SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Public school administrators say some local districts would have to raise property taxes if they're forced to cover the cost of teacher pensions.
The school officials testified Thursday at a special hearing called by House Speaker Michael Madigan.
The Chicago Democrat says suburban and downstate districts get a "free lunch" because the state pays their teacher pension costs. He says Illinois is in grave financial trouble and the districts must be part of the solution.
The administrators say potential tax increases would depend on how much money districts have and how much of the burden the state shifts to districts.
Public university representatives also testified Thursday. They say the change could result in a 2 percent tuition increase.
Madigan has vowed to address the issue before the General Assembly adjourns.
A home improvement project is being blamed for the explosion at a St. Peters home.
Officials with the Cottleville Fire Protection District say a contractor was working to refinish a concrete floor, but did not have adequate ventilation. The contractor also said the hot water heater was left on, prompting the explosion.
The house will need major work before it is livable again.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says House Speaker Michael Madigan's pension-reform plan deserves a Senate vote.
The Democratic governor said the proposal is comprehensive.
Illinois has nearly $100 billion in pension debt because of years of state underfunding.
Senate President John Cullerton has a different idea he plans to call for a vote Thursday afternoon. Public employee unions back that proposal.
The House approved the Madigan bill last week. It would require employees to pay 2 percent more toward retirement benefits. It would reduce annual cost-of-living increases for retirees and raise the retirement age for workers under 45.
Cullerton's proposal would offer employees a choice between health insurance or cost-of-living increases. He says it would survive a court challenge.
Two late-night joggers were robbed near Carondelet Park around 12:30 this morning.
The victims told police a car pulled up next to them and the driver asked for directions. When one of the joggers approached the car, three teens assaulted him and stole his cell phone. The suspects piled into the car and sped off.
Police arrested two suspects in connection to the crime and a third is being held by juvenile authorities Two suspects remain at large. Police say the suspects are all thought to be between 15 and 18 years old.
A toddler, found wandering in a South County apartment complex this morning, is safe-and-sound, back home with his family.
Police say the two year-old boy was able to walk out of the apartment after his older brother left the door open. A groundskeeper at the Port Apartments in Oakville found the toddler around 11:20 morning.
They found the boy's father just a short time later, he had been taking a nap when the child left the house.
People parking in the Central West End have a new way to pay at meters.
The newly-installed meters will accept credit cards. It is part of the "No Change, No Problem" campaign. The new meters will be unveiled at a ceremony tomorrow at the corner of Euclid and Maryland.
More information can be found at the City Treasurer's website here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have prepared a budget that could force Gov. Jay Nixon to choose between developmentally disabled children and low-income seniors.
The nearly $25 billion operating budget being considered Thursday by lawmakers assumes more than $55 million of savings from the elimination of a tax break for low-income seniors and disabled residents who live in rental housing.
The budget would spend that money on early childhood programs for the developmentally disabled, health care for the blind and medical clinics that treat low-income people.
Nixon has said he would veto a repeal of the renters tax break unless it's part of a broader tax-credit overhaul. But if he does, then the early childhood programs and health care initiatives would lose money.
Lawmakers hope that will compel Nixon to accept the plan.
Three suspects have been arrested, two are still on the loose after a jogger was robbed in south St. Louis early Thursday morning.
Police say the male jogger was attacked and had his cellphone stolen in the 6200 block of Leona around 12:15 a.m. when three men and two women pulled up in a car and asked for directions.
The jogger was unhurt.
For a second day local fast food workers are expected to walk off their jobs at major national chains like Wendy’s, Hardee’s, and Domino’s. They are pushing for higher wages, better working conditions and the right to form a union.
"Workers at Jimmy Johns in Soulard say they want a livable wage of $15 dollars an hour. That includes Rasheen Aldridge who says pay isn't the only issue - management often humiliates the employees when they do something wrong.
Jimmy Johns is known for their slogan "subs so fast you'll freak." Aldridge says that when employees lag behind, they have to hold signs reading "I don't make sandwiches fast enough." Reporting from Soulard, Michael Golde, KTRS News"
Several hours later, several employees walked off the job at a Florissant McDonalds. Similar protests have taken place in New York and Chicago.
A member of the St. Louis Major Case Squad is in FBI custody.
Federal agents had asked East St. Louis Detective Orlando Ward to come to the federal building Tuesday afternoon. A city spokesperson says about 6:00 p.m. Tuesday night the FBI called and asked them to pickup Ward’s police car.
There's no word on why Ward was taken into custody or if any charges are pending.
City officials are very concerned that criminal allegations against Ward could put some convictions in doubt since the long-time detective has been a key investigator in many high profile criminal cases.