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* Report: State lagging on tobacco prevention funding

Illinois ranks 42nd among U.S. states in its funding of tobacco prevention programs.[…]

A report from a coalition of public health groups released Wednesday says Illinois spends only a fraction of what the federal government recommends.

* Program helps build housing for Illinois’ homeless

* Daley floats waiver of employee head tax

Chicago would waive its $4-a-month employee head tax for two years — but only for newly hired employees — under a mayoral plan proposed Wednesday to stimulate job creation.[…]

Mayor Daley acknowledged that the symbolic savings of $48 a month would not be enough to persuade a struggling business to expand its payroll. But he’s hoping that a combination of local, state and federal tax incentives just might tip the scales.

* Daley wants to lift head tax on new employees for two years

* TIFs For the Rich

TIF districts also give the mayor unprecedented political leverage.

“The mayor ultimately controls these accounts, which gives him leverage over every public entity, from the City Council to the public schools to the Park District,” the Reader notes. “[A]t least half a dozen aldermen have told us that mayoral aides pressure them on key votes - such as the ordinances for funding the Olympics or moving the Children’s Museum to Grant Park - by either promising to give their wards more TIF dollars or threatening to take TIF dollars away.

“The more TIF districts are created, the more money goes into the TIF accounts and the more powerful the mayor becomes. . . .

* Government subsidy for McCormick Place?

Mayor Daley on Wednesday cracked the door open to providing a government subsidy for cash-strapped McCormick Place, but only if the convention center cleans its own house first and ends price-gouging that has triggered a trade show exodus.

* Hospital taxes, toilet paper lawsuits

Meanwhile, chief executives from South Suburban, Ingalls Memorial, St. James and Little Company of Mary hospitals are campaigning against an ordinance proposed by county Commissioner Joseph Moreno (D-Chicago), whose district includes the city’s Southwest Side.[…]

Moreno wants to charge hospitals in the county a fee if they fail to meet county-mandated criteria for charity care - the equivalent of 4.5 percent of their annual expenses. Because most hospitals are exempt from paying property and income taxes and certain state and local sales taxes, they are expected to provide a commensurate level of free care to indigent patients.

* Park District union to vote on furloughs to avoid layoffs

On Wednesday, the Park District approved a $392 million budget that scraps any layoffs so long as its thousands of unionized employees agree to take eight unpaid furlough days in 2010.

* CTA Workers Get Layoff Notices

Layoff notices are going out this week to Chicago Transit Authority workers. The CTA board approved the plan to help close a $300 million budget shortfall.

* CTA Union Rallies Against Leaders

* Cell-phone ban for CTA workers leads to 11 firings, union complaints of overreaching

Since zero-tolerance law took effect, reports of employees with phones have plunged

* Pace to cut fewer routes

* Pace leaders make route reductions less severe

* 3 Kennedy Expressway ramps reopen downtown

* Group wants race part of new CPS selection process

Saying blacks could be shortchanged by a proposed admissions policy for the city’s most coveted schools, some African-American parents are demanding that race be added as one factor in the admissions process.

* Black Parents Angered at Chicago Public Schools Admissions Policy

* County aims to speed up protection orders

A new domestic violence division will open in January. Behind-the-scenes changes are expected to speed up the process of getting a protection order and point abusers to programs designed to end the cycle of violence, said Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Tim Evans.

* EPA starts lead testing in East Chicago

* Chicago zoning inspector who took bribes testifies in trial

* Hearing set for Knox County official accused of theft

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 26 in the case of a Knox County official accused of stealing money from the political party she’s affiliated with.

Recorder of Deeds Paula Monzo is accused of writing about $3,500 in checks on the account of the Knox County Democratic Central Committee over the past year. Galesburg Police reports indicate Monzo was having trouble paying bills and had a cocaine habit.

* Give ear to the most at-risk students

For school officials considering budgets, the toughest decisions come when cuts go head to head with goals to ensure that every child has a chance to succeed. Those students labeled at risk in particular need every possible advantage.

Elgin Area School District U-46 found a way to further chip away at its massive deficit by returning its three year-round schools to a traditional nine-month calendar. The move, at Garfield, Channing and Sheridan elementary schools, is projected to save $200,000.

* Wrong year for a strike

* Flossmoor budget picture getting darker

* Homewood stuck on budget issue

* Aldermen not surprised by budget deficit

Most Springfield aldermen say they weren’t surprised to learn that the city faces yet another multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

* How incentive program works

* W. State development could get $500K in federal funding

ROCKFORD — A project that could represent the most significant economic development on West State Street in decades could get a boost of $500,000 in federal funding.

