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Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Quote of the day

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

* Careful what you pray for

“I don’t have enough words to say thank you. All I can say is I’ll give you my whole heart and soul,” State Sen. Toi Hutchison said Wednesday as a group of African-American ministers prayed that the other black candidates- Robin Kelly, Alderman Anthony Beale and State Senator Napoleon Harris  would remove themselves from the ballot. They believe by having one black candidate, it would be easier for an African-American to win on February 26.

Not long after that prayer, Napoleon Harris dropped out - and endorsed Robin Kelly.

Oops.

Also, after whacking Kelly for accepting Harris’ endorsement, who is pro-life and against gay marriage, you gotta wonder if any of those ministers endorsing Hutchinson feel the same way.

* Related…

* Gun violence a big issue at 2nd District candidates debate

* Gun violence takes center stage in Congressional race

* VIDEO: 2nd CD candidates’ debate

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Why did Illinois yank its bond issue?

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

* Reuters looks into why Illinois withdrew its bond issue this week

Illinois yanked a $500 million general obligation bond issue slated for Wednesday because of credit concerns that could boost its borrowing costs, in the latest financial blow to the state, which has failed to fix its bloated public pensions.

Investment banks that planned to bid on the debt indicated investors would demand higher yields on the 25-year bonds, said John Sinsheimer, Illinois’ capital markets director.

“We were getting indications of higher spreads than we were anticipating,” said Sinsheimer, who declined to discuss specific spread levels. “We felt it was prudent to pull the deal for the time being.”

Illinois is already faced with the highest spreads - 137 basis points in the latest week - over Municipal Market Data’s benchmark triple-A scale among states and cities tracked by MMD, a unit of Thomson Reuters. By contrast, the spread for California, another low-rated, high-debt issuance state, was only 48 basis points in the week ended Jan. 25. […]

Tim McGregor, director of municipal fixed income at Northern Trust, said the state probably would have had little difficulty selling the bonds on Wednesday “with a little bit of yield” given low supplies of debt in the $3.7 trillion municipal market and yield-hungry investors. He added that if Illinois wants to attract lower rates in the market, it needs to fix its finances, particularly pensions.

“Spreads won’t tighten just because they want them to tighten,” he said, adding the state needs to impress the market by tackling pension reforms.

Either way, it was probably prudent to let the furor over the rating reduction die down for a while.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


New way to file taxes for couples in civil unions

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

* People in civil unions can now file their taxes electronically

[Department of Revenue spokesperson Sue Hofer] said couples in civil unions can file electronically this year as a result of a software upgrade at the revenue agency. Last year, the first tax year for civil unions in Illinois, paper returns were required.

“It’s not fair to say, because you’re in a civil union, you have to file paper returns,” said Hofer.

A “civil union income report” also is required that allows state and federal returns to be matched for online filing.

The revenue department does not separately track civil-union returns, but nearly 5,200 civil unions were reported statewide from the time of legalization in June 2011 through the end of 2012.

* The Civil Rights Agenda responded via press release…

Because the federal government does not recognize civil unions, couples cannot file joint federal tax returns, so each partner in a civil union must prepare their tax returns twice.

“Taxes are such a headache and that is especially true if you are in a civil union,” said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “We received a large amount of calls and emails last year asking about filing taxes when a couple is in a civil union. The process is complicated and lengthy and includes the couple doing their taxes twice, once as if they were single and once as if they were married. The process also creates a large amount of unique paperwork. ,We are pleased that the Department has taken steps to ease the burden of filing taxes when you are in a civil union. Hopefully, the new Schedule will make a painstaking process a little bit easier.”

“The fact that there has to be a special schedule created for couples in civil union highlights that civil unions are not equal to marriage,” stated Rick Garcia, Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project and Senior Policy Advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda “The couples file their Illinois taxes as if they are married, but then have to use a special schedule that creates extra steps. Although these changes are welcome, we still must point out that civil unions are a separate institution from marriage and do not provide the same rights or responsibilities.”

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Dems to target Davis

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

* From a press release…

Building on its successful 2012 record, House Majority PAC today announced it will run political programs in 10 Congressional Districts to target vulnerable Republicans, beginning in 2013. The Republican members of Congress are Michele Bachmann (MN-06), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Gary Miller (CA-31), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Michael Grimm (NY-11), Joe Heck (NV-03), David Joyce (OH-14), John Kline (MN-02) and Steve Southerland (FL-02).

Each of these Republicans represents a competitive district and has an out-of-touch, extreme record.

Over the course of 2013, House Majority PAC will execute individually tailored plans in each of these 10 districts, to include earned and paid media, online communications and social networking. These efforts will lay the groundwork for increased political activity leading up to Election Day in 2014.

“In 2012, House Majority PAC built a strong record of success and in 2013 we are ready to hit the ground running to hold these Republicans accountable and communicate with swing voters about their extreme records and backwards priorities,” said Alixandria Lapp, Executive Director of House Majority PAC. “Whether it’s supporting the end of Medicare as we know it, backing tax cuts for the wealthy, working to roll back the clock on women’s rights or opposing stem cell research, these Republicans are simply out of step with the districts they represent. House Majority PAC will work to ensure voters know the truth.”

During the 2012 cycle, House Majority PAC spent approximately $36 million, amassing a record that independent observers termed “impressive” and “winning.” The Democratic candidate won in 63 percent of the races in which House Majority PAC spent a significant sum. And of the 10 races in which House Majority PAC spent the most money, Democrats won eight. [Emphasis added.]

I have my doubts about the potential for success there. The district has a ton of college students, from Bloomington, to Champaign to Edwardsville and everything in between. They tend to vote Democratic, but they don’t vote big in off-year elections. If Davis had lost last year, he’d be my favorite to win in 2014.

But maybe you have a different idea. Let’s hear it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


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