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MLB open thread

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* I’m still not feeling 100 percent well today, but I bought White Sox opening day tickets long ago and I decided last week that even if I needed an ambulance to take me to the game I’d be there. So, I’m heading out soon.

Your thoughts on the 2014 season?

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      


Question of the day

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* The Sun-Times reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is backing a Statehouse bill which would expunge some juvenile arrest records

The legislation, introduced Friday by Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), would apply to juvenile arrests that never resulted in formal criminal charges. The state would have to expunge those arrests automatically when a person turns 18. […]

About three-quarters of juvenile arrests in Cook County don’t result in charges, records show. The legislation would have applied to more than 16,000 arrests in 2013 in Chicago. Because the proposed legislation is retroactive, it could apply to tens of thousands of arrests, administration officials said. […]

Under the proposed legislation, those expunged records would be sealed to everyone except for police agencies to use in screening job applicants.

Prosecutors also would have access to those records to make charging decisions and sentencing recommendations in cases in which someone is charged with a similar crime as an adult, officials said.

Paula Wolff, senior executive of the policy group Metropolis Strategies, said she knows of a 19-year-old who was working as a school custodian for 10 months when he lost his job because of a background check. It revealed two juvenile arrests that didn’t result in charges, she said.

* The Question: Should juvenile arrest records be expunged if no formal charges were ever filed? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


free polls

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Poll: Almost everybody feels that corruption is common here

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* From the recent Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll

• 89 percent of Illinoisans feel corruption is somewhat common in the state, with 53 percent believing it’s very common.

• 79 percent say corruption at the federal level is at least somewhat common, with 45 percent saying it’s very common.

• 62 percent of all Illinoisans believe county or city politic al corruption is at least somewhat common, with 35 percent reporting local corruption to be very common.

    ° However, 85 percent of those living in Chicago believe county or city political corruption is at least somewhat common, with 55 percent perceiving local corruption to be very common

More numbers and results are here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


The business of Illinois

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* Obviously, Leader Durkin is hoping to bait Illinois’ newest state Rep. into voting against Speaker Madigan’s millionaire’s tax and other stuff, but the way he’s doing it is quite interesting…

DURKIN APPLAUDS NEW REP’S BIPARTISAN, ECONOMIC GROWTH PLEDGE

Chicago – House Republican Leader Jim Durkin welcomed newly appointed state Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) on Monday by applauding Moeller’s bipartisan and economic growth pledge. Moeller told reporters that she is pledging to serve in a “bipartisan fashion” and she will work to “create jobs and strengthen our economy.”

“The best way to strengthen our economy is to not raise taxes on anyone,” said Durkin. “Many key votes are coming before the Illinois House in the coming days and weeks that will slow Illinois’ economic recovery and drive unemployment higher.”

Last week, Democratic leaders have all endorsed the idea of making the 67% temporary tax hike of 2011, permanent.

“The House GOP will gladly work with any member of the General Assembly who is committed, like Rep. Moeller, to strengthening our economy and protecting hardworking families, taxpayers and job creators,” added Durkin.

Heh.

* In other economy-related news, Greg Hinz takes a close look at legislation that appears pretty good on its face. The bill would allow companies to recoup up to 100 percent of their job training costs. But all the jobs would have to be net new Illinois positions. There’s a problem with that

“More than 300,000 manufacturing workers are set to retire in Illinois in the next decade. . . .The idea of a tax credit against withholdings could greatly benefit companies making significant investments in their human capital,” said Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Denzler, in a statement.

“However, the current proposal is cumbersome and overly bureaucratic,” he added. “(That) will dampen enthusiasm while failing to provide any help for companies simply looking to train replacements for an aging workforce.”

* And

Qualified training costs could be credited not only against a company’s own income tax liability but against money it collects from workers in paycheck withholding that is supposed to be passed on to the state. There have been only a few instances in which such tax breaks have been approved in Illinois, all involving so-called EDGE tax credits. In each case, allowing companies to keep employee tax withholding has had to be approved by the General Assembly.

Under the current proposal, that authority would be given to officials at Mr. Pollet’s DCEO and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

* Meanwhile, the Tribune weighs in on the Statehouse ride-share proposal

Consumers like ride shares. They like being able to find a nearby car, check out the driver and agree to a fare, all on their smartphones. They like the option of paying a premium for faster service in peak hours or bad weather. They like choices.

