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“They do more harm by their evil example than by their actual sin”

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

* Who doesn’t love Cicero politics?

Um, what I mean is, if you don’t have to live or work there, who doesn’t love Cicero politics?

A new Cicero town president race is once again upon us, and it includes allegations by incumbent Larry Dominick that one of his opponents, Juan Ochoa, is using gang members on his campaign

Dominick would not comment for this story, but Cicero town spokesman Ray Hanania said, “Dominick is probably using CeaseFire members and volunteers to help him get re-elected.” But he added that some of the individuals on the Ochoa campaign have been included by the Chicago Crime Commission in its current book of known gang members.

“That’s the difference,” Hanania said. “Our guys aren’t in that book.”

Ochoa said he doesn’t understand what relevance that has.

Actually, the relevance seems pretty obvious.

* And a “scuffle” reportedly broke out between campaign workers after this happened

According to Ochoa… a truck denouncing him and Gutierrez attempted to block Ochoa and his campaign workers while they were walking in the parade. The billboard on the flat truck read “Tell Luis Gutierrez and Juan Ochoa to take their Street Gang Friends back to Chicago.”

Man, that’s old school.

* Of course, there are the obligatory allegations that some folks have been put into the race to split an ethnic voting bloc. The town is 80 percent Latino. Dominick is not a Latino. So, some say this guy is a plant

De Loera, a lifelong Cicero resident, said he’s still developing a plan for the town… “President Dominick has done a good job bringing new businesses to town, but I am younger and have a hunger to do even more for the community.”

Hey, at least he answered his phone, so maybe he isn’t a plant because they tend to go way underground, or to Florida.

* Meanwhile, this local campaign story is decidedly un-Cicerolike

Independent challenger George Wissmiller won a DeWitt County Board seat on a coin toss Monday, but he didn’t approve of settling the tied race by “gambling.”

“I am obviously pleased with the results,” Wissmiller said of winning the third District B seat up for vote in the Nov. 6 election. […]

Prior to the flip of the coin by County Clerk Dana Smith, Wissmiller read a prepared statement voicing his opposition to the manner in which the election was settled.

“I don’t gamble,” Wissmiller said. “This process here today is very clearly gambling.”

He said he resolved his conflict by deciding not to accept the nominal pay for the office if he were to win the toss.

“If I refuse to accept pay for this office, it ceases to be gambling,” he said. “The office itself is a responsibility and not a thing of value.”

People can rationalize just about anything, I suppose.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

* A quick JJJr roundup…

* Feds believe Jesse Jackson Jr. got tip about probe into his finances: Federal authorities believe Jesse Jackson Jr. was tipped off to the federal investigation that ultimately contributed to the demise of his once-promising career. Sources with knowledge of the probe told the Chicago Sun-Times that investigators believe Jackson had learned of the federal scrutiny of his financial activity prior to his June 10 leave from Congress. The sources said it didn’t necessarily mean the tip was from an investigative source, saying it was possible the congressman received a tip from someone who was notified about the probe, possibly through a subpoena.

* A Talk with Ald. Will Burns: Looks Like He’s Running for JJJ’s Seat

* Blacks fret free-for-all for Jesse Jackson Jr. seat

* Jesse Jackson Jr. resignation letter read aloud in U.S. House

* The setup

Seventeen years ago, Jesse Jackson Jr. ran for Congress to replace a beleaguered rep who had been convicted in a federal scheme.

Jackson replaced Mel Reynolds, who ultimately resigned in disgrace.

On Wednesday, Jackson resigned in disgrace, the subject of a federal investigation.

Guess who now wants his job back? Mel Reynolds.

“So He Can Finish the Work,” is the news release that Reynolds sent out today, announcing he would officially announce his intentions to run for Jackson’s seat at noon.

* The Question: Mel Reynolds campaign slogan?

I know this will be difficult, but you must absolutely keep it clean in comments. I’m serious.

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Senate passes fee hike bill *** Flider ripped, approved

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

* The Tribune’s lede

Three dozen lame-duck lawmakers learned Tuesday that there is life in state government after they leave the General Assembly, but they might face political heat if they vote for a tough measure and then land a state job with a big salary.

