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Bankruptcy? C’mon, man

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014

* Eden Martin recently made the case for allowing Chicago to declare bankruptcy in order to get out of its pension obligations

It seems to me that the most important issues have to do with the fiscal future of Illinois and Chicago. Whatever the fate in the courts of the state’s pension reform law, Chicago has its own unfunded pension debts to deal with, and it needs state legislative permission to do just about anything. So here are some questions for the candidates.

Detroit was able to seek federal bankruptcy protection only because Michigan law expressly permitted it. Illinois, unlike Michigan, has not permitted cities here to seek such bankruptcy protection. Would you, Mr. Candidate, support an Illinois law authorizing Chicago to seek bankruptcy protection, like Detroit? If Chicago can’t pay its bills, isn’t a bankruptcy process of some kind necessary to avoid chaos? […]

If the state’s pension reforms are upheld and if similar reforms are enacted for Chicago, do you think pension reform — by itself — would be enough to avoid fiscal collapse? Have you looked at the numbers lately?

* Kind of extreme, no? Standard & Poor’s now has a negative outlook on the city’s credit rating, but bankruptcy? C’mon, man

The negative outlook reflects our view of the risks involved in how the city will address its upcoming, large pension payments.

A pledge of the city’s full faith credit and resources, as well as ad valorem property taxes without limitation as to rate or amount, secures its GO bonds.

The rating reflects our assessment of the following factors for the city, specifically its:

    • Strong, broad, and diverse economy given its status as a major regional economic center;

    • Adequate budgetary flexibility, which indicates that, although the city has home rule status, which provides increased taxing and borrowing capacity, its flexibility is limited by the city’s historical reluctance to adjust property taxes;

    • Very weak budgetary performance, reflecting recent deficits and reliance on reserves to balance operations and an outlook of continued budget challenges; however, we note that the city has no plans to utilize its long-term reserves in the service concession reserve fund;

    • Very strong liquidity providing very strong cash levels to cover both debt service and expenditures;

    • Strong management conditions with good financial practices and policies in place;

    • Very weak debt and contingent liabilities position, driven mostly by the city’s high net direct debt; and

    • Weak Institutional Framework score.

* From the narrative

Very strong liquidity

Supporting the city’s finances is liquidity we consider to be very strong, with total government available cash of more than 100% of debt service. We believe the city has exceptional access to external liquidity. The city has issued bonds frequently during the past 15 years, including GO bonds, enterprise fund revenue bonds, and sales tax bonds.

Strong management

We view the city’s management conditions as strong, supported by “good” financial management practices under our financial management assessment (FMA). The city produces long-term financial and capital plans, which officials update annually. The city has a formal debt management policy and has adopted ordinances that limit the use of nongeneral fund reserves for budget-balancing purposes.

Very weak debt and contingent liability profile

In our opinion, the city’s debt and contingent liabilities profile is very weak, with pension funding levels and upcoming pension payments posing a significant challenge. The city has a combination of fixed-rate and variable-rate debt, and swaps are utilized to hedge risk. We do not view the city’s debt portfolio as being vulnerable to interest rate risk or speculative contingent liabilities. Direct debt is manageable in our view, with total governmental fund debt service at 13% of total governmental fund expenditures in 2012. The city has a roughly $3 billion, five-year bond program, most of it focused on water and sewer projects. We do not expect debt issuance within the next two years to lead to significant increases in the GO debt burden. The city has used bonds to improve and modernize its infrastructure.[Emphasis added.]

* The pension stuff is darned serious, though

The city’s debt profile is challenged by its pension obligations. The city contributes to four different pension plans. The city’s budgets include pension payments for the four defined benefit plans that fully meet the statutorily required amounts. However, current state statutes in effect base contributions on a multiple of payroll and do not address unfunded liabilities. The budgeted pension payment amount for 2013 is $479.5 million, based on the statutory formula. This stops short of the $1.47 billion actuarially required contribution (ARC) determined in the Dec. 31, 2012 actuarial report. If it was included in the 2013 corporate fund budget, the ARC payment of $1.5 billion would represent roughly 35% of the corporate fund budget, an amount we consider very high.

