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Insight on Illinois

October 21, 2020

Voting in Illinois is in full swing. Election day is less than two weeks away. The last Presidential debate is this week. In Illinois, the biggest fight is over the proposed Constitutional Amendment to do away with Illinois’ flat income tax. There are also several Congressional races worth watching. In the 3rd Congressional District, for the first time in nearly 30 years, there is no Lipinski in the race. In the 6th and 14th Districts that turned blue in 2018, freshmen Congressmen are defending. In the red 13th District, a rematch is underway, where the incumbent won with only three-fourths of a point in 2018. 

Here is what else we are watching now.

Chicago and Cook County Release 2021 Budget Proposals

  • Chicago Mayor Lightfoot will be laying out her proposed 2021 budget this week, which would include:
    • New taxes
      • $94 million property tax hike
      • Increase gas tax by 3 cents a gallon
    • Layoffs of city positions, and eliminating more than 1,000 vacant city positions
    • Potential bond refinancing
  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle unveiled her 2021 budget plans last week. The proposals include:
    • County layoffs and eliminating positions
    • Dipping into the county’s general fund reserve

New COVID Restrictions

  • President Trump bashed Illinois Governor JB Pritzker at a campaign stop in Janesville, WI over the weekend, saying “Illinois could use a new governor”
    • Gov. Pritzker struck back at the President’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, saying President Trump made it “nearly impossible” for Illinois to be able to lift their mitigation measures at this point
  • The Southern Illinois region will be facing new state coronavirus restrictions beginning on Oct. 22nd 
  • The statewide eviction moratorium has been extended until Nov. 16th 

Upcoming Meetings

Thursday, October 21st, 10 a.m. – Chicago Budget Address

Thursday, October 22nd, 10 a.m. – Cook County Board of Commissioners

Monday, October 26th – Tuesday, November 10th, 9 a.m. – Chicago Committee on the Budget and Government Operations Hearings

Monday, November 16th, 10 a.m. – Chicago City Council

Tuesday, November 17th – Thursday, November 19th – Illinois House and Senate Veto Session

Thursday, November 19th, 10 a.m. – Cook County Board of Commissioners

News of the Week

Mayor Lori Lightfoot considering $94 million property tax increase, more than 300 city worker layoffs and gas tax hike as part of plan to close $1.2 billion budget gap, sources sayChicago Tribune

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is considering a $94 million property tax increase, layoffs for more than 300 city workers, and a gas tax hike as part of her plan to close a $1.2 billion budget deficit, sources told the Tribune. Lightfoot also is considering about $500 million in refinancing city debt to help close the deficit, sources said.

Lightfoot’s ‘pandemic’ budget: 500 layoffs, $94 million property tax hikeChicago Sun-Times

Raising Chicago’s nickel-a-gallon tax on gasoline to 8 cents and imposing a $94 million property tax increase that will cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 an extra $56 a year. Eliminating 1,000 vacant city jobs, 450 of them police officers, and laying off up to 500 city employees, but delaying the pink slips until March to give the new Congress a chance to ride to the rescue.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlines $6.9 billion budget plan: ‘This pandemic has dealt Cook County and its residents a catastrophic blow’Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlined her plans Thursday for a $6.9 billion 2021 budget that would plug an overall projected $409 million coronavirus-driven shortfall through layoffs, tapping reserve funds, and new revenue from online sales, weed and gambling taxes.

State Public Health Officials Announce COVID-19 Resurgence Mitigations to Take Effect in Region 5 on October 22, 2020 – Office of the Governor

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are announcing COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 5, in Southern Illinois, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, October 22, 2020. The region is seeing a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures in the region under the state's Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker: President Trump ‘made it nearly impossible’ for Illinois, other states to reopenChicago Sun-Times

A day after President Donald Trump said Illinois “could use a new governor,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday said with COVID-19 infections rising, Trump has “made it nearly impossible” for states to move forward with widespread reopenings. Pritzker also accused unnamed “Trump allies in our state” of contributing to the spike in Illinois COVID-19 infections by “urging people” to not pay attention to social distancing and other rules.

5 states added to Chicago’s travel quarantine order: ‘We all need to double down on COVID precautions’Chicago Tribune

Five more states, including Ohio, were added to Chicago’s travel quarantine order while none were removed, city officials announced Tuesday. Starting Friday, travelers heading from Colorado, Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia, and Texas will be subject to the city’s two-week quarantine requirement, according to a news release. For the Lone Star state, this week will be the third time Chicago has added it to its travel order.

Record-high Illinois COVID-19 caseload, hospitalizations and positive test rate rising: ‘We are in a new wave’Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois suffered a second straight record-shattering day with 4,554 new coronavirus cases reported Friday, a third of the state has reached a COVID-19 “warning level,” and testing positivity rates are darting up across the board. “I am deeply concerned. Let me be clear: We are in a new wave here,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “Anybody that hasn’t noticed this, turn on the television. We’re in a new wave of COVID-19 — rising cases, rising positivity, all across the nation.”

Pritzker Extends Ban on Evictions for 7th MonthWTTW

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Friday that Illinois’ ban on evictions would be extended until Nov. 16, as state officials continue to send grants to Illinois residents struggling to make ends meet. Pritzker has extended the ban on evictions four times since he lifted the stay-at-home order at the end of May, when the state began to make significant progress in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Black Agenda's Progress — J.B. Donates to Joe — COVID Surge is Coming — Looming Junk Status for Illinois – Politico

The Illinois Legislative Joint Black Caucus is on track to present a sweeping omnibus bill next month meant to address racial inequities on a suite of topics: health, education, economic access, and criminal justice reform. “We’ll be ready,” Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford told Playbook. Lightford, who heads the joint caucus, says lawmakers have put in countless hours all summer and into the fall talking to experts, gathering data, and pulling together information for the measure.

It’s not just IL billionaires in ‘fair’ tax fight. Here’s who wants to sway your vote.Belleville News-Democrat

Chicago entrepreneur Erik Severinghaus is among the 3% of Illinoisans wealthy enough that he’ll have to pay more next year under a graduated income tax if voters approve a change to the state constitution on Nov. 3. But Severinghaus said paying more isn’t his problem with what supporters call the “fair tax,” which would allow lawmakers to scrap Illinois’ existing flat-rate system and tax Illinoisans who earn more than $250,000 annually at a higher rate.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot declines to comment on sex assault allegations against ex-police Superintendent Eddie Johnson; says she wasn’t told of alleged ‘improper relationship’Chicago Tribune

Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined Monday to comment on sexual assault allegations against former Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson by his former driver, saying she can’t talk about pending litigation. The mayor also declined to comment on allegations that she ordered Johnson to “dump” Cynthia Donald, Johnson’s former driver, by removing her from his security detail.

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