WBEZ | Michael Madigan http://www.wbez.org/tags/michael-madigan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Political wills battle contributes to budget impasse in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/news/political-wills-battle-contributes-budget-impasse-illinois-112800 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_963329869976.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois is entering its fourth month without a budget. While there&#39;s a fight over ideology, it has also become a battle of wills &mdash; pitting the Republican governor against the state House speaker.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><p>&mdash;&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/02/436820852/battle-of-political-wills-contributes-to-budget-impasse-in-illinois" target="_blank">NPR News</a></em></p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 09:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/political-wills-battle-contributes-budget-impasse-illinois-112800 Without a budget, courts step in to force state to pay bills http://www.wbez.org/news/without-budget-courts-step-force-state-pay-bills-112477 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4397586040_c9c4b84976_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers remain at an impasse over the state budget.</p><p>But over the last few weeks, the courts have repeatedly stepped in&mdash;telling the state, budget or no budget, it has to pay for certain things, pay some bills.</p><p>The result of that: The state is, bit by bit, forcibly reverting back to some of its budget from last fiscal year -- which happens to be a budget that nobody wants.</p><p>Without a budget, here&rsquo;s Illinois&rsquo; situation: Money can come in. But the rules about how the state can spend it are unclear.</p><p>When last year&rsquo;s state budget expired on July 1, everyone knew certain state business wouldn&rsquo;t stop: There are laws that say prisons can&rsquo;t close and the state police can&rsquo;t call it quits.<br />But there were lots of other things that nobody knew whether the state could continue to fund.</p><p>Can the state still fund foster care without a budget? What about state parks or the DMV?</p><p>Over and over again these last few weeks, the state has been in court to sort these things out.</p><p>Foster care, for example, the courts said the state had to pay. Same for treatment for adults with developmental disabilities.</p><p>This week it was Medicaid, funding healthcare for the poor. And singling out how this Medicaid situation played out is important--because it&rsquo;s a good example of how having no budget is hurting the state; how it&rsquo;s making a bad situation even worse.</p><p>Medicaid is one of the biggest budget lines in Illinois: More than $7 billion. Hospitals, clinics and patients all over the state depend on that money.</p><p>So, it&rsquo;s not surprising that lawyers <a href="http://www.wbez.org/judge-orders-state-pay-cook-county-medicaid-providers-during-budget-impasse-112465">went to court</a>&mdash;wanting a judge to force the to state to keep Medicaid going in Cook County.</p><p>&ldquo;We need to increase access to care not decrease it,&rdquo; said John Bouman, an attorney with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, who brought the lawsuit against the state, hoping to force Medicaid payments.&nbsp;</p><p>Bouman and others argued that if the funding didn&rsquo;t come through, hospitals would close. People couldn&rsquo;t get treated.</p><p>&ldquo;You have to keep the whole system going as if there&rsquo;s no budget impasse in order to ensure that the children have access to care,&rdquo; Bouman explained.</p><p>The court agreed: A federal judge ordered the state to continue paying Medicaid in Cook County.</p><p>Because there&rsquo;s no current budget to guide Medicaid spending, the state was has been ordered to keep spending on Medicaid according to last year&rsquo;s budget.</p><p>And the thing about that is last year&rsquo;s budget was widely accepted to be awful.</p><p>&ldquo;Cobbled together. It was in overdraft,&rdquo; said Chris Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield.</p><p>Last year&rsquo;s budget was complicated, in part, because halfway through, when Rauner won the governorship, he let the income tax rate go down. Meaning: lower taxes for residents, and less money for the state.</p><p>Nobody in Springfield thinks last year&rsquo;s budget process should be used as a guide for how the state spends money now. But with each of these court interventions, that&rsquo;s exactly what&rsquo;s happening.</p><p>Simply put: because leaders can&rsquo;t make a new spending plan, the state has to use last year&rsquo;s faulty one--which appears to make things tumultuous on pretty much all fronts.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, the whole thing sucks,&rdquo; Mooney said.</p><p>He remains convinced that Rauner and Democrats will reach a budget...there just might be snow on the ground by the time it&rsquo;s decided.</p><p>Meanwhile, the court interventions, like the Medicaid one, keep piling up: DCFS, foster care and a bunch of other things -- are all being funded according to an outdated budget that everyone thinks is trouble.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers state politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 13:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/without-budget-courts-step-force-state-pay-bills-112477 When is a government shutdown not a shutdown? http://www.wbez.org/news/when-government-shutdown-not-shutdown-112350 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/illinoislegislature.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Thursday technically marks day nine of the Illinois state government not having a budget. But unlike a federal government shutdown, you might not have seen consequences yet.</p><p>Your trains are still running &mdash; hopefully they&rsquo;ve been on time.</p><p>The prisons are still accepting inmates and paying to feed them.</p><p>If you get a paycheck, you&rsquo;re still paying state taxes.