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Preckwinkle says Emanuel tax break can’t be done

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Greg Hinz

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle dropped a political bomb on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed 2016 city budget today, saying it’s technically impossible to implement a special break Emanuel wants in order to largely shelter city homeowners from the $588 million property tax hike he plans.

“We can’t do it,” said Preckwinkle, referring to an expanded homestead exemption Emanuel wants, a measure that would have to be administered by the county’s property-taxing system. “There’s no way we can get our computer software to do it.”

Preckwinkle’s comments, which came during a meeting with Crain’s editorial board on her own proposed 2016 budget, followed a meeting this morning between her and other county officials, notably including County Treasurer Maria Pappas, whose office actually sends out the property tax bills. Preckwinkle said her understanding of what is and is not technically possible came largely from Pappas.

Pappas, in a phone call, complained that Preckwinkle is “using” her as part of a political feud with the mayor, but she did confirm that, indeed, the county’s current, antiquated computer system cannot neatly divide properties and their tax rates between those located in and out of the city.

“They can’t do it. I’m 95 percent sure they can’t do it,” said Pappas, noting that the county only recently began to move to replace its quarter-century-old mainframe computer.

Man, it just gets worse every single solitary day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

“Your version of solidarity has no place in the Catholic Church”

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* The Illinois Policy Institute’s Diana Sroka Rickert writing in the Tribune

In the ongoing state budget battle, is the Roman Catholic Church taking sides?

No. But opponents of Gov. Bruce Rauner want you to think it is.

At the request of local unions, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich recently spoke at a West Side union hall about the church’s teachings on work and workers.

After the speech, Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan and government unions boasted that Cupich and the Catholic Church were on their side.

“The archbishop has said the same thing that we’ve been saying in Springfield,” Madigan said.

Government unions in Illinois promoted their interpretation of the archbishop’s comments online.

“Cupich today reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s longstanding commitment to collective bargaining, to unions … a message a certain governor might want to consider,” Service Employees International Union posted on its Facebook page.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees posted a picture of Cupich and wrote, “We couldn’t agree more. LIKE and SHARE if you do, too!”

Here’s the problem: Cupich didn’t say he agrees with Madigan, SEIU, AFSCME or any other government union on any issues. In his remarks, Cupich referenced the debate over whether Illinois should become the nation’s 26th right-to-work state — but was careful not to say where he and the church stood on the issue.

“The archbishop has not taken a position,” said Susan Burritt, archdiocesan spokeswoman. “The archbishop never offered a judgment on any legislation.” […]

As a Catholic, I’m all for solidarity: caring for others, respecting people as individuals, fighting against inequality and injustice. But Speaker Madigan, AFSCME and SEIU: We’re not on the same team. Your version of solidarity has no place in the Catholic Church.

* OK, first of all, while the archbishop didn’t take a stand on any particular legislation, his words were pretty darned clear

I will also add my voice when it is prudent and helpful in egregious examples of injustice. The Church can’t weigh in on every issue, on every dispute…it lacks the capacity or the competence. However, when the Church sees fundamental values being threatened or undermined, the Church will speak up—to offer basic moral principles, to defend the weak and vulnerable and to promote the common good.

For example in view of present day attempts to enact so-called right-to-work laws the Church is duty bound to challenge such efforts by raising questions based on longstanding principles. We have to ask, “Do these measures undermine the capacity of unions to organize, to represent workers and to negotiate contracts? Do such laws protect the weak and vulnerable? Do they promote the dignity of work and the rights of workers? Do they promote a more just society and a more fair economy? Do they advance the common good?”

Lawmakers and others may see it differently, but history has shown that a society with a healthy, effective and responsible labor movement is a better place than one where other powerful economic interests have their way and the voices and rights of workers are diminished. […]

My final point is that I hope that you and your members will see in the Catholic Church a consistent ally for economic justice and a partner in promoting the common good. First, I will personally support workers’ efforts to secure their rights and adequate conditions to accomplish their work. In a talk last June, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington observed that growing up in southwest Pennsylvania he learned early on that “one visible way that solidarity was manifested, both within the movement and in the larger society, was respect for the picket line. He also talked about the new “picket lines” that should not be crossed, like demonizing immigrants, racial profiling and wage theft, to name just three. In solidarity with you, I want you to know that the Archdiocese of Chicago will honor your picket lines.