The overall unfunded liability of the four plans is $19.5 billion as of 2012, up from $11.9 billion in 2009, and the plans altogether are 35% funded. [Emphasis added.]

* While not diminishing the problems, S&P seems to believe they’re manageable. For example

We consider Chicago’s economy to be strong, broad, and diverse, with employment opportunities spanning all the major industries. Furthermore, the city is home to the headquarters of several large corporations, has a large tourism base, and is a transportation hub.

* And

Adequate budget flexibility

In our opinion, the city’s budgetary flexibility is helped by its reserves in the service concessions and reserve funds. […]

Although the city has taxing flexibility owing to its home-rule status, it has not historically availed itself of that flexibility. Hindering budget flexibility is a political unwillingness historically to raise property taxes to meet budgetary challenges, particularly with respect to looming pension payment increases. In our view, the city also has a limited capacity to cut spending given that nearly two-thirds of 2012 general fund expenses were in the area of public safety.

Bankruptcy would mean a horrible credit rating for possibly decades to come. It should not be an option.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


46 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    Chicago is not Detroit. I don’t know how many times it has to be said. Chicago isn’t even close to discussing bankruptcy.

    As for the pensions, I guess Mr. Martin will go to whatever lengths necessary to take away public employee pensions.


  2. - Mittuns - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    LaRouches may have a Senate candidate in Texas:

    http://slate.me/Ns8VrI


  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    –Strong, broad, and diverse economy given its status as a major regional economic center;–

    Just like Detroit, right Eden?

    Chicago can pay its bills; guys like Eden just don’t want to pay contracted pension obligations for services already rendered.

    He’d rather the city shed its pension obligations in bankruptcy court, like the airlines. That’s considered “conservative” in some circles.


  4. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    So we should reward bad behavior by allowing a bankruptcy filing?

    No thank you. That sets a dangerous precedent and eventually leads to a recurrence of this situation.

    The Constitutional Convention saw this problem coming from a mile away and sent a very clear message to state leaders. Legislators chose to ignore that warning and dig the hole even deeper as voters chose to re-elect those legislators many times over.

    Now, we must literally pay the consequences of our actions. The lesson learned may be a painful one, but it will also be one remembered by future generations.

    It is too bad for us that we are the ones at the end of the road the can has been kicked down for so many years. We are the ones who will have to endure the cost of paying off all those checks our predecessors wrote on our dime.

    Either that, or we could always dump the cost on our kids. Again.


  5. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Eden Martin - poster child for NOT doing another ConCon. Does he REALLY believe Chicago is like Detroit? Wow - with friends like this, Chicago ain’t got need for no enemies.


  6. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    “We consider Chicago’s economy to be strong, broad, and diverse, with employment opportunities spanning all the major industries.”

    In good news, there will be a new technology center that involves public-private funding.

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/25831783-452/chicagos-digital-lab-for-everyone-from-kindergartners-to-corporate-executives.html

    Mayor Emanuel did a long op-ed article also that’s in the paper today, about the center, Digital Manufacturing Design Lab.

    People like Martin will do anything for the wealthy to not contribute a penny more toward solving our fiscal problems, and bankruptcy is another one of those tactics. Using the bankruptcy option is an excuse to attack unionized public employees and their benefits.


  7. - A guy... - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    Sure, exactly what we need. Dope. First Chicago and then every city in Illinois looking for an easy, quick fix files bankruptcy. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. How about you fix the symptoms that caused the problem in the first place. Negotiate in good faith, negotiate with brass knuckles if you need to. But, ultimately negotiate. People who despise each other make agreements every day. If every side walks away thinking they’ve given up too much, it’s probably a lousy deal everyone can live with.


  8. - Norseman - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Martin should be declared morally bankrupt.


  9. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    What’s missing in this discussion is that Chicago’s strong economy is, overwhelmingly, -in- Chicago. I’ve talked to reporters from Detroit and Cleveland and they’ve said the biggest problem those cities had wasn’t the migration of jobs as much as the inability to adapt to those changes because of too much borrowing (something one credited the late Mayor Daley of avoiding w/ Chicago). People forget that there’s still an economy in the Detroit metropolitan area, there’s just little within Detroit itself. The key to Chicago staying vibrant and making bankruptcy talk a non-starter is keeping its middle class property owners and white yuppie renters (and I don’t mean that derogatively) in the city. Dump the entire pension liabilities AND bond debt on them and the picture could change.


