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Question of the day

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Your main takeaways from President Obama’s speech?

- Posted by Rich Miller   153 Comments      

Caption contest!

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Twitters…

There’s a better pic here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   81 Comments      

This Just In: Exelon Announces More $$$$ For Shareholders, Higher 2015 Profits And Still Seeks Bailout

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Exelon announced that its profits for 2015 were $2,270,000,000 and that it is increasing dividends to shareholders 2.5% per year for the next three years.

So you’re thinking – “The company is healthy, shareholders are getting more $$$, the power auctions provided them $1.7 billion for their nuclear plants in Illinois so they must be done asking struggling Illinois ratepayers for a bailout, right?” Nope - it’s never enough for Exelon.

“Groundhog Day was yesterday, but Exelon appears to want to keep celebrating. The Chicago-based nuclear giant is back to threatening to close nuclear plants in Illinois without financial help from the state.” – “Exelon’s Crane beats the drum again for nuke subsidies” Crain’s, February 3, 2016

To review:

  • Exelon made more than TWO BILLION DOLLARS ($2,270,000,000) last year
  • Exelon received a $1.7 BILLION WINDFALL through new capacity charges

Illinois still has no budget, the state’s finances and services are in shambles, the social safety net is being decimated but Exelon STILL wants the Legislature to pass a huge BAILOUT.


Just say no to the Exelon Bailout.

BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. Visit

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

*** UPDATED x2 - Counter point - Guzzardi responds *** Unclear on the concept

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Tribune editorial

We understand that many of Rauner’s critics want to energize their loyalists; others demonize him to raise donations. No problem, free country, all fair.

What we don’t understand is the Rauner critics’ willingness to see services shrink and institutions close. Their reluctance to get in Michael Madigan’s face, just as they get in Bruce Rauner’s.

* Let’s walk down memory lane, starting with the SJ-R

“I think we can drive a wedge issue in the Democratic Party on that topic and bring the folks who say, ‘You know what, for our tax dollars, I’d rather help the disadvantaged, the handicapped, the elderly, the children in poverty,’ ” Rauner said, instead of directing tax dollars to the Service Employees International Union or “AF-Scammy,”

* A Tribune news report on a Tribune editorial board appearance last year

“Crisis creates opportunity. Crisis creates leverage to change … and we’ve got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change,” said Rauner […]

One such moment came when Rauner railed against public worker unions that donate heavily to further their political aims. Asked how he intended to get a ban on union campaign contributions through a legislature that is heavily backed by organized labor, Rauner pointed to the binders his staff had prepared.

“Read it,” he said. “Change the law … that’s what our proposal is.”

Pressed to explain, Rauner simply said: “Crisis. Crisis creates leverage.”

So, can you see why most legislators who aren’t in the governor’s party are so reluctant to do a deal with him? He said he would create a crisis and he did it. If they give in, he’ll probably just do it all over again.

* Let me be abundantly clear here that I have been pushing for and demanding a resolution to this impasse for a very long time. I believe that the governor makes extremely good points about the state of our economy and about the unfairness of our property tax system.

But, at the same time, it’s really not too difficult to understand why the other side doesn’t want to cave.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Chicago Rep. Will Guzzardi is not at all what you would ever call an “organization Democrat.” He defeated an organization Dem on his second try. His response to the Trib’s editorial on his Facebook page

Here’s the thing about this article. It operates on the same faulty premise that I think the Governor has: fear of Speaker Madigan is the only thing keeping us from being full-throated advocates of the Turnaround Agenda.

That’s just wrong. You could have another Speaker tomorrow and you’d still be miles away from 60 votes on right to work, ending prevailing wage, gutting workers comp, capping remedies in civil court, or any of the rest of Rauner’s “reforms.”

I’m opposed to those things, and it’s certainly not because I’m under the thumb of Madigan. Most of my colleagues are opposed to them too. It’s because we actually believe in the merits of those programs.

Anyone who wants this thing to end needs to realize that, irrespective of Madigan, there is *no way* that the Turnaround Agenda will pass the House. Insisting on it as a precondition of a budget deal is the same thing as saying “I do not want a budget deal.” That’s why we blame Rauner.

