Saturday, December 22, 2012
The bad news: Job growth in Illinois is too slow, and prison inmates probably watch better TV than you. The good news: Your lawmaker is one of the highest paid in the nation.
Feeling all warm and full of good cheer? Bah! Here's a little something to satisfy the Scrooge in you before the spirit of Christmas takes hold. We Need More Jobs: At 8.7 percent, the Illinois unemployment rate is 1 percent above the national rate. And job creation is improving at a faster clip all around us, in Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa and Missouri, on average, according to Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner at the Illinois Policy Institute. "The reality is Illinois’ poor policies aren't allowing the state to participate fully in the national recovery. If only Illinois’ unemployment rate were equal to the average of its neighbors, 100,000 more Illinoisans would be working. Yes, jobs are slowly returning to the state, but that’s …
Saturday, December 15, 2012
The representatives and senators leaving office in January 2013 will see millions of dollars in pension payments, figures far more sizable than they would've seen in the private sector.
Are you worried about your own retirement? With the downturn in the economy, did your 401k and savings take a big hit? If so, you're like millions of other Americans forced to confront a dramatically different outlook for their post-work years. But one group of pensioners is largely insulated from such concerns — outgoing Illinois lawmakers. The retirement benefits Illinois legislators receive are far more generous than those most of their constituents could collect working full-time jobs, reports Scott Reeder of the Reeder Report, using data from an Illinois Policy Institute analysis in a piece published on Watchdog.org. The anticipated pension benefits of the 34 lawmakers who will depart the state legislature in January show these …
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Democrat Kelly Burke tops contest in 36th District State House race against Republican challenger Bob Shelstrom, cruising to second term.
Evergreen Park Democrat Kelly Burke easily cruised to her second term in the Illinois State House, beating Republican challenger Robert Shelstrom of Palos Park. Burke carried Chicago’s 18th, 19th and 21st Ward precincts by 84 percent to Shelstrom’s 15 percent, with all but two precincts counted. In the suburbs, Burke defeated Shelstrom by 64 percent of the vote, with 66 of 72 precincts counted for the Illinois State House’s 36th District seat. Burke, who was headed into Quigley’s South Side Irish Pub in Oak Lawn to celebrate her victory with her family, said she hoped to have the opportunity to continue working to fix the state’s fiscal mess in her second term. “I spent a lot of time on the budget trying to get state’s finances in order,” …
Friday, December 30, 2011
More than 200 new state laws go into effect on Jan. 1. We spotlight the substantial ones and point you to some of the more unusual pieces of legislation.
- Joe Vince
Friday, December 30, 2011
We received an early Christmas present from State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and the General Assembly. Radogno's office sent a press release Dec. 19 detailing the new laws that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2012. While most people were busy spending time with their relatives over the holidays, we were going through the 214 laws, figuring out what lifestyle changes we were going to need to make. We've highlighted the most signficant—and in some cases, most interesting—of these new laws, so you don't have to spend the beginning of the new year wondering why you're chilling your heels in the local pokey. Seat Belts for the Back Seat: Adults riding in the back seat of a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Offenders could face a $25 fine. "…
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
In the last hearing to be held on a plan to close the facility, concerned family members, hospital officials and state politicians expressed doubt and fear over the lack of alternatives to the Tinley Park Mental Health Center.
As of Tuesday morning, Nancy Jones' 42-year-old mentally ill son was out on the street. And there's really nothing she could do about it. "We're just in agony right now because we love him and we want to help him and there's no help," said the Shorewood resident Tuesday. "Nobody cares in this state. It's just heartbreaking for us." Jones was among several hundred people gathered in Orland Park Tuesday at a hearing on Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to close the Tinley Park Mental Health Center. READ: Public Hearing: Weigh in Next Week on Quinn's Plan to Close the Mental Health Center Many in attendence at the Georgios Banquets hall wore bright orange "Save the Tinley Park Mental Health Center" T-shirts. About 50 people from advocacy groups, …
Friday, September 16, 2011
During a business breakfast at Saint Xavier University, local state legislators tell business leaders that an amended gaming bill would bring jobs and revenue to the area's economy
State legislators are rolling the dice that they can pass an amended gaming expansion bill in the upcoming fall veto session in the Illinois General Assembly. State Sen. Ed Maloney (18th District) and State Reps. Bill Cunningham (35th District) and Kelly Burke (36th District) spoke at a breakfast for business leaders from Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, Beverly and Blue Island at Saint Xavier University on Thursday. The local state lawmakers—whose districts intersect Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, Orland Hills and the Paloses in the Patch network—said they would continue to support gaming legislation that could possibly bring a casino to Chicago and put one in the South Suburbs. Supporters of the sweeping gaming expansion legislation—which would have…
Friday, March 4, 2011
The Illinois General Assembly is considering lifting smoking ban on select businesses.
Three years after pushing for a smoke-free state, the Illinois General Assembly is considering two bills that would allow smoking in select businesses with liquor licenses and could bring more revenue to the state. Under House Bill 1310, local liquor control commissions could issue smoking licenses to eligible businesses that gain most of their revenue from liquor sales. Meanwhile, House Bill 171 would allow qualifying businesses to have smoking in isolated ventilated smoking rooms. Out of the 19 businesses in Evergreen Park that currently have liquor licenses, at least three of them are bars that gain a substantial amount of their revenue from liquor sales. They could possibly be eligible to apply for a smoking license under the new …
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
The Evergreen Park Chamber of Commerce held a meet and greet with State Rep. Kelly Burke Monday, giving residents a chance to voice their opinions about issues affecting the state.
Local residents had a chance to get up close and personal with the new 36th District State Rep. Kelly Burke at the Evergreen Park Public Library on Monday. The evening meeting, hosted by the Evergreen Park Chamber of Commerce, was initially organized to give business owners a platform to address the high property taxes in the district and gain a better understanding of the budgeting process in the state legislature. The meeting, however, took a very different turn as residents instead directed the conversation about the future of the states' economic situation and learning more about the inner workings of the life of a state representative. The first topic Burke addressed was state budgeting. “In the past…the budget would just land on your…
Friday, January 28, 2011
State Rep. Kelly Burke wants residents to know her new district office is available to assist constituents with their concerns and seeking input on the area.
State Rep. Kelly Burke, the new Illinois House representative for the 36th District, has opened her constituent services office in Oak Lawn at 5144 W. 95th St. in the former Nana’s Knitting shop. Although the office still looks rather bare at the moment—Burke and staff are still unpacking boxes and setting up computer equipment—the state rep and her staff are available now to help residents. “The next time you come by we’ll have furniture,” Burke said, laughing as she sat at a card table working on her laptop. An Evergreen Park resident, Burke chose to open her office in Oak Lawn because of its central location in the 36th District, which includes Evergreen Park, Hometown, and parts of Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Hickory Hills, Palos Hills as…
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Bad for business, bad for your pocketbook. That's the prevailing view among Evergreen Park residents, officials and business owners asked about the state's tax hikes.
Many Evergreen Park residents, government officials and business owners are wondering the effect the state's newly passed tax hikes will have in already tough economic times. The General Assembly passed a 66 percent income tax hike Wednesday, increasing the personal income tax from 3 to 5 percent and the corporate income tax to 7 percent from 4.9 percent. Both increases will go into effect immediately after the governor signs them into law. For a household making $60,000 per year, income tax would rise to $3,000, up from the $1,800 the household would have paid before the tax hike. “I don’t like it. I mean, who does?” said Laura Brown who lives in the neighborhood and has children attending school in Evergreen Park Elementary School …