* It’s always interesting to watch administration’s spin the monthly unemployment numbers. Gov. Rauner’s administration did its best to point out how bad things were until it was time to run for reelection. Here’s the first IDES press release from the new regime…
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in December and nonfarm payrolls increased by +13,600 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The November jobs gain was revised upward from the preliminary report (from +5,900 jobs to +8,000 jobs).
Job growth was stronger during the October to December period posting an average monthly change of +9,500 jobs, an improvement over the prior month when the three-month average change was +5,500 jobs.
“It’s clear there is room to both grow the Illinois economy and create opportunity for working families,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “That’s why Governor Pritzker has taken action in his first days in office to protect and raise the wages of Illinois workers and strengthen workforce development training in growing industries. The governor looks forward to continuing to work with stakeholders, business leaders, and workers to create jobs statewide and ensure all of our communities can thrive.”
In December, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Government (+6,300), Leisure and Hospitality (+4,600) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+2,800). The industry sectors with payroll declines were: Information (-1,000) Financial Activities (-700) and Construction (-600).
Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +71,000 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in December: Government (+24,700); Education and Health Services (+11,200) and Leisure and Hospitality (+10,200). The industry sectors with over-the-year declines were: Information (-3,900) and Other Services (-300). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.2 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +1.8 percent over-the-year gain in December.
The state’s unemployment rate is +0.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December 2018, which rose to 3.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.9 percent.
The number of unemployed workers increased +1.3 percent from the prior month to 277,500 but down -12.2 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was about unchanged over-the-month and over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment.
Looks like Deputy Governor Hynes is overseeing IDES, too.
Your thoughts on this?
- Posted by Rich Miller
According to Truth in Accounting, Chicago has debts of $42 billion. That includes pension, bonds, and other liabilities. Of this total, $28 billion is the net unfunded pension liability discounted back at the expected investment return rate, and $800 million, unfunded retiree healthcare. That means that roughly 70% of the city’s liabilities are in the form of pension underfunding.
Detroit, at the time of its bankruptcy, had debts of over $18 billion, which included a much smaller fraction of pension liabilities - $6.9 billion - but a much larger liability for retiree healthcare, $5.7 - $6.4 billion (the data source, the Huffington Post, doesn’t explain why they provide a range rather than a single point liability). That works out to a proportion of 50% of the city’s total debt.
Put another way, Chicago has a population of 2.7 million. Detroit’s population as of the time of its bankruptcy was 700,000. If Detroit’s debt were prorated to reflect Chicago’s population, it would have been $72.5 billion, or 75% higher than Chicago’s present debt. If Detroit’s pension liabilities alone were prorated to reflect Chicago’s population, they’d have been $35.5 billion, or 25% higher than Chicago’s present debt.
Not to mention that Chicago is a much wealthier city than Detroit was when it declared bankruptcy. And its residential property taxes are currently pretty low compared with the rest of the state.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From August of 2017, shortly after the end of the two-year Illinois government impasse…
Polly Poskin, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA), said she’s “cautiously optimistic” about receiving funding for the next fiscal year.
“Having experienced this, one would always then have that memory — that anything can go wrong, will go wrong,” Poskin said. “I’m confident that our elected officials never want to put our state through that again. I’m going to operate on the premise that lessons were learned and difficult decisions had to be made.”
Currently, 29 rape crisis centers fall under ICASA’s support. Agencies, including ICASA, were forced to take out credit or use their reserves to keep the bare minimum of services available, she said.
Since ICASA owns its building, they used it for credit in fiscal year 2016 and borrowed nearly $1.5 million to distribute to the centers since most don’t own property, she said. That came with an interest of $700,000.
Illinois’ crisis centers for sexual violence survivors are starting to feel the effects of the partial government shutdown—now in its fourth week. Funding for services will soon stop coming in.
The Justice Department has given organizations until January 18, when it will stop processing funding requests. […]
Carrie Ward, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault — a network of 30 rape crisis centers across the state — said the group hopes to minimize the impact. The centers mobilized to get their refund requests processed by the deadline. Now, Ward said, all they can do is wait for a resolution to the shutdown and try to keep the centers open.
