Illinois’ comeback story starts here.

Illinois’ April 30 Tax Freedom Day tied for latest in Midwest

When it comes to taxes, everyone works for the government. Illinoisans worked 120 days – from Jan. 1 until April 30 – to pay the taxes they owe to federal, state and local governments.

By Craig Lesner

Illinois Tollway approves $4 billion Tri-State widening project

Despite the massive size and scope of the project to widen the Tri-State, the Illinois Tollway board suggests new tolls and taxes won’t be needed ­– but history shows that promises related to tolls in Illinois haven’t held up in the past.

By Joe Kaiser

Illinois on track to become first ‘junk’-rated state in nation

Credit rating agencies have warned Illinois’ credit could slide into junk territory if the legislative session ends in May without a budget deal to get the state’s finances back on track.

By Ted Dabrowski, John Klingner

Union representing Illinois state nurses has a history of prioritizing union jobs at all costs

Privatizing some medical services provided to inmates in the Illinois Department of Corrections could potentially save the state $8 million a year. But the Illinois Nurses Association has a history of doing all it can to keep taxpayers on the hook for that money – and for union jobs that might not even be necessary.

By Mailee Smith

Illinois House passes cursive writing mandate for schools

House Bill 2977 would require both public elementary schools and high schools to include cursive instruction in their curriculums, and the plan doesn’t include how much this unfunded state mandate would cost taxpayers.

By Joe Kaiser

Frank Mautino and the arrogance of Illinois’ political insiders

State agencies have paid more than $270,000 to Mautino Distributing Company – most of it after Madigan brought Mautino into a leadership role in 2009.

By Austin Berg

Illinois House passes legislation to expand record sealing

Reforms such as record sealing expansion make it likelier that ex-offenders will be able to find work – and stop cycling in and out of prison. That means they and their families will have a chance to succeed. And the more ex-offenders enter this virtuous cycle – instead of returning to prison – the better off the state and taxpayers will be, too.

By Hilary Gowins

Federal investigation exposes Madigan patronage

With House Speaker Mike Madigan’s longevity comes a patronage army paid with public dollars.

By Austin Berg

Illinois stopgap budget

Pension board votes to revoke lawmaker pension for Hastert

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert had been receiving nearly $30,000 annually from the underfunded General Assembly Retirement System.

By Eric Kohn

Chicago Public Schools budget shortfall: a manufactured crisis

Chicago Public Schools is faced with the possibility of closing school early while Chicago sits on massive property wealth.

By Chris Lentino

New bill would identify Illinois lawmakers who haven’t filed tax returns

Illinois House Bill 4039 would reveal publicly the names of state lawmakers who haven’t filed their state tax returns.

By Brendan Bakala