Illinois

Illinois Credit Rating
4:29 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Moody's lowers Illinois credit rating; now lowest in America

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Illinois has been given the lowest credit rating of any state in America by Moody's Investors Service.

Moody's lowered Illinois' rating Friday by another notch, to A2. No other state has such a low rating from Moody's. Only one other state, California, even gets the next-highest rating.

A lower rating generally means the state has to pay more interest when it sells bonds. That increases costs to taxpayers.

Toxic Pollution Releases / Illinois
11:56 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Toxic releases by industries rise in Ill., Mo. in 2010

(via Flickr/mskogly)

Out today is the Environmental Protection Agency's latest Toxics Release Inventory, which allows the public to know what toxic chemicals are released into their communities. Information is released two years in arrears.

You can drill down in the data to your specific area here, but, in general, here are some of the findings for the states in our region, Illinois and Missouri:

Illinois:

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Online lotto sales
3:00 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Ill. wants to start online lotto sales as soon as possible

Officials in Illinois say it'll take three to four months to set up a secure website for online sales of lotto tickets, which the Justice Dept. approved in a legal filing made public on Friday.
(via Flickr/Robert S. Donovan)

Reporting from Amanda Vinicky in Springfield was used in this report.

Illinois officials are hoping to start online sales for the Illinois Lottery early next year.

The U.S. Department of Justice made public on Friday a legal opinion that supports state-regulated online gambling, such as lotteries. Illinois was one of the states to ask for legal clarification on whether the Wire Act applies to online sales of lotto tickets.

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Ill. legislature
8:40 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Ill. Gov. could sign off on gambling plan, on his terms

Ill Gov. Pat Quinn says he could sign off on a gambling plan, on his terms.
St. Louis Public Radio

One person put a stop to more gambling in Illinois this year.  Gov. Pat Quinn refused to go along with a package that would have added casinos, expanded existing sites and put slot machines at horse tracks.  

Illinois seemed on track for the biggest gaming expansion since riverboat casinos went in the water 20 years ago.  The General Assembly approved it.  But Governor Quinn blocked the attempt.  Quinn wanted less gambling in what was a huge package. 

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Illinois Transportation
1:25 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

LaHood to announce $44M for Illinois road, rail

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

More than $44 million in federal transportation money is headed to Illinois for two projects in the Chicago area and one in Alton in southern Illinois.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is to announce the funding Thursday at a Chicago "L" station with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It's part of more than a half-billion dollars in federal transportation funding for 46 projects in 33 states.

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Illinois / Business
12:03 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Ill. Dems, GOP race to end corporate tax hikes

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Fresh off approving tax breaks for key Illinois businesses, Democrats and Republicans in the Illinois House are racing to end the corporate tax hike imposed this year.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross announced a plan Wednesday to return the corporate rate to 4.8 percent from 7 percent by 2014 - instead of 2025. He and business leaders proposed a step-down plan that in the meantime would lower taxes when the unemployment rate rises.

Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello II of Smithton introduced legislation that would eradicate the corporate hike starting Jan. 1.

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Illinois & Firearms
1:52 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Judge rules in favor of gun owners in FOID case

(via Flickr/Cast a Line)

The leader of the Illinois State Rifle Association says he's pleased a Peoria judge signed an order barring the state police from releasing the names of 1.3 million firearm owner identification cardholders.

Richard Pearson says the order signed this week is further protection for gun owners, who won a similar victory this year when the state Senate passed a bill prohibiting public disclosure of people with FOID cards.

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Developing: Blagojevich sentenced
12:36 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Former Ill. Gov. Blagojevich sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich greets students at Illinois State University in 2007. Judge James Zagel sentenced him to 14 years in federal prison today for corruption.
(via Flickr/soundfromwayout)

This is a developing story - check back for updates.

Updated 12:49 p.m. with more on Judge Zagel's remarks, 1:19 p.m. with more detailed quotes, 2:01 p.m. with Blagojevich's reaction

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison - becoming the fourth Illinois governor in 40 years to be sent to prison.

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Ill. closures
9:43 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Quinn, legislative leaders reach deal to keep state facilities open

Gov. Quinn and legislative leaders have reached a deal to keep seven state facilities open until June, avoiding almost 2,000 layoffs.
(via Flickr/anneh632)

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn and the state's top four lawmakers have reached a deal to keep seven state facilities open until June.

Quinn had targeted mental health centers and centers and developmentally disabled, as well as a prison in Lincoln, for closure, saying the legislature had failed to appropriate enough money to operate them for the entire year.  The closures could have resulted in nearly 2,000 layoffs.

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Illinois / Tax Cuts
1:15 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Ill. legislative committee OKs smaller tax-break package

An interior look at the dome of the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Updated 3:47 p.m.:

A package of tax breaks for Illinois businesses made it through a legislative committee despite major concerns by lawmakers.

The House Revenue Committee approved the measure 6-0 Monday. But two important legislators said they may oppose the bill when it comes up on the House floor.

The package would cost state government about $250 million a year. That's down from $850 million in an earlier proposal.

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