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Today’s numbers are harsh

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

* From an op-ed by David M.A. Jensen, president and chief operations officer of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is the largest statewide provider of social services, and last year we served more than 96,000 residents. Approximately 80 percent of the people we served are below the poverty level.

The demand for our services continues to grow, as poverty and its associated hardships impact almost 2 million people in our great state. Poverty exists in every corner of Illinois, leaving many communities finding it difficult to address necessary resources to the human services infrastructure. Should the personal income tax not be extended, we estimate the following impact on our citizens based on our own research and that of the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children:

    • 21,000 seniors would not receive the help they need from in-home caretakers
    • 140,000 people with mental illness would be denied medication and/or therapy
    • 35,000 people with mental illness would no longer receive any services
    • 25,000 adults with developmental disabilities would lose community-based services
    • 13,600 people would have supportive housing and homeless services

Behind each of these statistics are very real people, in need of hope and a future. The most vulnerable people in our society are at risk for not finding the services they need. Even with generous support from private donors, as a community-based agency we depend on government funding to help our most vulnerable citizens.

* The Voices for Children’s Fiscal Policy Center’s research paper is here. The numbers look pretty sound

There has been some dispute among legislators about the size of the budget shortfall that would result from the loss of income tax revenue in FY 2015. The revenue-collapse budget submitted by the Governor would reduce “discretionary” spending from the General Funds by about $2 billion. Some critics claim that this figure exaggerates the problem and that the shortfall is much smaller. But independent analysis by the Fiscal Policy Center (FPC), using somewhat different assumptions than the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), produces a similar estimate.

To estimate the shortfall, the FPC begins with projected FY 2015 revenue and then subtracts “mandatory” spending at projected FY 2015 levels and “discretionary” spending at FY 2014 levels. The difference is the projected budget shortfall (see Appendix 2).

The FPC uses revenue estimates from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), a legislative support agency that has statutory responsibility for preparing revenue estimates for the General Assembly. CGFA’s updated projections for FY 2015 are $272 million lower than GOMB’s estimates.

The FPC revenue estimate also includes $402 million from two new special state funds — the Fund for the Advancement of Education and the Commitment to Human Services Fund. Beginning in calendar year 2015, each of these funds will receive 1/30 of revenue from individual income taxes. While the authorizing statute (Public Act 96-1496) stipulates that resources in each fund “shall supplement and not supplant” current levels of funding, there is no way of enforcing this provision.

In regard to “mandatory” spending, the FPC estimate reduces pension contributions from the General Funds by $150 million, based on offsetting revenue generated from unclaimed property. Otherwise, the FPC uses the same estimates as GOMB. In regard to “discretionary” spending, this comparative analysis assumes that appropriations remain at the FY 2014 level.

The GOMB spending estimate subtracts $234 million for unspent appropriations, while the FPC estimate omits this item. For decades, Illinois governors and legislatures have used estimates of unspent appropriations in formulating balanced budgets. This practice is contrary to sound fiscal policy and should be discontinued. Given the state’s current financial situation, unspent appropriations should be used to pay outstanding bills. If the backlog is eliminated, any unanticipated surplus should go into a rainy day fund.

In short, the FPC analysis indicates that the shortfall in the revenue-collapse budget — and the resulting cuts in “discretionary” spending — would still total about $2 billion (see Appendix 2). Any substantially smaller figure would have to involve questionable policy choices such as underfunding “mandatory” spending or ignoring the backlog of unpaid bills.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


45 Comments
  1. - Walker - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    Two more reasons why this is not just for and about education.


  2. - Waffle Fries - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    The fact of the matter is the revenue is required to advance Illinois’ policy and legal commitments to serving individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses in the community.

    There is a reason we have three court ordered consent decrees in place - we have never invested in the community in this state.

    The federal government is being very proactive in states where they don’t see progress towards ADA’s integration mandates.


  3. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Why does no one do research in terms of the impact of people left behind based on the continual attempts of the ILGA to kick the can down the road. How many people won’t get service because the state created CMS which in many cases charges more for products and services than the shelf price at Walmart?

