.
    I am for this if there is means testing


  66. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 9:31 pm:

    Speaking of the devil being in the details … I’m resigned to a tax on retirement income but, in my case, it’s going to cost the state more than they collect. All my extra money has been going to help my kid’s family … both of them are currently unemployed with another grand-kid on the way … if we weren’t housing them they would be in section 8 house … and I’m guessing that will cost the state a lot more than a 5% tax on all my retirement income. My wife’s been urging me to move to Florida and this just might be the last straw …


  67. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 9:45 pm:

    Another thought - driving early (non-Medicare) retirees out of state will increase insurance costs because the only viable insurance out of state is the Quality Care program … which is the most expensive one (fee for care).


  68. - Liandro - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 9:58 pm:

    If they are making enough for the means-testing to kick in, I can pretty easily see them relocating. Sure, not everyone…but how many? Enough to damage his numbers, I’m guess. They’ll come visit the grandkids in Illinois for part of the year, sure…

    Don’t get me wrong, the idea has some merit, but we’re competing against 49 others states for the attention of these individuals. And, as Rich pointed out…this is a powerful voting block.


  69. - we are out of money - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 10:10 pm:

    Check out the daily show. It has an awesome wisconsin-walker skit.


  70. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 11:04 pm:

    What a stupid idea.

    If we start taxing retirement income, we can start to kiss goodbye all the non-profits they help, all the community churches they leave large donations to, the volunteering we see in our local organizations, and all the Mercury Grand Marquis being driven to Florida.

    Now I’m going to have to drive to Florida to see my grandfolks because they will have to stay down there to avoid being taxed to death in Illinois.

    Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.


  71. - frustrated GOP - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 11:13 pm:

    Actually reducing retiree and medicare might reduce medical costs. Hospitals will slow on the purchasing of the latests and greatest to increase reimbursements. BTW, has anyone ever looked at hosp administration. wow, and none of them are doctors or nurses.
    I also think with the boomers getting to retirement there aren’t going to be too many states that don’t do this. Our country can’t afford that many people coming off income production. Also, for the record, all these people would have been paying higher taxes years ago had Springpatch paid the pension fund when they were supposed to. Why shouldn’t the current generation kick in for the low taxes we all enjoyed for so long, instead of hitting the under 18 year olds who didn’t vote for all these folks.


  72. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 7, 11 @ 11:36 pm:

    ===stay down there to avoid being taxed to death in Illinois.===

    Going from paying zero income taxes to paying 3 percent of income is not “taxed to death” any way you look at it. Also, Cullerton’s talking about exempting the first $100K. Take a breath. Gramma’s safe


  73. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 8, 11 @ 12:02 am:

    === Republicans should love this…it gives them a fighting chance to win some seats in the newly redrawn Dem map. Radogno should thank Cullerton for this idea. ===

    In a Presidential election year, voters under the age of 35 cast 420,000 more ballots than voters over the age of 65 in Illinois, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau I’ve looked at.

    If you think taxing SOME pensions to lower the tax rates for ALL Illinoisans is a loser on Election day, just look at the counter argument:

    “State Senator Christine Radogno voted AGAINST taxing the pensions of state workers making more than 100,000 a year, so that YOU could pay more.”

    Its a slam-a-damma-ding-dong-dunk.


  74. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 8, 11 @ 12:19 am:

    Rich -

    According to Census Bureau figures, voters under the age of 44 cast roughly 2.4 million ballots in Illinois in 2008, compared to 960,000 ballots cast by voters 65+.

    Don’t know off the top of my head what % of those 960,000 make more than 100,000 a year…but I’d bet its significantly less than 20 percent.

    To win the political argument, you’d have to make a pretty good slippery slope argument to seniors. We’ll see what AARP says.


  75. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 8, 11 @ 2:24 am:

    YDD, a very big reason your party lost ground last year was because seniors fled to the Republicans. This doesn’t help.


