Business

No tax hikes in Rauner’s budget proposal

By Meredith Wilson

Gov. Bruce Rauner presented a balanced budget to the Illinois Legislature on Wednesday that did not include a single tax hike.

The proposed state budget for fiscal year 2016 is $31.5 billion, a decrease of 21 percent from the $38.2 billion agencies reported needing for fiscal year 2016, known as the maintenance rate. Revenue is expected to drop from $34.1 billion from fiscal year 2015 to $32 billion, a tightening of 6.5 percent. Fiscal year 2015 ends June 30. Continue reading

Sorry exporters, a strong dollar is golden in U.S.

By Lei Xuan

“The world is in a currency war,” says A. Gary Shilling, president of the New Jersey-based consultants A. Gary Shilling & Co.

His reasoning is simple and global: “Many central banks are chopping interest rates to push their currencies down. They all hope to spur exports to offset internal weakness.”

A moderate depreciation of currency is, indeed, especially good for countries who rely heavily on exports. A weaker currency makes export goods cheaper in foreign markets. Continue reading

VIDEO: Businesses adjust to greater consumer expectations

By Andrew Fowler

Now more than ever American consumers have a lot of influence on retailers and they’re not afraid to use it. According to a trend report from Chicago-based analysts at Mintel,  consumers now expect speed and convenience on-demand thanks to the internet. Proper Suit, a custom menswear retailer, is one Chicago business that is changing with the times.

According to the report, in addition to rising consumer expectations, shoppers are becoming more aware of their rights and corporate misbehavior. In addition, wearable technology is expected to be a bigger trend in 2015.

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VIDEO: Obama to designate Pullman as first national monument in Chicago

By Adriana Cargill

President Obama will arrive this Thursday in the Pullman Historic District to officially designate the neighborhood as the first national monument in Chicago. Pullman will join the ranks of the Statue of Liberty  in telling the nation’s story.

George Pullman is a controversial 19th century railroad industrialist who created an experimental town to house his workforce. Most of the original buildings are still standing today. Pullman’s company town played an important role in labor history and early African American civil rights history.

Many neighborhood residents are elated about the designation but others remain skeptical.

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VIDEO: Chicago ordinance against puppy mills may hurt small pet shops

By Adam Banicki

Story updated on Feb. 19 with details about federal lawsuit.

The Chicago City Council voted 49-1 to ban the resale of certain animals in an attempt to rid the city of puppy mills.  The ordinance goes into effect next month.

Owners of small neighborhood pet shops, such as Jim Sparks who owns Park Pet Shop in Mount Greenwood, feel it unfairly targets their sales of properly cared for animals.

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U.S. Producer Price Index Dropped January due to Cheap Oil Prices

by Jin Wu

U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures changes in prices received by domestic producers, posted a decline in January mainly due to plunging energy costs and a strengthening of the U.S. dollar, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Wednesday.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand decreased a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in January from December. It’s the biggest drop since the new PPI calculation system was begun experimentally in November 2009. Continue reading

Momentum growing to legalize sports gambling

By Kulwant Saluja

The notion that American sports fans could legally gamble on sporting events would have been deemed absurd even a year ago.

But once a taboo subject, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s shocking pro-gambling comments in a Nov. 13 op-ed piece in the New York Times, has stimulated discussion on the subject, prompting other pro leagues and state legislatures to re-consider their stance on legalized sports betting. Continue reading

Potbelly Corp. stock rises after profitable quarter

By Alysha Khan

Potbelly Corp. stock jumped 12.85 percent to $16 – the highest since June – after the company swung to a profit for the fourth quarter, beating analyst expectations.

Sharon Zackfia, equity research analyst at William Blair, maintained an outperform rating for the stock, stating in a research note that the company “still represents a near 40 percent discount to its peer group,” even after the surge in price.

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Electronic health records help the healing

By Mary Lee

Ocean-themed décor splashes the walls of La Rabida Children’s Hospital in a room filled with bright, plush chairs contoured like the candy Dots. But perky colors can’t erase the worry on Maria Gallegos’ face as she sits in the room waiting for her 6-year-old daughter to finish her appointment.

She’s lost count of the routine check-ups after dipping in and out of hospitals since her daughter’s conception. Born seven weeks premature, Lindsey championed through multiple surgeries including a tracheostomy, which helped her breathe; and a gastrostromy (G-Tube), which channeled nutrients through her body via an inserted tube. At eight months old, Lindsey and her twin Mackenzie were diagnosed with Achondroplasia dwarfism, a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Continue reading