Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (2/23)

February 23, 2024



Bears ‘disappointed’ after Board of Review blocks lower Arlington Heights property tax bill

“The Cook County Board of Review’s $124.7 million valuation of the former Arlington International Racecourse site — and the Bears’ resulting property tax bill of $10 million to $11 million — leaves team brass giving serious consideration to other options as they work toward breaking ground on a long-coveted dome, the team said in a statement,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Pritzker budget supported by $1B of tax increases and revenue changes

“Gov. JB Pritzker plans to continue spending priorities he has championed over the last five years, but this time, they will be supported by $800 million in tax increases plus more rearranging of funds to provide more revenue,” by The Daily Line.

Democratic PAC loses appeal of massive fines for not timely reporting campaign spending

“The State Board of Elections rejected Wednesday a request to reconsider or lower more than $100,000 in fines levied against a political action committee that helped expand the Democratic Party’s majority on the Illinois Supreme Court,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Pritzker will run TV ad to counter Local 150 ads

“The ad is in response to a spot paid for by a group run by Local 150 of the Operating Engineers. The bottom line is that organized labor and the business community are demanding far more robust infrastructure spending, while the governor’s people point to very real cost considerations for consumers,” by Capitol Fax.


Bring Chicago Home referendum on March primary ballot ruled invalid by Cook County judge

A Cook County judge ruled today that the real estate transfer tax question on the March primary ballot is invalid.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Burke sided with a coalition of real estate and business groups that had sued the Chicago Board of Elections to keep the Bring Chicago Home referendum off the ballot.

The decision deals a major political blow to Mayor Brandon Johnson and his bid to deliver on a key campaign promise to provide homelessness services by increasing a tax on property sales over $1 million.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Board of Elections said the question will remain on the ballot until a more detailed order comes from the judge but votes on it will not be counted.


Bond proposal pushed by Johnson would invest in housing, workforce development, neighborhoods

“The bond proposal (O2024-0007838) for housing and economic development was referred to the City Council rules committee Wednesday, though the mayor told reporters that was simply democracy at work and that he wasn’t worried about passing it out of that committee. He also said he was not planning any special meeting to get the proposal approved,” by The Daily Line.

Mayor Johnson spends $8.6 million on nine-month ShotSpotter deal — more than entire past year’s cost

“Mayor Brandon Johnson is spending $8.6 million to extend the city’s controversial deal with ShotSpotter for nine final months — shelling out significantly more than the city paid for the entire past year of service,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Johnson cracks door open to subsidizing White Sox stadium in South Loop

“One day after Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf traveled to Springfield seeking $1 billion in state funding, Johnson was considerably more receptive to the idea of using tax revenue for new stadiums than state officials have been,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago Board of Education votes to remove police from schools

“The Board of Education voted Thursday to remove dozens of uniformed police officers from 39 high schools that still have them and, in a separate vote, to drop janitorial giant Aramark as the district’s cleaning provider,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Lawson proposes ordinance to ensure City Council confirmation of future health commissioners

“Ald. Bennett Lawson (44) has filed an ordinance that would require the city’s public health commissioner to receive City Council confirmation before their appointment was finalized,” by The Daily Line.


Cozen Cities: The Senate and the House’s Role Reversals

  • The Senate has historically portrayed itself as the adults in the room compared to the House. Senate Republican fissures, however, threaten this historical dichotomy.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) finds himself hemmed in with a razor-thin majority and conservative members of his caucus controlling key legislative procedural levers. This has left him reliant upon bipartisan support to pass meaningful legislation.
  • Democrats’ victory in the New York Third special election last week was a road test for their strategy to defuse GOP attacks come November.

Read the full Cozen Currents article here.

Beltway Briefing: Are Washington and Lincoln turning over in their graves?

As we enter President’s weekend, would the former leaders be disappointed we aren’t further along in our nation’s trajectory? Is the end of American exceptionalism closer than we know? Join Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Towner French as they look back at our country’s historical struggles, discuss whether Tom Suozzi’s win is a good omen for the Democrats in November, and ask whether the absence of a clear foreign enemy today is at the root of all this internal dysfunction.

Listen to the Beltway Briefing here.

If you have any questions regarding this update or if you’re interested in ways to engage on these issues, please contact one of our team members here.


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