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*** UPDATED x1 - Sen. Kirk opposes limits *** No love for JBT and stringing out SDems

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014

*** UPDATE *** AP

Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he doesn’t agree with proposals in Illinois to impose term limits on elected officials.

Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner is pushing a voter initiative to limit state lawmakers. This week, the Republican leaders of the Illinois House and Senate backed an amendment to the state’s constitution that’ll limit statewide officers to two terms. The officers include the governor and comptroller.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* From a press release…

The Illinois Republican Party National Committeeman today called on Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to approve a Republican proposal to impose term limits on constitutional office holders and reject a Democrat proposal to impose a progressive income tax on Illinois families.

With both legislative proposals moving through the General Assembly this week, the choice before Illinois Democrats is historic and their decisions will send a clear message about their values and priorities.

“The people of Illinois want term limits and they want lower taxes,” said Illinois Republican National Committeeman Richard Porter. “Pat Quinn, Michael Madigan and John Cullerton have a choice: Do they support more job-killing tax hikes, or do they want to restore Illinois to economic prosperity? The people of Illinois are watching and they will hold Democrats accountable for their choices in November.”

Last week, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow Illinois voters to approve term limits on constitutional office holders this November. At the same time, Senate Democrats are expected to consider today a progressive income tax hike for Illinois.

This term limits thing appears to be little more than a game. The GOP introduced it this month and Bruce Rauner promptly jumped on board. There are enough calendar days to get the constitutional amendment onto the ballot, but the House would have to add at least one and maybe more session days to accommodate the proposal.

Not to mention that the GOP’s most popular incumbent is Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who has held statewide office for 16 years. Before that, she served 14 years in the General Assembly.

Topinka has called legislative term limits a “stupid” idea. I’m more of an agnostic, but you gotta wonder why the state party would essentially be saying that JBT shouldn’t run for another term.

* You can always count on somebody around here to gin up an empty, last-second and hopeless political battle. Speaker Madigan’s spokesman said yesterday that he seriously doubted the House would schedule any additional session days if the Senate passed this proposal.

* And as far as the other issue goes, I’m with Doubek on this one

Word is state Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, is planning to seek a vote Tuesday on his proposal to ask voters if they want to change the state constitution to move from a flat to a graduated income tax system, where people pay higher tax rates as their incomes rise. People who make more already pay more, of course, because 5 percent of $200,000 is more than 5 percent of $20,000. Harmon has a separate bill to set rates at three levels. The first $12,500 would be taxed at 2.9 percent, income above that up to $180,000 would be taxed at 4.9 percent, and income greater than $180,000 would be taxed at 6.9 percent. That sounds to me like most of us working Illinoisans would be paying more than the 3.75 percent the law provides for next year. […]

Every House Democrat would have to vote for Harmon’s amendment this week to get it on the ballot. At least one, state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, has vowed to oppose it.

So, I suspect the veteran statehouse observers at the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce had it right when they suggested to their members that it would be politically unwise for Harmon to pursue a vote on a progressive tax plan sure to fail in the House. Why would Senate Democrats want to go on record for what amounts to a tax increase that won’t ultimately pass?

Unless Harmon has a secret grand plan to get three-fifths in both chambers, he’s gonna be stringing out a whole lot of colleagues if he calls his proposal for a floor vote today.

* As always, keep a close eye on our live session coverage post for updates to these stories and more.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


31 Comments
  1. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    It isn’t about Judy. Or Big Jim. Or Little Jim.

    The GOP has realized that these folks are history and if they wish to avoid being history themselves, they’ve got to do something different.

    Sure, you can call them hypocritical, but we’re talking about politics and government where being hypocritical is like the smell of garlic in a gyros restaurant. It just is.


  2. - Raising Kane - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    Unless I misunderstand the term limits amendment, it limits office holders to two terms in an office. Even if it were in effect today, it would have no effect on JBT is running for her second term as Comptroller. So, I don’t think the party is saying she shouldn’t “run for another term.”


  3. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Harmon would not be doing his colleagues any favors by calling his graduated income tax increase for a vote.

    They are having a tough enough time rounding up votes to get them on the record for any tax increase once, much less twice. We saw how well that worked out for things like Rahm’s pension plan or the Gatorade tax. Especially with things like the Speaker’s library plans or $1.5 billion corporate tax cut proposal floating in the ether.


