Chicago Tribune front page headline stories
Mayor still using high-cost borrowing plan
Latest ‘scoop-and-toss’ bond issue will be Emanuel’s last, budget spokeswoman says
Emanuel inherited the costly borrowing practices, detailed by the Chicago Tribune in its 2013 “Broken Bonds” investigation, from predecessor Richard M. Daley. Emanuel, now on his sixth spending plan, has used the techniques to prop up a sagging City Hall budget. In 2015, the mayor promised to end the costly financial moves by the end of his second term in 2019.
The administration’s plans call for pricing the bonds on Jan. 18-19, when the market will determine the interest rates, and closing on the deal Feb. 1, Emanuel’s Chief Financial Officer, Carole Brown, said in a web-based “roadshow” used to pitch the bonds. City finance officials also plan to meet with investors in Chicago, Boston and New York before the bonds are sold to make further pitches, a common tactic Chicago and other major cities have begun to use in recent years.
The city is likely to pay relatively high interest rates because municipal bond market rates recently increased, and continuing financial problems at Chicago Public Schools and the state of Illinois has investors concerned, said Matt Fabian, a partner at Concord, Mass.-based Municipal Market Analytics.
Rauner calling on lame ducks
Governor hoping 2-day window will culminate in a deal
It’s a continuation of the anti-Madigan theme Republicans used to hammer Democratic candidates ahead of the November election. At the same time, Rauner gave his campaign fund $50 million to jump start his re-election bid, which remains nearly two years away.
Meanwhile, Democratic and Republican leadership in the Senate has been talking behind the scenes in an effort to break the stalemate and perhaps step out of the large shadows cast by Rauner and Madigan, though both sides are downplaying the possibility of a pending agreement.
Senate staffers continued to work on details over the weekend, and both sides remain tight-lipped amid worry that momentum could come to a crashing halt. While details are fluid, talks include raising the personal income tax rate to somewhere just below 5 percent and a new tax on sugary drinks.
In return, Rauner would get a temporary freeze on local property taxes, changes to the workers’ compensation system, an overhaul of the employee pension system and possibly some mandate relief for schools required to pay for things like driver’s education. A rewrite of how the state funds schools also is part of the mix. But those familiar with the talks urged caution because these major issues have stalled for more than a year.
Amid Chicago violence elderly face lifestyle choice
Some stay home to stay safe; other opt to defy fears amid crime trend.
As Chicago closed 2016 with its highest level of bloodshed in 20 years, the two women represent the range of ways senior citizens are dealing with the unsettling violence that has garnered national attention.
More than two dozen people 65 and older were shot in 2016 — up from 12 in 2015 and seven in 2014, according to Tribune data. The data reflect cases in which victim ages are known.
As the city’s homicides ticked upward each month this year, it also saw criminal sexual assaults, robberies and thefts surge by double digits compared with 2015. Eleven seniors were homicide victims in 2016, Tribune data show, more than double the number from the previous year.