Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute News

Summer brings pay hike for Illinois state lawmakers, pay cut for you

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jun 13, 2019

Springfield politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths on tax “fairness” is one of many reasons they didn’t deserve a raise.

Wehrli: 'People make money off of this chaos we call state government'

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jun 3, 2019

Before noon on Friday, May 30, Illinoisans had not seen a single line of the state budget.

Southern Illinois voters oppose putting Pritzker's progressive income tax amendment on the ballot

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | May 27, 2019

Southern Illinoisans want their representative to vote “no” on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive tax constitutional amendment. This preference extends beyond GOP voters, with independents also showing strong opposition.

Illinois’ wealthiest bureaucrats want this bill dead

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | May 23, 2019

There should be no compromise with those who are looking out for their own bottom line above the good of the state.

Pritzker capital plan would double Illinois gas tax, hike vehicle registration fees, create new taxes on Uber and Netflix

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | May 21, 2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office is using a major capital bill as a vehicle to grease lawmakers for a progressive income tax amendment. But the tax hikes to pay for it would make Illinoisans’ gas tax burden the second highest in the nation.

Madigan aides sought out, assisted alleged 'sham' candidates in primary election

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Feb 5, 2019

Madigan aides sought out, assisted alleged ‘sham’ candidates in primary election Madigan’s 2016 primary opponent filed a lawsuit alleging the House speaker recruited “sham” candidates in order to dilute opposition.

House cutting committee bloat is a victory for taxpayers

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jan 31, 2019

House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) was in Springfield on Jan. 29 when his colleagues took a vote on House rules that give him more power than any other state speaker in the nation.

Another Illinois lawmaker hits the pension lottery

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jan 23, 2019

There’s a lot of talk about renewed bipartisanship and a new day in Springfield. Dozens of state lawmakers have already opted out of the pension system. The General Assembly should take the lead and phase out their own defined-benefit system and get to work on a constitutional fix for the rest of Illinois’ pension mess.

Holiday shopping and the sales tax scrooge

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Dec 19, 2018

Illinois' current patchwork of sales tax exemptions, oftentimes carved out by special interests, makes for poor policy.

Happy Birthday: The solution that never was to Illinois' pension crisis

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Dec 12, 2018

Illinoisans should know lawmakers in the past made big moves to fix the state's worst-in-the-nation pension crisis. It’s politically possible. They just need a little reminder of our history.

Gas tax hike may be around the corner for Gov.-elect JB Pritzker

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Nov 13, 2018

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly gunning for a transportation bill that could come with an increase in the gas tax.

Illinois’ richest governor, meet the nation’s most powerful state lawmaker

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Nov 12, 2018

Pritzker’s money could offer Madigan’s House members cover should they dare to go against the speaker.

How to make an extra $3 billion, the Illinois way

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Oct 30, 2018

AFSCME – the largest government worker union in the state – may pull off one of the most insulting waiting games in state history. The payoff? More than $3 billion, courtesy of Illinois taxpayers.

Six former library employees have taken home more than $1 million in pension benefits

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Oct 15, 2018

Large pension payouts in the face of flat incomes for taxpayers raise questions of fairness.

Is this the most toxic tax in Illinois politics?

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Sep 18, 2018

One wonders how many times an unpopular idea must be knocked down before it rises back from the dead. Especially when it means more money for the state. And especially in Illinois.

One of Illinois' top tax credit recipients to shutter 1,000-employee HQ

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Sep 12, 2018

Illinois issued more than $60 million in EDGE tax credits to Takeda Pharmaceuticals from 2003 to 2013, more than any other company received over that time.

Why your property tax bill is so high and how to fix it

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Aug 7, 2018

Less than 50 cents of every additional property tax dollar over the last 20 years went to pay for services that raise home values. Instead, the primary driver of the rise in property taxes was pension costs.

For Speaker Madigan, when do drips become a flood?

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jun 11, 2018

A few brave souls have come forward with their stories about the behavior under Madigan’s dome. But how many still feel powerless?

Lawmakers to homeowners: 'You'll get nothing and like it'

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | May 14, 2018

In a matter of hours, Illinoisans saw bipartisan opposition to property tax relief and bipartisan support for higher property taxes.

Madigan re-elected Chairman of Illinois Democratic Party

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Apr 24, 2018

The longtime House speaker is the only state legislative leader in the nation to also serve as a party chairman.

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