  76. - LeeH - Wednesday, Mar 9, 11 @ 10:40 am:

    This is Brilliant! (sarcasm emphasized) Seniors and those approaching retirement will vacat this state in droves, further reducing the money spent and taxes collected in the this state.
    For those griping about seniors not paying for mass transit - how many “rich” seniors do you know that actually RIDE mass transit? Think people! (Our polticians certainly are NOT!)
    Raising taxes ALWAYS results in people leaving for lessor tax burden - only those that can’t afford to move stay and get raped. How much has/is the population of this state declining after the latest tax increase? How far does this state’s population have to decline before the Democrats grow a brain?


  77. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 9, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    –Think people! (Our polticians certainly are NOT!)
    Raising taxes ALWAYS results in people leaving for lessor tax burden - only those that can’t afford to move stay and get raped.–

    Yeah, New York City, with an effective local tax burden of 14%, is practically a ghost town. No old wealthy people living there. Hardly any people at all.


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        * 2 credit houses take no major action on Illinois..
        * Game Day: Canucks to face old friend Cory Schne.....
        * Tale of the Tape: Devils and Canucks..
        * Erin’s Law is a friend to children..
        * Delta remembers Pat Quinn..
        * Horrible Bosses 2 boys are stooges for the 21st.....
        * GUEST COLUMN: Analysis of 2014 state elections .....
        * Guest Viewpoint..


        * 2 credit houses take no major action on Illinois
        * Washington still focusing on tornado recovery
        * Illinois man pleads guilty in child porn case
        * Police across US prepare for more Ferguson rallies
        * Illinois farmers winding down harvest
        * Illinois suspends Ebola hotline as interest fades
        * Protesters camped out at Chicago mayor's office
        * Obama awards Illinois' Mikva the Medal of Freedom
        * Protests in Chicago, Peoria after Ferguson
        * Obama expected in Chicago to talk immigration

        * Debt rating agencies weigh in on state pension ruling
        * Lisa Madigan to ask Illinois Supreme Court to consider pensions
        * Rauner tackles transition agenda
        * Attorney general warns of immigration scams
        * State pension changes ruled unconstitutional; appeal to Illinois Supreme Court next
        * State to refund $60 million in retiree health care money
        * State pension changes ruled unconstitutional; appeal to Illinois Supreme Court likely
        * Illinois pension case likely headed to high court
        * Judge: Pension ruling to come Friday
        * Rauner mum on fixes for ‘dire’ state finances, wants Quinn to freeze hiring

        * Power line to move Iowa wind energy into Chicago wins key nod
        * Look out, Groupon: Twitter Offers lets retailers float discounts
        * 10 Things to Do
        * Ferguson protesters camp out inside City Hall
        * Railroads scramble to avoid another winter of Chicago gridlock


        * Obama expected to comment on Ferguson in Chicago
        * Contract approved to build arena/hotel near McCormick Place
        * Judge orders city to leave proposed Lucas Museum site unaltered
        * Obama in Chicago: Focus on non-Hispanic illegal immigrants
        * Hazel I. Lowe, owner of South Side boutique known for elegant apparel, dies at 97
        * Obama schedule, guidance Nov. 25, 2014 Chicago immigration speech
        * Lifelong friend of ‘El Chapo’ sentenced to 22 years
        * ‘Nothing short of a miracle,’ says daughter of retired teacher who survived condo collapse
        * Judge candidates on gun, pension plans
        * ‘Miracle:’ 2 survive building collapse


        * Buy a car and it snows 6 inches on Christmas, dealership pays you back
        * Clean Line's wind-power superhighway approved in Illinois
        * Lawsuit filed by elderly couple who escaped home in Midway plane crash
        * Mundelein man gets 24 years for killing woman in deadly crash
        * George W. Bush to visit Naperville bookshop on Monday
        * Fire department: Natural gas buildup likely led to South Side building collapse
        * Former Bull Brunson waits for DNA results in sex crime case
        * Misdemeanor DUI charges filed against off-duty Chicago cop accused of firing at off-duty suburban cop
        * Judge: Court must act before work starts on Lucas museum site
        * Charges reinstated against Park Ridge police commander accused of beating two 15-year-olds


