Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Closing of Swedish Bakery a Bitter Pill, But Sweet Memories Abound

A Chicago institution is closing up shop after 88 years. Visitors have been flocking to the Swedish Bakery in Andersonville to say – and eat – their goodbyes. 

Rauner Lays Out Budget Plan; Democrats Not Impressed

Even as Illinois staggers on, rudderless without a budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner was faced Wednesday with laying out a fiscal path forward. Read the governor’s address, annotated.

For Second Time, First Lady’s Nonprofit Sues Governor

Diana Rauner (Courtesy the Ounce of Prevention Fund)

The early childhood support program run by Diana Rauner, wife of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, is once again part of a coalition suing the state to recover money it’s owed.  

Illinois Budget: ‘Grand Bargain’ or Bust?

Portions of the so-called “grand bargain” passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday afternoon, but what’s been touted as a bipartisan deal received no Republican support. Is the whole package on the skids?

Latest ‘Grand Bargain’ Proposes Lower Sales Tax

After hours discussing the grand bargain budget behind closed doors, the state Senate goes home without voting. A look at how the deal is changing.

A Big Bet on a Grand Bargain

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton speaks Monday at the City Club of Chicago.

Senate leaders’ bipartisan salve to Illinois’ budget troubles is on tap for a vote in Springfield this week.

Bruce Rauner Hires Leslie Munger as Deputy Governor

Leslie Munger (Chicago Tonight)

Former Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger will return to state government at her former, $135,000 salary. Friday afternoon Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office announced that Munger has been brought on as a deputy governor.   

Is It Really Possible to Balance the State Budget Without a Tax Hike?

Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman (Chicago Tonight)

The conservative Illinois Policy Institute unveiled a plan Tuesday that promises to fill Illinois’ $7.1 billion budget hole, without any increase in taxes. 

Behind the Court Case That Could Shut Down State Government

State employees are in the middle of a political war on two fronts, both of which could leave workers broke. Both could also spur action that could end Illinois’ 19-month budget impasse by forcing a shutdown.

AG Madigan Files Motion to Stop State Workers’ Pay Until Budget Passed

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan speaks about campus sexual assault on Aug. 23, 2016. (Chicago Tonight)

Attorney General Lisa Madigan took legal action Thursday night that could bring an end to Illinois’ long-running budget imbroglio, by initiating either a shutdown or a compromise.

Gentler Governor Calls for Compromise but Sticks to Demands

Gov. Bruce Rauner largely bypassed Illinois’ myriad troubles and instead spent much of his speech Wednesday listing his administration’s achievements and calling for cooperation. 

Rauner Responds to Emanuel’s ‘Partisan Rant’

Gov. Bruce Rauner is poised to deliver a State of the State address Wednesday expressing optimism about Illinois’ future, but his one-time compatriot Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants him to apologize.

Bipartisan ‘Grand Bargain’ Hits Pause in Springfield

New, Higher Taxes Added to Senate Proposal

Illinois residents would pay a personal income tax rate of 4.99 percent under the latest incarnation of a bipartisan proposal proffered by Senate leaders. 

Summit to Decrease Violence Addresses Kids’ Sense of Hopelessness

How can Chicago stem the surge of violence? Police, prosecutors, and judges offered ideas Thursday for dealing with troubled youth, some of whom offered ideas of their own. 

What’s Behind State Workers’ Potential Strike?

There’s no guarantee Illinois government employees will strike, but the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 has taken initial steps toward the unprecedented action.

AFSCME Sets Dates for Strike Vote

AFSCME members protest in Springfield in May 2016. (Amanda Vinicky / Chicago Tonight)

The prolonged standoff between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois’ largest public employees’ union may lead to an unprecedented strike of state government employees.

Rauner on 2-Year Anniversary: ‘I Will Never Give Up’

“We made some wonderful progress, also had some frustrations with lack of progress on some key items,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said of his tenure Thursday as he took to Facebook Live for a two-year review. 

Madigan Wins Speaker’s Office, As Senate Sets Leadership Limits

Michael Madigan wins an unprecedented 17th term as Illinois House Speaker, and the Republican Party is already undermining its own calls for bipartisanship.  

In Springfield, Lawmakers Adjourn for Good, Without a Budget

(Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois’ 99th General Assembly has wrapped up for good, without ever having passed a complete state budget. 

Budget Deal Backed by Illinois Senate Has Slim Chance in House

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and the minority leader, Republican Christine Radogno.

While Illinois’ impasse thus far has been caused by a partisan divide, divergent approaches by the House and Senate to the state’s yearslong political stalemate serve to create a new potential rift, this time between the two Democratic-led chambers.

Democratic Leader Calls Illinois Budget a Crisis

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (Chicago Tonight)

Illinois lawmakers go back to Springfield next week. Will they be ready to take budget action in the new year?