POINT: Changing Illinois’ income tax from a flat tax to a graduated tax

Fair, graduated rate income tax would be a positive step forward for Illinois     If given the choice, here’s betting you’d want elected officials in Springfield to enact policy initiatives by ignoring their guts and instead doing the research needed to suss out the right solutions, relying on best practices and evidence. The harder question…

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Illinois must step up to the plate to shake its loser image

   More than 70 years ago, some enterprising fella, probably a newspaperman, came up with his best turn of phrase:    “First in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League,” he said, describing the Gateway City and the hapless baseball team of that era, the St. Louis Browns.    It was, of course, hyperbole,…

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A graduated income tax is the tide that raises all boats

      A movement is afoot to amend the Illinois state constitution and move from a flat income tax to a progressive system.    Expect it to have some legs.    We’re just opening the door on the 2014 legislative session and there are already constitutional amendment bills in both the House and Senate with powerful sponsors…

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POINT: The Concealed-Carry Law in Illinois

Measure provides safety, protects rights of citizens     Heading into 2013, Illinois remained the last state in America that prevented its citizens from exercising their right to a concealed firearm.     I have been pushing this issue for years, but everything was finally brought to the forefront when the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals…

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Snowballing economy rolls better with right leadership push

   After years of pushing snowballs up mountains, only to break into a snowball fight once they reached the top, our nation’s budget leaders are discovering it may be economically smart to put down the gloves and leave the big snowball intact.When it’s not in pieces, it’s easier to get the snowball rolling downhill. And…

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Recent events project a happy new year for St. Louis region

      These are interesting times in the Gateway City. In recent months there have been several events and announcements that — while unrelated — combine to form a harbinger of good things to come for St. Louis.    In August, ground was broken on the CityArchRiver 2015 project, the $350 million plan to reorient the…

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POINT: ILLINOIS’ PENSION REFORM LAW (P.A. 98-599)

General Assembly finally takes action to address huge public employee obligations     Taxpayers, employers and observers should be encouraged by what happened in Springfield last month to respond to the state’s $100 billion unfunded public employee pension obligations. It has been years in the making, but at long last the General Assembly has taken action…

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Q&A with Ed Hillhouse, executive director of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments

IBJ: The East-West Gateway Council of Governments recently adopted the OneSTL plan. What is that? Hillhouse: A few years ago, the U.S. Department  of Housing and Urban Development created the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. HUD actually worked together with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on this project…

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We’re building an economic house on financial uncertainty

   As odd as this must sound, progress and decline are increasingly connected in this country. Seemingly, we can’t have one without the other    What else explains the ramp-up of the stock market, the best in years, even as poll after poll of Americans shows disenchantment with the economy?     Why are we clearly not…

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