“But there’s only so much money available, and because these dollars are so specifically for counselors and advocates, my greatest concern would be that eventually there would have to be fewer counselors and advocates that are providing the services,” she said.
Ward said federal money makes up about 60 percent of the organization’s overall funding, which also includes some state dollars. She said victims should know services are still available 24/7 and efforts will focus on keeping centers open.
Ugh. Just… ugh.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* This is happening as I’m putting together this post…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to sign a bill Thursday that would give the state more oversight over Illinois gun dealers, after Democrats kept the paperwork off former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk in order to avoid a veto during his administration’s final days.
The proposal would require firearm stores to get state licenses, a move that supporters contend could reduce gun violence because federal regulators are stretched too thin to adequately handle all the shops operating in Illinois.
Pritzker is set to sign it into law at a Chicago elementary school Thursday morning. Lawmakers approved it last year in the wake of the killing of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer and the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“This is a common-sense piece of legislation, so when I introduced it a decade and a half ago, I thought we would be celebrating this day much sooner,” Democratic state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park, the proposal’s sponsor, said. “But important causes are worth fighting for, and I am proud to stand with the countless advocates and supporters who have stuck with us for all these years.”
* Illinois State Rifle Association…
The state licenses for gun dealers measure was passed in the previous General Assembly but was never sent to Governor Rauner because 2nd Amendment rights opponents knew he would veto it. Political gamesmanship like this is just a typical day in Illinois politics. The Illinois State Rifle Association is deeply disappointed in the action taken today, but is certainly not surprised.
The federal government already licenses gun dealers. There is no need to add yet another layer of bureaucracy on gun dealers. The only thing this measure is going to do is make it cost more money for gun dealers to do business in Illinois, which is going to hurt the smaller dealers.
The action taken today is another assault on our 2nd Amendment rights. Nothing in this bill is going to enhance public safety in Illinois. The only thing that is being accomplished here is the creation of a bureaucratic nightmare for gun dealers. Rest assured, we will be challenging this new law in court.
* GPAC sent this out in advance…
Today Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 337, the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act, as one of his first official acts in office. With that signature, families of victims killed by illegally obtained guns can find peace of mind knowing that lives will be saved by SB 337 becoming the law of the land in Illinois.
The bill gives state authorities and law enforcement the tools to require better business practices among federally licensed gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable in the state to keep guns away from criminals. The signing comes after Governor Rauner recently vetoed a similar bill even after lawmakers and the overwhelming majority of residents across the state called for him to approve it.
“We are thrilled that Governor Pritzker fulfilled his promise to protect children and families in Illinois from gun violence by signing SB 337 into law,” said Kathleen Sances, President and CEO of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC). “Members of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, especially the parents who have found the strength to turn their unimaginable grief into action, worked tirelessly to fight for its passage. We are grateful to our legislators, notably our bill sponsors Sen. Don Harmon and State Representative Kathleen Willis, who came together in support of this effort. Our streets, communities and families will be safer now that SB 377 is now the law of the land.”
In 2015, as a result of the increasing number of people being killed by gun violence, G-PAC and Giffords joined forces with a broad, statewide, bi-partisan coalition of organizations, advocates and elected officials around a common goal: to help rid Illinois of hundreds of illegal guns that each year end up on our streets and in the hands of those looking to do harm.
G-PAC and the Coalition were responsible for the Our One Job campaign: a historic strategic and targeted social media campaign developed to educate the public about gun violence in Illinois. The campaign reached 4.1 million people and engaged over 62,000 individuals. It was responsible for tens of thousands of contacts — phone calls, emails, petition signatures, social media shares and in-person visits to lawmakers. It was the first time that gun violence prevention contacts outnumbered contacts from gun lobby groups into lawmaker offices.
From 2013 to 2016, 40 percent of guns used in crimes in Chicago came from negligent gun dealers within Illinois, according to the 2017 Gun Trace Report. The new measure will require the Illinois State Police to certify dealers and enacts provisions to better record and track private sales. Several key provisions are:
· Requiring criminal background checks for gun dealer employees
· Training and education for gun dealer employees so our criminal background check system can work better
· Giving Law enforcement the authority to inspect inventories, ensuring gun dealers are held accountable for missing firearms
· Increasing security and public safety by requiring video surveillance for brick and mortar, gun dealer locations
This post will be updated.
