Must-Reads for April 20
Chicago Tribune: Lawmakers skeptical of Quinn Medicaid cuts, $1 tax on cigarette packs
Quinn will face tough resistance to cutting health care benefits that have been in place for years, and passing a cigarette tax hike will be far from a slam dunk in the General Assembly, where every seat is on the ballot in November.
Sun-Times: Emanuel - No more changes to Infrastructure Trust
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he’s already made sixteen changes suggested by aldermen to strengthen oversight of his $1.7 billion Infrastructure Trust, and it’s time to stop talking and start rebuilding Chicago’s crumbling infrastructure
Must-Reads for April 19
Washington Post: The Constitutional right to be left alone
Government exists not to confer rights but to “secure” preexisting rights; the fundamental rights concern the liberty of individuals, not the prerogatives of the collectivity – least of all when it acts to the detriment of individual liberty.
Chicago Tribune: Improving the trust
In recent weeks Emanuel has been relentless in hurrying the case for a Chicago Infrastructure Trust. But he also has had several of the council's more thoughtful members urging him to strengthen the accountability and transparency sections of his plan.
Must-Reads for April 18
Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago cuts red tape for business licenses
The bureaucratic maze is about to get a whole lot simpler, freeing new businesses to create jobs and city inspectors to concentrate on problem businesses instead of citing the good ones for having the wrong license.
City Journal: Illinois shows what not to do
Illinois is right back where it started: the state’s unpaid bills now top $9 billion. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s state and local governments have made substantial strides toward long-term budget stability.
Must-Reads for April 17
State Journal-Register: Illinois is already a tax-high state
Illinois is in the top category for total tax burden, one of the 10 highest-tax states. Individual income tax in Illinois is lower than some other states, but property tax and corporate income are extremely high compared to most other states.
Wall Street Journal: A Wisconsin vindication
Property taxes, which are the state's largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998 – by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts.
Wall Street Journal: Tornado recovery - How Joplin is beating Tuscaloosa
One city is letting local business lead the revival, the other is imposing top-down rules and waiting for FEMA. Guess which one is rebuilding faster?
Wall Street Journal: Reform school on the Bayou
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's choice and tenure changes could be a national milestone.
Chicago Tribune: Deep cuts loom as state tries to save Medicaid
Illinois finds itself in a large hole after years of expanding services and piling up unpaid bills. During that time, more people have sought coverage, and the state has failed to move to managed care as quickly as other states.
Must-Reads for April 16
Institute in Chicago Tribune: Don't take away our plastic bags
The Chicago Tribune published this opinion piece by the Institute's Kristina Rasmussen.
State Journal-Register: State payment delays expected to climb further
The amount of time it takes the state to pay doctors and other medical organizations that provide health care to state employees is expected to grow to nearly nine months, according to a report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.
Chicago Tribune: Another Madigan shenanigan
The Pension Clause of the Illinois Constitution shall not be deemed a suicide pact requiring any government to let retiree benefits reduce it, and its taxpayers, to penury. Life is long, circumstances change, and what looks affordable today might be unaffordable a few decades from now.
EducationNext: The voucher animus
As education vouchers have become real, the political picture has become more complex. Eight new factors are worth noting.
CNS News: Shovel ready in San Fran - $205,075 to ‘translocate’ one shrub from path of stimulus project
The government spent at least $205,075 in 2010 to “translocate” a single bush in San Francisco that stood in the path of a $1.045-billion highway-renovation project that was partially funded by the economic stimulus legislation President Barack Obama signed in 2009.