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State Week: $1.4bn Budget Question, Emails Pull Back Curtain, Blagojevich Out Of Prison

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Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker presents his budget to the General Assembly, WBEZ reports on another trove of emails to and from Speaker Michael Madigan's top aides, and former Gov. Rod Blagovich gets an early release from prison.

Pritzker presented a budget that plans to spend $1.4 billion from a proposed graduated income tax — but only if voters approve it at this year's election. The administration insists the budget is balanced, with or without the extra revenue, but is it?

Meanwhile, Chicago public radio station WBEZ-FM is reporting on another batch of emails from Madigan confidant Mike McClain. This group shows how McClain, at the time a top lobbyist for electric utility ComEd, was deeply plugged in to Madigan's inner circle.

Finally, President Donald Trump commuted the remainder of Blagojevich's prison sentence. The governor had served eight years on a 14-year sentence for shaking down a children's hospital executive and other crimes. The reaction from Illinois politicians was swift and severe.

Sean Crawford hosts with regular panelists Charlie Wheeler and Brian Mackey, and guest Tony Arnold of Chicago public radio station WBEZ.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
The former director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III, a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.
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