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National Review trashes Quinn

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* Writer spends a couple of days in fly-over country, begins his story with a little black kid in East St. Louis who says unkind words, race baits throughout the article, half truths abound, Illinois Policy Institute quoted, DH Brown’s is referred to as a “video-gambling establishment,” Interstate 55 is described as…

the dyspeptic alimentary canal of Illinois, from the shadows underneath the gloomy turret of the Joliet penitentiary to the stagnation of Normal and Bloomington, across the vast stretches of lightly populated Corn Belt and through the almost-as-empty state capital at Springfield

But along the way he does provide one or two helpful insights. Read it here. You’ll need to pay to read the whole thing.

Oh, and it made the cover…

The tear on Lincoln’s face is a definite tip-off.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday…

“I made it pretty clear to Walgreen’s… If they decide to move to Switzerland to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, renouncing their American citizenship, I think they’re going to find a lot of consumers are heartily disappointed in that behavior.”

Walgreen’s, of course, is based here in Illinois and employs a lot of people in this state.

* The Question: Should the governor lighten up on Walgreen’s or keep up the pressure? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


- Posted by Rich Miller   73 Comments      

Rauner mocks new Quinn TV ad

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* The Rauner campaign has taken the audio from Gov. Pat Quinn’s new TV ad and added its own, mocking video. Have a look

Gonna be a long and nasty one, campers.

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner releases ag plan

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* Other than praising existing farm exports and promising to do more without really saying how, paying some lip service to unspecified deregulation, supporting ethanol in all its glory and saying he’ll improve the State Fairgrounds, I’m not sure what the dealio is. We’ll monitor media reports. Click here to read Bruce Rauner’s Agriculture plan.

*** UPDATE *** Quinn campaign response…

Below is the statement of Quinn for Illinois Deputy Press Secretary Izabela Miltko in response to Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner’s latest policy pamphlet, which includes some inaccuracies. For example, CMS does not run the State Fairgrounds - the Department of Agriculture does.

“The farmers of Illinois know a pig in a poke when they see one.

“Number one, CMS does not run the State Fairgrounds - the Department of Agriculture does.

“Number two, what good does it do to pay your own first class ticket to travel abroad when you’re embracing policies that help corporate deserters avoid U.S. taxes? Only Bruce Rauner can tell.

“It’s also worth noting that Rauner’s agriculture pamphlet failed to mention the devastating impact the Rauner Budget would have on rural education.”

Governor Pat Quinn has been a champion for farm exports and agriculture, which is the backbone of the Illinois economy.

Below is a recap of some of Governor Quinn’s agriculture accomplishments:

National Leader in Soybeans & Corn: Under Governor Quinn, Illinois ranks 1st in soybean and 2nd in corn production.

Completed critical infrastructure improvements to the Illinois State Fairgrounds: Thanks to more than $700,000 in funding from the Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, leaky roofs were replaced or repaired on several buildings, including the Artisans Building, 10 barns and Sheep Pavilion 33.

Biofuels: Governor Quinn has taken the lead on biofuels and as chair of the Governors’ Biofuel Coalition has developed renewable fuels standards that directly have benefited farmers.

National Leader in Agriculture Exports: With sales of $8.3 billion in agricultural products overseas, Illinois is one of the largest exporters in the country. Governor Quinn has worked hard to expand overseas markets through trade missions and aggressive outreach efforts, seeking and securing deals and protections for Illinois products in Mexico, Europe and South America.

Protecting rural education: Governor Quinn has fought to protect rural education and keep property taxes low for family farmers.

Farm Ownership: Governor Quinn’s support for agriculture has helped secure fair prices and retain family farm ownership.

Leader in food processing & sales: Because of Illinois’ bounty, food processing remains the state’s top manufacturing activity and the state leads the nation in processed food sales.

Hosted a record-breaking Illinois State Fair: Gate, parking and grandstand revenue totaled $3.93 million last year, breaking the previous record of $3.38 million set in 2012.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

A third poll shows tighter race

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* Sun-Times

In a survey commissioned by Illinois’ largest teachers’ union, one of President Barack Obama’s pollsters is declaring the race between Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner “nearly a deadheat.”

Paul Harstad, with Harstad Strategic Research, gives the Winnetka Republican a slight edge, but his poll of 1,003 likely voters released Thursday gives the Quinn camp a modicum of relief since other recent polling has shown Rauner with a double-digit lead.

The Harstad poll, paid for by the Illinois Education Association and conducted using live interviews with respondents on a mix of landline and cell phones, has Rauner with 46 percent, Quinn with 42 percent and 8 percent undecided.

The poll’s margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points and was conducted between July 17 and 22.

That 4-point margin is more in line with two other polls showing the race at either three or six points. It’s also the same margin the governor’s campaign came up with by applying 2010 exit polling to the We Ask America poll.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Topinka continues string of union endorsements

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* The Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsed Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka yesterday. From a press release

Responsible investment and spending of taxpayer dollars is of utmost importance to our members who dedicate their lives to public service,” said Montgomery. […]

“Comptroller Topinka consistently demonstrates that doing what’s right doesn’t have a political party, and we appreciate her dedication to Illinois families.”

