* Sen. Bill Brady threw in a plug for his home-building company and a home-buyer tax credit today. He was then asked about it afterwards. Have a look…
* Brady took several questions from reporters afterwards. He was asked about his refusal to release hard copies of his tax returns, WalMart, the unionization of traditionally non-union state jobs like legislative liaisons, and the so-called (by those kinda unclear on the concept) “six month budget.” Watch…
Speaking to reporters after an appearance at a Sangamon County Republican luncheon, Brady was asked why he made the decision to choose Springfield for viewing his tax information instead of the much larger media center of Chicago.
“I think we’ve often criticized governors for not living in Springfield, not being in the state capital,” Brady said, referring to complaints raised about disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s avoidance of Springfield. “We picked a location–the state of Illinois’ capital.”
Brady said no reporters who viewed his tax returns said they needed more than the three hour time period he allotted. But he said those calling for him to release copies of his tax returns, as many politicians do, don’t “understand the competitive nature of my business.”
* As I told subscribers this morning, the Civic Action Network held an unusual Springfield protest yesterday. Instead of heading to the Statehouse, like everybody else does, they descended upon an office of two lobbyists for the nursing home industry. They brought mock coffins and shouted slogans, including “”Terry Sullivan, what do you say! How many seniors have to die today?” referring to one of the lobbyists.” Here’s part one…
“I just think the best way to have redistricting is to set up competitive districts that are not gerrymandered to make sure the people have the best representatives,” said Quinn after a groundbreaking ceremony in Glenview for a pharmaceutical company building its headquarters there with $4 million in tax credits. “Too often this is an exercise of protecting incumbents of both parties. I don’t think that’s healthy.” […]
“I’ve always felt that redistricting has been way too political in our state, by both parties. So if I’m governor I’m going to try and be the person who makes sure we do it right for the people and not for the politicians.”
* State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) wins our award…
I offer a simple alternative, in return for my support of more borrowing. I call on Governor Quinn to make $2 in cuts for every $1 borrowed.
I’ll let you know when Franks comes up with $10 billion in cuts. Simple. Right.
* The governor has been using his “cuts” to education spending as a way to win support for a tax hike. This has often backfired, with people blaming him for the cuts and trashing him for the tax hike. Senate President John Cullerton has now proposed a partial solution to Quinn’s school cuts through a cigarette tax hike. He also got in some digs at the governor’s school funding cuts. From a press release…
“On March 10, 2010, Governor Pat Quinn proposed a series of cuts to education that includes spending reductions of $613 million in General State Aid payments and $400 million in mandated categorical spending for critical programs such as special education and school transportation.
After serious assessment and discussion with members of the Senate Democratic caucus, it is evident that there remains little if any support for these cuts to schools. So, to be clear, Senate Democrats support a budget plan that holds General State Aid payments to schools at current levels.
To avoid a reduction in mandated categorical spending, a bi-partisan coalition of members of the Illinois House of Representatives must pass the cigarette tax (SB 44). Through this measure, Illinois will realize approximately $200 million that will be matched with $120 million in federal funds, relieving pressure from Medicaid costs in the budget.
Our caucus continues to maintain a serious commitment to developing a short-term and long-term approach to stabilizing the state budget. We support significant spending cuts and recognize that Illinois’ outdated revenue system is in serious need for reform. However, draconian cuts to education would drop Illinois to worst-in-the-nation status when it comes to state support for schools and will kick an estimated 20,000 teaching professionals into the unemployment line.”
They’re going to try a piecemeal approach to closing this school budget hole. The cig tax is just one of the tools. Quinn is sticking to his tax hike guns, however.
* The problems of bullying at schools has attracted much attention over the past several years, and the General Assembly has just sent an anti-bullying bill to the governor. Schools will have to adopt anti-bullying policies. It was watered down from its original format, which also required education and record-keeping.
