Illinois Spending vs. Savings

According to many reports and projections, Illinois’ recently passed pension reform bill will do far less than originally projected to help the State’s pension crisis. Studies and newly published findings show that the savings estimates touted by supporters of this legislation are misleading and off the mark. A recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business refers to the Civic Federation of Chicago’s website which states “while sponsors of the bill estimated state taxpayers would have to contribute $1.2 billion less than previously required when...

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I’m Not Grumpy After All

Oh how perspectives change over time. On July 10, 2013, Chuck Sweeney wrote an article about the Rockford Mass Transit District’s (RMTD) East Side Transfer Center (ESTC). In his column, Chuck essentially expressed concern over the $8.1 million ESTC’s lack of utilization for more than a year. I was caught off guard for a moment because I remember Chuck singing praises for this project years ago, but then I stopped, thinking I am getting older so perhaps my memory may be fading. I did what any astute researcher would do, and I embarked on a...

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Gas Taxes

The price of gasoline is rising for the summer months across the country, causing many consumers to question why so much. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois is continually ranked as one of the states with the highest price paid for fuel, with Chicago averaging a price of $4.67 per gallon, contrasted to the national average of $3.90 per gallon. A consistent reason for the high prices in Illinois is the increased amount of taxes paid for gasoline that funds necessary maintenance for roads. According to an article in the Wall...

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Sosnowski: Let Illinois Voters Have Voice in Pension Debate

In recent years, Illinois residents and businesses have seen historic increases in taxes. Illinois continues to be a structurally unfriendly environment for both families and businesses alike, and further tax burdens will simply drive jobs and people from our state. These most recent rate increases bring in over $6 billion a year in additional revenue, but despite this increase, our unfunded liabilities continue to grow and the number is quickly approaching $100 billion. While that number is too large to put into context, its effects are...

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Pension Update

I have heard from concerned members of the community regarding the state’s current deficit woes in dealing with the state employee retirement system. It is true that under new accounting rules, the state’s five pension systems are underfunded by more than $95 billion, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for $18 million in additional costs for each day the pension crisis is left unaddressed. Additionally, the state faces more than $54 billion in unfunded retire health care benefits for government workers and $15 billion in pension obligation...

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