Statewide update—May 11, 2011

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Daily HeraldOne year later, Pagano cleanup costs in the millions, “The cost of former Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano’s dipping into forbidden funds and the related cleanup comes to about $3 million and counting…The absolute authority that state law and the Metra board of directors gave Pagano allowed him to operate unchecked for years, amassing at least $475,000 in unauthorized vacation pay along with other pricey and irregular perks for a favored few.”

  • Trib Local (Elgin)Elgin officer accused of planting evidence, “A former Elgin police officer has been charged with planting evidence at a crime scene in a bid to better his career, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda and Kane County State’s Atty. Joe McMahon announced today.”
  • Rockford Register StarEditorial: What we know about Illinois budget woes is discouraging, “We’ve been writing about Illinois’ growing money problems for years and we don’t detect any sense of urgency to find solutions. The governor’s budget address was in February and the General Assembly is supposed to adjourn at the end of the month. When will we see a solid plan?”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesRahm Emanuel’s transition report chock full of ideas, but not details, “Charter schools for dropouts and a ‘leadership academy’ for new principals. An Office of New Americans to support immigrants. Bus rapid-transit lanes, protected bike lanes and designated streets open on weekends only to ‘non-motorized uses.’ Those are just a few of the ideas packed into the 71-page transition report that will serve as a ‘scorecard’ for Chicagoans to judge their new mayor — and for Rahm Emanuel to hold his department heads’ feet to the fire.”
  • Peoria Journal StarState’s Medicaid funding at risk, “A state official warned that Illinois is at risk of losing at least $1 billion a year in federal Medicaid funds because of a legislative panel’s decision Tuesday on how senior citizens needing nursing-home care can shelter assets. If not reversed, the decision by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules could prompt the federal government to deny Illinois between $1 billion and $7 billion in Medicaid funds…”
  • (AP) Southtown StarState may gamble on smoking loophole for casinos, “An Illinois Senate committee could deliberate today on a bill to allow smoking in casinos so gamblers don’t escape to Indiana, Iowa and Missouri. Casino owners blame the bans for the loss of millions of dollars in revenues and the subsequent fall in tax receipts…But gambling and smoking opponents say the loss claims are exaggerated and that the loopholes are bad public health policy.”
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