The Tax Foundation issues mixed rating for Illinois’ tax structure. The Washington-based nonpartisan study institute monitors the tax laws of all 50 states, and issues comparative rankings based on what they find. States are ranked not only on the financial burdens imposed by their tax laws but also by the administrative burden of filling out income-reporting forms and complying with each tax.
Frontispiece of the 1973-74 Illinois Blue Book
showcasing Illinois State 
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
In recent years, Illinois has added a number of items to its list of official state symbols. Oftentimes, these ideas are produced by local student groups seeking to bring some recognition to an important part of their community or the state as a whole. Some good examples are the 2015 designation of sweet corn as our Illinois State Vegetable and the 1980 selection of the white-tailed deer as the state animal.

Illinois has had a roster of state symbols from its beginning as a state, starting with our state seal. Some of the early state symbols included our state bird, state tree, state flower and state song. This is the story of how those early symbols were chosen.
Illinois unemployment rate matches lowest on record. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in August and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -5,200 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The July job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show no growth. (+0 jobs versus +3,700 jobs).
Our guest today says its time for Illinois lawmakers to “put their money where their mouth is,” stop talking about rooting out “waste, fraud and abuse” in Illinois government and actually do something about it.

We will hear about 63rd District State Representative Steve Reick’s legislation which creates the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Act. In addition to other matters related to Springfield, we will hear about his attempt at being a walk-on with the University of Illinois basketball team and how his passion for cooking led to cooking up some quail tacos for colleagues and staff in Springfield.

By the late 1970s, technology was making everything bigger and faster. Skyscrapers were reaching farther into the sky than ever before. The space shuttle was preparing for its maiden voyage. The joint British-French Concorde was transporting passengers across the Atlantic at supersonic speeds. Jumbo jets like the Boeing 747 and the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 were carrying more passengers farther and faster than was dreamed possible a generation before.
Illinois prepared to assist states impacted by Hurricane Florence. Governor Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that Illinois is prepared to provide personnel and other support to states that may be impacted by Hurricane Florence.

Ten Illinois Army National Guard soldiers and two helicopters have deployed to support relief efforts in North Carolina. The crews left from Peoria's 238th Aviation Battalion and Kankakee's 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment. They will provide support for up to 10 days. All costs associated with the deployment will be paid for by the Tar Heel state.
Already having served as student body president at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, as a village board member in Downers Grove, and on the Board of Trustees at the College of DuPage, he is one of the youngest members of the General Assembly and part of a new generation of state representatives in Springfield. Our guest is 81st District State Representative David Olsen.

"Father Marquette and the Indians" painting by Wilhelm Lamprecht, 1869
Many Illinoisans are tempted to snicker when an out-of-stater mispronounces our state’s name. We know that the ‘s’ on the end of the name is silent. Our state’s name and its correct pronunciation are part of the legacy left by the French explorers who in the 17th century became the first European settlers to visit the parcel of land in the middle of North America now known as “Illinois.”

The French had claimed the region sight-unseen in 1671. Two years later, an expedition led by Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet arrived in the area to be known as Illinois. Their group consisted of seven French explorers and two scouts in a pair of canoes. The French had already colonized portions of present-day Canada and had been exploring the Great Lakes region and its nearby rivers.
Mike Marron sworn in as 104th District State Representative. Vermilion County Board Chairman Mike Marron was sworn-in Friday to serve as the new 104th District State Representative. Marron is succeeding retiring State Representative Chad Hays, who had served in office since 2010. Marron, who succeeds both Hays and legendary State Representative Bill Black, thanked both men for their leadership.
On session days, the Illinois Capitol is a crowded place to be. While either house is in session, members of the public tend to gather outside the chamber doors around the rail surrounding the third floor rotunda. Looking up, or down, a visitor to the Capitol has the chance to see statues of some of the towering figures of Illinois government.

Here is a quick jaunt around the center of the Capitol building to explore some of the stories of the figures depicted in the statues that line the 2nd floor and which tower above the center of the Capitol’s rotunda.