Charles N. Wheeler III

Analyst

The director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III,  a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Wheeler covered state government and politics for the Sun-Times since 1970, when he covered the Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention. For the last 19 years of his Sun-Times tenure, Wheeler was assigned to the newspaper’s Statehouse bureau. During that time, he was elected to 16 consecutive one-year terms as president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association and served for many years on the PAR program and admissions committees.

Since 1984, he has written a monthly column for Illinois Issues magazine, which has won five Capitolbeat awards for magazine commentary/analysis. In 2006, the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association inducted him into The Lincoln League of Journalists, which honors men and women who have provided exemplary service to other journalists and to daily newspapers published in Illinois. In 2013, he was chosen as the Journalist of the Year by the Journalism Department at Eastern Illinois University.  He is also a regular on the panel for State Week, WUIS' weekly political analysis program that airs on public radio stations across Illinois.

Before joining the Sun-Times in 1969, Wheeler served more than three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Panama. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN, majoring in English, and received a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Wheeler draws on the talents of many UIS faculty with expertise in such fields as public budgeting, political science, and communication, as well as professional journalists and state officials, to present students with a well-rounded program to bridge the academic and professional areas.

www.planetofsuccess.com/blog

The constitutional requirement for a balanced budget is not as strict as you might think.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois still has no budget plan and no progress on an agreement is in sight.  The state is spending far more than it's taking in, higher education and social services have largely been left out to dry, and Illinois' credit rating continues to be downgraded.  Meanwhile, Governor Rauner is beginning to face criticism from within his own party.  Kurt Erickson of Lee Enterprises joins the panel discussion this week.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois’ comptroller says the state doesn't have the cash to pay into the public pension systems next month, the governor suggests selling the aging Thompson Center in Chicago, and the former head of Chicago’s public schools pleads guilty to charges of corruption.  WBEZ's Becky Vevea and Lauren Chooljian joins the panel.
 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois is now 100+ days without any agreement on or even negotiation towards a state spending plan.  One item on which there does seem to be agreement is a replacement for Illinois' retiring Auditor General.  Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois' budget situation remains much the same as it has been for months - no agreement between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders, court orders maintain much of state spending, many social services are going belly-up, and the future is uncertain.  In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still pushing for a property tax increase in Cook County to help solve the city's own budget woes.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel.

Income tax space on a Monopoly game board
StockMonkeys.com

Commentary — Let’s be blunt: Illinois needs higher taxes.

That statement might come as a shock to citizens under the illusion that all would be well, if state leaders would just cut all the wasteful spending out of the state budget. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois' governor and legislative leaders haven't talked to each other in months, and the state continues to spend money without a budget.  Just how long can this continue?  Lee Enterprises' Springfield Bureau Chief Kurt Erickson joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, House Speaker Michael Madigan chastised two of his Democratic members after a failed attempt to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of a union bill.  Mike Riopell of the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald joins the panel this week.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Despite House Speaker Michael Madigan's confidence that Democrats had enough votes to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of union contract arbitration legislation, he was one vote short.  The Governor and legislative leaders apparently haven't met in weeks and Illinois is no closer to any kind of agreement on a budget.  Meanwhile, in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is talking about raising property taxes.  Crain's Chicago Business' Greg Hinz joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, debate over whether Illinois municipalities should have the option to declare bankruptcy, mandatory state spending continues despite no agreement on a budget, and some odd numbers from this year's state fair.  The Chicago Tribune's Monique Garcia joins the panel.

handshake
www.flazingo.com

Columnist Charlie Wheeler proposes a way out of the current stalemate in state government.

Politicians and the party faithful flocked to the Illinois State Fair this week, with both Democrats and Republicans defining the continuing budget impasse as an epic struggle.  However, the struggle remains static, with no work toward an agreement.  Becky Schlikerman of the Chicago Sun Times joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Despite having no budget or actual spending authority in place, most state spending is going ahead anyway.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel this week.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Five weeks into the new fiscal year, and Illinois still has no spending plan in place.  While many state functions continue to shuffle along, many services and businesses are folding.   And there seems to be no end in sight.  Chris Mooney, Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, joins the panel.

