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Here come the cuts

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012

* This is a classic media overstatement about a legislative proposal

Taxing junk food and cigarettes could save Illinois much-needed money, according to the Illinois Hospital Association.

On the line are 19,000 jobs that could be eliminated as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn tries to cut back on Medicaid costs.

“They’ve shown a link between these sugary beverages and obesity and thus diabetes,” said Jeni Tackett, a registered dietician with Trinity-Bettendorf.

Tackett says taxing sodas and energy drinks would force people to think differently about what they’re putting into their bodies.

A penny per ounce tax would generate maybe $13 million a year in tax revenues. Gov. Quinn is talking about $2.7 billion in Medicaid cuts. This is just one tiny aspect of the Illinois Hospital Association’s proposal to forestall those cuts

The hospital association will “vigorously” fight any cuts to Medicaid payments to hospitals, she said. Such payment cuts could result in the closure of struggling hospitals, leaving Illinois with more “health care deserts,” such as in East St. Louis, which already lost its only hospital.

“This is not a haircut; $2 billion is a scalp,” [Illinois Hospital Association chief Maryjane Wurth] said.

More on what the IHA wants

Hospitals would pay a tax on outpatient gross revenues, which would generate a $240 million federal match per year. That would result in $480 million a year to Medicaid providers, including hospitals, nursing homes and providers of services for people with developmental disabilities. […]

Q. You also propose increasing revenues for Medicaid by raising cigarette taxes from the current 98 cents a pack, adding a tax on junk food and increasing the sales tax on soft drinks.

The cigarette tax hike would bring in $377 million. All all that up and you’re talking real money. But still not enough to forestall all those cuts. And “tax” is now a four-letter word in Illinois since the income tax was raised. It’s a tough road.

* And speaking of cuts, this is gonna be a very grim year

Women’s health advocates fear that waiting lists for a state-funded screening program will grow if Illinois officials cut even more from the program in the next fiscal year.

Waiting lists that have developed in recent months for uninsured women seeking medical tests and examinations through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program may not be eliminated despite $1.4 million in supplemental grants sent out this week, program director Jean Becker said Friday.

Advocates are concerned that Gov. Pat Quinn, in his fiscal 2013 budget address Wednesday, may propose even deeper cuts for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.

“I’m very worried about it,” said Anne Marie Murphy, executive director of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force. “The funding for this year’s program was woefully inadequate.”

* And here’s a grim budget roundup…

* Quinn wants all state offices, agencies to cut budgets by 9 percent

* Quinn wants major Medicaid cuts

* Unions may have to choose between salaries, pensions: As Gov. Pat Quinn prepares his budget address for Wednesday, the president of the Illinois Senate says state workers might have to compromise between salary increases and pension benefits… “AFSCME’s at the table. They know that. How can they ask for a pay raise for their salaries when they know all of the extra money the state will be bringing in this year as a result of normal growth will go to pensions?” he said.

* Quinn to call for spending cuts, action on bills: But it’s not clear whether Quinn will present detailed proposals for solving those problems when he speaks Wednesday. Quinn aides said he will “lay out all the options” and “put the options out there.” Anderson did say Quinn is not counting on cutting pension costs in the upcoming budget and that the state will make its full contribution to the retirement systems for government employees.

* Quinn plans to cut state budget to 2008 levels

* Quinn Proposes $50 Million For Illinois Scholarship Program: Governor Quinn says he will close facilities and make cuts to other departments to cover the costs of the educational investments. St. Sen. Mike Jacobs says he wants to know where the cuts will fall, before he gives the governor his support. “If he’s going to make some additional dollars spent toward education, I want to know exactly what he’s going to cut,” said Jacobs.

* Editorial: You’ll know Quinn is serious if …

* Editorial: What Illinoisans need to hear in budget talk

* 8 things to look for in Quinn’s budget address

* Illinois Gov. Quinn Outlines State’s Budget Priorities

* Quinn’s budget speech could set stage for ‘ugly year’: “I can’t imagine he’s going to go down the road of closing correctional facilities because we are overcrowded,” said Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield. “I felt that was an empty threat last fall.”

* Quinn’s No. 2 calls for cuts to her own budget

* Governor Pat Quinn to Announce Budget Plan: Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said, “If the talk is only about making the deep cuts and we never get around to really addressing the core problems, then I think we’re just going to continue to just exist as opposed to flourish like we really should be doing.”

