Better Government Association

Illinois Form 1040
NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that could change how Illinois taxes income.   In the nearly 40 years the state has had an income tax, it’s been a flat tax.  That means no matter how much you earn, you pay the same percentage.

Now, Governor J.B. Pritzker and other advocates of a graduated tax say it’s time for a new approach.  

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois is losing residents, according to recent census estimates, and common explanations include high taxes, unfriendly business policies or the state’s growing pension debt.

An article from the watchdog group Better Government Association examines those claims. The BGA’s senior editor, Bob Secter, says they distract from a deeper look at demographic trends.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

When Illinois public officials are dismissed for misconduct, they are sometimes awarded large severance packages – which are paid for by taxpayers. A new proposal approved by the Senate would stop the practice.

They were the people who were hired to advise the governor and help him push his agenda.  Some were young with promising futures.  But it all came crashing down as the Blagojevich Administration imploded.

Wikimedia Commons

A task force created by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to figure out how to reduce the number of local governments in the state. That group Thursday voted to recommend restrictions on organized labor. Members listening in via conference call heard an unexpected interlude.

Amanda Vinicky

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has already tried to make the case that that Illinois' finances are worse than he thought. Now he's adding to his list of examples.

"What we've learned here in recent days, and I'm here to get more of the detail on ... there's $760 million of what they're calling - what I guess, I'm learning the lingo - supplemental appropriations, about to be requested," he said.

Basically, it means that state agencies are going to be asking for an additional $760 million to get them through this budget year -- or, as Rauner put it, they want to go "over budget."

Amanda Vinicky

Advocates for government transparency still have a fight ahead over the state's Freedom of Information Act. That's despite a temporary reprieve yesterday.

Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, of Chicago, caught transparency advocates off guard last week, with just a handful of days remaining in the legislative session. She introduced a plan that would make it harder for members of the public to obtain government information. It would also make it harder for citizens to recover legal fees when governments illegally withhold documents.

flickr/Sean MacEntee

Illinois residents could have a harder time accessing government information under new legislation before the General Assembly. 

The plan, SB2799, makes it harder for people to get repaid legal costs when a government wrongfully denies access to public documents. 

At the same time, it makes it easier for governments to keep certain information off-limits.