You may disagree with his ideology, but you can’t argue the merits of his argument here. Very, very good points. [Hat tip: 47th Ward in comments]

*** UPDATE 2 *** Good points by a commenter…

The Democrats undeniably did the following things:

1) They passed a tax increase with a sunset provision, then for 4 years and total control of Congress and Gov’s office they took no action to either get expenses in line to prepare for the drop off in income tax, OR to renew the tax rates before they hit sunset. They could have taken that action as a party at any point from 2011 to 2015. They could have extended the tax sunset in the lame duck session of 2014 but they did not do that.

2) Democrats passed an unbalanced budget twice, once in 2014 when there was a Democratic governor and again in 2015 with Rauner.

Yep. Very true. Blame for the past, even the recent past, is very easy here. Going forward, however, I don’t see how it makes much of a difference.

- Posted by Rich Miller   105 Comments      

Mautino begins releasing documentation

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Illinois Valley News Tribune

Frank Mautino says now the more than $200,000 he racked up in fuel and auto service charges since 1999 wasn’t accumulated through his personal vehicle alone but in fact for four vehicles, including one owned and driven by a campaign worker.

After weeks of silence over questions raised about his campaign expenditures, the longtime Democratic state representative, now Illinois auditor general, released Tuesday a kind of statement explaining somewhat his fuel expenditures. These reached the seemingly improbable total of $213,000 from Happy’s Super Service in Spring Valley over more than a decade. […]

    -A 2014 Ford Fiesta with 93,000 miles
    -A 2002 Ford Explorer with 200,000 miles
    -A 2014 Chevrolet Equinox with 30,000 miles
    -A 1997 Ford F-150 with undisclosed miles
    (NOTE: The Equinox mileage appears to be 30,000; the letter issued as a PDF file by Mautino spokesman Ryan Keith was not consistently legible.)

“All of these vehicles are personal vehicles,” Mautino wrote, excepting the F-150 which belonged to campaign worker Harry Pelka. “All the vehicles have been used for personal and campaign use. My primary work and campaign vehicle is the 2014 Ford Fiesta.” […]

The Ford Explorer, which Mautino said was primarily driven by campaign worker William Losey, alone accounts for 200,000 miles and would have been driven during calendar years when per-gallon fuel costs would have consistently been more than $3 and at times more than $4.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

*** LIVE COVERAGE *** Obama addresses General Assembly

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Like I said earlier, blogging could be light today because I’m heading into the Obamapalooza event. You can watch a live video feed by clicking here. Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Federal judge orders state to fund another program

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* No word yet on what this will cost…

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Englander to Rubio, Kimme needs workers

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Wall St. Journal

Rand Paul‘s campaign manager is jumping on board the suddenly flagging Marco Rubio campaign.

Chip Englander, who ran the Kentucky senator’s campaign before it ended last week, will be a senior political adviser responsible for the Midwest. Based in Chicago, Mr. Englander also ran Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner‘s successful 2014 campaign

The Rubio campaign, which placed fifth in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, hopes to capitalize on Mr. Englander’s connections to Mr. Paul’s libertarian supporters, even though the two senators’ presidential efforts were based on very different ideas. Mr. Paul campaigned on a foreign policy highly skeptical of intervention abroad and government surveillance, while Mr. Rubio backs a far more robust American presence overseas and stresses his support for electronic government surveillance.

Mr. Englander was spotted on an airplane Tuesday afternoon reviewing a contract to join the Rubio campaign. Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed Mr. Englander’s employment Wednesday morning.

* Meanwhile, our two-time Golden Horseshoe winner Nancy Kimme has been working closely with Gov. Kasich’s campaign and could use some more volunteers…


- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* I’ve changed my mind and am now leaning toward going to the President’s event. So, blogging could be light today. I’ll have a live coverage post up soon because I need to get to the Capitol.

Let’s start with Lynn Sweet

In his speech to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly, “without endorsing a specific path forward,” Obama will “talk about the need to address gerrymandering, including in his home state of Illinois,” the White House said Tuesday.

The governor will love that.