* Frerichs expects Quinn to propose cutting regional superintendents

* Commission may decide fate of regional superintendents: “Nobody is aware of who we are and what we do. We constantly have to educate people about who we are and what we do.”

* Ill. treasurer suggests 5-year plan for facilities

* llinois school officials concerned about talk of shifting pension costs: Whatever costs Quinn wants passed along to the school district would sting. The Quincy School Board met last week to seek ways to eliminate $2.2 million in carried-over deficit in its Education Fund.

* Lottery retailers say online sales will be bad for business

- Posted by Rich Miller        


35 Comments
  1. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 10:15 am:

    According to recent polling: sin taxes, expanding the sales tax base, closing corporate loopholes, and a progressive income tax are the revenue raisers that Illinoisans prefer.

    IHA is not far off base, but they need some professional help with messaging. I’d refer to these cuts as
    “the guillotine”, not a “scalping”.

    Your welcome Senator Willhelmi, wherever you are!


  2. - mark walker - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 10:16 am:

    As usual, there’s a lot of criticism about a speech PQ hasn’t even made yet.

    I hope his plan is clearly scripted in the speech, and he mostly sticks with the script.


  3. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 10:33 am:

    Taxing junk food and sugary drinks at a higher rate while allowing the poor to purchase these products for free via their LINK cards doesn’t make any sense to me. The poor have the worst problems with obesity, especially school aged children. The LINK program needs to be cut back and unnecessary purchases like these eliminated from the program.


  4. - Informer - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    I always am befuddled by the mediciad issue. On one hand Quinn says that he will cut it; a few weeks ago I thought his plan was to expand coverage to an additionall 100,000. I could never be a politician; my math skills are not up to par


  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 10:37 am:

    –Since 2007, the number of people enrolled in Medicaid has jumped from 2.1 million to 2.7 million, eating up about $15 billion, or roughly one-fourth of the state’s overall budget.–

    If you’re going to cut, you have to go where the money is.


  6. - TCB - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 10:47 am:

    @ Wensicia = Taxing junk food and sugary drinks at a higher rate while allowing the poor to purchase these products for free via their LINK cards doesn’t make any sense to me. The poor have the worst problems with obesity, especially school aged children. The LINK program needs to be cut back and unnecessary purchases like these eliminated from the program. =
    That’s nearly impossible to do & to a LINK user it might even seem like a counter-productive goal.
    Ofcourse my conscience tells me that LINK users should use their cards to purchase fresh & healthy foods. However, as a tax-payer, I’d like to see the LINK cards be used as efficiently/frugally as possible (meaning users should shop as if they are using their own money). Often times, the healthier/fresher foods are more expensive. Since the fresh foods tend to be more expensive, LINK shoppers are naturally going to choose quantity over quality. I’m sure it’s a dilemma that’s all too real to many who rely on the LINK card to feed their families.


  7. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 11:18 am:

    @TCB,

    Very few LINK card holders are buying junk food and drinks based on lower costs; the differences aren’t that great and many snacks are more expensive than their healthier counterparts. Compare a bag of hot Cheetos to a loaf of bread for instance. No, I’m not buying your excuse.

    I do believe that healthier foods are not always available in certain food deserts, another part of the problem. But, if LINK no longer covered junk foods, many of the smaller stores would stock more healthy choices.


  8. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    It would depend on what is in that loaf of bread to make me think automatically it’s healthier than a bag of hot Cheetos. I’m not going to name brands here, but pick up a cheap loaf sometime and read the ingredients.


  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    “Nobody is aware of who we are and what we do. We constantly have to educate people about who we are and what we do.”
    Does he realize how ineffectual this makes his role sound? That’s pretty pathetic.


  10. - Capitol View - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    Does this mean that Sen. Dave is going to introduce legislation to address the “core” revenue issues such as a constitutional amendment for a graduated income tax, Ora broad expansion is our sales to more services, or even amending the tax code to charge senior income tax on pensions and annuities over $50,000?

    Of course not. He probably wouldn’t even vote for these changes if another legislator introduced them. He just wants these “core” revenue issues addressed without his fingerprints on them.

