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This just in… Gaming “off the table” *** $100 million raid on GRF *** Pork suit filed *** No special session announcement yet *** Guv hasn’t spoken to Daley since July 7th ***

Thursday, Jul 31, 2008

*** 3:24 pm *** The governor said today that the last time he talked to Mayor Daley was during Chicago police officer Richard Francis’ funeral, which was July 7th. That was nine days before the governor suggested he might call out the National Guard to stem the “out of control” violence in the city.

The governor said he called Daley to discuss his National Guard proposal, but as I told subscribers this morning, that call has not yet been returned.

*** 2:33 pm *** A spokesperson for the governor just said that the governor wants to take a couple of days to decide whether to call a special session. More in tomorrow’s Capitol Fax unless something breaks publicly before then.

*** 2:03 pm *** Read the governor’s press release on the “compromise” capital plan by clicking here.

*** 1:57 pm *** From the SJ-R

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Illinois Senate President Emil Jones are the targets of separate lawsuits filed today in Sangamon County court by a group that claims the two officials are keeping secret information about pork-barrel spending.

The Washington, D.C.,-based Judicial Watch wants Blagojevich and Jones to release information about how lump-sum member-initiative funds are being spent. […]

No lawsuit has been filed against the Illinois House of Representatives because that chamber has provided information about member-initiative spending, Calomino said.

Read the lawsuit against Blagojevich here, and the suit against Jones here.

*** 1:49 pm *** The governor has finished speaking. No mention of a special session. I figure we’ll get a press release about it eventually. They have a “compromise” plan, now they have to make Madigan look bad for rejecting it. How could they do that without a special? The only thing that would stop him from calling a special session would be Senate President Jones.

*** 1:35 pm *** Gov. Blagojevich: “Speaker Madigan is not here again. Instead he has sent his minions.”


*** 1:24 pm *** Senate President Emil Jones: “Let the bridges fall and the schools crumble. All they will do is sit and criticize.”

“They,” of course, are the House Democrats.

*** 1:17 pm *** The proposed “compromise” capital plan will now total $25 billion, according to a legislative spokesperson.

*** The Lottery lease, Road Fund money and “excess” revenues from the gasoline sales tax will be used to fund the proposal, as I outlined to subscribers this morning.

*** That gasoline sales tax raid is gonna cause some problems. This is a $200 $100 million skim out of the General Revenue Fund (gas sales tax goes to GRF, gas tax, which is based on gallonage, goes to Road Fund). The governor just whacked $1.4 billion out of the GRF and now he wants to deprive it of an additional $100 million. Plus, what happens if gas prices continue to decline and he has to find the rest of that $100 million elsewhere in GRF?

*** 1:11 pm *** House Majority Leader Barb Currie just told reporters that the governor merely suggested that he would put the pay to play bill into the mix if the General Assembly approves the capital bill. She said the guv should sign it before any action is taken on capital.

*** Rep. Currie also said the Lottery lease was never a good idea, putting this proposed “compromise” in serious doubt. The Lottery and a couple of other smallish things will fund the capital projects package, now that gaming is off the table.

*** 1:02 pm *** Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson just told reporters that Gov. Blagojevich has agreed to put the pay to play ethics bill into the mix with the capital bill. Not sure yet whether he is actually threatening to veto it if he doesn’t get the capital bill or what. More in a bit.

*** Sen. Watson also told reporters that all gaming expansion is off the table as a funding mechanism for the capital plan. Not a huge surprise.

*** Leader Watson also claimed that a special session was not discussed during the leaders meeting.

* 12:52 pm -Subscribers know I had a brief piece this morning about the current lack of communication between Gov. Blagojevich and Mayor Daley. I’m hearing that CBS 2 has done some more snooping around and will run a story about it this evening.

* 12:24 pm - From the AP

House Republican leader Tom Cross says Governor Rod Blagojevich and House speaker Michael Madigan need a “super timeout” to mend their fractured relationship.

Madigan skipped another meeting Thursday with Blagojevich and top legislative leaders who are talking about a compromise to get a statewide construction program passed to repair Illinois’ infrastructure.

* 11:10 am - Kevin is at the Thompson Center awaiting word on the leaders meeting. While you wait, perhaps you can chew on this…

Comptroller Dan Hynes is hitting the road

GALESBURG - State Comptroller Dan Hynes said Wednesday that although he hopes his two-week, 18-city trip will persuade Gov. Rod Blagojevich to sign House Bill 824, ending so-called “pay-to-play” politics in Illinois, he’s not confident the governor plans to sign the bill as is. […]

“It’s been nine straight years of corruption in state government,” Hynes said. “That, I think, has fed this strong desire for reform. I think if there is one issue most problematic, it is this pay-to-play issue.”

