Looking for quick summaries of Institute research?
Download one of our Policy Points, designed to give you a one-page, comprehensive overview of key policy issues. All documents are PDF files. If you can't read the documents, download the free Acrobat Reader.
Policy Point: A model of success: Chicago's charter schools hold the top nine spots for 2012 ACT score
Too many of Chicago's children don't reach their full potential because traditional public schools are failing them.
Policy Point: Roadblock to Reform: Illinois labor law empowers government unions at taxpayers' expense
Government employee unions have become a persistent obstacle to reforming government in Illinois. At every
level, and on a wide range of issues, union officials work to prevent changes that are desperately needed.
Policy Point: $203 billion and counting: Total debt for state and local retirement benefits in Illinois
State government owes billions of dollars for the pensions and health insurance benefits of retired government workers. Local governments owe billions more. Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for the liabilities of both state and local government.
Policy Point: Overloaded: One in three Illinoisans on Medicaid by 2019?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, will make Medicaid more expensive and worsen care for those who need it most by adding more people to a failing program.
Policy Point: New technology for old problems - 10 elements of high quality digital learning
When online learning becomes a priority at the school, district or state level, innovative solutions to old problems begin to emerge.
Policy Point: Out of sync - Government and private employee compensation in Illinois
Since the January 2011 tax hike, Illinoisans have seen more of their household budgets go to shoulder the growing cost of government employee compensation packages – packages made up of overly generous pay and perks that many can only dream of.
Policy Point: Budget fail - Plan awaiting Gov. Quinn’s signature grows spending, debt
State spending will increase in 2012. That is, unless additional cuts and policy changes are added to the general fund budget currently awaiting Gov. Quinn’s signature.
Policy Point: HB1569 - Opt-in Health Savings Account Plans for State Employees
HB1569 would modify the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971 to create an optional alternative health insurance program for state employees, a combination of a Health Savings Account and a qualifying, state-sponsored, High-Deductible Health Plan.
Policy Point: Know Your Income, Then Budget - The People of Illinois Deserve a Balanced State Budget They Can Afford
Since the record tax hikes were passed last month, everyday staples have become less affordable for many families. Will state lawmakers respect the sacrifices they are making and budget responsibly?
Policy Point: Commitment to Taxpayers - How Grayslake Reduces Costs and Serves Its Community
Families are watching their budgets and managing spending as efficiently as possible, focusing on necessities and eliminating unessential spending. Government at every level should do the same—while some are, others are not.
Policy Point: League of Extraordinary High Schools
Chicago’s charter schools show that a team of reform-minded schools can turn the tide.
Policy Point: Key Facts about Illinois
Policy Point: Tax Increment Financing - Hidden in Plain Sight
Out of the 50 states, Illinois ranks 47th in economic outlook. Neighboring Missouri and Indiana rank well ahead in terms of future opportunity, at 15th and 20th respectively.
Although tax increment financing (TIF) has been around for over thirty years, many people do not understand how it works, how it affects their communities or their pocketbooks.
Policy Point: Billions and Billions
$3 billion, $5 billion, $10 billion—the talk surrounding impending federal and state tax hikes is downright scary these days. The sheer magnitude of these amounts can be difficult for taxpayers to put into perspective.
Policy Point: Health Savings AccountPolicy Point: Success from the Sunshine State
When it comes to health insurance, Illinois faces a looming dilemma.
State government spending on core services is increasingly squeezed by
the cost of health insurance for state employees and retirees.
Meanwhile, state workers face limited options.
When Illinois schools are failing, it’s time to copy Florida’s winning strategies.
Policy Point: Shopping without Price Tags
The Institute shows how politicians do not have a price tag on the bills they sign and explains what to do about it.
Policy Point: Budget Cheat Sheet
The Institute explains how Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s new budget “fix” indicates he’s living in a fiscal fairy tale.
Policy Point: Bargaining for Better Schools
The most important policy adopted by any school or school district is its contract with its teachers. This guide helps new and aspiring school board members in Illinois with collective bargaining.
Policy Point: Regulatory Roadblocks
The Institute explains how reforming workers' compensation, minimum wage, and licensing and fees can clear the regulatory path and make business easier for Illinois entrepreneurs.
Policy Point: The Facts about School Vouchers
Learn the specifics of Senate Bill 2494 here.
Policy Point: Improving Government Operations and Saving Taxpayers
Learn how one village is taking a business approach to local government.
Policy Point: Budget Solutions 2011 - The Impact on Education Spending
Learn how Budget Solutions 2011 affects K-12 education spending.
Policy Point:Budget Solutions 2011
Budget Solutions 2011 offers an alternative budgeting plan that addresses our state’s immediate problems rather than kicking the can further down the road.
Policy Point: Turning the Tables on Quinn's Tax Hike
What should be cut from family budgets?
Policy Point: Economic Reform Agenda
The Institute offers six common-sense reforms to get Illinois back on the right track.
Policy Point: School Vouchers and the Students Who Use Them
The Institute presents a summary of all the comprehensive studies done on school vouchers, which clearly demonstrates their effectiveness.