* But not everything will be bipartisan

The Chicago Sun-Times has learned that Illinois Republican Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood — whose districts take in parts of Springfield — were asked by the White House to greet Obama on the tarmac of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield — but not fly out with him on Air Force One.

Because Congress is in session, however, they would have had to scramble back from Washington for the arrival ceremony, flying commercial, while Democratic Illinois Reps. Mike Quigley, Robin Kelly and Tammy Duckworth got the lift on the president’s plane.

Davis’ district includes the Statehouse. He should’ve been invited on the flight.

Sen. Durbin is flying on the big plane as well. And Duckworth is a special guest to boost her US Senate primary bid.

* Meanwhile

The president is expected to give remarks there alongside several lawmakers he once worked with, including former state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Republican who is now Regional Transportation Authority chairman.

Dillard said he was invited to appear by the White House along with former state Sens. Denny Jacobs, a Democrat from East Moline, and Larry Walsh, who’s now Will County executive.

“I tell my children that Dad was a very lucky person that he got to work in Springfield with a gentleman who became the president of the United States,” said Dillard, who during the 2010 governor primary was the subject of Republican attack ads for his previous appearance in a campaign ad supporting Obama. “I pinch myself every now and again.”

I’m also hearing that Pat Quinn was invited to attend.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Obi-Wan… Karen?

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Umm. OK…

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

Drilling into the numbers

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* Gov. Bruce Rauner, speaking yesterday

“If we just grew at the national average for a year, we wouldn’t have unpaid bills today, we wouldn’t have a deficit today and we wouldn’t have (had) to do the tax hike in 2011,” Rauner said.

I’m told he meant “every year,” not just one year.

* But that’s still a pretty bold statement and I wanted to see the actual numbers, so I asked his staff for an explanation. Here it is…

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, if our revenues (individual income tax, corporate income tax and sales tax) grew at the national average GDP growth since Fiscal Year 2000, we would have generated an additional $19 billion total in surplus revenue even without the 2011 tax hike. With average growth and no tax hike, we would have generated $305.5 billion in revenue from the income and sales taxes. In reality, we generated just $286.5 billion. That means with average growth, there’d be no bill backlog (as well as the more than $1 billion dollars in prompt payment interest that has accrued since 2003), no budget crisis and more resources for schools, Medicaid and social service providers.

So, that means overall revenues would’ve grown an additional 6.6 percent over time. That would be welcome, but I’m not sure it would’ve solved all the problems.

Any numbers geeks out there want to tackle this?

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Dunkin crosstabs and a supplement to today’s edition

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Getting around today

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

* From a House Speaker memo to legislators…

President Obama will address the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, February 10 in the House Chambers. Streaming of President Obama’s speech will be available at

Family members will not have access to the house floor for Wednesday, February 10. Members should be advised the House Floor temperature has been lowered due to the additional personnel and camera lights in the room, so members may want to dress appropriately for the day.

Members should plan to arrive at the Capitol Building by 11 a.m. All Members, staff and guests will need to use the west wing entrance and will be required to pass thru the magnetometers. Members & guests should limit what they bring (such as water bottles, coffee cups, computer devices and laptops) to the Capitol Building as this will only delay the scanning procedures.

Parking: For Wednesday February 10th, there is no parking on the North Drive. Parking will be provided for North Drive vehicles in lot G, the gravel lot to the north of the capitol building. Parking is available on a first come, first served basis.

The schedule for the day.

    7:30-10 a.m. State Capitol Building closed for a security sweep. All tunnels close at 7:30 a.m. for the day.

    10:15 a.m. The State Capitol west doors open for Members & guests. Please dress warm as the Springfield temperature may be in the low teens. Also, there will not be any drop-offs in between the Capitol and Stratton Buildings.
    All Members, staff and guests will need to go thru a magnetometer.
    Only Members, building staff and guests with seats in the Gallery or the Speakers Gallery will have access to the Capitol Building.
    Any person going to the House Chamber of Gallery, will need a pass for the day. That pass can be collected at the registration table on the first floor west wing, after you are scanned.
    Guests will need passes as well for the Gallery and the Speakers Gallery.
    Those guests who are in the Speakers Gallery will enter the 4th floor Gallery doors, then walk around the Chamber Gallery.
    There will be a staffed coat room – Room 118, for House Members and guests.