JBT is really on a roll with the unions, man.

* The IFT also endorsed Sen. Mike Frerichs for treasurer

“As State Senator, Mike Frerichs has been a tireless advocate for what matters most to teachers and students, and we’re confident that he will continue to defend their interests in the Treasurer’s office.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Smallish potatoes

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* AP Chicago

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says the state’s workers’ compensation insurance rates will drop 5.5 percent next year.

Quinn announced Wednesday the cut in rates is being recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which annually reviews payments and fees and proposes new premium figures.

Illinois Department of Insurance officials are estimating the latest proposed reduction in workers’ compensation advisory and loss cost rates could result in overall reduction in premiums of up to $143 million in 2015. They say the total savings since the reforms were enacted in 2011 is expected to reach $458 million.

* Greg Hinz

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President Greg Baise was considerably more restrained but still welcomed the news.

“More work needs to be done,” said Mr. Baise, whose organization has become a major supporter of GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner. “We applaud this news, but rates need to come down more if Illinois is to be competitive with competing Midwestern states.” […]

The workers’ comp system, which pays health expenses for injured workers, raises and spends about $3 billion a year, Mr. Baise said, so a savings of $450 million over three years would be only a fraction of that cost.

The declines are most certainly heading in the right direction, but Baise is right. The savings aren’t a whole lot in the grand scheme of things and much more needs to be done.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Sabato: Rauner now deemed favorite

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* Sabato’s Crystal Ball has moved Illinois’ governor’s race to “Leans Republican.” From Politico

In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) terrible approval rating and the state’s struggling economy threaten his reelection efforts. We are now making venture capitalist Bruce Rauner (R) the favorite in Illinois, changing the rating from Toss-up to Leans Republican.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Rahm has a point, but…

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked about his willingness to host a thousand refugee children from Central America

“You have a thousand kids fleeing violence in Central America. This speaks to who we are as a city in welcoming them,” he said.

“My grandfather left Moldova in Eastern Europe. His parents put him on a boat to get away from the pogroms [and] leave the violence. Thirteen-years-old by himself. Not a word of English to come to a place called Chicago. He left the violence of Eastern Europe.”

The mayor added, “These kids are leaving violence. There are 1,000 kids. We are not only a city of big shoulders. We’re a city of big hearts and we welcome them and get `em on their way. And we will also make sure that the city of Chicago has universal pre-K, universal kindergarten, expanding after-school programs, expanding summer jobs because the test and measure of this city is how we treat our children.”

Emanuel said when he met with the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. to discuss the humanitarian effort, Jackson “made a point that I had not thought of: when [then President Franklin Delano] Roosevelt turned away the St. Louis and sent the Jewish kids back to Nazi, Germany.”

The comparison with his grandfather fleeing Moldova is chillingly apt.

But the fact remains that too many of Chicago’s own kids just aren’t safe in their city.

* And this is kinda mind-boggling

On the day a think-tank publicly released a report that says the Chicago Housing Authority has been socking away hundreds of millions of dollars instead of using it for housing for the poor, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked the agency to do more.

“Since HUD learned of the level of the reserves, it has prompted CHA to issue more vouchers,” said Brian Gillen, a spokesman in the Chicago office, in a written statement. […]

According to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability report, the CHA issued an average of 13,534 fewer Housing Choice Vouchers than it could have every year between 2008 and 2012. The vouchers pay the majority of the rent costs for apartments and houses for poor residents in the private market.

By not issuing the federally funding vouchers, the agency saved an average of $90 million every year over a nine year period. The CHA spent some of the federal dollars on other-housing related expenses, debts and obligations, but what was left over was put into reserves, which by 2012 totaled $432 million, the center’s report says.

How about using some of that money to “resettle” some Chicago kids into safer areas?

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Rauner goes to ground in face of corporate inversion questions

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

* As we discussed yesterday, this was Bruce Rauner’s reaction to the national debate over corporate inversions

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner blames the state’s business climate for Walgreens’ flirtation with Switzerland.

“America needs to compete, Illinois needs to compete. The right answer is not to create walls, to block companies and people,” Rauner said. “That’s terrible. We should be about freedom, choice and competition.”

* Gov. Pat Quinn lashed out

‘For anybody running for public office in Illinois to endorse that kind of bad behavior, loopholes that are really taking advantage of the American taxpayer … we really have to say that candidate is way wrong, way off base,’ Quinn told reporters in Chicago. ‘A corporation renouncing its American citizenship to stash money overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, that shifts the burden onto … everyday people who play by the rules.’

* And Rauner appeared to back away

[Rauner’s] campaign wouldn’t say Wednesday if he supported or rejected the practice of companies reorganizing abroad.

* More

Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf refused to clarify where Rauner stands on the issue of corporate tax avoidance.

But in an emailed statement he blamed Quinn for presiding over an uncompetetive economy.

“Bruce laid out a corporate welfare agenda that eliminates abuse of the tax code at the state level under Pat Quinn.” Schrimpf said. “He is hopeful that leaders in Washington can come together to craft comprehensive corporate tax reform that makes America more competitive and leads to more job creation.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

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