Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 20, 2012

Quinn: Delay Retirement, Charge Employees More

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to raise the retirement age for Illinois public employees and require them to contribute more money to their retirement funds.

Those are the key parts of what Quinn calls a "bold plan'' to shore up state pension systems. They're now about $85 billion short of the money they'll eventually need.

The Democratic governor says the retirement age should be raised to 67 and employee contributions should climb by 3 percent.

He also wants downstate and suburban school districts to start contributing to the pensions of their employees. The state pays for that now.

At a Chicago news conference Friday, Quinn acknowledged the pension problem was largely caused by the state falling short. But the cost of his new plan mostly falls on workers.

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Categories: Economics, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 20, 2012

Quinn: Delay Retirement, Charge Employees More

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to raise the retirement age for Illinois public employees and require them to contribute more money to their retirement funds.

Those are the key parts of what Quinn calls a "bold plan'' to shore up state pension systems. They're now about $85 billion short of the money they'll eventually need.

The Democratic governor says the retirement age should be raised to 67 and employee contributions should climb by 3 percent.

He also wants downstate and suburban school districts to start contributing to the pensions of their employees. The state pays for that now.

At a Chicago news conference Friday, Quinn acknowledged the pension problem was largely caused by the state falling short. But the cost of his new plan mostly falls on workers.

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 20, 2012

U of I Paying Bill for Dustup Over President

The conflict at the University of Illinois that eventually led to the resignation of Michael Hogan from the presidency had a monetary cost that could reach $250,000.

The crisis at the university began in December when unsigned emails were sent to members of the U of I's Faculty Senate about a report that was critical of some of the president's proposals. The emails were traced to a computer used by Hogan's chief of staff, Lisa Troyer, who resigned.

The Chicago Tribune reports (http://trib.in/I6cI8h) that after faculty members began publicly criticizing Hogan's leadership style, the university began incurring legal and consulting costs, including those resulting from two meetings Hogan had in March with an executive coach.

University spokesman Thomas Hardy says it's "not unreasonable to expect organizations to need extra help during such times.

Categories: Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 20, 2012

Rare 1792 Penny Sells for $1.15 Million

When is a penny worth $1.15 million? When it is a rare experimental penny minted in 1792.

The unusual coin was auctioned off Thursday at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

Officials with Heritage Auctions say Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills, Calif., bought the penny on behalf of a group of unnamed investors. The winning bid was $1 million, but the investors also must pay the auction house's 15 percent commission.

Heritage Executive Vice President Todd Imhof says the coin is made with a copper ring that surrounds a small plug of silver, which was added to make the penny heavier.

Imhof says the coin was never actually put into circulation and only 14 examples of the coin are known to exist.

(AP Photo/Heritage Auction Galleries)

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Categories: History
Tags: history

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 20, 2012

Rare 1792 Penny Sells for $1.15 Million

When is a penny worth $1.15 million? When it is a rare experimental penny minted in 1792.

The unusual coin was auctioned off Thursday at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

Officials with Heritage Auctions say Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills, Calif., bought the penny on behalf of a group of unnamed investors. The winning bid was $1 million, but the investors also must pay the auction house's 15 percent commission.

Heritage Executive Vice President Todd Imhof says the coin is made with a copper ring that surrounds a small plug of silver, which was added to make the penny heavier.

Imhof says the coin was never actually put into circulation and only 14 examples of the coin are known to exist.

(AP Photo/Heritage Auction Galleries)

Categories: History
Tags: history

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 20, 2012

Indiana Governor Speaks in Champaign, Unions Protest

In a visit to Champaign Thursday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels spoke little of controversial legislation that brought thousands to the city to rally, but touted other ways he's addressed his state's business climate.

Daniels told over 400 people at the Champaign County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner that his approach to restoring Indiana's fiscal health included less government, and less spending. He said the lower the taxes, the more money that was left over to hire people. Daniels said state government took on the same mindset that went into every great business he's seen.