  10. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    Bankruptcy is a standard corporate tactic. Has been for decades. To R Eden, and the other plutocrats, declaring bankruptcy is just a means to an end of reducing debt. Boom! Problem solved. Beyond that, they don’t care about the continued destruction that they wreak on the middle class.


  11. - anon - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    Eden (a misnomer of a first name) seems to think that the filing of bankruptcy will be a magic wand which automatically wipes away all pension obligations. Really? Does he think that the proceeds from selling the City’s considerable assets (O’Hare to name one) won’t go directly to the pension fund? Enough with the scare mongering.


  12. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    If Chicago started to initiate taxing the money that moves through CBOT, would the rating improve?

    Or are these ratings more accurately understood as the capital class opinion on the direction of the unit of government?


  13. - RJ - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    If all the corruption and theft of public resources were eliminated….Chicago would have a budget surplus.


  14. - funny guy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    I’m glad to see that someone else mention has mentioned O’Hare as an asset that could be sold to significantly reduce the pension debt. If Midway can fetch $2 Billion–O’Hare could easily sell for $10 Billion or more. AND–UNLIKE PARKING METERS–no O’Hare revenue currently contributes to the City’s budget. Further, you could eliminate City personnel that do O’Hare-related work. Next–all TIFs could be cancelled and reallocate the $500 million per year that is used for a slush fund. These are just the obvious assets. So, Eden, do you really want to see Chicago declare bankruptcy and then be required to open their books to forensic accountants to find where all the money goes? Go ahead, make my day.


  15. - DuPage - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    @Carl Nyberg, 12:15pm=If Chicago started to initiate taxing the money that moves through CBOT=

    I think they already tried that. The CBOT said they were going to move 20 minutes away to Indiana if the tax was not rolled back. Unlike a factory, they could very easily relocate.


  16. - Bill White - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    If the Detroit Institute of Arts goes on the auction block, why wouldn’t O’Hare Airport?

    But maybe for some that would be a feature rather than a bug.


  17. - DuPage - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    =Detroit was able to seek federal bankruptcy protection only because Michigan law expressly permitted it.=

    That sounds inaccurate, I had read Michigan law did not allow that. According to the article, the state overseer announced Detroit would file the next day. The unions went to a Michigan court to get an injunction. The state’s lawyer then faked illness and the judge granted a 15 minute delay in the hearing so he could use the washroom. He came back at the end of 15 minutes and announced the proceeding was moot as Detroit filed in the federal court 5 minutes ago. The federal judge said once bankruptcy was filed, absent an injunction, it was valid.

    Federal law allows cities, townships, counties to file bankruptcy.

    Federal law does not allow states to file bankruptcy.

    The Michigan governor and AG ignored Michigan law to order the bankruptcy filing.

    Ignoring state law appears to be catching on, maybe they figured if Illinois does it, so can Michigan.


  18. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    A none starter.


  19. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    The City brought this on itself. During Daley jr admin he had at least 3 early buy outs of employees.

    Another words , they got to buy 5 years of service and retire early. Daley, of course, didn’t fund the pensions so your left with thousands of guys and gals retiring in their early 50’s at 80% salary for the rest of their and their spouses (at a reduced %) life. Just being able to retire at 50 is unsustainable.

    No City can afford that. They very well may have to sell their airports.


  20. - MOON - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    My reading of Eden Martin’s article does not conlude he is advocating bankruptcy.

    He is merely asking hypothetical questions. It is time for all of us to think about how these problems can be solved. Some of the alternatives are extremely grim.

    The commentators are jumping to conclusions not supported by his article.


  21. - illinifan - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Amen to Public Servant…private business has used the bankruptcy tactic to short shrift retirees for years….when will we say this is not a good business tactic and when will the public wise up…we keep touting private business as if it can operate better….not necessarily so, they can operate differently from government. There is a reason government pensions were excluded from the PBGC legislation since government was expected to be better than business in meeting its obligations.