They also learned that they’d still be confirmed

Over the objections of Republicans, a Senate panel Tuesday endorsed former state Rep. Bob Flider’s appointment as chief of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Flider, a Democrat from Mount Zion, had no farming experience when he was picked for the $133,273 per year job by Gov. Pat Quinn in February.

But Flider had voted for Quinn’s 67 percent increase in the state income tax during the 2011 lame-duck legislative session after having campaigned against the tax increase during his unsuccessful 2010 re-election bid.

Republican members of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee suggested Quinn rewarded Flider with the job because of that vote and one in favor of allowing civil unions, including between people of the same sex.

* Back to the Tribune

Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said he “struggled with” how Flider could campaign strongly against a tax increase and then change his mind so quickly once he lost the election. Righter said the appointment after Flider’s switch in his position is “exactly what’s wrong with this process.”

Flider said he and Quinn never discussed his tax hike vote in conjunction with the agriculture position. Flider said he could have been “knocked over with a feather” when Quinn asked him to take the job.

Unsatisfied, Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, questioned whether Flider would even agree the appearance of his vote and the follow-up appointment “is not good.”

“I think the truth sets you free,” Flider responded, “and I know the truth, and there was never, ever any discussion, any inference whatsoever about a vote or this appointment or any appointment.”

It was no secret that Flider wanted a job after he lost his reelection bid. And it was no secret that things could and probably would be done for folks who voted the “right” way.

Even so, lots of legislators “vote their districts” instead of their own consciences, then decide to “do what’s right” when they’re on their way out. The medical marijuana bill is a perfect example of that

Rep. Lou Lang said his “nose count” has him at or near the 60 votes needed for approval of a three-year trial medical marijuana program.

“If members vote their consciences, I’ll have the votes,” said Lang, D-Skokie.

So, Flider was a conservative, district guy when he was running for reelection and a free agent or liberal Democrat after he lost the election. It happens. But Luechtefeld is right that it doesn’t look good.

The Tribune editorial board made much of Flider’s (and others’) tax hike flip-flop, yet I can’t help but wonder if they’ll unleash the hounds if any lame ducks get state jobs for voting for the pension reform bill. A “statesman” is somebody who flip-flops in your direction. Nothing to see here, move along.

* And speaking of taxes

A funding measure to help the Illinois Department of Natural Resources address a backlog of repairs piling up at state parks could get another look during the veto session.

The bill, Senate Bill 1566, would add $2 to the cost of a license plate renewal — currently $99 for most passenger vehicles — and provide money for the upkeep of state parks. SB 1566 could eventually bring in $32 million annually for DNR.

The bill failed in the waning hours of the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session, but DNR director Marc Miller said he is “cautiously optimistic” the bill will be called and passed during the veto session this week or next.

“We have had the opportunity to talk to more of our senators to let them know the importance of (this bill), and we have more ‘yes’ votes than we had previously,” he said. “When we tell them we have $750 million worth of backlogged capital projects and maintenance, that carries a great deal of weight.”

That bill only “failed” because it was called for a vote after the May 31st midnight deadline, so it needed a three-fifths majority. It actually received more than enough to pass if it had been called before midnight.

*** UPDATE *** The Senate just passed the fee hike bill.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


EIMA Creates More Than 700 Jobs Through Third Quarter

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

ComEd’s grid modernization work directly related to the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) enacted last year created more than 700 jobs from January through September 2012, with more than 100 jobs created in the third quarter alone. These include jobs at ComEd and contractor and supplier positions involving a broad range of functions required to build a 21st century electric grid.

With passage of EIMA, ComEd embarked on a 10-year, $2.6 billion program to modernize the power system in northern Illinois. The EIMA investments also have provided an important boost to local manufacturers with the expertise needed to support the electrical system upgrade. Through October 2012, ComEd has awarded $80 million in contracts to companies providing services and products ranging from engineering to cable to smart switches.

While grid modernization work continues, the pace is slowing from earlier this year as the first rate case under EIMA has jeopardized funding available for the program. ComEd has appealed the decision in court. In the meantime, it is proceeding with about 75 percent of the core grid modernization programs as planned. ComEd is postponing the deployment of additional smart meters until 2015. ComEd hopes to reach a positive outcome soon so that it can deliver the promised reliability improvements, cost-savings and customer service benefits while creating the 2,000 jobs as required by the legislation and further boost the Illinois economy.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Republican governor ridicules Illinois’ treatment of state employee unions

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

* Iowa’s Republican governor made fun of Gov. Pat Quinn’s dealings with AFSCME

Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday he would negotiate in good faith with the state’s roughly 20,000 workers, although he wouldn’t say whether their pay demands are in his budget.

