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This just in… All seniors will continue riding free

Friday, Oct 30, 2009

* 11:52 am - Subscribers won’t be surprised by this development

All senior citizens will continue to get free mass transit bus rides after a plan to restrict the rides to poor seniors was scrapped.

Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, said today a bill to restrict the free rides would not be called in the Senate. Without a Senate vote, the plan cannot pass, even though bills to restrict the rides are pending in both the House and Senate. […]

Hendon said lawmakers were “pretty sure” Gov. Pat Quinn planned to reinstate free rides for all seniors even if the restrictions passed the General Assembly. Quinn’s office had no immediate comment.

As I told subscribers this morning, Quinn has been signaling for the past few days that he had changed his mind yet again on free rides. First, he was for free rides for all seniors, then a few weeks ago he said the freebie should be limited to poor seniors, then he signaled this week that he wanted that limitation removed. There was a strong suspicion that Quinn would use his amendatory veto power to kill off the free ride limits - a la Rod Blagojevich.

* Meanwhile, Senate President John Cullerton and Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno got into it a bit this morning

[Cullerton] dismissed Republican complaints that rank-and-file lawmakers would be controlled by the party bosses who dump big money into their campaigns.

Cullerton cited how Radogno received more than $1 million from former Senate GOP leader James “Pate” Philip when he ruled the chamber. Cullerton said that Radogno was not controlled by Philip when she was a rank-and-file member.

In turn, Radogno said she accepted the money as part of an entire political system that needs changed because it is “flawed.” She said the free-flow of money in politics needs to be curtailed and that party bosses would be empowered under the legislation because the Democrats wanted it that way.

More from the hearing…

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said Republicans are opposing the campaign finance legislation in an attempt to gain a political advantage. But it will backfire because Democrats will argue that the Republicans opposed reform, he said.

The mail writes itself - for both sides.

* Also, Illinois Review runs down (literally) the “cleanup” bill for gaming expansion…

HB 607 lets the Governor “select” a private manager for the total management of the Lottery. Was this written for one political insider? With all of the scandals in Illinois and Pay to Play politics, this is outrageous.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Levois - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:59 am:

    That Quinn character doesn’t know what he wants to do!

  2. - The Doc - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 12:21 pm:


  3. - You Go Boy - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 12:30 pm:

    gosh, need it be said yet again…there ain’t no such thing as a free ride…unless you are a Illinois politician, who lacks a backbone, vision, morals, and integrity.

  4. - Anonymous45 - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    Important point: Did Cullerton decide not to call it, or did he get a bug in his ear from someone else?

  5. - shore - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 1:19 pm:

    They wasted a year on ethics also known as getting themselves to behave while unemployment has been at the highest level in 26 years. Just awful.

    No other city offers free rides to seniors and the first republican tha figures out that most of these rides are going to city democrats that wont vote republican anyway is going to make a killing with ads showing millionaire lakefront liberals getting free rides while others pay higher taxes.

  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 2:49 pm:

    Doesn’t raise the confidence level that we’re ready to do any heavy lifting.

  7. - Northsider - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 3:00 pm:

    Quinn just lost my vote. This is the biggest no-brainer there is: End the free rides except for the neediest (using Circuit Breaker parameters) seniors.

    Inflicted as a vengeful last-minute poison pill by the worst governor in Illinois history, it is now — surprise! — poisoning our transit system. CTA’s operating budget is hemorrhaging money because we based it upon the two taxes most vulnerable to economic downturns. Now — surprise! — sales and real estate transfer tax receipts are 30 percent below projections. What’s complicated about this?

    Quinn’s flip-flopping shows two things: One, nice guy though he is, he’s in over his head. Two, until we get serious about creating and maintaining a modern transit system, we will slide further and further behind all the cities around the U.S. and the world that are serious about it.

    As an alternative to the legislature’s treatment of transit, read the serious discussion of our region’s transit woes, and what to do about it, at The Urbanophile:

  8. - ChicagoGirl - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 4:13 pm:

    Quinn has lost my vote as well. Even though I’m definitely a Democratic-leaning voter, I’m happy to say I never voted for Blago, and now I have no intention for voting for Quinn. As the previous poster noted, he’s only shown me he hasn’t any leadership ability.

  9. - cassandra - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 6:52 pm:

    Actually, I imagine most seniors are middle class and towards the lower end and I am glad that they will continue to benefit from the free rides, especially since I believe that there are many other ways that CTA and RTA, with their legions of highly paid political jobs and plush pensions for all , could manage their money better. But more importantly, seniors have less time to recover from this massive recession. This is a small piece of assistance but, I imagine, a welcome one. If a few tacky executives from the North Shore ride free, it’s not the end of the world.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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