* But then Hynes appeared to contradict himself. All that corruption should be brushed aside and the problems with the governor’s lack of truthfulness should somehow be magically overcome…

Of the Legislature, he said, “They just do not trust this governor. I think they have reason not to trust him. I don’t trust him, but you have to get past that.” […]

“Distrust can’t be used as an excuse,” he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Captain Flume - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:24 am:

    Mr. Hynes is not contradicting himself, at least not as an Illinois politician. He is saying that everyone takes the blame, and/but that no one is really wrong. Hard to argue with that stance.

  2. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:55 am:

    Both Hynes and Canary are saying that because of ‘pay to play’ politics Illinois businesses are not wanting to do business with the state. Both Hynes and Canary refer to being told by businesspeople that they feel obligated to pay political contributions to elected officials in order to work here.

    We are witnessing new articles where Illinois business want SB 824 passed because they are tired of being milked for political contributions.

    To those who claim that Illinois businesses are to blame regarding their contributions to elected officials, Hynes, Canary and others are disproving this.

  3. - 2for2 - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:07 pm:

    I don’t see a contradiction. Like it or not, he is the governor so he needs to be dealt with. I think you are splitting hairs.

  4. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:08 pm:

    Hynes givin the Gov credit for lobbying for money for the Capital plan while complaining that the current setup allows the ov to shake down contractors is a contradiction. Hynes wants the legislature to give the Gov the highest pay to play pot ever in Illinois regardless of whether the ethics bill is passed. Hynes need to instead push that no capital bill pass without the ethics bill as writtne in place.

    The feud of which hynes complains is Madigan refusing to turn over such un funded wealth to a corrupt governor, and Hynes thinks that is bad? Hynes uses as a talking point the the budget is out of whack by 2 Billion, without noting that is just the top end of a speculative range or otherwise supporting this statement. Hynes may not be giving the Gov a pass, but many of his statements show he is more interested in the press release then the problem. Hynes is becoming Quinn lite.

  5. - dhouser - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:11 pm:

    There’s only been 9 years of corruption in IL?Really mr. Hynes. We all know you hope to run for gov. Maybe you should ask your pal Madigan why the legislation allows him to take such “dirty money.” Hynes would be a lot more respectful if he’d use his energy to get the Speaker to work on the capital bill.

  6. - DumberThanUThink - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:30 pm:

    That’s the best StatewideTom could do?
    Perhaps pn the way out some could ask him to explaining why he still pushing the gamblers agenda when GOP(as in MOPE) platform sez no to gambling expansion and demands a ban to pay to play BEFORE a capital plan is approved.
    Story of the day is the Sox getting Griffey Jr.
    Capt fax should dump this Blagoof nonsense and focus on the real world of the MLB penant race.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===Story of the day is the Sox getting Griffey Jr.===

    I ain’t all that thrilled about this yet.

  8. - Frank Booth - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:45 pm:

    I see Cross has come out swinging on his 50th birthday. Did BFC jump out of a cake at the leaders meeting?

  9. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:49 pm:

    The “super” timeout. That’s, like, better than a regular timeout. Way better, dude.

  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:58 pm:

    Frank Booth, you just scorched my mind’s eye. lol

  11. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:56 pm:

    Any pending plan based on a lottorey lease is a horrible idea. We are trading future State dollars and a State asset for quick money up front, but a long term loss. This is robbing the future or incurring huge future debt for some quick cash now.

    These revenue proposals that invovle saddling the future with Bond debt or the loss of State revenue are just pushing more debt and fiscal problems off to the future and need to be stopped. Leasing the lottorey is not a revenue source, its a loss of revenue that will have to be made up for in the future. This is like those annuity buyout scams on TV…. small instant cash today for your long term collection.

    The lottery lease is just a fancy Loan for the State which incurs massive debt to be born for decades in exchnage for a relatively small quick payout upfront. Any legislator who supports saddling our futre with this kind of revenue loss/debt should be voted out in the next election.

    More simply, a lease is only viable if the private comapny takes a lot more then they are giving up for the investment. That money they are making in profit is money that the State would otherwise be taking in in the future. We are selling off future revenue for pennies on the dollar.

    Blago does not care, he needs the billions in money to replenish his coffers. His direct refusal to sign the Ethics legislation before the capital bill is passed demonstartes the Gov real intent with this funding, pay to play. This idea that he will sign the ethics legislation if or after a capital bill is nonsene. This is the Gov whose word is worthless. He needs to sign it as is before anyone goes forward on capital, no in conjunction with going forward with a capital bill. Otherwise if the Capital Bill is passed the Gov can just back out of his pledge or “improve” the bill to effectively render it meaningless or kill it.

