Illinois’ comeback story starts here.

Illinois has unusually strong jobs growth in February

In February 2017 Illinois surpassed its previous jobs peak from September 2000. However, long-term problems could potentially hamstring further jobs growth if left unaddressed.

By Michael Lucci

Illinois needs to end the third-party payer problem for teacher pensions

Illinois’ teacher pension system is structured to allow local school boards to agree to generous contracts, knowing taxpayers across the state will foot the bill. This system should change so that local school boards cover their own pension costs. That way, they will bear the full cost of salary increases they decide on, rather than pushing much of that cost onto unaware state taxpayers.

By Michael Lucci

Court strikes down ban on campaign contributions from medical marijuana licensees

“By singling out medical cannabis organizations,” Judge Lee wrote, the state of Illinois appeared to be favoring certain speakers based on their viewpoints – precisely the type of discrimination the Supreme Court has disapproved of in the past.

By Jacob Huebert

Pension reform plan for Illinois: Right under its nose

Illinois crafted the solution to its pension crisis nearly 20 years ago. The problem is many lawmakers don’t even know that solution exists. Since 1998, more than 20,000 state university workers have opted into a 401(k)-style plan instead of the traditional pension plan. Illinois’ lawmakers can begin to solve the pension crisis by simply expanding the State Universities Retirement System’s 401(k)-style plan to all state workers.

By Ted Dabrowski, John Klingner

Poll results show only 1/3 of Illinoisans say they’ve been affected by the budget impasse

Forty percent of respondents to a newly released statewide poll blame the government for poverty. Poll results also show that Illinoisans feel insecure about jobs and education, in addition to frustration with government dysfunction.

By Hilary Gowins

Rauner seeks quicker resolution of AFSCME impasse decision

AFSCME’s obstruction of a contract for state workers costs taxpayers approximately $35 million to $40 million a month in healthcare costs alone. Gov. Bruce Rauner is seeking a direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court to bring relief to taxpayers burdened by AFSCME’s stall tactics.

By Mailee Smith

Grand Bargain: Polishing a turd

Rudy Barrera

“I work in the assembly department, basically I assemble the trucks. I’ve been with the company four years. “Originally I’m from Mexico. I grew up over there until I was 13. I came to Chicago, lived in the city until 2001. It was OK. I lived with my parents in an apartment. I went to...

Haribo to open gummy bear plant in Wisconsin

While the gummy bear maker’s American headquarters is located in Rosemont, Haribo has opted to build right over the border in Kenosha County, Wisc.

By Brendan Bakala

Illinois lawmaker files legislation allowing delay of legislator pay after court ruling says politicians must be paid

State Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorne Woods, filed legislation March 23 that would give the Illinois Comptroller’s office discretion to delay payments to lawmakers if insufficient funding exists to do so. This came just hours after a Cook County judge said lawmakers must be paid.

By Joe Kaiser

Cook County has largest population loss of any county in the U.S.

Newly released census data show 89 of Illinois’ 102 counties, and most of the state’s metro areas, have shrinking populations due to out-migration.

By Michael Lucci

Bill Roberts

“I thought I would never go back into a factory job. “Because where [Hoist Liftruck] started out in Bedford Park, I was there when I was 18 years old with a different outfit. And it was weird that I went back … right back into busting knuckles again. “It’s a lot cheaper in Indiana. Everything’s...