Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to increase property taxes by $600 million could cost aldermen political capital.

Chicago aldermen were asked to decide if their constituents can handle living in a more expensive city.

Emanuel says the city owes so much to its retiring police and firefighters that he has to raise property taxes. He says a vote for his budget will put aldermen in the history books for pulling Chicago from the financial brink

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

More than 130,000 college students in Illinois rely on the Monetary Award Program -- or MAP grants — to help pay for tuition.

That’s one of the many programs that was left unfunded when state lawmakers and the governor failed to agree on a state budget.

Most colleges have covered the cost for students, counting on eventual reimbursement. But State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, speaking at the University of Illinois in Springfield Tuesday, said that won't go on much longer. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Violent crime, heroin use, and police relations in Rockford --  those three problems were the focus of a year-long study by the Department of Justice. The city invited the analysis and received the initial results Tuesday.

Herb Trix / WVIK

The numbers are bad, and quickly getting worse.

That was the message today from Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger, as she urged state leaders again to work out a budget and fix the state's finances.

During a news conference in Moline, Munger said the state's unpaid bills now total 6 billion dollars and could reach 8.5 billion by the end of the year.

“We receive 5,000 calls a week, asking when will they get paid,” Munger said.

NIU Interim Budget Considers 'Worst Case' Cuts

Sep 23, 2015
Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

The chief financial officer at Northern Illinois University says cuts already are being considered after NIU trustees announced an interim budget last week due to the state budget stalemate.

Al Phillips, the vice president of finance at NIU, says those university cuts include food costs and program prioritization.

“While furloughs or layoffs -- depending on what happens with the state -- could be a possibility, it’s not something that we’re actively considering at this time,” Phillips said.

Jenna Dooley

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Illinois health officials say suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the state for young adults 15 to 34 years of age.

Northern Illinois University political science major Lisa Holland says those numbers are the reason members of the school’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega have been advertising free hugs in the MLK Commons, an area with high student foot traffic.  

The art of writing and the rhythm of prose are close to the heart of Juan Filipe Herrera. He’s the newly named U.S. Poet Laureate and the first Chicano to be named to the post in the nation’s history. WNIJ’s Steve Shadley got a chance to meet Herrera during his visit to Rockford this week… 


Lisa Ryan

Two public-employee unions say the state has agreed to delay layoffs of Illinois State Museum staff, conservation police officers and other state workers.

Inmates Arrive At Thomson Prison, More Expected

Sep 22, 2015
Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

A once-abandoned Illinois prison in Thomson, in northwestern Illinois, is on track to house hundreds of federal inmates.

Illinois spent millions to build a then state-of-the-art correctional center in 2001; but budget cuts meant it never actually opened.

More than a decade later, the federal government bought it.

Some 90 minimum security inmates arrived this summer; more are expected.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, says that's the latest information he's received, following a meeting with the head of the US. prisons bureau.

Fox Lake Police Department

Northern Illinois authorities say they have received the results of gun residue and ballistics tests conducted in the investigation into the shooting death of a Fox Lake police officer earlier this month.

Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman Christopher Covelli says the results do not support or exclude any theory in the death of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz. 

Covelli on Monday refused to provide any of the test results. He said divulging the findings would make it harder to assess if would-be suspects at any future interrogations were telling the truth.