  12. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 2:06 pm:

    ===More simply, a lease is only viable if the private comapny takes a lot more then they are giving up for the investment. That money they are making in profit is money that the State would otherwise be taking in in the future. We are selling off future revenue for pennies on the dollar.===

    That says it all about the bad financial deal it would be for the State.

    What also should be looked at is what protections will be given in the lease to the pay to play contractors associated with the Lottery. Look closely and you might find more than just Blago issues here…..look at who is supporting this idea.

  13. - been there - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 2:11 pm:

    Dear Frank Booth and Rich Miller,

    Would you rather have Milrod jump out of the cake?

  14. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 2:19 pm:

    The republicans are of course once again siding with the Gov on this one. Jones mentioned out crumbling schools, and the press release, amongts other things, toughts money for school buildings. BUT the general assembly approved millions for school improvements. The bills providing the money to the schools was passed after July 1. none of the schools had pre-applied for non-exsiting fuinds before the appropriation. The Gov then refused to give the money to schools noting none of them had timely asked for it. This was money passed by the legislature for school building to stop those crumbling schools Jones was wooried about, but the Gov never actually gave them the money.

    Those schools were crumbling before the Capital Bill with money already approved to fix them, but Jones and the republicans seem to have forgotten we already have unrelased funds for schools. So all we are doing is giving the Gov millions more in funding that he can decide not to release!

    Then there was the promised funds for Lincoln that were never released. The republicans act like passage of the Bill means the Gov will actually spend and release the funds the way they hope, and in support of this beleif they have a hostory of the Gov holding funds and not spending them as promised.

    And the republicans want to give him billions more and think this is good for the people?

  15. - Captain Flume - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 2:29 pm:

    What kind of fiscal wizards do the Repubs employ to lead them to the conclusion that there is such a thing as “excess” GRF, or that leasing an asset for a small fraction of its value, or that stealing money from dedicated public funds is responsible stewardship of public money? What kind of deal has been cut for their support of this plan? The answers would be the in-depth story I would like to read.

  16. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 2:47 pm:

    SB 824 has been delayed a long time by this supposed reform governor. Thanks to Halvorson, Jones and Blagojevich, this legislation which should have been pass back in 2003 is five years too late and still waiting on Blagojevich’s desk.

    Now instead of signing it, he is using it as a bargaining chip so that he can get enough cash to pay back those who paid to play since he became governor.

    He’s like a dying smoker lighting up on his death bed. Blagojevich just shake his addition for pay to play schemes, can he?

  17. - ChampaignDweller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 3:00 pm:

    Let the bridges fall and the schools crumble–is this Illinois’ and Jones’ version of “Let them eat cake”?

  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 3:15 pm:

    ChampaignDweller, I think you’re misreading the quote.

  19. - Lucio Guerrero - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 3:35 pm:

    Regarding the conversations between the Mayor and the Governor - in particular over the police issue: the Governor did call the Mayor but the Mayor was out of town. Since that time, the two top cops have spoken - often - and that’s what really matters. It seems like someone is trying to make a story out of something that isn’t there.

    Please, folks - one conspiracy theory at a time.

  20. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 4:05 pm:

    ===The “super” timeout. That’s, like, better than a regular timeout. Way better, dude. ===

    And if that doesn’t work, he’ll put them on double secret probation!

  21. - Willie Stark - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 4:06 pm:

    Yes “folks.” You are so ridiculous for thinking it odd that the mayor of the third largest city in the nation and the governor of his state have a non-existant relationship because of the governor’s shoot-from-the-hip/haven’t-learned-anything-in-5-years “governing” style. How kooky! Quite the conspiracy theory. No story here at all. Move along, please.

  22. - A Citizen - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 4:11 pm:

    This governmental impasse situation is saving the taxpayers Billions. Let’s hope they keep it up until something serious and worthy evolves. Until then, Yustis, until then.

  23. - ZC - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 4:32 pm:

    Good to know that our Governor is on top of the Chicago Cubs, at least. He’s talking on 720 AM right now, about the Cubs-Milwaukee series. He didn’t manage to work in any slights at Madigan, but his baseball philosophy, he said, is “Go for the kill. That’s what winners do.”