</p><p>So, just what does this shutdown even look like?</p><p>&ldquo;The word shutdown is a bit of a misnomer,&rdquo; said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University. &ldquo;I think this is gonna be more of a slow strangulation.&rdquo;</p><p>Yepsen said the doors to government buildings haven&rsquo;t been padlocked, yet, which could limit how much, or how often, any given Illinois resident is confronted with the absence of a budget for state government operations.</p><p>&ldquo;Government, oftentimes, doesn&rsquo;t affect a lot of people directly,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But Yepsen cautions that the longer the impasse, the more likely you, or someone you know, will see the impact.</p><p>&ldquo;If people with mental health problems all of a sudden aren&rsquo;t getting treated, that starts to have real consequences in society,&rdquo; Yepsen said.</p><p>In any other year, Illinois state government would be sending money to mental health providers right now. Without a budget, those contracts haven&rsquo;t materialized; meaning there&rsquo;s no guarantee finances are coming. For instance, Heather O&rsquo;Donnell, with Thresholds, one of the largest mental health providers in Chicago, said one $800,000 state contract for psychiatrists is in limbo.</p><p>&ldquo;The longer that we go without a budget then the average person will start to feel it or see it,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Donnell said.</p><p>Thresholds is a larger operation compared to other mental health providers in the area, and as a result, O&rsquo;Donnell said it may be able to wait out the political impasse longer than smaller organizations that may have to start turning patients away.</p><p>&ldquo;You wouldn&rsquo;t withdraw cancer treatment from somebody who has breast cancer but you&rsquo;re going to pull mental health treatment for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder?&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Thresholds and other human service providers that care for people in need, like kids with autism or adults with disabilities, are operating in an gray area while this political stalemate continues. Their uncertainty doesn&rsquo;t seem to be preventing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner from giving ultimatums to Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, or Madigan from acknowledging some of Rauner&rsquo;s proposals.</p><p>But rhetoric aside, there&rsquo;s also the question of accountability when services usually provided by the state government don&rsquo;t materialize.</p><p>State funding of mental health has been cut in the past several years. When those reductions happened, there was little, if any, political retribution for those who voted in favor of those cuts.</p><p>Yepsen&#39;s done polling - it shows Illinois residents do want to see cuts, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean there&rsquo;s motivation to end the political impasse yet. Because those same people who want to see cuts don&rsquo;t like the options of choosing to cut either education, prisons, natural resources or social services.</p><p>According to Yepsen, some residents are becoming more comfortable with increasing taxes. Though, he adds, the political motivation to end the stalemate may not exist until even more pain is felt by more people &mdash; say, when tens of thousands of state employees aren&rsquo;t paid their salaries in the coming weeks, or when human services close completely.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 08:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/when-government-shutdown-not-shutdown-112350 Judge rules no pay for Illinois workers without state budget http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-rules-no-pay-illinois-workers-without-state-budget-112338 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP120209138862 (1)_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(249, 249, 249);">▲&nbsp;</span>LISTEN </strong><em>A pair of courtroom decisions in Chicago Tuesday is drastically changing the dynamics at play in the political drama unfolding in Illinois state politics. Both rulings have to do with how the state government will operate as it goes further into shutdown mode. WBEZ&rsquo;s state politics reporter Tony Arnold joins host Melba Lara to break down what&rsquo;s at stake.</em></p><p>Illinois won&#39;t be allowed to pay state workers in full during an ongoing budget impasse, a Cook County judge ruled Tuesday, potentially leaving some 65,000 employees without a paycheck and putting added pressure on lawmakers to approve a new spending plan.</p><p>Judge Diane Larsen said that without a 2016 budget in place Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger may only pay some workers who are covered under a federal labor law. Those workers would receive the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour plus overtime.</p><p>But Munger&#39;s attorneys and lawyers for the state&#39;s personnel agency said it would take as long as a year to determine which employees would be paid under federal law and adjust payroll because of antiquated computer systems. That effectively means no workers will be paid until Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature approve a budget, the comptroller&#39;s attorneys said. It&#39;s also likely to trigger federal fines and penalties.</p><p>Larsen&#39;s ruling likely won&#39;t be the final word. Munger and the leader of the state&#39;s largest public-employee union separately said they plan to appeal, and Rauner directed the state personnel department to do the same. Thirteen labor unions representing state employees also have filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County seeking full pay. A hearing in that case could occur this week.</p><p>&quot;Public service workers in state government are on the job despite the lack of a state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1,&quot; said Roberta Lynch, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. &quot;Throughout Illinois they are keeping their communities safe, protecting kids, caring for veterans and people with disabilities, and providing countless other vital public services - and they should be paid for their work on time and in full.