image
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Faux populism

Friday, Oct 30, 2009

* The Tribune editorial board makes a good point today

Just when it looks like lawmakers have mustered up the courage to end the gratuitous free-rides-for-seniors program, Gov. Pat Quinn has thrown a monkey wrench into the works.

With a bill meant to ease the transit systems’ financial woes moving in the General Assembly, Quinn called Thursday for a moratorium on fare hikes in return for its passage. Besides rescinding ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s gratuitous senior freebie program, the bill would allow the Regional Transportation Authority to borrow up to $400 million to cover operating costs for the area’s bus and rail systems.

You read that right: The governor is OK with letting the RTA borrow up to $400 million for day-to-day expenses, but he wants no part of any plan to balance the budget by requiring people to pay a fair share of their rides.

Wait’ll they hear the rest of the story. Oof.

The proposed fare hikes are steep - $3 L rides, up from $2.25, for instance. But riders ought to help shoulder the burden. So should Mayor Daley, for that matter, and everyone else, as long as we’re passing along responsibilities.

Quinn’s idea for a two-year fare freeze is bad public policy because it’s an unfunded mandate. We’ll give you some borrowing authority to get you through this mess, but we won’t fix the now-broken “fix” that we did last year and, oh, you can’t raise fares for two years even if revenues crash even more.

The danger here is that Quinn is setting the stage for far deeper service and job cuts. Mass transit is a hugely valuable asset and Quinn is willing to allow it to further deteriorate because he doesn’t want to wear the jacket for a fare hike.

Almost nobody ever demands that expressways and city streets always operate in the black. That’s just a silly notion to most people. Yet, public transportation constantly has to face down a stupid double standard. They’re supposed to make money, or at least come close to breaking even. And when they don’t, they get chopped. Foolish.

Either provide a real funding solution or allow mass transit to at least cover some of their losses themselves. This faux populism is plain goofy. A real populist would make sure that people could take the bus and train to work.

* Other Statehouse news…

* Quote of the Day: “Stick it to granny and poor little uncle Willy. I refuse to screw the senior citizens of the state of Illinois.”

* Bill to cut seniors’ free transit rides stalls

* Free bus rides for all seniors could end

* Lawmakers reconsider free rides for seniors

* Stroger tax could be easier to undo

* Change in Cook County Veto Rules Sent to Governor

* Senate moves to lower threshold for Stroger override

* Illinois legislature: Tax-minded lawmakers vote to undercut Cook County chief’s veto power

* New `STAR bonds’ plan would target entertainment, pay neighbors

* House OKs tougher cemetery oversight

* Governor gets bill to require prison time for gang members with guns

* Senate gives Quinn green light to pick leaders for key state agencies

- Posted by Rich Miller        


21 Comments
  1. - Stallion - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:38 am:

    Lil O’ Ricky, he is a class act. If he only started thinkeh he could be another Lincoln, if he only had a brain !!!


  2. - The Doc - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:45 am:

    This is yet another example of why Quinn doesn’t appear to be ready for prime time. The irony is that his threat captures the essence of Blago on the very same issue that was seen by virtually all as a transparent attempt to pander to a core constituency.

    Painting the mass transit systems into a corner isn’t helpful to anyone, governor. Sign the bill and move on, please.


  3. - phocion - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    ==Almost nobody ever demands that expressways and city streets always operate in the black. That’s just a silly notion to most people.==

    Actually, Rich, expressways and city streets are paid for through user fees - namely the gas tax, and to some extent driver’s license and registration fees. Those who use roads pay for them directly (the additional revenues coming in to pay for the capital plan also pays for things like parks and libraries).

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a subsidy for public transit. After all, it reduces congestion and minimizes the need for more expressways and roads. But let’s stick with the facts. Roads, bridges, and highways are funded by the people who use them.


  4. - Will County Woman - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    This is why Quinn is not good for the governor’s office.

    I understand that he means well, but…

    He thinks with his heart. Hence his heart is ours he says. But, governing requires a governor to think with his head more than his heart, make tough decisions in the state’s interest (not just his political interests), stick to them, be disciplined and firm, and say no to excess often.

