Illinois’ comeback story starts here.

Illinois Senate Grand Bargain

AFSCME workers: Don’t want to lose money and risk your job? Become a fair share payer

With a strike looming, state workers should know they have another option: becoming fair share payers. Fair share employees receive all the benefits guaranteed in a union-negotiated contract, but the union cannot punish them for working during a strike.

By Mailee Smith

Chicago officials announce $325K in TIF spending … on batting cages

The city’s latest taxpayer-funded development project reinforces the need to eliminate tax increment financing in favor of honest and transparent city budgeting.

By Chris Lentino

AFSCME’s sweetheart deal

Public-sector unions enjoy perks and privileges that are foreign to union and nonunion workers in the private sector.

By Diana Rickert

Illinois state workers authorize strike

After months of obstructing progress on a contract for state workers, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have voted to authorize a strike – a walkout on state taxpayers – should leadership issue the call.

By Mailee Smith

5 questions, 5 guiding principles for an Illinois ‘grand bargain’ budget framework

Illinois lawmakers need a new approach to budget-making – one that takes into account the state’s financial mess, shows respect for taxpayers, and prioritizes spending to meet the needs of the poorest and most disadvantaged residents.

By Michael Lucci

In Quad Cities, Illinois shrinks while Iowa grows

The communities in the Quad Cities are nearly identical, but Illinoisans are fleeing to Iowa’s side from the Land of Lincoln’s side, showing just how severe Illinois’ out-migration crisis is.

By Michael Lucci

Tax increment financing: A primer

Local governments create TIF districts to encourage development in “blighted” areas; but TIFs often don’t deliver on promised economic benefits, while they do divert tax dollars from other uses and create opaque slush funds for the mayor to reward insider developers.

By Chris Lentino

Polishing a turd

AFSCME members have voted: What happens next?

AFSCME members have spent the last few weeks voting on whether to authorize what could be the first-ever state worker strike in Illinois history. Even if members vote to authorize a strike, it doesn’t mean a strike is imminent – nor does it mean that the majority of state workers want to strike.

By Mailee Smith

Grand Bargain

Court denies Madigan petition to stop state worker pay

Lisa Madigan lost the first round in her quest to stop state worker pay during Illinois’ budget impasse. But that doesn’t mean the matter is settled. The attorney general could take this issue all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

By Mailee Smith