Sticking to the current rules would rob them of a promising new model while protecting an archaic system that works mostly for the medallion owners. It doesn’t work for the independent contractors who actually drive the cabs. Last week, a group of them sued, saying they should be considered employees of the cab companies from whom they rent the medallions. (Another pending suit argues that the drivers should be considered employees of the city.) […]

Government isn’t doing its job if it accepts the companies’ assurances that everything is hunky dory. So the question now isn’t whether the ride shares will be regulated, but who will set the rules. […]

Lawmakers shouldn’t be in the business of marking cars or dictating fares, either. Their aim should be to promote safety and competition, not to take sides in the taxi vs. ride share battle

* Gov. Quinn wants to boost home ownership

Sneed has learned Quinn plans to announce a new state-subsidized mortgage loan program Monday for first-time Illinois home buyers.

“This program is not for millionaires,” Quinn told Sneed. […]

◆ Fact: The plan will give eligible first-time home buyers a 30-year fixed mortgage offered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority at below market interest rates, according to Quinn. (Right now, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage charges 4.4 percent interest.)

◆ Fact: It will also offer a forgivable loan of $7,500, secured by a second mortgage, to help with the down payment or closing costs. At minimum, borrowers must contribute the greater of one percent of the purchase price or $1,000 toward the down payment.

◆ Fact: This program is only for first-time home buyers, or anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years, and has at least a credit score of 640. […]

◆ Fact: Quinn claims the program will be funded with $130 million from the capital budget — set aside five years ago for the Illinois Housing Development Authority to use on housing construction and mortgage subsidies.

* And the editor of a website devoted to nursing home issues says Bruce Rauner’s candidacy is gonna bring down major heat on the industry

In Illinois, when the inflammatory ads start again in the Rauner-Quinn race, few will think twice about the guaranteed loser: the nursing home profession.

Rauner’s proponents will again assert he had no hand in the day-to-day management when the bad acts occurred at his nursing home businesses. Attack. Defend.

And the remaining impression will simply be that, whether or not this guy is a greedy shark investor, nursing homes are terrible places where horrible things inevitably happen.

They might be trying to put Rauner on trial, but the skilled nursing profession will already have been convicted in the public’s mind, no matter the November vote totals show.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Quinn zeroes out controversial anti violence program, and other budget stuff

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* The AP drilled into the governor’s budget a little bit and found a few surprises. The biggest surprise, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise

Quinn also has suggested zeroing out funding for the Community Based Organizations for Violence Prevention program, which succeeded the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, which has received $15 million over the past two years.

You’ll recall that the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was at the center of a scathing Auditor General’s report for its shoddy and goofy operations. Obviously, the governor wants to distance himself from that program. But what happens if violence spikes again this year?

* A few more

The Murphysboro youth center, which closed two years ago, could serve as a facility minimum security facility for more than 400 drunken driving offenders, according to the governor’s office. […]

The Joliet Youth home, which closed last February, also would be repurposed, according to governor’s budget office documents. […]

The governor’s office of management and budget would see a 30 percent budget increase under Quinn’s plan, as it adds seven positions. Pallasch said the increase “comes from the addition of a new requirement that would audit state grants and is housed in the governor’s office.”

But that “requirement” is a bill sponsored by state Rep. Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates that hasn’t yet been passed by the Legislature.

* Despite the expansions, the governor turned thumbs down on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s dream of expanding Soldier Field in order to attract a Super Bowl

“We have serious financial challenges,” Quinn said. “Changing Soldier Field, making it bigger? It just ain’t gonna work.”

* From the Daily Herald

In defending his proposal to make Illinois’ 2011 income tax increase permanent, Gov. Pat Quinn Friday called his Republican challenger Bruce Rauner’s plan to let the tax lapse and slash the budget a “scheme.”

Quinn argues Rauner can’t promise to both stabilize the state’s troubled budget and lower tax rates. Illinois needs the extra money to fix its budget woes, Quinn said.

“He basically has a scheme, and it’s not an honest scheme,” Quinn said.

Pushing the larger tax as he seeks re-election is risky, but Quinn has blasted Rauner and other Republicans for not offering a similarly detailed proposal.

“Some people think you get elected by not saying anything substantive,” Quinn said.