    If it’s not okay for Metra or CTA to raise fares to generate needed revenue, does Quinn really want to raise taxes 50 percent to generate revenue for the state?

    I want to be consistent here… if it’s okay to raise taxes or raise fares, all I ask as a taxpayer or consumer is that it comes after serious cuts have been made and bloat/waste has been eradicated or seriously reduced first, and other ways to generate revenue are being seriously explored as well.


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:51 am:

    Borrow $400 million for operating costs? That’s a Big Bowl of Wrong. At the very least, it’s a backdoor tax increase because sooner-rather-than-later you’ll need new revenues to cover the nut.

    I’ve been surprised that during an era of Dem control there hasn’t been a revisiting of the RTA funding formula. There are a lot of empty PACE buses rolling around the suburbs.


  6. - Levois - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    How can the state wear the jacket on fare hikes? Public transit is basically a local issue anyway. The only reason the state would wear the jacket for fare hikes by transit agencies is when the state is unwilling to bail out a needed service such as transit.


  7. - Lee - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:57 am:

    Quinn seems to running into the same problem affecting Obama. It is a lot easier to run as populist/progressive than to actually have to govern.


  8. - The Doc - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 10:59 am:

    ==But let’s stick with the facts. Roads, bridges, and highways are funded by the people who use them.==

    You’re omitting a crucial point here, phocion. Roads, bridges, and highways are also funded substantially by people that don’t use them.

    And if one concedes that roads and such do operate in the black, it can be argued that the formulae for funding them is skewed heavily in their favor based on an outdated model, and at the expense of mass transit.


  9. - Will County Woman - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:04 am:

    @Word
    Quit picking on suburban Pace!

    I’m sure there are plenty of CTA buses roaming city streets at low or no ridership levels.

    As a case in point, I’m not sure why the #146 CTA bs for example needs to run a big ole articulated buses midday with all of 5 riders on it going south or north bound.

    But, your point is taken. It’s just not fair to single out PACE when the CTA is guilty of waste/bloat too.


  10. - PalosParkBob - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:04 am:

    Please, Rich, you’re much smarter than trying to make an analogy between a labor heavy public transit system and “expressways and streets”.

    If you want a fair and reasonable analogy, try comparing public transit with the tollways, where the mostly suburban and business users do make it operate in the black.

    Another example might be water and sewer service, which in most municipalities is close to self supporting through fees.

    While this year is (hopefully) an anomally because of the failed Obama “economic stimulus” and “Obamacare” plans inhibiting private sector job growth, a truly independent, professional, apolitical plan for reforming the CTA/RTA/PACE needs to be performed and implemented as a pre-condition to any additional taxpayer funding.

    Changes to state collective bargaining rules to prohibit increases in salaries and benefits beyond a percentage of new revenues also needs to be enacted.

    Add to the fact that the city of Chicago provides far less than most major cities for mass transit ($5 million from Hizzoner compared to about $280 million for NYC), and it’s pretty clear that to correct this “structural deficit” a modification to the CTA/RTA structure is needed.

    I’ve seen no action to make the CTA/RTA/PACE more accountable in it’s annual deficit production.

    Unfair bailouts and fare increases just address the symptoms, not the disease.

    It’s time to address the root causes of the problems, but the spineless GA is unlikely to grow a pair and do what needs to be done in mass transit.


  11. - Red Ranger - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:08 am:

    Its just crazy not to allow the CTA to raise rates. As a daily rider of the CTA, I know the bargain I am getting. Think about it, even at $6 a day, its a deal when compared to a car. $6 or more a day from O’hare, or Lincoln Park or the South Side to the Loop is so much better than a car. I know the arguments against raising fairs, but commuting costs at around $150 a month on the CTA is a deal by any measure.


  12. - ChicagoMatt - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:17 am:

    I know this may not be the smartest decision, but a fare increase would really hit us in Chicago hard. This may not be the right decision, but there has to be some sort of change besides raising fares. I believe that the fare increase would inflict costs of almost $600 a year for an individual that uses the train once a day. That’s a fairly hefty amount. His heart is in the right place, but maybe there are other methods.


