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

A recent analysis found that both the budget proposal from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the one approved by Democratic lawmakers would leave the state with a more than $9 billion deficit. 

Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says that neither plan takes into account the shortfall from last fiscal year. 

"The budget deficit carry forward from 2015 into 2016 is going to be $5.9 billion,” Martire said. “That will appear nowhere on state financial records. They won't have a balanced budget. Let's just be honest."

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The Illinois House could vote next week on a measure to keep last year’s eligibility guidelines for child care assistance. 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Democrat from Peoria, says she plans to call the measure that challenges Governor Bruce Rauner’s move last month to restrict the program. 

“It will undo the rules that Governor Rauner put into place on July 1, which would essentially cut out 90-percent of the current eligible people who are looking to get childcare,” Gordon-Booth said.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says Democrats’ questions about running an unbalanced budget are “side issues.”

There have been several lawsuits against state government because there’s no budget. Those lawsuits prompted Rauner’s administration to spend a set amount of money for core services.

Democrats like State Representative John Bradley want to know if the state’s spending more than it’s taking in.

"I think it’s a very, very bad calculation," he said.

Illinois’s prison watchdog, the John Howard Association, says the new leader of state prisons needs to increase transparency.

But prison reformers who worked with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pick to lead the agency say openness isn’t John Baldwin's strong suit.

Baldwin led Iowa’s Department of Corrections before he was appointed in Illinois.

Johnie Hammond, a former state lawmaker who served two terms on the Iowa prison board, said she would give Baldwin "mixed reviews" in general but negative reviews on transparency.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin provided a fairly blunt reply to the proposition that the War on Drugs failed.

“By some measure, it has failed,” said Durbin, D-Ill. “If the measure is the cost of drugs on the street, it has failed. But when we look at the individual lives saved, there are certainly heroic great stories to be told. But we have to be honest about what works and what doesn’t.”


Northern Illinois University Athletics announced the cannon that would signify a touchdown at home games will no longer be in the stadium starting this season.

But how is the community and student body responding?

NIU will replace the cannon with a hospitality tent on one end zone and a fireworks show on the other...but not everyone is happy about the stadium renovations.

New Illinois Department Of Corrections Head Named

Aug 17, 2015
Radio Iowa

John Baldwin is the new head of Illinois prisons.

Baldwin spent eight years as the head of the Iowa Department of Corrections before retiring in January.

Jean Basinger is the president of prison reform group Iowa CURE. She says she worked with Baldwin in Iowa.

"I certainly hope he can help with your problems in the system but I am concerned because of his lack of experience with such a big system," Basinger said.

There are more than five times as many prisoners in Illinois than in Iowa.

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union says he’s hopeful Illinois’ troubled child welfare system will make some big changes.

The ACLU’s Ben Wolf is at the center of an ongoing class action lawsuit over how the Department of Children and Family Services treats kids in its care.

“For children with behavioral and psychological challenges, there just aren’t the services they need, and the result of that is they’re left languishing in correctional centers and shelters and all sorts of places that just aren’t the right place to spend your childhood,” Wolf said.

A researcher on national education issues came to central Illinois this week to give teachers a back-to-school pep talk and to give them ideas on how to improve kids' learning.


John Draper, a former middle school teacher and principal, works for the National School Public Relations Association. It's his job to tout neighborhood schools, and he did plenty of that in his presentation to Macon County teachers this week. 

Former U Of I Chancellor Will Take Faculty Position

Aug 14, 2015
University of Illinois

The University of Illinois has accepted Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s second resignation, and she’ll be taking a faculty position.

Meanwhile, the U of I says it’s won’t initiate dismissal proceedings.  Wise will accept a tenured position in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  U of I spokesman Tom Hardy says she’ll take an immediate 1-year paid sabbatical.