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*** UPDATED x1 - Angelo disputes *** Today’s quotable

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Dean Angelo Sr., president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, speaking today at the City Club

Angelo made little reference to police misconduct Tuesday. Although he did allow there were officers he wouldn’t want his son, also a police officer, to ride with, he said priests are more likely to abuse people than cops are.



*** UPDATE ***  Angelo sent this e-mail to DNAInfo’s reporter…

Mr. Cox,

Earlier this morning I received a call from one the editor of Catholic Times. He made me aware your article covering my addressing the City Club of Chicago. I am more than a bit concerned about your accuracy when you wrote that I said…priests are more likely to abuse people than cops are. That is just not true and nowhere near accurate.

If you listen to the audio of my Q & A session that followed the presentation, you can hear for yourself that actual words I used in response to a question concerning police behavior. At no time did I use the word ‘priest’ and at not time do I make any correlation about “priests” or “abuse”. My statement was in reference to a 1970 Paul Harvey narrative, where Mr. Harvey mentions that less than one half of one percent of police officers tarnish their uniform, which is less than the problems we have with our clergy.

If you toggle down to the 33:33 mark of the attached audio, you will be able to hear the question and my response that followed. After doing so, I would expect that you would take the time to make the necessary corrections in you article and to let your followers know that you erred.

Your article is ’spot on’ to other comments I made yesterday when I addressed the audience about our concerns with the media and their decisions to put out incorrect information regarding Police Officers…and now the FOP is being misrepresented as well.

Feel free to reach out to me if you feel the need to further discuss this email.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

More like this, please

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* This is one of my bigger beefs with anti-union types. The trades have huge and vital training facilities in this state. If we want good jobs, we need highly trained workers. Who’s gonna train these folks if the government hobbles their unions?…

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Business Manager James Coyne and leadership from Plumbers’ Local 130 to break ground on the union’s new training center in the West Loop. When complete the center will provide a modern, green learning environment for more than 4,000 journeymen and apprentice plumbers.

“Skilled workers are a part of the fabric of Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said. “From the success that comes with advanced training to the values that come from vital work, this new center is building a strong foundation for the City of Chicago.”

The 50,000-square-foot new training center will be complete in July 2017. When complete the center will offer a number of technology-related and green, as well as traditional plumbing skills courses.

“The Plumbers Local 130 is building a green building for the City of Chicago that will serve as a state-of-the-art learning center for the future of skilled labor,” Business Manager and JAC Chairman James F. Coyne said. “This 50,000-square-foot, three-story building will create jobs and pave the way for the future by showcasing rainwater harvesting, solar energy and grey water systems, and training thousands of Apprentices and Journeymen who Protect the Health of the Nation.”

The center will also prepare apprentices to work on projects involved appliances, fixtures, rain and gray water harvesting systems and solar systems. Plan reading will be taught, as well as the safe, correct and efficient installation and maintenance of systems including underground water supply, storm water, sewer drainage, fixture installation, and waste and vent piping both inside and outside of commercial buildings and residential homes.

…Adding… Gov. Rauner signed the Plumbers’ training bill back in May. Good move.

…Adding More… Twitters…

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

AG Madigan announces huge VW settlement

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Press release [replaced with revised release]

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced her office has reached $275 million settlement with Volkswagen Group of America Inc. for misrepresenting the emissions of its 2.0-liter Volkswagen and Audi diesel engine cars sold in the U.S. As part of a multistate settlement, Madigan secured $28.9 million for violations of Illinois’ Consumer Fraud Act, and the state could see an additional $150 million in consumer restitution based on consumer participation in the settlement. Illinois can also apply for an additional $97 million from an environmental settlement reached by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The scandal uncovered in September 2015 affected approximately 29,800 cars sold in Illinois. The diesel cars branded environmentally friendly were equipped with defeat device software designed to reduce the effectiveness of the vehicles’ emissions control systems and as a result emitted excess nitrogen oxides (NOx) throughout the state.