The governor’s office also pointed out to me this morning that slashing the budget could result in higher local property taxes, if education takes a hit. Rauner has pledged to protect education spending, but where would he find the money if the tax hike expires or is repealed? He doesn’t really say. The Illinois Policy Institute has called on the state to drastically cut funding to local governments, but that would also undoubtedly lead to property tax hikes.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


Ask and ye shall receive

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* Earlier today, I received this solicitation from the Yes for Independent Maps coalition…

Rich:

We know you’re busy. You are probably doing three things while you read this (hopefully driving isn’t one of them). So we’ll be brief: Today is the last day of the fundraising quarter, and I am writing to ask you for a contribution.

We know you support this campaign. So please head over to our website (click here) and make a $5 donation so we can continue to do what we do.

This is the paragraph where we usually include something compelling about why Independent Maps matter. Today, I’ll just say this is a big deadline for the campaign and we could use your support.

Lots of campaigns are going to ask you for money today. I bet none will ask like this.

Onward.

Michael Kolenc

Campaign Manager

About half an hour later, the coalition reported a $500,000 contribution from former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Maybe his $500,000 is more like what five bucks would be to the rest of us mere mortals. /snark

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Mass transit’s future

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* Greg Hinz talks about a new report due out today from Gov. Pat Quinn’s transit study commission, which is headed, Greg says, “by one of the best big thinkers in the Chicago area: business and civic activist George Ranney”

Likely to get a cooler response is a proposal to merge the CTA, Metra and Pace into one agency with one governing board and three operating units, in the process dismantling the Regional Transportation Authority. Mr. Ranney is dead set on killing the RTA, which he helped create three decades ago.

The agency never was given the power needed to do its job of supervising the CTA, Metra and Pace. Given that failure, the next-best alternative probably is setting up a mega-agency that would run the operating units, much like the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Doing so has some clear advantages. CTA, Metra and Pace each have their own planning departments, IT units, personnel departments and the like. Consolidating them could save $30 million to $50 million a year, according to people familiar with the Ranney report. That would buy a lot of buses and maybe a train or three.

There are two other financial advantages. Instead of crawling all over each other in Washington in a hunt for federal capital, disputes over priorities would have to be resolved locally. And if the agency actually did some smart stuff—shifting resources to priority areas, unrolling an expansion plan that makes sense, etc.—it would help open the door to what Chicago-area transit really needs: more money.

To quote one item in the preliminary version of the Ranney report, the Chicago region spent half as much per capita in the past decade on transit capital projects as peer cities Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington: $1,039 per person here versus an average of $2,039. All those metropolitan areas have strong unified or regional governance.

* And Bill Cameron at WLS Radio quotes Ranney

“The problem is not just transit, it’s the entire transportation system in this region has come to something of a standstill and people are spending a whole lot of time tied up in traffic,” Ranney, Jr. said. “The cost of an average commuter is $1500 a year just from the delays involved. So what really needs to happen here is you need an alternative, a relief value for all that auto traffic. And the best way to do it, the most effective and cheap way to do it is getting transit into better shape and encouraging people to use it. That’s the answer.”

And the answer may include raising the RTA sales tax.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Dejua vu all over again

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* The Chicago Tribune editorial page published an op-ed by Gov. Pat Quinn

Feb. 24, 1997: “Illinois’ schoolchildren — and taxpayers — deserve something better than the state’s arcane, inadequate and inequitable system of paying for public education. It’s a method that relies far too heavily on property taxes, overburdening homeowners and creating huge inequities between rich and poor districts.”

April 19, 1997: “The legislature needs to establish a minimum amount guaranteed for each child to provide an adequate education. It should finance that foundation level by raising the state income tax, and then offset some of that increase with property tax relief. … What’s more, a modest increase in the state’s income tax would not be unduly burdensome, particularly when coupled with a drop in property taxes.”

Those aren’t my words. They’re the words of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, praising then-Gov. Jim Edgar’s thoughtful, responsible plan to change the way Illinois schools are funded by raising the income tax and reducing the property tax burden.

How right they were!

In fact, that is exactly what I set out to do last week when I proposed maintaining the current income tax rate — among the lowest in the nation — to properly fund public schools, while reducing the property tax burden by providing every Illinois homeowner with a guaranteed $500 annual refund. […]

The Chicago Tribune was right in 1997: It’s time to tackle this “arcane, inadequate system” where homeowners are overburdened and children are shortchanged.

