Census: Illinois cities combined lose 104,000 people in 2021

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/census-illinois-cities-combined-lose-104-000-people-in-2021/article_5a261c26-dc63-11ec-8881-f30cf9c72ea4.html?utm_source=Master+List&utm_campaign=e66598c836-MICHIGAN_B2C_NEWSLETTER&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d03ba9ddf1-e66598c836-74692253

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Cities and towns in Illinois lost more than 104,000 people in the 12 months up to July 1, 2021, according to new U.S. Census data released Thursday. Nearly half of Illinois’ losses were from Chicago.

The report for the entire country shows populations continue to shift to towns in the South and West regions of the United States.

“Arizona, Texas, Florida and Idaho all had several places among the 15 fastest-growing cities or towns,” the report said.

Of the 15 largest cities, New York lost nearly 305,500 people. Chicago lost 45,175 people, which was larger than Los Angeles’ loss of 40,537 people. Chicago is the third most populous city behind New York and L.A..

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 26 May 2022

Publication Site: The Center Square

Comptroller asks for upgrade to Illinois’ worst-in-nation credit

Link:https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/comptroller-asks-for-upgrade-to-illinois-worst-in-nation-credit/article_464a70c6-8862-11ec-b879-afe32c50f8c6.html utm_term=0_3386e99c24-8d6a8659cc-71461060

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Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is asking the credit ratings agencies to upgrade Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation status.

S&P Global has Illinois at BBB. Moody’s has the state at Baa2. That’s after upgrades from the agencies last year. Fitch has Illinois at BBB-.

“My office is doing everything possible to manage the current backlog of bills and address Illinois’ finances head-on,” Mendoza said in a letter to the agencies that her office announced Monday. “The Illinois Office of Comptroller urges you to consider these positive factors and progress made in strengthening Illinois’ financial position when evaluating Illinois’ creditworthiness.”

Mendoza said in the letter she has paid back recent borrowing from a federal program. Illinois was the only state to borrow from the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Fund for a total of $2.6 billion.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 8 Feb 2022

Publication Site: The Center Square

With $300 billion state pension liability, lawmakers approve Tier III plan for one unit of Chicago government

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/with-300-billion-state-pension-liability-lawmakers-approve-tier-iii-plan-for-one-unit-of/article_a2582218-c487-11eb-9e8a-fff0c619781e.html

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State Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, did have one measure for Chicago Park District pensions. House Bill 417 brought a variety of changes, including bonding for paying pensions.

“They also create a Tier III for district employees where new employees will pay 11% of their salaries, instead of 9%, into the pension fund,” Burke said.

State Rep. Martin McLaughlin supported Burke’s bill, but said it neglects the statewide pension crunch as Democrats continue to pass new spending and new programs.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 3 June 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Pritzker must provide discovery in COVID-19 challenge or face sanctions

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/pritzker-must-provide-discovery-in-covid-19-challenge-or-face-sanctions/article_41683d52-7b81-11eb-8a54-e391cea9ed33.html#new_tab

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration has a Wednesday deadline to start turning over documents justifying why it ordered restaurants to limit their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney Greg Earl, with Myers, Earl and Nelson P.C., represents Geneva-based FoxFire restaurant, which sued the governor last fall.

“FoxFire is continuing this fight because what happens if another strain, that’s what we’ve heard of, another strain from Europe or South Africa hits and the governor decides to put in another 30-day window,” Earl said.

The governor has already issued 12 months of executive orders related to the pandemic. His most recent order issued Feb. 5 expires March 7.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Illinois House speaker, minority leader have different ideas about tax policy, ending state’s decline in population

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-house-speaker-minority-leader-have-different-ideas-about-tax-policy-ending-states-decline-in/article_d7fc1596-786a-11eb-b045-47c45d3e4bf5.html#new_tab

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The state lost nearly 80,000 people in the year that ended July 2020, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data. That’s 22,000 more than were lost the year before and the seventh consecutive loss of population in the past 10 years. Illinois led the nation in population decline for the past decade at 255,000.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, told the Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday the state has been losing population for years. Without details, he said the state needs to support small and big businesses. He also said leaders need to unite on messaging.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Illinois taxpayers paying former lawmakers $2.1 million a month from underfunded pension system

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-taxpayers-paying-former-lawmakers-2-1-million-a-month-from-underfunded-pension-system/article_ac37e44e-6d84-11eb-a861-9372dad286d9.html#new_tab

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Illinois taxpayers pay more than $2.1 million a month to retired part-time state legislators or their surviving spouses from a fund that’s only 16% funded. The individual monthly payouts are as high as $18,000 per month. Some pensioners aren’t actually retired but still getting paid.

There are 425 people drawing off the General Assembly Retirement System, ranging from $122 a month to $18,000.

At 16% funded, state Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said GARS is the worst of the state’s five public sector pension funds.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 14 February 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Even if underfunded lawmaker pension system ends, taxpayers still on the hook for $320 million

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/even-if-underfunded-lawmaker-pension-system-ends-taxpayers-still-on-the-hook-for-320-million/article_274a2a54-6261-11eb-9fc3-177599b837c0.html#new_tab

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The Illinois General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, is only 16 percent funded. 

This could be the year lawmakers end it, but that will come with a cost to taxpayers.

Some incoming state lawmakers are opting out of the underfunded pension system for Illinois legislators.

Author: Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 29 January 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square