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*** UPDATED x1 *** Chris Kennedy busts the contribution cap in governor’s race

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* It was bound to happen sooner or later…


Kennedy reported a $250,100 contribution to himself. So, all gubernatorial candidates can now take whatever they want from contributors from here on out. The official clock started ticking on March 20th, a year before the 2018 primary. Large contributions before that date (including Gov. Rauner’s $50 million contribution to his campaign last December) did not blow the caps.

Kennedy also reported some smaller contributions today totaling $73K.

Ameya Pawar reported about $70K in contris to his account yesterday. And JB Pritzker finally reported his $200K contribution to his exploratory campaign fund this week.

*** UPDATE ***  Sen. Daniel Biss is fundraising off of Kennedy’s contribution…

When I announced on Monday, I said we’d need to be ready to take on money and the machine. I just didn’t expect to be proven right so soon.

The only thing standing in the way of big money influencing our politics are contribution limits. This is why it’s so noteworthy that late on Friday, and exactly one week before the quarterly filing deadline, Chris Kennedy gave more than $250,000 of his personal wealth to his campaign.

With that one contribution, Kennedy has blown the fundraising caps in this race — which means there are no longer any limits to what donors can contribute.

This is great news for money and the machine — which means it’s terrible news for Illinois.
This is more of what we DON’T need — the rich and powerful exploiting loopholes in the law to maintain their hold on our state government. I got in this race to change that — and it’s why I need you to step up and stand with me now. Together, if each of us steps up, we can overcome money and the machine.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Man, this version swings

Then again, I think I won’t

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


*** UPDATED x2 - Emanuel responds - Cullerton responds *** Rauner vetoes Chicago pension fund bill

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Press release…

In an effort to protect taxpayers, Governor Bruce Rauner today vetoed legislation that creates a five-year pension funding fiscal cliff for Chicago’s municipal and laborer pension funds that will lead to increased taxes for residents in the City of Chicago in 2023 and beyond.

“This is another kick-the-can approach to pension funding that landed Chicago in fiscal crisis in the first place,” Governor Rauner said. “This bill will create an unsustainable funding schedule that will lead to tax increases without solving the real problem.”

Collectively, Chicago’s pension funds face a combined deficit of around $30 billion. At the same time, skipped or delayed pension payments over the years have caused the state’s unfunded pension liability to balloon to $130 billion. In vetoing this legislation Friday, Rauner called on the state and all of its communities to work together on a more comprehensive approach to reform.

The action followed a morning press conference in Chicago where Rauner encouraged the General Assembly to pass a pair of bills that will deliver statewide pension reform to save taxpayers billions, while providing Chicago Public Schools with additional funding it has requested to complete the school year.

“It’s like trying to fix a drought with a drop of rain. We see pension funding challenges throughout the state – one off, short-sighted approaches won’t really fix the problem,” Rauner said. “We must have comprehensive, long-term pension reform. Let’s get it done.”

The bill passed with large veto-proof majorities, but that was during the 99th General Assembly, so it’s back to the ol’ drawing board.

* The veto message…

Today, I veto Senate Bill 2437 from the 99th General Assembly, which makes changes to the Chicago’s municipal and laborer pension funds. This legislation allows members of those pension funds hired between 2011 and 2016 to opt to pay more in employee contributions, in exchange, those members could retire at age 65, rather than 67. Additionally, it allows new members to the system to retire two years earlier while also increasing their employee contributions.

While I appreciate the effort to address the insolvency of certain pension funds for Chicago’s public employees, the legislation will create another pension funding cliff that the city does not have the ability to pay. This legislation will result in increased taxes on Chicago residents.

This veto also reflects a concern that the legislation would do nothing to address the overarching problem of underfunded pension systems throughout our State. Chicago pension funds alone face a combined deficit of around $30 billion. Our state pension funds are collectively underfunded to the tune of $130 billion. Short-term fixes like Senate Bill 2437 are not the answer and in fact are what has led to our current pension woes. This practice has to stop.

I encourage the General Assembly to pass comprehensive pension reform for our pension systems across the state and to protect our taxpayers from the rising costs of these unfunded systems.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 2437, entitled “AN ACT concerning public employee benefits”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety. [Emphasis added.]

This was a negotiated settlement with the unions involved. And now, apparently, they’ve got to add it to the rest of the governor’s pension reform bill, which is going nowhere fast right now.