  22. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    Bankruptcy is not an option for Chicago. Increased gentrification of lakefront property will increase property tax revenues and more privatization of services, especially education, and more cutbacks in non-safety related services should buy it liquidity for years to come.
    Smaller Illinois communities are another story. They may play out like in California with new ch 9 filings every year. But the California municipal bankruptcy drama is far from hopeful. For instance, Villejo CA appears on the brink of going into bankruptcy for the second time because it failed to properly address its pension problems the first time around.
    If the Illinois Supreme Court overturns the pension reform act, which appears likely, I suspect pension reform in Illinois will follow the California model of increasing small municipal bankruptcies or defaults, if the state government does not approve a filing, followed by a solution which is yet to be determined.


  23. - Joe M - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    Chicago STRENGTHS

    • Chicago’s role as the center of one of the nation’s largest and most diverse economies

    • Very large property tax base and high tax collection rates

    • Broad legal authority to levy property taxes and sales taxes as an Illinois home rule unit of government

    That is from Moody’s. Doesn’t sound like a city near bankruptcy to me.


  24. - Steve - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    Is it crazy to talk about Chapter 9 Bankruptcy for Chicago ? As Bloomberg news reported recently , Chicago has the highest debt per capita of any major American city.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-14/cradle-to-grave-debt-load-leaves-no-chicagoan-unburdened.html

    Secondly, the business cycle suggests there will be a national recession by no later than June of 2019- if history is any guide. City Hall acts like there will be no more recessions. The last two recessions were brutal on revenue collection for Chicago.

    http://www.nber.org/cycles/cyclesmain.html

    What if Chicago continues to lose more population? It lost 7% in the 2010 Census. We all hope S&P and Moody’s are right about Chicago but they aren’t perfect- remember the housing bubble ?? Lastly, where is Rahm going to get the $600 Million for the pensions coming up??? Will higher Chicago taxes really bring in more revenue at this point?


  25. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    –• Chicago’s role as the center of one of the nation’s largest and most diverse economies–

    Fourth largest metro economy in the world: Tokyo, New York, LA, Chicago. Eight largest metro destination in the world for immigrants, with 1.6 million foreign-born residents voting with their feet.


  26. - Steve - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    wordslinger

    Being diverse is great but where is Rahm supposed to come up with the $600 million for the public pensions by the end of year? Are you suggesting raising sales taxes? property taxes? Or instituting a city income tax?


  27. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    Steve, I’m not suggesting anything. Rahm wanted to be the Man on Five, he can figure it out between tapings of his new reality show.

    I just caution against equating the Daley/Rahm kick-the-can fiscal mismanagement to economic vitality.


  28. - fed up - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Phineas J. Whoopee -

    WHAT EMPLOYEES GET 80% OF SALARY, typical BS make up lies to stir up dissent.


  29. - illinifan - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    fed up…..some employees got this kind of money when they retired from jobs that had defined contribution plans in private industry. I have friends who retired from AT&T and UPS at age 51 and have lived very nicely on their pensions….this is when business used to provide pensions. Now pensions are not common in private industry but everyone gripes about what government employees get. I still remember when my family thought I was crazy to work for half the salary in government that I would have gotten in private industry. I kept saying but I will have a pension. Also remember 80% of government employees do not qualify for Social Security. The pension is their only income. My friends from AT&T and UPS who retired at 51 are now receiving their Social Security benefits plus their pension.


  30. - YO - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Will higher Chicago taxes really bring in more revenue at this point?

    Well, um, yes. Apparently skimming off of public workers’ deferred compensation won’t work anymore and you really can’t just make them work until they die without collecting anything in old age, so, yes, people actually have to pay for things provided to them.
    Is there some other option?


  31. - anon - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    == Hindering budget flexibility is a political unwillingness historically to raise property taxes to meet budgetary challenges, particularly with respect to looming pension payment increases. ==

    Chicago property owners enjoy the lowest property taxes in Illinois. My house in northwest Cook pays a tax rate about 50% higher than the Chicago rate. Why should the political cowardice of City officials to raise property taxes to the level in the ‘burbs justify bankruptcy?