  4. - From the 'Dale to HP - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    So Doubek wants to cut education (and everything else) by 12%… interesting.


  5. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    The Fair tax proposal from Harmon is indeed that, fair. As someone who will wind up paying more, I say Man Up legislators and get this done.


  6. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    And Kane, while you are technically correct, it’s quite clear that this proposal is aimed at career politicians like JBT who would not have been allowed her time in the ILGA as well as statewide office if this had been in force. As a Dem who has voted for her repeatedly, I think that would be a shame.


  7. - Mokenavince - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    Judy must be drinking the Rauner Kool-Aid on term limits. Don Harmon also is dreaming that this would ever pass.

    Madigan must be laughing his head off.

    Just more Katz and Jammer comic book governing.

    Doing this is another way of justifying their pay checks. Because not much else is going on.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===Judy must be drinking the Rauner Kool-Aid on term limits…===

    Rauner is for limits, Comptroller Topinka is against them, and as to “drinking Kool-Aid” and the Comptroller, she is a Team Player, and her quote about a “courtship” underscores the idea that Bruce Rauner has work to do with voters, and in that the courtship of GOP voters too.

    That ain’t Kool-Aid, that is assessing the race as “exciting”, with candidates making it so. Pretty simple, and Spot On.


  9. - Moving on - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    Wait- in what world is a plan that reduces the tax burden for 94% of IL a tax increase? It lowers taxes next year for everyone in my family.

    And yes- I realize current tax law requires the rate to roll back to 3.75%

    But I have yet to see any realistic plan from either side to build that revenue loss in to a budget.

    There is, apparently, an agreement between the gov, Madigan and Cullerton that the revenue generated from the 5% income tax level is necessary, and that it will be continued next year.

    So why would we NOT add a progressive tax to mix? Especially when this is a resolution to get it on the ballot where it will be the voters who decide in November whether it’s the right move for the state.

    It’s just mind boggling how non-controversial this issue actually is compared to the “sky is falling” messaging of the opposition.

    This is how the feds to it, and it’s how 34 other states do it.

    It’s the way to keep revenue coming from the place that wealth is actually being generated.

    And guess what– SPOILER ALERT– wealth tends to be generated at higher levels among the rich.


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    What’s the purpose for term limits for Constitutional officers? What problem does it address? Who were the egregious, multi-term offenders?


  11. - Bill F. - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Word, good question.

    I’m listening to Durkin and Radogno talk about the unemployment rate. As if term-limiting out the Comptroller will somehow drop the unemployment rate by a percent.


  12. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    Cullerton shouldn’t let Harmon call the bill. His members will be strung out on the extension and will not want to run on two tax votes.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    If you can’t win at the ballot box, you win instituting a limit on terms is a terrible way to run a government.

    Comptroller Topinka made a point I agree within that “institutional knowledge” seems to have little weight,

    Speaking only for myself to that point, the idea of the turnover based on a calendar, and not by voters allows government controlled by “dates and years” not by policy of ideas.

    You can “wait out” members. You can use ignorance of the inter-workings of the Executive Offices and Legislature to bypass the “institutional knowledge” of some dead ends of years past. Voters complain about elected officials “learning on the job”, well, calendar driven turnover will be constant “on the job training” with such a short sided view, until the next timer chimes in to start the process all over again.

    You can’t beat Attorney General Madigan, that is on My Party. Can’t defeat Secretary White, My Party owns that too, and lets not forget Comptroller Topinka, arguably the most popular Republican in all of Illinois, it’s up to the Dems to beat her, and if Term Limit supporters get their way, only a date and a year would deny me and many in My Party an opportunity to send back one of My Party’s best assets to Springfield.

    This is the road that really could use an off ramp, before driving off a cliff in the name of good. “The best intentions” paved roads don’t end too well.


  14. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    We think we can all agree that the GOPie term limit idea is a hoax. The real question is why now? Why so late? Perhaps Mitt Rauner’s paid petition passers blew it and did not get enough signature on Mitt’s term limit gambit.
    More millions down the sewer.


  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Amend the Constitutional amendment so that it only applies to the Governor’s Office.

    If Jesse White, Lisa Madigan or Topinka want to remain in their current offices for the next decade, I don’t think voters care.

    But, on the off-chance that legislative term limits is on the ballot, voters ought to also have the option of term-limiting the governor as well.


