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State budget
PI Original
by Adam Doster
4:36pm
Tue Feb 16, 2010

A Sweet Source Of State Revenue?

Plenty of creative solutions will be needed to fill Illinois' $13 billion gap. Applying an excise tax on soda and other sugary drinks might be worth considering.

Quick Hit
by Angela Caputo
12:21pm
Tue Feb 16, 2010

Stermer: Lawmakers "Not Grasping" Public Policy

It's been nothing short of infuriating to watch Illinois lawmakers ignore the budget crisis as education, medical care, and human services for the state's neediest are gutted.  During a Monday night lecture, Gov. Pat Quinn's chief of staff Jerry Stermer, the former executive director of Voices for Illinois Children, offered his take into on the ongoing lack of action in Springfield:

“I asked [a group of lawmakers] how many people received welfare checks in Illinois on a monthly basis and got complete silence. ... This is nothing our political leaders have focused on. They have focused on getting their members elected and reelected. They are not grasping the detail of public policy.” 

Read the whole thing here.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
10:55am
Tue Feb 16, 2010

Responsible Budget Coalition Says: "We Can't Wait"

Human service providers, students and teachers, union members, and other concerned citizens aren't waiting until the spring to put pressure on Illinois lawmakers to reform the state's tax system. Tomorrow, an estimated 3,000 Illinois residents will join representatives of the Responsible Budget Coalition for a rally at the state capitol. Their message? We can't wait to pay for vital services and fix the broken budget. We will be down in Springfield Wednesday to cover the event. In the meantime, watch the coalition's first video here.

Full Disclosure: The SEIU Illinois State Council, which sponsors this website, is a member of the Responsible Budget Coalition.

Quick Hit
by Josh Kalven
1:15pm
Sun Feb 14, 2010

Madigan "May Have To Simply Suck It Up"

In a blog post today, the State Journal-Register's Chris Wetterich takes a dig at Michael Madigan in response to the House Speaker's recent insistence that Republicans take part in solving the state budget crisis:

Madigan may have to simply suck it up, put his majority on the line and pass the tax increase with all Democratic votes. He may have to be a statesman all by himself and use his power for the good of the state, instead of just to protect his members and himself.

Wetterich goes on to lament the lack of bipartisanship spirit in both Washington and Springfield.  But he also notes that Madigan "probably deserves some blame for the phenomenon in Illinois."  Read our recent thoughts on this subject here.

PI Original
by Angela Caputo
3:25pm
Fri Feb 12, 2010

"If We Choose To Do Nothing, Children Will Suffer" (VIDEO)

This week, Voices for Illinois Children (VFIC) delivered its annual wake-up call to Illinois policymakers by unveiling their latest "Kids Count" report. Not surprisingly, Illinois' youngest are also bearing the burden of historic unemployment rates, the foreclosure crisis, and the state budget catastrophe.