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This just in… Holbrook holds up budget, and updates *** Updated x1 ***

Thursday, May 31, 2007

* Rep. Holbrook hasn’t returned my call either, and the House Dems have refused comment, but this is as good a theory as any I’ve heard… [Holbrook has now returned my call. See “Update 1″ below]

A downstate Democrat has used a parliamentary procedure to block advancement of a relatively austere state spending plan approved late Wednesday night by the House.

That means the Senate, on the last scheduled day of the Legislatures spring session, must wait to consider the budget plan.

Rep. Thomas Holbrook, D-Belleville, filed a motion to reconsider the House vote in support of the plan. And until the chamber disposes of that motion, it cannot transmit the plan to the Senate for consideration.

Holbrook could not be immediately reached for comment, but his move might be linked to ongoing debate over whether to roll back recent rate hikes imposed by Commonwealth Edison and Ameren, the electric utility serving central and southern Illinois.

* Word is the Senate Democrats will remove all language pertaining to Chicago State University from the gaming bill and run it today. The bill will include other changes as well.

* The so-called “seven percent solution” property tax assesment cap bill will likely be called in the Senate today. It flew out of the House with over a hundred votes yesterday. The governor, however, has privately said that he might veto the bill. Stay tuned.

* Meanwhile, a proposal to levy a quarter-percent sales tax for the RTA/CTA jetted out of a House committee today with bipartisan support. The governor has indicated he will veto the bill if it ever reaches his desk.

* No word yet on when or if the Senate will call the electric utility rate freeze, but check back later.

* Also, a bill to make it easier for AT&T to enter the cable TV industry rocketed out of a House committee this morning and easy passage is expected in that chamber, and perhaps both chambers.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Rep. Tom Holbrook just called me back to answer questions about why he put the hold on the budget bill passed by the House last night. Turns out, Aaron Chambers was right again. It was about electric rate relief.

“We know there will eventually be a budget. We don’t know whether there will eventually be rate relief,” Holbrook said. Holbrook added that the Downstate Caucus voted to put the parliamentary hold on the budget yesterday and that he, as chairman, was in charge of executing the plan.

Holbrook also said that he told House Speaker Michael Madigan before the budget was debated last night that he would be placing the hold on the budget bill, adding, “We’ve told him all along that we don’t wish to vote on a budget until we’ve voted on the rate issue.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - NRA Endowment Life Member - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:21 pm:

    Rich -

    What about action on the House budget bill passed last night? Will this be brought up today and presented in the full Senate as an up/down vote or will the Senate just send their own version to the House without action? Do you see any chance at all of avoiding overtime at this point?


  2. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:27 pm:

    If Rod vetoes the 7% property tax cap bill, I hope all you Dems in Cook County who voted to relect Rod redistribute wealth into my bank account to pay for my skyrocketing property taxes.


  3. - Sango Dem - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:33 pm:

    Jones must not have any close donwstate Senate races up for election next year because he will lose all of them if he doesn’t change course on the rate freeze. I don’t think the Chicago area legislators understand how serious this is yet.


  4. - triplecynic - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:36 pm:

    Um, “Right Winger”? I’m no fan of the Governor, but the reason he may veto the 7% exemption is because the bill that passed out of the House is pathetically weak and will help far fewer people than the law passed 3 years ago–not because it’s too generous. Apparently the Mayor caved on the Senate version, with a $60K cap, in order to win backing for his self-serving plan to extend the $100 million-a-year Central Loop TIF another 12 years.

    I’m sure the fact that the bill emerged from the House significantly weaker and more complex than the Senate’s version has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mike Madigan is a PROPERTY TAX LAWYER–something our vaunted press never seems to mention.


  5. - leo - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:36 pm:

    Whither Ethics Reform?


  6. - Captain America - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:38 pm:

    Hooray for the House Action on the RTA-CTA Sales Tax. It’s amystery to me why the Governor would veto it since he has no viable alternative. Funding mass transit in the Chicago metropolitan area makes sense in the presnt environment. I’ll be very ticked off if Rod vetos this if it passes the Senate.


  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:38 pm:

    Rich, your “just in” info is the best. Keep at it!


  8. - Captain America - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:58 pm:

    Rich -Won’t the sales tax for the RTA-CTA apply only to the Chicago metropolitan area.? If this is correct, then no one outside the RTA-CTA area (”downstate”) will have to pay the sales tax increment unless they make purchases in the Chigago metro area. In other words, “downstaters” won’t really be subsidzing the RTA/CTA.


  9. - Your scaring me Milo - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:01 pm:

    Could this mean no more cruises for Chicago State University?


  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:03 pm:

    Captain America, you are correct.


  11. - bankman - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:05 pm:

    I am very concern over what I view as a very cavalier approach or attitude by our legislators making drastic changes in the tax code without any public input. It is easy to say. lets close loopholes, but sometimes loopholes are put into the tax code to stimulate something the public wants, such as local investments. Sometimes the business loopholes are put into the tax code to bring some parity between the competitive business environment between Illinois and other states.

