The cable TV industry is asking lawmakers to place a NEW 5% tax on satellite TV service. This proposal is an unfair, unjustified tax increase on the 1.3 million Illinois families and businesses who subscribe to satellite TV.
Satellite TV taxes will hurt Illinois families and small businesses
• Residential satellite TV subscribers will see their monthly bills go up 5%.
• This tax will impact every bar, restaurant and hotel that subscribes to satellite TV service, which will translate into higher prices, decreased revenues, and fewer jobs.
• Rural Illinois has no choice: In many parts of Illinois, cable refuses to provide TV service to rural communities. Satellite TV is their only option.
This is not about parity or fairness
• Cable’s claim that this discriminatory tax is justified because satellite TV doesn’t pay local franchise fees could not be further from the truth. Cable pays those fees to local towns and cities in exchange for the right to bury cables in the public rights of way—a right that cable companies value in the tens of billions of dollars in their SEC filings.
• Satellite companies don’t pay franchise fees for one simple reason: We use satellites—unlike cable, we don’t need to dig up streets and sidewalks to deliver our TV service.
• Making satellite subscribers pay franchise fees—or, in this case, an equivalent amount in taxes—would be like taxing the air. It’s no different than making airline passengers pay a fee for laying railroad tracks.
Police officers trying to find out who was behind a fake Twitter account set up in the name of Peoria’s mayor have raided a home, seizing computers and phones and hauling several people in to be questioned.
Tuesday’s raid was carried out by four plainclothes officers even though Twitter had suspended the account several weeks ago. Three people at the home were brought to a police station to be interviewed, as were two other people who were met by police at their workplaces.
No arrests were made in connection with the Twitter account, but one of the residents was charged with possession of marijuana, the (Peoria) Journal Star reported. Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says officers were investigating it as a possible case of impersonating a public official, an offense punishable with a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.
The account, @peoriamayor, has been suspended by Twitter administrators. The suspension not only prevents the account holder from using the account to add posts, but it removes all previous Tweets.
* Ironically, a number of new parody accounts for Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and the police chief have popped up since the story became public. The Peoria Journal Star’s digital editor has compiled a list of some of those accounts.
I’m sure this isn’t the last we have heard of this story.
When it was active, (Jon) Daniel used it to portray Jim Ardis, the mayor of Peoria, as a weed-smoking, stripper-loving, Midwestern answer to Rob Ford. The account never had more than 50 followers, and Twitter had killed it because it wasn’t clearly marked as a parody. It was a joke, a lark—but it brought the police to Daniel’s door. The cops even took Daniel and one of his housemates in for in-depth questioning—they showed up at their jobs, cuffed them, and confiscated their phones—because of a bunch of Twitter jokes.
Full disclosure: Part of the blame for this situation rests on my shoulders. I loudly promoted @peoriamayor when I first noticed it, having no idea someone I knew was responsible for tweets that mostly had the fake mayor using drugs and partying. It was pretty damn funny. One of Daniel’s roommates told me that the first question police asked him was, “How do you know Justin Glawe?”
“Tell them my name. Tell them I did it,” he said, acknowledging the cops have him cornered. “But when they lock me up tell them to tweet using the hashtag #freesleezyd.”
Illinois State House members are advancing a bill that would devote $100 million toward a Barack Obama presidential library. The House Executive Committee meeting in Chicago today voted, by an official tally of 9-0, to authorize using state money for the library…Nine representatives were recorded as voting for the bill, even though there were five lawmakers in attendance at the hearing. That is because Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), who chairs the Executive Committee, employed a procedural move.
Rita used the attendance record from a previous hearing that occurred Wednesday as the vote for the presidential library cash. House Speaker Michael Madigan, who sat in on today’s hearing, clarified Rita’s maneuver, saying the attendance would serve as nine votes in favor of the library, even though the previous committee hearing was on a possible Chicago casino and not related to a presidential library.
No Republicans attended Thursday’s hearing on the presidential library.
Sullivan serves as the Committee’s Minority Spokesperson. Generally when the chairman asks for “Leave of the attendance roll call,” the question is posed to the person in that position. Sullivan did attend the committee’s previous meeting, which was not adjourned but simply recessed to the call of the chair. As you probably know, attendance is not taken at the start of a meeting when the previous meeting is recessed instead of adjourned.
Adding to the mixture is that committee chairs will often instruct clerks to mark committee members as being in attendance if they arrive after roll call. I haven’t spent nearly as many hours in committee as most of those of you likely to comment on this post, but I have yet to see a chairperson instruct a clerk to have someone removed from the roll call if they leave the room or are not present when a recessed committee resumes. That said, I have seen chairpersons exclude absent members from attendance roll call votes. Clearly that did not happen here, and it does not happen all of the time.
