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*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner wants to give voters option to freeze property taxes forever

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

* I told subscribers about this on Monday

When Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed preventing most property tax hikes as part of his State of the State Address in February, the agenda he released said he wanted to “freeze property taxes for two years.”

But the outline of his plans he’s given lawmakers who are meeting privately to try to craft a state budget no longer makes any reference to the two-year timetable, and a spokeswoman says the governor wants voters to decide if taxes should “ever be raised.”

“The governor’s agenda freezes property taxes and empowers voters to decide via referendum if their property taxes should ever be raised,” spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said. “Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the country and we need to get them under control by empowering voters.”

The outline says local governments wouldn’t be able to ask for more in taxes than they did in the 2015 taxing year, with some exceptions that provide for new construction or government consolidation.

The outline given to lawmakers makes clear that clamping down on property tax hikes is something that will at least be considered as they try to both make a spending plan and debate Rauner’s agenda before their May 31 deadline to make a budget.

At least somebody else in the media is finally writing about these secret meetings. We need more of this, please.

*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…

After Governor Rauner addressed the Chicago City Council, he was asked, “give me an example of what Chicago wants and what Illinois needs.”

The governor answered in part:

    “Well in terms of what Illinois needs, I have been clear for two and a half years. We need local control, voter empowerment, pro-growth regulations and an overhaul of the government, empowering local voters and taxpayers to get more control of government costs, and that’s laid out crystal clear within our turnaround agenda. That’s what we need, and I’ve said that consistently.”

To be clear, the governor’s top priorities are listed below:

    · Term limits
    · Property tax freeze
    · Allow local control of ability to create employee empowerment zones
    · Allow local control of contracting and bargaining in schools and local governments
    · Allow local control of competitive bidding on taxpayer-funded construction projects
    · Pension reform
    · Worker’s compensation/tort/unemployment insurance reform
    · Ethics reform/end conflicts of interest in government

The detailed Turnaround Agenda is available at the following link:

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Today’s numbers: 25-44

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

* From a reader…

Hi, Rich

I saw you’ve had some comments asking if anyone has a tally for the population of the different counties and municipalities that have voted on the Turnaround Agenda… I have been keeping tabs on that.

In my counts, I keep separate columns for tabled and not brought to table, but I calculate them both as tabled. When it comes to the agree/disagree, since the original question is do the local governments agree with the resolution as worded (since changing the wording of the resolution does nothing to change the other 38 pages that they’re actually endorsing), when I figure my percentages, rewrites are added to the “not agree” numbers.

As of this morning, the numbers look like this.

Cities/Townships: (30 that I can find)

    POP total yes: 242,608
    POP total no: 3,101,085
    POP total tabled: 306,908
    POP total rewrite: 98,716
    POP voted: 3,749,317
    % of vote agree: 6.5%
    % of vote not agree: 93.5%

Counties: (11 of 102)

    POP total yes: 393,740
    POP total no: 5,241,000
    POP total tabled: 1,041,973
    POP total rewrite: 290,666
    POP voted: 6,967,379
    % of vote agree: 6%
    % of vote not agree: 94%

Her spreadsheet is here.

* Municipal entity totals…


    Yes: 21
    Rewrite: 3
    No: 18
    Tabled: 9
    Won’t vote: 2


    Yes: 4
    Rewrite: 1
    No: 1
    Tabled: 4
    Won’t vote: 6

So, that’s 25 municipal bodies which have backed the governor and 44 which have either opposed him, rewritten his resolution, delayed a vote (almost always under public pressure) or have refused to vote one way or another.

*** UPDATE 1 *** The reader updated her spreadsheet to reflect the actions I posted earlier today. Numbers in this post have been changed to reflect the updated list Her new spreadsheet is here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From a labor leader…

The number we use is only 21 municipals out of 1,300. A batting avg of .01%. Which is just a little better than the Cubs World Series Batting Avg for the past 108 years.


- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Has the big fight finally begun?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

* Here we go, campers…

The Republicans are caucusing until 12:15. Watch our live session coverage post for constant updates.

*** UPDATE *** AP

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan presented the proposal Wednesday even though members of his caucus largely oppose the budget plan that would balance the state budget entirely by slashing spending. Medicaid would be cut by $1.5 billion. Mental health and addiction treatment programs would also see cuts.

Madigan says the vote is intended to “facilitate consideration” of the next year’s budget. […]

House Human Services Appropriations Chair Greg Harris says Rauner’s proposal attempts to balance the budget “on the backs of the most vulnerable.”

“Facilitate consideration”?


*** UPDATE 2 *** None voted yes, Democrats went “No” and Republicans went “Present.” The bill is here.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Rep. Greg Harris

When the House reconvenes, I will start presenting my 16 amendments undoing the Governor’s proposed budget cuts to homeless youth, autism, childcare, senor services, disabilities, supportive housing, substance abuse, early intervention and many other programs.

- Posted by Rich Miller   92 Comments      

Gov. Rauner to speak to Chicago city council

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

…Adding… Click here for a live video stream of today’s council hearing.

* Give the guy credit. It takes some serious stones to venture into that weird belly of the beast

In what appears to be a first for the state, a sitting governor will address the Chicago City Council.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday will address the Chicago City Council to pitch the leadership on his pro-business agenda.

NBC Chicago was told that Rauner requested the appearance. City Council leadership agreed to suspend rules to allow the governor to address the body.