    How many people won’t get service due to the continuation of the state’s fleet of aircraft to ferry around dignitaries who are too good to drive?


  4. - Linus - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    Important reading for those who insist the expiration of the income-tax increase would carry no serious consequences, and that everything in government is padding and waste. It’s pretty clear that plenty of everyday Illinoisans would face big trouble, on many levels.


  5. - Just Trying to Survive - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:04 am:

    Apparently this is what those in power in our proud state like to see.


  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:06 am:

    –• 21,000 seniors would not receive the help they need from in-home caretakers
    • 140,000 people with mental illness would be denied medication and/or therapy
    • 35,000 people with mental illness would no longer receive any services
    • 25,000 adults with developmental disabilities would lose community-based services
    • 13,600 people would have supportive housing and homeless services–

    Buncha takers. About time they started pulling their own weight.


  7. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    This is why Madigan and the Combine Dems are so horrific: they present voters with a choice of either putting up with their corruption or harming our most vulnerable citizens by handing the budget to the Raunnerites and Tea Partiers, as there is no serious moderate Republican (or independent Democrat) alternative. From a hundred million to UNO to a couple hundred thou to Dorothy Brown’s husband, the insiders get paid first. Nothing is more depressing than looking at a picture of the Speaker and then remembering that the alternative is a party fronted in the next election by Jim Oberweiss and Bruce Raunner.


  8. - Walker - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    ===”How many people won’t get service because the state created CMS which in many cases charges more for goods and services than shelf price…[or]…due to the continuation of the state’s fleet of aircraft…?”===

    These are good questions to ask.

    But even guesstimating the highest possible savings of this sort, where do we get the other roughly $1.8Billion in projected shortfall?


  9. - From the 'Dale to HP - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    BTW, CTBA’s budget analysis came out yesterday also: http://ctbaonline.org/reports/analysis-proposed-fy2015-illinois-general-fund-budget-0


  10. - Cassandra - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    Assuming these figures are correct, how are the Democrats able to find the money for the property tax “rebate.” This rebate, I would note, probably wouldn’t be passed on to the many Illinois residents who rent. It’s really a middle class rebate, since the poor are less likely to own their homes, and it will be followed by a permanent income tax increase for all. Other than improving Pat Quinn’s election chances, how does this rebate help the state? And we complain about Rauner buying the election. The Democrats want to buy the governor’s office–with our money.


  11. - fed up - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    Just from a cost beniefit point of view. Cutting the Following:
    140,000 people with mental illness would be denied medication and/or therapy
    • 35,000 people with mental illness would no longer receive any services

    Will cost much more than what we are spending to fund them.
    I am the first person to say Quinn lied to get the Tax increase, at the same time neccasary programs have costs and everyone needs to be realistic in expecting and needing services and paying for them.


  12. - Just Trying to Survive - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    As so many said in the pension issue, it doesn’t matter that the massive underfunding created the pension shortfall, it’s time to move on to a solution! Forget the blame, they said. In looking at our needs and the shortfall in providing basic services to our residents, who cares that Quinn was less than forthright, correct? Shouldn’t we just move on to the solution?


  13. - Jerome Horwitz - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Is the fate of re-election more important than human lives?


  14. - Just Trying to Survive - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    With tongue-in-cheek, Jerome, it seems to make a difference whose lives we’re talking about.


  15. - Jeff Trigg - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    The Democrats will cut social services first, but the Illinois Sports Facility Authority will still be handing out subsidies to millionaires in professional sports? Does Reinsdorf and the White Sox need another up-scale restaurant built for them next to the stadium where they don’t pay enough in rent?

    I’m having a hard time thinking of even one luxury that has been cut recently to help avoid making the tax hike permanent. We’re going to cut services for the needy and cut education, but we’re still going to give handouts to the millionaires of the White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Bears and hand Obama $100 million for a library and build a highway to Indiana to go with a new airport in Peotone - is not something that sits well with the few informed voters.