&quot;</p><p>The comptroller&#39;s office must begin processing payroll on Thursday for workers to receive their first paycheck of the new fiscal year as scheduled in mid-July. Rauner told employees in a memo last week that they must continue coming to work, and AFSCME has said its members plan to do so. The governor also said his office is asking local banks and credit unions to offer loans to workers who need help paying their bills.</p><p>Larsen acknowledged the situation is unfortunate but said the state constitution prohibits the comptroller from paying bills without spending authority or a federal mandate. She said responsibility lies with Rauner and the Legislature for not agreeing on a spending plan, and with state officials who have known since at least 2007 that their computer systems were incapable of meeting federal law.</p><p>Lawmakers have been deadlocked over a budget for weeks. Rauner, a conservative businessman seeking pro-business reforms in Illinois, vetoed a budget passed by the Legislature that fell far short of available revenues. Democrats such as House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton are seeking increases in revenue to ensure the government continues to provide social services and other key operations.</p><p>Lisa Madigan, a Democrat and the speaker&#39;s daughter, had asked the judge to clarify what state government is obligated to pay without an approved budget. Her office argued that the only way for all workers to be paid their regular salaries is for Rauner and the Legislature to act.</p><p>Munger, a Republican, wanted the judge to rule that all state employees be paid their regular salaries. Her attorneys noted Madigan agreed to an order that all workers be paid during a 2007 budget impasse, and he questioned whether the difference this time around is politics.</p><p>Madigan&#39;s office said circumstances are different because in 2007 lawmakers had passed a temporary budget and were days away from approving a full plan. A spokeswoman denied politics played a role.</p><p>&quot;This entire situation has been caused by the failure of the Governor and the Legislature to enact a budget,&quot; Madigan said in an emailed statement.</p><p>Without appropriation power, the comptroller is limited to paying only crucial bills, such as debt service and pension payments, as well as federal-program participation fees and payments required by court orders.</p><p>A Rauner spokesman noted legislators passed a law last year allowing them to continue to be paid without a budget and said the governor would support similar legislation to cover state workers. It was unclear if or when a bill will be introduced.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-rules-no-pay-illinois-workers-without-state-budget-112338 At eleventh hour, CPS makes huge pension payment http://www.wbez.org/news/eleventh-hour-cps-makes-huge-pension-payment-112290 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/madigan_1_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-8f7b37b5-46c0-8279-17ad-1b39333078ba"><em>UPDATED July 1, 7:53 a.m.&nbsp;</em></p><p dir="ltr">The head of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund says Chicago Public Schools deposited the full $634 million into the pension fund Tuesday evening.</p><p>&ldquo;The need for long-term solutions is not erased with this payment,&rdquo; CTPF&rsquo;s executive director Charles Burbridge said in a statement.</p><p dir="ltr">But with that payment, according to CPS officials, comes more borrowing and 1,400 layoffs of school district employees.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan said Tuesday the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools would pay the hundreds of millions of dollars that it owes to teacher pensions by the end of the day.</p><p dir="ltr">The surprise announcement came after CPS had been asking state lawmakers for a short-term reprieve from the massive $634 million payment. Last week, the House of Representatives voted down the district&rsquo;s proposal, even though it had a minority Republican support. At the time, Madigan denied he singularly defeated the proposal, even though he wields influence over many lawmakers.</p><p>On Tuesday, he said that debate was moot, as he&rsquo;d been told by &ldquo;reliable sources&rdquo; that Chicago Public Schools would make the payment, in full.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been advised by reliable sources they have cash on hand and they&rsquo;ll be in a position to make a payment by the end of the business day today,&rdquo; Madigan told reporters.</p><p>As for how the district can make this payment to its pension system and still afford bills in the near-term, Madigan said he doesn&rsquo;t know how that math will work.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There are open questions going forward in terms of paying the bills at the Chicago Board of Education,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>In a statement, interim schools CEO Jesse Ruiz criticized Springfield for failing &ldquo;to address Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; financial crisis.&rdquo; Ruiz said CPS was able to make its 2015 pension payment by borrowing money, but they&rsquo;ll also have to make an additional $200 million in cuts. CPS officials said 1,400 jobs - not just teachers - would be impacted Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;As we have said, CPS could not make the payment and keep cuts away from the classroom, so while school will start on time, our classrooms will be impacted,&rdquo; Ruiz said.