  32. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    Hey fed up,

    “Daley, a former state senator, made it happen by briefly rejoining the legislative pension plan in 1991. He stayed there just one month before returning to Chicago’s municipal pension fund, but the switches made him eligible for benefits worth 85 percent of his mayoral salary — a better rate than all other city employees receive.”

    Well there is one of them.


  33. - YO - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    In addition to what Illinifan said about private pensions plus social security……..they also actually made some cash while they worked. In the position I held, on a very low salary, the only money I was able to save was for my childrens’ college education. There is no IRA, there is no 401K,there is little savings for me because I worked for a paltry sum, assuming I would have a pension as my main income in retirement. Lots of people in the private sector had enough to create their own retirement account in addition to social security (which I do not get) and profit sharing, 401K, perhaps a pension in addition. I don’t think most people are willing to acknowlege how little overall, public workers get while working and how little they’re entitled to in retirement. The media has done a fabulous job of exploiting the very tiny percentage who receive very generous pension amounts. The overwhelming majority live on small pension payments but enough to keep them out of poverty. Couple that with little saved for themselves because they never made much.


  34. - I B Strapped - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    wordslinger@2:41PM: Hero for the day!

    Sorry Rahm…..(Not)


  35. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    –Cook County Commoner–

    Under current IL law, any IL governmental unit can’t declare bankruptcy. Maybe they could get away with a Detroit style run into federal court, maybe they couldn’t.


  36. - Bemused - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 5:08 pm:

    Just looked at another article over on MSN Money about the Hostess bankruptcy. Seems they managed to dump about 2 billion in pension debt with that one. Of course on the private side that kicks the pension over to the PBGC. Some pensioners will go from around 3 grand a month to maybe 1000. Some will lose even more than that.
    To the point, neither private nor public employers should be able to get that far behind on payments to a plan. That we as a country have allowed this is more than sad. To talk about Chicago going broke to stiff their employees just has me shaking my head.
    Watched a show on PBS about labor in the 1910 timeframe last night. It seems some want to return to those great times.


  37. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 5:17 pm:

    –My reading of Eden Martin’s article does not conlude he is advocating bankruptcy.–

    Right. Like most columnists, he just randomly chose a topic that he has no obvious opinion on.

    Do you get paid for that weak spin? If so, salud.


  38. - Judgment Day (Road Trip) - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 6:32 pm:

    “Under current IL law, any IL governmental unit can’t declare bankruptcy. Maybe they could get away with a Detroit style run into federal court, maybe they couldn’t.”

    Can’t do it. Already been tried - Washington Park, down in Metro East. Filed for reorganization, Federal judge tossed the filing, as the IL legislature has not passed enabling legislation allowing local units of government to file for bankruptcy.

    Legislature would have to pass enabling legislation to make the bankruptcy option available to units of local government (specifically municipalities).


  39. - RonOglesby - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 6:36 pm:

    “Watched a show on PBS about labor in the 1910 timeframe last night. It seems some want to return to those great times. ”

    Seeing how lots of the pension issues are gov (state and local) and Labor and politicians are pretty tight and have created this problem TOGETHER I am not sure how we are returning to 1910 labor practices. If anything, most of the private sector has moved from pensions BECAUSE of the problems with them, while gov has embraced them as well as their labor partners.


  40. - What is to be done? - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 7:14 pm:

    On the brightside, the plot to the original Robocop looks more and more likely to actually take place in Detroit in the not-too-distant future.


  41. - Judgment Day (Road Trip) - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 7:22 pm:

    City of Chicago can survive, but it’s likely to mean a lot (and that’s A LOT) of cutbacks in terms of jobs, programs, etc. And big time changes in how business is done in Chicago.

    The City’s budget is like, right around $3.2 bil currently. If I remember correctly, in 2016 (confirmed by the report), Chicago is going to have to come up with around $600 mil more for public safety retirement funding. That’s right at 20% of their current revenue base.

    That’s more than 100% of the amount the city gets from sales tax (current #1 revenue generator).

    Also, from the report, if they want to raise any part of the money from property taxes (the $600 mil a year increase comes due in calendar year 2016), the increase has to be passed by the City Council as part of the 2014 budget to make sure the money comes in during 2016.

    Chicago may not be Detroit redux by any means, but it’s nowhere near clear blue skies. They got some work to do, and anybody currently in the City workforce who thinks it’s just business as usual is likely to get a rude awakening.