* But is this really property tax relief? To me, anyway, it looks a whole lot like what President George W. Bush did during the 2008 crash

Tax rebates created by the law were paid to individual U.S. taxpayers during 2008. Most taxpayers below the income limit received a rebate of at least $300 per person ($600 for married couples filing jointly). Eligible taxpayers received, along with their individual payment, $300 per dependent child under the age of 17. The payment was equal to the payer’s net income tax liability, but could not exceed $600 (for a single person) or $1200 (married couple filing jointly).

* The Tribune didn’t like the idea back then

As Americans hold their breath over the economy, Bush elbowed Congress to pass a $150 billion stimulus package, with rebate checks and temporary tax cuts. Democrats agreed, with swift passage in the House.

It’s money drawn from thin air, amid crushing deficits.

* Quinn’s proposal (which was pushed by Speaker Madigan) is to cut a $500 check to every Illinois homeowner and then mail those checks before the general election.

The proposal does nothing to address the reasons behind our high property taxes. The money could’ve been used for schools, perhaps with a requirement that school districts not increase their budgets in exchange for the cash. There are no ideas here to address unfunded state mandates, which push up costs. There are no ideas to force schools to rein in administrative costs, etc., etc., etc..

There is zero “reform” in this plan. It’s just a check, paid for with money we as a state really don’t have.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


There. Fixed it.

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* Bruce Rauner and US Sen. Mark Kirk were interviewed yesterday on Rick Pearson’s increasingly important WGN radio talk show. One topic was Medicaid…

Rauner suggested the federal government wouldn’t pay for the bulk of the Medicaid expansion “for many more years.”

“When the federal government steps back to its traditional role of a being a 50-50 (payment) partner with states, Illinois will be facing a massive budget problem, a massive hole,” Rauner said.

That “when” should’ve been “if.” The feds currently pick up the entire cost, but the match isn’t ever scheduled to revert to a 50-50 split

Under the health-care law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Then the federal match is pared back to 95 percent in 2017, 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019 and then 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. It would stay at the 90 percent level unless the lawmakers change or repeal the legislation.

So it would take congressional action and a presidential signature to slash those reimbursement rates by that much.

* Sen. Kirk

“The basic political trick of Obamacare is to claim that Medicaid is a health insurance and we all know many, I would say most, doctors don’t take Medicaid,” Kirk said at a news conference in Greektown.

“The question is, is their family actually going to be covered? And the answer is no — that when you show up and find out the doctor says, ‘No I don’t take Medicaid because the…payments are too slow and the state of Illinois is too incompetent to run this,” Kirk said.

“Payments are too slow” probably should be “too low.” I asked the comptroller’s office for the current Medicaid payment cycle…

We have $635 million in Medicaid bills at the Comptroller’s Office, dating back to Jan. 21, 2014.

That does not include what is still at DHFS, which we estimate to be an additional $800 million (the agency should be able to give insight on how far back those go).

The governor’s office says all bills are submitted for payment within 30 days.

So, the bill backlog isn’t nearly as bad as it once was.

Also, Illinois has one of the least costly cost-per-patient ratios for all of Medicaid. Why? Our provider reimbursements are very low. So low, that docs are reluctant to participate.

* Back to Rauner

But when asked if the state should roll back the expanded eligibility rules, Rauner said more investigation of fraud needs to be conducted and that the state should move Medicaid further into a managed care system.

Translation: I’m trying to run as a neo-liberal. Quit asking questions like that, Rick.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Problems with MJM’s millionaire’s tax

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* Eric Zorn

One thing — really the only thing — I don’t like about Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s proposed constitutional amendment to add a 3 percent state tax on all income over $1 million is that it’s not indexed for inflation.

“We thought about it,” said Steve Brown, Madigan’s spokesman. “But we decided this is a cleaner proposal, simpler to understand, easier to get through the legislature without arguing about whose inflation index we’re going to use and so on.”

Yes. And a clever if crude way to gain popular support for the introduction of needed progressivity in our income tax system.

But constitutional amendments are designed to last a long time, and $1 million 10 years from now will not be worth as much as $1 million today.

Think of it this way: If we’d put such an added tax into the revised state constitution when it was ratified in 1970, it would have targeted only people earning more than the equivalent of $6.1 million a year in 2014 dollars, according to the inflation calculator at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

That same calculator says that a person earning $165,000 a year in 1970 had the same purchasing power of a person earning $1 million a year today.

Agreed. It’s so difficult to change the Constitution that hard and fast numbers should never be used.