  13. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:19 am:

    It would seem to me that everyone benefits from the roadway infrastructure. Without roads, bridges and highways there would be no way to move goods and services throughout the country. Furthermore all mass transport exclusive of rail based systems uses the same roads, bridges and highways that the privately owned transport does. I cannot imagine a single individual who does not benefit from this system which is primarily paid for by user fees.

    The rub seems to come from the fact that there are an enormous number of users who do not have any kind of mass transit available to them who believe the mass transit users need to absorb more of the operating costs than they currently do.

    I have not recently seen anyone ask that mass transit riders pay all the costs for their transport. Capital costs seem to be waived and the fare box collects less than half of the operating budget. The question is how much of a subsidy is enough?


  14. - Anonymous45 - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    The RTA is not run by just Democrats-there are a number of counties in the northern part of IL that are run by Republicans-intergovernmental jousting especially between the RTA and CTA is part of the reason the situation lingers-this is an issue of lack of cooperation, adequate state funding, and fiscal management by the transit agencies-don’t just blame Quinn and the Dems-there’s plenty of blame to go around…


  15. - phocion - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:29 am:

    ==You’re omitting a crucial point here, phocion. Roads, bridges, and highways are also funded substantially by people that don’t use them.==

    O.K. Doc, I’m curious about your claim here. MFT funds are what pays for roads and bridges. If you pay a motor fuel tax, you are driving. If you’re driving, you use highways, roads and bridges. How is it that people who don’t use them pay for them?

    Plutocrat03 - your points are well stated. We all benefit from a sound transportation infrastructure even though we don’t all pay for it.


  16. - Scooby - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:58 am:

    Isn’t giving the CTA money in exchange for a committment to not raise fees a funded mandate? I’m not clear on how that’s an unfunded mandate.


  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 12:00 pm:

    It’s unfunded because it is a two-year freeze and the “solution” probably won’t even solve the problem this year.


  18. - Will County Woman - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 1:00 pm:

    Chicago Matt, I agree with you and understand where you are coming from. The fare hikes are going to hurt many people, but having the state borrow a ton of money to appease the CTA doesn’t help because as we have seen too many times in the past the CTA is never satiated, and will only keep coming back year after year.

    The state has no money to bail/help anything out, let alone the CTA. The state is going to have to say no to the CTA. The CTA, like the state, needs to prioritize and get its fiscal house in order.

    Once the state and CTA gets some money, whether borrowed or as raised revenue, they just keep spending like there is no tomorrow.

    The state needs to stop being an enabler for CTA fiscal mismanagement etc.


  19. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 2:31 pm:

    Quinn is wrong to not rescind Blagojevich’s ridiculous freebie to seniors, and Quinn is also wrong to borrow hundreds of millions in order to make ends meet. If this is what Pat Quinn thinks passes for solutions, or even trying to work towards solutions, he isn’t the right guy to be a governor.


  20. - Jim Watkins - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 4:01 pm:

    The issue’s above are on key, but Gov Quinn did not write SB941, which does have in it to borrow up to $400 million for operating RTA transit systems. The bill also had in in it that Paratransit Funding would be taken up front before CTA, Pace and Metra recieved there funds. The funding for Paratransit would of run out of funds for 2009 in Oct. if not for the RTA bailing out. The 2010 proposed fare increases for CTA and Metra are minor compared to Pace Paratransit of Suburbs of $3.50 per ride, and Chicago of $5.00 per ride, double the fixed route fare. Public transportatiom has been underfunded in Illinois since 1961, locally (taxes, etc) and with fares it must pay for 50% of public transit budget, many other states is at 30%. The reason that every year is a doomsday is that we truly are under funded. Please do not blame the Senior Free Ride Program, in all of the 6 counties that RTA oversees service the cost this year is 37 million, that is a very small percentage of Public Transit funding for Northeastern Illinois.


  21. - Angry Chicagoan - Saturday, Oct 31, 09 @ 12:58 am:

    $3 is a completely excessive fare for what the CTA offers — considerable more than New York’s MTA or even for the vast majority of DC Metrorail rides within the District or Arlington/Alexandria — or any off-peak DC Metro ride whatsoever. Compared to Washington DC and New York, we will be expected to pay more money for slower, less frequent, dirtier, less dependable service.

