Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute News

Illinois lawmakers stampede for the exit

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Sep 28, 2017

The most likely driver is pretty obvious to most Illinoisans: the rage of constituents.

Currie to receive 6-figure pension after first year of retirement

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Sep 25, 2017

The longtime House majority leader will benefit from a sweetener provision that grants massive pension spikes to career lawmakers after one year of retirement.

Illinois General Assembly passes school funding plan, tax credit scholarships

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Aug 29, 2017

The Illinois Senate passed a school funding reform bill containing the state’s first-ever tax credit scholarship program. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

Illinois Senate passes Chicago bailout, overrides Rauner's amendatory veto

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Aug 14, 2017

All Senate Democrats and one Republican voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner and pass Senate Bill 1 in its original form, including a bailout for Chicago Public Schools.

Illinoisans are still waiting for independence

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jul 7, 2017

More than 240 years ago, a group of individuals stood up against a far-off king who taxed them without recourse. Americans honor their efforts each year on Independence Day.

Lawsuit seeks back pay for Illinois lawmakers

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jun 5, 2017

Former state Sen. Michael Noland is suing for back pay after the General Assembly nixed cost-of-living adjustments and forced furlough days.

Illinois House has spent less than six hours in session this month

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | May 22, 2017

House members have spent as much time playing softball and basketball as they have in session since the beginning of May.

Sugary drink tax would be bitter pill to swallow

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Mar 13, 2017

Illinois holds more than $66 million worth of stocks and bonds in PepsiCo, Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper Snapple alone.

Useless committees provide political pay raises for state lawmakers

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Feb 28, 2017

In Illinois, bloat doesn’t discriminate.It’s not just government agencies that stick taxpayers with the bill for inefficient operations. It’s state lawmakers, too. Yes, the same ones who haven’t passed a balanced budget in over a decade.

A solution to the property tax problem

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Feb 7, 2017

Illinois has by far the most units of government in the nation, at nearly 7,000.

Why a budget won't fix Illinois

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jan 10, 2017

Pension costs alone now consume a quarter of the Illinois state budget.

Why all Illinoisans need action on workers' comp

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Dec 12, 2016

The cost of workers’ compensation for municipalities, counties and state government in Illinois is more than $400 million per year.

Madigan's millions: Why the Speaker should release his tax returns

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Nov 18, 2016

Every dollar Madigan earns back for his corporate clients makes someone else’s property-tax bill go up.

Illinoisans who vote for Madigan

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Oct 11, 2016

Just as Illinoisans elect state representatives, state representatives elect the speaker of the House every two years. To become the speaker, Madigan just needs a majority vote.

Madigan's map

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Aug 29, 2016

In a 4-3 ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court erased from November ballots a referendum on legislative mapmaking, and handed a major victory to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan Aug. 25.

Why Madigan wants the map

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Aug 23, 2016

Illinois politicians love to be involved in choosing their voters, especially Madigan.

Number of Chicago city workers making $100K-plus has doubled since 2013

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Aug 9, 2016

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is heralding a massive water-sewer-tax hike as a grand bargain between taxpayers and city employees, but new payroll data show it’s not exactly a shared sacrifice.

Illinoisans suffer, politicians get paid

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jul 19, 2016

Members of the Illinois General Assembly should end pensions for politicians once and for all. And a pay cut would send an equally powerful message. Their job performance demands as much.

Illinois’ AFSCME contract needs a reality check

By Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute | Jul 12, 2016

State lawmakers justify keeping in lockstep with AFSCME by saying they’re fighting for the middle class. But middle-class Illinoisans who don’t work for the government are struggling to stay afloat amid flatlining incomes and a stagnant economy. 

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