    The City workforce is likely to be a lot smaller than it is today, because IMO there’s no place else to reach those retirement funding numbers required.


  42. - YO - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 7:27 pm:

    It continues to be an exercise in futility and ignorance to try to compare private to public. Different capabilities to create revenue. However, defined benefit plans are much cheaper than defined contribution plus social security. Schools would be really wiped out if they had to contribute to social security for their employees along with a 401K style benefit plan (and then everyone would be upset that the children were being ripped off. So DB plan is cheaper). Of course it’s only better if the sticky fingers of politicians stay out of the pot. Just like IMRF, pension funds would be at 80% or better if there hadn’t been theft of funds.


  43. - Bemused - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:12 pm:

    Ron O 6:36
    What some seem to think.
    1910 = Government regulation of labor, health and safety not needed. Unions just interfere with the owners god given right to run the company as they see fit. Workers lucky to have a job.
    2014= Different?

    I have said before and will say again 401K is a big lie. Corporate America loves it because the full effect will take some more time to be seen. For the time being it takes responsibility off of the company’s and they will not have to bankrupt to shuck the real cost. Same ending though, Taxpayers pick up the cost.
    Your line about the Unions and Lawmakers being in bed to cause the problems we now have with DB pensions is a Howler. Those lawmakers are influenced from two sides. I am pretty sure it was not the Unions that wanted laws to be such that both private and public employers could underfund pension contributions for years with almost no ramifications.


  44. - ejhickey - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:52 am:

    sooner or later, someone is going to have to say the dreaded words: CITY INCOME TAX


  45. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 7:57 am:

    Straw man.


  46. - Obamas Puppy - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 8:23 am:

    Eden used to be a reasonable guy with thoughtful input, those days have past.


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        * Opponents of Murray center closure win round in.....
        * Down-ballot fundraising shows big gaps..
        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at hearing..
        * Quinn raises what Rauner contributes..
        * Chicago Aldermen Offer Alternative Revenue Idea.....
        * Quinn, Rauner release donation totals..
        * Rauner Leading Way in Fundraising..
        * Rauner wouldn’t move police and fire to 401(k)..


        * Illinois-Chicago, faculty union reach agreement
        * ComEd seeks rate hike to help pay for Smart Grid
        * Chicago casino plan draws more support at hearing
        * Durbin banks more than $6M for 2014 Senate bid
        * Lake Shore Drive reopened after suspicious package
        * Addiction experts: Cuts could hurt drug treatment
        * Topinka reports $125,000 in Illinois income
        * Inmate charged in Rockford lawyer's 2008 death
        * Dress codes: Where should schools set limits?
        * 4th Mexican cartel associate charged in Chicago

        * Lt. Gov. Simon to raise sex assault awareness
        * Simon: Illinois farmers markets should accept LINK
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Battle on for GOP state party post
        * Quinn promotes autism awareness at Brookfield Zoo
        * Broadcaster Samuelson named to Illinois Racing Board
        * Tough tax votes loom for lawmakers
        * Statehouse Insider: It’s spring break time!
        * Illinois gas station owners oppose fuel tax increase
        * Lt. Gov. Simon, husband report $208,000 in Illinois income
        * Quinn tour highlights questions of taxes

        * Burger King hamburger gets a chicken makeover
        * Astellas Pharma to pay $7.3M settlement in drug marketing case
        * Bloomberg plans $50 million gun control network
        * Tighter job market in Chicago spurs higher pay, feds say
        * ComEd's back with another rate-increase request


        * Faculty union says it has tentative agreement with UIC
        * Man held without bail for alleged sexual assault in Boystown
        * Lake Shore Drive reopens after package forces closure
        * UIC, faculty union reach tentative agreement
        * Man held without bail for alleged Boystown sexual assault
        * Lake Shore Drive begins reopening after package forces closure
        * Case of ‘Banana Lady’ has little appeal for judge
        * D'Amico leaves one public job — and heads into another
        * Lake Shore Drive shut down on North Side for suspicious package
        * Record-low temperature in 20s could follow late-season snow