Secondly, I will continue to encourage priests of this Archdiocese to be involved in the labor movement. They will continue the legacy of great priests such as Msgr. John Hayes, Msgr. George Higgins, and Msgr. Jack Egan and Fr. Clete Kiley.

* Whenever someone uses the phrase “so-called right-to-work laws,” they oppose so-called right to work laws, like myself, for example. And when somebody declares they’ll honor a picket line, well, that’s pretty serious stuff.

* And speaking of Father Kiley, earlier this year Cupich appointed Kiley as his moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Kiley is now responsible for day-to-day archdiocesan operations and administration. Thanks to an alert reader, I realized belatedly that Kiley left that position. He’s now doing union ministry work.

Fr. Kiley is about as pro-union as a person can get, but he now has a very important position and is using that bully pulpit to back organized labor. He somewhat previewed the archbishop’s speech back in June regarding so-called “right to work” laws

“These laws fundamentally are an assault on solidarity. They are an attempt to break unions and a way to exclude more people from an active role in the economy.”

Also, if you watch the video, make sure to stick around to the end when Kiley talks about “think tanks that still say you can be a Catholic and a libertarian. Real cafeteria Catholics. And I’d like to say the cafeteria is closed.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

“Oof” is right

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* From the Twitters…

Not good at all, Senator. Wow.

* Meanwhile…

A new video launched by the Illinois Republican Party, titled “Reversal,” documents Rep. Duckworth’s reversal of her stance on the Benghazi Committee’s role in hearing testimony from Hillary Clinton.

“Rep. Duckworth’s vote to disband the Benghazi Committee in order to shield Hillary Clinton from answering the tough questions about this tragedy is yet another display of Rep. Duckworth putting her party ahead of transparency,” said Nick Klitzing, Executive Director of the Illinois Republican Party. “The simple truth is that Rep. Duckworth, even going back to her time working with former Governor Rod Blagojevich, has put the interests of her party before the public.”


March 31, 2015:

During A Press Conference After Announcing Her Senate Bid, Duckworth Said That Clinton Needed To Go Before The Benghazi Committee And Testify. (Reboot Illinois Youtube, 4/2/15)

Duckworth Also Said That All Of Clinton’s Emails While In The State Department Should Be Released To The American Public. (Reboot Illinois Youtube, 4/2/15)

May 22, 2015:

On May 22, 2015, The State Department Released 296 Of Hillary Clinton’s Emails Related To Libya Policy And The 2012 Benghazi Attack. (Billy House and Mark Drajem, “Clinton E-Mails On Benghazi Attack Released By State Department,” CNN, 5/22/15)

It Was Found That Clinton Received Information On The Deadly Attack In Benghazi In Her Private Email Server. (Lisa Lerer and Matthew Lee, “Clinton Got Now-Classified Benghazi Info On Private Email (Updated),” The Associated Press, 5/22/15)

June 26, 2015:

The State Department Informed The Select Benghazi Committee That They Are No Longer Certain About Clinton’s Claim That All Her Work Emails Were Included In The 55,000 Pages Of Documents Handed Over To The Department. (Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee, “State Dept.: 15 Emails Missing From Clinton Cache,” The Associated Press, 6/26/15)

September 7, 2015:

In Early September Hillary Clinton Gave Duckworth Her Support For Her Senate Candidacy. (Kevin Robillard, “Clinton: Duckworth ’should be the next senator from Illinois’” Politico Pro, 9/8/15)

September 30, 2015:

At The End Of A Press Release on September 30th, Tammy Duckworth Calls For The End Of The Benghazi Committee. (Rep. Tammy Duckworth, “Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth Statement On Kevin McCarthy’s Benghazi Comments,” Press Release, 9/30/15)

October 7, 2015:

Tammy Duckworth Voted To Proceed With The Slaughter Resolution Which Would Disband The Benghazi Committee. (Motion To Table, Roll Call Vote #536: Motion agreed to 240-183: R 240; D 183, 10/7/15, Duckworth Voted No)

The video is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

*** LIVE COVERAGE *** Comptroller Munger says she can’t make November pension payment

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Tribune

Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger has scheduled an afternoon news conference, focusing on what her staff calls “significant cash flow constraints” as a result of the political impasse that has kept the state without a budget since July 1. Munger previously has warned of a balance of unpaid bills approaching $9 billion by the end of 2015, and her office has expressed concerns about making payments mandated by the courts and the state constitution.

