Austin Berg

Austin Berg

Austin Berg | Illinois looks for leadership, but familiar faces remain

It's easy to criticize longevity in politics. "Career politician" is a pejorative for a reason. But there's a big difference between persistent public service and a political machine.

Unfortunately, the latter has won out in the Illinois General Assembly.

Austin Berg | Nearly half of state House candidates face no opponent

There are 118 seats in the Illinois House of Representatives. But before a single vote is cast on Election Day, nearly half of those seats will have been filled.

That's because 54 candidates are running unopposed.

Austin Berg | These Illinois Halloween laws might scare you

How old is too old to trick-or-treat? And what time should Halloween festivities begin and end?

Growing up in central Illinois and the western suburbs of Chicago, kids aged out of going door-to-door somewhere around eighth grade. If you threw a few pumpkins or eggs, you would likely get caught and sent home.

But the laws on the books can be much more frightening than that.

Austin Berg | The selfie that can land you in an Illinois jail

Early voting is upon us in Illinois. Mail-in ballots are free to fly.

But don't dare take a picture of your vote.

Austin Berg | Is this the most toxic tax in Illinois politics?

There is one product that, for a century, has towered above all others as a symbol of choice, control and personal freedom in America: the automobile.

There are more than 10 million registered vehicles in Illinois, according to the secretary of state's office.

One candidate for governor has ticked off a lot of their owners. And now he's trying to walk it all back.

Austin Berg | Who gets Madigan money ... and what it means for November

With election season upon us, one man's face will fill the mailboxes of Illinoisans more than any other. His visage will flash across screens constantly. Low voices will utter his name over radio waves.

Of course, I'm talking about the longest-serving state House speaker in American history, Mike Madigan.

Austin Berg | How Illinois could become country's craft-brewing capital

Illinois brewing is as old as the state itself. We're good at it. Three key ingredients — a major population center, access to gobs of fresh water and world-class agricultural aptitude — position the Land of Lincoln as a potential powerhouse in the industry.

Austin Berg | High property taxes: How did we get here?

Vicki McCarthy purchased her home in northern Illinois' Round Lake Beach in 2002, paying $195,000. She now pegs that home's value at around $180,000 and is staring at a property tax bill of nearly $8,000 a year.

Austin Berg | Settlement ends nightmare for Illinois families

  When do you leave your children alone?

It's a deeply personal decision that reflects family values, circumstance and a child's unique personality. But if state government gets involved in the wrong place at the wrong time, that decision can ruin parents' lives. And potentially their child's, too.

Austin Berg | Illinois' fireworks ban is still law of the land

"[T]hey can't have a first-rate Fourth without a little noise and nonsense."

That's what long-gone Chicago newspaper The Inter Ocean editorialized on July 4, 1877, writing about its paperboys and the city's ban on fireworks.

"They envy the country boys who have no ... city ordinance to prohibit them from having a jolly time."