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Stories by Amanda Vinicky

As Marijuana Industry Grows, So Does Its Banking Problems

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs appears on “Chicago Tonight” on April 30, 2018.

Illinois’ marijuana industry is growing like a weed, but could banking regulations lead to its collapse? State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the cash-based business is “now ripe for theft, fraud and tax evasion.”

Mayoral Candidates Preckwinkle, Lightfoot Square off on Aldermanic Prerogative

Mayoral candidates Toni Preckwinkle, left, and Lori Lightfoot speak to the media following their meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The two will face off in a runoff election on April 2.

With corruption scandals roiling Chicago politics, both of the candidates for mayor say cleaning up City Hall is near the top of their agendas. But it’s also where they differ, particularly when it comes to aldermanic prerogative.

Graduated Income Tax Fight Starting Soon

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

As Gov. J.B. Pritzker moves full steam ahead on a graduated income tax, he says he’s unfazed by warnings that Illinois’ credit could be downgraded.

Spotlight Politics: Chicago Election by the Numbers

Chicago mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle addresses supporters from her campaign headquarters on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Just how did the vote break down Tuesday, and why was turnout so much lower than expected? Our politics team digs into the numbers in this week's political roundtable. 

Dark Money at Play as Graduated Income Tax Fight Begins

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his first budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

The fight over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax is already being influenced by nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors. 

Pritkzer’s ‘Austere’ Budget Relies on Pension Plan, New Taxes

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his first budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled his first budget proposal Wednesday, calling it an “austere” spending plan meant to serve as a “bridge” to future budgets. 

Illinois Minimum Wage to Rise to $15 by 2025

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, right, congratulates state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, left, on the House floor at the Illinois State Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

Just a little over a month after becoming Illinois’ governor, J.B. Pritzker signed a law that stands to change the state’s economy by raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 by 2025.

Illinois EPA Shuts Down Suburban Sterigenics Plant

The Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook (Chicago Tonight)

A medical supply sterilization company in suburban Willowbrook was shut down Friday by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency due to elevated cancer risks.

A Window Into Pritzker’s Plans for Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

A series of transition reports unveiled last week provides a look at what new Gov. J.B. Pritzker has in store for Illinois, from potential new taxes to the creation of a statewide infrastructure czar. 

Pritzker Advances Agenda, But Transition Reports Slow to Emerge

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

When will Gov. J.B. Pritzker release the reports he says will serve as his guides? And why is it taking so long?

Chicago’s Big-Time Business Club Calls for State Tax Increase

| Nicole Cardos
(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

A new report from the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago recommends a 1-percent increase in the state income tax. 

Illinois Democrats Poised to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 by 2025

(nosheep / Pixabay)

For the first time since taking full control of Illinois government, Democrats in Springfield are poised to flex their political muscles by quickly passing a statewide hike in the minimum wage.

Mayoral Candidates Take a Nuanced Stance on Chicago’s Complex Issues

Five of the 14 candidates running for Chicago mayor participated in a forum Tuesday as the Feb. 26 election draws near. But getting simple answers to complex issues was no small task.

Chicago Mayoral Candidates Square Off at Community Forums

With the election three weeks away, it’s crunch time for Chicago mayoral candidates to get their messages across.

Enyia Casts Personal Financial Issues as Selling Point in Campaign for Mayor

Amara Enyia appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 30, 2018.

Chicago has an operating budget shortfall of nearly $100 million – a hole that mayoral candidate Amara Enyia says she has the skills to tackle. But documents show Enyia is struggling to manage her own finances.

13 Revelations from House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Deposition

In this July 26, 2017 file photo, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks at a news conference at the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. (Justin Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, File)

House Speaker Michael Madigan has been a player in state politics for the better part of his 76 years. What a newly released deposition reveals about the famously guarded speaker and his 13th Ward Organization.

In Chicago, No Time to Chill Out About the Weather

The bone-chilling temperatures may have subsided – a little – but that doesn’t mean Chicago is out of the woods, Mayor Rahm Emanuel warned Thursday.

Speaker Madigan the Latest Snared in Solis Wiretap

In this July 26, 2017 file photo, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks at a news conference at the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. (Justin Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, File)

Bombshell reporting from the Chicago Sun-Times details a federal probe of Ald. Danny Solis, and tells of a secretly recorded conversation involving, arguably, the state’s most powerful politician.

Chicago Plan Commission Unanimously Approves Lincoln Yards Development

An artist’s rendering of the Lincoln Yards master plan released in January 2019. (Courtesy Sterling Bay)

The massive plan for a “city within the city” moves one step closer to reality – but residents worry about what the transformation will mean for their communities.

Ald. Ed Burke Faces Challenges in First 14th Ward Forum

In this July 31, 2015 file photo, Chicago Ald. Ed Burke chairs a meeting of the City Council’s Finance Committee. (AP Photo / M. Spencer Green, File)

Embattled Ald. Ed Burke faces lawyer Jaime Guzman and civil engineer Tanya Patiño in the first public forum of their contest for the 14th Ward seat Burke first won in 1969.

Chicago Mayor’s Race Set at 14 Candidates

Dorothy Brown appears on “Chicago Tonight” in April 2018. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Brown was kicked off the ballot in the Chicago mayor’s race.

The field of candidates running for Chicago mayor is narrowed again. A look at who’s out and who’s in for the Feb. 26 election.

Lessons From the Governor Who Instituted Illinois’ First Income Tax

Looking back 50 years to the inauguration of former Gov. Richard Ogilvie, and the politically risky decision he made shortly thereafter.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Restores Pay Increases for State Union Employees

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a press conference on Jan. 15, 2019.

On his first full day in office, new Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker moved to give approximately 20,000 state employees raises they’d been denied by former Gov. Bruce Rauner since 2015. 

J.B. Pritzker Takes Oath as Illinois’ 43rd Governor

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his inauguration speech in Springfield on Jan. 14, 2019.

With a collective call for elected officials to end their abdication of responsibility, and with a promise for what’s become a rarity – a balanced budget – J.B. Pritzker takes the oath of office, becoming Illinois’ 43rd governor.

Billionaire Gov.-Elect Pritzker to Take Hands-Off Approach to Wealth

In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker speaks after he is elected over Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)

He is currently ranked No. 251 on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest Americans. Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker will fulfill his campaign pledge to put his assets in what the campaign describes as a blind trust. How it will work.