* We’ll be cranking up the ScribbleLive thingy at 1:30

- Posted by Rich Miller   128 Comments      

Yet another prediction of 2016

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Oy…

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

The GOP framing

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Republican State Sen. Jason Barickman looks ahead to the GOP messaging in next year’s legislative elections

“Do you want a tax increase — period — or do you want reforms to the governance of the state? I think that’s an easy question for voters to answer,” he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Should the Thompson Center be sold? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

online survey

- Posted by Rich Miller   109 Comments      

End run on JRTC sale?

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Tribune

Following the announcement that Gov. Rauner will try to sell the decaying James R. Thompson government building in the Loop, his administration says it’s considering ways to go around the normal facility closure process.

Usually, a series of public hearings must take place before a legislative panel votes on a proposed closure. The suggesting is advisory though, meaning Rauner could move ahead even if lawmakers oppose the plan.

A spokeswoman for the state’s Central Management Services agency said the administration is considering “a path forward” that could circumvent the hearing process entirely if all employees are moved to another state building within 10 miles of the building.

Still, “no determinations have been made yet about job relocations,” spokeswoman Meredith Krantz told the Tribune via e-mail.

* I sure hope they’ve thought this through

Any redevelopment could wreak havoc on CTA passengers who access the Blue, Green, Brown, Orange, Purple and Pink lines via the Clark/Lake station at the Thompson Center.

More than 5.5 million passengers entered at Clark/Lake last year, making it the second-busiest station in the city, CTA spokesman Jeff Tolman said. In an email, Tolman said CTA officials are “reviewing existing contractual agreements to determine what impact the proposed sale/demolition would have on the Clark/Lake station — both the elevated and the subway stations.”

The Illinois secretary of state’s office has an office in the lower level where people can renew their licenses or get new plates and stickers. More than 226,000 people a year are served at the location, making it one of the 10 busiest in the state.

* Meanwhile

“The reason this is happening is because Gov. Quinn let the building go the same way he let the governor’s mansion go, by refusing to spend money on either building,” [former Gov. Jim Thompson] told Sneed.

“That’s the situation Gov. Rauner is now facing,” said a calm, but obviously disappointed, former governor.

“During Quinn’s entire term in office he refused to maintain the building properly,” added Thompson. “Gov. Rauner is now faced with an accumulation of $100 million in deferred maintenance.” […]

According to a close friend of Quinn’s, ”With the budget mess that he inherited, Quinn had different priorities when he was in office. When there’s no money, you prioritize with what you’ve got. He chose to protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens over buying new carpet and furniture in the governor’s office.” […]

Thompson also claims he tried to inform Gov. Quinn the commercial tenant of the building on the first two floors offered to pay “for restoration of that space himself, but I could never get an answer from Quinn!”

- Posted by Rich Miller   97 Comments      

MLB playoff open thread

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Offered with reluctance.

- Posted by Rich Miller   117 Comments      

Redfield: Rauner demands are “beyond crazy” and “the worst kind of pandering”

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* From my old pal Kent Redfield…

Hi Rich,

I am just sitting around, looking for things to keep my mind off the Cards’ early exit from the playoffs. Truth be told, I am not a Cub hater, so I will gladly root for them against any of the teams left in the playoffs.

I know this is not new and it occasionally gets reported in the press, but it drives me nuts that the Governor keeps talking about term limits and redistricting reform in the same breath that he talks about necessary reforms that will help the Illinois business climate and turn our economy around.

The Governor’s constitutional amendment on redistricting (HJRCA 40 or 42) would not have any impact until the 2022 election and if the Governor gets elected to a second term and if he keeps his pledge to serve only two terms, then he would be leaving office just before the legislature elected under the new map would be sworn in.

The Governor’s constitutional amendment on term limits (HJRCA 39 or 41) is a ten year limit for legislators, but it would not have any impact on the House elections until the 2026 elections since service before January of 2017 would not count against the ten year limit.