…Adding… Governor’s office…
Surrounded by gun violence survivors, prevention advocates, community leaders and elected officials who have worked for years to require licenses for gun dealers, today Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 337 to combat the scourge of illegal gun trafficking, finally making Illinois the 16th state to require gun dealers to be certified by the state after more than a decade of work.
“Gun violence isn’t an issue facing one city, or one region, or one group of people — it affects us all, and I want to thank all those tireless advocates who didn’t rest until our state took commonsense action to prevent gun trafficking,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This bipartisan law is a long-overdue step to do more to prevent gun violence, to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands, to make sure that we license gun shops just like restaurant and other businesses, and deter straw purchases, so that we can prevent someone from buying a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to own a gun.”
The gun violence prevention measure is the second bill Gov. Pritzker signed into law since taking office Monday. SB 337 creates two acts that allow the state to regulate gun dealers and gather information on private sales and illegal gun transfers.
The Firearm Dealer License Certification Act requires any gun dealer in the State of Illinois be certified by the Illinois State Police (ISP). State-licensed dealers are required to provide annual training to employees, have video surveillance in gun stores, and be open for inspection by ISP and local law enforcement.
The Gun Trafficking Information Act requires ISP to publish key information related to crime-related firearms and imposes penalties on individuals who fail to maintain a record of a private sale.
With the federal government failing to effectively regulate gun dealers, state licensing will hold gun dealers responsible while the state takes action to reduce the tragic gun violence that affects so many communities.
“Thank you, Governor Pritzker, for taking action to stop the gun violence,” said Delphine Cherry, a mother of two victims of gun violence. “27 years ago today, I lost my daughter Tyesa to gun violence committed by a 14-year-old who had an illegal gun. Twenty years later, my son Tyler was murdered three days before Christmas. Since I lost Tyesa and Tyler to gun violence, I have made it my mission to make sure no other parent has to join the worst club that I belong to: the club of parents who have lost their children to gun violence. This bill will make sure gun dealers are held accountable and stop them from illegally selling guns like the one used to kill my daughter.”
“It only took Governor Pritzker four days - not four years - to realize that if the state can license a barber shop or a liquor store, we can license gun dealers,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I commend Governor Pritzker for prioritizing this important public safety measure that will reduce the number of illegal guns on our streets and allow the Chicago police to further crack down crime.”
“Gun violence is a complex problem, and no one law will solve it,” said Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th), who sponsored the measure in the Illinois Senate. “But we know that other states that have enacted similar laws to this one have seen a reduction in guns used in crimes. I am grateful to Gov. Pritzker for signing this legislation into law.”
“This bipartisan law will not harm any gun dealer that operates in good faith, but it does ensure accountability for dealers that fail to make efforts to keep guns from falling into the hands of criminals,” said Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-77th), who sponsored the measure in the Illinois House. “I would like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and Governor Pritzker for their support on this important measure.”
“As one of his first official acts to sign the gun dealer licensing bill, this speaks volumes about the Governor’s commitment and passion to help Chicago reduce gun violence,” said Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “The tools provided in this legislation to state and local police will significantly help our ability to regulate gun dealers and monitor and interdict the illegal flow of guns into cities like Chicago.”
“Gun violence is prevalent in too many neighborhoods and communities throughout the state, my own included. We must take a comprehensive approach to addressing the level of violence in Illinois, and that includes stopping the flow of guns trafficked into Illinois,” said Attorney General Kwame Raoul. “I would like to thank Governor Pritzker for making commonsense licensing one of the first new laws he enacts as governor.”
“In 2018, the most prosecuted offense by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office was the unlawful use of a weapon,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “It is past time that we do more to keep illegal firearms off of our streets and today’s signing of SB 337 is a step in the right direction. I look forward to a continued partnership with the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker on sensible legislation to make Cook County safer.”