</p><p>City Hall sources said late Tuesday night that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Ruiz would be presenting a &ldquo;comprehensive plan that includes long-term solutions to the district&rsquo;s pension and funding inequities&rdquo; on Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier in the day, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave no indications to reporters in Chicago that CPS was in fact planning to pay the bill in full by the end of the day. However, he did address the impact of the pension payment on the school system&rsquo;s budget.</p><p>&ldquo;School will start, but our ability to hold the impact of finances away from the classroom, that&rsquo;s gonna change,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Springfield lawmakers are set to hear Wednesday about a <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09900SB0316sam001&amp;GA=99&amp;SessionId=88&amp;DocTypeId=SB&amp;LegID=84277&amp;DocNum=316&amp;GAID=13&amp;Session=">new</a> proposal that could funnel hundreds of millions of state funds toward CPS pensions.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>. Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/eleventh-hour-cps-makes-huge-pension-payment-112290 As budget deadline approaches, Illinois faces a government shutdown http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-deadline-approaches-illinois-faces-government-shutdown-112281 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/springfield_0_2_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A budget standoff that could interrupt some state services beginning Wednesday is worth the pain if it yields fundamental business and political changes in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner says.</p><p>Turning the Democrats&#39; phrase of his reform proposals against them, the Republican governor said Tuesday the initiatives he continues to insist upon are &quot;extreme common sense.&quot;</p><p>The new governor made the rounds at state agencies Tuesday to speak to employees as he and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly girded for the new fiscal year amid continuing disagreement on how to fund state operations.</p><p>Lawmakers were in session Tuesday. The House planned to take testimony from 15 key state agencies on how they plan to weather a &quot;shutdown&quot; with no budget deal, but had retired to private party caucus meetings early in the afternoon.</p><p>Democrats want to find the revenue necessary to cover what they say are vital operations, while Rauner first demands rule-changes in liability lawsuits and worker-injury compensation, along with term limits for politicians and an impartial method for drawing political district lines.</p><p>The Legislature sent him a $36 billion spending plan that Democrats acknowledged was up to $4 billion out of balance, but argued Rauner could reduce spending in areas he saw fit to keep government moving ahead while talks continue. The governor vetoed the bulk of that plan last week.</p><p>To Rauner, who&#39;s in the midst of his first state budget battle, the changes are essential to producing more tax revenue and keeping spending in check. To Democrats, they&#39;re &quot;extreme.&quot;</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re extreme common sense,&quot; Rauner told reporters after talking to Illinois Emergency Management Agency employees. He repeated his Monday promise to see that workers get paid even without agreement on a spending plan, a scenario the Democratic attorney general later said lacked legal precedent.</p><p>&quot;What is extreme in Illinois is our property tax burden, what is extreme is our deficit and our debt, what is extreme is our low economic growth, our low rate of job creation and our high rate of conflicts of interest inside government,&quot; he said.</p><p>If Wednesday comes without a budget, there is money enough to pay 65,000 state employees through mid-July. But it&#39;s likely some services provided by government contractors will begin shutting down or stop because payments will cease.</p><p>Rauner dismissed the idea that the anticipated confusion and commotion surrounding a shutdown could cause more harm.</p><p>&quot;We need structural reform and see, change is hard,&quot; Rauner said. &quot;But we need to have change. If all we&#39;re going to do is keep the status quo, and if all we do is raise taxes to cover up the status quo, we&#39;ll continue in our long-term slow decline and the people of Illinois deserve better than that.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-deadline-approaches-illinois-faces-government-shutdown-112281 Week in Review: Dennis Hastert indicted, Chicago still most corrupt, Bears dismiss Ray McDonald http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-05-29/week-review-dennis-hastert-indicted-chicago-still-most-corrupt <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7167050199_8f7024b8a4_z.jpg" style="height: 661px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo: Flickr/Teemu008)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207892222&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Week in Review: Dennis Hastert indicted, Chicago still most corrupt, Bears dismiss Ray McDonald</span><br />We recap the week&rsquo;s news including the developing scandal surrounding former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert; the latest developments from Springfield; and the ups-and-downs for the Chicago Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks.</p><p dir="ltr"><br /><strong>Guests:</strong></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><em><a href="https://twitter.com/amyguth">Amy Guth</a> is a WGN radio host.</em></li><li><em><a href="https://twitter.com/AndyShawBGA">Andy Shaw</a> is president and CEO of the Better Government Association.</em></li></ul><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207892221&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Friday Mini-Mix featuring DJ Milty Evans</span><br />Every Friday we bring you a brand new mix from the Vocalo DJ Collective, curated by DJ Jesse De La Pena. This week&rsquo;s set comes from DJ Milty Evans and features soul-inspired House music.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/MiltyEvans">Milty Evans</a> is a Chicago-based DJ.