“Volkswagen deliberately defrauded its consumers and polluted our environment while promoting its cars as clean diesel vehicles,” Madigan said. “This settlement is the result of the company’s deliberate misconduct and egregious corporate consumer fraud.”

Madigan was among 43 states and jurisdictions that settled with Volkswagen for violating state laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive trade practices by marketing, selling and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software. The agreement is part of a series of state and federal settlements that will provide cash payments to affected consumers, require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, and prohibits Volkswagen from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices in connection with its dealings with consumers and regulators.

Once the consumer program is approved by the court, affected Volkswagen owners will receive restitution payment of at least $5,100 and a choice between:

    A buy back of the vehicle (based on pre-scandal National Automobile Dealers Association/NADA value); or
    A modification to reduce NOx emissions provided that Volkswagen can develop a modification acceptable to regulators. Owners will still be eligible to choose a buyback in the event regulators do not approve a fix. Owners who choose the modification option would also receive an Extended Emission Warranty; and a Lemon Law-type remedy to protect against the possibility that the modification causes subsequent problems.

The consumer program also provides benefits and restitution for lessees (restitution and a no-penalty lease termination option) and sellers after September 18, 2015 when the emissions-cheating scandal was disclosed (50 percent of the restitution available to owners). Additional components of today’s settlements include:

    Environmental Mitigation Fund: Volkswagen will pay $2.7 billion into a trust to support environmental programs throughout the country to reduce emissions of NOx. This fund, also subject to court approval, is intended to mitigate the total, lifetime excess NOx emissions from the 2.0-liter diesel vehicles identified below. Under the terms of the mitigation trust, Illinois is eligible to seek up to $97 million from this fund to pay for emissions related mitigation projects.

    Additional Payment to the States: In addition to consumer restitution, Volkswagen will pay to the states more than $1,000 per car for repeated violations of state consumer protection laws, amounting to $570 million nationwide. This amount includes $28.9 million paid for affected vehicles Volkswagen sold and leased in Illinois.

    Zero Emission Vehicles: Volkswagen has committed to investing $2 billion over the next 10 years for the development of non-polluting cars, or Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), and supporting infrastructure.

    Preservation of Environmental Claims: Today’s settlement by state attorneys general preserves all claims under state environmental laws, and Illinois maintains the right to seek additional penalties from Volkswagen for its violations of environmental and emissions laws and regulations.

More info is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Madigan won’t say if he has the votes *** House not yet in agreement with Senate

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* The Senate is set to run several approp bills this week. But the House Democrats are not ready to roll on everything yet. Here’s Greg Hinz

Cullerton also is expected to put votes on a separate “stop-gap” measure that would fund most of the rest of state government. A third bill would appropriate $1 billion for higher education, including Monetary Assistance program (MAP) grants for low-income students, and a fourth to take care of capital needs for the year. […]

While the Democratic plan almost certainly will clear the Senate, the House remains a question mark.

“We will be voting on elements of the stop-gap budget where progress has been made, and around this panic over road construction,” says Steve Brown, spokesman for Speaker Mike Madigan.

And education? “Hopefully that can be handled sooner rather than later,” Brown replied. “Discussions have been going on. I’m not sure things are finalized.”

Other sources were more optimistic.

There is “a conceptual agreement with the House,” with final action expected next week, said one insider.

Could get crazier before it gets saner.

*** UPDATE ***  This question was not worded properly. MJM will need a veto-proof majority before he can pass the K-12 bill. We’re in overtime, so the bill will require a three-fifths majority. Even so, it’s a problem for Madigan and he apparently needs more time to work his caucus…

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Bills filed *** Rauner unveils his stopgap plan

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* This proposal will be filed on two bills. Note extra funding for MAP grants, higher ed and human services. Subscribers already knew about most of this stuff. But it isn’t smooth sailing yet, campers

The Governor’s stopgap funding plan will serve as a bridge to a comprehensive balanced budget for fiscal year 2017. This plan does not count on enactment of a tax hike or reforms. This plan provides a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, road construction, federal programs and other non-GRF programs. It also provides funding to support 6 months of critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities including prisons and veterans’ homes, fuel for the State Police to patrol our roads, and other core operations and programs for public safety, health and welfare. Funds are available under current law for all components of this bridge plan. The plan is contained in two bills: one bill which has K-12 education funding, and a second bill which has all other funding.

