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Funding for everything from state-subsidized daycare to court reporters' salaries is running out in Illinois. At the same time, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed on a top aide for a contract worth $30,000 per month.

Donna Arduin may not be a household name in Illinois yet, but as Rauner's Chief Financial Officer, she may become one.

Arduin has been contracted to "provide advice to the governor" on how to deal with Illinois' pending fiscal challenges. For that, she -- or more specifically, her consulting firm -- will be paid $120,000 for four months of work.

childcarecenter.us

Illinois' program that provides subsidized daycare for low-income families is out of cash. A Senate committee attempted to address the issue Thursday.

Chandra Ankoor is a 24-year-old single mother from Springfield. While she is working, she sends her three daughters to child care that is partially paid for with the help of the state.

If it weren't for this assistance, Ankoor says it would cost her every dollar she makes, and then some, to afford the cost of child care.

Flickr user E Photos / "IMG_1927 - Power Lines" (CC v 2.0)

The Illinois coal industry is not happy with the federal government’s decision to stop funding a clean-coal project in Illinois. 

President Barack Obama's administration pulled the plug on the FutureGen 2.0 "clean-coal" power plant, which was slated to be built in central Illinois. 

durbin.senate.gov

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says the budget proposed by President Barack Obama maintains funding for two national laboratories in Illinois. 

The spending plan includes more than $5 billion for the Energy Department’s Office of Science. That's the primary funding source for the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont and Fermilab in Batavia.

Argonne is one of the Energy Department's largest research centers, spanning fields including high-energy physics, climatology and biotechnology. Fermilab is a leading center of high-energy physics research.

Rauner: Illinois Needs To Be More Competitive

Feb 4, 2015

Some of the big ideas Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner outlined in first his State of the State Address aren’t likely to get very far.

Rauner acknowledged up front that voters elected him - a Republican - and supermajority of Democrats in the legislature.

"They don’t want partisan bickering, political infightin', or personal conflict to get in the way of servin' the needs of the families of Illinois," Rauner said.

Rauner spoke of inequities in granting contracts to minority-owned companies, and prison conditions that he called “unacceptable.”

U Of I Flash Index Rose .4 Since Last Month

Feb 3, 2015
Institute of Government and Public Affairs, U of I

The Illinois economy is at its highest level in nearly a year. 

The U of I’s Flash Index measured 106.8 in January, up four-tenths of a point from the month before.

The Index rose to 107 last winter. But since then, economist Fred Giertz says the state’s economy measured in the 106 range.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The future of a state-subsidized day care program is in limbo.

The budget passed by the last class of lawmakers and signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn cut it by millions of dollars.  That means money for it has run out.

While that's not expected to be an immediate problem, some say daycare providers could begin cutting off services as soon as later this month if payments are delayed. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner late last week blamed his predecessor for creating the high-pressure situation.

Hannah Meisel/IPR

Gov. Bruce Rauner lit a fire under labor unions this week when he suggested local governments should be able to implement their own right-to-work laws. Yesterday, Rauner went one step further, saying government unions should be banned from contributing to political campaigns.

Rauner had largely been silent about unions since winning his primary campaign last March. In the general election, the candidate abandoned his talk of "government union bosses" who he says control contracts with the state, driving up the cost of business. But this week, that talk and phrase is back.

Rauner Criticizes School Admin Costs

Jan 30, 2015
twitter.com/BruceRauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner is criticizing the number of school districts and administrators in the K-through-12 system as too costly.

Rauner is calling for what he calls "education bureaucracy" to be pared down, citing the more than 850 school districts and 13,000 administrators in the state. 

The governor said this week in Champaign that not enough of the state's tax dollars actually make it to the classroom.

Two key points in Rauner's gubernatorial campaign were letting the state's temporary income tax hike expire and promising to increase funding for schools.

state of Illinois

The Illinois House voted to pass the rules for how the legislature will run itself for the next two years. But Republicans took issue with a few of the procedures. 

Representative Ed Sullivan from Mundelein wants to extend the time period that information is posted online before legislators can debate a bill. The rules require only a one-hour notice before a hearing.

"I want to talk a little bit about the voice of the public, those that we serve, and what their voice is within the rules, and their ability to have more transparency."

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