**SPECIAL POST-WEEKEND EDITION**
- Squandering? The Sun-Times reports that nine former city of Chicago employees have been paid nearly $400,000 after convictions or guilty pleas for corruption. IG Ferguson calls it an “unacceptable squandering of taxpayer money.”
- Transit triumph. The Illinois House voted to limit RTA’s Seniors Ride Free program, allowing only those enrolled in the Circuit Breaker aid program to qualify, and the measure now moves to the Senate. In a joint BGA/Fox Chicago News investigation that aired in November, “Riding While Dead,” we examined this program, uncovering lax oversight and fraud. As a result of the investigation, the BGA called for legislative reform of Seniors Ride Free, with this latest measure being one of our best options.
- Committee compromise. The Trib reports on Illinois House committee approval of business-friendly reforms in the state’s costly workers’ compensation program.
- Tax turmoil. Phil Kadner’s Southtown Star column is about one man’s frustration with the lack of transparency in the Springfield tax hike maneuvering. Mark Brown expresses similar frustration in his Sun-Times column. The Daily Herald says it’s “not a model of representative government. It’s a corruption of it.” A Trib editorial labels the emerging proposal a “tax outrage.” And Trib columnist John Kass says we’ll need a wall to keep taxpayers from fleeing Illinois.
- Train tracker. The CTA unveils rider-friendly app for monitoring train arrival times. The Sun-Times says the agency claims it uses existing technology so there’s no additional cost.
- Markham mess. The Trib reports that a Markham businessman and politically connected waste hauler, who’s “a chronic violator of state EPA laws,” got a $6 million contract with the city of Chicago.
- Bill’s background. The Beachwood Reporter takes a walk down memory lane with Bill Daley and Barack Obama vis-a-vis questionable Democratic machine ties.