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207884595&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">30th annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival preview</span><br /><span id="docs-internal-guid-bad12e22-a1f6-2498-df7b-dbd700376f6c">The annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival kicks off Friday evening at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park and runs through Sunday night. Ivy Hall is the Gospel Music Festival Programmer for the City of Chicago. She joins us with a details on this year&rsquo;s fest.</span></p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> <em>Ivy Hall is the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_gospel_musicfestival.html">Gospel Music Fest</a> programmer.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207884724&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><br /><span style="font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 24px;">Cook County Commissioner propses plan to take on gun violence</span><br />To date this year, there have been at least 600 shootings and 140 people killed by gun violence in the Chicago. Grown weary of hearing the weekend tally of shootings and fatalities in the city, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin &nbsp;- who represents a portion of the West Side and west suburbs - proposed a 7-point plan to stem the tide of violence. His plan includes domestic terrorism charges against shooters and accomplices. He joins us in studio to discuss his plan.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="http://www.richardrboykin.com/about">Richard Boykin</a> is Cook County Commissioner for Chicago&rsquo;s 1st District.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207885386&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><br /><span style="font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 24px;">Tech Shift Week in Review: Subsidized internet, new Google gadgetry, and supercomputing</span><br />The FCC proposes subsidizing broadband access for the poor; Google introduces some pretty fantastic technology; and the latest supercomputing news. Those are just a few stories we explore on our Tech Shift Week in Review. We&rsquo;re joined by Argonne&rsquo;s Deputy Director for its leadership computing facility, Susan Coglan, as well as our WBEZ super digital guy, Tim Akimoff.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><br /><strong>Guests:</strong></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-bad12e22-a21a-647f-8595-2e9ffda7120d"><a href="https://www.alcf.anl.gov/staff-directory/susan-coghlan">Susan Coghlan</a></span> is a Deputy Division Director at Argonne National Laboratory.</em></li><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-bad12e22-a21a-647f-8595-2e9ffda7120d"><a href="https://twitter.com/timakimoff">Tim Akimoff</a></span> is WBEZ&rsquo;s Director of Digital.&nbsp;</em></li></ul><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207884823&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Gov. Rauner pressures Democrats to pass his agenda items by Sunday</span><br />There&rsquo;s a flurry of activity in Springfield as Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has issued Democrats an ultimatum to pass two of his agenda items by Sunday. But Democrats are saying that&rsquo;s not possible. Those negotiations are just part of what&rsquo;s happening in Springfield. WBEZ&rsquo;s State Political reporter Tony Arnold is in Springfield and joins us for an update.</p><p><br /><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">Tony Arnold</a> is a WBEZ reporter.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207884969&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Gas prices are rising in Chicago, but not like last year</span><br />Gas prices in Chicago are going up. In fact, they&rsquo;ve risen by seven percent in the last week alone. But even with the jump, what you&rsquo;re paying at the pump is still lower than it was a year ago. Patrick DeHaan is GasBuddy.com&rsquo;s Senior Petroleum Analyst for the Midwest and he joins us with more.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/GasBuddyGuy">Patrick DeHaan</a> is GasBuddy.com&rsquo;s Senior Petroleum Analyst for the Midwest.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207885097&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">More details emerge in the Dennis Hastert indictment</span><br /><span id="docs-internal-guid-bad12e22-a229-24c6-0bb4-38ed8b470e70">Thursday afternoon we learned that former House speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, was indicted on charges that he lied to the FBI about alleged hush money he paid to someone the indictment refers to only as &ldquo;Individual A.&rdquo; Now, more details are starting to emerge with the </span>New York Times reporting that Hastert was paying someone to conceal decades-old sexual abuse that took place when he was a high school teacher and coach in suburban Chicago. Here to walk us through the legal language of the indictment is former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer, who&rsquo;s currently a senior managing director at Kroll Investigations, a risk and security consultancy.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="http://www.kroll.com/who-we-are/kroll-experts/jeffrey-cramer">Jeff Cramer</a> is a senior managing director at risk and security consultancy, Kroll Investigations.</em></p></p> Fri, 29 May 2015 18:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-05-29/week-review-dennis-hastert-indicted-chicago-still-most-corrupt Legislature to consider Madigan plan to fill state budget gap http://www.wbez.org/news/legislature-consider-madigan-plan-fill-state-budget-gap-111757 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/madigan_sots.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; Lawmakers are scheduled to consider a new plan introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan to end weeks of negotiations over plugging a $1.6 billion gap in this year&#39;s state budget.