Policy Point: Ahead of the Curve
This report from the Institute serves as an introduction to public education reform in Illinois.
Policy Point: 15 Missed Opportunities
The Institute explains how 2009's inaction will feel 2010 budget crisis.
Policy Point: Contracting for Success
This report from the Institute serves as an introduction to school service privatization.
Policy Point: Capping Our Prosperity
The Institute explains why cap and trade is bad for Illinois.
Policy Point: Adding Insult to Injury
The Institute examines the negative impact nationalized health care will have on Illinois.
Policy Point: Getting Less for More
The Institute examines higher education in Illinois.
Policy Point: Smoke and Mirrors
The Institute examines the troubling implications of a tobacco tax increase.
Policy Point: Charter Schools and Changing Neighborhoods
The Institute examines how charter schools help Hispanics and English learners in Chicago.
Policy Point: Charting the Course
The Institute examines how Illinois charter schools offer a proven solution to the state’s dropout problem.
Policy Point: Beyond “Business As Usual”
The Institute examines how one Illinois village saved millions - and improved services for its citizens.
Policy Point: The Devil Is in the Details
The Institute examines how a sleeper provision in ObamaCare could bust Illinois's budget.
Policy Point: This Bid's for You!
The Institute examines how reverse auctions benefit taxpayers.
Policy Point: Out Of Control
The Institute examines the rising amounts of Illinois's spending.
Policy Point: Not What the Doctor Ordered
The Institute examines the scary side of government healthcare.
Policy Point: High-Speed Rail Key Facts
High-speed rail has been praised as a clean, low-cost alternative to congested roads. A closer look at the facts show otherwise.
Policy Point: Putting the "Laboratory of the States" to Work in Illinois
The Institute examines how other states solved their budget woes.
Policy Point: Cook County Key Facts
These statistics show why the second largest county in America faces a declining population.
Policy Point: Taking Illinoisans for a Ride
This report examines the false promises of a high-speed rail.
Policy Point: Budget Facts vs. Budget Myths
The Institute examines the rhetoric surrounding the budget crisis.
Policy Point: Key Facts About Illinois
The Institute examines the realities of a high tax, big government state.
Policy Point: Opening the Door to Better Schools
The increase in charter schools demonstrates the need for reforming charter school authorization law in Illinois.
Policy Point: Illinois Budget Facts
State spending in Illinois has skyrocketed over the past decade, putting Illinois in a tight spot.
Policy Point: Ten Ways to Balance the Budget Without Tax Hikes
The Illinois Policy Institute put together ten easy ways to balance the state's budget without increasing taxes.
Policy Point: Chicago Students Prove They Can Compete... If Given a Chance
Urban charter school graduation rates rival the best in the state. It is time to lift the cap on charter schools so that all Illinois children have the opportunity for an excellent education.
Policy Point: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
This paper takes a closer look at public employee pay in Illinois. At a time when Illinois is facing a serious budget shortfall, all areas of government spending should be carefully reviewed, especially public employee benefits.
Policy Point: No Superpowers Required
This report suggests a solution to balancing the budget without tax hikes or 'doomsday' cuts.
Policy Point: Government Goes on a Diet
The Institute proposes a sensible spending limit for Illinois
Policy Point: Doing Well by Doing Good
The state's budget deficit tops $9 billion, spending continues to surge, and there is little to no transparency as to where- and to whom- tax dollars are going. Read more about implementing statewide transparency here.
Policy Point: Unsung Heroes - Charter Schools
Downstate and suburban charter schools thrive in Illinois. The "charter school movement" has been a success, and data shows that more are needed.
Policy Point: The Biggest Loser
Cook County's high sales tax pushes consumers to neighboring cities. Learn more about Cook County's loss here.
Policy Point: The Tax That Keeps on Taking
Gov. Quinn's proposed income tax hike has hidden costs. Learn more about deadweight loss here.
Policy Point: Council on Efficient Government
The government can change the course of our state's failing economy by creating a strong efficiency review body with power to develop significant cost saving performance and procurement guidelines. Read more here.
Policy Point: An Economic Reform Agenda for Illinois
How can we clean up Illinois? Implement a series of comprehensive reforms that will clean up the state's government, create real transparency and accountability, and end the practice of "pay-to-play" politics. Our Economic Reform Agenda for Illinois suggests practical policy solutions to do just that.
Policy Point: Charter Schools
13,000 children are currently on waiting lists for better educational opportunities--but Illinois state law is standing in their way. Learn more here.
Policy Point: Transparency
Taxpayers deserve to see how their money is spent. Learn more about the importance of transparency here.
Policy Point: Time to Throw a TIF!
The invisible, unaccountable taxes draining your wallet.
Policy Point: Private Educators, Public School Students
How privatization opens educational opportunities across Illinois.
Policy Point: Should Affordable Health Care Stop at the State Border?
Opening up state markets for better health care.
Policy Point: Crowd Out!
When the government continually expands public insurance programs, it gets harder and harder--and more expensive--to get private insurance. Find out more here.