If you live in an Illinois neighborhood where residents are predominantly people of color, the odds are higher that your credit score is low. A new report examines how the state can bridge that racial gap.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson's campaign has released a new ad criticizing GOP opponent Adam Kinzinger for his support of free trade agreements, which she says can ship jobs overseas. Check out the spot, which features three 11th District residents who have themselves lost manufacturing jobs:
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver recently predicted that Halvorson is on track to lose her seat in the upcoming November election. Perhaps this issue will help turn the tide.
Every year, when Chicago's annual budget is reviewed by the City
Council, the mayor and aldermen engage in one giant Kabuki theater.
City Council members rant and rave on the council floor about the Daley
administration's spending priorities, even targeting
some sacred cows like the tax increment financing (TIF) budget, before
falling in line and voting in favor of the budget plan they've had little time
to review. In each of the past two years, more than 10 aldermen have
actually voted against the mayor, a development that registered as a
major revolt in the world of "autocratic" Chicago politics.
This year could be even worse. The city is facing its largest annual deficit in history and has had its bond rating downgraded by two different ratings agencies. Any substantive debate, however, runs the risk of being overshadowed
by the political positioning that's followed Daley's retirement announcement. To get the
city's fiscal house back in order, aldermen need to take their roles as
lawmakers seriously in the next few months. That means challenging the departing mayor to bust open his TIF piggy bank and avoid a privatization spree
he's already contemplating. Citizens have a role in this process, too.
Tonight at 7 p.m. in South Shore, the city is hosting its first of three
public hearings. We will be on hand to see what changes voters want to
see made at City Hall. Hopefully, committed citizens will turn, as well.
Gov. Pat Quinn rolled out a $96 million broadband project yesterday in Bloomington, telling an audience at Illinois State University that such infrastructure
"is the 21st-century version of the interstate highway
system." The high-speed internet access project is mostly paid for
using a federal stimulus grant worth $61.9 million. Fifty-five counties
will be affected by the construction, which is expected to start next
While scientists have not yet made a definitive link between extreme weather and climate change, former New York Times' environmental reporter Andrew Revkin argues
that today's brutal storms, heat waves, snow storms, and droughts "give
us the feel, sweat and all, of what’s to come if emissions are not
reined in." Environment Illinois (EI) agrees. Surveying the latest in
science research, the environment group released a new report
this morning documenting how global warming -- left unaddressed --
could make costly and dangerous extreme weather events, like the
Midwestern flood of 2008, more common in the future:
Already this year, the U.S. Senate has punted on a comprehensive climate change bill. Thankfully, they voted down
a "resolution of disapproval" authored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
that would have would effectively stripped the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) of its authority to regulate carbon under the Clean Air
Act. EI is asking for a commitment from Illinois' two sitting senators
to vote against legislation introduced
this spring that would impose a two-year moratorium on any carbon
regulations targeted at power plants by the EPA. During the upcoming
U.S. Senate campaign, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk should also be asked whether he would block EPA efforts to limit carbon emissions. Given his new interest in dirty energy campaign contributions, we'd be curious to hear his answer.
A new report finds that federal resources to address the home foreclosure crisis aren't commensurate with the need and argues for using Chicago's TIF dollars to convert foreclosed properties into affordable housing.
Warrenville-based Navistar is expected to announce
plans to move its headquarters to
Lisle at a press conference this morning. The engine manufacturing
company had threatened to move out of state after a small group of
local residents raised concerns
about potential air pollution and noise problems. Gov. Pat Quinn and
Attorney General Lisa Madigan will be in attendance at the ceremony.
Finding employment today can seem next to impossible. For every one
U.S. job opening, there are six jobless Americans. And almost half of
those laborers have been out of work for at least six months. Even if
those figures improve over time, it could take years before the national unemployment rate dips back down to its historical average. From the Los Angeles Times:
nation's job deficit is so deep that even a powerful recovery would
leave large numbers of Americans out of work for years, experts say.
And with growth now weakening, analysts are doubtful that companies
will boost payrolls significantly any time soon. Unemployment, long
considered a temporary, transitional condition in the United States,
appears to be settling in for a lengthy run.
It's incumbent on lawmakers operating within this new economic paradigm to ensure that the safety net catches
folks fighting for a paycheck. Without robust and consistent
unemployment benefits, many Americans just don't have any way to put
food on the table.