U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Egan, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., announced in a news release today that the money is included in a 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill expected to be considered by Congress over the next few weeks.

* Jackson County board argues hiring policy

The board voted 13-1 to extend a hiring freeze requiring all departments to clear hires, both new and replacement, with Chairman John Evans. Evans reported to the board he has heard of people violating the same procedure that had been implemented in the previous fiscal year.

* NDK hopes some employees can return to work next week

BELVIDERE — Some NDK workers may return to their jobs at the Belvidere plant as early as next week, company officials said today.

They’ll be joined — perhaps for months — by investigators from state and federal agencies who are investigating the cause of an explosion Monday that blew out the west side of the Crystal Parkway building and left a 63-year-old Indiana man dead.

* Rockford panel OKs library union contract

* Few cashing in on Chicago Heights housing incentive

* Hoffman Estates may need 2011 tax hike for Sears Centre

* Homer Glen trustees unswayed by commission’s caution

* Aldermen question library funds, plans

* Colleges ‘have a huge stake in this community’

* Survey hints at new job creation

* Tazewell wants to work with state

* Nearly 99,500 deer harvested in Illinois

Illinois firearm hunters harvested nearly 99,500 deer during this year’s season.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that the preliminary harvest total was about 6,000 fewer than last year’s harvest.

* Bone-chilling temperatures, wind chills to continue

The Springfield forecast for today calls for a high temperature of 21, but winds of 15 to 20 mph will make it feel like the air is between -9 and 1. Wind gusts up to 24 mph are expected.

Counties north of here, including Mason and Schuyler, are under a wind chill advisory this morning. Wind chills there range from -15 to -20. The advisory is in place through 9 a.m.

posted by Mike Murray
Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 10:20 am


  1. On the TIF matter, does anyone else find it amusing that four Republican Senators running for higher state-wide office in Illinois:

    Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Matt Murphy, and Dan Rutherford

    Voted on HB1345, which expands Mayor Daley’s TIF-district freeze another decade? Why would they do this?

    Comment by DJ Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 10:41 am

  2. saying that monzo story is disturbing is an obvious understatement.

    i hope knox county reviews everything associated with her wth a fine tooth comb to make sure that she did not misappropriate any county monies. she had problems paying her bills? really? cocaine habit a causal factor??????

    i don’t know what was going on with her to make her resort to cocaine use, but if everybody who has problems resorted to cocaine use, where would this society/country be?

    i need lawmakers to decide once a for all if drug usage is a crime or sickness. if it’s a sickness, stop wasting taxpayer money with court cases. if it’s a crime, let’s make sure the crimnal justice system deals with everyone equally.

    monzo is out on bond. of course she is. lemme guess, she’ll probably get probation too.

    Comment by Will County Woman Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 11:10 am

  3. No one should get the impression that McCormick Place pays for itself and doesn’t get government subsidies.

    Hotel/motel taxes, taxi taxes, restaurant taxes pay their debt service (when they come short, the state pays the difference).

    By the way, those above taxes, the great majority of which are collected in Cook County, support convention and tourism programs all over the state.

    Comment by wordslinger Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 12:35 pm

  4. wordslinger,

    You’re not making sense. “Taxes to support tourism”? Wouldn’t industry be better off with less taxes than with taxes that promote something like tourism? If industry had (as close to) 100% of their own money, then they have more to promote with on their own money.

    Comment by DJ Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 1:02 pm

  5. DJ, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard about a tourist deciding where to take a vacation based on tax rates. Just sayin…

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 1:03 pm

  6. Rich,

    You may not, but that doesn’t mean others don’t. They also take into account the price of a convention ticket or registration fee, hotel room, airfare, and consumer price index. All of those things are driven by taxes.

    Comment by DJ Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 1:10 pm

  7. Gee, I don’t know DJ. I’ve been too busy watching Florida, Hawaii and Vegas commercials on TV.

    Businesses advertise, right, to attract customers and make money? It’s not a new concept.

    Comment by wordslinger Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 2:56 pm

  8. A. I don’t know when or why hunters started using the silly word harvest to refer to bagging game. Harvest, to me, implies, you planted it (or raised it) and have been responsible for its upkeep.

    I have no problem with people legally hunting, I just really hate the misuse of the word harvest.

    B. What’s wrong with IL hunters? There are deer everywhere! And they got 6000 less this year than last? And I would guess the number of hunters would be up during a downturn.

    C. Is any agency actually taxed with enforcing the hunting restrictions? I mean, if a hunter bags 3 deer, who is going to stop him? Mind you, we have plenty of deer, I’m just curious is these numbers need to be adjusted for “unofficial” kills.

    Comment by cermak_rd Thursday, Dec 10, 09 @ 4:52 pm

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