The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate increased +0.1 percentage points to 4.8 percent in July and nonfarm payrolls increased by +2,100 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. June job growth was revised down to show an increase of +6,400 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of +8,600 jobs.
July’s monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. In the first seven months of 2017, payroll growth is growing twice as fast as 2016, but growing at half the pace of 2015 for the same seven-month period.
“The strong employment growth exhibited in the U.S. is not being felt in Illinois,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Nonfarm payroll growth in the state remains anemic and labor force participation continues to decline.”
“The modest gains in Illinois continue to lag behind the rest of the nation,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We need reforms to provide business owners relief and incentives to make our state not only competitive, but attractive to bring good jobs back to Illinois.”
In July, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+6,200); Leisure and Hospitality (+4,000); and Other Services (+1,800). The largest payroll declines were in the following sectors: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-3,700); Education and Health Services (-3,200); and Construction (-1,800).
Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +33,200 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in July: Professional and Business Services (+20,700); Leisure and Hospitality (+11,600); and Financial Activities (+9,500). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-10,700); Construction (-4,300); and Government (-2,300). The +0.7 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is about one-half as strong as the +1.5 percent gain posted by the nation in July.
The state’s unemployment rate is +0.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for July 2017, which decreased to 4.3 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -1.0 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.8 percent. At 4.8 percent, the Illinois jobless rate stands -0.9 percentage points lower than January 2017.
The number of unemployed workers increased +2.0 percent from the prior month to 308,200, down -18.6 percent over the same month for the prior year. This was the second consecutive over-the-month gain in the number of unemployed persons. The labor force decreased -0.4 percent over-the-month and declined by -1.2 percent in July over the prior year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.
Of all the elected GOP incumbents, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) of Illinois seems like he is clearly in the most trouble. Businessman J.B. Pritzker (D), who can match the also super-wealthy Rauner dollar for dollar, is asserting himself in the Democratic primary against businessman Chris Kennedy (yes, he is one of THE Kennedys) and others. This is a true Toss-up, although Rauner, who has been feuding with the Democratic legislature his entire time in office, is in really serious trouble.
The race is a “true Toss-up” but Rauner is in “really serious trouble”? Can y’all explain this to me?
No one in the Illinois House of Representatives voted Wednesday in support of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s rewrite of a school funding plan, as Democrats demonstrated the general dissatisfaction with the governor’s proposal.
Earlier this month, Mr. Rauner rejected a funding formula, passed by both houses of the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, that allocates state aid to the neediest school districts first.
After the governor made changes to the legislation, the state Senate rejected them Sunday, when one Republican lawmaker joined the chamber’s 37 Democrats to achieve the three-fifths majority necessary to override Mr. Rauner’s veto.
To better gauge support for an override attempt in their chamber, House Speaker Michael Madigan and other Democratic representatives put Mr. Rauner’s changes to Senate Bill 1 in a new piece of legislation Wednesday and forced a test vote. Sixty members voted against it, 33 simply voted present and none voted in support. […]
The governor’s repudiation Wednesday comes just a month after the legislature overrode his veto to levy a roughly $5 billion income tax increase and pass the state’s first budget in more than two years.
The governor can’t be happy with that take. At all.
* But after saying for days that he wanted the General Assembly to accept his SB1 amendatory veto, he did a flip-flop reminiscent of a former governor…
In one of the more bizarre political moves in the history of Illinois state government, Gov. Rod Blagojevich Thursday urged lawmakers to do the opposite of what he had urged them to do on Wednesday. He urged them to vote against the gross receipts tax that a day earlier he had implored them to approve.
Rauner vetoed similar legislation in 2016, so lawmakers went back to work, crafting such agreeable legislation that it gained unanimous approval in both the House and Senate — a feat made even more staggering when placed in the context of the partisan rancor that has gripped and gridlocked Springfield for years.
SB 1933 closely aligns the new automatic voter registration system with the state’s Real ID program and is designed to make the process less expensive, more modern and more secure. It also builds in the time it will take to develop a fair and effective system before launch, rather than putting the cart several lengths ahead of the horse.
