Stories by Paris Schutz

Comptroller Warns Again of 'Dire' Consequences to Budget Impasse

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says the state of Illinois’ finances is bleak, given the months-long stalemate without a state budget. Just how bleak has it gotten, and is there even a way out anymore? Paris Schutz has the story.

State Rep. Ken Dunkin: ‘I Don’t Work for Mike Madigan’

Missing Lawmaker Speaks Out on Major Union Bill

State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago), left, House Speaker Michael Madigan

State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) has some angry words for House Speaker Michael Madigan, in the wake of this week’s failed override of SB 1229, a major union bill that became a flash point in the ongoing political war between Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner. Paris Schutz has the story.

Corpse Plant Postmortem: Spike's Story Not Over, Say Botanists

Spike, a corpse plant, on Aug. 3, left, Aug. 26, center, and Sept. 1 at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

We conduct a postmortem on Spike, the smelly corpse flower that failed to bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden. What happened? Paris Schutz has the story.

City Holds Town Hall Meeting on Budget

The mayor and top city officials are speaking to the public at this hour in the first of a series of town hall meetings on the city budget. That budget could be as much as $754 million out of whack thanks to escalating pension costs. Higher taxes and fees are almost certainly inevitable, the question is which? How are residents responding to the shortfall? Paris Schultz joins us live from Malcolm X College.

Fate of CPS’ $500 Million Pension Relief in Hands of House

The Chicago Public Schools budget that is short half a billion dollars is officially enacted. The fate of that $500 million assistance is in the hands of the Illinois House, where support is currently tenuous at best. Thursday, some House lawmakers sent a message to the city and Chicago Public Schools: certain things have to happen before that chamber gets on board. What are they?

Corpse Flower Hours Away From Big Bloom at Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is on death watch. Officials there say the famed titan arum plant, more popularly known as the "corpse flower," could bloom in a matter of hours and emit its notorious foul odor. Chicago Tonight was on the scene on Wednesday. Also, watch a livestream of the famous plant called Spike.

State Budget Stalemate: Week 8

Still no budget in Springfield and now the state's comptroller says Illinois is starting to fall far behind in paying its bills. We have the latest on this and other news out of Springfield on Chicago Tonight with Amanda Vinicky.

Third Way Out of State Budget Impasse Emerges

Change in Corporate Income Tax Floated

There’s a potential third way out of the deadlock over how to close a $6 billion state budget gap. Gov. Bruce Rauner is refusing to sign off on a budget without changes to collective bargaining and public employee unions. And the Democrats are refusing to go along with that. So, what are the alternatives? Paris Schutz has the details.

US Senate Candidates Fail to Get Endorsement of Cook County Democrats

Duckworth, Zopp fail to get backing of the Democratic Party

Tammy Duckworth, left, and Andrea Zopp

Wednesday is a make-or-break day for candidates running for office in 2016. The powerful Cook County Democratic Organization met for what is their traditional slating session. Which candidates won the coveted endorsement and how does it bode for 2016?

Competing Proposals to Bail Out Chicago Public Schools

A plan to provide nearly $500 million in relief to the cash-starved CPS is locked up in an ideological battle over collective bargaining. Paris Schutz joins us with more on the story.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Campaigns in Chicago

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president, brings his campaign to Chicago Monday evening. The senator and self-avowed socialist has attracted huge crowds and national attention, with polls that show he is gaining on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. What is behind the buzz, and who in Chicago is behind him? Paris Schutz joins us with that story.

Should Downstate, Suburban Schools Pay for Their Pensions?

Should downstate and suburban school districts pay the hundreds of millions in costs to fund their teacher pensions? A group of Chicago area state lawmakers say yes. They say it’s a better way to level the playing field between Chicago and other school districts. But not everyone is on board.

House Democrats Propose Pension Cost Shift, $200 Million for CPS

A new proposal from state lawmakers to help out Chicago Public Schools with a $200 million windfall, as the CEO announces an end to the pension pickup for non-union employees. Paris Schutz explains.

Residents Sound Off at FAA Public Meetings on O'Hare Noise

Chicago residents who say that the reconfiguration of O’Hare’s runways will lead to higher noise levels in their neighborhoods sound off in front of Federal Aviation Administration officials. On Chicago Tonight, we find out what the FAA is saying about the new flight paths, and how they plan to mitigate the skyrocketing number of community complaints.

Teachers Union Threatens Strike

Karen Lewis

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Friday that the Chicago Public Schools’ latest contract move could force teachers into another strike.

Plan to Fund $500 Million of CPS Pension Payments Advances to House

Illinois Senate President Cullerton's plan to have the state bailout $500 million in Chicago teacher pension costs moves to the House. What will Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner do? We get the latest from Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky.

Gun Theft in Rail Yard Raises Security Questions

Norfolk Southern locomotive

More than 100 guns were stolen from a Norfolk Southern freight train that was parked in a rail yard on the South Side. On Monday, we discuss growing concerns surrounding the security of trains carrying dangerous freight through Chicago.

Progressive Caucus Pushes Taxes Aimed at Wealthy, Corporations

Aldermen: No More Property Tax Breaks for Big Buildings

The parade for new city taxes continued Thursday as a group of aldermen made their case to Mayor Emanuel that powerful corporations and the wealthy should shoulder the burden of tax hikes to help plug a massive budget hole. The aldermen are also targeting the private law businesses of powerful political figures like Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward) and House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

Alderman Looks to Tax Sugary Beverages

Could Chicagoans soon be paying higher taxes for sugary drinks? We'll tell you about that and other items Chicago's City Council took up today.

City Council Scrambles for New Revenue in Wake of Pension Ruling

Mayor Emanuel, back in Chicago after a vacation in Europe, returns to a fiscal situation that is bleaker than it was when he left, thanks to last week's court ruling throwing out a law that cut benefits for many city retirees.

City Council Committee Debates ‘Chi-Raq’ Film Title

There was heated debate at a City Council committee meeting Monday on whether or not to strip Illinois Film tax credits from Spike Lee's forthcoming film Chi-Raq. Some say the title validates gang culture while others fumed that aldermen have far better things to do with their time. Is the title Chi-Raq here to stay? 

Chicago Pension Reform Struck Down

Mayor Emanuel and the city of Chicago are back to square one in efforts to resolve the funding crisis for two of the city's four pension funds, likely exacerbating the city's ongoing fiscal problems. 

Cullerton to Rauner: Submit a New Budget to General Assembly

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is a key player in the state budget standoff. Yesterday, Gov. Rauner told reporters that the state would have a budget if it was up to him, Sen. Cullerton, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Today, what remained of the goodwill between Rauner and Democratic leaders seems to have evaporated. Paris Schutz has more.

Blagojevich Gets Some Convictions Overturned by Appeals Court

A U.S. Appeals Court on Tuesday overturned five of the 18 convictions against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is currently serving a 12-year sentence in a Colorado federal prison.

New Water Disinfection Plant Helps Clean Chicago Waterways

Swimming safely in the Chicago River is now one giant step closer to reality, according to sanitary officials. Chicago Tonight details the new disinfection process making that possible.