The Civic Federation remains true to the non-partisan mission established by its founding members as it helps local and state governments reduce their costs and improve the quality of public services by: The Civic Federation is continually engaged in writing long-term, in-depth research reports. These widely respected and influential projects cover the full range of public finance issues, from property taxes to the cost of public employee benefits. Recent publications include: Cook County Property Tax Appeals: A Primer on the Appeals Process with Comparative Data for 2000-2008 State of Illinois Employee Health Insurance Plans: Analysis and Recommendations for Cost Containment The Financial Impact of Charter Schools on Illinois School Districts: a Primer and Three Case Studies In addition to long-term research projects, the Civic Federation continually monitors the finances of local governments and communicates important information and viewpoints to the community through publications, media statements, and our website. Our annual budget testimonies provide extensive, non-partisan analysis and specific recommendations for the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Cook County, and many other local governments. Additionally, each year we generate statements on the Status of Local Public Pensions, estimate the Full Value of Property in Cook County, and calculate Effective Property Tax Rates in Northeast Illinois. Local media organizations rely upon the information generated by the Federation as an objective viewpoint on local government finance. The Civic Federation is committed to using the information at its disposal to effect positive changes in government policy by working with public officials. Government leaders look to us to produce independent, reliable information about subjects that require government cooperation, such as controlling the cost of employee pension benefits. Each year, our staff works with Civic Federation Board members to develop policy initiatives at both the state and local levels that will protect taxpayers and reduce government waste. Recent examples include calling for the dissolution of the Illinois International Port District and for a separate board of commissioners for the Cook County Forest Preserve District. We have also successfully promoted legislation that allowed the Chicago Transit Authority to begin to control the cost of its pension and retiree health benefits and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to create the first other post-employment benefits ( OPEB ) trust fund in Illinois. The Civic Federation also examines State of Illinois fiscal issues through our new research institute, the Institute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability ( IIFS ). Click here to enter the IIFS area of our website.