</p><p>The Legislature faces a fast-approaching deadline to act as money runs out for subsidized childcare programs, prisons and court reporters.</p><p>The Chicago Democrat introduced the plan late Monday. It would authorize Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to transfer $1.3 billion from other purposes, including parks and conservation. The rest would come from a 2.25 percent across-the-board budget cut.</p><p>Rauner has said for weeks that lawmakers were close to agreeing on a solution.</p><p>Senate Democrats advanced their own plan earlier this month, but it has so far failed to clear the chamber.</p><p>Madigan&#39;s plan will be presented in committee hearings Tuesday morning.</p></p> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 08:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/legislature-consider-madigan-plan-fill-state-budget-gap-111757 Why are we still collecting taxes to prevent white flight in Chicago? http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-we-still-collecting-taxes-prevent-white-flight-chicago-110325 <p><p>A controversial decades-old program to prevent white flight in Chicago is flush with cash and still collecting taxes from residents of the Southwest and Northwest sides &ndash; despite racial change and housing shifts.&nbsp;</p><p>The programs&rsquo; origins can be traced to the racial panic that gripped many white ethnic communities after voters elected Harold Washington as the city&rsquo;s first black mayor in 1983. Often that fear played out in the housing market with white bungalow belt families worried that blacks would move in and decrease their property values.</p><p>The money collected in the so-called home equity districts was used as a kind of insurance program &ndash; homeowners could file a cash claim if the value dropped upon selling.</p><p>The three little-known taxing districts are the <a href="http://www.nwhomeequity.org/" target="_blank">Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program</a>, the <a href="http://swghe.org/" target="_blank">Southwest Guaranteed Home Equity Program</a> and the <a href="https://www.swhomeequity.com/" target="_blank">Southwest Home Equity Assurance Program</a>.</p><blockquote><p><strong>MAP: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-we-still-collecting-taxes-prevent-white-flight-chicago-110325#wheredistricts">Where are the home equity districts?</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>In the decades since they were created, most neighborhoods have experienced a racial transition on their own; they are no longer white enclaves. And yet the three home equity programs are still there, still collecting money from thousands of homeowners and not doing much else.</p><p>Collectively, these taxing districts sit on millions of dollars and some activists want that to change.</p><p><span style="font-size: 22px;">Save our neighborhood</span></p><p>The 1980s may seem a little late for <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/147.html" target="_blank">panic peddling and blockbusting</a> by unscrupulous realtors. After all, white flight had already happened decades earlier once blacks could legally buy homes wherever they wanted.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/home%20equity3_140611_nm.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px; float: right;" title="A brochure explaining the home equity program on the Northwest Side. (WBEZ/Natalie Moore)" /></p><p>But segregation never really went away.</p><p>&ldquo;You had these bungalows near the stockyards, which to be blunt about it, wasn&rsquo;t exactly desirable real estate. These folks living in those bungalows &ndash; six rooms, a knotty pine basement, one bathroom and was there any racial acceptance? No!&rdquo; said Paul Green, Director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University.</p><p>Historically, African Americans weren&rsquo;t a strong presence in the bungalow belt. And Green said longtime residents didn&rsquo;t exactly roll out the welcome wagon.</p><p>&ldquo;They were all basically white ethnic neighborhoods. The reality was is that the good people living there were afraid that they were going to lose the value of their homes, the only place they knew.&rdquo;</p><p>That fear gave birth to the white <a href="http://www.lib.niu.edu/1988/ii880524.html" target="_blank">Save Our Neighborhood/Save Our City coalition</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;You literally had racial change taking place mile by mile going west on 55th, 63rd, 71st. And those people didn&rsquo;t have anyplace to go,&rdquo; Green said. &ldquo;At that time there was very little reintegration after you had segregation. In other words, you look at the South Side of Chicago, you did not have neighborhoods that went from white to black to mixed.&rdquo;</p><p>The coalition pushed for an equity program to protect them from falling property values. Mayor Harold Washington, who understood white ethnic fear, got behind it. City Council considered an ordinance to implement the program. But black aldermen found the notion that whites needed home equity insurance racist. Washington publicly withdrew his support.</p><blockquote><p><strong>MAP: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-we-still-collecting-taxes-prevent-white-flight-chicago-110325#racemap">How the racial makeup of Chicago neighborhoods has changed</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Then in 1988 Southwest Side politician Michael Madigan stepped in. The powerful speaker of the Illinois House helped pass a state law that created three home equity taxing districts &ndash;&nbsp;including two on the southwest side. Another district was created on the northwest side.</p><p>Madigan declined an interview request.</p><p>&ldquo;The premise of the program was I think much more psychological. The psychology was people fear change and when you put into place this institutional mechanism, you create a way of responding to that fear,&rdquo; said Phil Ashton, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who&rsquo;s studied home equity districts.