"And everybody knew what their role, or the role of their unit, was in delivering that goal," he said. "We are here to raise the disposable income of Hoosiers. That's what we're here for. We're going to do everything we can to attract better jobs, jobs that pay better than today. And then we're going to run the people's business the best way we know how so that we can leave more of those dollars in the pockets of the people who earn them."

The second term governor also cited Indiana's corporate income tax, worker's compensation, and property taxes as being lower than they are in Illinois. But Daniels only jokingly referred to the contentious right-to-work measure he signed this year, saying Illinois should not pass its own, so Indiana holds the advantage in luring employers.

Daniels also made parallels between his achievements in Indiana and what can be done at the federal level. He said government leaders need to be careful when using the 'coercive power of the state' to take money from people.

"Everyone in a position of public trust should ask him or herself everyday - did we really need that?" Daniels said. "We should only take dollars away from free citizens for a strictly necessary purpose, and then some people forget this part - you've got an equally solemn duty to spend it to the absolute maximum effect - never waste one of those dollars once you've taken it."

Daniels also says the country is seeing an 'erosion of opportunities' for a vibrant and stable middle class, calling for reforms of entitlement programs and spending reductions across the board.

About a year ago, Daniels announced he wasn't running for president in 2012. But he didn't speculate on his political future Thursday night.

Meanwhile, a few thousand came to Champaign to protest prior to the speech by Daniels, protesting legislation he signed earlier this year.

The rally included union members from Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana, which became a right-to-work state in February. The legislation bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay representation fees.

Deb Takehara is an organizer with the Illinois Federation of Teachers out of Chicago. She's not convinced that Governor Quinn's criticisms of right to work will hold up in the future.

"Just because Quinn is saying today that he doesn't think it's a good idea today doesn't mean he won't change his mind tomorrow," Takehara said. "I think we need to be organized, and we need to stand up every single day and say no, so that legilslators know that we don't want this to happen here."

Rally Organizer Larry Swope is the Executive Director of the Illinois State Pipe Trades, and also chairs the committee for 'Right to Work Won't Work' in Illinois.

Swope said Gov. Quinn would never sign such a measure.

"But it's important to get organized labor awake again, and make sure they understand that what happened in Indiana two years ago, they didn't they were going to have the right-to-work (measure)," he said. "So this was to get our people fired up, this was to let the politicians know at the (Repbublican) event know that the right to work isn't going to work in Illinois."

The group started its protest outside the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall, then moved it to the Hilton Garden Inn, where Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was speaking.

(Video courtesy of Maria Renear)

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Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 20, 2012

PCB Concerns Prompt Special Protection for Mahomet Aquifer

PCB Concerns Prompt Special Protection for Mahomet Aquifer

Worries about the Clinton Landfill's proposal to store hazardous PCB's are fueling a quest for a special federal designation for areas that get drinking water from the Mahomet Aquifer.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 19, 2012

Indiana Governor Speaks in Champaign, Unions Protest

In a visit to Champaign Thursday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels spoke little of controversial legislation that brought thousands to the city to rally, but touted other ways he's addressed his state's business climate.

Daniels told over 400 people at the Champaign County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner that his approach to restoring Indiana's fiscal health included less government, and less spending. He said the lower the taxes, the more money that was left over to hire people. Daniels said state government took on the same mindset that went into every great business he's seen.

"And everybody knew what their role, or the role of their unit, was in delivering that goal," he said. "We are here to raise the disposable income of Hoosiers. That's what we're here for. We're going to do everything we can to attract better jobs, jobs that pay better than today. And then we're going to run the people's business the best way we know how so that we can leave more of those dollars in the pockets of the people who earn them."

The second term governor also cited Indiana's corporate income tax, worker's compensation, and property taxes as being lower than they are in Illinois. But Daniels only jokingly referred to the contentious right-to-work measure he signed this year, saying Illinois should not pass its own, so Indiana holds the advantage in luring employers.

Daniels also made parallels between his achievements in Indiana and what can be done at the federal level. He said government leaders need to be careful when using the 'coercive power of the state' to take money from people.

"Everyone in a position of public trust should ask him or herself everyday - did we really need that?" Daniels said. "We should only take dollars away from free citizens for a strictly necessary purpose, and then some people forget this part - you've got an equally solemn duty to spend it to the absolute maximum effect - never waste one of those dollars once you've taken it."

