Illinois’ comeback story starts here.

Unpaid sick leave will cost taxpayers $3.4 billion over the next three decades

Top school district superintendents have used the sick-leave perk to boost their pensions by $350,000 or more over the course of their retirements.

By Ted Dabrowski, John Klingner

AFSCME’s battle with Rauner is far from over

An Illinois appellate court ruled in favor of AFSCME March 1, but that isn’t the end of the court battle between the state and its largest government-worker union. The court’s order to prevent the governor from implementing his contract offer is temporary, and there is much more to come.

By Mailee Smith

The fair share option for Rockford school workers who don’t want to strike

Bus drivers, paraprofessionals and food services workers at Rockford Public Schools will go on strike March 15 if a new contract is not reached soon. Employees who want to go to work can be punished by AFSCME Local 692. They can avoid union punishment by becoming fair share payers.

By Mailee Smith

Rip Van Democrats

Illinois Medicaid expansion costs are already double initial projections

Between 2014 and 2016, Illinois’ Medicaid expansion cost $4.6 billion more than its supporters had forecasted, crowding out services for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents.

By Jonathan Ingram

Sugary drink tax would be a bitter pill to swallow

Illinois holds more than $66 million worth of stocks and bonds in PepsiCo, Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper Snapple alone.

By Austin Berg

Illinois politicians dub March 8 ‘Cubs Day’ despite contentious history

Springfield lawmakers passed a ceremonial resolution March 8 congratulating the Chicago Cubs on winning the 2016 World Series. But that pat on the back doesn’t make up for the adversarial relationship politicians have held with the Cubs and other professional sports franchises in Chicago.

By Joe Kaiser

Rauner: No … Chance …

Rivian Automotive gets $49.5 million in state tax credits for 1,000 jobs over 10 years

The car manufacturer is going to bring more than 1,000 jobs to Normal, Ill., after being offered $49.5 million in state tax credits and more in local tax credits and abatements.

By Brendan Bakala

Illinois Senate’s spending “cap” doesn’t protect taxpayers, core services

The Senate’s “grand bargain” contains a one-year spending “cap” that won’t improve fiscal responsibility. A real cap must come with structural spending reforms to return spending to a level that taxpayers can afford.

By Ted Dabrowski, John Klingner

Federal court in Illinois rules biometric privacy lawsuit against Google can proceed

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has held that face templates created from photographs uploaded to Google Photos are covered under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

By Amy Korte

Unpaid sick leave spikes Illinois teachers’ pension benefits

Pension costs for state government workers reached an all-time high in 2016, consuming 25 percent of the state’s general budget.1 Today, more than $8 billion of the state’s yearly $32 billion budget goes to pay for pension costs, sapping tremendous amounts of money from social services for the developmentally disabled, grants for low-income college students, and aid to home...

By Ted Dabrowski, John Klingner

Illinois companies announce nearly 1,000 mass layoffs in February, including almost 250 manufacturing jobs

February saw the worst WARN report in seven months, with nearly 250 of the jobs lost coming from the manufacturing sector.

By Brendan Bakala