For fiscal year 2017 operations, the total package is $50.3 billion. This includes $8.2 billion in general funds, $33.7 billion in other state funds and $8.4 billion federal funds. The FY17 appropriations include:

o K-12 education. The Governor has proposed an increase of over $240 million over this year’s enacted education budget, for a total of $7 billion in general funds. This plan would fully fund the foundation level for the first time in many years, and ensure that all school districts get at least as much as they received in this past school year (a “hold harmless”). This plan does not include a bailout for Chicago Public Schools.

o Higher education funding of $1.0 billion. This is on top of $600 million already approved in FY16. The new funding is from the Education Assistance Fund, at $680 million (which is the amount of money expected to be available in that fund in the first six months of FY17), $200 million from the Fund for the Advancement of Education, $20 million from GRF, and approximately $100 million from the Personal Property Tax Replacement Fund for community colleges.

    ▪ This plan should ensure that universities are able to open on time and complete the full fall semester.
    ▪ Community colleges are funded at $114 million, plus funding for adult and career tech and other grants.
    ▪ Includes $151 million in funding for MAP for spring semester 2016. This goes to public and private colleges, for all students who were awarded MAP grants for the spring semester
    ▪ Funds the Illinois Math and Science Academy, East St. Louis and Lake County centers and some higher education and community college board operations.

o Funding for critical State government operations with GRF totaling $454 million. This GRF comes from $454 million freed up by removing the requirement to repay interfund borrowing. Also relies on full use of the rainy day fund ($275 million). These resources will be used to cover critical needs at agencies, including:

    ▪ Utilities, food and medical services at state prisons, mental health centers and veterans’ homes.
    ▪ Fuel and vehicle repairs for six months for State troopers’ vehicles to ensure public safety and IDOT vehicles to ensure repairs, salt distribution and snow removal.
    ▪ Funding to continue child support collection.
    ▪ Continued operations of other key State government services, such as collection of cigarette and other taxes.
    ▪ No GRF is appropriated for health insurance providers for State and university employees, which has a bill backlog of over $3 billion.

This stopgap funding means that approximately 20% of all State government operations are funded, counting health insurance (or 50% without health insurance.)

o Human services funding of $650 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund. This is the amount of resources projected to be available in this fund through December 2016. This plan will help cover critical services not being paid under consent decrees or court orders. Includes $35 million in additional human services grants. This funding level means that human services will get over 90% of the amount they typically would get over 18 months when you include spending authorized by court orders.

o Full-year appropriations of federal funds of $8.4 billion. Includes federal funding that goes directly to providers, and takes full advantage of all available federal funds.

o Full-year appropriations of non-GRF/other state funds of $33.2 billion, and capital appropriations of $17.0 billion. This non-GRF funding includes:

    ▪ Capital appropriations, which will ensure continuation of road and bridge improvements, payment of school construction grants and local water and sewer improvements. Includes new pay-as- you-go IDOT projects, covered by available projected Road Fund revenue. Will allow completion of projects for colleges and key state facilities which were halted in FY16.
    ▪ Debt service payments for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and the State’s Civic Center bonds.
    ▪ Lottery prizes, local government distributions (including motor fuel taxes), low-income heating assistance and other services.
    ▪ Appropriations of all remaining non-GRF items in FY16 which ends June 30th, generally at the Governor’s estimated level recommended in his fiscal year 2016 budget, totaling $25 billion. Fiscal year 2017 appropriations include language allowing those appropriations to be used to pay FY16 bills, if necessary.
    • Spending under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations and statutory transfers will continue in FY17 without enacted appropriations.


