Illinois State Finances: What's Next?
Laurence Msall, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, Yvette Shields, and Gail Sussman
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017
11:30 a.m. reception/12:00 p.m. luncheon
Union League Club of Chicago
65 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Map and directions
Laurence Msall is the President of the Civic Federation, a nonpartisan government research organization established in 1894 that promotes independent and evidence-based efforts to improve the effectiveness, financial sustainability, and transparency of state and local governments in Illinois.
Before joining the Federation in 2002, Msall was Senior Advisor for Economic Development and Infrastructure for Governor George H. Ryan from 1998 to 2002. He previously served as Vice President of the Commercial Club of Chicago, Secretary to the Commercial Club Foundation, and Vice President of the Civic Committee. From 1984 to 1988, Msall represented Governor Jim Thompson's office on economic development and business-related issues before the General Assembly.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Nominating Committee, and the Kennedy Forum of Illinois. Msall also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs and NPR Illinois Issues. He is an active volunteer with PADS Homeless Shelter and L'arche Chicago. Msall is a graduate of Loyola University School of Law and Knox College.
Hon. Elaine Nekritz
State Representative Elaine Nekritz is serving her eighth term in the Illinois House of Representatives. The 57th District encompasses portions of several of Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs: Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Northbrook, Wheeling, Palatine, Mount Prospect, and Prospect Heights.
Elaine is focused on solutions to the state’s fiscal problems, particularly the pension systems. She’s committed to a blend of new revenues, spending cuts and reforms that will end the practice of passing the buck to future generations. She proposed the State’s first ever spending cap in 2011, leading to dramatic reductions in spending. As the Chair of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee, she worked to pass Senate Bill 1, a historic bipartisan pension reform bill that responsibly and fairly addressed the over $100 billion backlog of unpaid pension debt. The bill was later struck down as unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Providing a social safety net and administering a fair criminal justice system are two of the most important and challenging functions of state government. Elaine has worked to ensure that state spending in those areas prioritizes modern, evidence-based practices that offer the best use of limited state resources. She was the chief sponsor of legislation to end the automatic transfer of juveniles into adult court for non-violent crimes, ensuring that troubled youth receive the services they need to build productive lives.
In the 99th General Assembly, Elaine also chaired the Judiciary-Civil and sat on the Appropriations-Public Safety, Public Utilities, and Special Needs Services committees.
Prior to her election as representative of the 57th District in November 2002, Elaine was a real estate attorney and partner of the law firm of Altheimer and Gray. Elaine resides in Northbrook with her husband, Barry.
Yvette Shields is the Midwest Regional Editor for The Bond Buyer Newspaper, a more than 100-year-old New York based publication that covers public finance. She has led coverage of Midwestern local and state government finances for the last 20 years.
Her reporter career began in junior high when she participated on the paper, which included the perk of having a hall pass that got her out of class and gave her access throughout the school. She went on to the legendary City News Bureau of Chicago where the motto was “if your mother says she loves you check it out.” Prior to her current position, Shields was a suburban stringer for the Chicago Tribune for a few years and did other freelance work. She worked on a research project Harvard was conducting on human development in Chicago neighborhoods.
Shields is a graduate of Columbia College.
Gail is the Managing Director for US Public Finance. She is responsible for research and credit analysis for the US municipal market. In that role, she ensures Moody’s consistent and transparent methodological approach to assessing credit risk across the US public finance sectors including state and local governments, health care, housing, higher education and municipal supported products. In addition to these responsibilities, Gail is a member of the Moody’s Public Finance Forum, an ally of the LGBTA, a member of Moody’s Women’s Network and the executive sponsor of the Dallas Women’s Employee Resource Group.
Gail has been a recipient of numerous Smith’s Research and Grading All-Star awards. She is a founding member of the board of Northeast Women in Public Finance. In addition, Gail is a member of MAGNY, the National Federation of Municipal Analysts and the Society of Municipal Analysts.
Before joining Moody’s, Gail worked for the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in New York. Gail holds a BA in Sociology and Urban Studies from SUNY Buffalo and a MA in Urban Planning from New York University.