Further, the plan offers an opt-out provision. That would make it possible for anyone to make sure they are not included on the voter rolls. We strongly encourage all eligible citizens to exercise their right to vote, but in so doing we accept the freedom of choice extends to the decision of whether or not to cast a ballot or whether to be registered at all. And so it became paramount for any automatic registration to include this option.
With all these safeguards in place, and with a promise from May that the governor would sign the bill, how is it possible we’re halfway through August and Rauner still hasn’t sealed the deal? If he doesn’t put pen to paper, the bill could die when the calendar turns to September.
On June 1 we urged the governor to sign the bill without delay. Other newspapers made similar requests, not to mention that unanimous support from both chambers. If Rauner refuses to sign, he could at least extend us the dignity of an explanation. If his approval is only a formality, then what possible reason can there be for taking so long?
* The governor’s former staff made some changes to the bill that could benefit the GOP. For instance, the implementation date was moved to 2019 for all agencies except the Secretary of State’s driver facilities, which is after the 2018 election. And…
Removes the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Department on Aging from the definition of “designated automatic voter registration agency” and includes the divisions of Family and Community Services and Rehabilitation Services of the Department of Human Services (rather than the entirety of the Department of Human Services) in the definition
Rauner’s former staff also added the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Department of Natural Resources to the list of designated automatic voter registration agencies. So hunters, fishing enthusiasts and regulated business owners can be automatically registered.
Proponents are getting nervous and there’s lots of speculation that the new ideologically motivated staff is the real holdup. Stay tuned.
An Illinois appeals court is standing by its decision to dismiss a Paxton bed-and-breakfast’s appeal of $80,000 in penalties imposed by the state’s Human Rights Commission in connection with the discrimination of a same-sex couple.
The Fourth District of the Illinois Appellate Court entered an order Wednesday denying a motion filed by Chicago attorney Jason Craddock that had asked the court to reverse the dismissal of the appeal.
Craddock filed the appeal on behalf of Jim Walder, co-owner of the TimberCreek Bed-and-Breakfast west of Paxton, who is facing penalties that include paying $30,000 to Todd and Mark Wathen for their emotional distress and paying the Wathens’ attorneys $50,000 in fees.
The penalties were imposed last year by a three-member panel of the Human Rights Commission, as recommended by an administrative law judge appointed by the commission. The judge and panel both found that Walder violated the civil rights of the Wathens, who live in Tuscola, by refusing to host their civil-union ceremony at his B&B in 2011, and then sending them a series of emails citing Biblical verses and denouncing homosexuality as “wrong and unnatural.”
If the survey is right, Preckwinkle’s personal numbers are almost as bad as those for her penny-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages. […]
“President Preckwinkle is solely focused on navigating the county through tough economic circumstances and leading on behalf of the people of Cook County,” Preckwinkle political aide Scott Kastrup said in a statement. “Her strong record of reforming county government, improving access to healthcare, protecting public safety services and standing up to special interests are why she has broad support across the county and why she’s in strong position to win-re-election next year.” […]
Crosstabs indicate there is little variation among racial and ethnic groups about Preckwinkle and her tax. For instance, disapproval of her job performance ranges from 65 percent among whites and 67 percent among African Americans to 81 percent among Latinos. […]
The only figure now known to be actively considering a race against Preckwinkle in next year’s elections is fellow commissioner Richard Boykin, a Democrat who represents the West Side and western suburbs including Oak Park.
You can’t beat somebody with nobody, so we’ll see if she gets an opponent. And maybe the furor will die down, or maybe it won’t. But these county numbers are worse than a recent statewide poll of Donald Trump’s and Bruce Rauner’s approval ratings.
This poll was conducted from August 15 through August 16, 2017 using both automated (recorded) and live operator-initiated calls cell phones. In all, 902 registered voters completed all questions on the poll; 450 of the responses came from cell phones. The voters dialed were randomly selected from a proprietary registered-voter database of likely voters to assure the greatest chance of providing an accurate cross-section of opinion from the county-wide sample. No weighting formulas were applied to correct any over- and under-sampling.