Chad Kainz

The state may still be far from a budget deal, but the General Assembly was able to pass several criminal justice reforms in the spring legislative session.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Fiscal year 2016 is upon us and Illinois still doesn’t have a budget.  Will Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ever reach an agreement with legislative Democrats?  How quickly will state government grind to a halt?  And who will take the blame?  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Governor Bruce Rauner launches a long-anticipated fusillade of TV ads targeting House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Mike Riopell of the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald joins the panel this week.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The war of words continues between Governor Rauner and Democratic leaders in the Legislature and they seem to be no closer to an agreement on a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year - which leaves Illinois facing a possible government shutdown on July 1st.  Doug Finke of Gatehouse News joins the panel this week.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers continued to spar over the state budget and the governor's legislative agenda.  Rauner dismissed the legislature's proposed changes for workers' compensation as "phony reform" and Democrats criticized the governor paying his top education aide, Beth Purvis, a $250,000 salary from Department of Human Services funds.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel discussion.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The current situation at the Illinois Statehouse as lawmakers and the Governor enter the scheduled closing weekend of the legislative session.  Rick Pearson of The Chicago Tribune joins the panel this week.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As the May 31st deadline for passing a new budget looms, Governor Rauner and the Legislature continue to bicker.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel this week.

Michael J. Madigan headshot
ilga.gov

This week, Illinois House Democrats defeated Governor Rauner's "Right to Work" agenda.  Also, with the Illinois Supreme Court's decision last week, the future of state pension funding is still in question.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the 2013 pension legislation that would have cut retirement benefits for state wokers.  Meanwhile, the House began debating the governor’s "Turnaround Agenda."  And Governor Rauner personally addressed the Chicago City Council.  Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn joins the panel discussion.

Dan Walker
file / WUIS/Illinois Issues

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner restored $26 million in funding for some of the social service programs that were cut in April.  Also, former Illinois Governor Dan Walker died at the age of 92.  Kurt Erickson of Lee Enterprises' Springfield Bureau joins the panel discussion.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the Illinois legislature worked to restore some of Governor Rauner's social service cuts and convened a oversight committee to examine the reasoning behind them.  Meanwhile, Governor Rauner continued his efforts to eliminate public sector "fair share" union dues.  Also, a bill decriminalizing possession of certain amounts of marijuana moves from the House to the Senate.  Jamey Dunn of Illinois Issues magazine joins the panel discussion.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

This week's discussion includes the fallout over Governor Bruce Rauner's cuts to social services and House Speaker Michael Madigan's new budget oversight panel.  Paris Schutz, political reporter for WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" joins us for the program.

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
WUIS/Illinois Issues

This week Rahm Emanuel was re-elected Mayor of Chicago, which (like the state itself) is facing a huge budget deficit.   Also, Governor Rauner declared the Illinois Supreme Court part of a "corrupt" political system.   WBEZ's Lauren Chooljian joins the panel for discussion of these and other topics on this edition of the program.

Tammy Duckworth

Much of the focus of this week's political news centered on Washington D.C.  U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mark Kirk.   And with the upcoming retirement of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, there are questions whether Senator Dick Durbin will continue as Minority Whip after 2016.  Also, the latest on beleaguered former Congressman Aaron Schock.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel to discuss those and other topics on this week's edition of State Week.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Illinois General Assembly this week approved a fix for Illinois short-term budget problems, but deeper issues remain. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock took his final vote in Congress and gave a farewell address. Daily Herald Political Editor Mike Riopell joins the panel to discuss that and other topics on this week's edition of State Week.

Aaron Schock
Aaron Schock / Instagram

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock resigned this week amid questions about his spending of taxpayer money. When the news broke, political reporter Chris Kaergard of the Peoria Journal Star was in the Republican's Downton Abbey-inspired office, waiting for a previously scheduled interview.

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