Daniels also says the country is seeing an 'erosion of opportunities' for a vibrant and stable middle class, calling for reforms of entitlement programs and spending reductions across the board.

About a year ago, Daniels announced he wasn't running for president in 2012. But he didn't speculate on his political future Thursday night.

Meanwhile, a few thousand came to Champaign to protest prior to the speech by Daniels, protesting legislation he signed earlier this year.

The rally included union members from Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana, which became a right-to-work state in February. The legislation bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay representation fees.

Deb Takehara is an organizer with the Illinois Federation of Teachers out of Chicago. She's not convinced that Governor Quinn's criticisms of right to work will hold up in the future.

"Just because Quinn is saying today that he doesn't think it's a good idea today doesn't mean he won't change his mind tomorrow," Takehara said. "I think we need to be organized, and we need to stand up every single day and say no, so that legilslators know that we don't want this to happen here."

Rally Organizer Larry Swope is the Executive Director of the Illinois State Pipe Trades, and also chairs the committee for 'Right to Work Won't Work' in Illinois.

Swope said Gov. Quinn would never sign such a measure.

"But it's important to get organized labor awake again, and make sure they understand that what happened in Indiana two years ago, they didn't they were going to have the right-to-work (measure)," he said. "So this was to get our people fired up, this was to let the politicians know at the (Repbublican) event know that the right to work isn't going to work in Illinois."

The group started its protest outside the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall, then moved it to the Hilton Garden Inn, where Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was speaking.

(Video courtesy of Maria Renear)

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 19, 2012

Quinn to Unveil Pension Proposals Friday

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will lay out major proposals for fixing the state's pension mess Friday.

A state lawmaker suggested they will include higher employee contributions and more modest annual increases.

The Democratic governor confirmed his plan Thursday after another major announcement about savings in Medicaid health programs.

Quinn will move forward on a pension fix as a group of lawmakers assigned to suggest ideas has not agreed on a complete plan.

Rep. Elaine Nekritz is a Northbrook Democrat on the committee. She says Quinn's staff told the group he wants employees to make higher contributions toward their pensions and will propose changes to cost-of-living increases. She would not be more specific.

Illinois pension systems are underfunded by $80 billion. Nekritz says Quinn will propose full funding in 30 years.

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 19, 2012

Danville Aldermen Differ on Downtown Promotion

Danville has a new city budget for the next fiscal year, but not before alderman disagreed Tuesday on how best to promote the downtown area.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer wanted to eliminate funding for Downtown Danville Inc, which ended up receiving $20-thousand, $10-thousand less than it's currently getting from the city.

Alderman Bill Black voted against the move. He says that group appears to be repeating what's being done by the Danville Convention and Visitor's bureau, and particularly, Vermilion Advantage.

"They have a proven track record, they've been around, and I just think the days are over when you can afford a duplication, or sometimes a triplication of effort, " Black said. "It's not against Downtown Danville, or the people on the board, they're fine people. But I just thought in these days of tight budgets, you need to put your money where you get the best return for your dollars."

Black says he disagrees with taking the money to lure business out of the city's general liability line item.

Alderman Rickey Williams Jr. supported the funding for Downtown Danville Inc., saying the focus of Vermilion Advantage should remain on the greater Vermilion County area. But Williams says he considers the vote a victory, since Mayor Eisenhauer wanted to zero-out funding for the group.

"Downtown Danville has struggled for years, and I feel like they're finally starting to have those type resurges that we need in terms of the services offered, in terms of having a little more retail and such downtown," Williams said. "And I think that it's imperative if we want that area to continue to grow, that we support them as a city."

Williams serves on the board of Vermilion Advantage, but says it's focused instead on development in greater Vermilion County.

That group received $70-thousand from the city Tuesday, $20-thousand more that it's currently getting, after a year that's seen retail developments, including new Meijer and Kohl's stores that are underway.

The Danville city budget passed Tuesday on a 10 to 2 vote.

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Categories: Economics, Government, Politics

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