Cook County officials say they’ve solved a problem with the new sweetened beverage tax that put roughly $87 million in funding used to run the federal food stamp program in Illinois at risk of being withheld. […]
The county solved the issue by striking language permitting refunds from the regulation, which “will ensure ongoing access of SNAP benefits for eligible Illinois households,” county spokesman Frank Shuftan said in a statement Thursday.
The USDA confirmed that the county notified the agency that it had corrected the issue.
*** UPDATE 2 *** ILGOP…
Cook County is fed up with politics as usual from Toni Preckwinkle. A shocking poll out today finds that there is overwhelming opposition to Preckwinkle’s signature tax - nearly 7 in 10 registered Cook County voters oppose her soda tax.
But where does J.B. Pritzker stand? So far, all we’ve heard is silence from the normally talkative billionaire.
Could it be that Pritzker’s ties to the Cook County machine prevent him from speaking out?
Could it be that Pritzker is just so thankful for the Cook County Democratic Party’s endorsement that he refuses to take on their reckless members and stand up for taxpayers?
Or maybe running mate Juliana Stratton is stopping Pritzker from doing the right thing – since she’s a “member of Ms. Preckwinkle’s inner circle” and her “protégé”.
Either way, Pritzker’s silence says it all - he’s okay with massive tax hikes that threaten to take millions in federal funding away from those in need.
Rauner has built his political career, such as it is, by bashing Chicago for the woes of Illinois. He stomps around Downstate stirring up resentments, telling the people of smaller cities and towns that the big bad city is sponging up their money and playing them for suckers.
This hasn’t worked well for the governor. He has little to show for his first 2½ years in office. But he’s playing the game yet again in his opposition to a bill that would overhaul the way schools are funded in Illinois, complaining speciously that it is a “Chicago bailout.”
Now comes news, though, that Rauner may have it all backward. If anybody is “bailing out” anybody, it’s the northeast counties of Illinois, with the mighty engine of Chicago at their hub, bailing out the rest of the state. On Monday, a 2015 study was released that shows Cook and the other suburban counties get less money back from the state than they give — 80 cents or less for every dollar — while almost all Downstate counties get back more than they give — as much as $2 or more for every dollar.
Cook County, that is to say, is “bailing out” Sangamon County, and Lake County is “bailing out” Wayne County, and DuPage is “bailing out” Jackson, and Kane is “bailing out” Union, and Will is “bailing out” St. Clair, and Kendall is “bailing out” Crawford, and McHenry is “bailing out” Hardin.
Why don’t we try a different tack? Let’s move away from this useless debate about who is bailing out whom. It will always, for one, be inconclusive. […]
If the “bailout” blame game is unending, it also misses the point. Illinois will never get its mojo back until it moves forward as a whole, not as a collection of feuding parts. No corner of the state wants to be short-changed, but the needs of all corners are not the same. If, for example, more Medicaid money flows downstate because more people need Medicaid downstate, so be it. That’s not a bailout. That’s fairness.
State GOP Party Chair Tim Schneider said the party gave out 2,000 tickets to the Governor’s Day rally. He then needled Democrats for canceling the traditional party events at the fair: “They can’t even field a team,” he said.
Who is the likely GOP nominee for Secretary of State? Did he or she give a speech yesterday? Were there any signs or tee shirts? Has Rauner endorsed a candidate who will run “as an independent Republican,” like Erika Harold, yet?
Those candidates sure missed a good opportunity to meet Republican grass roots activists yesterday. What a shame.
Both parties traditionally use their State Fair rallies to showcase statewide candidates. That didn’t happen yesterday except for their AG candidate because the Republicans don’t yet have any candidates for three statewide offices, even though petitions can be circulated on September 5th, which is just a few weeks from now.
Maybe they were just hoping to showcase Harold, or maybe they realized that Rauner would overshadow any other announcement, but it does seem a bit odd that they haven’t yet filled out their statewide slate. Tick-tock.
The four legislative leaders are scheduled to meet in Chicago Friday to discuss a possible compromise funding bill. But Madigan said Wednesday he isn’t sure Rauner wants to compromise. Madigan said he and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs began meeting last week, and Madigan said he offered a “compromise proposal to Rep. Durkin which he took back to the governor. The governor rejected the proposal.”
