Public Affairs

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: 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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President to dedicate Pullman Park as Chicago’s first national monument

By Matt Yurus

President Barack Obama heads home Thursday to designate America’s next national monument: Chicago’s historic Pullman Park, a site that was home to unprecedented advances in industrialization and impacted African-American and labor history.

In 1879, George Pullman, the man who gave America the luxurious Pullman railcar, built his factory and America’s first “company town” on the Far South Side of Chicago. Continue reading

Experts: Rauner reform panel should include formerly incarcerated

By Dean DeChiaro

Academics and policy wonks said this week they were encouraged by the creation of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, but called on the governor to bolster its credibility and efficiency by including formerly incarcerated people among its appointees.

The commission, which Rauner created by executive order last week, has a mandate to examine ways to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent in the next 10 years through a largely holistic approach that considers a range of issues in the criminal justice system.

To fully understand those issues, experts said, the commission needs to hear from those who know them best.

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