    I know it probably doesn’t add up to $2 billion or whatever, but to have credibility when crying wolf, you have to at least try to cut the luxuries.


  16. - Cassandra - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Not giving the rebate is a possible solution. This could provide more money–lots more–for services while making it possible to also reduce somewhat the tax increase burden on middle class citizens who will bear the brunt of Quinn’s tax increase extension. Split the difference so to speak. If income inequality is the problem that many believe it now is in this country, reducing, or at least not increasing, the middle class tax burden is a modest way of addressing the problem.
    Because if you believe some day the one percent is going to start paying a whole lot more taxes to sustain government, you’re dreamin,” even in blue blue Illinois where the “progressive income tax” dies again couple of years.


  17. - downstate hack - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    Whether or not you support the need for the tax increase, coupling it with a rebate on property taxes is stupid. It confuses the issue, and is government income reallocation with little or no fiscal analysis or thought. A purely political move by an inept Governor.


  18. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    John B, you’re sort of a run it like a business guy. In a comparable sized business there would be 100 or more people getting door to door Town Car service, and nobody drives themselves any distance, they fly I guess business thinks saving time of key people is important, huh?


  19. - Bobby Hill - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    ===Buncha takers. About time they started pulling their own weight.===

    This story reminds me how the pot of money is only so big. Lutheran Schools are half the size they were 20 years ago. Probably 25% as big as the 70’s. As well as Catholic, Baptist, Non-denominational, etc. Most of the schools were/are decent schools doing decent things. Most of the families were middle class decent people.

    Now those children are enrolled in public schools taking around $6,500 a year out of the pot of money. That money can’t be used for the disabled, mentally ill or the homeless.

    Pie is only so big and there are a lot of takers. More now than ever.


  20. - Formerpol - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    This sensationalism is ridiculous. The alleged ’shortfall’ in the budget without the state’s seizure of one week of my salary is about 10%. There is no reason that a 10% cut can’t be made.
    Businesses have to do it all the time. The burdens could be minimized. People who live at the taxpayer trough have to make adjustments too - the taxpayers can’t pay any more. I support two private food banks that use zero state dollars. Private charity can and will do more. But stop these stupid, insulting horror stories!


  21. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    @Jeff:

    Sports Facilities Authority is a totally different revenue source.

    As for cutting social services and education, that’s where the money is. No choice.


  22. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    –The alleged ’shortfall’ in the budget without the state’s seizure of one week of my salary is about 10%–

    You have a lot of seizures, don’t you?


  23. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    @formerpol:

    Trolls aren’t welcome here.


  24. - Linus - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Formerpol, there are some education and human services programs that already have been cut by 20%, 25% or more in recent years.


  25. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Bobby Hill:

    Um, that’s because the Catholics no longer have a huge pool of cheap labor in the form of nuns, nor can the public and private schools no longer rely on a huge pool of cheap labor like they did when there were essentially only three white collar professions open to women: nurse, secretary or teacher.

    The faith based groups remain prominent in health care, however, thanks to taxpayer spending, while most public hospital systems have closed.

    Not to inject any facts into the debate or anything.


  26. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    What always loses me from these advocacy groups’ “analysis” is they virtually never look at the cost benefit of bad and ineffective programs as a means of saving money.

    For example, they use FY2014 spending as a “baseline” for spending. Is their point that in 2014 all spending was effective and useful and should be continued? Apparently they chose not to look at this and made the “assumption” that is was.

    That $402 million for “Advancement of Education” and “Human Services” that is “supplemental” also has boondoggle written all over it. Why would a broke state commit themselves to that nonsense!What will this funding accomplish, how willresults be measured, and if the program fails to deliver outcomes worth the cost how will it be abolished?

    If the GA were serious, they’d repeal it and put the money where it’s actually needed.

