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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Quinn pleased court will hear appeal on pay case

Thursday, 17 October 2013 02:13 Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's pleased the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear his appeal of a ruling that found his veto of lawmakers' pay unconstitutional.

   The court issued its one-page order Wednesday. A hearing date has not been set.

   Quinn halted lawmakers' salaries in July.  He said they shouldn't get paid until they addressed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

   House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton then sued, arguing Quinn didn't have the authority to halt lawmaker paychecks.

   A Cook County judge in September ordered that legislators be paid immediately.

   Quinn appealed directly to the state's high court, saying his move was allowed through the state constitution.

   Quinn's spokeswoman says the governor will continue to not accept his own paycheck until pension reform is achieved.

 

   St. Louis city officials want to do more to preserve some vacant buildings for future development, and tear down those that are beyond repair.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a bill will be filed Friday with the Board of Aldermen that would set up a preservation fund of about $500,000 a year to fix roofs and walls on long-term vacant buildings.  An equal amount would go to the city's demolition fund.  

   The paper reports that the cash would come from a new fee on electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits, but building owners would face a lien for the costs as well.  

   If the aldermen agree, the measure  would go before voters, possibly as early as next spring.

   A separate bill also to be filed Friday would toughen penalties for owners who let decay their so-called "high merit" historic buildings, like the now-demolished Cupples 7 building.

 

Relief around world as US avoids debt default

Thursday, 17 October 2013 01:13 Published in National News

   BEIJING (AP) — The International Monetary Fund appealed Thursday to Washington for more stable management of the nation's finances as Asian stock markets rose after U.S. leaders agreed to avoid a default and end a 16-day government shutdown.

   With only hours to spare until the $16.7 trillion debt limit was reached, Congress passed and sent a waiting President Barack Obama legislation late Wednesday night to allow more borrowing and reopen government agencies.

   "World heaves sigh of relief as U.S. barely averts debt default," said the Times of India newspaper in a headline.

   IMF managing director Christine Lagarde welcomed the deal but said the shaky American economy needs more stable long-term finances. The deal only permits the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 and fund the government through Jan. 15.

   "It will be essential to reduce uncertainty surrounding the conduct of fiscal policy by raising the debt limit in a more durable manner," Lagarde said in a statement.

   The Tokyo stock market, the region's heavyweight, gained as much as 1.1 percent. Markets in China, Hong Kong and South Korea also rebounded from losses.

   China and Japan, which each own more than $1 trillion of Treasury securities, appealed earlier to Washington for a quick settlement. There was no indication whether either government had altered its debt holdings.

   China's official Xinhua News Agency had accused Washington of jeopardizing other countries' dollar-denominated assets. It called for "building a de-Americanized world," though analysts say global financial markets have few alternatives to the dollar and U.S. government debt for trading and holding currency reserves.

   Asian companies and investors had expressed confidence the United States would avoid a default. But had sold Treasurys to avoid possible losses if Washington delayed repayment. Others put off buying stocks that might be exposed to a U.S. downturn.

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