(Springfield-jm) -- Despite putting more tax dollars into the state’s five pensions funds, Illinois' unfunded liability continues to increase. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reported the unfunded liability for the state's five public sector pensions stood at $137.3 billion. State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, a Rockford Republican on the commission, said that’s up more than $3.5 billion from last year despite taxpayers putting more into the funds. In 2005, Illinois had $38.6 billion in unfunded liabilities and the pension systems were 60 percent funded. In 2014, those liabilities grew to $104.6 billion while the systems slipped 42.9 percent funded. In the spending plan lawmakers approved this summer, taxpayers paid $9.2 billion into the pension systems from a $42 billion state budget. The projected contribution for the next fiscal year is $9.8 billion. COGFA projects by 2025, taxpayers will pay $10.9 billion. By 2045 the projected taxpayer contribution would be $19.2 billion.
(Springfield-jm) -- State Rep. David McSweeney never voted for a tax increase and as he prepares to leave office, he's formed a new organization to continue his fight for taxpayers. McSweeney said that he hadn't voted for any bill that would have increased the burden on Illinois taxpayers. He created Cut Illinois Taxes Now, an educational nonprofit to highlight just how much of an Illinois taxpayer’s paycheck really goes to state and local governments and to “show how those taxes hurt the working families of Illinois.” The effort, McSweeney said, is to counteract others who want to persuade residents that Illinois is a low-tax state.
(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will ring in the Christmas holiday season this weekend. Last weekend's Christmas parade was postponed until this weekend due to the weather says Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer…
Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer. You can hear the parade here on WPXN.
(Sibley-jm) -- The village of Sibley’s lone employee will receive a pay raise. Following a 4-2 vote, village trustees approved a $100 per month increase for Merlin Tjarks. Tjarks handles the villages maintenance and water issues.
(Paxton-jm) -- Several sports and extra curricular teams in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District are receiving recognition. Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about the accomplishments…
PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.
(Paxton-jm) -- 71 Illinois nursing homes are being named in a violation report from the state, including two locally. Accolade Senior Living in Paxton and Gilman Healthcare were named in the report. The report did not indicate what the violations were.
(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton bank is hosting a holiday food drive. The Frederick Community Bank is collecting food at their main branch location in downtown Paxton. The bank is taking donations through Friday, December 13th. The donations benefit families in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District.
(Washington-jm) -- Government payments have been playing a much bigger role this year in the farm income picture. Gary Crawford has the details…
(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reminding folks to get their flu shots. Central Illinois is starting to see flu sporadically, but things are expected to get worse. According to IDPH, flu season usually peaks between December and February, but they've seen it last as late as May. Doctors said the most vulnerable population are the elderly and young children.
Rantoul Township High School Madrigals will hold their dinner tonight and tomorrow at 6pm. Tickets are $17.50 each. For more information or to get your tickets call 892-6049.
The Paxton annual Bag Sale and Christmas open house will take place today through Monday, December 9th at participating businesses in Paxton.
The IC Santa Elf Patrol will be making stops in the area Friday, December 6th through Sunday, December 8th. December 6th: Onarga (6:30-8:30 pm), December 7th: Gibson City (8-10:30 am), Melvin (12-1:30), Roberts (1:45-3), Thawville (3:30-5) and Gilman (6-8), December 8th: Danforth (10:30-12) and Ashkum (1-2:30)
Hooves of Hope in Potomac will hold their Breakfast with Reindeer on Saturday, from 730 to noon.
The Milford Fun Days committee will hold their Santa Breakfast on Saturday, from 8 to 11 am.
The Watseka Park District will hold their Good Morning Shopping Event on Saturday from 9-12.
The village of Sibley will hold their Night on the Town from 5 to 8 pm on Saturday. Activities include carriage rides, Christmas carolling and an appearance by Santa.
The Gifford State Bank Parade of Lights will be held on Sunday at 5pm in downtown Gifford.
(Springfield-jm) -- A new report highlights significant differences in the number of industry regulations at the state level, including in Illinois, which was ranked as one of the most regulated states in the nation. The recent report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University was part of the group's State RegData project. It looked at the number of industry regulations on the books across most of the country. Researchers said this was the first look at state business regulations. The findings found vast differences in the number of regulations among some states.
CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has experienced major staffing cutbacks and dwindling funding in recent years, according to two new reports. The agency’s workforce was reduced by 38% percent between 2008 and 2018, more than any of the 47 states studied in an Environmental Integrity Project report released Thursday.
(Paxton-jm) -- One local business will be showing their appreciation for their customers this weekend. Sunday Hudson Drug and Hallmark in downtown Paxton will hold their annual customer appreciation day says Owner Andy Hudson…
Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson.
(Roberts-jm) -- The Ford County village of Roberts is seeking an increase to their tax levy. Village leaders approved a 3 point 4 percent increase recently. The money will be collected next summer.
(Gifford-jm) -- The village of Gifford will ring in the Christmas holiday season with a lighted Christmas parade. The parade will take place on December 8th and is sponsored by the Gifford State Bank says Spokesperson Stacey Huls…
Gifford State Bank Parade Spokesperson Stacey Huls.
(Springfield-jm) -- The survey plays a crucial role in several ways, from our representation in Washington to funding for local communities. The Illinois State Board of Education is working with the state to make sure you can take part in the US Census survey. ISBE officials said from an education standpoint, federal funds are affected by a state's population.
(Undated-jm) -- One area Congressman is voicing his opinion of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Congressman Darin Lahood said it should be the voters that decide President Donald Trump's impeachment. The congressman said instead of impeaching the president, lawmakers should be worrying about passing the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.
(Springfield-jm) -- Days after one group of Illinois House Republicans demanded Speaker Madigan resign amid FBI investigations and harassment cases that have tainted his caucus for decades, another group, in a State Capitol press conference, called on Governor Pritzker to call a special session of the Illinois General Assembly specifically to address ethics reform in Illinois government. State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur called it a very special issue that cannot be ignored. He said that in order for legislators to have any credibility with the people in the state, we need to reform what happens in the statehouse…
State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur.
(Springfield-jm) -- The Trump administration is about to impose new regulations that would tighten eligibility rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, in a way state officials say could cut off benefits for an estimated 140,000 Illinoisans. The new rules apply to a category of SNAP recipients ages 18 to 59 known as “able-bodied adults without dependents,”. Currently, who meet the program’s income eligibility limits are limited to three months of benefits during any 36-month period unless they work at least 20 hours a week or are enrolled in a job training program. The new rules, which will take effect in April, will tighten the regulations governing those waivers by limiting them to counties with unemployment rates above 6 percent. It is one of several changes to SNAP eligibility being implemented or considered by the Trump administration.
The Sheldon Fun Days Committee will hold their Christmas Event tonight from 4 to 6:30 pm at the Sheldon Public Library. Activities include crafts, cookie decorating, storytime and a visit from Santa.
The Elliott Amvets will hold Family Night meals tonight. The meal includes fish and chicken plus two sides for $10. Also available for purchase are $1 sodas, $2 beers and $4.50 mixed drinks.
Mistletoe Market at Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana will take place tonight from 4-10 pm.
The village of Rantoul will hold their annual lighted Christmas parade tonight at 6 pm.
The 2019 Rantoul Holiday Shop Hop will take place on Saturday from 9-1 in downtown Rantoul.
The Lakeview Country Club in Loda will hold their Membership Raffle on Saturday from 3-6 pm. Cost is $100 per ticket. Call Doug McCoy at 217-249-4515 or Katie Lane at 850-8660-7572 for more information or to get your ticket.
The 2019 Fisher Holiday Expo will be held at the Fisher Community Building from 10am -3pm. Over 25 vendors and artists will be selling their wonderful goods. There will also be a bake sale to raise money for the Art program at Fisher Grade School. The annual Fisher Lighted Christmas Parade will be at 5pm followed by a Community Christmas Social hosted by the Fisher National Bank. Visit with Santa and enjoy refreshments and music.
The Foosland Sportsman’s Club will hold their splatterboard shoot on Sunday. Breakfast begins at 6 with the shoot starting at 8.