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Afternoon Edition: Sept. 15, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

“I can promise you that, for everyone and anyone who got into public service who actually wants to serve the public, this is a nightmare scenario,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

Another beautiful afternoon is in the forecast: sunny with a high near 79 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 57 degrees. Tomorrow will be just as nice: sunny with a high near 82 degrees before things cool off on Thursday.

Top story

Pritzker warns of ‘nightmare scenario’ of cuts in policing, schools — and thousands of layoffs — without federal funds

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said today that his cabinet directors have been advised to prepare for a “nightmare scenario” that includes budget cuts of at least 5% for the current fiscal year and a 10% cut for the next one if Washington doesn’t help out.

Thousands of people could be laid off if the state doesn’t receive federal support, the governor said.

At news conference called to announce $220 million in grants for small businesses, the Democratic governor said he hopes President Donald Trump will “agree to work with Congress to advance the COVID relief package” that would replace revenues that cities and states have lost during the pandemic.

Without it, the state’s finances will reach a “critical juncture.”

“Until Republicans in Washington decide otherwise, middle class, working class and poor families across our state and across the nation will likely suffer from cuts to public safety, education, human services and environmental safety — and the potential layoffs will make the economic recession worse,” Pritzker said.

“I can promise you that, for everyone and anyone who got into public service who actually wants to serve the public, this is a nightmare scenario,” Pritzker said.

The governor said his staff sent notice to all cabinet directors this morning to “prepare for the possibility of cuts of at least 5% for the current fiscal year” – which began in July — and to submit a spending outline for fiscal year 2022 – which begins next July — that would reflect a 10% reduction in appropriations.

In June, the Democratic governor said the state had $2.7 billion less revenue than expected for the budget the state is currently operating under, and $4.6 billion less revenue for a budget plan for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

With short-term borrowing to get through the pandemic, the total shortfall for the current budget would be $6.2 billion, when compared to a spending plan Pritzker released in February.

The potential cuts to the budget follow both Chicago and Cook County announcing cuts of their own as they attempt to mitigate staggering shortfalls for their own budgets.

The governor’s cabinet members contacted today are identifying 5% cuts across all the agencies that they control. If the state’s cities and counties don’t receive the federal support, they “won’t be able to maintain their workforce” for police and fire departments,” Pritzker said.

“If the Congress does take action, and that’s what I have asked for today, then we will be able to save, for example, public safety,” which would mean more state police, Pritzker said.

The state will need to implement those potential cuts “if there’s no action taken by the Congress.” If the state hasn’t received federal support by the end of the month, the governor said his administration will have to start seriously looking at the potential cuts.

Read Rachel Hinton’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. For the second time in a week, Chicago’s inspector general is taking aim at the Civilian Office of Police Accountability — this time for failing to release video, audio, and police documents within 60 days of an incident involving use of force by police. The policy was recommended in 2016 after the court-ordered release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.
  2. Starting next month, the Chicago Board of Ethics will start enforcing a ban on “cross-lobbying,” aldermen were told today. The ordinance will force at least one suburban official to stop lobbying City Hall or resign as a Flossmoor village trustee.
  3. An alleged gunman is in custody after shots rang out Tuesday morning on Michigan Avenue near Grant Park, prompting a chase and crash in the South Loop that injured two people. There was no report of a gunshot victim, and it did not appear that the shots were directed at officers, officials said.
  4. Public health officials today announced 1,466 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Illinois as the state trends in the right direction following a mid-summer resurgence. The new cases were confirmed among 39,031 tests, keeping the state’s seven-day testing positivity rate at 3.6%.

A bright one

Fall movie preview: 10 films Roeper can’t wait to see (but might have to)

We’ll see these movies this fall — unless the release dates for one or more are pushed back, as was the case the other day when Warner Bros. pushed “Wonder Woman 1984” from an Oct. 2 debut to Christmas Day.

The highly-anticipated reboot of “Candyman,” directed by Nia DaCosta, co-written by Jordan Peele and filmed in Chicago (as was the 1992 cult classic original), was slated to open Oct. 16 — but just last week was delayed until sometime in 2021. “We made ‘Candyman’ to be seen in theaters,” wrote DaCosta on Twitter. “We wanted the horror and humanity … to be experienced in a collective, a community, so we’re pushing [it] to next year, to ensure that everyone can see the film, in theaters, and share in that experience.”

In this most unusual movie year, some films will be premiering in theaters, while others will have at-home debuts. Regardless of venue, movie critic Richard Roeper compiled a list of the autumnal releases he’s most looking forward to seeing.

They include “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” a dramatization of the fireworks-filled 1969 trial written and directed by Aaron Sorkin; “Belushi,” a documentary about the actor’s life featuring previously unheard interviews with Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Lorne Michaels and others; and “On the Rocks,” a movie that pairs Rashida Jones and Bill Murray as father and daughter.

Check out Roeper’s full list of picks, and watch the trailers, here.

From the press box

Allen Robinson seemed to express frustration toward contract talks with the Bears after Sunday’s game by removing references to the team from his social media accounts. It’s time for management to get a deal done with their best playmaker, Mark Potash writes.

And Gov. Pritzker doubled down on his decision to cancel fall sports at a press conference today despite ongoing movements to restart competition. “I’m not willing to sacrifice people’s lives or their health,” Pritzker said. “Neither the children nor their parents who would be affected also.“

Your daily question ☕

What’s the best movie you’ve seen this summer?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What summer staples did you miss most because of the pandemic? Here’s what some of you said…

“I live right alongside the Wells Street Art Fair, and I missed hearing the bands, seeing the people, tasting the food, and buying things I really don’t need, but, somehow, must have.” — Mary Jane Tala

“The fireworks at Navy Pier.” — Diana Martinez

“Swimming at the beaches downtown in Lake Michigan.” — Amber Nicole Alvarado

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