Judicial juggernaut. The Appellate Court rocks our world for a second time this week. First the Rahm residency ruling, now an apparent knockout blow to the state’s $31 billion dollar construction program. The Sun-Times says the court is citing constitutional problems—the bill tries to do too many things. A Trib editorial bemoans the backroom dealing that gave us the bill in `09 without public hearings or due diligence, but says the good news is the possible death of video poker, one of the funding sources for the construction program.
Court clout? Also in the Trib, an inside look at the political nature of the Illinois Supreme Court, as the high court considers Rahm’s residency. The BGA applauds the timely focus on a judicial system that elects judges instead of establishing independent panels to appoint them.
Moody’s mood changer.The New York Times reports that Moody’s Investors Service is recalculating states’ debt burdens to include unfunded pensions, a change that doesn’t bode well for Illinois’ rating. The new formula, however, benefits some other fiscally challenged states, like California and New York.
Jim dandy. The Daily Herald reports that former Gov. Jim Edgar supports the state income tax hike and expresses surprise that Democrats had the “courage” to pass it without GOP votes. Edgar hopes there’s enough courage left, on both sides of the aisle, to make tough but necessary decisions about cuts in spending and benefits.
Charter barter. The Board of Education approves five new charter schools to serve 6,000 Chicago students. The Sun-Times says the decision comes despite strong opposition from the teachers’ union and some parent groups.
The Better Government Association and the League of Women Voters of Chicago support a more independent Chicago City Council, but caution against letting the current body set the rules for the incoming membership.
Chicago’s new City Council will take office on May 15th. But how does it all really work, inside the council chambers? Join the Better Government Association’s policy team for an in-depth seminar on the history, rules, and workings of Chicago City Council.