QUOTE OF THE DAY
Did a majority of Illinois day care providers ever really want to join theService Employees International Union?
That’s the interesting question raised by a recent report from the conservative Illinois Policy Institute.
In 2005, the state recognized the SEIU as the exclusive bargaining representative of the providers, who mainly work at private residences — often their own — but receive state-provided subsidies through a child care program. The recognition was based on the union winning 13,484 votes out of 16,756 ballots cast during a mail-in election.
Two senators unveiled a bipartisan plan Wednesday to raise federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time in more than two decades, pitching the proposal as a solution to Congress’ struggle to pay for highway and transit programs.
The plan offered by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would raise the 18.4-cents-a-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4-cents-a- gallon diesel tax each by 12 cents over the next two years, and then index the taxes to keep pace with inflation. The increase would be applied in two increments of 6 cents each.
The plan also calls for offsetting the tax increases with other taxes cuts. Senators said that could be done by permanently extending six of 50 federal tax breaks that expired this year, but they indicated they would be open to other suggestions for offsets.
You can’t find an Obamacare supporter anywhere who thinks that the massive health-care law is problem-free. Any major law regularly gets fixed through the legislative process after it’s passed, but the politics surrounding the Affordable Care Act has pretty much made this impossible so far.
Democrats on the campaign trail have often talked about the need for fixing and improving Obamacare without really getting into specifics. That prompted conservative policy expert Chris Jacobs of America Next to recently wonder what these fixes would cost and how they’d be paid for.
So I thought it would be a fun and useful exercise to round up Obamacare “fixes” that have garnered the broadest support and look at what they could potentially cost. How to pay for them — well, that’s another story.
Chicago firefighters have approved a new five-year contract with the city that includes 11 percent raises, the firefighters’ union president said today.
Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 President Thomas Ryan said about 91 percent of the members who returned their ballots by today’s deadline voted in favor of the pact.
“I think it’s a fair contract and it’s a great contract for the people of Chicago because it allows us to continue doing the things we need to do to be the best fire department in the country,” Ryan said.
Sleepy Hollow leaders may ask voters to approve a property tax increase that would nearly match what the village already collects.
The village’s finance committee recently recommended that the board hold a November referendum asking voters for $400,000 a year for operating and capital costs.
If approved, homeowners would pay an additional $312 per year on average in property taxes, said Mike Tennis, a member of the village’s finance committee.
A recent Gallup poll found a smaller percentage of Illinois residents have trust in their state government than in any other state.
Only 28 percent of Illinois residents evinced “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in their state government. Rhode Island was next lowest at 40 percent, and in several states such as North Dakota and Wyoming three quarters of responded had trust in their governments.
Gallup cited corruption in the state as a factor in this lack of trust.
Early evidence shows a dramatic drop in uncompensated care for hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid, according to a report released earlier this month by the Colorado Hospital Association. But it’s unclear whether the savings will be enough to offset cuts from the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The study, which provides the most comprehensive view yet of Medicaid expansion’s impact on uncompensated care, analyzed data from 465 hospitals in 30 states in the first four months of Medicaid expansion. It found that unpaid care decreased by 30 percent in expansion states and remained essentially unchanged in non-expansion states. The report links an enrollment surge in expansion states to not only the reduction in uncompensated care but also the 25-percent decrease in people paying out of pocket.
Uncompensated care cost the country about $46 billion in 2012, according to the American Hospital Association. It’s been increasing the past several decades and risen at an even faster rate the last ten years.
CARTOON OF THE DAY