    There’s no excuse for hurting the poor elderly, sick, and mentally challenged when the state is spending money to overpay cosntruction staff for school and municipal projects through “Prevailing Wage”, subsidizing the 12th highest teacher salaries amongst the states to deliver middle of the pack student outcomes, and still funding corrupt grants like the latest by Mr Arroyo who passed a $15 million “grant” for something, but doesn’t exactly know what or how it will work yet.

    The necessary actions to get costs to reasonable levels like shifting new employee pension costs to schools on a “as funds are available” basis and ending the end of career bumps that raise pensions to increase by as much as 16% with inadequate contributions from schools and employees to contribute their fair share to it, all will be ignored if the GA can shaft us with the increased tax.

    We have enough money to take care of the children, the poor, the ill and infirm, safe transportation education if we set our priorities right.

    The problem is that those aren’t the priorities of Madigan and Quinn. Children don’t vote and make campaign contributions like those sucking the resources from them do, and the poor and ill are a small group that hasn’t been very aggressive in changing the crooked pols priorities.

    There are good choices to be made here to elimante the tax burden and do what’s right. Unfortunately groups like FPC take a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” on cutting the corruption and misplaced funding by the crooks in state government. “NO fault” government just doesn’t work.

    Here endeth the rant.


  27. - Just Trying to Survive - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Regarding the increasing cost of public schools–we are asking infinitely MORE of what is done in public schools than we asked 10, 20 30 years ago. Now, special services and medical professionals are on staff to deal with medical/special needs. Not so years ago. There were teachers, counselor(s), and administrators. Now, classroom teachers make up the minority of staff. And the reason kids forgo private schools in favor of public, is of course, the cost of private schools, but in addition, if your child needs special services–those don’t have to offered to private school kids. Our neighbor, diehard Catholic school devotees for 4 of their kids, ending up sending the 5th to public for the special reading help. So, if mandated by law, by our legislators! to provide those services, taxpayers need to pay. Who makes those school mandates anyway? Not school personnel.


  28. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    “Human services programs that already have been cut by 20%, 25%”

    And how many programs that cater to the sports authorities and other non-essentials have been cut a similar amount?


  29. - Jeff Trigg - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    “Sports Facilities Authority is a totally different revenue source.”

    So what? Are you saying our state leaders are too stupid to figure out how to move money from luxuries to basics? Hotel and amusement taxes can only be used to subsidize professional sports millionaires? That is unbelievable.


  30. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    @Jeff:

    When you understand the budget come back and talk intelligently about it.


  31. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Jeff, I understand your frustration about the age-old Cominskey Park boondoggle, but I doubt it’s going to close a $4 billion hole.

    The hotel/taxi/amusement taxes pay for the bonds on McCormick Place and downstate convention facilities, in addition to convention and tourism marketing.

    As a side note, one of my kids just texted and told me he got 50% off face value at Stub/Hub for tonight’s Cubs/Yankees game. That’s with Tanaka taking the bump and Jeter’s farewell tour.

    That’s astounding. Five years ago, you would have paid twice face value for a game like that.

    Let’s not give the Ricketts any taxpayer money until they figure out what sport they’re actually playing.

    After 42 games, the Cubs outfield has six home runs — five of them from Junior Lake. I would have thought that impossible, but there it is.


  32. - Jeff Trigg - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    @Demoralized

    When you figure out the difference between luxuries and basics and can understand that money is certainly moveable within governments, then you might have the credibility to insult my intelligence on state spending. I certainly hope you don’t work for government because defending handouts to rich millionaires makes you look both foolish and stupid.


  33. - A guy... - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===we estimate the following impact on our citizens based on our own research and that of the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children:

    • 21,000 seniors would not receive the help they need from in-home caretakers
    • 140,000 people with mental illness would be denied medication and/or therapy
    • 35,000 people with mental illness would no longer receive any services
    • 25,000 adults with developmental disabilities would lose community-based services
    • 13,600 people would have supportive housing and homeless services====

    If I were pushing this initiative, this is where the narrative would have started. I’m sure Catholic Charities could add even more to this picture in terms of groups that make up the “tar” that covers the cracks in our society where the most vulnerable are likely to fall through. Instead we were inundated with other scenarios that breed far less sympathy. From a strategic standpoint, this should have been play #1 in the game plan, not the “Hail Mary” at the end.


