Plenty can, and will, happen before voters go to the polls in November to chose their next governor. But a central theme of the campaign emerged Wednesday, when Gov. Pat Quinn proposed making permanent what was supposed to have been a temporary hike in the state's income tax. His Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, favors letting the increase lapse. Their competing visions mean a lot is at stake ahead of the upcoming election, as well as for the state's future.
Springfield's Mayor has yet to say if he will seek another term in office. During a speech Wednesday, he sounded like a candidate.
Mayor Mike Houston touted his accomplishments during the almost 25 minute State of the City speech. Included was the city's 3-year, 86 million dollar infrastructure improvement program and development of the South MacArthur TIF district, which includes the new Hy-Vee Supermarket. But unlike his previous State of the City Addresses, Houston shied away from mentioning any new proposals.
Springfield Mayor Michael Houston celebrates his administration's accomplishments since he took office in 2011. He addressed the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce in the Prairie Capital Convention Center.
Audio FileFull audio of Mayor Houston's 2014 State of the City address to Chamber of CommerceEdit | Remove
The company that manages Springfield's workers comp caseload wants to go outside the county for a key hire. City aldermen questioned that move last night.
The contract with Triune Health Group says the nurse representative it used must be in Sangamon County. The company says the job is highly specialized and it can't find anyone within the county who is qualified.
Instead, the firm wants to use a nurse in Macon County. Some aldermen at the committee of the whole meeting were left scratching their heads, since the Springfield area has a wealth of healthcare workers.
The Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources wants to add black bears, gray wolves and cougars to the state's list of protected species. But there is disagreement on how much protection should be given when there is a safety concern.
On November 20, 2013, a family near Morrison, Ill. asked state conservation police officers to kill a cougar found hiding under a building on their land.
Advocates have been moving for months to give Illinois a progressive income tax. Instead of the same flat rate for everyone, those who make more would pay more. As Hannah Meisel reports, supporters are finally getting specific.
Backers of the plan argue most Illinoisans would get a tax cut.
Senator Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, says this provides the state a new choice, instead of extending the 2011 income tax hike or making deep cuts to services.
On this week's WUIS / State Journal-Register Business Report, hundreds have been hired to work at the new Hy-Vee store on Springfield's MacArthur Boulevard. But we still don't know an opening day for the store. And, a Girard grocery store that's been in place for a century changes hands.
WUIS' Sean Crawford also talks with the SJ-R's Business Editor Tim Landis about work getting closer on the Carpenter Street underpass and what, if anything, can we read into farmland prices flattening out in 2013.
The University of Illinois Springfield is looking for a new men's basketball coach. The school announced today that Ben Wierzba's contract won't be renewed.
He spent four years leading the Prairie Stars finishing with an overall record of 39 wins and 69 losses. His career as head coach was highlighted by leading the program to a 15-13 record in his second year in 2011-12 as the team finished 12-6 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Athletic Director Kim Pate says a search for a replacement will begin immediately.
In a speech that could be pivotal for both his re-election campaign and for the state's finances, Governor Pat Quinn will Wednesday present his annual budget proposal. His administration is tight-lipped about what he has in mind.
Illinois lawmakers — at least most of them — have agreed the state has about $35 billion dollars to spend next year.
But as House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says,
"How we distribute that money and divvy it up is a whole different analysis."
Commuter student, by nature, spend less time on the UIS campus. But the University is trying a new way to engage those students in activities. There's a bribe involved, a practical one.
I'm standing in a restaurant area in the most high traffic part of the university, the Public Affairs Center. The restaurant is a dimly lit room mainly used for meetings and donor meals. In the corner a few people are sitting around a table. I sit down and plug my dying iPhone into one of the power-strips on the tables.
It's been nearly a century since women gained the right to vote through a federal amendment. But there are still lessons to be learned from the suffrage movement, and many women still face inequality. Female lawmakers, historians, and political scientists will convene at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum's Union Theatre in Springfield on Thursday night to discuss the lasting impact of women's suffrage. Issues discussed will include the fight for equal pay and representation in government.
Illinois State University President Timothy Flanagan has resigned after eight months on the job.
Flanagan is being investigated by ISU police after a former campus employee accused him of assault.
He stepped down during a special Board of Trustees meeting Saturday. The resignation took effect immediately.
A statement on the university's website says Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Dietz was named to replace him. Dietz was given a three year contract to become the President. He had been a finalist a year ago in the search where Flanagan was selected.
More than a month after he was supposed to outline his financial agenda for the state, Governor Pat Quinn will deliver his budget address this week. He has promised to give a long-term plan as well. But some legislators fear Illinois will go the opposite route and adopt a partial-year budget.
During his budget speech Wednesday, Gov. Quinn will presumably answer the question he has avoided answering for months: what should Illinois do about the temporary income tax increase, set to rollback in January? That's midway through the next fiscal year.
Federal agents were searching for child pornography when they seized computers from former state Rep.
Keith Farnham's home and offices this month.
Search warrants released by the Illinois House Saturday seek documents "concerning minors visually depicted while engaged in sexually explicit conduct" from computers in Farnham's Elgin home and office as well as his Springfield office.
The Illinois legislature's discussions over state spending are getting heated. On Friday, Lawmakers heard from agencies facing massive budget cuts.
Eight agency heads told Senators how painful it'd be to cut 20 percent from their operations. That figure is based on a projected billion-dollar shortfall next year, when the temporary income tax hike begins to sunset.
It could mean less funding to schools, fewer state police patrols, closure of prisons and mass layoffs.