    I know Dave, and he is a good guy. But he and others on both sides of the aisle have to begin governing and stop political posturing.

    Right now, only legislators not coming back vote for what state government needs - and then still get criticized for their actions afterward if seeking senate confirmation to continue their public service.

    I invite all legislators to read the preface to our state constitution as to what state government exists to do, and take a long hard look in the mirror at themselves.


  11. - TCB - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 11:40 am:

    Im not arguing….I would have no problem further restricting the items that can be purchased with Link cards…..especially in the case of candies, snack foods (chips, beef jerky, hostess type cakes, etc.), soda, and certain prepared foods.

    I was simply speaking to the dilemma that I beleive, many tax-payers don’t think about. To me, the biggest shame is that Link users are often forced, by necessity, to purchase high-sodium, prepared foods like Hamburger Helper or Ramen Noodles, over healthier alternatives like fresh meats and produce. Im not exactly sure how we can address this, but I think it is something that needs to be discussed.


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    @Wordslinger -

    A foolish, faulty and often repeated rule.

    You first cut where the greatest inefficiencies are and then direct those dollars to greater efficiencies.

    THEN you cut your lowest priorities.

    To use the balancing the family budget analogy (which is generally bad, but useful here)

    If you were balancing your family budget would you stop paying your mortgage or health insurance, or would you stop eating out at restaurants every week and maybe only eat out once a month?


  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    People, this post isn’t about your silly focus on LINK cards. Get off of that subject now. Move along. It’s federally funded. This is a post about the state budget. Final warning.


  14. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 12:01 pm:

    Can we state employees be confident that the state will properly fund the pension if we forgo raises? Past history suggests that is foolish. Have things changed? Haha.

    BTW, I am not against the idea. I have worked for the state for over 20 years. We have been promised this before and things have gotten worse. Just sayin’


  15. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 12:07 pm:

    YDD:

    The state budget is NOT a family budget. That is an analogy. You do indeed have to go where the money is. You can screw around finding inefficiencies and reallocating funds all you want and in the end you MIGHT have 1% of what you need. Sorry, but when you are talking about BILLIONS of dollars it’s the “mortgages” (to use your analogy) that MUST take the hit.


  16. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 12:08 pm:

    Should have said the family budget is NOT a good analogy.


  17. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    Dog, your point is a good one, but may not be a realistic one. We don’t know a lot about measuring some of the sorts of things you’re talking about, and we certainly don’t do enough of it to give us much guidance right now.

    I think your approach would lead us, for example, to look at significant cuts to k-12 education. In many places, including many Chicago schools, the educational results are pretty abysmal. Is that an example of where we start cutting, then? I think you have to incorporate values as well as performance in looking where to cut.

    As to ws’ point, no matter how hard you try, you can’t cut $1B in GRF out of Ag, DNR, the Arts Council, IEMA, the Civil Rights Commission, Insurance, etc, because there isn’t a billion there to start with. Dog, are you saying you need to abolish all these sorts of agencies to scrounge up the little GRF you can before you begin cutting Medicaid, DHS, etc? When you need to cut billions, you end up with k-12, human services, and Medicaid on the platter. From a dollar perspective all else is almost irrelevant.


  18. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    In regard to government employee pensions, especially suburban and downstate teachers, it appears that the state may be heading towards a constitutional showdown if it tries to shove the pension costs onto prperty taxpayers. On the one hand, the state constitution appears to have bullet-proofed the gov employee pensions at Art XIII. But Art X lays the primary financing responsibility for public education on the state. Won’t Gov Quinn raise the potential for a fresh judicial review of these sections if he tries to push a portion of teacher pension costs down on the districts which will then shove it down the throats of homeowners? Now there’s a ruling by an elected state judge which could be a career ender. A graduated income tax may be the answer, but that requires a state constitutional amendment of Art IX which could open up the whole state constitution. Appears the state is running out of options based on its present rulebook.


  19. - dave - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    **I always am befuddled by the mediciad issue. On one hand Quinn says that he will cut it; a few weeks ago I thought his plan was to expand coverage to an additionall 100,000. I could never be a politician; my math skills are not up to par **

    Sigh… and I’m always befuddled when commenters completely distort the facts to fit their agenda.