    It’s not acceptable.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Cardinal Francis George services announced
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Caption contest!
* Question of the day
* Hold off a bit, please
* The mental health cost shift
* Credit Unions – “People Helping People” and their Communities
* Redefining Darin
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner response *** Madigan to Rauner: Disclose how you reached your budget decisions
* Today's must-read
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* *** UPDATED x1 *** This morning's "right to work" tally
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * The Year Of Mobile Payments
        * Apple Watch, LG G4, Galaxy S6 bending comments & more – Pocketnow Daily Recap
        * What The Apple Watch Could Be
        * With Hykoo, You Can Combine Video And Text To Create 12-Second Short Films
        * Square Enix’s Masters of the Masks: different yet typical
        * Sprint starts pushing out Lollipop update for Spark-branded Galaxy S4’s
        * Groupon is holding a fantastic promotion on the Chromecast [Deal]

        * How to Backup & Restore WhatsApp Conversations from Google Drive
        * This Week's Top Downloads
        * New Apple Watch Sport band colors revealed in Italy
        * Learn the Basics of Ladder Safety with This Illustrated Guide
        * When the iPhone vs. Android Fight Comes to Blows
        * Look up Movies, Music, Locations, and More with an OS X Shortcut
        * Give Up on Unnecessary Projects to Accomplish More

        * Abreu's slam highlights seven-run frame to lift White Sox
        * 'Hybrid' Sale battles early, cruises with big lead
        * Largest offensive output displays White Sox potential
        * Abreu's slam highlights seven-run frame to lift White Sox
        * Abreu's slam highlights seven-run frame to lift White Sox
        * White Sox 12, Tigers 3: Offense unloads in support of Chris Sale
        * White Sox send Quintana to hill in series finale vs. Tigers

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Rauner's union views are misguided..
        * Austerity's legacy: British election focused on.....
        * Stripper 'pole tax' taking off..
        * Capitals goalie Holtby healthy, ready for Game .....
        * Davenport recognized for repairing soldier's home..
        * Silfverberg's last-minute goal puts Ducks past .....
        * Caution: Gov. Rauner's Harsh Budget Reality and.....


        * Section of Mississippi River reopened after diesel fuel leak
        * Man who fled after fatal hit-and-run extradited to Chicago
        * Man who fled after fatal hit-and-run extradited to Chicago
        * N. Illinois judge says Outlaws cannot reclaim vests, patches
        * $54M Dixon theft now subject of college courses
        * Rauner trying to broker mega-deal in Illinois Legislature
        * Illinois House OKs bill to create bobcat hunting season
        * Police: Man shot, killed by Chicago officer
        * Cardinal Francis George, key Catholic orthodoxy voice, dies
        * Attorneys seek dismissal of charges in Islamic State case

        * Statehouse Insider: We're getting to the bottom of this
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Bruce Rauner is no Jim Thompson on labor issue
        * Madigan forms committee to review Rauner budget activities
        * Bill expanding in-car blood-alcohol devices passes House
        * Bobcat hunting bill passes House by slim margin
        * Madigan forms committee to review Rauner budget actitivities
        * State restores part of funding cut from schools
        * Bill banning powdered alcohol cruises through Senate
        * Official state pie? Illinois House approves the pumpkin variety
        * Springfield branch of The Autism Program lays off five workers

        * Teacher, what's white-collar crime?
        * How could Chicago Public Schools be so dumb?
        * Now an even easier way to get mac 'n' cheese delivered to your home
        * OCC owners want dibs on half the pie
        * Bruce Rauner is no info junkie, and it shows


          * 2 wounded in shootings on South, West sides
          * Woman, young son killed in Bolingbrook crash
          * Woman arriving from Jordan arrested at O'Hare in 2009 Kansas murder
          * Cardinal George's legacy one of conviction, humility, Chicago Catholics say
          * Prosecutors: Teen fatally shot man in 'drug deal gone bad'
          * Prosecutors: Armed guard sexually assaulted another woman
          * Woman starved 2 puppies, forced other dogs to fight: Prosecutors
          * Driver crashes into porch of Elgin home
          * $54M Dixon theft now subject of college courses
          * 3rd man charged in fatal shooting behind Dunkin' Donuts in Cragin


