With the election of Bruce Rauner as Illinois’ next governor, competing fiscal ideologies have started rumbling down the tracks toward one another. It may be Memorial Day before the dust settles and we see how things come out.
    The temporary income tax increases of 3.75 percent to 5 percent for personal and 5.25 percent to 7 percent for corporations will expire at the end of the year leaving a $6.5 billion hole in the state’s Fiscal 2015 budget. Gov. Pat Quinn had called for making the temporary increase permanent but Rauner had run on the proposal to not just repeal the tax increase but to lower rates the rates to 3 percent and 4.8 percent respectively.

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p01 packagingA worker packages items at the Challenge Unlimited operation in Alton.    A new business is being launched in 42,000 square feet of the Alton Center Business Park with plans to expand to more than 100,000 square feet within two years.
    The business, Advanced Outsource Solutions, is the brainchild of Steve Brenegan, senior vice president of Challenge Unlimited, and Tami Anstedt, its general manager. Challenge Unlimited is a nonprofit corporation that has provided work-related opportunities to individuals with disabilities in Southwestern Illinois for 55 years. While AOS will be an independent, for-profit corporation, it is an offshoot of Challenge Unlimited, and Challenge is helping get it off the ground. Anstedt will move over to head the new company.

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p01 officeA view from the northeast corner of the planned Columbia Professional Center, the first building in a hoped-for, four-building project.    COLUMBIA — Work may begin by year’s end on a professional and medical building that could become part of a $50 million, multi-building campus during the next several years, if the economy allows.

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Simmons employees deliver 30K pounds of food to Madison County pantries

Pantries in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco also receive holiday aid

    ALTON — Five Madison County pantries received a special delivery from Simmons Hanly Conroy employees on Friday, Nov. 21.  Each delivery was roughly 6,000 pounds of food items raised during the 8th Annual Simmons Employee Foundation Food Drive.  The firm’s Alton office raised a total of 30,060 pounds of food and surpassed its original goal of 25,000 pounds, according to Amy Fair, foundation director and the head of the Asbestos Medical Department.