    Yes, Gov. Quinn has proposed to expand the Cook County Medicaid population, but this would not cost the state any money. At all. Quinn is saying that there needs to be a reduction in liabilities. The Cook County waiver would not increase state Medicaid liabilities. At all.


  20. - Gregor - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    Quinn’s gotta address the pension payment ramp; like the Bush tax cuts did to the federal budget, it’s blowing a multi-billion-dollar hole in the Illinois state budget. Reducing the ramp would seem the most palatable option to legislators since it helps avoid the worst cuts. And it wouldn’t affect a penny of pension payments to retirees. Why isn’t someone getting off the bench and pushing to make that constitutional change?


  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 1:55 pm:

    –You first cut where the greatest inefficiencies are and then direct those dollars to greater efficiencies.–

    YDD, I get the concept, brother. You use the analogy of family, others use the analogy of business. But government is a different animal.

    There’s no CBA way to build and maintain an interstate between Champaign and Carbondale. Or a PACE suburban bus system, or many bus systems downstate. But they are necessary for a significant portion of the population.

    Schnorf’s post on the subject is a lot better than anything I could say, but this line stood out for me:

    –I think you have to incorporate values as well as performance in looking where to cut.–

    Some folks are going to need more. Having said that, I think you have to cut Medicaid, and every state should, as part of a whole re-think on what we are going to pay for healthcare.

    The only solution I can see is that providers of healthcare, in the very near future, on a national level, take a major haircut.

    Why not? In the last 100 years, in every other area where there have been great advancements — food, housing, transportation, communications — technological breakthroughs and new efficiencies have led to expanded access and lower prices. Why not in medicine and pharma?


  22. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 2:17 pm:

    How will the patient portability care act (Obamacare) impact future state spending on health care? Anyone have any idea?


  23. - Peggy R/Southern - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 4:42 pm:

    I don’t know offhand the wisdom in closing the 14 facilities. I am pleased that the Gov has proposed across the board 9% cuts, though it may be conservative for some agencies. Didn’t folks here poo-poo across the board cuts suggested by Brady during the election? Considered naive or something?


  24. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 4:52 pm:

    –Can we state employees be confident that the state will properly fund the pension if we forgo raises? Past history suggests that is foolish. Have things changed? Haha.–

    What history is that, DD? Any state pension payments, missed, ever? Have you missed a paycheck in 20-plus years of state service?

    Those of us in the private sector don’t have that kind of security.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure after you put in your time in state service, you’ll have many, many years in comfortable, taxpayer-funded retirement to wax eloquent about risk, responsibility, production and the private sector.


  25. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 5:09 pm:

    word:

    Bite me.

    I’m sick of private sector workers whining about public sector pensions. If you don’t like it then get a public sector job or get a different private sector job. I’m frankly sick of it!!


  26. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 5:17 pm:

    Demo, you’ve got the wrong guy.

    I’m a big supporter of public sector employees. I think the Civic Committee pension scare is a hoak.

    I object to those who take the money for themselves, then lecture about how it’s a bad idea for everyone else.


  27. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 5:53 pm:

    word:

    Gotcha.


  28. - cassandra - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 6:37 pm:

    Well, if you are going to close some facilities I suppose it makes sense to start the negotiations with more rather than fewer proposed closures then work back from there.

    AS to those loopholes, they are an early sign of spring. Every spring they pop up with the tulips.
    And they go with the tulips. Has the legislature closed any loopholes in recent years.


  29. - Truth Is Painful - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 7:24 pm:

    How about cutting heads at the Illinois Tollway ? More +$100,000 positions than other State agency. Staff has double in size since 2002.


  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 9:08 pm:

    @Wordslinger -

    I never suggested CBA.

    And I agree with Schnorf too.

    In fact, the Council of Government Finance Administrators just recommended that all CBA studies include an analysis of a program’s sustainability.

    @Schnorf -

    Sorry I was unclear.

    You look for the highest efficiency within a desired outcome/goal and move your resources there.

    So, to take your example, K-12 education. The last time I looked, public schools were spending just over 50% in the classroom.

    I’d venture to guess that most of that money being spent on administration and elsewhere isn’t making kids much smarter.

    You cut the stuff that has the least impact on outcomes and move it back into the classroom where it will do the most good.

    Or into early learning programs if that’s better.

    Speaking of which, I’m a big fan of early learning.