  24. - JohnnyC - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 4:33 pm:

    “Regarding the conversations between the Mayor and the Governor - in particular over the police issue: the Governor did call the Mayor but the Mayor was out of town. Since that time, the two top cops have spoken - often - and that’s what really matters. It seems like someone is trying to make a story out of something that isn’t there. ”

    You’re new to the job, I get it. But I would suggest not posting ridiculous statements before you quickly lose whatever personal credibility you may have. I know it’s your job to spin, buuuuut at least sell something that someone may actually buy.

  25. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 4:38 pm:

    JohnnyC, the guy has the stones to post here under his real name, so let’s cut him a bit of slack.

  26. - anon - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 5:06 pm:

    The mayor has left for China and the Olympics, so that reutrn call to the Governor won’t be made anytime soon.

  27. - Independent - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 5:35 pm:

    Daley is making a mistake casting his lot solely with Madigan. Illinois desperately needs someone to mitigate this Blago/Jones - Madigan feud and get them to the table to negotiate like adults. Obama won’t dirty his hands with this, plus he’s a little busy.

    That leaves Daley as the only Democrat with the stature, political capital, and connections with all three to broker a truce. The fact he hasn’t talked with the governor in over three weeks is appalling. Daley needs to remove his Olympic tunnel vision goggles for a moment and do what’s right for Illinois.

  28. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 6:38 pm:

    I think the proposal to lease the lottery is not a good idea. On the other hand, its hard for me to criticize because the Governor has at least made a proposal (several, in fact) to fund a capital program that everyone seems very certain we need. I don’t see people who don’t like the Governor’s lottery proposal offering their alternative proposals for the funds.

  29. - Just the Facts - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 7:21 pm:

    The Governor’s various “proposals” have insufficient support to be adopted. It’s time for him to abandon his delusional notions that he can blame the Speaker for these failures. It seems apparent that anything the Speaker might propose will be opposed by the Governor because of the Governor’s apparent hatred for the Speaker. As a result any alternative proposals will have to come from another source. The Republicans seem to think that they can somehow benefit from the Democractic fratricide and perhaps they could if Cross could come up with something better than his apparent support for the Governor. As to Watson, I don’t see anything creative from that bunch. Jones received the additional education funding that he demanded/extorted and that increase came at the expense ofsome of the programs that the Governor cut - and I don’t mean the elimination of the expansions in the vetoes - I mean the cuts.

    In any event, to get to Steve’s point - I don’t see that any of the players in this farce,other than the Governor, are in a position to propose any alternatives to the Governor’s proposals. It’s going to have to come from him and Isuspect that isn’t going to happen. So it ain’t going to get better folks.

  30. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 8:26 pm:


    I object! I do not consider most of the governor’s proposals as legitimate funding sources because they shift existing revenues or borrow on future revenues. Leasing the Lottery is a perfect example of both shifting and borrowing. I hope that the legislature will continue to disagree with these proposals because agreement will ensure that Illinois’ budget hole will deepen.

    Unfortunately, the governor has taken the best and most logical sources of funding off of the table, and it’s had to imagine him agreeing to either an increase in income or broadening of sales tax any time soon. Until he does, the state will not have enough revenue to pay its operating and capital expenses.

    Holding the pay to play bill hostage is a red herring; he will use any available excuse not to sign it.

  31. - S. Illinois - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 9:04 pm:

    Steve - a bad idea doesn’t become a good idea simply by being the only idea on the table. Maybe we just cannot afford a capital program at this time?

    Lucio - first welcome to the fray. We are glad to have you as part of the conversation, even if you have to endure quite a bit of fire. Now…maybe Blago did try to call Daley at some point…but as a general rule it’s better to talk with the mayor of a major city BEFORE you suggest sending in the National Guard. I’m just sayin’

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 9:08 pm:

    If Senate Presidents Jones is so worried about crumbling bridges and schools, he can start funding them by returning his pay increase.

  33. - anon - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 9:42 pm:

    I hope Madigan does not budge an inch. I think I will vote Democrat for State Rep. and Republican for State Senator. Any allies against this corrupt Governor gets my vote!!

  34. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:41 pm:

    si, I agree being the only idea doesn’t make it a good idea, but it does make it the only idea, and no one seems to be conceding that we don’t need a fairly big capital program. Ergo, do it his way or suggest a better way, either is fine with me.

  35. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:11 pm:

    I understand we need at least some capitol program, but I cannot support one at least while Blago and Co. is still in charge. As a downstater not only do I worry about any part of the state that’s not Chicago getting shafted, but also I have a suspicion that the Governor will tap into some of the money devoted to capitol in yet another attempt for him to fund his failed health care expansion and programs.