*** UPDATE ***  The bills have now been filed…

Illinois Republican leaders Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) filed legislation on Tuesday that would provide a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, road construction projects and federal programs. It would also provide six months of funding for critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities (such as prisons and veterans’ homes), public safety, health and welfare.

In total, the funding package introduced totals $50.3 billion for FY17 and another $25 billion to close out FY16. The plan is contained in two identical bills in each chamber, one which contains K-12 education funding (SB 3439, HB 6590) and the other which contains funding for other agencies (SB 3438, HB 6591).

Senate Bill 3439/HB6590 would ensure Illinois schools have funding to open this fall, with an increase of more than $240 million over this year’s enacted education budget, for a total of $7.2 billion in general funds.

“The measure we filed today would fully fund the foundation level for the first time in years, as well as include a ‘hold harmless’ to ensure that all school districts get at least as much as they received in this past school year,” said Radogno. “What this plan does not contain is a bailout for Chicago Public Schools, as Democrat legislators have proposed. Their plan is not acceptable or affordable to the taxpayers of Illinois – particularly in our downstate and suburban communities.”

The Republican leaders’ state agency funding proposal reflects budget items negotiated in the bipartisan, bicameral legislator working groups, in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

Higher education funding totals $1 billion, which is on top of the $600 million already approved in Fiscal Year 2016. This measure, if approved, would: ensure that universities are able to open on time and complete a full fall semester; allocate $151 million in funding for MAP grants for the spring semester of 2016; and provide community colleges with $114 million, plus funding for adult career tech and other grants.

Leader Durkin notes that under SB 3438 and HB 6591, funding for critical state government operations would total $729 million, and would help cover critical needs at state agencies, including: utilities, food and medical services at state prisons, mental health centers and veteran’s homes.

“Time is running out with less than three days until the start of a new fiscal year. The citizens of Illinois deserve a balanced negotiated budget that cares for students, the most vulnerable and all Illinoisans. The language in these bills can be amended to active bills in both chambers to meet our Thursday deadline. Those who claim this cannot be completed by then are just plain wrong,” Durkin said.

Under Senate Bill 3438 and HB 6591, $650 million will help cover critical human services not being paid under consent decrees or court orders. This includes $35 million in additional human services grants. This funding level means that human services will get over 90% of the amount they typically would get over 18 months when including spending authorized by court orders.

Full-year appropriations of non-GRF/other state funds of $33.2 billion, and capital appropriations of $17.0 billion, will ensure that: road and bridge improvements can continue; payment of school construction grants and local water and sewer improvements are met; local government distributions are made and funding is allocated for low-income heating assistance and other services.

“We are at a critical point in this budget impasse,” said Radogno. “The time for political posturing has passed — the time to act is now.”

Both the Illinois Senate and House are scheduled to be in session on Wednesday, June 29.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

SDems leak K-12 funding plan

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

[This post has been bumped up for visibility.]

* AP

Senate Democrats plan to put forward an education funding plan Tuesday that increases money for public schools this fall by $750 million.

The plan released to The Associated Press late Monday would pump $286 million more into Chicago Public Schools.

Both the Senate and House return to session in Springfield on Wednesday to try to put together a budget agreement to keep government operating past Thursday’s end of the fiscal year.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the Legislature to act on a GOP school-funding plan that increases funding by $235 million. And he wants a second measure approved keeping government operating for half a year.

* According to the numbers I got from the Senate Democrats earlier today, Chicago would, indeed, receive a $286 million General State Aid increase, which would be a 30 percent boost from this fiscal year’s funding levels.

But Chicago would also get another $100 million or so via a state pension pickup, the SDems told me today.

Also, from what I was told, it’s a $760 million total increase - $60 million for the formula and $700 million for poverty grants.

…Adding… The governor’s folks think that it’s actually an $861 million increase because, they believe, that $100 million for the pension pickup isn’t included in the $760 million figure.

…Adding More… The governor’s office was correct. The Senate Democrats confirm that the $760 million is only GSA. So, it’s an $860+ million package.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

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