CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says the state's $97 billion pension shortfall isn't as dire as some people are describing.
The Chicago Democrat told WGN Radio that the pension shortfall is not an imminent crisis, but that finding a solution can help keep Illinois' income taxes down.
Cullerton made the remarks as lawmakers head back to Springfield to begin their fall veto session Tuesday. They face considerable pressure to deal with the pension problem, considered the nation's worst. But a bipartisan committee working on reform is split over a plan that saves $138 billion over 30 years.
Cullerton says the state has been putting more money into its pension systems in recent years under a 1996 law. He says he wants to lower the annual amount the state pays in.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court is invalidating a two-year-old Illinois law charging taxes on certain Internet sales.
The justices ruled 6-1 in an opinion released Friday to invalidate the so-called "Amazon tax."
The ruling determined that the law violates a pre-emptive federal decree prohibiting "discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce."
Lawmakers created the Internet tax in 2011 on out-of-state electronic retailers. The law claimed those merchants maintained a presence in the state through a website link.
In other words, if a blogger referred customers to a company by encouraging clicking on a site-based advertisement, that was "presence" in Illinois. That obligated the seller to collect sales tax.
Justice Lloyd Karmeier dissented, saying the law doesn't impose any new taxes.
HARRISBURG, Ill.—A southern Illinois high school Spanish teacher is accused of pulling a gun on a woman in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane.
WSIL-TV reports 61-year-old Larry Luna of Harrisburg was arrested Tuesday on two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.
Harrisburg police say Luna was in his car in line outside a McDonald’s when he began yelling at the woman placing an order in the vehicle in front of him.
Police say Luna brandished a gun when the woman stepped from her car.
Harrisburg schools superintendent Dennis Smith says administrators are waiting for the court case to play out.
Luna is free on bond. Online court records don’t show whether he has an attorney. A message left Wednesday at Luna’s home wasn’t returned.
A bank robbery suspect is behind bars after a police chase and manhunt.
Police say the suspect robbed the Bank of O'Fallon in Illinois around 11:30 Tuesday morning. The suspect sped away from the scene and managed to loose police. They found his car near a cornfield in Swansea. After a short search, that involved a police chopper, officers caught the suspect.
Veterans in Illinois will some be able to use their experience as military medics to become licensed practical nurses or emergency medical technicians. That's because the state was one of six chosen by the National Governors Association to participate in the "Veterans Licensing and Certification Demonstration Policy Academy."
Governor Pat Quinn on Monday announced Illinois' participation in the program that eases licensing requirements for medics and helps ex-military police officers transition to civilian police forces.
The other state chosen to participate include Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and Virginia.
CHICAGO (AP) — Shoppers in Illinois and other states were unable to use their food stamp debit cards because of an outage at the vendor that processes the payments on Saturday.
Xerox Corporation said Saturday night that access to food stamp systems has been restored in 17 states that were affected by a temporary outage.
People in Ohio, Michigan and Texas were unable to use food stamp debit-style cards for hours on Saturday. Xerox said a routine test of backup systems resulted in a temporary system failure.
Xerox Spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email that it took time to restore the system and make sure it was fully functional.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn slashed lawmakers' salaries because he wasn't happy with their inaction on Illinois' pension crisis. But these days the only elected official working without pay is Quinn himself.
A judge told the Chicago Democrat it's unconstitutional to hold back legislators' salaries. But Quinn also gave up his own paycheck and still vows not to collect it until the pension crisis is solved. So three checks totaling about $44,000 await Quinn at the state comptroller's office.
Some Republicans challenging Quinn's 2014 re-election bid call it a populist stunt. But his supporters say he's as frugal as he's always boasted and is probably faring just fine.
But things could get tight for him if the committee charged with proposing a solution to the pension crisis doesn't come through soon.
Drivers in Madison County should allow extra time for their travels Saturday if they use Interstate 270.
Starting at 5:30 AM, all westbound lanes of I-270 will be closed between Interstate 55/70 and Illinois Rte. 157. Crews will be replacing a damaged beam in the Meridian Road Bridge.
A detour is marked directing drivers to use I-55/70 west to I-255 north.
Transportation officials say the interstate should reopen by 9 PM Saturday.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn's budget office says most state workers whose salaries are paid by federal money are back on the job, but more layoffs could come if the federal shutdown continues.
Roughly 100 workers were issued temporary layoffs last week, including employees with the Department of Military Affairs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and Labor Department.
Quinn's budget office says temporary layoffs for more than 70 employees expired Wednesday. The U.S. House has approved back pay for some workers.
More than three dozen workers are still off the job, including Labor employees who conduct work site safety inspections. More state layoffs could be issued next week.
Quinn has sent U.S. House Speaker John Boehner a letter, urging the shutdown's end and predicting hundreds more layoffs if the shutdown continues.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' top Democratic legislative leaders are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to reject Gov. Pat Quinn's appeal of a lawsuit over legislative pay.
Quinn halted lawmakers' pay in July until pension reform was achieved. A Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled last month that the move was unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to be sent back pay, with interest. An appeal is being reviewed by the state Supreme Court.
House Speaker Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton dispute Quinn's argument that the Illinois constitution only bans mid-term increases in pay.Illinois' unfunded pension liability is close to $100 billion, due largely to lawmakers shorting or skipping payments. A committee of lawmakers has been working on one possible reform package that could save $138 billion over 30 years.