Under the rule of House Speaker Michael Madigan (D, Chicago), the House Rules committee often convenes throughout the legislative calendar to alter, change or suspend House rules to move various proposals. In this instance, even the stated rules appear to be violated.
Under current House rules, a committee cannot vote on measures unless a quorum is present and the proper posting requirements have been met. Under a parliamentary review, the following were violated: Rule 32 providing a majority of those appointed constitute a quorum of a committee, Rule 21 authorizing actions by recessed committees but requiring the House to be in session, and Rule 49 providing that no member of a committee may vote except in person at the time of the call of the vote.
“I’m not even a member of the Executive Committee and the Democrats chose to vote on my behalf, which is a blatant violation of House Rules,” said Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon). “This is typical Chicago politics at work. My constituents elected me to vote for them. They didn’t elect the Chicago politicians who stole my vote today.”
On Wednesday, April 16th State Representative Dwight Kay served as a temporary replacement on the House Executive Committee for a hearing in Chicago to discuss gaming expansion in Illinois. Rep. Kay participated in the hearing to express his opposition to an amendment which would exclude Fairmount Race Track from the proposed gaming expansion. After the hearing, Kay traveled back to his legislative district nearly 300 miles south of Chicago and was no longer a substituted member on the Executive Committee. Therefore, he was not present at Thursday’s recessed hearing to vote on the legislation to spend $100 million in public funds on the Obama Presidential Library.
Someone with more legal experience might be able to chime in, but I think technically since the Committee was recessed and Kay was not marked as being absent when it resumed, he would have still been a substituted member.
* Fitch Ratings stuck with its “A-” rating and “Negative” outlook on Illinois’s general obligation bonds. From the explanation…
BUDGET TEMPORARILY STABILIZED WITH TAX INCREASE: Temporary increases in both the personal and corporate income tax rates, coupled with statutory spending limits, have closed a significant portion of the structural gap in the state’s budget through the current fiscal year 2014.
NEED FOR LONG-TERM SOLUTION REMAINS: Due to the temporary nature of the enacted tax increases, the state will need to find a more permanent solution to the mismatch between spending and revenues. The Negative Outlook reflects the critical need to address this issue. The governor’s recommended budget for the coming fiscal year would make these tax increases permanent and provide a basis for the state to achieve fiscal balance.
LARGE BALANCE OF DEFERRED PAYMENTS REMAINS: The state has a large general fund accounts payable backlog, which although reduced still totaled $4.2 billion at the end of fiscal 2013. The state prudently used higher than forecast income tax collections in fiscal 2013 to pay down a portion of the accounts payable balance.
The governor has proposed two alternative budgets for fiscal 2015; one based on current law with expiring tax rates and a second recommended budget that makes permanent the higher tax rates. The current law budget is balanced through large spending cuts. Even with the higher taxes maintained, however, the recommended budget would rely on a small interfund borrowing ($170 million or 0.4% of forecast general fund revenues) to balance. The recommended budget includes a total of $650 million in interfund borrowing, the balance of which would be used to pay down accumulated accounts payable.
* A budget roundup…
* State approves prison hepatitis C drug, likely to cost millions: Officials say there are an estimated 100 to 150 inmates at each of the state’s 25 prisons who have the disease…Documents show the state estimates the cost of treating an inmate with Sovaldi will range from $61,000 to $122,000.
* SIU budget cuts could cost hundreds of jobs: “With a $23.5-million dollar decline in our appropriation it will get into the hundreds of people that we will not be able to rehire,” said Dr. Glenn Poshard. “There may be layoffs, but there certainly will be hundreds of positions left unfilled.”
Since December 2012, GTCR has owned Correctional Healthcare Cos., which got a five-year contract with a five-year renewal option from the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice in February 2013 to provide medical, dental and mental health evaluations and treatment for the approximately 900 inmates, ages 13 to 20, of six state-run youth detention centers in the Chicago area and downstate.
The state deal is worth as much as $99.3 million.
Grant Klinzman, a Quinn spokesman, says the Democratic governor wasn’t involved in awarding the contract and didn’t know of Rauner’s ties to Correctional Healthcare.
Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf notes that the Winnetka Republican retired as managing director of GTCR in October 2012 — two months before the firm acquired Correctional Healthcare and four months before the state contract was awarded. Schrimpf says Rauner didn’t work on the Correctional Healthcare acquisition and wasn’t aware the company has a state contract.
Rauner has said if elected he would put his investments into a blind trust.
State Rep. SUE SCHERER, the freshman House member from Decatur who faced quiet but — as it turned out — tough primary opposition in March, survived the race with the help of more than $90,000 from committees controlled by House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago.