</p><p><span style="font-size: 22px;">How home equity districts work</span></p><p>All homeowners in a designated district pay a small tax, sometimes as little as a dollar and fifty cents a year. That money goes into a fund and homeowners voluntarily enroll in the equity program. If the appraisal is less than the original purchase price when they decide to sell, homeowners receive a cash claim for the difference.</p><p>It&rsquo;s worth noting that Oak Park started a similar program in the late 1970s to manage racial integration. No claims were ever paid out and the program ceased.</p><p>But liberal Oak Park is much different from blue collar Marquette Park, where angry whites jeered at and stoned Martin Luther King in 1966 when he marched for racially open housing laws.</p><p>A horrified 16 year old Jim Capraro witnessed that incident a block away from his home. And he carried it with him as a young man.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember seeing Stokely Carmichael speak in Chicago, a civil rights leader. When he was done speaking, a white kid kind of raised his hand and said &lsquo;what should white kids do to change this?&rsquo; And Stokely said &lsquo;white kids should go back to where they came from and change it there,&rsquo;&rdquo; Capraro said.</p><p>He returned home to the Southwest Side and led the Greater Southwest Community Development Corporation for decades in Chicago Lawn.</p><p>Capraro served on the board of the Southwest Home Equity Assurance Program until 2010. He wasn&rsquo;t active in getting it started but has thought a lot about its effect.</p><p>&ldquo;Does a program like this support racism or thwart racism? Even the people who aren&rsquo;t racist might end up getting hurt because the very act of a large number of people fleeing puts more supply on the housing market than would normally be,&rdquo; Capraro said.</p><p>Whatever the intent, none of the 20-odd neighborhoods in the three home equity districts experienced white flight. Take Chicago Lawn for example. Decades after the ugly backlash against Dr. King, it experienced a smooth racial transition during the 1990s. Today 63rd Street is a bustling strip with mosques, a Harold&rsquo;s fried chicken, and a Belizean restaurant.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/home%20equity2_140611_nm.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px; float: left;" title="A boarded up building in Chicago Lawn. Neighborhood activists say fixing vacancies should be a priority of the home equity districts. (WBEZ/Natalie Moore)" />Meanwhile, farther west, union signs hang on the front porches of blondish brick homes. Here, in the Clearing neighborhood, the area is still mostly white.</p><p>Many other neighborhoods in the home equity districts are largely Latino now.</p><p><span style="font-size: 22px;">&#39;Why should that money be sitting there?&#39;</span></p><p>At the Northwest Side Housing Center on west Addison Street, Polish signs hang inside the storefront. The office is crowded with people seeking help to keep their homes. The surrounding bungalow communities of Dunning, Portage Park and Irving Park used to house the largest concentration of Polish families in the city. Families like Ernie Luconsik&rsquo;s, a housing volunteer.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the reasons I moved to my area was because it was integrated. I found it fascinating that people got along and didn&rsquo;t look at people as any kind of color,&rdquo; Luconsik said.</p><p>These days there are nearly as many Latinos and Asians living in the neighborhoods.</p><blockquote><p><strong>CHART: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-we-still-collecting-taxes-prevent-white-flight-chicago-110325#districtchange">How the racial makeup of the home equity districts has changed</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;As a community-based organization and community residents who are supposed to be benefiting, where is the accountability about the funds and how they are being used?&rdquo; said James Rudyk, executive director of the Northwest Side Housing Center.</p><p>The Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program taxes approximately 48,000 homeowners. Fewer than 10 percent of homeowners in the Northwest Side district are enrolled in the program &ndash;&nbsp;even though all of them pay the tax.</p><p>The fund has $9.6 million.</p><p>&ldquo;Why should that money be sitting there? And if it&rsquo;s something that&rsquo;s not going to produce back, then stop it overall. Because it&rsquo;s something that&rsquo;s not being a benefit for the people or the community,&rdquo; community organizer Vanessa Valentin said. She said families could use that money for something other than claims: home repairs, small loans to prevent foreclosure.</p><p>Rudyk said they tried to organize around this issue several years ago, but got nowhere.</p><p>&ldquo;They have not returned our calls either or our request for a meeting. We were told why are we here, why are we questioning? This isn&rsquo;t our business,&rdquo; Rudyk said.</p><p>I know the feeling.</p><p>When I tried to talk to somebody from the three equity programs, no one agreed to a recorded interview. One of the programs wouldn&rsquo;t even give me their financials until the state attorney general got involved.</p><p>Judging the success or failure of the equity programs is hard. Did the psychology of having insurance keep white families from fleeing?</p><p>We may never know. While blacks never did buy many homes in the bungalow belt, today the northwest and southwest sides are no longer exclusive white enclaves.</p><p>UIC&rsquo;s Ashton said immigrants helped stabilize changing communities where the taxing districts exist.</p><p>&ldquo;Absent Latino homebuyers, white homeowners would&rsquo;ve struggled to find replacements for themselves when they were trying to move out through course of the 1990s. And they didn&rsquo;t move out because, I don&rsquo;t think, they encountered more minorities moving in,&rdquo; Ashton said. &ldquo;They moved out because they were getting old and their home was their major source of wealth and they wanted to retire or they were passing away and the family wanted to resolve the estate by selling the home.