Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (6/23)

June 23, 2023


Cook County releases FY2024 preliminary budget report

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Thursday unveiled the preliminary forecast for the County’s Fiscal Year 2024, which shows a projected budget shortfall of $85.6 million.

While higher than last year’s gap of $18.2 million – a record low for Preckwinkle – officials are projecting a $214.7 million surplus. This year’s gap is said to be attributable to expected increases in personnel and IT costs, an increase in supplemental pension payments, and a reduction in Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) revenue as the state changes disbursement funds.

Preckwinkle has said she anticipates the shortfall to be addressed without new taxes, fees, or layoffs of county workers.

The board president is expected to introduce her budget proposal in October, with a vote slated for November after public hearings.


Bill awaiting governor’s signature would give immigrants same Illinois driver’s license as everyone else: “Undocumented immigrants living in Illinois may soon have nearly the same driver’s licenses as everyone else under a bill on Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk. HB3882, led by Rep. Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora) and Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), would remove a purple bar at the top of the ID that says TVDL, which stands for temporary visitor driver’s license,” by The Daily Line.

Gov. Pritzker Signs Bill Extending Cocktails To-Go for 5 Additional Years: “On June 9, 2023, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law SB 0089, extending Illinois’ cocktails to-go law until August 1, 2028,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.


Mayor Johnson meets with pension working group 

On Thursday, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s pension working group convened for the first time in an effort to bring fiscal stability and to address structural issues across the city’s four employee pension funds.

According to Johnson, the group “will work with a broader set of advisers from the financial and advocacy sectors to develop actionable solutions to meet the city’s obligations to retirees, workers, and taxpayers.” The working group will also form sub-groups to address specific pension issues and dedicated revenue as part of a comprehensive and balanced approach.

The 17-member group is comprised of members who work for or used to work for labor groups, as well as state legislators and city officials. Notably, there are no representatives from business groups.

The pension working group members include:

  • Kelly Burke, Illinois State Representative, 36th District
  • Beniamino Capellupo, Senior Labor Advisor, City of Chicago
  • John Catanzara Jr., President, Chicago Police Department Lodge 7
  • Pat Cleary, President, Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2
  • Pat Dowell, Alderman, 3rd Ward
  • Jason Ervin, Alderman, 28th Ward
  • Annette Guzman, Budget Director, City of Chicago
  • Joe Healy, Secretary-Treasurer, Laborers’ District Council of Chicago
  • Jeff Howard, Executive Vice President, SEIU Local 73
  • Jill Jaworski, Chief Financial Officer, City of Chicago
  • Andrea Kluger, Deputy Chief of Staff, Government Affairs, Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Jason Lee, Senior Advisor, City of Chicago
  • Robert Martwick, Illinois State Senator, 10th District
  • Martha Merrill, Director of Research & Employee Benefits, AFSCME
  • Cameron Mock
  • Mike Rodriguez, Alderman, 22nd Ward & Chairman of City Council Workforce Development
  • Steve Zahn


Civic Federation’s acting president makes case for major reform of city government: “The president of one of Chicago’s most respected taxpayer watchdog groups on Thursday beat the drum for cost-cutting reforms with the potential to revolutionize city government,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Proposed legislation would ban idling vehicles, change IG appointment process, extend TIF for Congress Theater rehab work: “Members of the City Council and Mayor Brandon Johnson introduced a wide range of proposed ordinances and resolutions during Wednesday’s meeting, ranging from a measure that would prohibit most vehicles from idling and another that would change the process for selecting the city’s inspector general,” by The Daily Line.

Alderpersons, advocates push for ‘fair wage’ for tipped workers: “Restaurant workers, advocates and more than 10 alderpersons made a call Wednesday for the city to get rid of a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, saying such a wage makes it hard for workers to ‘make ends meet’ and opens them up to sexual harassment,” by The Daily Line.

Obama Presidential Center lands $26 million grant: “The Stavros Niarchos Foundation announced it will give the Obama Foundation a $26 million grant to be used for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

‘Where are the funds?’ State elections board seeks accounting of Ald. Burnett’s missing campaign money: “Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) can’t find any paperwork regarding $100,000 in unaccounted for campaign contributions because the records were destroyed in a ‘catastrophic flood’ more than 20 years ago, his lawyer has told the Illinois State Board of Elections,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.


Cozen Currents: The Limits of Trump’s Domination

  • The second indictment against former President Trump this year may be the talk of the town, but has done little to change the political or governing dynamics in DC.
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) successfully kept House Republicans unified on debt limit negotiations, but he’s had more difficulty keeping his fractious conference on the same page since.
  • With the debt ceiling out of the way, the GOP is returning to its favorite topic — tax policy — ahead of FY24 appropriations negotiations and many tax breaks that will end in 2025.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

Beltway Briefing: Is the Trump Indictment a Tree Falling in a Forest?

As Democrats look ahead to what will be a challenging midterm election, the party is publicly and privately gauging how to handle the violent insurrection. Many describe discussing the events of that day as a moral obligation. Others, without dismissing the gravity of the attacks, argue that the party needs to prioritize economic issues immediately impacting voters’ daily lives. Yet while Democrats may disagree over how to talk about the insurrection, many Republicans continue to embrace Trump’s version of the events of January 6. And the former president, even as his actual voice has been diminished, continues to be a factor in the media’s news cycle and political coverage.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, Towner French, Kaitlyn Martin, and Tristan Breaux discuss Trump’s continued importance in Republican politics and the electorate’s increased polarization along partisan lines, and engage in a thought-provoking discussion about whether, despite their differences, Americans actually agree on many important issues.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


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