Most of the Madigan support doesn’t show up on Scherer’s campaign finance report, because $89,702 of the total came as independent expenditures from Democratic Majority, one of the committees Madigan controls. Those expenditures, which can’t be coordinated with a candidate’s campaign, included money for staff, polling, insurance, and printing and postage for a barrage of Scherer mailers that went to households in the 96th.
Because they were independent expenditures, that also meant they weren’t capped. Direct contributions from that committee to Scherer could not have topped $78,900 in the primary.
Scherer’s own campaign committee had $58,085 in the bank as of Jan. 1, raised $94,625 in the first three months of the year, spent $86,792, and ended up with nearly $66,000 in the bank as of March 31.
Mike Bell, Scherer’s Republican challenger this November in the 96th House District, reported just $5 on hand at the close of the first quarter. Bell, R-Edinburg, raised $6,730 through the first three months of the year, $2,000 of which were contributions from his mother, Joan Bell, and another $1,200 on a loan taken by Mike Bell. Another $1,000 came from Elizabeth Soldwedel, who uses the on-air name “Liz Willis” at Capital Radio Group in Springfield and works communications with the Illinois House Republicans.
* WALSH: SORRY, SEN. KIRK, THAT TRAIN HAS ALREADY LEFT THE STATION: What’s changed in the past thirty days that caused Mark Kirk to take back his previous statement? And let’s be clear: he didn’t change his mind. He has no interest in supporting Oberweis, and he genuinely wants Durbin to get reelected.
* You may recall last month the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s eavesdropping law. Among other things, the law required a person recording conversations to receive consent from all participating parties before pushing the “Record” button. Now a days, you don’t even need that. It’s all fair game.
“We cannot let this stand, because right now, you can record anybody, any time with or without (their) knowledge and use it for whatever purpose — and there’s nothing to control that,” said Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat. “I think that’s a situation we really need to fix.”
Ideally, Nekritz said, she’d like to have a new eavesdropping statute proposed before the end of the General Assembly’s spring session on May 31. But with lawmakers focusing more on the state’s finances than criminal law, she’s not confident a bill will advance.
She wants to keep one of the primary provisions in the old law — that all parties in a conversation give their consent before any recording is made — and add in exceptions for conversations that cannot reasonably be deemed to be private.
Question: Are there any provisions in the old Eavesdropping Law you would like to see in a hypothetical new statute?
Cheer up, everyone. We’re talking about the Blackhawks. They aren’t exactly the Cubs offense in New York or Chris Sale’s bullpen support in the ninth. IT’S THE MOTHER FLIPPIN’ BLACKHAWKS! RALLY CAP TIME, CHICAGO!
* Analysis: Pension reforms to cost workers $55 million by 2025: The Anderson Economic Group also calculated the cost to Chicago taxpayers that Emanuel hopes to offset with a $250 million property tax increase if Gov. Pat Quinn agrees to sign the pension reform bill. The city will be required to contribute $530 million by 2025. That’s 9 percent of overall city revenues and $450 million more than the city would otherwise be required to contribute without pension reform. But the cost of waiting even five more years to confront the city’s pension crisis was even worse. It was pegged at $310 million because of lost investment returns.
* Sneed: Cardinal George may preside over his last Easter Mass on Sunday: George’s third and final dose of chemotherapy for his third bout of cancer is Monday, the day after Easter. “Then we’ll see what comes next,” said Dolan. Sneed is told the cardinal’s request a week ago that the Papal Nuncio begin his replacement process was based on more than just his deteriorating health. George, who replaced Cardinal Joseph Bernardin five months after his death, regrets missing the opportunity to seek Bernardin’s opinion and “ask questions,” said Dolan. “He’d like to give his replacement that opportunity.”
* IDNR fires Tony Mayville: The 58-year-old Du Bois resident said officials claimed he began campaigning for the seat before he was cleared to run by IDNR chief Marc Miller. He said his handling of campaign donations from a coal company also played a role in his firing. “I still contend I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Mayville, who was earning $92,642 annually before his ouster.
* Brown: Odds may finally favor a Chicago casino — if Madigan is dealing: In particular, the most important new wrinkle — giving ownership of a Chicago casino to the State of Illinois, which would then split the revenue 50-50 with the city — bore the fingerprints of a solution crafted by Madigan to resolve the city’s problematic demands for public ownership.
* Beaman files new lawsuit against former Normal police officers: Beaman served more than 13 years in prison for the 1993 death of Jennifer Lockmiller of Decatur before the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the conviction in 2008.
* ISU Students continue to ask questions about Flanagan resignation: Members and supporters of the group I Paid For Flanagan met in Schroeder Hall Wednesday night to lay out exactly what they the university to answer. Organizer and Senior Sociology Major Chris Roehl said it starts with answering where the money for Flanagan’s $480,000 severance package comes from.