    But if you look at the research, “universal pre-school” isn’t actually a great use of resources.

    The improvements in learning you get back decline pretty quickly once you start spending public dollars on middle class and upper middle class kids, which makes sense. If government ever stopped to think about anything for two minutes.

    THEN, and this is where the real savings happen:

    You say:

    You know what? We really wanted to build a world class high-speed rail system in five years. But we also want to cut child abuse in half in five years. So, we’re still gonna build that rail system, but its gonna take us eight, because we think protecting kids is more important.

    You’re absolutely right Schnorf that the data cannot and will never enable us to weigh those values and answer the question “Which is more important to us as a society.” But it does help make the trade-off’s pretty clear. And it makes our elected leaders’ values pretty clear too.

    Which, BTW, is why so many elected officials in so many states are spending big taxpayer dollars on studies that pretend to weigh those values for us, by estimating the value of human life, calculating what clean air is worth, etc.

    By getting some researcher to assign some pretty much random value dollar to social values, which is hidden in a chart on page 465 of the appendix of their study, politicians escape any accountability for the value/political choices being made.

    They just say “The data made me do it.”


  31. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Feb 21, 12 @ 9:32 pm:

    @wordslinger -

    “Haircuts” are even lazier budgeting than cutting the biggest programs.

    Instead of giving all providers a “haircut”, stop using providers or funding procedures that provide lousy outcomes.

    Better yet, spend money now on programs that keep people from getting sick in the first place or ending up out of work so they don’t end up on Medicaid.

    With that goal in mind, you might decide for example to use the millions in dollars in taxpayer subsidies we give to the newspaper industry to instead retrain people who are on Medicaid for the skills the private sector is demanding.

    Wouldn’t that be an ironic twist of fate for the Tribune editorial board?


  32. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 22, 12 @ 7:15 am:

    @Schnorf-

    In response to your question, Yes.

    Polling, to the degree that it is accurate, has consistently shown that education, health care and human services are what Illinoisans consider the core prioirities of state government.

    In a poll just before the election and the tax hike, majorities of Illinoisans said that they would PERSONALLY be willing to pay higher taxes to protect education, human services and health care from service cuts.

    Only 20 percent thought a tax hike should be used to prevent cuts in transportation and corrections.

    We could, if we wanted to, put all of our state parks into a perpetual trust tomorrow and turn that land over to The Nature Conservancy, and completely eliminate DNR.


  33. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 22, 12 @ 8:15 am:

    @Schnorf-

    I should point out too that just because public schools are underperforming doesn’t mean they are “inefficient.”

    The most efficient program in the world will underperform if it is under-resourced.

    When Mitch Daniels implemented performance budgeting in Indiana, he discovered that the reason child abuse rates were so high was because the state didnt have enough investigators.

    He increased the budget for child protection by $50 million, doubling the state’s investigators.

    Budgeting for Results should lead to strategic cuts AND strategic investments.

    Performance budgeting is a tool for smarter government, but not necessarily smaller government.

    That said, Illinois’ budget constraints add a layer of complexity. But, as the governor’s proposal for closing loopholes shows, they atleast force us to deal with the need for new revenue honestly instead of pushing costs off to future years and eventually future generations.


  34. - Midway Garden - Wednesday, Feb 22, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    Does anyone think that the income tax hike can possibly be temporary?


  35. - State of ILL - Thursday, Feb 23, 12 @ 3:19 am:

    Yellow Dog Democrat - give me a break. Lay off DNR. They have been cut nearly in 1/2! They are doing a GREAT job with what they have been dealt.


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        * Groupon hires advisers to find partners for Asia businesses


        * A higher standard of criminal justice
        * Sad day  when  Catholic  schools  close
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Durbin, Oberweis square off for final time
        * Refund those unfair yellow-light tickets
        * Let’s not oversell CTA terrorist screenings
        * Let’s not oveRsell CTA terrorist screenings
        * Tourism biz should be more transparent
        * Emanuel: ‘World is different now,’ defends CTA random bag checks


