Lawmaker panel warning: Beware flock of tax-hungry lame ducks next January

LAME DUCK WARNING Prediction: A year from now, the lame-duck Illinois General Assembly will vote to extend the 2011 income tax increase. And some of those lame ducks will get high-ranking, high-paying state jobs in exchange for their votes. So said our panel of lawmakers -- two Republicans, one Democrat -- at our town hall meeting Tuesday night in Woodstock. And that's not all. More here.

SWEETNESSGATE Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has christened the Bruce Rauner/Walter Payton College Prep clout controversy "Sweetnessgate." (That's a reference to Walter Payton's nickname, for those not aware.) It's not so sweet for Rauner, Zorn writes. Summary here.

BUSINESS PUSHES BACK  Some of the biggest business groups in the state have united against the effort by Gov. Pat Quinn to raise Illinois' minimum wage to $10. Doug Whitley of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce explains why businesses hate the idea.

THE BARON AND THE BRAIN No, Baron Von Carhartt, Shady Bill Brady and Pat Quinn's Brain aren't characters from a board game. They're among the fake Twitter accounts issuing satiric posts in the voices of the candidates for governor. They're hilarious, but sometimes the satire can have a real bite. Here's a sampling.

WHERE ARE THE JOBS? Moody's Analytics ranked all 50 states for projected job growth through 2014. Illinois does not fare well. This interactive map lets you see where the job growth is and isn't happening. Click here and explore the national job picture.

SOUND OFF A police chief retires, starts collecting a $100,000-a-year pension, then gets hired back as "director of security" -- same salary, new title. Lax and vague disclosure rules let politicians avoid revealing financial conflicts. Big corporations extort the state for big tax breaks by threatening to leave if they don't get them. If you're tired of any or all of these scenarios, now you can do something about them. Use our Sound Off tool to learn more about the issues and send a message to your lawmakers, Gov. Pat Quinn and the four leaders of the General Assembly. All in a few mouse clicks. It's fast, easy and effective. Choose and click an issue below to get started.


HEADLINES Here are the top news stories in Illinois today:

  • 5. The Associated Press asked the Illinois candidates for governor to sum up why they are running in 140-character Tweets. (Associated Press)
    4. All four GOP gubernatorial candidates said fixing the state’s economic problems would be the top priority if they win. (Associated Press)
    3. The University of Illinois is working on a new pension plan by June for employees hurt by the state’s new pension reform law. (The News-Gazette)
    2. Pat Quinn continues to stay quiet while his GOP opponents battle each other. (CBS Chicago)
    1. Opinion: Bruce Rauner is paying the price for what Tribune columnist Eric Zorn is calling “Sweetnessgate.” (Chicago Tribune)


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