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Daily Whale Originals

City’s biotech startup incubator in the works

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes a new city-sponsored business center will lure young biotech companies downtown.

The center will serve as a space for startup companies in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries to set up shop and network with Chicago’s established medical community.

The project will be Chicago’s second recent jaunt into business incubation; last year, the city helped launch 1871, a tech company startup space located in Merchandise Mart.

Gutierrez, Paul Ryan push for immigration reform during Chicago appearance

U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made the case for reforming the U.S. immigration system while speaking at a City Club of Chicago luncheon Monday. The unlikely pair said they plan to introduce legislation that would tighten immigration rules while providing a path to citizenship for those who reside in the country illegally.


State finance authority head makes case for muni bonds’ tax-exempt status

With the federal government considering a sweeping overhaul of the tax code, the Illinois government and Cook County Board are waging a preemptive strike against Washington potentially ending the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds.

Ex-sports facilities authority exec director sues White Sox owner, former Gov. Thompson

Perri Irmer, former executive director of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority – which oversees the operation of the Chicago White Sox’s U.S. Cellular Field – is suing White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and former Gov. Jim Thompson for what she claims was a wrongful termination from her position.


Radogno cites pension advances, but reignites ‘cost shift’ debate

Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno said on Monday that state lawmakers made progress during the current legislative session toward addressing Illinois’s estimated $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. But the Republican leader from Lemont also criticized Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) for his focus on downstate teacher pensions.

“We’ve won the battle on acknowledging the problem,” Radogno said of pensions at a City Club of Chicago luncheon. “Now, of course, the difficulty is finishing the war.”

City ordinance promises TIF transparency amid calls for reform

A coalition of aldermen proposed legislation on Wednesday that would require the city to aggregate information and performance metrics regarding Tax Increment Finance projects into a centralized online database.

The “TIF accountability ordinance” builds on the 2009 TIF sunshine ordinance that required the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development to publish information about spending in each TIF district.

Lieutenant governor issues recommendations on concealed carry

As state lawmakers squabble in Springfield over competing bills regulating concealed carry, Illinois’ Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon has released suggestions developed by a working group she headed on the essential components of an effective new concealed carry law.

Simon discussed the recommendations Friday while speaking at a luncheon at the Union League Club of Chicago hosted by the Chicago Area Public Affairs Group.

Rockefeller money fuels outreach for Chicago’s BRT plans

Community outreach efforts promoting Bus Rapid Transit in Chicago are getting a push from a newly awarded Rockefeller Foundation grant.

The national grant, announced on Monday, splits $1.2 million in funding between Chicago, Nashville, Boston and Pittsburgh to “support research, communications and community outreach efforts to engage and educate local stakeholders on the benefits of BRT.”

Fioretti calls for diversion of TIF funds to CPS, criticizes mayor for school closings

Ald. Robert Fioretti took to the stage at a City Club of Chicago luncheon Monday to voice both his support for proposed state legislation that would redirect tax-increment-financing dollars to Chicago’s public schools and his frustrations with the mayoral administration’s handling of school closings and other CPS-related matters.

“Avoidance behavior” in Springfield added to pension crisis, Rep. Roskam says

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam is the latest to use a City Club of Chicago luncheon to weigh in on Illinois’ over $100 billion unfunded pension liability, telling the audience Tuesday that “avoidance behavior” in Springfield contributed to the state’s pension mess.

The Chief Deputy Whip from Wheaton said that in comparison to other Midwest states, Illinois failed to make the structural changes necessary to solve the pension crisis.