        * Phoenix Center Strives To Connect With Transgender Community
        * Tim Landis: Foreclosure Sales, CIPS Icehouse and Heritage River Trail
        * Part Timers & Manufacturing in Illinois Feeling a Slow Economic Recovery
        * Notes From Ferguson: A QA With St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann
        * Notes From Ferguson: Q & A With St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann
        * Disbelief in Hammond after accused cops are reinstated
        * Disbelief by some in Hammond after accused cops are reinstated
        * Editor's Note: Tax And Pension Fix Won’t End Illinois’ Budget Crisis
        * Grand jury: No indictment for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson
        * Madigan Says Court Could Rule On Pensions In January


        * Debt rating agencies weigh in on state pension ruling
        * Our Opinion: Another big weekend for football fans
        * Mary Auchstetter: The true story of Grain Belt Express
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 25, 2014
        * Lisa Madigan to ask Illinois Supreme Court to consider pensions
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 24, 2014
        * Our Opinion: Illiana project too risky for tapped-out Illinois
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Sen. Manar backs aide Watson over Cahnman, Proctor in Ward 5
        * Karen Cox: Shop for a cause
        * Andy Shaw: Protect Illinois’ FOIA law from unnecessary tinkering


        * Fairview Heights police arrest Indiana man accused of sexually abusing 16-year-old male teen
        * Updated: Coroner identifies man found dead in Danville yard
        * Man on parole for cannabis sentenced for additional cannabis case
        * Women's Club to hold Christmas luncheon
        * Woman to prison for stealing from clients of sister's cleaning business
        * Madigan releases 'Safe Shopping Guide'
        * Teen sentenced to probation for burglary plea
        * Man sentenced to first offender's probation for cannabis
        * Heroin plea brings 3-year sentence
        * Student story: Has Black Friday shopping gone too far?


        * New FDA rules will put calorie counts on menus
        * George W. Bush coming to Naperville for book signing
        * Brown family blasts prosecutor's handling of case
        * Two teens shot dead, two different Obama reactions
        * 'Horrible Bosses 2' embarrassingly silly sequel

        * Democrats sweep local elections - Daily No...
        * Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s Statement on t...
        * Hennepin Steel Mill finally sold - SteelGuru
        * Randy Hultgren tops Dennis Anderson for 2n...
        * Veterans Affairs clinic in Galesburg may b...
        * Republicans flock to Peoria headquarters
        * Lipinski Hoping for Restraint after Israel...
        * Cal City event remembers vets at memorial
        * Hennepin steel mill sold - Bureau County R...
        * 2 more ships in Puget Sound

        * US Senate to hold civil rights hearing aft......
        * Durbin to hold human rights hearing on Fer......
        * Durbin to chair hearing on civil rights, F......
        * Durbin to hold Senate hearing on Ferguson...
        * Durbin Optimistic About Rauner...

        * Sen. Mark Kirk: 'We're Getting Played' in ......

        * Indianapolis Star deems Gary Varvel's Thanksgiving cartoon "racist"
        * Durbin to hold hearing on law enforcement militarization and voting rights
        * Illinois Attorney General Seeks Expedited Appeal of Pension Reform Case
        * SNL's updated version of "Schoolhouse Rock" [video]
        * Di Leo: Big Government Works Great … But For Whom?
        * Will County Board's Democrat majority votes to raise county taxes
        * Schakowsky: Ferguson decision left many "sad, frustrated and angry"
        * Dienhart: Which part of Obama's illegal executive order does Rauner like?
        * Holder: Department of Justice continues to investigate Ferguson Police Department
        * Voters re-elected tax-cutting Republican governors


        * Governor Quinn Statement on Abner Mikva Receiving Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor
        * Governor Quinn Launches Newest Veterans Cash Lottery Ticket - Program Has Raised More Than $11.7 Million for Illinois Veterans Since 2006
        * Liquor Control Commission October Underage Compliance Report
        * Illinois Residents Asked to Put the Tobacco Down - Support the Great American Smokeout – November 20
        * Governor Quinn Statement on President Obama’s Executive Action




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