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Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Lessons From the Governor Who Instituted Illinois’ First Income Tax

Looking back 50 years, to Gov. Richard Ogilvie's inauguration 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.

New Class of Illinois Lawmakers Will Face Enduring Challenges

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

Mounting pension debt, a budget deficit and a backlog of unpaid bills – all effects of Illinois’ budget impasse – will continue to plague not just the state but its incoming governor and newly sworn-in class of legislators.

In Final Days as Governor, Rauner Opens Up on Trump, Taxes, Unions and Burke

Outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner reflects on the past four years, and gives recommendations to his successor.

Preckwinkle, FBI at Odds Over Campaign Contribution

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (Chicago Tonight file photo) and Ald. Ed Burke (AP Photo / M. Spencer Green, File)

A footnote in the 37-page criminal complaint against Ald. Ed Burke is causing a headache for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as she seeks to become Chicago’s next mayor.

New Year Begins With Chicago Police Officer Committing Suicide

The Chicago Police Department has taken steps to combat low morale and suicide among its officers, but some are calling for more to be done.

Spotlight Politics: What’s Coming in 2019

| Paris Schutz

Catch up on what you may have missed over the holidays – and get a look at what’s to come in 2019 – with our political correspondents in this weekly roundtable.

Vallas Calls on All Mayoral Candidates to Release Their Tax Returns

Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas wants candidates to release their tax returns. “You’ve got ‘em. You filed ‘em, you submitted ‘em. Just release ‘em,” he said Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.

The majority of candidates running for mayor of Chicago have not yet released their tax returns – and some may not at all. “This is no time for a mayor to be veiled in secrecy,” said candidate Paul Vallas.

Spotlight Politics: Preckwinkle Drops Petition Challenge

| Paris Schutz

A major detente in the race for Chicago mayor. We take a deep dive into the 2019 election and other top political headlines in our weekly roundtable.

Major Candidates for Mayor Haven’t Released Their Tax Returns. Why Not?

(Photo credit: Nathan L. Hanks Jr.)

Tax returns can show a candidate’s wealth, charitable giving and whether their financial interests could present a conflict of interest. At least five of the major candidates for Chicago mayor have not yet made their returns public.

What Route Will Illinois Take on Infrastructure Funding?

In a little more than a month, Illinois will have a new governor. J.B. Pritzker’s plans for his administration – including infrastructure funding – are beginning to take shape.

Legislator Apologizes for Remarks Met With ‘Applause Instead of Handcuffs’

Harsh political rhetoric is common these days, but did a state legislator take it too far?

Pritzker Wants More Money for Schools, but Funding Challenges Loom

Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker fields questions from high school students during a special episode of “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 8, 2018.

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker wants Illinois to become a national model for education. “There’s no future for the state if we let education drop off the priority list,” he said Tuesday. But he is unable to say where the money will come from to fulfill that pledge.

CPS CEO: Chill Out About Cold Schools

CPS CEO Janice Jackson speaks during a press conference on Monday, June 18, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson on Tuesday brushed aside critics who said students in 20 CPS schools were “robbed … of warmth and educational stability” due to a lack of heat Monday.

Deadline Day Arrives for Chicago Mayoral Hopefuls

State Rep. La Shawn Ford is among those hoping to be Chicago’s next mayor.

Candidates aiming to be Chicago’s next mayor had until 5 p.m. Monday to turn in the paperwork that will get them on the ballot – paperwork that includes the signatures of at least 12,500 registered Chicago voters.

Chicago Police Officer Among 4 Killed in Mercy Hospital Shooting

| Matt Masterson
Law enforcement officials work near Mercy Hospital in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune via AP)

A Chicago police officer, two female medical professionals and the suspected gunman are dead following a shooting rampage Monday afternoon at Mercy Hospital on the city’s Near South Side.

Lawmakers Vote to Raise Smoking Age, Despite Rauner’s Objections

(Kruscha / Pixabay)

Gov. Bruce Rauner – once known for exerting an iron grip over Republican legislators that had them follow him in lockstep – got a taste Wednesday of his lame-duck status.

All Clear After Bomb Threat at State Capitol

Police and K-9 units investigate a reported bomb threat at the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. No bomb was found. (Amanda Vinicky / Chicago Tonight)

Legislative activity has resumed at the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, following a threat of a bomb in the upper chambers of the statehouse.

Veto Session Begins; Madigan on Board With Pritkzer’s Plans for Pot, Taxes

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

A week after Illinois Democrats’ decisive general election victories, Illinois lawmakers returned to the capitol Tuesday for the start of the annual fall veto session.

Congressman Calls for Black Friday Boycott to ‘Target’ Store Closings

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 speaks against two Target stores closing on Chicago’s South Side.

‘Tis the season for shopping, but U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush is calling on constituents to avoid buying gifts, and anything else, following Target’s decision to close a pair of stores on Chicago’s predominately black South Side.

Gov.-Elect J.B. Pritzker Promises Honest Assessment of State’s Finances

Pritzker announced his transition team will include a 17-member “budget and innovation” committee to help address Illinois’ projected budget shortfall. 

Gov.-Elect J.B. Pritzker Backs Off Temporary Tax Plan

Fresh off a double-digit victory, Democrat J.B. Pritzker appeared to back away from a previously-endorsed plan that would inch the state toward his long-term vision for linking tax rates to residents’ means.

Obama Stumps for Pritzker, Democrats in Chicago

Former President Barack Obama, center, headlines a rally and appears alongside, from left to right, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, lieutenant governor candidate Juliana Stratton and congressional candidate Lauren Underwood on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Ten years to the day that President Barack Obama held a Grant Park celebration upon his election as the 44th president of the United States, he was back in Chicago to gin up support for local Democrats.

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