* But I’d add two more real problems with Madigan’s proposal:

1) The language leaves to the General Assembly the task of defining the word “income.” In Madigan’s proposal, the wording could be legislated to mean gross income, without any adjustments for expenses whatsoever. That would indeed leave some farmers and small business owners in danger of being hit with the surcharge, as Bruce Rauner and others have warned.

2) If voters approve the idea in November, the tax hike is retroactive to January 1st of this year. That’s an awful big first bite.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      


What you see is what you get

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

It turns out that the governor and the two Democratic legislative leaders met privately for at least several days to negotiate details of Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget address.

The highly unusual move means that most, if not all aspects of Gov. Quinn’s budget proposals last week have already been agreed to by the Democrats who run the Illinois Statehouse.

House Speaker Michael Madigan tipped his hand after the governor’s address during Jak Tichenor’s invaluable “Illinois Lawmakers” Public Television program when he twice insisted that the governor’s property tax proposal was actually his idea.

The governor proposed eliminating the state’s property tax credit, which is currently worth five percent of property taxes paid, and replacing it with an automatic $500 tax refund.

That idea was apparently just one of Madigan’s demands in exchange for supporting the governor’s proposal to make the “temporary” income tax hike permanent, which was the centerpiece of Quinn’s speech.

Both Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton offered their full support for the governor’s income tax proposal on Tichenor’s show, with Madigan saying he planned to move a bill forward this spring and Cullerton saying he’d let Madigan go first to make sure there were enough votes, and then move ahead in his own chamber, which tends to be far more liberal than Madigan’s on stuff like this.

The Senate Republicans have claimed that the Democrats were in cahoots this entire spring legislative session to make it appear the budgetary outlook was so bad that the tax hike absolutely had to be made permanent. At least in one respect, they were right. The Democrats have apparently been working closely together for the first time in anyone’s memory. Budget addresses are rarely, if ever, negotiated this much in advance of the actual speech.

Quinn spent quite a bit of time during his address not so subtly attacking his Republican opponent Bruce Raune. Quinn ruled out ever supporting a tax on retirement income, saying he wouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of senior citizens. Rauner has said he’d be open to the idea. Quinn also said he would oppose any effort to tax small businesses that provide services. Rauner has said he’d be open to a service tax.

But Quinn also announced a five-year, $1.5 billion investment into his “Birth to Five” initiative, which he has claimed would focus on prenatal care, access to early learning opportunities and parental support.

The Ounce of Prevention Fund lavished praise on Quinn’s proposal after the speech, and warned of the “potentially devastating cuts that would be necessary without adequate revenue,” which seemed like an all but endorsement of the governor’s proposal to keep income taxes at their current levels.

Why is that so important? Well, Bruce Rauner’s wife Diana is the Ounce of Prevention Fund’s president.

So, while Rauner blasted the governor’s budget address as yet another “broken promise” to Illinoisans, said Quinn was “doubling down on his failed policies” by proposing to keep the tax hike permanent and asserted that he could “balance the budget without more tax increases,” Mrs. Rauner’s highly respected organization was saying just the opposite, that the budget proposal was a “vital investment in the state’s future at a critical juncture.”

Heh.

Then again, Diana Rauner’s more liberal approach could help soften her husband’s hardcore image

Before the speech, Speaker Madigan warned his House Democrats during a closed-door caucus meeting to “keep their powder dry” about the governor’s proposals. Madigan doesn’t want his members getting too far ahead of the game and making statements that they might have to take back when the velvet hammer comes down on their heads later in the session.

As a consequence, not many were eager to talk about the governor’s income tax hike proposal. It wasn’t difficult to see in their faces that they knew what was coming, however. They are all in for yet another extremely tough vote this year. Few want to take that vote, but most know they’ll probably have little to no choice in the matter.

One nervous member expressed the hope that the tax hike would simply be extended until the end of the fiscal year, then let Rauner deal with it if he’s elected. But that idea was quickly shot down by a top Madigan lieutenant.