“I have a serious doubt that Governor Rauner wants any kind of agreement on this issue,” Madigan said. […]
Rauner’s office denied getting a compromise proposal.
“This is absolutely false,” said spokeswoman Laurel Patrick. “The governor has received no offer of compromise from the Speaker through Leader Durkin. In fact, Gov. Rauner has been calling for compromise for weeks now and has reiterated this call daily since.”
* I asked Leader Durkin’s office for a comment and here’s what they sent…
“For a second time, Jesse White is breaking his pledge to voters not to run for re-election. It’s no surprise, coming from a career politician and Madigan patronage chief who consistently breaks his word.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe
Moody’s has issued a short report on the failure of the State of Illinois (rated Baa3/negative outlook) to distribute the first payment of FY 2018 general state aid to its school districts. This action is credit negative for those districts, and will weigh most heavily on those with significant dependence on state aid and lower cash reserves. The lapsed distribution follows the state’s failure to adopt a new state aid funding formula, as required by the state’s fiscal 2018 budget bill, enacted on July 6. The state’s distribution of grants owed to districts from the previous year somewhat mitigates the delay, but the effects will grow if the impasse continues.
While Illinois’ FY 2018 budget increases school district funding, it makes the distribution contingent on the state’s adoption of an “evidence-based funding” model. On August 1, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), which would have created the model required by the budget bill. A three-fifths majority in the legislature is required to adopt his amendments, override his veto or pass another bill to change the formula. On August 13, the Senate passed on override of the veto. The House came back into session on August 16, but has yet to act on an override.
Moody’s rates 256 school districts in Illinois. We expect 5-20 of these will have deteriorated credit within months because they may use cash reserves or borrow to cushion effects from the state aid delay. The delay will harm more districts if the impasse extends for several months. However, districts that source less than 10% of annual revenue from state aid, approximately 100 of rated school districts, would likely weather even a funding delay that lasts a year or longer with minimal effect on their reserves and credit profile. Illinois districts with lower property wealth or higher poverty tend to rely much more heavily on state aid.
Among Moody’s-rated Illinois school districts, 17 received more than 40% of revenue from state operating aid, while an additional 32 relied on aid for 30%-40% of revenue. However, many of those districts carry very high cash balances. Illinois school districts across the rating scale tend to hold higher cash reserves compared with school districts in other states.
Democratic governor candidate J.B. PRITZKER says he intends to provide income-tax return information well before the March primary.
“I’ll put them out soon,” he said when I asked about the issue in an interview I had this week with him and his running mate, state Rep. JULIANA STRATTON, D-Chicago.
GOP Gov. BRUCE RAUNER, who doesn’t take pay as governor but made more than $187 million in 2015, has provided income-tax information during his time in office, though he only provides the top couple pages of state and federal joint returns with his wife.
Pritzker, who Forbes lists as having net worth of $3.4 billion, said he didn’t know if he would put out all the schedules with his disclosure.
In a change from a commitment Gov. Bruce Rauner had previously made to immigrant rights groups, the Illinois TRUST Act, a bill that would limit the ways local police help federal authorities enforce immigration law, is currently “under review”. […]
“This summer, his team did confirm that he is committed to signing it. So it is our expectation, that he will be signing this bill,” Andy Kang, legal director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago and one of the authors of the bill, said on The 21st on Tuesday. “We hope that we can follow-up with him, get a bill signing location and date established, and really celebrate this as a win for the community.”
But in an interview with Fox News last Friday, Governor Rauner told Bret Baier that his staff “is evaluating that bill right now…We’re going to evaluate it and then we’ll make an announcement about how we’re going to deal with that.”
A spokeswoman with Governor Rauner’s office confirmed to The 21st on Wednesday that the TRUST Act is indeed “under review.” […]
Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, one of the groups that helped write the bill, said on Wednesday that they were also reaching out to the governor’s office for clarification on whether or not he would sign the bill.
Oregon became the first state to make all abortions free when their Democrat governor signed a bill into law Monday. Illinois could become the second state if Governor Rauner signs HB 40 into law.