  36. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:15 pm:

    Remember Mayor Daley’s father when he would lambast his critics in the media and elsewhere when he made a proposal, saying more or less, “You don’t like my plan? Where’s your plan? You don’t have a plan? Then don’t go picking on my plan if you don’t have one of your own.”

    Clever, but because the idea is the only idea doesn’t make it a good idea. The Lotto sale/lease or whatever they’re calling it this week is a bad idea, as well-debated on this blog and in other fora.

    Blago is wasting time and playing a cruel game by putting this stink pickle back on the table one more time when he knows it’s got a snowball’s chance in the InBev tent.

    Sure, “everybody wants a capital bill,” or “jobs bill” as the Democrats call it (or “tax increase” as AA calls it) but “somebody” should come up with something better to pay for it than another Filan three-card monte game before another special session, round of fingerpointing, yada, yada, yada. (as an aside, the ridiculous job creation number has now been inflated to 700,000 as of tonight’s COGFA hearing.)

    Personally, AA would like to see the operating budget get a lot closer to balanced than it is now and 824 signed before POA gets a penny of capital cash. Where is Blago on the operating budget and the newly blown $300 million hole in the FY10 budget?

  37. - Disgusted - Friday, Aug 1, 08 @ 4:48 am:

    Let’s hope that Blago wasn’t paying attention to what’s going on with California’s state government, in his mad dash to get to the Cub game. I wish all I had to worry about was getting chauffeured to a baseball game on the taxpayer’s dime, while the people who work for me are waiting for the next sociopathic shoe to drop.

    And don’t think he is interested in a capitol plan. He’ll divert that money, once gotten, to his quest to be the Wizard of Healthcare in a heartbeat. Down here in the Patch, the state printshops are already being hustled to get the paper out for the next big push - Vet’s Care - at state fair time. It’s called the “Press Pop of the Month” game.

  38. - DumberThanUThink - Friday, Aug 1, 08 @ 7:41 am:

    Thanks goodnwess someone applied some common sense and stopped the gamblers….bet TR and Chris are sad Most are sure they were still in for a “commission” if the gamblers got their way.
    Now we can take a real look at the lottery scam.
    No other state has takend the bait after listening to the bankers razzle dazzle. Hope IL does not fall for it.
    BTW Blagoof tried to reach the Mayor after the dopey “call out the national gaurd” statement.
    The phone is still ringing

  39. - Anon - Friday, Aug 1, 08 @ 7:50 am:

    This proposed raid on the GRF does not make any sense. The Gov and the GA are already raiding all the capital funds to shore up the GRF so is the plan to first raid the captial funds place it in the GRF and move it back to the orginal dedicated funds and call it a capital bill?

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    * Former Gov. Quinn makes speech in Champaign, says he has no plans to run for office
    * Supporters of sexual assault, domestic violence programs warn of cuts due to budget impasse
    * University presidents urge end to Illinois budget stalemate
    * Our Opinion: Haphazard cuts are no way for Illinois to operate
    * Illinois attorney general seeks details from Volkswagen

    * Plays of the Game - Nebraska
    * In the grand scheme of things ... Illinois should keep Cubit
    * High school football 10-02-15
    * Illini grade vs. Nebraska: A
    * PODCAST: Fasterners Etc. Postgame Show -- Nebraska
    * Emotional win for Illinois
    * Notes: Turner answers call
    * UI-Nebraska quick hits
    * VIDEO: Illinois celebrates upset against Nebraska
    * Daniels: "Thrilling" win for Illini

    * Images: Chicago Cubs beat Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 in game two Saturday
    * Foligno, Saad each score twice, Blue Jackets beat Predators
    * Hendricks sparkles for Chicago Cubs in 1-0 win
    * Illinois beats Nebraska for first time since 1924
    * Pitino mum, questions continue about escort allegations

    * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
    * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
    * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
    * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
    * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
    * CBD Oil, and politics
    * Simon considering state Senate bid
    * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
    * Shutdown? State may not notice
    * Rep. Bob Dold

    * Durbin cites health benefits in push to ra......

    * Senator Kirk Statement on the Dedication o......

    * New rule.
    * IEA last week: “NEA makes no endorsements prior to the primaries.”
    * The Pope’s blessing.
    * In spite of opposition, NEA endorses Clinton.
    * Today At The Uptown Arts Center
    * Chicago-based Thomas More Society Wins Dismissal of Lawsuit over Nativity Scene
    * Milton Township GOP picks Marco Rubio in straw poll
    * How Climate Policy Hurts the Poor [video]
    * Aurora Township GOP censures U.S. Senator Mark Kirk
    * My edTPA Twitter exchange.

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