        * Installation begins on Wallenda's tightrope over Chicago River
        * Off-duty police officer beaten and robbed in the Loop
        * Alleged lieutenant of drug kingpin 'El Chapo' seeks minimum 10-year term
        * Waukegan district, teachers come to terms after monthlong strike
        * Teen wounded in Morgan Park shooting, 2 others wounded across city
        * Judge again orders Crystal Lake South bleachers to come down
        * Naperville high school cancels activities after bomb threat
        * Officials: Defendant in Maywood court attacked judge
        * Rauner, Quinn squabble over who deserves credit for digital lab
        * Coroner: Body buried in Indiana is missing relative of dead woman, slain man


        * Prisoner Freed After Recanting Testimony "Angry"
        * The Choice Of Choice: Gov. Candidates On Abortion
        * Group Has A Goal Of Improving Access To Preschool In Macon County
        * Turn out for what? Will young voters make it to the polls, or stay home as usual?
        * As Infrastructure Crumbles, Trillions Of Gallons Of Water Lost
        * Authorities: Springfield Woman's BAC Three Times The Legal Limit
        * 2014 Election Coverage: Citizens, here's your homework!
        * Aldermen skip chance to ask about city’s handling of police commander
        * Immigrant Rights Groups: Demand Oustrips Slots For Driver's Licenses
        * U-S Senate Candidates Differ On Ebola Response And More


        * Esther Cepeda: Elizabeth Pena: Trailblazer on the big screen
        * Andy Shaw: Voter turnout instrumental to reform
        * Ty Fahner: What if the Court rejects pension reform?
        * Attorney general seeks clarifications from Topinka’s former nonprofit
        * Quote of the Day: Friday, Oct. 31
        * Inmate freed from Jacksonville prison in landmark Illinois case
        * Cross opposes income tax hike extension
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take back seat in governor’s race
        * Illinois inmate freed in landmark capital punishment case
        * Rauner says women will decide governor's race


        * Murray adds 100M tons to Illinois' coal holdings
        * Workshop on managing edges of wooded areas set for Nov. 15
        * Kroner's Week 10 storylines: Saturday's games
        * HS Volleyball: 3A Regional Championship
        * Foundation to host fundraiser
        * Franklin County voters to elect new county clerk, county board members
        * Marion Senior Club to host Thanksgiving potluck
        * IHSA football playoffs turn 40
        * Want to save money on your utility bill? Check out this clinic
        * A look at this election's statewide ballot questions


        * Hossa reaches scoring milestone in Hawks victory
        * Glenbard West wins third consecutive regional title
        * St. Charles East completes trifecta against Waubonsie Valley
        * Carmel's Curran, Eppel go from standbys to standouts
        * Knicks spoil LeBron's homecoming

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Sends Letter...
        * Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage b...
        * Reps. Schakowsky and Waxman Introduce Bill...
        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning An...
        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
        * Representatives Quigley, Duckworth, Schako...

        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...
        * Election 2014 Endorsements...

        * Celeb Spotting...
        * A Republican Senate Victory Could Splinter......
        * Ex-pols from St. Louis area turn into camp......
        * Will a Republican Congress Be a Hot Mess?...
        * Senator Sharing Career Story At Triton...

        * DNA Info: Englewood Whole Foods Developers Looking for More Tenants
        * Sorry Mark Brown but I don't think it is about the money...
        * Waukegan Teachers Reach Deal With Board Of Ed
        * Waukegan Teachers Reach Deal With Board Of Ed (UPDATED)
        * You think the Hinsdale board was crappy to teachers? Look at what they are doing to plow over the support staff.
        * Mark Anderson: Chicago progressives have an embarrassment of riches.
        * Rahm and Sun-Times editor Jim Kirk.
        * The Chicago Transit Authority and Rahm’s water carriers at the Sun-Times.
        * John Dillon. The choices.
        * The court issues an injunction against the Philadelphia Schools Commission.


        * Editorial: Rauner best choice as governor to begin to reverse Illinois’ fortunes
        * Quinn to celebrate Rauner’s UI Labs accomplishment
        * Another Democrat Runs Away From Pat Quinn
        * Governor Pat Quinn Statement on Tentative Agreement to End Waukegan Teacher Strike, Return Students to Classrooms - State Education Chief Worked Overnight to Reach Common Ground, Students Heading Back to School on Monday
        * Governor Quinn Joins UI LABS to Break Ground on New Digital Manufacturing Hub - Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute Set to Open in 2015, Create Jobs




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