Republicans gathered at the State Fair Wednesday to celebrate “Governor’s Day” and when reporters asked, the governor didn’t say directly what he plans to do with a bill sitting on his desk that will cause Illinois taxpayers to pay for all abortions.
However, Governor Rauner did tell reporters that he “strongly supports women’s reproductive rights, and that he always has and always will,” Terri Koyne of Benld wrote on her Facebook page. […]
“If he signs or allows this bill to become law and you are a social conservative, this should be enough to say that you can no longer support him,” Koyne said. “If you are a fiscal conservative, this should be enough to say that you can no longer support him.”
Those following the stories about the governor’s wife being heavily involved in policy-making and strategizing for his campaign are reminded how adamantly pro-abortion Mrs. Rauner has consistently been. Even during the 2014 campaign, Mrs. Rauner appealed to pro-abortion supporters and the Rauners have been generous to pro-abortion groups such as Personal PAC and Planned Parenthood.
Today, Daniel Biss announced the endorsement of Congresswoman Robin Kelly at a joint press conference before the Illinois Democratic County Chairman’s Brunch in Springfield.
“Illinois families deserve a governor who’s committed to creating jobs, empowering people with the skills for good-paying jobs and tackling gun violence. Daniel Biss has the experience to deliver on his promises,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “Daniel is a fighter for the forgotten and the middle class. He will be a strong, principled voice is Springfield for our values. I trust him to be my Governor and I hope you will too.”
“Congresswoman Kelly has been a fiercely independent voice throughout her career in public service,” said Daniel Biss. “From taking on and defeating an entrenched incumbent to pushing for common sense gun safety laws, Congresswoman Kelly has always followed her conscience amidst the moral chaos of Springfield and Washington. She understands the challenges of running against big money and brand names—and the power of Illinois voters to make their voices heard in our elections. It’s an honor to have her endorsement.”
Gov. Rauner touts plan for Illinois children at Governor’s Day
Calls for support of his plan to fairly distribute school funding
Governor Bruce Rauner addressed hundreds of visitors today at the State Fair’s Governor’s Day, emphasizing his effort to ensure Illinois schoolchildren receive fair and equitable funding in their classrooms.
He stressed the importance of his plan for the future of Illinois schools. Under the Governor’s plan, 98% of school districts receive more money than they would under the current plan pushed through the legislature by Mike Madigan.
Rauner is focused on putting the money where it belongs, in Illinois classrooms, instead of providing special deals for the broken financial structure in Chicago.
From Governor Rauner’s remarks:
“Everyone in Illinois deserves a great education for their children, regardless of what their family income is, regardless of where they live, regardless of their neighborhood. Every neighborhood needs a great school. We as Republicans fight to make sure we have school fairness and school equity, and we’ve got the best K-12 system in America, and that’s what we’re going to get with this new education funding formula.” …
… “we’ve had a broken education system in Illinois for decades.” …
… “we’re going to get more money from the state into our K-12 system and I want it equitably spread throughout the state, equally for the city and the suburbs and around the state of Illinois. ” …
…”We had the beginnings of a good bill drafted up and I was excited about it, but you know what happened? Speaker Madigan and his cronies grabbed that bill and stuffed in a massive bailout, a massive special deal for the city of Chicago.”
Governor Bruce Rauner and Republicans across Illinois rallied in support of the Governor’s reform agenda and made clear they will hold Mike Madigan’s machine politicians accountable for the damage they’ve inflicted upon taxpayers.
Check out some of the news coverage from the fair:
WCIA: Governor’s day takes aim at Speaker
Hundreds of supporters showed up, but the overall theme was gearing up for the 2018 election and winning seats to flip the majority. Governor Rauner kicked off the event rallying the crowd with high hopes.
… The event was filled with Madigan shirts and buttons which negatively portrayed the Speaker.
“You know why we’re going to pick up at least nine seats maybe a dozen because Democrats just as much as Republicans are angry. They know the system is broken, they know Mike Madigan has set up a machine that makes him rich.”
WGN: Governor’s Day, school funding at center stage in Springfield
It’s Governor Day at the Illinois State Fair and Governor Bruce Rauner is rallying the troops ahead of next year’s election.
