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Illinois Rising

Escaping Illinois' Property Taxes

Illinois' high property taxes are crushing middle and lower income earners. But the problem is even creeping into affluent areas, too, and more and more homeowners are looking for an exit and seeing their home values destroyed – like, say, NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints' President Ted Dabrowski discuss how the state's high property taxes are affecting all homeowners – rich, poor, middle class, famous and not. And they discuss the political status quo that wants to keep it this way.

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Buying The Illinois House

Political rhetoric nationally is heated, divisive and becoming personal. But it's happening locally, too – from the vandalism of a Republican Party office in Rockford to a state senator accosting a constituent in the north shore. Why is it getting to that point? On this installment of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Illinois Policy writer Joe Kaiser discuss intensifying political rhetoric and how it doesn't get to the core of policy issues. They also discuss the continued distorted political attacks from House Speaker Mike Madigan's political operation, lying about conservative reform candidates' records.

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Following The Money In Illinois Politics

AFSCME, Illinois' largest public sector union, just donated $767,000 to House Speaker Mike Madigan – money that Madigan will be ready to disperse to Democratic legislative candidates across the state. And in turn, if elected, those candidates will vote for him as Speaker. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes break down how that special interest money has made Democrat lawmakers obey Madigan's every word. They also discuss the results of a new statewide poll showing that more than half of current Illinoisans are considering leaving the state, and that Gov. Bruce Rauner's re-election chances are slim to none.

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Conservative Reformers Push Back Against Madigan

Mike Madigan is once again pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into legislative races in support of Democrats, paying for false attacks on Republican opponents. But this time, a group of conservative reformers – including both sitting stat reps and new candidates – are fighting back. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes hear from state Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard and one of the conservative reform leaders in Springfield, about how he and a coalition of lawmakers and candidates are standing up Madigan's deceitful campaign tactics. Proft and Hughes also tackle some of the most pressing new issues in the city of Chicago, including the disastrous Chicago firefighters' pension fund and the entrance of Bill Daley in the mayoral race.

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Breaking Down The Chicago Mayoral Field

The Chicago mayoral field is taking form. Toni Preckwinkle and Bill Daley are in. Luis Gutierrez is out. And of course, numerous other candidates are still making a push. But does anyone offer a new vision for Chicago? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes ask that question, and break down the field with expert analysis from longtime Chicago political reporter Charles Thomas. Proft and Hughes also take a look at a particular suburban legislative race where Mike Madigan is pouring tons of campaign cash. And they discuss how Illinois' out-of-control property taxes are hurting even the state's biggest companies.

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What Comes After Tiny Dancer?

After a disastrous seven years in office, Rahm Emanuel stunned the Chicago political world when he announced he wasn't going to run for re-election. But looking ahead now, what – and who – is next for the city? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes take a prospective look at the Chicago mayoral race, from both political and policy perspectives. They also reflect on Emanuel's damaging two terms, and how other politicians are reacting to his departure.

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A Challenge To Lawmakers: Reject Your Pension

Generous pensions and salaries encourage Illinois lawmakers to become career politicians at the expense of taxpayers. But a group of conservative reformers are now challenging candidates and lawmakers to set an example and reject their unaffordable pension. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), one of the leaders of the movement, about why it's important more representatives take this step. Proft and Hughes also talk about bad examples lawmakers set, as State Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) somehow avoids paying the extravagant property taxes his constituents pay. And with state and local election season continuing to ramp up, they look at some key fundraising numbers and potential political influencers down the road, including the Jason Van Dyke trial.

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How Madigan's Money Lies To Voters

House Speaker Mike Madigan has already poured more than $1 million dollars into legislative races this year in support of Democratic candidates and lawmakers. That money is being used to spread falsehoods and defend the status quo, but some conservative reformers are fighting back against the lies. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to state Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and state rep candidate Tonia Khouri about how they are fighting the Democrats' false narratives this November and in the future. Proft and Hughes also offer election forecasting for the governor's race and the Chicago mayoral race.

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How Illinois Has Become An Outlier In The Midwest

In recent years, thousands of Illinoisans have fled to the state's midwestern neighbors – states that have implemented the necessary reforms to be competitive. How and why does Illinois lag behind? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft is joined by Hillsdale Journalism Instructor Scot Bertram, a former Illinoisan and current Michigander, to talk about the differences between said two states, and how Illinois is falling behind. Proft and Bertram also discuss the taxpayer boondoggle that is the Obama Center, with commentary from Wirepoints Executive Editor Mark Glennon. And they discuss the widespread issue of pension spiking in Illinois, as well as Chicago's new potential regulations on Uber and Lyft.

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Connecting The Dots Between Pensions And Property Taxes

Illinois homeowners face some of the highest property taxes in the nation. What's driving them to unaffordable levels? An unaffordable pension system. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski discuss the soaring property taxes in the collar counties and the extravagant pension payments behind them. They also discuss the uptick in violence in Chicago and what could be done to curb it.

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Springfield's Bipartisan Void Of Ethics

More and more of Springfield's culture of harassment and indecency are being exposed, most recently with a scandal surrounding a now-former Republican state rep. What steps should be done to clean up the culture? Can they be done? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk about the issue with state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, who has led on the issue of changing the culture in Springfield. They also talk to state rep candidate Dwight Kay on how he plans to provide property tax relief to homeowners in his district and statewide if elected. Proft and Hughes also discuss the very same property tax issue in Kane County, where homeowners are saddled with paying for exorbitant and unsustainable pension promises.