Provides that nothing in the bullying prevention provisions is intended to infringe upon any right to exercise free expression or the free exercise of religion or religiously based views protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or under Section 3 or 4 of Article 1 of the Illinois Constitution.
That was probably added via an amendment because gay rights groups were helping push the bill. The definition of bullying includes the usual race, national origin, etc., but also includes sexual orientation….
“At long last, schools across the state will be uniformly required to take steps to protect vulnerable kids from bullying and violence,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s largest gay rights advocate.
“Students who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are particularly vulnerable to bullying. And the attempted suicide rate rate among LGBT students, which is as much as three times higher than the general average, presents alarming evidence for just how urgently we need this law.”
Some on the religious Right were wary of the legislation, but it eventually passed the House unanimously and only two Senators voted against it.
Well, it’s happened again. Another state legislature has marched lock-step to the tune of the homosexual activist agenda—and once again, it will have a direct impact on local schools.
Why are the advocacy groups so excited? As we have previously explained, the problem with these laws—enumerating special protections for homosexual categories–is that activist groups are using them as the leverage they need to get things like homosexuality teaching into public school classrooms. For detailed examples, click here.
Focus on the Family believes that every student—no matter who they are or what they believe—should be protected from harm. But at the same time, laws should not be passed that can used as tools to sexualize and politicize the entire school environment. There are good alternatives that provide protection to kids, but avoid entrapment in identity politics—such as the fair and objective model anti-bullying policy language drafted by the Alliance Defense Fund.
“Bullying” means systematic, repeated, or recurrent conduct committed by a
student or group of students against another student that causes measurable physical harm or
emotional distress. Verbal expression, whether oral, written, or electronic, is included within the definition of “bullying” only to the extent that (1) such expression is lewd, indecent, obscene, advocating for illegal conduct, intended to incite an immediate breach of peace, or the severe and pervasive use of threatening words that inflict injury; or (2) District administrators or officials reasonably believe that such expression will cause an actual, material disruption of school work.
The Illinois bill which just past is far more specific on what actually constitutes bullying…
“Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(1) placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
(2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
(3) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
(4) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Bullying, as defined in this subsection (b), may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
It also specifies who the proposal covers…
…actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression,unfavorable discharge from military service, association witha person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in all school districts and non-public, non-sectarian elementary and secondary schools.
I can see Focus on the Family’s point about their more neutral measure, but I just don’t get how this Illinois bill will inject “homosexuality teaching into public school classrooms.” The only education component already exists in our state’s original anti-bullying statute…
[Schools] must communicate its policy on bullying to its students and their parent or guardian on an annual basis
* As we all know too well, some things just make people go off, and “homosexual rights” is one of them. Tom Roeser’s latest post is about his outrage over WTTW’s airing of a Carol Marin interview with Rep. Deb Mell and her partner about their pending marriage in Iowa. Roeser is a longtime conservative activist with a weekly radio show on WLS and didn’t much care for the WTTW program…
So just remember this. Get a coalition started to be in readiness when the next `TTW fund-raiser comes `round. That’s when the solicitation airwaves will be filled with the total traditional…replays of the late Lawrence Welk where traditional family life was glorified…or re-do’s of Peter, Paul & Mary where the trio’s goal was peace toward all.
That’s when your campaign should get going. Stressing to all that just when they feel soft, tender-hearted and magnanimous, that `TTW has become an articulate instrument of the Left and the culture—for which the enthusiast Marin has become its leading advocate.
Give `em a buck and you’ll be rewarded by more Marin-gay marriage promo’d telecasts along with other exotic formulae of the Left… all sponsored by “viewers like you.”
The laws of individual states are starting to reflect this evolving sensibility. Only five states allow same-sex marriage. Nine others have laws recognizing civil unions or domestic partnerships that convey most or all of the rights of marriage, and six have laws that go part of the way.
With so many people conflicted over the definition of marriage, it makes sense to claim the common ground — and secure the benefits — that come with recognizing civil unions.