Asked about Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s move last week to terminate the contract of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees with the state, Branstad took a potshot at the neighboring state, one of his favorite targets.

“Illinois is a basket case. Illinois has the most debt per capita of any state. Illinois has the biggest unfunded pension system. They have huge, huge problems,” he said. “And we don’t operate the way they do in Illinois. We negotiate in good faith.”

Ouch.

* Meanwhile

With no dissenting votes, the Illinois House Revenue Committee Tuesday approved a resolution declaring the state has no money available to give pay raises to unionized state employees this budget year.

The measure, House Joint Resolution 45, goes to the full House. It must also be approved by the Senate.

The resolution says the state “shall appropriate no amount for new wage increases associated with any and all collectively bargained contracts throughout state government for the fiscal year 2013 budget …” The 2013 fiscal year ends June 30. […]

“It simply expresses the opinion of the House concerning the amount of money that should be spent on pending collective bargaining contracts,” said House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, principal sponsor of the resolution.

* More

The resolution does not legally bind Quinn from striking a deal to give workers a pay raise, but if passed, it would send a message that lawmakers are unlikely to include the money for a raise in next fiscal year’s budget. “It’s very straightforward. It simply expresses the opinion of the House concerning the amount of money that should be spent pending [a] collective bargaining contract,” said House Speaker Michael Madigan, who sponsors the amendment. The measure also states that it would be “policy of the state of Illinois” that the size of the state’s workforce will not be part of collective bargaining, meaning that promises to skip or lessen layoffs could not be used as bargaining chip in negotiations. Again, this provision would not legally bind Quinn or governors following him.

The legislature effectively blocked pay increases for AFSCME members last year by not including the money for them in the budget. Gov. Quinn canceled the raises, saying that his hands were tied by the budget approved by lawmakers. The issue is still playing out in court. Although resolutions are not legally binding, the House has also stuck to recent budget resolutions that capped general spending.

Lawmakers in favor of the resolution say that because the legislature approves the budget, the General Assembly should have some say in the spending associated with union contracts. “We’ve put our input in, which is we don’t have additional money. So if you make promises regarding additional money, the state does not have the ability to keep those promises,” said Rep. John Bradley, a Marion Democrat.

But union officials say that the legislature is undermining the collective bargaining process. “Our union has negotiated contracts with Democratic governors, with Republican governors, in good fiscal times and in bad fiscal times. And the current collective bargaining process, uninterrupted, has allowed for contracts that are fair both to the workforce and to taxpayers,” said Joanna Webb-Gauvin, legislative director for AFSCME Council 31.

* And speaking of debt, there was no vote yesterday on a proposal to borrow $4 billion to pay off overdue bills to state vendors, suggesting there aren’t enough Democratic votes for it as of yet. And the Republicans are still not going along

Legislative Democrats and Republicans bickered again Tuesday over a proposal to borrow billions of dollars to pay those owed money by the state.

Rep. Esther Golar, D-Chicago, proposed House Bill 6240, which would borrow $4 billion to pay schools, universities, healthcare providers, local governments and state vendors who have been owed money for more than 30 days.

“We are in a crisis in this state because of unpaid bills,” Golar told the House Executive Committee, which did not act on the legislation because of possible technical modifications to it. […]

[Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka] testified against the legislation, saying the state’s economy is improving and that she is making some progress at paying off the overdue bills.

* More

Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Tuesday the worst thing the state could do is take on more debt.

Topinka said her office currently has nearly 170,000 outstanding bills totaling $7.1 billion. But she said as the economy improves, the state is making progress paying down the backlog.

* Other stuff…

* Gambling expansion in January?: Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said he expected to see a new version of gambling expansion emerge in January. Earlier this year, Quinn vetoed a measure that featured five new casinos, including one for Chicago. Instead of pushing to override Quinn’s veto, Cullerton indicated that negotiating a new bill with the governor and other parties might be the way to go. It will take fewer votes to pass a bill in January than it does now.