* Sun-Times

“Governor Rauner was born near Wrigley Field and loves Chicago. He recognizes that the City of Chicago and State of Illinois both face unprecedented financial and economic challenges. He looks forward to discussing ways he can work together with the city to find solutions that will turn around the city and the state,” the governor’s spokesman, Mike Schrimpf, said in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Right-to-work zones are not the only point of contention with a City Council filled with pro-union Democrats.

So are Rauner’s doomsday budget cuts that would cost the city, the CTA and Chicago Public Schools hundreds of millions of dollars they can’t afford to lose.

And so is the governor’s warning that the Chicago Public Schools could be staring down the barrel of bankruptcy.

I’d venture a guess that most city council members will hear a speech unlike anything they’ve ever heard today.

* Tribune

News of Rauner’s planned speech came after he spoke to about 200 people Tuesday at the Chicago Family Business Council in Little Italy, where he acknowledged the financial problems of Chicago and its public schools but said no bailouts were coming from Springfield.

“The city of Chicago’s in deep, deep yogurt. And they need, the taxpayers of Illinois are not going to bail out the city of Chicago. That’s not happening. Not going to let that happen.” Rauner said. “That said, I can, as the governor, can do a lot of things to be helpful, to help this city get its feet back under it. I look at the numbers for the public school system in Chicago and I don’t see how it can ever fund their pensions and fund their pension deficit.”

Instead, Rauner urged the group to contact local political leaders to support nonbinding resolutions endorsing the governor’s “turnaround agenda.” That’s something Emanuel and the City Council have adamantly opposed, in part because it calls for weakening union power and wages and the creation of so-called local right-to-work zones free from union mandates.

“My view is, the City Council, help us get structural change at the state level,” Rauner said of Chicago aldermen. “I’ll help you get structural change in the city that I can authorize as governor so you can get your house in order and the state can get its house in order and we’ll all be better off.”

Even so, the timing is odd. Today is the last day of the lame duck council session. Several new aldermen will soon be sworn in.

* Fox Chicago

Underscoring how difficult it will be to solve the crisis, leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union plan to hold a news conference shortly after the governor speaks.

Chicago Public Schools face a $1.1 billion shortfall, which is more than 16 percent of their entire budget. At the contract bargaining table, CPS apparently asked teachers to pay more into their pension fund.

Union leaders called it a wage reduction in an angry press release, “The Board has demanded a 7 percent pay cut from our members. The CTU is highly insulted.”

This may sound familiar to those who recall the teacher’s strike three years ago. But it may be different this time, because the teachers can’t go on strike if the schools don’t open for lack of money this September.


- Posted by Rich Miller   97 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Your daily “right to work” roundup

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

*** UPDATE *** According to AFSCME, Middletown unanimously approved a pro-union resolution last night. Click here to read it.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Nothing yet from the governor’s office. From the Illinois AFL-CIO

Yesterday, the Rauner anti-worker resolution failed in a Grundy County Board committee for lack of a second to pass the motion. Thank you working families of Grundy County.

City of Ottawa passes a pro-worker resolution tonight. Another strong message sent to the governor.

Tonight Litchfield rescinds approval of Rauner resolution, then votes it down. Great job by union and community in Montgomery County.

* Charleston also rescinded its pro-Rauner resolution

City Council members put a revised version of the “Supporting Local Government Empowerment and Reform” resolution on file for public inspection during their meeting Tuesday.

However, several residents asked the council to consider dropping entirely the resolution, which supports but does not enact parts of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed right-to-work zones.

The council voted to rescind the original document and place the new document on file for public inspection. It’s available on the city’s website under “City Council and BZAP Video and Agendas;” the revised resolution will not be officially voted on for two weeks. […]

The revised resolution removes a paragraph focused on local control of collective bargaining and changes one paragraph concerning the prevailing wage, removing the term “prevailing wage” and replacing it with a statement saying state policies hinder locally owned businesses who employ local residents from bidding on local contracts, thus reducing the bidding pool.

* Ottawa

Two proposals in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Illinois Turnaround plan were opposed by the Ottawa City Council on Tuesday.

Proposals for right-to-work zones and the local repeal of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act “would create a ‘race to the bottom’ that would reduce the pay of our community’s workforce and, therefore, harm the local businesses dependent upon local customers,” according to “A Resolution to Protect the Middle Class,” unanimously passed by the council. […]

Provisions of the Ottawa resolution include:

    “Passage of a local ‘right-to-work’ ordinance would undoubtedly generate legal challenge that our government would have to fruitlessly defend at a significant cost to our taxpayers.”
    “Prevailing wage laws create a level playing field for local construction contractors by forcing out-of-state contractors to bid on projects based on the skill and efficiency of their workplace, not how far they can drive down wages and benefits.”
    “By benefiting local contractors, prevailing wage laws greatly increase the likelihood that construction workers from our community will be employed on the projects that their tax dollars and those of our other taxpayers fund.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner wants to give voters option to freeze property taxes forever
* Question of the day
* Sun-Times Editorial: Exelon's Rate-Hike Proposal is a Bad Bill
* Today's quotable
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Today's numbers: 25-44
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Has the big fight finally begun?
* Fisking Exelon's latest ploy
* More corrections needed
* House Dems ignored real reform needs
* Gov. Rauner to speak to Chicago city council
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Your daily "right to work" roundup
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
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