* Lesbian state rep makes plea for same-sex marriage: Gov. Quinn, though called out by Mell, said he would like to see Illinois recognize civil unions. “I think that’s an issue that we can pass in Illinois, and I hope soon. I’ve known Debbie Mell since she was knee high to a duck,” Quinn said. “I honor her decisions.” However, Mell indicated civil unions were not enough.
* Lawmaker’s engagement spotlights gay marriage “This is an issue that the [Republican] party ought to get off of,” Beaubien said of the GOP’s traditional opposition to gay marriage. “It’s a whole different mindset than when I was young.” Beaubien said he understands the polarization of issues like abortion, which inevitably moves people in one of two directions. “But what do you care what two grown adults do?” Beaubien said. “It just makes us look more strident than we probably should.”
As far as we can tell, Brady did nothing illegal or unethical. He took advantage of legitimate tax deductions, credits and exemptions, including the provision designed to help businesses ride out the economic storm. As far as we can tell.
But questions are going to linger as long as everyone has to rely on that three-hour peek at his tax returns. He needs to release the returns. No time limits. No conditions. Get them out there and level with voters. Answer all the questions they raise.
There will be questions. Brady is the Republican nominee for governor. He’s going to be in a robust debate with Gov. Pat Quinn about state taxes. He’s going to be hampered in this debate if folks are left wondering why he didn’t pay taxes.
My idea of fair is that if I’m making $50,000 a year and another guy is making $119,000 a year, he should be paying more than I am in income tax.
What I’m hearing out there is that Brady should’ve paid taxes on his legislative income, regardless of his business losses. He obviously still had money in the bank because he could afford to loan his campaign tons of money over the years.
Getting a peek at Gov. Pat Quinn’s taxes isn’t as easy as you might think.
Quinn didn’t make copies of them available today when he released the returns, instead requiring people to make appointments to see them at his Chicago or Springfield offices… Quinn spokesman Bob Reed said in an e-mail that Quinn prefers viewers take notes from his original documents.
Again, since we didn’t know about the interest on his campaign account, it would be tough to see if he paid taxes on that interest.
So, since Quinn has loudly demanded that Brady distribute copies of his tax returns, I’d like to suggest that the governor ought to release all of his own tax returns dating back to the first time he took an interest payment from his campaign account. It’s only fair.
[President Obama is] not coming home to show his love for Alexi Giannoulias…
The Quincy visit comes less than a week after Broadway Bank closed, giving the impression that Obama is wiping the flailing Senate candidate off his shoe.
He’d better give his old friend another hug for all the viewers in Iowa, Missouri — and Illinois.
Just more silliness from people who’ve been reading too much into the crackpot DC tea leaves. White House reporters even demanded to know earlier yesterday whether Obama would mention Giannoulias in his speech.
Just hours earlier, Giannoulias had been facing questions in Chicago about whether Giannoulias’ late invitation to the event constituted a “snub” after months of bad press about the collapse of Giannoulias’ family’s Broadway Bank.
“There’s a lot of rumors and innuendo, but the White House is supportive of this campaign because they know we’ll stand up for Wall Street reform, move this country forward,” Giannoulias said.
When Obama was introducing the Quincy mayor and Illinois officials, he gave a shout-out, referring to Giannoulias as the “soon to be senator.” Right before the speech, Giannoulias met briefly with Axelrod, Reggie Love, Obama’s body man, and Marv Nicholson, chief of advance (the latter two are part of the basketball bunch).
Yet there was no mistaking the political implications for Giannoulias and his relationship with the White House as Obama closed out a two-day three-state campaign-style Midwest tour with a town hall event at the Oakley Lindsay Civic Center.
Obama mentioned Giannoulias’ name during his remarks. Later, the president gave a departing good-luck hug to Giannoulias, his former basketball playing buddy. Obama has been close with Giannoulias, providing a vital endorsement in getting Giannoulias elected state treasurer four years ago.