&rdquo;</p><p>Now those same immigrant families are facing a fresh set of challenges related to the housing downturn.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Residents want money invested in neighborhoods</span></p><p>Veronica Villasenor is a counselor for the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, which serves a low-income and working class Latino area.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a Hispanic, I&rsquo;m a Latina. I know how my parents think. I know how my parents were victims of getting a mortgage that wasn&rsquo;t sustainable,&rdquo; Villasenor said. &ldquo;Just in general the community is not educated. I think the state should assign money to develop education programs for these families &ndash; financial literacy, for mortgages.</p><p>Where would that money come from? Villasenor has her eye on the $1 million cash reserve in the Southwest Home Equity Assurance Program.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the board Capraro used to sit on the board of that program. He said he can count the number of claims that went out. Usually because of an inaccurate appraisal, not because of a drop in home values.</p><p>Realizing the program was flush with cash, Capraro says the board took action.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We appealed to the legislature and actually got permission to do this: we were lending people money at interest rates that were much less expensive than a normal home improvement loan or home equity line of credit,&rdquo; Capraro said.</p><p>It was a popular program until the housing market crashed. Suddenly, a roof repair wasn&rsquo;t as important as hanging on to one&rsquo;s home.</p><p>Separately, the Southwest Guaranteed Home Equity Program has more than $53 thousand dollars in the bank. Last year it collected $185,000 but it hasn&rsquo;t had any recent payouts.</p><p>The Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program last paid out a claim more than 15 years ago.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Let them explain to community residents what&rsquo;s being done with these funds and how we can work together it&rsquo;s not work against each other it&rsquo;s work together for the benefit of the community,&rdquo; Valentin said.</p><p>In 2011, the <em><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/8177235-452/taxpayer-money-set-aside-to-curb-white-flight-helped-some-flee-city.html#.U5XsW1fvn_Y" target="_blank">Chicago Sun-Times</a></em> investigated how families were cashing out of the program due to the housing economic slump, which is not what the taxing districts were designed for.</p><p>Put aside, for a moment, the reason these three taxing districts exist and focus just on the dollars.</p><p>Any community area would envy a pot of money that could potentially be reinvested back in the neighborhood &ndash;&nbsp;no matter what race benefits.</p><p><span style="font-size: 22px;">Map: Where are the home equity districts?<a name="wheredistricts"></a></span></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;">(click on the districts for financial info)</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col2%3E%3E0+from+1OVxIg4ZMZyPSe4FvVqVzWQasXgkF9WbsSNyMnsF4&amp;viz=MAP&amp;h=false&amp;lat=41.87606330248448&amp;lng=-87.73913351843261&amp;t=1&amp;z=10&amp;l=col2%3E%3E0&amp;y=2&amp;tmplt=2&amp;hml=KML" width="620"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size: 22px;">Chart: How the racial makeup of home equity districts has changed<a name="districtchange"></a></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/district%20change%20chart.PNG" style="height: 297px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Chris Hagan)" /></div><p>Chicago&#39;s three home equity districts cover 18 community areas. Those neighborhoods saw major demographic shifts from 1990 to 2010. For example, in Archer Heights White residents made up 90 percent of the population in 1990 but only 21 in 2010, a drop of 69 percentage points. In the same time Latino residents increased from 9 to 76 percent.</p><p><span style="font-size: 22px;">Map: How the racial makeup of Chicago has changed<a name="racemap"></a></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/maps.PNG" style="height: 381px; width: 620px;" title="Dot density map showing census numbers. (WBEZ/Chris Hagan)" /></div><blockquote><div>&nbsp;</div></blockquote><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;</em><em>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 14:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-are-we-still-collecting-taxes-prevent-white-flight-chicago-110325 State agency overrules CPS for charter funding http://www.wbez.org/news/state-agency-overrules-cps-charter-funding-109433 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS3523_board of ed-scr_2_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A little-known state agency backed by powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has overruled Chicago public school officials, ordering them to approve and fund two new charter schools in the city.</p><p>The schools are run by Concept Schools Inc. The Des Plaines-based organization operates 30 publicly financed privately-run schools in the Midwest, a majority of them in Ohio.</p><p>The Chicago Sun-Times <a href="http://bit.ly/1a3KHZF" target="_blank">reports</a> Concept is the first and only charter to benefit from the decision of the Illinois State Charter School Commission, founded in 2011 by Madigan. The two new schools will be located in the McKinley Park and Austin neighborhoods. They are getting 33 percent more funding per student than the city school system gives other charters.</p><p>Democratic state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia wants the state agency eliminated.</p></p> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 12:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/state-agency-overrules-cps-charter-funding-109433