Graduated tax in progressive Democrats' 'vision' for state

SPRINGFIELD — A group of about 20 self-described progressive Democrats on Wednesday introduced what they called an "Illinois Comeback Agenda," wrapped around a package of bills that includes one to overturn Illinois' nearly 50-year-old flat income tax.

Contracts to buy homes hit highest level since April

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans signed contracts to buy homes last month as warm weather and rising confidence appeared to encourage consumers to look for houses.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its pending home sales index climbed 5.5 percent in February to 112.3, its highest point since April and its second-highest point since 2006.

PODCAST: Illinois Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Maisch

PODCAST: Illinois Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Maisch: Play now!

Illinois Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Maisch visits the News Hour to discuss issues affecting businesses across the state.


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Consumer confidence hits 16-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence climbed to its highest level in more than 16 years, a strong gain for one of President Donald Trump's preferred economic indicators.

Ford investing $1.2 billion in 3 Michigan plants

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is investing $1.2 billion in three Michigan facilities, including an engine plant where it plans to add 130 jobs.

President Donald Trump, who has pressured automakers to invest more and create jobs in the U.S., applauded the move Tuesday in an early morning tweet.

Home prices rose 5.7% in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices jumped in January from a year earlier at the fastest pace in nearly 2 1/2 years, as a tight supply of houses for sale spurred bidding wars in many cities.

The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday , increased 5.7 percent in January, the most since July 2014.

'Fearless Girl' to face Wall Street's bull till at least February

NEW YORK (AP) — The globally popular statue of a young girl will keep staring down Wall Street's famed "Charging Bull" through February 2018 instead of being removed this coming Sunday, the mayor said.

For area farmers, is it already time to sow? Close.

CHAMPAIGN — With the unseasonably warm spring weather, farmers are motivated to start planting.

"They've got their equipment preparation. They're putting on some nitrogen fertilizer, preparing their fields," said Howard Brown, Illini FS manager of nutrient stewardship. "Just anticipating, getting everything lined up."

Family checkbook: It's almost time for Money Smart Week


'Bathroom bill' to cost North Carolina $3.76 billion

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.