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Behind the headlines

Friday, May 28, 2010

* The Senate gave final approval to a tax amnesty plan yesterday, with one member voting against it

The “tax-amnesty” bill (SB377) is expected to raise $250 million from tax scofflaws who might otherwise never pay. The deal is that, as long as they pay before Nov. 8, they get out of the usual fines.

The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn — who, of course, is looking for every dime these days.

The bill passed almost unanimously, with just one “no” vote: Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, the Republican nominee for governor and Quinn’s election opponent in November.

We haven’t yet been able to ask Brady about his opposition. Other opponents have generally complained that the measure rewards people who have failed to pay their taxes, letting them off the hook for fines they should pay, while not offering anything to taxpayers who’ve paid on time.

There may be at least two reasons besides the gubernatorial candidate’s issue stance and the political season for that “No” vote. The first, of course, is the fact that Brady didn’t pay state income taxes in 2008, as well as asking for and receiving a $1,616 refund.

The second is that Brady’s tax returns showed he underpaid his federal income taxes by $137,800 and paid a $4,388 penalty in 2004.

* Speaking of taxes

The Illinois Senate on Thursday endorsed a taxpayer-backed retail development that supporters say will bring thousands of jobs to Southern Illinois.

The proposal, approved on a 34-17 vote, would use sales tax receipts to subsidize Swansea developer Bruce Holland’s plans for a “destination development” on 400-acres in Marion.

Senate approval came after a failed bid by officials in Mount Vernon to expand the project to their community. Mount Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley told senators that the proposal will put her community at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to drawing retailers and consumers. […]

“This bill will take away from the City of Mount Vernon,” said state Sen. John Jones, R-Mount Vernon. “I cannot stand by and let the city of Mount Vernon be destroyed.”

Sen. Brady voted for the bill and Gov. Quinn is expected to sign it, which will make this the “Worst Law Ever.”

* The Tribune editorial board is either without a clue or deliberately not telling the truth

The bill on Quinn’s desk was written by the coin machine industry’s lobbyists and hustled through the legislature with no input from state regulators or the public. Nothing good ever comes of that.

The Gaming Board’s staff long ago signed off on the bill when approached by gaming lobbyists. The proposal had public hearings in both chambers, which the Gaming Board and gaming opponents attended and testified to.

* And, of course, the governor’s McPier AV was overridden. But all this talk by the naysayers that Chicago is just not up to competing against Las Vegas and Orlando is hooey

The National Restaurant Assn., which wrapped up its annual show Tuesday with more than 58,000 attending, is among those that have considered leaving.

The NRA, which had the fourth-largest show in Chicago last year, saw a 6% increase in attendance this year.

* Related and a roundup…

* Lawmakers punt unbalanced state budget back to Quinn

* Madigan: Lawmakers Won’t Return to Springfield Yet

* Sweeny: Borrowing out; $6.6 billion deficit still in for Illinois budget

* Martire: Objective look at our state isn’t pretty

* Illinois Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto on McPier Bill

* Senate, House override Quinn’s McPier veto

* Lawmakers reject Quinn’s veto of convention bill

* McPier overhaul is law as lawmakers reject Quinn’s veto

* Lawmakers reject Quinn’s veto of convention bill

* Senate Passes STAR Bonds Bill

* STAR bonds pass Senate

* State Senate OKs STAR bonds bill

* Bill with special tax breaks for developer goes to Ill. governor

* STAR Bond bill passes State Senate

* Daily Herald: Quinn must veto looser poker rules

* Ill. Bill Seeks to Protect Juvenile Prostitutes

* Environmentalists Praise IL Solar Energy Bill

* Legislators, about to get raises, pass Boland bill opposing R.I. County raises

* Quinn can keep transparency door open

- Posted by Rich Miller        


14 Comments
  1. - realism - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:12 pm:

    I kind of wish Andy Shaw would scale back a bit on his anti-government employee rhetoric. I understand and mostly agree with his (and BGA’s) ultimate goals, but sometimes they seem more interested in sensationalism than actually helping to transform govt. in Illinois.


  2. - Vole - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:27 pm:

    And How is STAR working out there in Reno?:

    STARs dim
    Tension grows in Reno City Council over use of bonds http://www.newsreview.com/reno/content?oid=1400701

    Cabellyup: Money for nothing and the kicks for free
    http://www.nevadalabor.com/barbwire/barb09/barb9-13-2009.html

    Peter Pans in public office
    http://www.nevadalabor.com/barbwire/barb09/barb3-1-09.html#welfare

    An excerpt:
    “Misgivings about the bonds grew when the economic meltdown showed they crumbled in hard times.