* Hammond mayor wants 2 inland casinos: McDermott tells The Times of Munster that two land-based casinos would help Indiana better compete against proposed new casinos in Illinois.

* VIDEO: Khan Academy on Illinois pensions

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a Statehouse roundup

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Don’t Shortchange Our Students: Support HB 5440!

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The State of Illinois faces another budget crisis and severe cuts are on their way. The currently proposed budget would leave a $200 million shortfall for Illinois students and educations. Outside experts agree that Illinois is falling behind. Illinois already ranks dead last in the nation in the amount of school funding provided by state revenues according to a recent NEA study. 
The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability finds that states provide an average of 51% of the funds for education. Illinois provides only 30%.

In these harsh economic times for the state, we cannot afford to lose a dime. Still, satellite companies are currently exploiting a corporate tax loophole and taking their profits out of Illinois. House Bill 5440 will close this loophole and ensure everybody pays a fair share to support our students and communities. Twelve other states have successfully closed similar tax loopholes on satellite providers and in turn have worked towards more balanced government budgets.

HB 5440 would generate up to $75 million in additional revenue for Illinois’ education system.

The status quo isn’t working. Close the loophole and support our students. Vote YES on HB 5440!

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


STOP ComEd Rate Hikes – Vote NO on SR 821!

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

ComEd is pushing Senate Resolution 821 in an attempt to reverse the ICC’s $133 million rate reduction decision – which will mean more rate hikes for struggling Illinois consumers and businesses.

ComEd says: We expected higher rates when it wrote the law (PA97-0616).

FACT: ICC applied the law (PA97-0616) as it was written.

ComEd says: The law “meant” that the ICC should throw accounting to the wind, charge consumers for unreasonably high costs, and impose the highest possible financing charges on consumers.

FACT: The law has the ICC set rates based on ComEd’s actual costs and standard accounting principles, and that is what the ICC did.

FACT: If the General Assembly adopts Senate Resolution 821 and attempts to rewrite the law to suit ComEd, consumer rates will rise not just this year, but in every year over the 10 years the formula rates will be in effect.

Haven’t we had enough of ComEd’s games? Vote NO on SR 821!

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Cross reelected, Radogno up tonight

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

* From Amanda Vinicky’s Twitter feed

Nobody else was nominated. But that won’t be the case tonight, when the Senate Republicans meet…

In the wake of a dismal showing by the GOP on Nov. 6, state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said he’s trying to round up the 10 votes needed to beat current Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

But

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said he believes Radogno has the inside track to win a third term as minority leader when the caucus meets for its traditional dinner at a private country club west of the Illinois Statehouse on Wednesday evening.

And

Radogno said much of the blame for the Republican losses lies with the new legislative boundaries that were drawn by Democrats.

“I don’t think we have a unique circumstance right here. The question is what is the difference and how would we lead differently,” Radogno said. “This was a really bad year for Republicans. I think that Republicans in general need to do some good introspection into what’s working, what’s not working.”

* Once again, it wasn’t just the new map. Here are the 2010 gubernatorial results matched with the five newly drawn Senate districts that the Democrats picked up this year. Winner is bolded…

* 23rd (Cullerton) - 39.59 (Quinn), 51.92 (Brady)

* 31st (Bush) - 38.99 (Quinn), 51.72 (Brady)

* 34th (Stadelman) - 38.71 (Quinn), 52.38 (Brady)

* 48th (Manar) - 38.59 (Quinn), 53.58 (Brady)

* 49th (Bertino-Tarrant) - 40.77 (Quinn), 50.63 (Brady)

These seats all clearly leaned Republican in 2010. They are swing seats. 2012 was a bad Republican year, among other things. But it wasn’t just the map.

The trouble is, just one of those seats - Andy Manar’s 48th - is up for grabs in two years during the next presidential midterm election, when Republicans tend to do better and when Pat Quinn will be on the November ballot again (assuming he survives the primary).

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Veto Session Coverage

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

* Blackberry users click here. Everybody else can just kick back and watch things unfold, or, perhaps more likely, crash and burn…

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


STOP THE SATELLITE TV TAX!

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The cable industry is asking lawmakers to place a NEW 5% tax on satellite TV service. HB 5440 is not about fairness, equity or parity – it’s a tax increase on the 1.3 million Illinois families and businesses who subscribe to satellite TV. They cannot afford another NEW tax – not now and not in this economy!

HB 5440 Will Hurt Illinois Families and Small Businesses

    • Satellite TV subscribers will see their monthly bills go up 5%.
    • This tax will impact every bar, restaurant and hotel that subscribes to satellite TV service, which will translate into higher prices, decreased revenues, and fewer jobs.
    • Rural Illinois has no choice: In many parts of Illinois, cable refuses to provide TV service to rural communities. Satellite TV is their only option.

HB 5440 Is Not About Parity or Fairness

    • Cable’s claim that this discriminatory tax is justified because satellite TV doesn’t pay local franchise fees could not be further from the truth. Cable pays those fees to local towns and cities in exchange for the right to bury cables in the public rights of way—a right that Comcast and Charter value in the tens of billions of dollars in their SEC filings.
    • Satellite companies don’t pay franchise fees for one simple reason: We use satellites—unlike cable, we don’t need to dig up streets and sidewalks to deliver our TV service.
    • Making satellite subscribers pay franchise fees—or, in this case, an equivalent amount in taxes—would be like taxing the air It’s no different than making airline passengers pay a fee for laying railroad tracks.

Tell Your Lawmakers to Stop The Satellite TV Tax

Vote NO on HB 5440

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


*** LIVE *** Veto Session Coverage

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

* Blackberry users click here. Everybody else can just follow right along…

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a roundup

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


STOP THE SATELLITE TV TAX!

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The cable industry is asking lawmakers to place a NEW 5% tax on satellite TV service. HB 5440 is not about fairness, equity or parity – it’s a tax increase on the 1.3 million Illinois families and businesses who subscribe to satellite TV. They cannot afford another NEW tax – not now and not in this economy!

HB 5440 Will Hurt Illinois Families and Small Businesses

    • Satellite TV subscribers will see their monthly bills go up 5%.
    • This tax will impact every bar, restaurant and hotel that subscribes to satellite TV service, which will translate into higher prices, decreased revenues, and fewer jobs.
    • Rural Illinois has no choice: In many parts of Illinois, cable refuses to provide TV service to rural communities. Satellite TV is their only option.

HB 5440 Is Not About Parity or Fairness

    • Cable’s claim that this discriminatory tax is justified because satellite TV doesn’t pay local franchise fees could not be further from the truth. Cable pays those fees to local towns and cities in exchange for the right to bury cables in the public rights of way—a right that Comcast and Charter value in the tens of billions of dollars in their SEC filings.
    • Satellite companies don’t pay franchise fees for one simple reason: We use satellites—unlike cable, we don’t need to dig up streets and sidewalks to deliver our TV service.
    • Making satellite subscribers pay franchise fees—or, in this case, an equivalent amount in taxes—would be like taxing the air It’s no different than making airline passengers pay a fee for laying railroad tracks.

Tell Your Lawmakers to Stop The Satellite TV Tax

Vote NO on HB 5440

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Quote of the day

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

* I kidded Tom Cross a little last night about this story, which is too cute not to share

“We definitely like to have lunch together. We were at Cracker Barrel not too long ago,” [Gov. Pat Quinn] told reporters Wednesday. “I ate carrots, lots of carrots, green beans. And we were eating healthy.”

The same was true for Cross (R-Oswego), as they chatted about pensions, gambling and capital spending at the Cracker Barrel off Weber Road in Bolingbrook off Interstate 55, a location Cross said he chose and the governor readily complied.

“I had turnip greens, pinto beans, fried okra, and I must’ve had green beans. I did have one of their nice biscuits. This was my idea,” Cross told the Sun-Times.

“The governor sat down at the table and said, ‘Excellent. I don’t need a menu,’” Cross said. “We’re just a couple of Cracker Barrel guys.”

“We’re just a couple of Cracker Barrel guys.”

If only session could be this cordial.

Wait. I’d be out of a job.

Never mind.

Continue bickering!

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

* The setup

Democratic leaders in the Illinois General Assembly are backing legislation that would require some corporations to reveal their income-tax bills.

Senate President John Cullerton and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie will announce their support Tuesday for the measure. Tuesday is the first day of the Legislature’s fall veto session.

The Chicago Democrats want publicly traded corporations to post online the amount of corporate income taxes they paid two years prior to publication. The lawmakers say that would reduce potential competitive disadvantage to businesses that must publicize expenditures.

Officials say two-thirds of corporations pay no income taxes because of deductions, tax breaks and “loopholes.”

The proposal is here.

* The Question: Should public corporations be required to disclose the amount of Illinois state income taxes they pay? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


…Adding… Just to clear up some confusion in comments, you cannot FOIA this info, it’s not publicly available to anyone and state income taxes are not broken out as a completely separate category in SEC filings.

- Posted by Rich Miller   84 Comments      


Half a million bucks disappears from Stroger account

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

* I’ve looked over his filings this morning and they’re a complete mess. From the Sun-Times

Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is blaming an accounting error for the sudden disappearance of $500,000 from his campaign filings this year without an accompanying explanation of where the money went.

The money, which was left over from the campaign in which Stroger lost re-election to current board president Toni Preckwinkle, was invested in Amalgamated Bank by Friends for Todd H. Stroger for President of the Cook County Board campaign. The money appeared on campaign filings in the first quarter of the year but wasn’t reported in the second quarter, said Jim Tenuto, assistant executive director at the Board of Elections.

A board staffer noticed the discrepancy and sent Stroger a letter asking what happened to the money, “which is something we routinely do,” said Tenuto. “This is not an investigation or an accusation, it was more of an administrative issue,” he said.

Stroger said Monday evening the money was used to pay campaign bills and an accounting error was to blame for the discrepancy.

* OK, if you go back to the end of 2008, Stroger reported $526,747.08 in investments and $465,227.33 in outstanding debt, including $350,000 to himself, which he incurred in 2006.

On April 11, 2009, Stroger appears to have cashed in those investments and deposited the money into his campaign account. On June 30th of that year, he reported no investments on hand and $640K in the bank. He also reported just $115,227.33 in debt, having paid off his loan to himself.

On August 21st, 2009, Stroger put $500,000 into a couple of CDs.

Stroger entered the 2010 campaign with $152,554.92 in cash on hand, then raised another $294,685.00 during the first half of the year. He spent $341,107.73 and was left with $106,132.19 plus his $500K in investments.

But then he filed an odd amended return for the first six months of 2010. The only expenditures listed in the amended return were for a $500,000 deposit into an Amalgamated Bank of Chicago investment fund on June 30th. But he also shows a receipt of $621,632.19 from Amalgamated Bank of Chicago on the same day.

And that’s pretty much where I gave up. The investments, as noted above, eventually “disappeared” without explanation. They appear to have existed at one time, but it’s gonna take somebody with more time than I have to figure this one out.

Very weird.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Anti gun coalition tries to remind legislature about opposition

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

* A new coalition says it wants Illinois to remain the only state that doesn’t allow some form of concealed carry law

“I can’t fathom the idea of going to the mall and just thinking that under that coat over there, or in that purse, there might be a weapon,” said Ald. Ricardo Munoz of the 22nd Ward. “We cannot allow concealed carry to be the law of the land.”

Coalition members cited pressure from the National Rifle Association and gun-rights activists across Illinois for their growing concern. They worry state lawmakers could attempt to push through a law during the legislative veto session that starts this week.

With 36 lame duck legislators, the General Assembly is ripe for last-minute deals between outgoing lawmakers and those willing to trade votes to ensure majorities on other issues, said Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.

“While we don’t expect that the concealed carry bill will come up, it may because there will be a lot of horse trading going on in the final days of this old General Assembly,” he said. “We need to remind those who have stood with us that they need to stay fast with us and make sure that we oppose concealed carry.”

Suffredin is right that the bill is not expected to come up. But he’s also right that there will be some serious horse trading in the coming weeks. So, from his perspective, this move was probably prudent.

* More

Valinda Rowe, spokeswoman for gun-owner advocacy group Illinois Carry, acknowledged that there is a divide between Illinois’ urban and rural residents on gun control issues. But she said her statewide organization’s constituents come from all walks of life.

“Our members are made up of all different political backgrounds - we have conservatives, we have liberals, we have libertarians, that all support the Second Amendment,” Rowe said. “We’re not talking about mentally ill people or those who are a danger to themselves or others. We’re talking about law-abiding citizens.”

The house bill would require gun owners to obtain concealed carry licenses and take firearm safety courses. It would also prohibit concealed weapons in most government buildings, including schools and libraries. The bill fell six votes short of the required three-fifths majority in a house vote in May.

Try very hard to stay civil in comments, please. I took a quick look at some of the comments on stories in other publications about this development and some were downright bizarre. We don’t want that here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


Don’t Shortchange Our Students: Support HB 5440!

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The State of Illinois faces another budget crisis and severe cuts are on their way. The currently proposed budget would leave a $200 million shortfall for Illinois students and educations. Outside experts agree that Illinois is falling behind. Illinois already ranks dead last in the nation in the amount of school funding provided by state revenues according to a recent NEA study. 
The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability finds that states provide an average of 51% of the funds for education. Illinois provides only 30%.

In these harsh economic times for the state, we cannot afford to lose a dime. Still, satellite companies are currently exploiting a corporate tax loophole and taking their profits out of Illinois. House Bill 5440 will close this loophole and ensure everybody pays a fair share to support our students and communities. Twelve other states have successfully closed similar tax loopholes on satellite providers and in turn have worked towards more balanced government budgets.

HB 5440 would generate up to $75 million in additional revenue for the Illinois education fund and provide critical backing for schools, early childhood education, and financial assistance for college students.

The status quo isn’t working. Close the loophole and support our students. Vote YES on HB 5440!

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Illinois 9th most Democratic state in last six presidential elections

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

* A friend pointed me to a chart at Daily Kos yesterday which shows presidential results by states ranked most Democratic to least Democratic. Since 1992, Illinois has been in the top eleven of the most Democratic states (ten, if you don’t include the non-state Washington, DC). Click the pic for a larger image…

Our average over the past six elections is ninth. Yet, we had ten years of Republican governors in the time period covered, although there haven’t been any in a decade.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Edgar talks about Madigan

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012

* Former Gov. Jim Edgar was asked about whether he backed the 2012 Republican campaign mantra of “Fire Madigan”

No, it’s been the governors. I mean, the governor leads. Madigan, I think he’s probably victim to his own success and his own legend. That how powerful he is, so everybody figures he’s responsible for everything. Madigan my first four years as governor just fought me tooth and nail.

I used to have him down for lunch all the time. He’s a real cheap date – just give him an apple, that’s all he wants for lunch. We’d try to keep it from ever getting personal and we’d sit around and try to figure out how can we compromise. That first session when I was governor, when he was going to prove some things to me, we went an extra 30 days and I pretty much got what I wanted. The next year he beat me up a little more but we always knew where the other guy was and we always tried to find out what was the common ground. We also knew if we told the other guy something, he could take it to the bank. I think what happened with Blagojevich and Madigan was he thought Blagojevich lied to him and there’s nothing that upsets Mike Madigan more. It became much more personal and I think everything got ruined by that a little bit.

But Madigan, the last two years I was governor, when he came back after losing the speakership, he told the press, “I tried to fight the governor, I’m not going to do that anymore. I’m going to try to work with the governor and if we can agree I’m going to be his best supporter.” And in the last couple years on most things, especially fiscal things, he was my biggest supporter in the legislature. And I think he was very supportive to George Ryan. But the trouble was, with George, George wanted him to go along with spending. And I asked the speaker one time, I said, you were a fiscal conservative with me, now you’re a big spender. He said, “You know my members. They like to spend money. I’m going to follow the governor. I’m not going to stick my neck out.” So I think the fact that we had governors who kind of took their eyes off the bottom line – for a long time Madigan went along with that as the speaker. I think it was only when he had a complete break with Blagojevich that he began to tighten up on the budget stuff and then it was really too late. Too little, too late.

But again, it goes back to the governor’s got to provide that leadership. The governor is the 800-pound gorilla in Illinois government and if he’s not, then the way this system is designed it doesn’t work very well. And that’s what I think we’ve seen the last 10 years it just hasn’t worked very well.

Discuss.

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