“This is an exciting election. We’re going to win on to victory in 2018. Let’s restore Democracy in the State of Illinois,” said Rauner.
NPR Illinois: Rauner Outlines 2018 Campaign Themes: Madigan, Madigan, Madigan
Illinois Republicans are gearing up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election fight. At a state fair rally Wednesday, they made clear their campaign will focus on one man.
… “We cannot give into Madigan and his Chicago agenda any longer,” said Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.
“Our goal is to win the House back, and make Leader Durkin Speaker Durkin in 2018,” he said, referring to House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.
Chicago Sun-Times: Rauner releases two TV ads ahead of Illinois House school funding vote
Gov. Bruce Rauner on Governor’s Day released two television ads, paid for by his campaign, in his push to try to squash a veto override in the Illinois House.
The two 30-second spots will be aired statewide, alongside digital ads and phone calls, according to Rauner’s campaign committee Citizens for Rauner.
… “Tell Speaker Madigan we’ve had enough,” one of the ads says.
Gov. Bruce Rauner rallied fellow Republicans Wednesday to “ignite a political revolution against the broken political system in Illinois” that in the 2018 election could oust the “corrupt politicians” in power.
That was part of his speech at the Governor’s Day rally at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. And while there was no mention from officials on that stage of Republican President Donald Trump, Rauner told reporters just before the speeches started that he strongly disagrees with Trump’s blaming both sides for violence that resulted in a death at a recent rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I vehemently disagree with the president’s comments about Charlottesville,” Rauner said. “We must stand together against hatred and bigotry and violence.”
Asked if Trump’s comments could hurt the Republican brand, Rauner said, “What I care about is the comments damage America. We are all Americans. It doesn’t matter what party.”
After steering clear of discussing President Donald Trump or even uttering his name for many months, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday issued a harsh denunciation of the president’s take on the deadly Virginia protest.
“I vehemently disagree with the president’s comments about the tragedy in Charlottesville,” Rauner said. “We must stand together against hatred and racism and bigotry and violence and we must condemn those actions in Charlottesville in the strongest terms.” […]
Rauner’s pushback to Trump contrasted with a morning breakfast and an afternoon Republican rally where the governor didn’t mention the president’s much-criticized Tuesday remarks in which he equated neo-Nazi and white supremacist protesters with counterprotesters.
The traditional Republican rally featured no Trump signs, though a vendor was selling red Trump-themed “Make America Great Again” hats. Still, the controversies swirling around the president hung over the festivities much like the rain clouds over the fairgrounds.
Members of the Illinois House of Representatives twice expressed unanimous opposition Wednesday to expressions of racial animus.
In an official 105-0 vote, the House adopted a resolution — sponsored by Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, and Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills — which vilifies white supremacists. The proclamation specifically “repudiates and condemns'’ neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and others that “espouse hate.'’
The vote was a response to incidents in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, where a woman was killed and 19 injured when a man plowed his car into a group of counterdemonstrators at a rally of white supremacists protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.
An emotional state Rep. Jaime Andrade brought lawmakers to their feet on Wednesday in denouncing an Illinois Policy Institute cartoon that depicted a young African-American boy from Chicago begging for money for school from a wealthy white man with half-empty pockets.
The North Side Democrat denounced the cartoon as “s—,” prompting Democrats to rise to give him a standing ovation, with Republicans quickly joining in.
The conservative think tank defended the cartoon, arguing it was not racist, but late Wednesday took it down from the organization’s website, saying the controversy was a distraction from the real issue, “the failure of political leaders to address the root cause of our struggling education system.” […]
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, also joined in on the debate on Twitter: “Cartoons don’t make racism any more palatable @illinoispolicy should delete their cartoon and apologize. That has no place in policy debate.”
Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, raised the issue on the House floor Wednesday, asking his colleagues to stand in opposition, saying the representation in the cartoon was “unacceptable.”
“People forget that I am a minority, maybe because I move my hands and think I’m Italian, I don’t know. But this… this is just unacceptable,” Andrade said. “This unbelievable that we, today, in 2017, are still dealing with this s—.. Because that’s what it is.” […]
The Chicago-based advocacy organization, which has counted Rauner among its donors, has been a key player in efforts to promote conservative ideology in Illinois. The group recently took on an even higher profile after Rauner replaced several of his top aides with policy institute staffers.
Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said he had not seen the cartoon, but noted Rauner’s decision to formally bring the organization into his administration.
* John Tillman press release…
“The Illinois Policy Institute recently published a cartoon to address the sad reality that TIF districts rob Illinois children – including children of color – of the funds necessary for their education. The price our children pay for this misgovernance is steep.
“Some lawmakers are denouncing our cartoon. We respect these lawmakers, both as representatives of their constituencies and as bearers of their own experiences and perceptions, and we acknowledge their critique.
“But our cartoon told the truth: TIFs take away money from all students, and disproportionately harm students of color. We stand by that fact. And we have long fought to help all students get access to better educational opportunities. TIF prevents that.
“We have taken down the cartoon, not because we think it is racist, but because it is a distraction from another truth – the failure of political leaders to address the root cause of our struggling education system. We stand ready to work with all elected officials and advocates who would like to see TIF money properly refocused on students across the state.
“Finally, what we find sad, and frankly offensive, is that in a world where so much real, harmful racism exists, political leaders are using the false charge of racism in an attempt to smear policy opponents and distract the people of Illinois from politicians’ failures.
“This is a distraction from the most important task at hand in the Statehouse: Ensuring equitable education funding for all Illinois students.”
A Republican legislator who was an instrumental leader of the uprising that gave Illinois its first budget in more than two years is leaving state politics, citing an increasingly political and partisan atmosphere in Springfield.
Rep. Steven Andersson, R-Geneva, says he will step down at the end of his term rather than run for re-election in 2018.
“The reality is that this place if very much leadership-driven, and leaders are driven to win. And that means that policy sometimes takes a second place to politics,” Andersson said.
He corrected himself: not sometimes. “Often,” he said. “Too often.”
Andersson was one of a dozen Republicans who joined the General Assembly’s majority Democrats to vote for a budget and income tax increase in July over the objections of Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Shortly thereafter, Andersson was deposed as House Republicans’ floor leader.
* I can’t say this surprises me. Press release…
When our state was on the brink of a financial cliff of such enormity that we would not recover for decades, I came to the same conclusion as many of my colleagues, that the cost of inaction outweighed the cost of compromise.
I, along with a 14 other Republicans, rose up and joined rank and file Democrats in an effort to end the impasse. Due to the partisan infighting, the clock had run out and time was up despite two and a half years of negotiations, there was no viable deal that could be passed in time to save our state from disaster. We could no longer watch while our state burned without a budget for the longest time of any state in U.S. history.
As a result of the vote, we brought the state back from the fiscal edge and passed a balanced budget - the first in decades, while continuing the fight to build on the many reforms we did achieve. These significant reforms include procurement reform, government consolidation initiatives and criminal justice reform. We lived to fight another day and saved the state from financial collapse.
I am proud of the work I have done during my tenure, such as passing legislation giving voters the right to dissolve local governments; being a staunch advocate from the beginning for the future energy jobs bill; insuring children get screened for social emotional learning issues at an early age, making local government and our courts run more efficiently and for honoring our Gold Star Families with their own day each year. Moving forward, I will continue to fight, and I will continue to lead, with the same Republican values I have held to for 40 years. Values entrenched in the notion of living within our means, honoring our commitments, building strong businesses, ensuring equality for all, valuing human life, and delivering a sustainable government. In addition, I will also fight for those who have the least voice: the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, those afflicted with substance abuse and other issues.
That said, our politics are changing. Even within the time, I have served in Springfield, the temperament of my party has shifted, and the Republican Party values I grew up with seem to be increasingly absent or changing. At this point, I believe that my advocacy will be stronger outside the chamber than within. There are others who are better suited to the current partisan politics of this chamber. At the end of this term I’ll be stepping aside to afford that opportunity to another individual.
I’d like to thank the incredible outpouring of support from both within the district and across the state for my work to bring an end to the budget impasse. It has been truly humbling. It has been an honor to serve the people of 65th district and the realization of a lifelong dream. Thank you.