          * Cardinal Francis George helped 'make his people holy'
          * Remembering Chicago's Cardinal Francis George
          * George helped 'make his people holy'
          * Schock donor sues ex-US congressman seeking reimbursement
          * Is that the Loch Michigan Monster lurking off Fullerton Beach?
          * Chicago's retired Cardinal Francis George dies at 78
          * Canine flu outbreak sickens hundreds of dogs in Midwest
          * Rauner's first 100 days: The politics of negotiating a budget
          * 'Right to Try' measure passes Illinois House
          * Chicago council approves $5M settlement in police shooting


          * Statehouse Insider: We're getting to the bottom of this
          * Statehouse Insider: We're getting to the bottom of this
          * Our Opinion: Stick up for taxpayers, charge Schock for special election
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Bruce Rauner is no Jim Thompson on labor issue
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Bruce Rauner is no Jim Thompson on labor issue
          * Madigan forms committee to review Rauner budget activities
          * Heather Eagleton: Illinois should regulate step therapy treatments
          * Bill expanding in-car blood-alcohol devices passes House
          * Bobcat hunting bill passes House by slim margin
          * Our Opinion: Springfield's flood warning signs an investment in safety


          * For goodness snake
          * (No heading)
          * Law would require attention to damaged signs
          * Sharing the love
          * Clinton has decades of political savvy
          * Voice of The Southern: Injustice fueled by the drug war
          * Caseloads: By the Numbers
          * Births
          * The high price of justice: Sixth Amendment guarantee deteriorating under current U.S. legal system
          * Patty Nordmann


          * AP Exclusive: China activist more determined after lockup
          * Reports say migrant ship with some 700 overturns north of Libya, coast guard rescue under way
          * Obama set to honor national champion Buckeyes at White House
          * Lawmaker renews efforts to require schools to teach cursive
          * Officials: 3 shot, injured at Delaware State cookout

          * As Illinois' Common Core Testing Begins, H...
          * I-90 Corridor STEM Forum focuses on growin...
          * Kinzinger reintroduces bipartisan bill to ...
          * Cardinal Francis George succumbs to cancer...
          * Herrick Team Wins Reserve Honors at 4-H Ro...
          * NZPI’s “Back to the Future” Conference
          * Legislators Move Forward With Disaster Dec...
          * GOP Illinois Congressmen Get Poor Grades O...
          * Bustos wants refinancing allowed for stude...
          * Sandburg Team Wins Reserve Honors at 4-H R...

          * The Bigot Game...
          * Kid Ink is from Los Angeles, but where he ......
          * Is there a happy ending to Chuck Schumer-D......

          * Steve Chapman: The faint case for Rand Paul...
          * Sen Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, blasts the late......

          * The Old Turnaround
          * Marco Rubio talks "radical Islam," 2nd Amendment at NRA Leadership Conference
          * Asked why Hillary should be President, college kids give exact same response
          * New Police Commanders In Both Uptown Districts
          * Gene Roddennberry's intro to "The Cage"
          * Church in North Caolina Vandalized by Gay Activists
          * Church in North Carolina Vandalized by Gay Activists
          * Waddle Over To The Milwaukee County Zoo To Celebrate World Penguin Day
          * Durbin: Hillary would be an "extraordinary" president
          * Foster: Rubio, just another token candidate


          * Illinoisans Receive Governor’s Volunteer Service Award - 6thAnnual Awards Ceremony to be Held on April 20thin Springfield
          * Get Smart About College Planning During Money Smart Week® - College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program offers tips to plan for--and afford--the cost of college
          * Motorcycle Season Revs Up, Riders Urged to “Gear Up-Ride Smart” - New Campaign Touts Staying Safe Through Proper Gear, Education
          * IDOT’s Operation Teen Safe Driving Program Announces 2014-15 Winning Schools - Innovative Program Helps Save Lives, Promotes Safe Driving Habits
          * State of Illinois Takes Action on Medical Cannabis Dispensary Applicants





              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller