Illinois has the second largest stock of "zombie" properties with 31,668 homes in the country that are in foreclosure and the homeowners have moved out. These empty homes can create problems for the communities in which they are located, including vandalism, degradation, and squatting. Homeowners who abandon their foreclosed properties can see major fines rack up, including back taxes, cleaning and maintenance services, and demolition services.
- More than 300,000 homes are foreclosed "zombies," study says, Barbara Liston, Reuters, 3/28/2013
Unemployment rates hit their highest rate since 2010 in February, with unemployment increasing in 10 out of 12 Illinois metropolitan areas. The lowest rise in unemployment rates occurred in Bloomington-Normal, the Quad Cities, and Urbana-Champaign. Decatur had the highest increase in unemployment at 13.7% due to the loss of 1,100 manufacturing jobs. In the last year, Illinois jobs have been added in education, financial services, government, and health care.
- Local unemployment at three-year high in February, Tim Landis, The State Journal-Register, 3/28/2013
The Illinois General Assembly held a committee meeting on the new CTA transit card by Ventra. The House Mass Transit Committee chaired by Representative Deborah Mell met with the President of the Chicago Transit Authority Forrest Claypool, and asked questions about the high fees involved with the new transit fare card including dormancy, and customer service fees. The CTA Revenue Director Eric Reese stated that the process that led to contracting with Ventra took place before current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel took office, and that it was the CTA's plan from the beginning to link the CTA fare card with a prepaid debit card from the initial plans to overhaul the fare system.
- CTA Boss Wavers on Ventra at Hearing, Jon Hilkavitch, The Chicago Tribune, 4/2/2013
Families USA released a report last week that finds that 957,000 Illinois residents are set to get health care tax credits as a result of the Affordable Care Act being enacted in 2014. Of Illinois residents eligible to receive this tax credit, 15.3% are unemployed, 37.7% are from the ages of 18 to 34, and 43.5% live within 200% of the federal poverty level. 200% of the federal poverty level would mean at most an income of $31,020 for a single mother with one child. The health care tax credits would assist Illinois residents to purchase health insurance from the Marketplace to offset the costs.
- Report: 957,000 in Ill. to get health tax credits, Belleville News Democrat, 4/4/2013