Expect vitriolic reacts in 3… 2…

*** UPDATE 1 ***  From the Senate President’s spokesman…

The Senate feared this would happen. That’s why we went ahead and passed the same plan early this session, once again with bipartisan support. Hopefully the governor will get another chance to reconsider his opposition.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From Mayor Emanuel’s spokesman Adam Collins…

“The governor continues to make one irresponsible and irrational decision after another, and his veto today is the latest example. This bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support because it improves our fiscal stability for taxpayers and shores up pensions for thousands of retirees who earned them. Instead of helping secure the future of our taxpayers and middle-class retirees, the governor chose to hold them hostage - just as he has done to social service providers, schoolchildren and universities across the state. The governor’s actions are harming the most vulnerable in our state, and the people of Illinois deserve better.”

* Related…

* Pension battle between ‘Gov. Gridlock’ and ‘Madigan’s Mayor’?: Under the city worker pension plan, city taxpayers would contribute millions more a year to the municipal workers’ and laborers’ pension funds. To pay for the increased contributions, the City Council approved a new tax on city water and sewer service. Without acting, the Municipal Employees Pension Fund would be left with a gaping hole in 2023 — even after a utility tax is fully phased in — that would require tax increases to honor the city’s commitment to reach 90 percent funding over a 40-year period.

* Emanuel wins approval of pension bill, but Rauner may veto: Even with the already enacted tax and fee increases, the city in 2023 would have to come up with at least $278 million more a year to meet the pension funding requirements in the bill approved Monday. The Rauner administration noted that in its statement.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


State ban on med-mar campaign contributions struck down by federal judge

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Libertarian Party candidates filed a federal lawsuit in 2016 challenging a state law that bans all campaign contributions from medical cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries. They won today in US District Judge John Z. Lee’s courtroom.

The gist

In sum, the Court concludes that Defendants have failed to meet their burden of showing that § 9-45 is closely drawn to the government’s interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or its appearance. Defendants have offered no justification for imposing an outright ban on contributions from medical cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries when more moderate measures, such as dollar limits on contributions, are available. Nor have they explained why the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption might be uniquely problematic in the medical cannabis industry, such that it could be justifiable for the government to target contribution restrictions at the medical cannabis industry alone. As such, the Court concludes that § 9-45 places a significant and unjustifiable burden on the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. Section 9-45 is therefore invalid under the First Amendment.

As the judge rightly pointed out, Illinois heavily regulates riverboat casinos but doesn’t prohibit them from contributing to campaigns. This was a bad law.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Dan Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC is spending $141,000 on cable TV ads blasting Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. Here’s the 30-second version of the ad

* The Question: Your rating of the ad?

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Vendor is hacked, Rauner admin calls out Mendoza

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Press release

The Illinois Department of Employment Security notified the Illinois General Assembly of confirmation that one of its vendors experienced a data breach affecting approximately 1.4 million Illinois job seekers, according to the vendor’s current estimate. The vulnerability was not the result of any deficiency in software maintained by the State of Illinois and may have impacted ten states.

“The threat of cyber-crime is a clear and present danger to the citizens of Illinois and our administration will continue pressing forward with a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy,” Eleni Demertzis, Spokeswoman for Governor Rauner. “We implore Comptroller Mendoza to reevaluate her decision to hold up funding for this important project, which everyday puts the people of Illinois at risk.”

* From a recent press release from the comptroller

More than $26 million in consulting fee payments from the [Statistical Services Revolving Fund] are currently being held:

    McKinsey - $12 million
    Accenture - $7.35 million
    RL Canning - $170,895
    Deloitte - $318,776
    SAP Public Services - $1.8 million

So, by all means let’s speed up payments to Deloitte, McKinsey, SAP and Accenture. They’re such tiny, cash-strapped companies that they couldn’t possibly float their state invoices for a while. The social service providers won’t mind being bumped back again, I’m sure. They can just go back to their banks for another loan.

Both sides should just work it out, already. Enough.

…Adding… Just to be clear, the money in that Statistical Services Revolving Fund was transferred out of the General Revenue Fund “in the final days” of the Munger administration, according to the comptroller.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


So, what will Vallas do?

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* I’ve seen a whole lot of stories about putting Paul Vallas in charge of Chicago State University. Some have focused on the fact that a white man would be running a predominantly African-American university. Some have focused on the various enemies he has. Some have talked about how Gov. Rauner wants to install him, which they claim can’t be good, except that Vallas ran with Pat Quinn against Rauner in 2014.