  34. - CD - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    Now I just heard Ed Sullivan and Matt Murphy say there’s enough to flat fund “core services” and pay the back wages owed to state employees without extending the current tax rate. No numbers from the GOP to back that up of course.


  35. - downstate hack - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    Arizona Bob (11:44) has made some excellent points.


  36. - Colossus - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    Lake Town Dem: Nice to know I’m not alone. Sometimes I look at the state party and feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

    And, I’d like to say, I’m feeling a bit strange today because, God help me, I agreed with an Arizona Bob post. We have our disagreements, but the end of career salary bumps are one of the most corrupt and grotesque abuses of the system I’ve ever seen. This is not an unsolvable problem to anyone who isn’t tied up in the pension or election system. Unfortunately, the only one of those trying to do something is Bruce Rauner, whose ill-intent is worse than the incompetent status quo


  37. - Montrose - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    *I support two private food banks that use zero state dollars.*

    Go back to those food banks and ask them about the federal programs that support their work. And also ask them if private charity could fill in the gap if government programs - state and federal - that provide food aid were eliminated or just cut. They couldn’t. People need to stop pretending that the private sector can and will do what government does on the scale that government does it. These cuts are real and have real impact. Private charity is not going to be the knight in shining armor.


  38. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    @Jeff:

    Not defending anything. Trying to help you understand the budget. That’s all. Been doing this work for 20 years so I think I know a thing or two.


  39. - Formerpol - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    What is a “troll”? I’ve been called lots of names before in what passes for debate and discussion, but never a ‘troll’! And taking a week of my salary through the force of law is a ’seizure’ if there ever was one!


  40. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    ==If I were pushing this initiative, this is where the narrative would have started==

    This should have been the narrative that was put out there over and over and over and over and over to tell people why the current tax rates need to be kept. They failed miserably in this regard.


  41. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    “They” meaning the Governor and the Dems in the GA.


  42. - Joe M - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    Perhaps the doomsday budget should be put to a vote in the House and Senate. Call them out and see what Republicans and those Democrats against the tax extension vote for it.


  43. - A guy... - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===Demoralized - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    ==If I were pushing this initiative, this is where the narrative would have started==

    This should have been the narrative that was put out there over and over and over and over and over to tell people why the current tax rates need to be kept. They failed miserably in this regard.====

    Demo, it also would have been in a more effective communication pipeline than where it wound up. People actually like helping people who desperately need help. Say what you want about wealthy people, but most of them I know are very charitable and take it extremely seriously. It never went down this road. It was about Pensions on one side and property taxes on the other from the start. It had less to do with the actual “income” tax or social services. If you don’t spend time in voterland, you just don’t know what they think. Our system has turned into “polling creating issues through push” instead of pulling info from people. Gotta stand on their porch and talk awhile to get that.


  44. - Jeff Trigg - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    “Been doing this work for 20 years so I think I know a thing or two.”

    Then you should know the answer to this question. How many of those budgets were voted on within 24 hours of being plopped down before legislators, the media and the public?

    No one had any time to complain about luxurious spending that was unnecessary until it was already spent, and that is a huge contributor to our budget problems now. $20 million to the Muntu Dance Theater or $15 million for a Broadcasting Museum back then is costing us even more today because that $35 million should have gone toward pensions. Now they are trying to make the state employees pay for those excesses of our recent past.

