* Everybody’s gonna be at the Statehouse SOTS address today…
Quinn’s Democratic challenger anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, who has worked in Chicago for years, confirmed he’d attend. All four Republican candidates will listen in person, three of which are public office holders: State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady. Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist, will also attend.
* Here’s some of what they’ll hear…
Quinn has refused to say if he supports extending the tax hike or putting in place some other money-raising measures, and he’s expected to avoid the topic until he delivers his budget address Feb. 19. Instead, the governor will use Wednesday’s speech to unveil a number of voter-friendly initiatives, including several aimed at job creation and helping small businesses.
The governor will propose slashing the fee for filing as a limited liability company from $500 to $39, according to an aide familiar with the governor’s plans. The state’s fee is among the highest in the nation, and the idea is to let business owners spend the money on getting off the ground instead of paying for bureaucracy.
Quinn also will issue an executive order to create a new position in his office that will focus on ways to improve the climate for small businesses in Illinois, including ways to streamline regulations, aides said.
The proposals may be aimed at blunting some of the blowback Quinn has experienced from business interests over his push to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $10. He first unveiled the idea during last year’s State of the State, but it gained little traction. The governor may be hoping for an election-year boost this time around as Obama also has pushed a federal increase.
Watch for Gov. Pat Quinn to propose an ambitious early childhood education initiative in his 2014 State of the State address in Springfield on Wednesday.
In the wake of recent pension reform and marriage-equality legislation, Sneed is told Quinn wants to up the ante from proposals for universal access to pre-K education.
“The governor’s initiative will call for a more comprehensive approach starting before birth,” said a source. “It will include increasing access to prenatal care, which is pivotal to ensuring the healthy birth and development of a child.”
◆ Added the source: “You want to reduce crime and create more jobs? You want to drive down the dropout rate? You want to help more people get college degrees? It all starts with early childhood education − birth to five − and the governor believes this must be the critical focus over the next five years.”