What I wanted to know was, what does Vallas intend to do at CSU? I talked with him about it a bit last night. It was clear that he had some ideas, so I reached out to one of his people and asked that person to get me some bullet points. Here they are, slightly edited…

1. Paul has already built a Strategic Planning Team. I can’t release names without permission, but this team is absolutely dedicated and has already met several times, working pro bono to prepare to conduct a comprehensive and wholly transparent review of CSU’s finances, organization, operations and education programs for the purposes of developing a long-term Strategic Plan for CSU. The review will include document review, interviews and listening sessions with administrators, faculty, students and stakeholder communities.

2. He will develop a separate budget with dedicated revenue sources to address the university’s long-term debt obligations and legacy costs. This will insulate and protect the university’s core operating budget to ensure financial stability and sustainability of the transformation.

3. CSU will serve as a “hub” of many CSU-curated, but not always CSU-generated, education, occupational training, and community support services. Like other prominent universities, CSU will also build capacity to launch programs that will not only expand education and job training opportunities, but that will also generate profits. These profits will be reinvested into the university including programs and buildings with potential reductions in tuition costs and increased scholarships, and used to help retire long-term obligations. (Also less dependence on state dollars – crucial in times like these).

4. Paul has already identified other local universities with plenty of programs but shortage of space. CSU has plenty of space, not enough programs. He will explore “swap partnership” space for their students, new programs and classes for CSU students – no cost to CSU, more & better programs for students – all to drive increased enrollment / more dollars to CSU – in spite of budget impasse.

5. He’s already talked to a prominent Silicon Valley tech firm interested in coming in to provide new tech platform at a cut rate. It is interested in helping out and is a fascinating project and a chance to “do good.” Its involvement would include tech internships and training for CSU students. Perhaps tech “lab” type course as the project is implemented. Increased use of digital learning tools at CSU will not replace the “physical” university which has ample space, but will be newly employed to:

    • expand course offerings, experiences, and learning resources;
    • Support blended learning and provide on-line courses and degree and certification programs – to drive increased enrollment.
    • Support student learning 24 hours a day/7 days a week;
    • Facilitate individualized learning programs;
    • Develop online and 21st century learning skills;
    • Increase student engagement, motivation, and completion/degree attainment;
    • Accelerate learning; and
    • Link both instructors to their students and to quality content, resources, and systems to help them improve their own instruction and personalized learning.

6. Will seek partnerships with international universities from African and Caribbean nations, for potential exchange, study abroad programs.

Vallas also talked last night about starting up a program to train a new generation of firefighters and police officers.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


The high price of deliberate inaction

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Back to Pearson’s Tribune story

Rauner’s budget office projects that without action, the current budget year’s $14.7 billion backlog of bills will grow to at least $27.7 billion by July 2019. That’s the equivalent of what a 7.3-percentage-point hike in the personal income tax rate would generate, with a corresponding increase in the corporate rate.

Yep. And that’s not raising the income tax rate to 7.3 percent. It’s adding a 7.3 percentage point rate hike to the existing tax rate of 3.75 percent. So, you’re looking at a rate of over 11 percent.

Now, such a hike wouldn’t be needed to be in place for more than a year to pay off the backlog, so the state wouldn’t really need to actually raise it that high. The plan now is to bond out much of the debt and use some of the tax hike to pay it off and that probably won’t change.

But the longer this goes on, the lower our bond ratings will tumble and, therefore, the more expensive it will be to borrow, so the tax rate hike will have to be higher in two years than it would be now to make the interest payments.

And if we hit junk bond territory and nobody will loan us money? Well, those vendors are gonna be out of luck.

* Also, what a “nice” welcoming present for the next governor, whoever it may be. If it isn’t Rauner, his successor may very well wind up being a one-termer.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


A completely bogus Democratic argument

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Let’s go back to Pearson’s piece on the impasse

Democrats don’t trust the governor — the feeling is mutual in Rauner’s camp — and the prevailing view in the House is to wait it out instead of approving his economic agenda in return for a tax hike.

“Why pass a tax increase and then give Rauner the power to spend without telling us where he’s going to spend?” asked a source close to Madigan who was not authorized to speak publicly about budget negotiations. “If (Rauner) got even a little of what he wanted now, what’s to stop him from saying he wouldn’t spend until he got even more of what he wanted?”

Nothing, and I do mean nothing will ever get done if that’s Madigan’s attitude. You don’t need more proof than that comment above.

And it’s so transparently bogus. If they seriously don’t trust him to spend the money, then get a memorandum of understanding out of him or something. Plus, if he doesn’t spend money that is clearly available to spend, he can be publicly shamed into spending it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Caption contest!