        * 2 Board of Review analysts sentenced to prison for bribery
        * 4 Woodstock High students charged in sex assault posted on social media
        * 4 years shaved off sentence of man convicted in '08 killing after 2nd trial
        * Homeless person's belongings spur Lake Shore Drive closure
        * Man believed to be 'Benchwarmer bandit' charged in Loop robbery
        * UIC faculty agrees to tentative contract
        * Professor charged with sexual assault of former student
        * CTA to redo 4 North Side Red Line stations
        * Sandburg HS put on lockdown during police search
        * Cops: Cameras help track down suspect in Lakeview sexual assault


        * Study: Pre-K Education Provides For Economic Growth
        * The Vanishing Millionaire Tax
        * City Approves More Video Gaming Despite Upcoming Ordinance
        * Rutherford: Dismiss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
        * Durbin Calls For A Return of 'Earmarks'
        * Quinn, Rauner At IEA Conference - Full Audio
        * FBI agents say indicted state rep took them to get bribe cash
        * McCarthy dismissive of crime research
        * Gas Station Owners Warn Against Fuel Tax Increase
        * Raising Gax Tax "Unwise," Says Quinn, But Offers No Other Ideas


        * Comptroller Topinka reports $125K in income
        * Addiction experts: Illinois budget cuts could hurt drug treatment
        * Legislative hearing on Chicago casino begins
        * Their view: Remembrance in the cruelest month
        * 2015 tax rates still far from settled
        * House bill urges schools to make digital emergency plans
        * Chicago-only casino option to face opposition
        * Rutherford's lawyers ask judge to dismiss sexual-harassment lawsuit
        * GOP's Rauner raised $9M in first quarter of 2014
        * Illinois House orders audit of anti-violence funds


        * Alton schools plan to sell $3.8 million in bonds for roof projects
        * Three inducted to AHS Wall of Fame
        * Mid-Continent University to close in June
        * Fairmount Park: Why are we being singled out for no slots?
        * Lindenwood honors to be bestowed
        * Illegal dumping on the rise in metro-east
        * Lawmakers propose emergency responder task force
        * Man sentenced to 50 years for child molestation
        * 283 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster
        * Mascoutah exhibit honors Civil War era


        * The 10th District money race
        * Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA
        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * Rahm, Danny Davis Cheer Expansion of Ex-Of...
        * Rahm, Danny Davis Cheer Expansion of Ex-Of...
        * Grant puts AEDs in Clark County - Paris Be...
        * Congressman's staff in Neoga today - Journ...
        * Congressman to visit Renewable Energy Cent...
        * Congressman to visit with constituents in ...
        * IRS Tax Breaks Available for Disaster Vict...
        * Shimkus accepting Congressinal Art entries...
        * Rep. John Shimkus Spreads 'Obama Giving Aw...
        * Shimkus supports anti-spoofing legislation...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * Updated IAR chart tracks General Assembly bills of interest to REALTORS®
        * Aurora REALTORS® host weekend Homeownership Expo
        * Illinois General Assembly Passes Pension Reforms for Chicago
        * Community, Labor Groups Announce Plans For May Day March
        * Chicago Aldermen Offer Alternative Revenue Ideas For Pension Fix
        * Under Obamacare, health care service providers will be fingerprinted
        * Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds
        * Di Leo: The Chicago Dictionary, Volume Two
        * Hultgren pushes to repeal "death tax," create 1.5M new jobs
        * Former State Rep Smith Made Guilty Admission To Feds


        * Governor Quinn Releases First-Ever Illinois Bike Transportation Plan - Plan Formally Makes Bicycles Part of Illinois’ Long-Range Transportation Vision
        * Governor Quinn Honors Jackie Robinson - Barrier-Breaking Baseball Player Was American Icon
        * Governor Quinn Urges Homebuyers to Act Fast and Take Advantage of Welcome Home Illinois Program - Program Offers First-Time Homebuyers Down-Payment Assistance and a 3.75 Percent Interest Rate on a 30-Year Fixed Mortgage
        * Extending Federal Unemployment Would Help 64,000 Illinois Workers - 86 Percent Still Without Work One Month Later; Veterans and Older Workers Hardest Hit
        * Governor Quinn Statement on Passover




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