“It’s time to consider our moral obligation to our communities,” said Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson. “Our highest priority must be keeping our children free of gun violence. Senate Bill 337 puts that extra layer of protection in place to keep us all safe.”
* Senate sponsor…
Sixteen years after State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) first introduced similar legislation, Gov. JB Pritzker today signed his measure requiring gun dealers to be certified by the state.
“When I first introduced a version of this bill in 2003, I thought we would be having this celebration a little sooner,” Harmon said. “This bill will help, but there’s more work to be done. I ask all of our dedicated supporters to remain in this fight.”
The Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act contains provisions to better record and track private gun sales. It treats all firearm licensees the same, regardless of their size. It requires the Illinois State Police, rather than the state agency that regulates professions and occupations, to certify gun dealers.
Additional provisions in the bipartisan proposal include:
· requiring gun dealers to safely store firearms at all times,
· requiring gun dealers to make copies of FOID cards or IDs and attach them to documentation detailing each gun sale,
· requiring employees to undergo annual training about the law and responsible business practices, and
· requiring gun dealers to open their place of business for inspection by state and local police.
Harmon’s district includes portions of the West Side of Chicago, an area that has been plagued with gun violence for years. As of Dec. 23, the Chicago Police Department reported 555 homicides in Chicago in 2018.
“Gun violence is a complex problem, and no one law will solve it,” Harmon said. “But we know that other states that have enacted similar laws to this one have seen a reduction in guns used in crimes. I am grateful to Gov. Pritzker for signing this legislation into law.”
* The Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America…
“This is an important step forward for Illinois,” said Lauren Quinn, volunteer chapter leader with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “These are smart, focused measures to prevent gun trafficking - and do so while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners and sellers. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who worked to make this possible, particularly Sen. Harmon, Rep. Willis, Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
So much for “embracing hard choices,” as Gov. J.B. Pritzker promised he’d do in his inaugural speech.
His first act as governor granted pay raises to thousands of state AFSCME workers, which will cost the state as much as $200 million a year. And when Pritzker relents on the back-pay Rauner blocked, that will create another $400 to $500 million in costs.
It was an easy choice for Pritzker to reward the government unions who backed him during his campaign – all at the expense of taxpayers.
Yeah, he didn’t do it because of two appellate court rulings or an ILRB order. Or because he campaigned on his support for collective bargaining rights. He did it because unions endorsed his campaign, which he self-funded.
Also, the union claims the annual costs are essentially covered because longer-term unionized employees who retire or leave their jobs are paid more than the people hired to replace them - and this state hasn’t done a lot of hiring over the years except to fill vacancies.
It would’ve helped, however, if Pritzker had tried to explain the costs this week. That’s part of the job. Do better.
* The decisions by Rauner to stop the increases and by Pritzker to get out of the way have human consequences. From “HangingOn” (who’s been commenting here since 2015) this past Tuesday after Pritzker announced he was lifting Rauner’s illegal blockade of the step increases…
I am about in tears. Would be nice to know when the step raises will happen, but knowing they will is a relief. As it is I have been worrying that next week I can either pay for my child’s 8th grade graduation gown or her school lunches but not both. And being she’s special needs the graduation is a big deal to us. Maybe with the raise coming the school will wait for the lunch money.
Several readers reached out to me asking if they could help.
* She turns out to be a Downstate office associate earning a modest salary. Her name is on the GoFundMe page that I encouraged her to create…
I am a State Employee and the mother of an incredible teenager with Special Needs. For the last 3 years I have not gotten my contracted raises due to actions by the previous governor. The new governor is supposedly going to follow the courts decision and pay the raises, but I don’t know how long that will take. I am owed around $7200 in back pay, am behind on my daughter’s lunch account, and I can’t afford the tassel and shirt she wants for her 8th grade graduation.
Luckily the school found a gown that fits her from last year so she will at least have that, but she has had so much trouble getting this far in school. She survived brain cancer (ependymoma) at age 3 but was left with issues due to the surgeries and radiation to remove it. Thanks to her Special Needs teachers she has made a lot of progress, but after another student tried to stab her with a pencil last year she refused to go to school, and the school and I had to teach her school was a safe place so she would attend again. She fights anxiety every day but has been going and getting A’s. It’s a miracle that they say she will graduate 8th grade this year after all that.