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* You may not know that Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang was on Jeopardy back in 1986 and won two rounds. Here’s a photo from his TV appearance…

How did I get that photo? Well, Rep. Marty Moylan somehow obtained video of Lang’s long-ago Jeopardy appearance (I suspect Russian involvement) and is planning to show it at a fundraiser he’s having Monday with Reps. Fran Hurley and Natalie Manley at the Illinois Credit Union League. I’m not in the habit of plugging fundraisers, but how could I pass up this one?

Click here for the flier if you’re interested in going.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Durkin says he has 26 votes for pension reform and one-year CPS funding

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* As I’ve already told you, Gov. Rauner is holding a press conference in Chicago today [ADDING: click here to follow it on ScribbleLive]. The governor is scheduled to talk about “Developments Regarding Illinois/CPS Pension Deal​.”

Press release…

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin today called on Speaker Michael Madigan and the House Democrats to join the House Republicans in passing comprehensive pension reform that would provide significant savings for taxpayers and $215 million to the Chicago Public Schools for a one time pension parity payment.

According to Durkin, the legislation is modeled after legislation introduced in a bipartisan manner in the Senate. Specifically, HB 4027 includes:

    • Senate President John Cullerton’s “consideration model” that would require members of TRS, SURS, SERS, GARS, and CTPF to exchange their Tier 1 COLA for the right to have future raises to be counted as pensionable, or keep their COLA and sacrifice future raises as pensionable. This concept previously received union support by the We Are One Coalition
    • Provides a one-time normal cost payment to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund of $215.2 million for FY 17
    • Closes new member participation in GARS
    • Offers Tier 1 TRS, SURS, SERS and GARS employees the option to participate in a defined contribution (DC) plan
    • Creates a voluntary Tier 3 Hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan for new Tier 2 employees under TRS, SURS, and certain SERS members who do not participate in Social Security

“With this legislation, we estimate the State of Illinois will realize short-term savings of $2.25 billion dollars from the general funds and a substantial step towards closing the deficit gap. This is a significant step towards achieving a balanced budget but also saving our pension systems.”

“I have secured 25 House Republican co-sponsors for this legislation. With our 26 votes the House Republicans have provided their pro-rata share of support for a structured roll call vote on this important issue. This means we will provide our fair share of votes. The Speaker needs to provide his 34 votes to move this legislation to the Senate. This legislation will earn the Governor’s signature. Speaker Madigan and I have worked in the past on pension reform and I am calling upon him to help secure passage of this legislation. This reform is a major piece of the puzzle for breaking the budget impasse,” said Durkin.

However, Senate President John Cullerton, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS have said they want permanent CPS pension funding in exchange for permanent pension reform. That wasn’t part of the deal with Rauner last year, but it was included in a Senate grand bargain bill that has already passed.

…Adding… Press release…

In response to Governor Bruce Rauner’s misleading press conference this morning, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher, released the following statement:

“Governor Rauner is basing his promise to Chicago school children and taxpayers on alternative facts. The pension bill Rauner demands as a condition for funding education reflects legislation that has already been ruled unconstitutional by our Supreme Court several times. This new bill, which also steals from public workers’ life savings, is likely to face the same fate, and therefore, its savings amount to nothing. For Rauner to say this is ‘good policy’ suggests he doesn’t understand the law or doesn’t care.

In the meantime, we will fall deeper into debt and students of Chicago will be deprived of the future they deserve. It’s time for the Governor to drop the ultimatums and do his job.”

Actually, there are two bills. One is Cullerton’s consideration model. But there’s a second bill which wouldn’t likely be challenged in court, that would do some basic, easy pension stuff and the CPS pension funding language.

…Adding More… From GOP Rep. Dave McSweeney…

I oppose HB 4027 because it includes a $215 million bailout for the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. I strongly support real pension reform, but oppose spending $215 million to bail out the CPS. We have to stop spending money that we don’t have.

- Posted by Rich Miller   105 Comments      


Leader Radogno: “No Governor’s spokesman, even Goldberg speaks for the Senate caucus”

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Earlier today, we talked about this quote attributed to a “Rauner confidant” in the Tribune

“It came down to three things: workers’ comp, parity in (the length of) the income tax and property tax and budget cuts. Cullerton’s position is ‘This is the deal, take it or leave it’ and as far as we’re concerned, it’s dead and there’s nothing more for us to do because we’re not going to take a bad deal and neither is the Senate (Republican) caucus,” he said.

* Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno just sent me this on the record text message…

No Governor’s spokesman, even Goldberg speaks for the Senate caucus. Also, the Grand bargain is not and never has been “take it or leave it” from Cullerton. We are still working on final version with more give and take.

Whoa.