    11:30 a.m. House Session convenes

    11:45 a.m. House –Senate Joint Session to convene, then stand at ease
    Members can move about the building, but certain areas will not be accessible.
    The East Corridor from the Senate to the House will not be accessible. Members may only access the Chamber thru the 3rd floor rotunda doors. Room 300 will only be accessible for those with offices.

    Lunch: House Members can take a few moments for lunch in room 114. No food will be allowed on the House Floor or the House Galleries.

    12:45 p.m. All House and Senate Members and dignitaries will need to be on the House floor near their seats.
    All guests in the Galleries will need to be in their seats.
    As a reminder, for any guests in the galleries, they will need to use the restrooms on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd floors. So time should be factored into one’s schedule to traverse the building.

    1 p.m. Members and guests should be in their seats, as the doors to the Chamber will be closed.

Members should note committees have been scheduled for Wednesday, February 10, after the President’s address. House committees are be scheduled for the morning of Thursday, February 11.

* The SJ-R has the blocked streets list

* Monroe Street between Walnut and Ninth streets

* Second Street between Adams and Edwards streets

* Sixth Street between Edwards and Monroe streets

* Capitol Avenue between Second and Seventh streets

* Edwards Street between Second and College streets

* Walnut Street between Edwards Street and North Grand Avenue

* From the White House…


In the morning, the President will travel to Springfield, Illinois. The departure from the South Lawn is open press, and the arrival at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport is open to pre-credentialed media.

While in Springfield, the President will address the Illinois General Assembly about what we can do, together, to build a better politics – one that reflects our better selves. The President’s remarks at the Illinois State Capitol will be pooled press.

Afterward, the President will deliver remarks to supporters, stakeholders and volunteers. The President’s remarks at the Hoogland Center for the Arts will be pooled press.

In the evening, the President depart Illinois en route San Jose, California. The departure from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport and the arrival at Moffett Federal Airfield are open to pre-credentialed media.

The President will remain overnight in San Jose.

In-Town Travel Pool
Wires: AP, Reuters, Bloomberg
Wire Photos: AP, Reuters, AFP
TV Corr & Crew: CBS
Print: The Root
Radio: WW1

Out-of-Town Travel Pool
Wires: AP, Reuters, Bloomberg
Wire Photos: AP, Reuters, AFP
TV Corr & Crew: NY Times
Print: CBS
Radio: NPR


9:00AM In-Town Pool Call Time

10:05AM THE PRESIDENT departs the White House
South Lawn
Open Press (Final Gather 9:50AM – North Doors of the Palm Room)

10:20AM THE PRESIDENT departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Springfield, Illinois
Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage (Call Time 9:00AM – Virginia Gate, Joint Base Andrews)


11:20AM THE PRESIDENT arrives in Springfield, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, Springfield, Illinois
Open to Pre-Credentialed Media

1:25PM THE PRESIDENT addresses the Illinois General Assembly
Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois
Pooled Press

3:25PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks
Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield, Illinois
Pooled Press

5:10PM THE PRESIDENT departs Springfield, Illinois en route San Jose, California
Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, Springfield, Illinois
Open to Pre-Credentialed Media


7:30PM THE PRESIDENT arrives in San Jose, California
Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View, California
Open to Pre-Credentialed Media

Briefing Schedule

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz will gaggle aboard Air Force One en route Springfield, Illinois

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

* Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* This Just In: Exelon Announces More $$$$ For Shareholders, Higher 2015 Profits And Still Seeks Bailout
* *** UPDATED x2 - Counter point - Guzzardi responds *** Unclear on the concept
* Mautino begins releasing documentation
* *** LIVE COVERAGE *** Obama addresses General Assembly
* Federal judge orders state to fund another program
* Englander to Rubio, Kimme needs workers
* Obamapalooza
* Obi-Wan... Karen?
* Drilling into the numbers
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Dunkin crosstabs and a supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Getting around today
* Yesterday's blog posts

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