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Published: 04/13/11

5 Large States, 5 Different Paths to Fix Broken Budgets

By  not in system - AOL News
5 Large States, 5 Different Paths to Fix Broken Budgets

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- California's governor wants to maintain temporary tax increases to keep $9 billion a year flowing to the state treasury. Low-tax Texas is considering tapping its rainy day account to soften the effects of deep spending cuts. New York's governor pushed through budget cuts while keeping a campaign pledge to avoid tax increases. And residents of Illinois and Florida are getting a very different take on taxes: Illinois passed a massive increase, while Florida proposes giving its taxpayers a big break. The five states are the nation's most populous but are taking very differe...

Published: 03/10/11

Ohio Set for Nation's First Execution Using Single Drug

By  not in system - AOL News
Ohio Set for Nation's First Execution Using Single Drug

LUCASVILLE, Ohio - A man convicted of killing a storeowner was to be put to death Thursday with the country's first use of the surgical sedative pentobarbital as a stand-alone execution drug. The execution of death row inmate Johnnie Baston also would mark a move to make the process more public and give inmates speedier access to attorneys in case something goes wrong when needles are being inserted into them. Ohio Department of Corrections / AP Johnnie Baston is to be executed in Ohio Thursday with a stand-alone execution drug. Ohio has had problems inserting needles in a handfu...

Published: 03/9/11

Illinois Governor Abolishes Capital Punishment, Empties Death Row

By  not in system - AOL News
Illinois Governor Abolishes Capital Punishment, Empties Death Row

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois abolished the death penalty Wednesday, more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men. Gov. Pat Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on death row. They will now serve life in prison with no hope of parole. State lawmakers voted in January to abandon capital punishment, and Quinn spent two months reflecting on the issue, speaking with prosecutors, crime victims' families, death penalty opponents and religi...

Published: 03/9/11

Pat Quinn Signs Illinois Death Penalty Ban: 15 Other States Where Capital Punishment Is Forbidden

By  Steven Hoffer - AOL News
Pat Quinn Signs Illinois Death Penalty Ban: 15 Other States Where Capital Punishment Is Forbidden

Gov. Pat Quinn has abolished capital punishment in Illinois. Joined by government colleagues and supporters, the Democratic governor signed a bill outlawing the state's death penalty this afternoon at an intimate ceremony at his Springfield office, the Chicago Tribune reported. The ban comes 11 years after Republican Gov. George Ryan enacted a moratorium on capital punishment that prevented executions in Illinois for over a decade, after numerous complaints of bias and incompetence in the process surfaced. Quinn's signature makes Illinois the 16th state to ban capital punishment. The other...

Published: 01/13/11

Mess in Illinois Only the Beginning of States' Budget Woes

By  Joseph Schuman - AOL News
Mess in Illinois Only the Beginning of States' Budget Woes

When Illinois legislators voted this week to raise state income taxes by 66 percent, they weren't sending a signal of tax-and-spend. It was tax-and-survive. The millions of job losses, real-estate market implosion and relentless economic malaise wrought by the 2008-09 recession left Illinois' and other states' treasuries barren and their budgets deep in the red. Budget shortfalls are expected to be bad again this year and next, leaving state governments around the country with no choice but to painfully cut social services, education funds and other spending, or raise taxes, or in most cases...

Published: 01/12/11

Illinois Passes 66 Percent Tax Increase; Twitter Responds

By  Mary Phillips-Sandy - AOL News
Illinois Passes 66 Percent Tax Increase; Twitter Responds

In a drastic move to cope with their state's $15 billion budget crisis, Illinois lawmakers have approved a bill that will temporarily raise the income tax rate by 66 percent. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has said he supports the bill and will sign it soon. Under the new measure, Illinois' personal tax rate will climb from 3 percent up to 5 percent, and the corporate tax rate will increase from 4.8 percent to 7 percent. Supporters say the plan will raise $6.8 billion a year and will be combined with tough limits on state spending. On Twitter, reactions to the bill have been mixed. For some, ...

Published: 01/12/11

Illinois Lawmakers Approve 66 Percent Tax Hike

By  not in system - AOL News
Illinois Lawmakers Approve 66 Percent Tax Hike

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Democratic Illinois lawmakers beat a looming deadline and approved a 66 percent income-tax increase in a desperate bid to end the state's crippling budget crisis. Legislative leaders rushed early Wednesday to pass the politically risky plan before a new General Assembly was sworn in at noon, taking a slice out of the Democratic majority and removing lame-duck lawmakers willing to support the tax before leaving office. The increase now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports the plan to temporarily raise the personal tax rate to 5 percent, a two-thirds increase fr...

Published: 01/11/11

Illinois Death Penalty Ban Clears Senate; So What Will Gov. Pat Quinn Do Next?

By  David Knowles - AOL News
Illinois Death Penalty Ban Clears Senate; So What Will Gov. Pat Quinn Do Next?

Will there be no more dead men walking in Illinois? Following the lead of the House, the Illinois Senate voted today to officially enact a ban on capital punishment in that state. Supporters of the bill cited past mistakes, in which prisoners later determined innocent of their crimes were sent to death row in Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported. "We're here because we've seen countless examples of the fact that the system has failed," Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson said. "This question is not about the people who we know did it. It's about the people who were convicted who didn't. It's ab...

Published: 12/1/10

Illinois Poised to Become 5th State to Allow Same-Sex Civil Unions

By  J. Richard - AOL News
Illinois Poised to Become 5th State to Allow Same-Sex Civil Unions

(Dec. 1) -- A bill approving civil unions for same-sex couples cleared the Illinois Senate today, and Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign off on the measure, USA Today reports. On Tuesday, the House passed the measure in a tough, emotion-filled session, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We have a chance here, as leaders have had in previous generations, to correct injustice and to move us down the path toward liberty," Democratic Rep. Greg Harris, one of two openly gay lawmakers, said at the vote. "It's a matter of fairness, it's a matter of respect, it's a matter of equality." Opponents of...

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