“And vote for this again?” he asked, incredulously. They already took one vote, after an election during a late evening lame duck session that they’ve been hammered with constantly for over three years. No more of those, apparently.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Oberweis now for gay marriage
* The patented Pat Quinn close has begun
* Question of the day
* McKinney resigns from Sun-Times: "I’m convinced this newspaper no longer has the backs of reporters like me"
* Another one pops
* Reality vs. reporting
* New anti-Rauner theme: "Wolf of Winnetka"
* Redefining Bobby
* Pat and Bruce
* The lindane file
* US judge orders hiring monitor at IDOT
* Underdog endorsements
* Birth control, millionaires and the minimum wage
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        * Child who became ill on plane tests negative for Ebola
        * Tollway might permanently lower cost to open I-Pass account
        * Killer gets 27 years for throwing woman out 3rd-floor window
        * CPS wants to delay new standardized test, even though state already has said 'no'
        * Father Bob Botthof, teacher who became priest after losing wife, dies at 85
        * Scandal or not, Bring on that  federal monitor


        * Off-duty Chicago cop 'alert and talking' after shot during robbery attempt
        * Police wound gunman involved in fatal robbery in Auburn Gresham
        * 400 lawsuits seek $11 million from tollway scofflaws
        * Police in Ferguson committed human rights abuses: Amnesty International
        * Ebola test negative for child who fell ill on flight from Liberia to O'Hare
        * Victim of serial killing suspect lived in fear: 'Too scared to do anything'
        * 1 stabbed, 3 teens shot in separate incidents
        * Cops: Girl, 12, with bipolar disorder missing


        * Bedrock 66: Charlie Parr Plays Springfield Friday
        * Oberweis Would Back Federal Same Sex Marriage Law
        * Wild Bison Return To IL
        * Scary Story: The Diviner by Susan Vondrak
        * Artist Profile: Local Troubadour Tom Irwin
        * Real estate and religion: The tale of Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist
        * Suspicion lingers over Ebola treatment
        * Judge Orders Court Appointed Monitor For IDOT Hiring
        * 13th Dist. Candidates Talk NAFTA, Ebola During Springfield Debate
        * Attorneys Due In Court For Quinn Hiring Lawsuit


        * Our Opinion: Bell, Manar, Davidsmeyer endorsed in state legislative races
        * Craig Burns: Honesty, integrity in great supply at CWLP
        * E.J. Dionne: Ebola, pandering and courage
        * Esther Cepeda: Benefits of closing the word gap
        * Officials rethink early vote-counting after Madigan ruling
        * Our Opinion: Frerichs has the expertise to be Illinois treasurer
        * Robert Kaestner: Good education policy is good health policy
        * Eugene Robinson: Warren makes the case for a presidential run
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Local Rauner ad leaves out ‘everything Springfield isn’t’ line
        * Minimum wage increase supporters urge early voting


        * School funding overhaul shelved for now
        * An officer and a trailblazer
        * Area history, Oct. 24, 2014
        * Google's 'Security Princess' a hacker's nightmare
        * This day in history: Oct. 24, 2014
        * Reeder wrong about early voting
        * Centennial teacher stays flexible, innovative
        * Firsthand account of old, tired school
        * College honors NASA researcher and UI grad Greenleaf
        * UI, Beckman need to stick together


        * Nominees for Grammy Awards to be announced Dec. 5
        * Victims rights, voting rights among proposed amendments
        * Dancing priests become Internet sensation
        * Pucker up: Lip balms, treatments having a moment
        * Hultgren addresses rampant sex slavery in suburbs at forum

        * 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...

        * Military immigrant program halted...
        * Military immigrant program halted...
        * Bring Back the Earmark...
        * Bring Back the Earmark...
        * Bring Back the Earmark...

        * U.S. Senator Mark Kirk to talk with Triton......
        * A Brief History of Michelle Obama Career-G......
        * Marco Rubio, Mark Kirk Warn John Kerry on ......

        * Top U.S. Aid Recipient Is Set to Hang a Christian Woman for Blasphemy
        * Illinois Woman Buys Year Supply Of Pumpkin Spice Coffee So She Never Runs Out
        * U.S. Government says Ebola a ‘Direct Consequence of manmade climate change’
        * Illinois cow holds record as world's tallest
        * Cook County Voting Machine Miscasts Candidate's Vote
        * Clowns With Sex Toys Attacked Illinois Family
        * Clinton hails Durbin and Quinn as "the future"
        * Andrew Klavan: Just Say No To Emma Watson and Feminism [video]
        * Illinois goes after Jimmy John's on taxes after company threatens move out of state
        * Davis Launches New Ad [video]


        * Rauner rips Quinn on IDOT patronage oversight
        * New Ad: Labor leader backs Rauner
        * Jewish Newspapers Endorse Rauner for Governor
        * TV Breaking News: Ethics blow for Pat Quinn
        * Federal judge deals Quinn ethics blow on IDOT patronage hiring




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