  16. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    I’m another one who can afford to pay a larger percentage of my income to the state than some other people can. I support a graduated income tax.


  17. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    Hasn’t every Illinois Republican who ever took a term limit pledge reneged?

    John Shimkus? Judy Biggert? etc?


  18. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Kirk initially came out against term limits a few days ago around the same time Quinn came out in favor of them.


  19. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    If Jesse White, Lisa Madigan or Topinka want to remain in their current offices for the next decade, I don’t think voters care.

    I like them too, but in states with term limits in place, over 60% support them even when they lose an elected official they really liked.

    So there is that bit of reality too. Yup, term limits are more popular than popular elected officials. Who’d a thunk?


  20. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Moving On - In comparison to current law effective January 1 2015:

    The Harmon plan would raise taxes on anyone making $21,740 or more.

    Have you been reading CapFax these past few weeks?


  21. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    @VMan:

    The argument for term limits is that it prevents elected officials from aggregating too much power.

    The “power” of any of the Executive officers other than governor is extremely limited by nature.

    If a genie granted me one wish to “reform” government, it would not be term limits or redistricting reform. Or even campaign finance reform, which is critical, but a cat-and-mouse game with no final solution.

    Nope. My one stab at reform would be to require current officers to vacate their office before running for a different one.

    I call it the “Not Your Stepping Stone” Amendment in honor of the Monkees.


  22. - AFSCME Steward - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    “Every House Democrat would have to vote for Harmon’s amendment this week to get it on the ballot. At least one, state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, has vowed to oppose it.”

    I really don’t understand anyone’s oppositon to this. Let the voters decide. if it passes, it passes. If it doesn’t, no harm. Once again the politicans are more interested in the big money than they are in serving their constituents.


  23. - AFSCME Steward - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    “The argument for term limits is that it prevents elected officials from aggregating too much power.”

    The real issue are the legislative leaders, who have more power than any of the constitutional officers. They are not included in this proposed amendment.


  24. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    ==voters ought to also have the option of term-limiting the governor as well==

    They already can do that. Ever heard of an election?


  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    –President Reagan says that after leaving office he ‘’would like to start a movement'’ to repeal the constitutional amendment that limits Presidents to two terms.

    Mr. Reagan, in a restatement of a past position, said the limitation interfered with the right of the people to ‘’vote for someone as often as they want to do.'’–

    Anyone doubt that if Reagan could have run for a third term he would have won at least 45 states? HW won 40.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/29/us/reagan-wants-end-of-two-term-limit.html


  26. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:37 pm:

    Those opposing term limits are arguing against progress on a “wildly popular idea” while defending the status quo.

    == In statewide Simon Polls going back to 2010, between 75 and 80 percent of Illinois voters surveyed have supported legislative term limits. ==
    http://capitolfax.com/2014/04/08/wildy-popular-idea/


  27. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    ==Those opposing term limits are arguing against progress on a “wildly popular idea” while defending the status quo.==

    I don’t consider term limits to be “progress” unless, of course, you think that taking away the ability of the people to decide who they want to represent them represents progress.


  28. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    ==Those opposing term limits are arguing against progress …”

    If you’re for “progress,” does that make you a “progressive?”

    I thought that was the new cuss word in some circles.


  29. - A guy... - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    =If you’re for “progress,” does that make you a “progressive?”=

    No more than being for “Term Limits” makes you “Terminally Limitless” :)


  30. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 6:05 pm:

    “If it’s good enough for Ronald Reagan, it’s good enough for me.” — Bruce Rauner

    Looks like he’s not much of a Reagan Republican.


  31. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 10:49 pm:

    –“If it’s good enough for Ronald Reagan, it’s good enough for me.” — Bruce Rauner

    Looks like he’s not much of a Reagan Republican.–

    PC, Reagan’s legacy is abused by every Tom, Dick and Nincompoop who thinks claiming to be a Reagan Republican is a license for eillful ignorance.

    The old man would pound lumps on some of these full-mooners today. He gave the nebbies the red-meat rhetoric to get them in the booth, but he governed like a moderate.

    Like Wall Street kingpin John Mitchell said about Nixon, “pay no attention to what we say, watch what we do.”

    Reagan would be one of those nasty RINOs today, and the Torqumadas would demand conversion or punishment.


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