It is a little more complicated for the Senate because a Senator elected for a four year term in 2016 and a two year term in 2020 or a two year term in 2016 and 4 year term in 2018 would have 6 years of service toward the limit before the 2022 election. Senators in these circumstances that ran in districts that were 2-4-4 in 2022 would be limited to 8 year of service since running for a 4 year term in 2024 would give them 12 years. This would potentially be 1/3 of the Senate, but incumbent losses or decisions not to run for reelection would surely make the number smaller. For the Senators with 6 years of service going into the 2022 election who ran in districts that were 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 would be able to serve a 4 year term and get to 10 years of service. This would potentially be 2/3 of members of the Senate although the number again would not be that high due to losses and decisions to run for re-election. Since the sequencing of Senate terms is a random draw, the term limit proposal would have a random effect on a few incumbent senators every 10 years, limiting them to 8 years rather than 10 year of service depending on the luck of the draw.

The limit on 8 years of service in any executive office starting in January of 2017 would have some weird effects, but basically would not have any impact until the 2022 election where all the current incumbent constitutional officers and whoever is elected Comptroller next year could not run for any executive office, assuming they run and are reelected in 2018.

Bottom line, the Governor’s term limit proposal would not have any impact until the 2026 election for the House, the 2024 election for the Senate and the 2022 election for constitutional officers.

I know I am probably being silly, acting like the Governor actually cares about the content or the impact of these proposals, but once a policy wonk, always a policy wonk.

I think I am reading these two proposals correctly. If I am, then holding the budget hostage for “reforms” that will not have any impact until 2022 for redistricting and 2022, 2024 or 2026 for term limits is beyond crazy and the worst kind of pandering. How about this for ad supporting the Turnaround Agenda?

“Turn the Illinois economy around. Tell your legislator to pass the Governor’s term limit proposal and we can force Speaker Madigan out of office in January of 2027, just a few months shy of his 85th birthday”

Having vented, I will go look for some carb free, salt free, low cholesterol way to drown my sorrows that does not violate any of the Illinois Substance Abuse Laws.

Keep up the [cardio] rehab, it is really worth committing to.

Take care,


- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      

Caption contest!

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Rep. Jack Franks marching in the October 11th Settlers Day Parade in Marengo

Hat tip: McHenry County Blog.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

Left unsaid

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

* Note the unmentioned conflicting statements here

Rauner took time again on Tuesday to sell his agenda, offering a counterpoint to characterizations made by House Speaker Mike Madigan.

“When someone says to you that our requests or our recommendations are extreme, I hope you ask them what they mean by that,” Rauner said. “The vast majority of the people in Illinois, Democrats and Republicans, support term limits — not extreme … support redistricting … vast majority of states Democrats and Republicans have taken things out of collective bargaining. Democrats in Illinois have done that. Not extreme.

“So don’t buy the argument that it’s extreme. People say, the governor is trying to hurt the middle class of Illinois … that is not the case. The middle class of Illinois is not helped by big government bureaucracy.”

When asked how he explained his poll numbers dropping if Illinois residents were on board, Rauner laughed.

“All I can say is, I don’t pay attention to polls,” Rauner said. “Everywhere I go in the state I’ve got people coming up to me by the hundreds [saying], ‘Stay strong, governor. Don’t back down, governor.’”

So, on the one hand the governor says the “vast majority” of Illinoisans support term limits and redistricting, which indicates that the governor pays close attention to polls.

On the other hand, he says “I don’t pay attention to polls.”

And on the other hand (yes, I know I’m up to three hands, but so is the governor), Rauner’s folks touted a favorable poll just days ago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

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Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015

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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner pals give $5 million to Munger
* Question of the day
* SEIU's big error and Madigan's "reign of terror"
* CTBA: Deficit is far higher than both Rauner and COGFA projections
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to today’s edition
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Nearly 200,000 kids face new and confusing vaccine rules
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Fair share suit initiated by Rauner dismissed by federal judge
* State's attorneys and their enemies behaving badly
* On the bright side...
* C'mon, the Tribune endorsement makes perfect sense
* Rauner gets way ahead of himself on pension reform claim
* *** UPDATED x1 - Court: Expensive cars can't be seized *** "Every year, police take millions of dollars from ordinary Chicagoans and spend it behind closed doors"
* Is Munger's Rauner money coming soon?
* Report: Tribune relationship with Illinois Policy Institute columnist "under review"
* Kirk not getting Senate super PAC money, won't do some Chicago debates, called "disgraceful" in new TV ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
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