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How Much Are IL Taxpayers On The Hook For This Year?

In 2018, every congressional district in every state across the country will see a tax cut thanks to tax reform at the federal level. But policy choices by state and local politicians could offer an opposite reality for taxpayers in Illinois. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes discuss federal tax reform and Illinois' confiscatory property taxes with analysis from Heritage Foundation Policy Analyst Adam Michel and Illinois state representative candidate Ken Idstein. Proft and Hughes also discuss the busy week in Chicago politics, which included controversy with Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, as well as new plans for another march against gun violence.

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Which Issues Will Drive IL Voters To The Polls?

With just months to go before the 2018 midterm elections – and a Chicago mayoral election shortly thereafter in 2019 – campaign season is in full swing across Illinois. Where do things stand for Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker? For Rahm Emanuel? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Member Kristen McQueary break down how several policy issues could impact the governor's race in November as well as the Chicago mayoral election in February. Chief among them: Rauner's betrayal of social conservatives on publicly-funded abortion, the health of city and state pensions and the ever-increasing property tax burden Illinoisans face.

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The First Six Months Of IL's Taxpayer Funded Abortion Law

Last year, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill that forced taxpayers to pay for elective abortions in Illinois. The results so far? A 274 percent increase in taxpayer-funded abortions in the state. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk about how damaging this law could end up being, with insight from state Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, who is challenging the law both in the legislature and in court. Proft and Hughes also continue to follow the corruption case against Inspector General Frank Mautino, and get analysis from Liberty Justice Center Attorney Jeff Schwab on why the case is stalled. And why is the Illinois GOP surrendering Cook County and Chicago – even though the area of the state is in desperate need of new leadership? Proft and Hughes offer their thoughts on Republicans' failure to compete.

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IL's 7,000 Governments: Ripe With Corruption

With more units of government than any other state in the country, opportunity for corruption and waste is aplenty in Illinois. In at least one suburban Chicago township, some spending is downright illegal. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Joe Kaiser and Mark Cavers hear from DuPage Township Trustee Alyssia Benford on how she's shining a light on illegal expenditures in her township. Kaiser and Cavers also discuss how other areas of the state – namely Lake County – might duplicate Cook County's corrupt system for property tax appeals. And how is Illinois doing a year after lawmakers passed a massive, 32 percent income tax hike? The data is in, and it's not looking so great.

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The Supreme Court Rules For Worker Freedom

In a landmark decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Illinois state worker Mark Janus, protecting his free speech and the free speech of public sector workers across the country. What will the impact be for workers and taxpayers alike? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski discuss the Court’s decision with Janus’ lead attorney Jacob Huebert of the Liberty Justice Center. Proft and Dabrowski also talk about the economic impact the decision might have. And beyond the Janus case, they discuss the outrageous payments and benefits disgraced members of Mike Madigan’s inner circle are receiving despite sexual harassment allegations levied against them.

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Where Is The Accountability In CPS' Sex Abuse Scandal?

Since 2008, police have investigated more than 500 reports that children have been sexually assaulted or abused inside Chicago Public Schools. Where is the outrage? Where are the calls for school and city leaders to be held accountable? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Brian Timpone hear from state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford and member of the House education committee, about what was and wasn't accomplished during hearings on the CPS sex abuse scandal. Proft and Timpone also discuss the increasing costs to taxpayers for former President Barack Obama's presidential center in Chicago. And they broke down how more and more Illinois counties are seeing underwater mortgages become a norm.

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Changing The Culture In Springfield

With several of Mike Madigan's key allies facing sexual harassment allegations, voters are starting to get a better idea of Springfield's disreputable culture. But could a new crop of lawmakers and leaders change that? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes hear from Ammie Kessem, a candidate for state representative on the northwest side of Chicago, who – along with a handful of others – is hoping to shake up Springfield's longstanding lack of ethics and principals. Proft and Hughes also talk to an economics professor who explains how bankruptcy laws work against Illinois and its municipalities, even though the state really needs to declare for bankruptcy. They also discuss Rahm Emanuel's refusal to take responsibility on key issues, including the sexual harassment pervasive in his political party.

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Is Madigan Now In Survival Mode?

Yet another one of House Speaker Mike Madigan's closest allies has been accused of sexual harassment, and it's getting harder and harder to ignore the leading Democrat's complacency on the issue. Will lawmakers call on his resignation? On this installment of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Joe Kaiser discuss the new allegations and get analysis on the issue from state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, one of the leaders fighting to clean up Springfield. Proft and Kaiser also get analysis from state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, on why Republicans continue to capitulate on key issues, including most recently, the budget.

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Another Unbalanced Budget For IL

Politicians are patting themselves on the back for passing a budget by the May 31 deadline, but what is really in the bill? Did any lawmakers even read the 1,245-page budget before voting? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski talk to state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee and one of the rare 'no' votes on the budget, about the details of the massive spending plan and the process to pass it. Dabrowski also gives his thoughts on how the budget fails taxpayers, and Proft and Dabrowski talk about the delusion of some Springfield lawmakers who think Illinois is on "the right track."

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