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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, July 3, 2017.
The Illinois house attempted to end the budget impasse Sunday by passing a spending plan and an income tax increase with a veto-proof majority. The legislation (including an income tax hike of up to 4.95 percent) will now move to the Illinois senate for a vote. Fifteen Republican House members voted for the plan, which Rauner promised to veto Sunday night. "Under Speaker Madigan's direction, legislators chose to double down on higher taxes while protecting the special interests and refusing to reform the status quo. It's a repeat of the failed policies that created this financial crisis and caused jobs and taxpayers to flee," Rauner wrote in a statement posted on Facebook. Standard & Poor's is expected to downgrade Illinois's bond rating to junk if the two-year budget impasse doesn't end soon, making it the first state ever to get junk-bond status. "I was not elected as a state legislator to help preside over the financial destruction of this great state," Republican state representative David Harris, who voted for the tax hike, said. "I respect my colleagues who are voting no. But to me, enough is enough." [Sun-Times] [Bloomberg]
A new $95 million public safety training academy for the Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Police Department will replace their current training academies, according to the Sun-Times. The academy will be located in West Garfield Park. "The thousands of first responders reporting for training every day will not only drive economic development, but also add a big public safety presence," alderman Emma Mitts said in a statement. [Sun-Times]
President Donald Trump is expected to pick 48-year-old John Lausch as the new U.S. attorney for Chicago, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Lausch, who lives in Beverly, is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. He would replace Zachary Fardon, who was appointed during the Obama administration and consequently asked by attorney general Jeff Sessions to step down in March. The U.S. Senate will have to confirm the appointment. [DNAinfo Chicago]
A recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been arrested and charged with kidnapping a female visiting scholar. Brendt Christensen, 28, allegedly kidnapped Yingying Zhang, 26, in Urbana on June 9. Authorities believe that Zhang is dead, but she still has not been found. [Tribune]
Ralph Frese's Chicagoland Canoe Base was the last blacksmith shop in Chicago until it was torn down last week, according to DNAinfo Chicago. The shop, located at 4019 N. Narragansett, hadn't been operating since owner Ralph Frese passed away in 2012. "It brings a tear to your eye when you see these things go away, and the neighborhood loses a little bit of its uniqueness," West Portage Park Neighbors Association president David Feller said. "I wish they could have kept the building and turned it into a bar or restaurant, or something." [DNAinfo Chicago]
The highly anticipated Ace Hotel in the Fulton Market District and its ground-floor restaurant, City Mouse, opened Saturday. Chef Jason Vincent of Giant (and formerly of Lula Cafe and Nightwood) heads the 90-seat restaurant and bar, which for now serves brunch every day, with dinner still in the works. Also on staff: Pat Sheerin, formerly of Trenchermen and Signature Room at the 95th. [Eater Chicago]