Rauner Hints How Budget Negotiations Are Going

Feb 27, 2015
Amanda Vinicky

When Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was sworn in as governor - he faced an immediate budget problem.

Programs like those that fund child daycare were running out of money - because lawmakers passed a budget that accounted for a higher income tax rate.

Rauner says he’s close to an agreed spending plan with Democratic leaders for the next few months.

“Everybody’s watching sausage be made. This is not, it’s not a pretty picture. The sausage will actually taste good in the end, but it’s kinda nasty and ugly and a little smelly in the process.”

Hundreds Rally Over Child Care Support

Feb 27, 2015

Hundreds of parents and child-care providers from Springfield and throughout Illinois gathered Thursday morning at the State Capitol to support full funding of the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) through June 30 and to reject $85 million in proposed cuts that, if enacted, would take effect July 1.

"Illinois Action for Children" claims the proposed cuts will mean many families won't be able to afford child care. The group also is fighting new eligibility rules and increased co-pays for parents.

Randy Hultgren / YouTube

A northern Illinois congressman is speaking out after recent abductions of civilians by the Islamic State. 


U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren delivered a statement on the House floor this week bringing attention to the religious minorities in the Middle East murdered or taken by the Islamic State.


Exelon Wants Reward For Low-Carbon Power

Feb 26, 2015

After issuing warnings it may have to close down half its nuclear fleet,  Exelon has introduced a proposal it says would keep them open. It signals the start of what's expected to be a long debate over energy policy in Illinois.

Exelon is one of the biggest and most powerful corporations in the state.

"No one from Exelon has ever denied that the company is profitable. It is," said Joe Dominguez, Senior Vice President of Exelon Generation.

Illinois Community Arts Groups Face Funding Challenges

Feb 26, 2015
Steve Myers

Betsy Dollar’s office at the Springfield Art Association, which she heads, is a hodgepodge of computers used for digital art classes, important files, various books and pieces of art. Her dog, Jake, who tends to accompany her to work, is napping under the desk. Dollar is in the middle of a messy project, using clay to restore a historic ceiling medallion that was damaged at Edwards Place, a home that is part of the Springfield Art Association campus and was the original center of artistic activity for the group some 100 years ago.

When Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged to increase school funding by $300 million, educators seemed unimpressed.

They’re more excited about House Speaker Michael Madigan’s proposed 3 percent surcharge on income greater than a million dollars. That would provide about a billion dollars to schools.

That move would require a constitutional amendment, but it has gotten backing from a variety of education groups that are often at odds with one another -- teachers unions, school administrators, and everyone in between.

Different states implement Common Core standards in different ways.

Illinois has its own test to determine college readiness, but some parents and teachers are trying to stop it. Critics say it causes problems for students and prevents teaching other subjects.

Illinois students will begin taking the new test -- PARCC, which stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers -- next month. It consists of math and reading exams given to students starting in third grade.

Amanda Vinicky

Just over 50 top state officials came together Wednesday afternoon for their first cabinet meeting with new Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Journalists were invited to hear the Republican chief executive's opening remarks.

Rauner's Cabinet gathered in one of the capitol's largest, and nicest, committee rooms; members milled about, making small talk and introductions.

Some were recently appointed by the governor and are new to Illinois government; others are holdovers from former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.

Victor Yehling

The Rockford area has been neglected for too long, area officials testified Wednesday, and the long-promised project to bring Amtrak passenger rail service to the state’s third-largest city should be reinstated.

More than 150 people crammed into the lower-level auditorium of the Giorgi State Office building to hear testimony supporting restoration of the service.

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said the city has made major commitments to downtown development, some of which are already under way, that will attract visitors and businesses to the area.

Rachel Otwell

A lack of agreement among Illinois' top political leaders means the state cannot pay for subsidized day care, prison guards' salaries and other needs.

Illinois is out of money for them, with months left in the fiscal year.

Last Wednesday, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner said he and the General Assembly's Democratic leaders were "days away" from a deal.

This week, Rauner said they're "very close" to an understanding.