Raising property tax is tough for township

City of Champaign Township Supervisor Linda Abernathy is all fired up about the results of an advisory referendum in last week's election she interprets as an "absolute victory for the poor in our town."

So it will be no surprise at all if and when Abernathy urges her township board, which is made up of members of the Champaign City Council, to put a proposal on the fall ballot to raise property taxes. If that is how she feels, Abernathy should move forward full speed ahead. Council Member Tom Bruno said he would be "delighted to put the referendum on the ballot" and let voters decide, and he said other council members probably feel the same as he does.

That's why they're called 'fans'

Yes, there are more than enough of examples of poor sportsmanship at the collegiate level nearly every day. You can see (and hear) examples of poor fan behavior at nearly any school: Michigan State, Rutgers, North Carolina, Duke, Northwestern, USC, Maryland, Notre Dame, Indiana and, yes, even Illinois.

And Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther and Bruce Weber were right to note that the conduct of some fans at last Thursday night's Illinois-Indiana basketball game was "disappointing and intolerable." The two apologized for it.

Illinois prepares to honor its favorite favorite son

Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday, a time to remember Illinois' all-time favorite son.

This year, and next, will be marked with major celebrations of his life.

Park district tax campaign has room for improvement

That was a pretty clear message Urbana voters delivered to their park board last week: they will not support a 25-cent-per-$100-of assessed-valuation increase in their property taxes.

Park district officials may look at the election returns and say that the proposition lost by just 64 votes, or by 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent, and that if they try again in November, the tax increase might be successful.

Obama riding wave of political euphoria

Having stunned the political establishment and knocked rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton off her game, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is clearly feeling good about his chances to win the Democratic Party presidential nomination as well as the presidency.

He's feeling so good that he's even taking a patronizing stance toward Clinton, expressing faux sympathy for her failure to match his prodigious fundraising.

Durbin's proposed deal was way out of line

Late last year, to considerable bipartisan praise, President Bush nominated retired federal Judge Michael Mukasey to fill the vacant post of U.S. attorney general and restore energy and morale to a beleaguered Justice Department.

After Mukasey was confirmed, he started to fill important department vacancies, and, again to considerable bipartisan praise, Mukasey selected Chicago federal Judge Mark Filip for nomination to fill the post of deputy attorney general.

More budgetary sleight of hand

Things don't appear to be getting any better for Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Illinois' financial condition. Two weeks before the governor is scheduled to disclose his fiscal year 2009 budget proposal, various state officers reported a heap of bad budget news: weakening tax revenue, a drop in investment income and a yawning delay in payments to state vendors, such as hospitals, pharmacists and nursing homes.

As bad as last year's budget negotiations were – remember the months-long disagreement and the long-delayed approval of the spending plan? – imagine how bad this year could be.

Always tempted to tinker

The timing for negotiating an economic stimulus package is never good, given the proclivities of politicians. But it's especially bad in a presidential election year, and that's why President Bush's proposed $168 billion plan to jolt the economy, an agreement negotiated with House Democrats, was expanded to appeal to additional constituencies.

Senate Democrats agreed Thursday to add grants for seniors and disabled veterans to the House-passed bill. That came after their demands to push the size of the package to more than $200 billion were defeated by a Republican filibuster. Democrats dropped demands for more unemployment benefits, heating oil subsidies and business tax refunds. Earlier they proposed and then abandoned increases in food stamps.

Sign of a robust democracy

By all accounts Tuesday was a lousy weather day in Illinois – driving rains, strong winds, cold temperatures and the seeming ever-present threat of ice and snow. But there was a bright ray of sunshine amid all that gloom.

People voted. And voted. And voted. In some places – Champaign County, for instance, where 39,055 ballots were cast – there was a record turnout. And even in those places where the turnout didn't reach new highs, it was impressive. Citizens may have lost faith in some of their leaders and in some of their institutions but they have not lost faith in democracy. They still believe their votes count.

Clinton plant returns to service after scheduled shutdown

CLINTON – The Clinton nuclear power plant returned to service on Tuesday following a scheduled outage.

Exelon Nuclear spokesman Bruce Paulsen said the outage began Jan. 12.