    I’ve been complaining about stupid government spending all over Illinois for 14 years, minus the 5 years in Seattle and Sacramento I spent trying to re-legalize cannabis, but even then I was still paying attention to my home Illinois. I know we are still throwing around $1 billion a year in grants with no oversight or accountability, like the Muntu and Museum examples above. I know Chicago State University is draining education dollars and failing the students and should be sold or closed to save money. I know the $600 million on Soldier Field was a waste, and the $350 million for “Comiskey” and the $230 million for the United Center and the $14 million for the Peoria Chiefs stadium and $221 million/yr on cannabis prohibition and the $1 million/yr for Brainard’s job training programs in Monique Davis’ district office where she refuses to pay rent, and Obama’s $100,000 park grant to build a $5,000 gazebo in a vacant lot, and RickEy Hendon’s after school ghost programs and however many millions being spent by our schools having children pee in cups regardless of the 4th Amendment, and on and on for things not on the top of my head.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t want to be associated with any of our budgets the past 20 years or so. The luxurious waste in those budgets was horrendous.

    If you value budget experience so much, I hope you voted for Cal Skinner back in 2002, He had more state government and budget experience than Blagojevich and Ryan combined. He warned us that the overspending then would lead to our current problems and that the lucrative pensions were unsustainable. I heard the same crap about there being nowhere to cut spending back in 2002 working on Skinner’s campaign as I am hearing now. And I’m seeing the same lack of effort to actually cut luxuries and waste from the budget now as happened back then. From both power parties in Springfield.


  45. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 20, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    –Then you should know the answer to this question. How many of those budgets were voted on within 24 hours of being plopped down before legislators, the media and the public?–

    LOL, you know a lot “legislators, the media and the public” who are just dying to go over budget proposals?

    More than one or two?

    It’s a republic, daddio. But we’ll put you down as a spokesman for the victims.


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        * Medicaid hit with $106 million cut from budget .....
        * Why isn't Mike Madigan voting on bills?..
        * OUR VIEW: No political handouts prior to electi.....
        * Lack of staffing at Jubilee College State Park .....
        * Mayor Emanuel Taps CTA Boss As His Next Chief O.....
        * State budget fix includes $106M in Medicaid cuts..
        * Girl Battling Cancer Has Block Named in Her Honor..
        * Bill would allow Illinois students to opt out o.....
        * Tea Party to talk Article V legislation..
        * Keeping Residents in IL Still A Major Issue..


        * Bill would allow Illinois students to opt out of state tests
        * Medicaid hit with $106 million cut from Illinois budget deal
        * Chicago Armenians mark centennial of genocide of 1.5M
        * Authorities: Ottawa man killed, cremated in burn pile
        * Sheriff describes security lapse that led to Kankakee escape
        * Illinois House OKs time limit on storing license plate data
        * Judge grants delay in Illinois fatal bank robbery trial
        * Judge rules Chicago man can stand trial for SIU threats
        * Oprah's household items going to highest bidder
        * Chicago mayor taps CTA director to be chief of staff

        * State budget fix includes $106M in Medicaid cuts
        * House passes bill to create high-speed rail oversight panel
        * Bill would allow students to opt out of state tests
        * Illinois House OKs time limit on storing license plate data
        * House passes bill to create high speed rail oversight panel
        * House passes bill treating marijuana possession like speeding ticket
        * Bill banning indoor e-cigarettes won't be called for vote
        * Services for homeless, rape victims among cuts disclosed by Rauner
        * Rauner releases detailed list of budget cuts
        * State lawmakers fast-track bill on Obama library, Lucas museum

        * Chicago mental health provider to close doors
        * United CEO's pay soars to $12.7 million
        * Formento's offers a modern take on old school
        * The go-to dance bands for nonprofit galas
        * 8 questions for Sprout Social's Justyn Howard


          * Starbucks reports register outage in stores in US, Canada
          * Man killed, boy seriously wounded, 2 other teens shot in city attacks
          * Couple finds body in Dyer pond
          * Jury in Wisconsin suitcase slaying can't hear about other death, judge rules
          * Elgin man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting child in 2010
          * Documents: Argument over boyfriend before Wisconsin teen killed parents
          * Drew Peterson police pension hearing begins in Bolingbrook
          * Man killed in Aurora crash Friday
          * Feds seek College of DuPage surveillance videos
          * Chicago to return residents to ComEd


