Governor Quinn – Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop Chicago Community Stories Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:45:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Quinn to sign school facilities reform Fri, 19 Aug 2011 20:35:11 +0000 Governor Quinn will sign SB 630, mandating transparency and accountability in CPS facility planning, Saturday, August 20 at 11:30 a.m. at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, 3015 W. Division.

The Humboldt Park location is in the district of the bill’s sponsors, State Representative Cynthia Soto and State Senator Irene Martinez. It was CPS closings of thriving neighborhood schools in the area in order to provide buildings for Renaissance 2010 projects – inspiring the kind of community outrage that has accompanied each year’s round of school closings — that spurred the two legislators to seek reform.

Under the new law, CPS will be required to issue guidelines for school closings and consolidations by November, and to provide notice and written explanations to schools being considered for such actions by December.  It will require school transition plans developed in collaboration with each school community; academic, social and emotional supports for transitioning students; and transitional services for homeless and special ed students.

Previously school closings have left little time for communities to respond or for parents to explore options, and little support for students, sometimes leading to spikes in violence.

Reasons for school actions have ranged widely, sometimes relying on faulty data including a controversial space utilization formula, and creating the impression that decisions (including capital spending) reflect a political agenda that sacrifices neighborhood schools for charters and other Renaissance 2010 schools.   Promises to improve the process have repeatedly been broken.

Facility performance standards and space utilization standards – required by the new law to take educational programming into account – will be due next June, and a ten-year Facilities Master Plan for the system must be in place by July 2013.  A detailed annual capital budget and spending report will be required.

The bill continues the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, with representation from community organizators, to provide oversight on implementation.  The task force held hearings last year and developed recommendations incorporated into SB 630.

Soto and Martinez are expected to call on CPS to provide transitional services for students who are moving to new schools this year.  Such services won’t be mandated by law until next year.

Slot machines kill jobs Tue, 16 Aug 2011 21:56:07 +0000 Mayor Emanuel is promising to spend his new $140 million a year from the Chicago casino he expects on wonderful things that we’ll all love.  While casinos will create some jobs, he tells the Tribune, “the real job growth and economic growth will come from investment” of the city’s take.

It may not be that simple.   Consider the costs.

Every new slot machine at a Chicago casino will destroy one job each year, by taking money out of the consumer economy, according to John Warren Kindt, business professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana.  Four thousand slots could mean forty thousand lost jobs over a decade.

Each slot machine, conservatively, takes in $100,000 a year.  With the multiplier effect on consumer spending, that means that 4,000 planned slot machines in Chicago will remove $1.2 billion from the consumer economy each year, Kindt said.

That’s a loss of $120 million in sales tax, just for starters, to set against the $140 million in city profits. Not to mention a heavy blow to a struggling economy.

There are years of academic research showing that gambling destablizes local economies, he said; much of it is reviewed in the four-volume, 3,000-page U.S. International Gambling Series which Kindt edited.  (Tell your library to get it.)

“The economic argument is totally disingenuous,” Kindt said.  The state’s proposed gambling expansion “will absolutely hurt the economy.”

The expansion is “all about slot machines,” he said.  Up to 90 percent of gambling profits come from slot machines.

“Slot machines don’t create jobs,” Kindt said. “You just dust them off and collect the money.”

And costs to government go up as gambling addiction rises (doubling within casino feeder markets), bankruptcies climb (18 to 42 percent higher in area around casinos, Kindt said) and crime rates go up (about 10 percent a year).  That means costs to government of $3 for every $1 in gambling revenue.

So it may not be time yet to start counting chickens.  Governor Quinn has yet to sign the bill; and if he does, the win-to-loss ratio may be less favorable than the politicians project.

Kindt recalls promises 20 years ago that casinos in Illinois would solve the state’s budget problems forever.  Now, Illinois and two other states with large gambling industries (California and Nevada) lead the nation in budget shortfalls.  He’s convinced that “the accumulated taxpayer costs that accompany gambling facilities” are a major factor in Illinois’ budget crisis.

If that’s true, then more of the same wouldn’t be the solution.

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