    Washington sponsored the bill creating the bonds, but Democrats supported it, too. Some critics call it a typical example of the corporate-oriented party the Democrats have become—a Republican-sponsored regressive tax used to pay developers’ construction costs, enabled by Democrats.

    “Business boosterism and jobs!” wrote columnist Andrew Barbano of the Democrats.

    Barbano, who considers STAR bonds economic development run amuck, has been a scorching critic of them. When Cabela’s claimed to Reno officials that its Verdi store would boost tourist traffic by 3 million people a year, Barbano promptly pointed out that Washoe County’s entire tourism infrastructure attracted 5.1 million tourists in both 2006 and 2007. Cabela’s was promising a 60 percent tourist increase for its one store.

    “Cabela’s proposal was preposterous, the equivalent of adding a new Hot August Nights every month and then some,” Barbano said last week.

    Yet the Nevada Tourism Commission—the body empowered to certify developers’ claims for their tourist allure—approved the bonds.

    In fact, new Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority figures show that the tourist traffic is in sharp decline and RSCVA predicts a 19.2 percent decline in room tax collections in 2009. Cabela’s opened on Nov. 16, 2007, Scheels on Sept. 27, 2008.

    Barbano says Cabela’s “can always blame Dubya or Obama or their horoscopes.”

    Source: STAR bonds are under fire in Nevada
    With STAR bonds, the public pays for construction of businesses but the cash registers belong to the companies
    http://www.newsreview.com/reno/content?oid=936761

    Rich, “THE WORST BILL EVER” is possibly an understatement. Cabelas, a real sheister of a corporation, has been jumping on these STAR bonds all over the country.


  3. - QC - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:29 pm:

    off topic . . . but good luck with the tooth Rich!

    I ended up with a ruptured sinus after an extraction not long ago and took three kinds of antibiotics before it all was said and done.


  4. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:34 pm:

    I think the tax amnesty bill was called the “Roni Deutch Full Employment Act”.

    Gotta love that Brady. What a goofus.


  5. - Lincoln Parker - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:37 pm:

    This STAR bill is going to be a disaster just like Rich has been saying for months. More government revenue being diverted to private interests.


  6. - Reality Check - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 2:41 pm:

    @realism: Amen. Shaw has been a big disappointment, looking and sounding like a right-wing tool rather than doing his job as an equal opportunity watchdog. Maybe good for his TV time, and maybe for his fundraising, but not good for BGA’s credibility. Co-signing an op-ed with IPI today is a new low for Shaw - its forerunner organization lost its tax-exempt status for illegal political activities and failure to disclose donors, but now they’re transparency advocates? Uh, riiight.


  7. - wordslinger - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 3:11 pm:

    Has anyone ever been to Vegas or Orlando? They’re not real cities.

    There are a number of positives to Chicago. But the shows have had the same issues for 20 years and they’ve had enough. It’s long past time to listen to them.


  8. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 3:17 pm:

    Has anyone ever been to Vegas or Orlando? They’re not real cities.

    Has anyone ever been to a business convention? They’re not real business.

    Fake business is best conducted in fake cities.


  9. - wordslinger - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 3:20 pm:

    That’s incoherent, but not unexpected.

    What are you trying to say?


  10. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 3:41 pm:

    Conventioneers like convention cities that deny reality the same way that meeting after work to talk business is more fun than talking business at work.


  11. - Pat Robertson - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 3:42 pm:

    ==There may be at least two reasons besides the gubernatorial candidate’s issue stance and the political season for that “No” vote.==

    It might also be a horrible idea that loses money for the State.


  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 3:43 pm:

    PR, I would include that in “issue stance.”


  13. - wordslinger - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 4:08 pm:

    –Conventioneers like convention cities that deny reality the same way that meeting after work to talk business is more fun than talking business at work–

    I can’t decipher that, either, but here’s the deal:

    Vegas, Chicago and Orlando are the Big 3 for big conventions because they have the best and largest facilities.

    Chicago’s advantages are its central location and easy access, flying or driving. Orlando and Vegas have weather and golf. Orlando also has theme parks, Vegas also has casinos and strip clubs.

    Many top shows prefer Chicago because they want people on the show floor and not wandering around the casinos and golf courses. The best show in the world is the radiologists, and they come year after year because of Chicago’s advantages.

    But on some issues, the shows have had enough, like the restaurants and housewares folks said. Listen to them or they’ll move, even though they don’t want to.


  14. - Tired of it All - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 5:03 pm:

    Rich, the IGB did not sign off on this bill. Pick up the phone and ask the IGB. Don’t listen to your lobbyist or legislative sources. They’re the ones misleading you! The Administrator of the IGB testified before the executive committee and voiced concerns about the legislation.


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