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Statewide Update—Dec. 20, 2010

**SPECIAL EXTENDED POST-WEEKEND EDITION**

Editor’s Note: The BGA Think Tank’s “Statewide Update” is a daily summary of policy and government news from around the state. Each morning we scan news outlets from Rockford to Belleville and bring you the headlines that influence policy makers across the state.

Editorials

State Journal Register—School reform shouldn’t be quick process: “The haste with which this committee was formed and last week’s hearings were arranged, coupled with the contentious atmosphere that seems to have built quickly around both, make us wonder if this is the correct path to these measures.”

Bloomington Pantagraph—Airport liquor license decision makes no sense: “The decision was also yet another example of the apparent confusion or differences in interpretation of Bloomington’s liquor code among members of the liquor commission and city council.”

Peoria Journal Star—No more delays fixing All Kids program flaws“Earlier this year, we wrote about a state audit that uncovered some pretty deep and expensive flaws in Illinois’ expanded All Kids health insurance program… After all this time, the lack of action is beyond embarrassing, even in a state that seems capable of goofing up the simplest things.”

Rockford Register Star—Rockford police union provides budget help to city“Rockford residents should thank police union members for giving up pay and benefits in their current contract to help the city close its budget deficit.”

State and Local Budgets

(AP) State Journal-Register—Western Illinois University awaits state payments: “The state of Illinois allocated $53 million for WIU in its current budget, and $37 million of that should already be in the university officials’ hands.”

State Journal-Register—Market study says Springfield resisted the recession“Springfield held up in the Great Recession better than the state of Illinois and the nation — and better than other Illinois communities with the exception of Bloomington-Normal — according to a just-completed analysis of the local economy and demographics.”

Bloomington Pantagraph—Normal to consider capital investment plan“…town staff suggests budgeted money be used for maintenance work, including replacing lighting, fencing and playground equipment.”

Education

Southtown Star—Schools take on residency cheaters“District 135 officials allege that Gutierrez lied about where he lived and that his ex-girlfriend fudged a condominium lease so Gutierrez’s daughter could attend eighth grade at Orland Junior High School during the 2009-10 school year.”

Politics

Peoria Journal Star—Committee picks show party bias? “At least two Peoria County Board members are grumbling about committee assignments handed down last week by board chairman Tom O’Neill. Though the board consists of 10 Democrats and eight Republicans, only one of the eight board committees will be chaired by a Republican.”

The Southern—Many vie for public offices in Du Quoin, Pinckneyville:  “Fourteen candidates have filed to run for mayor or commissioner in Pinckneyville, while seven have filed in Du Quoin. The deadline for candidates to file a petition in both towns is 5 p.m. Monday.”

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Statewide Update—Dec. 17, 2010

  • Politifact—Politifact’s lie of the year: “A government takeover of health care:” “ In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama’s ambitious plan to overhaul America’s health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a “government takeover.”
  • Daily Herald—Tax watchdog (National Taxpayers United of Illinois): School, municipal pensions ‘ridiculous:’ “These people are getting millions for sitting on their fat (behinds),” Tobin said Thursday in describing the state’s “pension millionaires.” Tobin’s group is touring the state, releasing the names and pension earnings of recently retired teachers and municipal employees. Tobin believes the cost of funding all the state’s pensions is what is really driving Gov. Pat Quinn and state lawmakers to push for an income tax increase.”
  • State Journal-Register—State police make early retirement offer to senior troopers:The union representing most Illinois State Police officers has agreed to an early retirement plan that could send more than 100 troopers into retirement, but officials hope it will result in more new troopers being hired.”
  • Peoria Journal Star—Peoria officials point out they didn’t raise taxes: “City officials including Mayor Jim Ardis have instead expressed some of their frustrations with other taxing bodies in Peoria — namely Peoria Public Schools District 150 — for increasing its property tax rate while the city avoids similar hikes despite increasing political pressure to do so.”
  • Rockford Register Star—Caledonia wants you to serve on Village Board: “Only two people have submitted paperwork to run for five of the six seats up for grabs April 5. The deadline to file nominating petitions is 5 p.m. Monday.”
  • Southtown Star—Meeks says minority contracts should only go to blacks: “The word ‘minority’ from our standpoint should mean African-American. I don’t think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title,” he said. “That’s why our numbers cannot improve — because we use women, Asians and Hispanics who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against.”

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