Bill Wheelhouse

Anchor / Journalist

Ways to Connect

Five weeks into the new fiscal year, and Illinois still has no spending plan in place.  While many state functions continue to shuffle along, many services and businesses are folding.   And there seems to be no end in sight.  Chris Mooney, Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, joins the panel.

On this weeks WUIS/SJR Business Report Bill and Tim talk about Obama's energy announcement and Illinois coal,  a Sangamon County wind farm and an update on local hospital construction.

The month of July has come and gone and there is still no agreement between the Legislature and Governor Rauner on a state budget for the current fiscal year.  Kent Redfield, emeritus professor of Political Science at UIS, joins the panel this week.

flickr/Benjamin Goodger

It's been 30 years since Illinois' mandatory seatbelt law took effect.   The latest numbers estimate that 95 percent of the state's motorists are using their safety belts. The goal is to try to persuade that other five percent:

State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says males in their early 20's are primarily the ones who still don't buckle up.

Spingfield's "skyscraper" will be changing labels at the end of the year.  Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse chat about the transition of the Springfield Hilton on the Business report.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

A new report details urban flooding problems in Illinois.  The report from the Department of Natural Resources says damage from urban flooding (flooding on higher ground outside a flood plain) cause more than $2 billion worth of damage between 2007-2014 in Illinois.

More political posturing this week, but there seems to be little or no progress on resolving the state budget impasse as Illinois still has no legal spending plan in place.

The Conductor of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is getting an early exit from his contract. Alastair Willis will remain on as a conductor through this season.

A note to symphony supporters says the ISO Board has agreed to accept Willis' request because of his desire to balance the demands of his international performance schedule. Willis is in the third year of a five year contract.     

A statement from the ISO Board President Carolyn Yockey says their goal is have candidates for the job conducting next year's symphony performances.


Justin L. Fowler/The Journal Register

Tim chats with Bill about saving the iconic seal from the remnants of the Bel Air Motel & an Emerald Ash Borer infestation at the State Fairgrounds.

With still no agreement on a state budget for the fiscal year, questions remain over even a temporary spending plan for the next month.  However, state workers are still receiving paychecks while awaiting a ruling from the state Supreme Court.  Ed Cross, Capitol Reporter for WAND-TV joins the panel.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

The SJ-R's Tim Landis talks about the Logan County wind farm proposal, gives us an update on demolition around Springfield and a Springfield based company is growing.

University of Illinois Chicago

Springfield residents wanting the city to create "quiet zones" along the Third Street rail corridor want to see some action soon.  Bill Wheelhouse talks with the leader of a petition effort to get changes made on Third Street in order for trains to cut back on whistle blowing.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The war of words continues between Governor Rauner and Democratic leaders in the Legislature and they seem to be no closer to an agreement on a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year - which leaves Illinois facing a possible government shutdown on July 1st.  Doug Finke of Gatehouse News joins the panel this week.

Springfield's population is expected to increase over the next quarter-century but at a lower rate than in recent years.  Tim Landis of the SJR discusses his reporting on the issue with Bill Wheelhouse.  Also a different Parsons in bankruptcy court and goodbye New Coney Island.

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers continued to spar over the state budget and the governor's legislative agenda.  Rauner dismissed the legislature's proposed changes for workers' compensation as "phony reform" and Democrats criticized the governor paying his top education aide, Beth Purvis, a $250,000 salary from Department of Human Services funds.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel discussion.

University of Illinois Press

Alan Guebert has written the nationally syndicated column "Farm and Food File" for more than 20 years.  Most of the time he keeps a serious focus on breaking down food policy issues. Often, its not the same view as held by major farm groups.   Other times, the Delavan, Illinois based writer harkens back to his days on a southern Illinois dairy farm.

Hillard Family photo in field
Tonya Hilliard

Last year, Illinois was one of a handful of states that lost population. The out migration became a campaign issue in the governor’s race last year and has some throwing up caution flags. But the numbers don’t mean there is a crisis, or even a real clamor, to leave the state.

The current situation at the Illinois Statehouse as lawmakers and the Governor enter the scheduled closing weekend of the legislative session.  Rick Pearson of The Chicago Tribune joins the panel this week.

The train controls that were lacking in Philadelphia will be in place when Illinois high speed rail happens... if the state will spend the money.

As the May 31st deadline for passing a new budget looms, Governor Rauner and the Legislature continue to bicker.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel this week.


In addition to the Bel-Aire Sputnik getting re-furbished, Tim talks about fundraising for fixes at the Executive Mansion and a Realtor trade group expanding:

Watch Decatur City Limitless

Michael J. Madigan headshot

This week, Illinois House Democrats defeated Governor Rauner's "Right to Work" agenda.  Also, with the Illinois Supreme Court's decision last week, the future of state pension funding is still in question.

Tim Landis headshot

Bill Wheelhouse and Tim Landis talk about a public forum this week on plans to improve the neighborhood near Lincoln's home.

The HyVee Chain has a new service, which a hi-tech grocery trade publication tells us about.

Read it here

Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse discuss the appointment of a new state fair director and what his charge may be.

Tim Landis talks about the efforts of Brandt in Beijing on this weeks WUIS/SJR Business Report.

As talk swirls at the State Capitol about privatizing the state's economic development agency, here are some interesting perspectives from Crain's on the topic.

Click here to read

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

This week, the Illinois legislature worked to restore some of Governor Rauner's social service cuts and convened a oversight committee to examine the reasoning behind them.  Meanwhile, Governor Rauner continued his efforts to eliminate public sector "fair share" union dues.  Also, a bill decriminalizing possession of certain amounts of marijuana moves from the House to the Senate.  Jamey Dunn of Illinois Issues magazine joins the panel discussion.

Local employers seem to be optimistic about the Sangamon County economy in the year ahead.

The twice yearly survey gives researchers a read on what local leaders think about the economy. 

Ashley Kirzinger with the U of I Springfield's Survey Research Office says the latest report shows a big jump in the expectations of local employers and a 36 point increase in  the overall economic outlook from four years ago.