Similar to other large cities across the country, who have seen a resurgence in their downtown areas, Chicago recently experienced a boom in jobs, income, retail sales and property values in the central core of the city.
From a recent Chicago Crains article:
“This is the new economic engine of the metropolitan area and, increasingly, the rest of Illinois. And it has reached a critical mass, data suggest, enabling its growth to be self-perpetuating, as more jobs downtown attract more residents to move nearby, which, in turn, becomes a magnet for more employers to join the inward migration.
Governor Pat Quinn gave his budget address on Wednesday, March 6, laying out his proposal for FY 14. His propsal included deep cuts to education, his plan to pay down the backlog of bills, and growing the states economy to increase revenue grown. The governor also highligted the need for reform to the states underfunded pension system, which is crowding out other prioroties in the state's budget.
After his speech, we asked our caucus members for their reactions. Here is what they had to say:
“Today, Governor Quinn introduced a plan that appears balanced and holds the line on spending. I appreciate that his plan also reflects our true liabilities in entitlements and pensions.
This year another $1 billion pension payment diverts our attention from every other budget priority. The inescapable truth is the enormity of our pension costs continues to crowd out essential services.
Nowhere is that more evident than in education. Because of rising pension costs, the Governor’s budget understandably includes painful cuts. However, we should all consider this an unacceptable option and work to fully restore education funding.
This reality reinforces why pension reform remains my top priority this session. For that reason I have notified all pension reform senate sponsors to present their bills before the Senate Executive Committee within a week.
I am also working to identify new revenue sources for education and priority programs. I believe that a gaming plan that is structured to address the ethical and regulatory concerns of Governor Quinn can be part of a new revenue mix. I look forward to working with each caucus to advance more solutions for our funding shortfall.
The Governor’s budget address marks just the beginning of the budget making process. The Senate and the House have also begun the appropriation process by agreeing to adopt the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year. We look forward to working with the Governor to reconcile the differences between his $35.6 billion plan and our $35.1 billion spending cap.
I’m confident that if we work together we can improve the fiscal outlook for the state.”
As the Dow Jones industrial average hit a record high this week, it may seem as if the nation’s economy is experiencing ongoing recovery. More than five years after the Dow reached 14,164.53 on October 9, 2007, Tuesday’s index was up to 14,250 early in the day.
For those who own stock or otherwise benefit from corporate profits, the news is good: corporate profits after tax have been on a steady incline mirroring the Dow since 2009, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Here is the rest of the story, of which many of us are well aware: the number of jobs and average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees are barely increasing. In fact, the gap between workers’ incomes and corporate profits has grown at a stunning rate since 2008: disposable income: up 1.4 percent; corporate earnings: up 20.1 percent.
Kindergarten can have a profound effect on students and their ability to succeed in school as they get older. Yet Illinois does not require students to be in school until age 7. State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) wants to change that.
Lightford is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1307, which lowers the compulsory school age from 7 to 5 for Illinois children.
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