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Only in Illinois


Join Madeleine Doubek and Matt Dietrich as they discuss what's happening in Illinois politics and government. New podcasts every Friday.


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Join Madeleine Doubek and Matt Dietrich as they discuss what's happening in Illinois politics and government. New podcasts every Friday.






Sixth-month budget: A step into the future? Or 'Groundhog Day'?

The Illinois budget agreement hammered out on June 30 will allow state government to avoid outright collapse through the calendar year 2016, but it hardly fits the definition of what a real “budget” should be. Could this whole budget impasse business start again if lawmakers don't figure out a more long-term solution for the state's budget woes? It could end up being just like the movie "Groundhog Day."


Who's painting a target on Illinois politicians' backs? Plus, the Trump effect in Illinois.

It’s only June and voice mail boxes across Illinois already are filling with robocalls from political candidates. The 2016 Illinois elections are shaping up to be a game played by a new set of rules thanks to the presence of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s large campaign fund and, possibly, Donald Trump at the top of the ticket for Republicans.


Only In Illinois: Nowhere to vent your Illinois Budget stress

If you're frustrated with the folks in Springfield, this election season might not be the stress relief you're looking for.


#DoYourJob, #ILBudgetNow: Use these hashtags to send a message to Springfield

Dueling press conferences between the Republican governor and Democratic Senate president, another costly downgrade to the state's already worst-in-the-nation credit rating and a plea from school superintendents to the governor to reform the school funding system made this an especially interesting week in Illinois politics. They inspired us to create two new Twitter hashtags that we debut on this week's "Only in Illinois."


Are we ever going to see an Illinois budget?

The 2016 spring legislative session ended just as the did the 2015 session: with no state budget. Now the governor and his Democratic counterparts in the General Assembly are talking about an emergency, stopgap plan that would let state government limp through the end of the calendar year. Are we ever going to see a real, balanced state budget? That's our topic on this week's "Only in Illinois."


Illinois budget situation changing minute by minute as deadline looms

With less than a week before a budget is due, the Illinois General Assembly displayed a rancorous public face while calmer heads prevailed behind the scenes.


Lots of activity at Illinois Statehouse, but will there be any progress?

There was a lot of action, though not nearly as much progress, in and around the Capitol in Springfield this week. The Senate passed a bill that would set up laws to govern daily fantasy sports, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the leaders of the General Assembly met together for the second time this year on the budget and unions put on a major show of force outside the Statehouse.


In Illinois budget standoff, we're all hostages

With a state budget due in less than three weeks, school funding could be the issue that breaks or prolongs the Illinois budget impasse.


Once again, the future of the Illinois income tax is a mystery

With less than eight weeks to go in FY 2016 -- a year in which Illinois never had an operating budget -- Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly still have not had a serious discussion about what will happen with Illinois income taxes as the state speeds toward ending the budget year with a deficit of $10 billion.


Illinois budget crisis takes toll on Chicago Southland

This week's "Only in Illinois" contains highlights from the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce town hall on the Illinois budget crisis and its effect on business, colleges and non-profits in south suburban Chicagoland.


Progressive income tax appears doomed in Illinois. What's next?

The Illinois General Assembly is poised to vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to implement a graduated income tax. But one Democrat says he won't vote for it, which likely means the effort is doomed.


Optimism on Illinois budget impasse dashed by Mike Madigan speech

The week of April 11 started with a flash of optimism that we might see progress on the Illinois budget impasse. By Tuesday afternoon, the optimism faded as House Speaker Michael Madigan blasted Gov. Bruce Rauner's "personal agenda" in a speech on the Illinois House Floor. That's the topic on this week's "Only in Illinois."


Could a government shutdown end the Illinois budget impasse?

The Illinois budget crisis now is in its tenth month, but the feared "government shutdown" it was supposed to bring never really materialized. That's because a circuit court judge's ruling last July ensured that state employees would be paid even if there was no budget in place authorizing their pay -- as required by the state constitution. Now, however, a state supreme court decision says the opposite, and could open the door to a lawsuit that would halt state worker pay and launch a true...


Anger over Illinois budget crisis about to boil over

The Illinois budget impasse is now nine months old and there's no sign of progress. But one reason the stalemate has dragged out so long is that Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the one part of the state budget that funded elementary and high schools. Combined with state employees being paid thanks to a court order, the school funding bill meant that government functioned fairly normally and without disruption for most Illinoisans. But this school year is almost over and Rauner and lawmakers soon...


Why Illinois is the only state without a budget

Illinois now is the lone state that has no spending plan in place for Fiscal Year 2016 after Pennsylvania's governor announced he would allow the Republican-led legislature's budget to become law as of March 28. There are a lot of similarities between Pennsylvania and Illinois, which had been the last two states without budget. But there were some key differences worth discussing as Illinois' budget impasse drags on. In fact, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's action on the Democrats' budget last...


Only in Illinois: Rauner's anti-Madigan campaign fizzles. Will it matter?

Bruce Rauner wasn't on the ballot in Tuesday's Illinois primary, but he still suffered a pair of stinging losses. Whether Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly will continue to stand with the governor now that his political power has failed two critical tests is our topic this week on "Only in Illinois."


Only in Illinois: Will the Illinois primary help or hurt Trump?

Both Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls have been in Illinois this week ahead of Tuesday's primary. Donald Trump's popularity shows no sign of waning in the Land of Lincoln, where three recent polls showed him with significant leads over his three challengers. Hillary Clinton also registered big leads in the polls over her challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. We have a look at the polls and the candidates on this week's "Only in Illinois."