    It seems to me the rush is to raise taxes on businesses for they don’t pay their fair share, but please remember businesses produce jobs, no jobs, no money to pay the taxes whether income, sales or real estate taxes for there is no money.

    Before going into the exercise of closing business loopholes, a very constructive study needs to be made on the realistic benefits of the loopholes, versus the true cost of those loopholes, not simply a push at the 23th hour of the last day to push through a budget for purely political purposes.

    If the legislators are wrong, remember the state of Illinois will not pay but we the tax payers will shoulder the real burden for the legislatures misguided actions.

    Joe


  12. - Crimefighter - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:06 pm:

    Was the parliamentary procedure the same one used by Emil Jones to block electric rate relief a few months back?


  13. - Frank Booth - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:08 pm:

    Here’s a question:
    Why didn’t Holbrook and the anti-Ameren caucus just vote against the budget if they felt so strongly about this?

    A motion to reconsider? What a … how can I say this without getting deleted … interesting way to take a moral stand.


  14. - Inch Version - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:09 pm:

    Maybe Milo could do a double-secret veto.


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:26 pm:

    Judge upholds decision to strip former Gov. Ryan of pension

    By DEANNA BELLANDI
    Associated Press Writer

    May 31, 2007, 3:04 PM CDT

    CHICAGO — A judge on Thursday upheld a state board’s decision to strip former Gov. George Ryan of his pension.

    Ryan filed a lawsuit in December in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to keep the portion of his state pension that he earned before the scandals that led to his federal racketeering conviction.

    But Judge Martin Agran upheld the General Assembly Retirement System board’s unanimous vote to strip Ryan of his $197,000 annual pension.

    Ryan’s attorneys had maintained he should get the pension he earned during 24 years as a county board member, state representative and lieutenant governor because he was not accused of crimes during those years. That totaled about $65,000.

    An attorney for Ryan did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

    Ryan was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice and bribery during his time as secretary of state and governor, from 1991 to 2003. Ryan is appealing his conviction, and a federal appeals court ruled he may remain free while the court reviews the case.


  16. - Summer Storms - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:28 pm:

    Are there any convenient coinkydinks at AT&T that involve Rod or Emil? Just wondering.


  17. - NRA Endowment Life Member - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:29 pm:

    Finally some good news…glad that someone agrees that Ryan should not profit from his criminal actions. Your cell is waiting GR.


  18. - Gene Parmesan - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:33 pm:

    Vetoing 7% would be the best thing Rod could do. And yes, Madigan is a property tax lawyer, but that doesn’t mean he ain’t right about the negative effects of 7%. 7% hurts seniors on the senior freeze by raising the tax rate. 7% shifts tax dollars from residential owners to business owners (and that’s not good for a tax base, just ask anyone from Dolton/Harvey/etc.). The U of I study clearly illustrated that 52% of property owners in Cook County paid more with 7% than without. They also clearly demonstrated how 7% helps rapidly escalating values in the northwest suburbs and chicago more than it does your average homeowner. 7% is a property tax coupon for wealthy homeowners.


  19. - Lt. Guv - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 4:00 pm:

    What Capt. America said. . .the RTA/CTA funding is a MUST. If Rod nukes it, he shouldn’t bother coming home to Chicago. Well, maybe that’s why Patti was checking on the swimming lessons for the kids in the Patch.


  20. - Jerry - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 4:42 pm:

    If Rod kills the CTA, then he loses my support. The Greens will win another voter next time around, should Rod be standing for re-election.

    I’ll make a deal with the downstate folks. I support your rate freeze if you support my tax hike.


  21. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 4:58 pm:

    Jerry -

    Sorry,,,no rate freeze or tax hike. The state needs to stay out of business and CTA doesn’t need more money from downstate.

    I would support what Captain America was talking about though. As long as Cook and the collar counties pay for CTA I am all for it! I think that GRod is going to veto it, though.


  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 5:01 pm:

    Gene is right. 7% cap shifts tax burden from people whose property value grows faster than 7% to those whose property value grows slower. It is Robin Hood in reverse!!


  23. - Manw/ThePlan - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 5:47 pm:

    Let’s start the Tom Cross RelevantMan Countdown Clock QOTD.
    Q.What will his first act be?
    A.Make Dring wear socks


  24. - The Blogger Formerly Known As Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 5:49 pm:

    Greg Baise just called. He wanted me to press one to tell my legislator to do something about electric rates.


  25. - Captain America - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 5:53 pm:

    RE: Anom’s Remark to Jerry abpout Captain America

    Rich has confirmed that the 1/4% sales tax increase does npt apply to “downstate” regions. It applies only in the metropolitan Chicago (City and suburbs where the RTA and CTA and Metra jusidiction. DOWNSTATERS TAKE NOTE: THIS SALES TAX DOES NOT AFFECT AREAS OUTSIDE THE METROPOLITAN CHICAGO AREA! Rich has confirmed.


  26. - mike - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 6:16 pm:

    Did the cable bill pass out of house yet? Have not heard anytjing about this for awhile.


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