REBOOT POLL: THE DOORS Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin is a staunch defender of the state Capitol refurbishing project that cost more than $50 million and included historically correct copper doors that cost $670,000. I'm with Kamin on this, for reasons I explained here. My Reboot colleague Madeleine Doubek disagrees emphatically. She says this is exactly the kind of extravagant spending that shows state government has no grasp of its dire fiscal condition. Whose side are you on? Take our poll and cast your vote here. Then explain in the comments section.
In case you missed it, there's more expensive work going on at the Capitol complex in Springfield, including an extensive renovation and modernization of the Illinois Supreme Court. Click here for video of that project (and another defense from me.)
FUN FACTS: DAN RUTHERFORD Treasurer and Republican candidate for governor Dan Rutherford has amassed achievements from Africa to Antarctica. We uncover 5 in our fifth installment of our Fun Facts series on the gubernatorial candidates. Click here!
PENSION PERSPECTIVE Economist and author John Mauldin starts his dissection of the Illinois pension crisis with this quote from economist Thomas Sowell: "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." That sets the tone for Mauldin's thorough analysis of how Illinois got into its pension quagmire. It's definitely worth reading.
SOUND OFF FOR PENSION REFORM Mauldin's analysis is more evidence for the obvious: Illinois has to reform its pension system or face dire consequences across its economy for decades to come. The special conference committee on pension reform is expected to introduce its compromise bill any day now. We understand the need for compromise, but lawmakers need to understand the long-term harm that will be done if they don't get this right. Use our Sound Off tool took keep the pressure on for a bill that both protects retirement security for public employees and allows the state to turn its finances around. It's easy and effective. Try it here!
MINIMUM WAGE HISTORY From 2004 to 2011, Illinois raised its minimum wage six times. The current $8.25 minimum wage is the highest in the Midwest. We chart the history of Illinois and its neighbors on minimum wage in this infographic.
LOSING JOBS Gov. Pat Quinn has made raising the minimum wage part of his reelection campaign. We think this will do more to reduce the number of minimum-wage jobs available than to help those already working minimum wage jobs. You can use our Sound Off tool to send that message to Quinn, your state legislators and the four leaders of the General Assembly. You can use our message or create your own. Click here and try it!
HEADLINES Here's what's making news in Illinois today:
5. The president of the Chicago Public Schools board offers an assessment one year after the teachers strike ended. (Chicago Sun-Times)
4. Under the new Affordable Care Act, Illinois' residents will pay slightly less than the national average for health insurance. (Chicago Tribune)
3. A former Chicago alderman pleaded guilty to his third corruption charge - and now prosecutors want to send him away for 20 years. (Chicago Sun-Times)
2. Opinion: Put the brakes on the Illiana Expressway plan. (Chicago Tribune)
1. The failed privatization deal of Midway Airport cost the city of Chicago $3.5 million. (Chicago Sun-Times)