Prior to Obama taking the stage, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod summoned Giannoulias out of his seat in the audience for a private backstage meeting. Axelrod said it involved “catching up” with the candidate.
A White House background sheet on the day’s activities, noting the elected officials from Illinois planning to attend the event, listed Giannoulias at the top, even though in ranking and seniority the state treasurer is last among the statewide offices.
Forget the man hug. Forget the announcement that Alexi Giannoulias is Illinois’ “next Senator.”
President Obama’s greatest gift to Giannoulias during his speech in Quincy was the speech itself. Obama ripped into Wall Street, using many of same anti-investment banking tropes Giannoulias has been employing in his campaign against Mark Kirk.
The Illinois Public Interest Research Group argues that potholes and cracks at highways and bridges across the state are costing motorists at car repair shops. The state ranks 10th in the nation in terms of highest number of roads in poor or mediocre condition, the study states.
The world’s largest retailer has repeatedly insisted that it would not negotiate wages and that it would only agree to pay a “living wage” if the mandate applied to all Chicago retailers….But the company just might sign a “community benefits agreement” that guarantees that as many as five new Chicago stores would be 100 percent built by organized labor and that neighborhood residents would be hired to work in those stores.
The Illinois State Police will take over the work now being performed by V.I.P. Security & Detective Services of Matteson — a switch that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has said will save money and “provide greater protection for nursing home residents.”
The company’s contract wasn’t scheduled to expire until June 30, but the state health department sent the company a letter on Friday terminating the deal as of May 7.
CN reported 14 cases in November and December but the auditors found 1,457. Railroad executives apologized and explained they thought the board wanted only crossing delays caused by stopped trains not slow trains.
[STB Commissioner Charles] Nottingham suggested that the STB extend its five-year oversight of the sale to six years, saying CN’s failure to report these figures has cost the agency a year of working together.
Phil Pagano, Metra’s gruff boss of commuter rail operations for the last 20 years, is under scrutiny for possible financial irregularities involving an alleged “bonus” of $56,000, officials said today.
Metra Chairwoman Carole Doris called the agency’s directors into emergency session Friday to hire an outside legal counsel who would conduct an inquiry into extra compensation reportedly being paid to Pagano, apparently without the knowledge of the directors.
Metra officials would not comment on details regarding the inquiry. If approved by the Metra directors, the inquiry will be conducted by Itasca attorney James Sotos.
Stroger’s office refused to answer questions about when the contract was awarded. The office said in a statement that the county Department of Homeland Security hired CGC to help inform 2.5 million suburban residents that the state could provide disaster relief funds to them following flooding in 2008.
The municipal code calls for “20 square feet per person” in a classroom, which means CPS would need a 720-square-foot classroom to accommodate 35 kids and a teacher, a Fire Department spokesman said Wednesday. An additional aid or parent volunteer could require even more space.
More than 90 percent of CPS classrooms are at least 700 square feet, CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond said, with new buildings typically holding 900-square foot classrooms.
Union representatives for village employees noted many of them have been working without a contract since 2008. They also argued village officials never made an attempt to negotiate or offer up alternative solutions — such as furlough days or pay cuts — to avoid layoffs.
This week, for the second time since being elected in 2007, LeClercq went to Washington, D.C., to speak with legislators, namely U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster and staff of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Although he had the same wish for a Metra station when he lobbied back in 2008, it was a different trip this time around.
City commissioners Randy Ervin, Rick Hall and Chris Rankin approved Gover’s appointment Wednesday afternoon to replace Dave Cline, who resigned Monday.
Gover, a commissioner who abstained during the roll call, will serve as acting mayor until a special election in April 2011 because there were more than two years remaining on Cline’s mayoral term….Cline resigned Monday because he is moving into a new residence built outside city limits, disqualifying him from holding elected office for the city.