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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:43pm
Thu Oct 27, 2016

Windy City Aldermen Talk Municipal Budget, Chicago Cubs At Panel Discussion

Chicago Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) says he thinks he has solved the city's budget for next year.

"We'll just add an additional tax on every item that the Cubs sell this season," Waguespack joked Thursday during a City Club of Chicago panel discussion on the city's 2017 budget. 

"I've never seen so many people wearing Cubs gear, not only in Chicago but just nationwide," the alderman said. "It's a good thing to see a team doing so well, because it does add to the bottom line. It adds to Chicago's stature at a time when things are pretty difficult, when we see so much increase in crime and violence throughout our city, that we can have one thing to look at and say this is a good thing."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:02am
Mon Sep 19, 2016

Proposed Constitutional Amendment Seeks To Protect Illinois Transportation Funding

When Illinoisans hit the polls in November, they will see a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot asking whether the state should put transportation funding in a "lockbox" so that it cannot be used for non-related spending.

If the amendment passes, the Illinois Constitution would be amended to ensure transportation funding is safeguarded from being spent on other purposes, like balancing the state budget.

Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding, a coalition of business, labor and construction groups, is leading the advocacy effort in support of the so-called "Safe Roads Amendment," which made it onto the November 8 ballot after strong bipartisan approval from the state legislature.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:19pm
Thu Jun 2, 2016

Federal Consumer Watchdog Proposes Crackdown On Payday Lending Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed new regulations Thursday to crack down on the payday lending industry. 

Payday lending provides short-term access to credit, but usually comes with high interest rates, often in the triple digits, and expensive fees.

"The consumer bureau is proposing strong protections aimed at ending payday debt traps," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a news release. "Too many borrowers seeking a short-term cash fix are saddled with loans they cannot afford and sink into long-term debt. It's much like getting into a taxi just to ride across town and finding yourself stuck in a ruinously expensive cross-country journey. By putting in place mainstream, common-sense lending standards, our proposal would prevent lenders from succeeding by setting up borrowers to fail."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Mon Nov 9, 2015

Chicago Ald. Cardenas, Activists Protest Activation Of Archer Avenue Speed Camera (VIDEO)

Chicago Ald. George Cardenas (12th) spoke out Monday against the activation of a controversial speed camera in his ward.

The speed camera is located in the McKinley Park neighborhood at 3200 S. Archer Avenue, near the Mulberry Playlot Park at 3150 S. Robinson St.

On Monday, the photo enforcement device began issuing warnings to speeding drivers. After a 30-day warning period, tickets will be issued, and drivers caught going 11 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit will face $100 fines.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and proponents of speed cameras say the devices, located near parks and schools, enhance children's safety. But opponents argue that speed cameras are less about safety and more about generating revenue for the city.

"There's no justification whatsoever for this camera being here except (for) ticketing people on their way home, or on their way to work or from work," Cardenas said at a morning press conference in front of the Archer Avenue speed camera near Paulina Street.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:35pm
Wed Oct 28, 2015

Chicago City Council OK's Budget, Record Property Tax Hike & Lucas Museum

Progress Illinois rounds up the action at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, during which aldermen approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2016 budget — including a $588 million property tax hike — and zoning for the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:03pm
Thu Oct 15, 2015

Emanuel Submits Budget Plan To Council; Homeless Activists Camp Out At City Hall For CHA Oversight

Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially submitted his 2016 budget proposal to the city council on Wednesday, and the public had an opportunity to weigh in on his plan at a hearing that afternoon. Homeless activists were among those who attended the hearing. They also slept outside City Hall as part of their push for greater oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:03pm
Fri Oct 2, 2015

Chicagoans Speak Out On 2016 Budget With Progressive Aldermen At Town Hall Meeting

Chicagoans vented their frustrations over items in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2016 budget proposal, including a record $588 million property tax hike, during a Thursday night town hall meeting hosted by the city council's Progressive Reform Caucus.

In addition to the proposed property tax increase, the three progressive caucus members at the meeting, Alds. Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nicholas Sposato (38th) and John Arena (45th), got an earful from residents about Emanuel's proposals to privatize the city's 3-1-1 non-emergency operations and increase fees on taxi cabs and ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft.

Emanuel wants to outsource 3-1-1 operations to save the cash-strapped city an estimated $1 million annually.

Debra Powell, a 3-1-1 operator of 10 years, said the privatization plan could cost 58 call center jobs and negatively impact the quality of service provided to Chicagoans.

"You don't know who you're going to be talking to when you call 3-1-1 and it's been outsourced," Powell said at the budget town hall meeting, held at the Copernicus Center on the Northwest Side. "I would rather speak with someone who lives in the city, born and raised, knows the neighborhoods. We have ... 58 operators there who live all across the city, ... so we pretty much can relate to all the residents calling in."

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