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Today’s numbers, and a roundup

Monday, Jan 28, 2013

* Not good

Between 2009 and 2012, Illinois slashed funding for community mental-health programs by more than 30 percent — more than all but three other states, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Even before those cuts, Illinois’ per capita spending on mental health was about $85 — well below the national average of about $123 per person, the group found.

The funding situation has made it difficult, if not impossible, for people who aren’t in crisis or eligible for Medicaid to enter the system, says Lora Thomas, director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Illinois.

And while there’s no way to predict when a tragedy like the recent shootings in Connecticut and Colorado might occur — or even if the perpetrator will be someone with a mental illness — the lack of resources in Illinois makes it less likely a mental-health provider could intervene.

“We absolutely know the system in Illinois is so broken there is no community-based system that could catch or prevent it,” Thomas said.

* Wow

The state of Michigan lost 42,000 union members from 2011 to 2012, the ninth largest drop in the country, according to a Jan. 23 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Illinois had the largest drop in the country with a loss of 75,000 union members.

Chart

Raw BLS data is here.

* That’s a lot of TIF districts, man

It has been 13 years since Illinois lawmakers approved a significant overhaul of the law that allows cities to create tax increment financing districts.

State Rep. John Bradley, a Democrat from Marion, plans to introduce legislation this spring to bring changes to the state’s TIF laws.

A year ago, TIF reform shepherded by Bradley ran aground amid disagreements by those involved in the locally managed economic development program that continues to surge in popularity.

At the end of 1990, there were 238 TIF districts in the state. By 2006, that number had grown to nearly 1,000. Now the number stands at 1,221, according to figures collected by the Illinois comptroller’s office. […]

Under Bradley’s proposal, cities would be required to submit annual reports that would include the jobs created or kept within the district; tightened control over the transfer of funds between TIF districts; required cities to return any surplus TIF funds to taxing districts within the TIF; require property tax bills to reflect when a property is included in a TIF district; and created a state website so people could look up information about individual districts.

* This was a ton of money spent for a hat that may not have belonged to Lincoln

For the next six months, the presidential museum honoring Abraham Lincoln wants visitors to believe one thing when they see the iconic $6.5 million beaver-fur stovepipe hat put on display this past week.

The hat was his. Really.

To mark Lincoln’s 204th birthday, the museum is bringing the hat out of storage for the first time since the Chicago Sun-Times last April questioned the prized showpiece’s authenticity and for the first time disclosed holes in its provenance.

But not even the slightest doubt is reflected on the sign now attached to the hat’s display case. The placard that went up with the hat on Wednesday explains its background in eight sentences, noting that only three of Lincoln’s famous stovepipe hats are known to exist: “2 silk ones from his last days of life, and this.”

“There’s no deception at all,” said Chris Wills, a spokesman for the museum.

* Related and a roundup…

* Chicago’s growth trails most big cities

* Springfield session begins with full plate of money woes

* Tom Kacich: Jakobsson to push graduated income tax

* Stunt bill not a stunt?

* Fraud concerns linger over new Ill. license law

* Illinois illegal immigrant driver’s licenses available in 10 months

* Gov. Quinn signs bill that lets illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses

* Proposal seeks to clear air about smoking in beer gardens: Koehler’s proposal would require that one side of the enclosed area be constructed with material that allows smoke to pass through. But material that allows smoke to pass through hasn’t been defined in building or architectural codes, Schafer said.

* IL House Considering Hydraulic Fracturing Regs

* Continental Tire plans expansion in Illinois

- Posted by Rich Miller        


12 Comments
  1. - Lincoln Parker - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 11:50 am:

    $100M Donation to U of I is a nice number too


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    –Illinois had the largest drop in the country with a loss of 75,000 union members.–

    That’s a depressing number.

    I know new construction is still in the dumps, but I’d guess a lot of that loss is local government employees.


  3. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    I have a good friend whose social work job is most likely gone as of March 1 because the state isn’t paying its bills.


  4. - ILPundit - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    I like how the Sun Times writes an entire article criticizing the state for not telling “all sides” of the story of Lincoln’s hat, and then fails to provide any meaningful details about why the hat was assessed to have such value prior to purchase if it wasn’t actually Lincoln’s hat.

    Generally speaking, when major historical items are appraised and sold, they go to great extent to verify authenticity. Is anyone suggesting the state purchased these items without some sort of verification first?

    Why do I feel like the Sun Times is just pimping a story to sell newspapers — especially in the week after the ND Linebacker/Fake Girlfriend silliness. Strike while the iron is hot, ya know.


  5. - yinn - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    Cities already submit annual reports on their TIF districts; you can find them on the Comptroller’s website.

    What we could really use is a real crackdown on TIF abuse. For example, TIF districts are meant for blighted areas, not corn fields or the Mag Mile; stop signing off on that stuff!

    Give us someone to go to when a city uses TIF funds to steal businesses from neighboring communities, or pays an alderman for TIF-funded work the alderman helped create. Strengthen the requirements for local oversight so that TIF joint committees have a chance at more than an annual 5-minute rubber-stamping exercise.


  6. - Palos Park Bob - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:48 pm:

    So the most politically union dominated state in the country (with the possible exception of Cali) drove out, or killed, the most union jobs of any state in the US.

    This isn’t irony. It’s cause and effect.


  7. - Blowback - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    Offered without comment. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports(preliminary) for the first six months of 2012 are now posted. From Jan to Jun 2012 murders in Chicago were up SEVENTY THREE percent from the same period in 2011.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/preliminary-semiannual-uniform-crime-report-january-june-2012/data-tables/table-4-cuts/table_4_offenses_reported_to_law_enforcement_by_state_illinois_through_missouri_2012.xls


  8. - Shemp - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    As Yinn noted, the annual reports already ask that info, and there’s no good way to back up jobs created or retained anyway. Who really knows? Illinois isn’t the most development friendly state out there, so TIF has grown as it is one of the very few tools that can be used to incent development. I shudder to think of us having to rely on DCEO for job development as incapable as they are.


  9. - Shemp - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 4:18 pm:

    http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/seeking-an-edge-towns-like-leroy-use-tif-to-pull/article_a1dd0968-67fa-11e2-8c20-001a4bcf887a.html


  10. - Langhorne - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 6:48 pm:

    Re TIFs, I like Bradley’s ideas. Local govts should also be required to reveal the total of assessed value, by category (res, manuf, etc) of the city’s total AV that is in each TIF. Imagine if you had those stats for Chgo. It is almost as if it is a legal skim for the mayor of each local govt that can be directed to favored projects. Can be good. Can be hinky


  11. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 6:59 pm:

    Blowback: The table of FBI data shows 253 murders in the first half of 2012 and 184 in the first half of 2011, which is an increase of THIRTY SEVEN POINT FIVE percent on a year to year basis.


  12. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 7:09 pm:

    Final 2012 data = 532 murders compared to 441 in 2011, an increase of 20.6 percent. While unfortunate this is not anywhere in the neighborhood of 73 percent. We don’t need sensationalism around here, with or without comment.


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