          * Illinois prisons chief says union contracts causing problems
          * Sheriff Dart to investigate unlicensed rehab centers
          * Rauner's first 100 days: The fight between unions and Rauner
          * Large provider of Chicago mental health services, C4, is closing
          * After detective’s acquittal in fatal shooting, prosecutors face criticism
          * Mayor Emanuel taps CTA director to be chief of staff
          * Portage Park church mourns 'favorite son' Cardinal George
          * Lawmakers fast-track bill on Obama library, Lucas museum
          * Emanuel announces more FAA meetings on O'Hare noise
          * Cook County prosecutor to try new approach to drug crimes


          * Deckle McLean: Independent voters the new political wild card
          * Charles Krauthammer: Obama's Nixon doctrine: Anointing Iran
          * State budget fix includes $106M in Medicaid cuts
          * House passes bill to create high-speed rail oversight panel
          * Bill would allow students to opt out of state tests
          * Illinois House OKs time limit on storing license plate data
          * House passes bill treating marijuana possession like speeding ticket
          * Bill banning indoor e-cigarettes won't be called for vote
          * Zach Mottl: Illinois companies need the Export-Import Bank
          * E.J. Dionne: The Gingrich-Adams lesson


          * ‘Continue our struggle’: Armenians ring church bell to honor genocide victims
          * Lottery results
          * Other 2015 Eddy Awards
          * Award salutes 31 years of bike repairs, generosity
          * Q-C Starbucks stores affected by computer glitch
          * Art on the Square poster highlights ‘awesomeness’ of fountain
          * Art on the Square poster highlights fountain
          * West Central, Wade sweep Routt
          * 5K event to benefit Duncan Mansion
          * (No heading)


          * Images: Cubs over Reds, 7-3 in 11 innings
          * George's fortitude helps Jacobs drop Huntley
          * UEC River softball, baseball races tighten up
          * ‘I am a woman': More from the Bruce Jenner interview
          * In the end, Stevenson reigns

          * Dold to replace Schock on Ways and Means C...
          * Dold gets prized seat on House Ways and Me...
          * Riopell: Aaron Schock's loss is Bob Dold's...
          * Obama Literally Edits Out the Genocide, Ma...
          * IVCC's Mr. Phillips goes to Washington
          * Dold gets Schock's coveted Ways and Means ...
          * Chicago-Area Mom Pushes for Legalization o...
          * Money race begins for Congress next year
          * Republicans back bill letting illegal immi...
          * Armenians Commemorate Centennial Of Genoci...

          * Tom Cotton prepares for Patriot Act battle...
          * Local family joins rally marking centennia......
          * Republicans Who Voted For Loretta Lynch Vo......

          * Senators announce "Aaron Swartz Should Hav......
          * The delay confirming Loretta Lynch was wro......
          * Lynch confirmed: DOJ lawlessness to continue...

          * Liberland
          * Illinois homeless veterans to get $675K in additional housing and support services
          * Illinois home prices move closer to pre-recession levels
          * Haven’t renewed? Keep calm and turn to IAR for managing broker license assistance
          * As sewer video bill dies, your call against property lien bill is needed, too!
          * March Illinois housing data reports available in Spanish
          * IAR supports SB 1612 and HB 3693
          * $75,000 in REALTOR® funds in place to help tornado victims
          * Illinois REALTORS® two for two on targeted legislation; SB1380 dies
          * Winthrop Harbor cuts development fees in effort to spur growth


          * IDPH Moves to Eliminate Meningococcal Meningitis - New Vaccination Requirements for Adolescents
          * YOUR ACTIONS MATTER! kicks off statewide as preparations begin for new server training law
          * Emergency Management Officials Launch Weather Alert Radio Contest - ‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest promotes awareness; 100 radios to be awarded
          * IDOT Launches Statewide Listening Tour to Discuss Illinois Infrastructure Needs, Priorities
          * Illinois Student Assistance Commission Encourages Families To Learn About Personal Finance During Money Smart Week Event





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