Since I am behind on her lunch account she can’t have breakfast at school and she gets nauseous if she eats before the car ride so she has been missing out in the mornings, plus she can’t participate in some activities at school until it is paid up. Also, since I’m not the best cook in the world (I can make scrambled eggs and SOS pretty well, but most else is iffy lol) the hot lunches at school give her some variety and fill her up better than a sandwich from home.
It would be amazing if I could at least reach the low goal I have set and get her caught up and get her the graduation items she wants. It would make our lives a lot brighter and easier to have 1 less thing to worry about. Any extra will go toward future school things and catching up in general. And maybe a sketch pad. She is phenomenal at art! :)
Her goal is only $100. I will match that $100 when the goal is met. Click here.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* You think Illinois is broke now? Check out this historical tidbit from Amanda Vinicky’s latest story…
But there was a time – just before the [Illinois] constitution was adopted [in 1970], in fact – that Illinois had no income tax at all.
“We have no money,” John McCarter, who ran the newly formed budget bureau Ogilvie created, remembers the state’s comptroller telling him at the time. So little, there wasn’t enough to cut employee paychecks.
* Ogilvie was the father of Illinois’ modern state government. It started when he pushed through a state income tax to pay for it…
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency was born under Ogilvie, and the state’s prison and juvenile justice systems were modernized.
High-ranking members of the Ogilvie administration, including McCarter (Ogilvie’s budget director), Paula Wolff (policy work, which was, at the time, rare for a woman) and Peter Bensinger (the first director of the department of corrections created under Ogilvie), say lessons from the past can serve to inform Illinois’ politicians today.
“He was interested in doing the right thing, putting the right policy in place and those policies have been sustained over time,” Wolff said. “The important thing in thinking about the continuum of governors is that governors who stand up for the policy things they care about, who are willing to do what they think is right, are the governors who have made the lasting contribution in Illinois.”
And then Ogilvie paid for all that by losing his next election to Dan Walker, who bashed Ogilvie but then spent every dollar from the new income tax that he possibly could.
Go read the rest.
* Coincidentally, Amanda found this poster while cleaning out her Statehouse office…
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Illinois State Police…
On January 12, 2019, at approximately 4:45 p.m., Trooper Christopher Lambert was on the scene of a three-vehicle traffic crash in the left lane on Interstate 294 near Willow Road. While handling that crash, another vehicle in traffic failed to stop and struck Trooper Lambert while he was outside of his patrol car. Trooper Lambert sustained serious injuries and was transported to Glenbrook Hospital. At approximately 7:24 p.m., Trooper Lambert succumbed to his injuries.
Trooper Christopher Lambert grew up in Dayton, Ohio, where he attended Allen Elementary and Middletown Madison High School. He loved baseball and was an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan. Trooper Lambert began his career with the ISP in 2013 as a member of Cadet Class 123. Upon his graduation from the ISP Academy, he was assigned to District 15 in Downers Grove. At the time of his passing, he was assigned to the District 15 Criminal Patrol Team. Throughout his career with the ISP, Trooper Lambert was recognized for his hard work, criminal interdiction efforts, and for being a rising leader amongst his peers. Trooper Lambert served honorably in the United States Army for eight years.
Trooper Christopher Lambert is survived by his wife, one-year-old daughter, and parents. The ISP would like to thank the public for their support and condolences during this difficult time.
* From the governor…
* Visitation is today…
Thousands are expected to attend memorial events for Illinois State Trooper Christopher Lambert, which begin Thursday afternoon with a visitation at Willow Creek Community Church. […]
His family released a statement Wednesday saying Lambert “left this world in the way in which he lived: putting the well-being and happiness of those around him before his own.”
“The family of Trooper Christopher Lambert mourns the loss of our son, husband, father and friend. We would like to thank the law enforcement community and the thousands of others who have expressed their love and concern,” the statement said. “We will always remember his devotion to his wife and daughter, his dedication to his career and community, and the love and laughter that he shared with us.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
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