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PolitiFact

Fact-checking Illinois politicians, written by the Better Government Association.

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Fact-check: Pritzker’s muddled claim about Illinois’ population losses mixes metrics 

Has Illinois, which is still the nation’s sixth-largest state, lost population almost every year for most of the past century? And what, exactly, does Pritzker mean by "lost population?"

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Fact-check: Trump ‘dead wrong’ about the change in murders in Chicago

Trump claimed Chicago has lagged the nation in reducing murders over the last two years. The opposite is true: Chicago’s progress has contributed to and even outpaced the national decline.

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Fact-check: Durbin mostly right in claim about link between Illinois deportations and serious crime

Durbin said that in Illinois, less than 20% of immigrants who are deported "have been charged with any serious crime." Limited federal backs that up, but it comes with a few caveats.

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Fact-check: Suburban legislator wrong in claim that 30% of the nation’s poor live in California

While California’s poverty rate ranks among the nation’s highest, federal data show the state is far from being home to a third of the nation’s poor.

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Fact-check: Lightfoot gets failing grade for claim about Chicago Public School teachers’ pay

We turned to Illinois data, which shows CPS ranks well outside the top 20 for average teacher compensation in its own state.

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Fact-check: Is Durbin on target with claim of police support for expanding background checks?

He was referencing a 2017 survey that asked police at departments that employ 100 or more officers whether they support requiring background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.

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Fact-check: Sanders’ claim to Chicago teachers about top 1% gets a passing grade — and an ‘incomplete’ 

His latest statement relates to an updated edition of a study he has cited before. Once again, he cited it accurately. But there are caveats worth keeping in mind.

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Fact-check: Duckworth wrong to say Trump policies hurting homeless — so far 

Trump has indeed proposed changes that match what Duckworth described. Each has been widely criticized for the risk they pose to housing access for some of the nation’s most vulnerable residents. But none of his proposed policy changes have yet been enacted.

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Fact-check: They signed the Declaration of Independence — but nearly three-quarters also owned slaves

Using books, historical organizations, research articles and other sources, PolitiFact found there is strong evidence to back Chicago documentary filmmaker Arlen Parsa’s claim.

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Fact-check: Lightfoot wrongly goes for broke with Downstate pension claim

Lightfoot is correct that cities and towns outside Chicago are pressured with mounting pension debt. By raising the specter of insolvency, however, the mayor suggests the situation faced by the vast majority of Downstate public safety pension funds is far more dire than it really is.

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Fact-check: Is Casten right that we have ‘less than a decade’ to avert climate disaster?

Casten’s claim traces back to a 2018 report that said nations must take "unprecedented" actions to reduce emissions to put them on different trajectory by 2030 to avoid more severe impacts from warming. However, it did not identify the hard deadline Casten and others have suggested.

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Fact-check: Kinzinger off target with claim about handguns and murder

Most murders are committed with firearms, a majority of them handguns, federal data show. Even so, Kinzinger significantly stretched the facts by claiming handguns are used to commit nearly all murders.

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Ives falsely claims primary foe did not publicly oppose Illinois abortion bill

Former state Rep. Jeanne Ives says ex-Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti did not denounce a controversial bill signed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner that expanded public funding of abortions.

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Fact-check: Durbin says Trump has encouraged unprecedented numbers of migrants to seek asylum; that’s not entirely true

Despite some limitations, federal data does suggest the number of credible fear claims made by migrants seeking asylum at the southwest border has hit a record high.

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Fact-check: Faulty figures fuel Mendoza’s Illinois-Indiana gasoline tax claim

Pallasch acknowledged Mendoza’s office mistakenly used the 37.32 cents per gallon statistic for Illinois even though it represented an outdated number from last year. That led to a faulty analysis in which Mendoza compared the new Illinois excise gasoline tax to an old figure for the overall amount of taxes and fees on gasoline in Indiana.

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Fact-check: Pritzker’s claims about Downstate capital spending leave some unanswered questions

Pritzker’s specific claim about where the rest of the funding will go under this plan is not yet possible to pin down based on our analysis.

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Fact-check: FOP attack on consent decrees falls short

Trump’s Justice Department has indeed stepped back from pushing for reforms at individual police agencies. But the same agency had lauded progress fostered by consent decrees and concluded they did not appear to endanger public safety.

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Fact-check: Brady’s attack on graduated income tax flat out wrong on time frame and income level

PolitiFact rates claims based on the words people speak. Corrections by his staff aside, Brady not only referred to the state’s most recent tax increase and not the 2011 hike but also twice mentioned middle-income families in his remarks.

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Fact-check: House Republican leader throws facts under the bus with Joliet bridge claim

Despite widespread public concern, however, we could find no evidence that Joliet school buses had been prohibited from traversing the I-80 bridges with students aboard.

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Lightfoot spreads rumor that police union told cops not to police: ‘I hope to God that wasn’t true’

The BGA is not in the habit of delving into a claim prefaced as rumor, but the mayor’s suggestion cried out for a closer look.

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Fact-check: No, Pritzker-like tax rates did not drive wealthy from New York

What Murphy neglected to mention during the press conference was that Cuomo wasn’t criticizing his state’s graduated income tax rate structure.

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Fact-check: Pritzker’s latest sweeping tax claim falls flat

The data Pritzker’s team sent us came from two federal sources: the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figures for those states check out, but they don’t come close to telling the full story.

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Fact-check: Democrat blowing smoke with claim of decreased teen marijuana use

Cassidy sent us an email promising an aide would "share the studies out of Colorado," but nothing arrived as of our deadline.

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Fact-check: Downstate Republican wrong about wage hike costing 50,000 jobs

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, show Illinois added — rather than lost — roughly 48,000 jobs overall in 2007.

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Fact-check: Congress hopeful’s paycheck claim bounces

Newman’s claim accurately reflects the single survey she is relying on, but it appears to be an outlier among similar polls.

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Fact-check: Pritzker-allied group’s claim about other states’ income tax unfair

With nearly half of income-taxing states not charging higher rates to the wealthy, it’s clear the ad’s claim is off base.

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Fact-check: Emanuel blows smoke about teen cigarette smoking in Chicago

Chicago is far from the nation’s leader in reducing teen smoking. At least nine other major school districts or counties came out ahead.

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Fact-check: Downstate legislator all wet on Chicago bailout claim

Experts we spoke with summed up the claim as a "myth," "clearly not true," and "total nonsense."

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Fact-check: Attack ad should lay off calling Pritzker’s plan a ‘jobs tax’

While there’s no official definition for a "jobs tax," it is clear Pritzker’s plan doesn’t contain one.

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Fact-check: Easy to predict accuracy of Preckwinkle’s Grade 3-prison urban myth

It’s not true in Illinois and we could find no credible evidence that suggested it was true elsewhere.

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Fact-check: Preckwinkle undersells track record of affordable-housing program

Preckwinkle criticized a city program aimed in part at increasing the supply of affordable housing in better-off neighborhoods that have high rents.

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Fact-check: Providing oversight of Lightfoot’s record on police discipline

Lightfoot’s claim is accurate, but it does little to reinforce the portrait she is drawing of a reformer who improved police accountability.