Karen's Feed
Jan 30, 2014

Powerful Illinois House Speaker pushes corporate tax cut

CHICAGO (Reuters) – With big Illinois state income tax increases set to partially expire in 2015, the Democratic head of the state’s House of Representatives on Thursday introduced a bill to permanently reduce the corporate tax rate.

The cut proposed by House Speaker Michael Madigan would reduce revenue to the state treasury by $1.5 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 1. It would set the corporate income tax rate lower than it was before a temporary increase was imposed in 2011, when Illinois also imposed a steep hike in the personal income tax rate. The tax increases were aimed at paying down the state’s huge backlog of unpaid bills.

Jan 20, 2014

Analysis: Gambling revenue at heart of Detroit’s dilemmas, new and old

CHICAGO/DETROIT (Reuters) – For Detroit, the road in and out of U.S. bankruptcy court is paved with casino money.

An economic lifeline, wagering tax revenue from the city’s three casinos is at the heart of the bankruptcy plan submitted by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, and it is behind the surprise rejection of a deal with banks last week that has thrown a wrench into Detroit’s route and timing to recovery.

Jan 20, 2014

Gambling revenue at heart of Detroit’s dilemmas, new and old

CHICAGO/DETROIT, Jan 20 (Reuters) – For Detroit, the road in
and out of U.S. bankruptcy court is paved with casino money.

An economic lifeline, wagering tax revenue from the city’s
three casinos is at the heart of the bankruptcy plan submitted
by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, and it is behind the surprise
rejection of a deal with banks last week that has thrown a
wrench into Detroit’s route and timing to recovery.

Dec 4, 2013

Illinois lawmakers pass long-awaited pension reform

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Reuters) – Illinois’ Democratic-controlled legislature on Tuesday passed a landmark pension reform bill, choosing to address the state’s crumbling finances over strong public labor union opposition to cuts in retirement benefits.

The bill addresses problems that have built up over decades in the nation’s worst-funded state pension system, which is underfunded by $100 billion. The vote comes despite union threats to challenge pension reform in state court, based on claims it would violate a state constitution provision that guards against cuts to pension benefits.

Dec 3, 2013

Illinois lawmakers to vote Tues on long-awaited pension reform

CHICAGO, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Illinois legislators will gather
at the state capitol on Tuesday to decide whether the nation’s
worst-funded state pension system is finally ready for reform.

Following years of discussion and study, previous reform
measures that provided limited improvements or failed to pass,
and numerous downgrades of the state’s credit ratings, the
answer lies with the Democrat-controlled legislature. At a
special, one-day session on Tuesday, lawmakers will take up a
bill that raises retirement ages, reduces and suspends
cost-of-living increases for pensions, and limits the salaries
on which pensions are based.

Nov 19, 2013

Detroit could pay higher loan rate, unsealed letter shows

By Tom Hals and Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Detroit could end up paying almost twice as much in interest as previously disclosed on a $350 million loan arranged by Barclays Capital, according to a fee letter made public on Monday after a judge ordered it unsealed last week.

U.S. Judge Steven Rhodes on Thursday thwarted efforts to keep the cost of a debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing under wraps, noting the so-called fee letter was subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

Nov 8, 2013

Bond insurers sue Detroit over October 1 bond default

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Two insurance companies that guaranteed payments on Detroit’s voter-approved general obligation bonds sued the city in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday over its October 1 default on $9.37 million in payments due to bondholders.

National Public Finance Guarantee Corp, the public finance subsidiary of MBIA Inc, and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp claimed that Detroit’s use of property taxes levied exclusively to pay off the bonds for operating expenses violated Michigan law.

Oct 22, 2013

Analysis: No answers for Chicago’s pension ills as mayor prepares budget

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivers Chicago’s 2014 budget address on Wednesday, he will lay out plans for tackling a $340 million deficit, but a bigger problem barreling down on the city will have to wait – a state-mandated jump of about $600 million in pension payments starting in 2015.

During 2 -1/2 years in office, Emanuel has slashed a deficit that stood at $635 million. He has cut jobs and costs. But on the city’s pension problems, which are a municipal woe that compounds Illinois’ statewide morass, he has made virtually no progress.

Oct 8, 2013

Pension reform in Illinois? Not so fast

CHICAGO, Oct 8 (Reuters) – The would-be architects of a
grand bargain to solve Illinois’ $100 billion pension crisis
have not met as a group for three months, and the state’s last
chance to strike a deal this year is slipping away.

A super-committee of legislators charged in June with
charting a way out of the worst pension crisis among states is
bickering over savings, while some of its members ramp up
election campaigns. A six-day legislative session, the last of
2013, is two weeks away.

Sep 26, 2013

Illinois judge overrules governor, says lawmakers must be paid

CHICAGO, Sept 26 (Reuters) – An Illinois judge on Thursday
overruled Governor Pat Quinn, who had suspended the salaries of
state legislators, and ordered the lawmakers to receive back pay
with interest.

Quinn, a Democrat, suspended paychecks for the state
legislators this summer, saying they had failed to resolve a
financial crisis worsened by the ballooning cost of state
pension plans.