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Morning Shorts

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* Economist: Illinois affected less severely by national recession

A “flash index” of the state’s corporate, personal and sales tax receipts was at 96.3 last month compared to 97 in January, but J. Fred Giertz said the state has avoided the worst of the national recession.

Any figure below 100 on the index indicates the state’s economy is shrinking

“So far, Illinois seems to have been affected less severely by the recession compared to the rest of the country,” said Giertz. “During 2008, Illinois’ unemployment rate rose 1.6 percentage points to 7.2 percent, while the rate for the whole country rose 2.3 percentage points, ending the year at 7.2 percent.”

* The Foreclosure Meltdown

Alderman Richard Mell… said, “People will not want to move into this neighborhood; people will not want to invest in this neighborhood. If they drive down the street and see 5 or 6 buildings like this, they’re going to look for somewhere else to live.”

* City foreclosures nearly double

An explosion of failed mortgage loans in moderate-income and middle-class Chicago communities last year helped drive new foreclosure filings to nearly 20,000 here, a report released Monday by the nonprofit National Training and Information Center found.

The report also revealed that 75 percent of the mortgage loans were adjustable-rate or other high-risk loan products.

New foreclosure filings numbered 19,943 in 2008, nearly double the 10,673 filings reported in 2006. Eighty-six percent of the mortgages were made within the last three years.

* February Economic Summary in Graphs (Dismal stuff)

* Dow Jones decline rate mimics Great Depression

* Wall Street heads for mixed open after big drop

* Endowments, charity funds feel pinch in economic downturn

* Detroit’s outlook falls along with home prices

The median price of a home sold in Detroit in December was $7,500, according to Realcomp, a listing service.

Not $75,000. Remove a zero; it’s seven thousand five hundred dollars, substantially less than the lowest-price car on the new-car market.

* Auto company sales numbers expected to get worse

* Brave New Welfare

* The number of homeless youth is increasing, but services and funding haven’t kept pace for years

* Trains to start rolling Wednesday

Tomorrow, Canadian National Railway (CN) will begin increasing train traffic along the EJ&E Rail Line, which stretches 198 miles throughout the Chicagoland area.

* 9 Ill. counties declared federal disaster areas

President Barack Obama has declared nine southern Illinois counties as disaster areas after a severe winter storm in late January.

The declaration makes federal funding available to state and local governments and some nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis. The money can be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storm from Jan. 26-28.

* Illinois River hits flood stage

* City still has money for PR

The Daley administration has signed another $5 million public relations contract — bringing the citywide total to 11 firms and $55 million — to augment the highly controlled message coming out of City Hall.

Mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard insisted last fall that not a penny would be paid to outside spin doctors until Chicago’s budget crisis is over.

* Walsh’s O’Hare deal reopens old wound

A clout-heavy company with two generations of ties to the Daley family has been chosen to build the third and final runway in Phase One of Mayor Daley’s massive O’Hare Airport expansion project.

* Trial set to begin for former aide to Richard Daley

A loyal campaign worker in the powerful Hispanic Democratic Organization had been rewarded with a city job, so when a call came to cut the grass at the home of Chicago Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez, he allegedly did as he was told.

* Exiting hiring monitor says Cook County too slow to end patronage

In a six-page letter to commissioners, Julia Nowicki said it will be at least 18 more months before the federal courts find that monitoring is no longer needed.

Commissioners, Nowicki added, “can nudge” Stroger to take steps to eliminate the widely held perception that patronage continues to hobble county government.

Eugene Mullins, Stroger’s spokesman, said “perception is not reality,” and a lawyer for Stroger issued a 12-page letter outlining his steps to prevent patronage.

* Monitor: Cook County patronage slow to end

* Cook County’s patronage watchdog quits abruptly

* Township Government Newsletters Used as Campaign Tools

* Mayor Daley’s great big hush-hush

* Parker given deadline to withdraw from mayoral race

State’s Attorney Kevin Lyons said Monday that Peoria mayoral candidate General Parker has until Wednesday to withdraw from the race before his office decides how it will proceed.

* State’s attorney asks Peoria mayoral candidate to bow out

* Cook County names consultant as new hospital CEO

* Cook County health system gets new leader

posted by Mike Murray
Tuesday, Mar 3, 09 @ 9:14 am


  1. IL was in the tank before the recession gained steam. That we did not decline as much as other states is not a testament to our economic health as much as it is an indicator of long term economic stagnation.

    Comment by Six Degrees of Separation Tuesday, Mar 3, 09 @ 9:32 am

  2. So did no one write that yesterday Quinn appointed a new Director to DCEO? That would be 4 new directors total…how many more to come?

    Comment by wow Tuesday, Mar 3, 09 @ 11:02 am

  3. anyone live blogging the Sanchez trial? Sun Times and Trib don’t appear to be doing it.

    Comment by Amy Tuesday, Mar 3, 09 @ 11:11 am

  4. Just when you think that Daley can’t surprise you with his arrogance and imperiousness, along comes the stimulus money. What’s it going to be spent on? Ain’t nobody’s business but his own.

    Comment by wordslinger Tuesday, Mar 3, 09 @ 12:54 pm

  5. The view presented by the economists is shortsighted.

    Illinois historically goes into recessions later than most other states and comes out of them later. This has been explained by economists in the past as being largely due to our industry mix. This was even true during the ’80s recession that was seen as the first “rolling” recession that moved across the country from the coasts to the middle in phases. Illinois still experienced a recessionary time-lag compared to other midwestern states.

    So, don’t take their comments as indicating good news on the home front.

    Comment by Cogito Tuesday, Mar 3, 09 @ 1:01 pm

  6. The Comptroller just posted General Revenue numbers on his web site for Feb.

    Year over year, Feb was a disaster. Corporate income tax is almost non-existant and personal and sales tax were down about 10%. That looks pretty bad to me because I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom yet. I wish it wasn’t so…

    Comment by Retired State Employee Tuesday, Mar 3, 09 @ 8:40 pm

  7. Wow, I thought home prices were bad in the county I grew up in. But $7500 to buy a home in Detroit? I realize the weather is worse than ours and there are no jobs left in Michigan, but..$7500??

    (walking away, shaking my head)

    Comment by Lynn S Wednesday, Mar 4, 09 @ 11:19 pm

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