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Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

You wouldn't have to be sick, to take a sick day under legislation approved Tuesday by the Illinois House.      

Soda Tax May Bubble Up In Springfield

May 18, 2016
Rex Sorgatz / Creative Commons

Lawmakers scrambling to find money to fix Illinois' multi-billion dollar deficit are looking to sugary drinks as one potential source of revenue.

Alan Ferguson / Creative Commons

Home sales in Bloomington Normal rose 11 percent in April compared to the same month last year. The Association of Realtors said year to date sales are up 5.6 percent. Indicators remain mixed, though.

lendingmemo.com

Some new rules are going into effect for those who make a living investing other people's cash. WGLT's Willis Kern has more with the director of Illinois State University's Institute for Financial Planning and Analysis, Edgar Norton, in this edition of Sound Money.

 

Michael Allen Smith / Creative Commons

Count the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council among the interest groups on board a proposed sales tax sharing agreement in the twin cities.

Caterpillar Execs Visit Cuba

May 11, 2016
Roger W. / Creative Commons

Leaders from Caterpillar are traveling to Cuba this week as the company tries to grow business opportunities in the island nation. The Peoria-based company announced Wednesday representatives from machinery dealer RIMCO are joining CEO Doug Oberhelman and Cat executives.

Ralph Weisheit

The head of the company that just took the Mitsubishi plant in Normal off the automaker's hands says they will start liquidating the equipment in two or three months if they do not find a buyer for the plant.

Staff

The apparent Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump has the apparent support of central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood. During a stop in Bloomington, LaHood (R-Dunlap) said he's standing by his statement that he will support whoever wins the GOP nomination.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The head of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal said this has been his most difficult year of more than four decades in the auto industry. The company laid off most of its workforce last year and the final hundred plus workers at the facility will lose their jobs at the end of the month.

staff

With payroll rules set to change possibly within weeks, central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood wants the Obama administration to consider phasing in new overtime regulations.

The Dunlap Republican worked a McDonalds drive-thru lane in Bloomington as a way to illustrate what he says will be an undue burden on small businesses.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Exelon Nuclear estimates it will lose more than 100 million dollars on its Clinton and Quad Cities Nuclear Power plants in 2017 unless it can get money to preserve those reactors.

Roger W. / Creative Commons

Heavy equipment-maker Caterpillar Inc. plans to put hundreds of jobs in Arizona with the selection of Tucson as the location of new consolidated offices for the company's mining and technology division. Illinois, Wisconsin, and other locations around the world will lose some jobs.

Rauner Takes Turnaround Agenda Tour To Peoria

May 3, 2016
IPR

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited a startup incubator in Peoria Tuesday touting his pro-business agenda.
Governor Rauner greeted a room of young business owners, software developers and designers essentially saying 'I Was like you once.'
 
“I was a venture capitalist myself for 32 years before going into public service. I know firsthand how hard it is to start a business and build a business, how much risk and sacrifice and sweat and worry is involved in it,” said Rauner.
 

Vicky Hugheston / Creative Commons

Economic growth continues its slowdown, according to the University of Illinois Flash Index.

The measure of the state’s economy based on state tax receipts produced a reading of 104.7 in April. That’s the second month of consecutive declines, and the lowest reading since December of 2012.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Mitsubishi Motors North America has sold its plant in Normal to an industrial reclamation firm.

Maynards Industries is a Detroit-based company that will take possession of the plant in June.

Mitsubishi says it does not know Maynards' plans for the site and equipment, but are aware they are in discussions with various parties.

Portillos

Portillo's hot dogs will open a restaurant in Normal in 2017. The Oak Brook based restaurant chain is not yet announcing a location or opening date.

Personal Finance 101

Apr 27, 2016
moneysmartweek.org

This is Money Smart week designed to bring the Bloomington-Normal community up to speed on financial literacy issues.

WGLT's Willis Kern sat down with Illinois State University professor Tamra Davis to talk about financial literacy. Davis is an assistant professor of business education, and created a general education course for her students to help improve their financial literacy.

Illinois Department of Employment Security

Unemployment in March was 6% for the Bloomington Normal area. The State Department of Employment Security says that's an increase of nearly one and a half points from the same month last year.

Illinois House Committee Clears Video Gaming Expansion

Apr 14, 2016
brownpau / Flickr

A measure that would expand “video gaming” in the state passed out of a House committee Thursday.

It would allow licensed businesses that create alcoholic beverages to also have a gaming license.

It would apply to a Tilton business called Rumshine, which makes flavored rum, as well as other craft distillers across the state that want to offer the video gambling machines.

Anita Bedell, a long-time anti-gambling activist, says there are already too many video gambling sites – and they take advantage of people who are already poor.

Happy Equal Pay Day

Apr 12, 2016
Abbie Rowe / JFK Presidential Library & Museum

McLean County's first observance of Equal Pay Day highlights the $.23 an hour difference between what men and women get paid. The Keynote speaker at the event held at the YWCA is Diane Zosky, director of the School of Social Work at Illinois State University. She says employers can get away with paying women less in large part because of a national culture of secrecy surrounding pay. Zosky says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking into a proposal to change that.

Ralph Weisheit

A development entity is urging the Bloomington and Normal City Councils to talk about a sales tax revenue sharing agreement.

Staff / WGLT

Most people knows Illinois State University is one of Mclean County's largest employers and a significant part of the business climate. But, perhaps they aren't sure just how large.

Staff / WGLT

There's evidence the state budget standoff is hurting the economy in Illinois and in Bloomington Normal.

LendingMemo.com / Flickr via Creative Commons

February unemployment rates increased in all of the metro areas of Illinois compared to last year.

Bloomington's unemployment rate sits at 6.3 percent, but there were job gains in financial services, education, and health services with an estimated 6,200 people in search of work. For Peoria, unemployment hit 8.1 percent with around 15,000 people looking for jobs.

Governor In LeRoy To Push Agenda

Mar 29, 2016
Staff

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is keeping the pressure on Democrats with a series of stops through the state. One was at the LeRoy High School, still flush from winning the state 1-A boys basketball championship. Rauner stopped to chat with students and answer question in the library after a tour of the facility. When asked how the Illinois Supreme Court ruling on back-pay will affect negotiations with unions, Rauner said he'd like to do away with raises based on seniority, and replace it with a merit-based model. The Governor also said workers should make their own pension decisions, not the union. He said money saved through those measures would save the state's schools.

Paul Postiaux / Flickr via Creative Commons

Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville sees President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba as just the start of improved relations with the island country.

ADM Workers Vote Down Union

Mar 24, 2016
Dan / Facebook via Creative Commons

Maintenance workers at Archer Daniels Midland Co.' BioProducts plant in Decatur have voted against joining the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

Home Sales Boast Healthy Start To Year

Mar 22, 2016

Last year was pretty healthy for the twin city housing market, but 2016 is off to an even better start with close to 5% more sales than a year ago.

Flames have destroyed a Bloomington business. Bloomington Fire Department investigators now say the blaze, at a woodworking firm in the 500 block of South McClun Street is suspicious in nature.

Bloomington Police are assisting BFD with the ongoing investigation. Firefighters arrived on the scene a little after 6 AM Tuesday.

Miller Whiteside Woodworking repaired furniture and made cabinets and countertops. The fire department reports no injuries.

 

RogerW / Flickr

Caterpillar expects its first-quarter results to come in below Wall Street's view as it continues to deal with weak product demand.

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