The biggest rule under the Dome has always been to stay the heck out of the internal workings of a Leader’s caucus. Rauner has repeatedly violated that rule and she’s apparently had enough of it.

The governor, by the way, is holding a Chicago press conference today at 10:30. Could get interesting.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Mendoza slammed, too *** Republican Party pounces on AG Madigan

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* From the ILGOP

When Lisa Madigan’s motion to stop state-employee pay failed at a St. Clair County Court last month, the Attorney General wasted no time in announcing she would appeal the decision. The Associated Press reported that Lisa Madigan immediately announced she would appeal the St. Clair ruling.

Yesterday, when a Cook County judge declared that lawmakers should be paid, Lisa Madigan was all but silent, saying only that her office was “reviewing the decision.”

Her priorities are backwards.

“Lisa Madigan is looking out for the politicians’ pay and not state employees. Instead of immediately announcing she will fight yesterday’s court ruling, as she did in her attempt to stop state employee pay, Lisa Madigan is so far refusing to fight to stop politicians, including herself, her father, and Comptroller Mendoza, from being paid. Lisa Madigan should announce today that she will file for an immediate stay to stop lawmakers from getting paid until they step up and pass a balanced budget with reform.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe

OK, so lemme get this straight. She vowed to appeal a decision after a judge ordered state employees paid without a valid, legal appropriation, but she didn’t immediately vow to appeal a decision after a judge ordered state legislators paid because of a valid, legal appropriation.

Got it.

*** UPDATE ***  Press release

“It is unfathomable that Susana Mendoza is rushing out $45,000 to every lawmaker without asking a judge for an immediate stay. Mendoza is putting Madigan Machine politicians first in line and breaking her campaign pledge to taxpayers.”

Susana Mendoza’s decision to get lawmaker pay out the door as quickly as possible, instead of immediately asking a judge for a stay, is an outrageous affront to taxpayers.

WMBD is now reporting that Mendoza is processing an $8.6 million payout for state level politicians, without asking for a stay.

Don’t forget – this is all a result of a lawsuit brought by Mike Madigan’s personal attorney.

This is the Madigan Machine at work, in plain sight, for all to see.

The video…


- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


Rauner says his Colorado friends are telling him “pretty terrible things” about legal weed

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Tribune

Responding to recently introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner had a less than enthusiastic response but said he’d be willing to study it.

“I’m not a believer that legalizing more drugs will help our society so I’m not philosophically enthusiastic about it, but I’m also open to what actually works to make life better to people,” Rauner told the “Roe Conn Show” on WGN-AM 720 on Thursday.

“I’m hearing some pretty bad stories. Now, I haven’t studied it. I think we should do a thoughtful analysis of what’s happening in these other states. I’m hearing a lot of trouble,” he said. “My friends in Colorado have told me some pretty terrible things about addiction problems and behavior problems, etc. over there in Denver.”

To sum it up, Rauner said, “I just believe we’re conducting a massive human experiment as we legalize these drugs.”

He’s relying on anecdotes from his rich Denver pals? Are you kidding me?

* Since he said we need to study the issue, perhaps he can take a few minutes to do some reading on the topic. This is from Wednesday’s edition of the Colorado Statesman

Colorado alone has compiled several research studies demonstrating that legalization has not facilitated a spike in violent crime. During the first year of the implementation of Amendment 64, Denver experienced a 2.2 percent decrease in violent crime rates and an 8.9 percent reduction in property crime offenses, according to research conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance.

Many other reports have corroborated that data, including findings by the Colorado Department of Public Safety, the FBI Uniform Crime Report and a study conducted by a student research group from Metropolitan State University.

The Colorado Department of Public Safety report showed a 6 percent decrease in the violent crime rate statewide from 2009 to 2014.

Other jurisdictions that legalized the recreational marijuana industry have experienced similar declines in violent crime. In Washington State, violent crime rates decreased by 10 percent from 2011 to 2014. Portland, Oregon, saw crime rates drop since legalizing the recreational marijuana industry as well.

Another comprehensive study published by a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas demonstrated that legalized marijuana was not a likely indicator of crime rates and that legalizing the industry can actually reduce homicide and assault rates. Dr. Robert Morris’ study tracked crime rates across all 50 states between 1990 and 2006, when 11 states legalized marijuana for medical use.

“We found no increase in crime rates resulting from medical marijuana legalization, Morris told Science Daily. “In fact, we found some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault.”

Researchers have pointed to a few reasons why legalizing the marijuana industry has helped reduce violent crime rates. Marijuana-related crimes are often committed by underground cartels. Because the illegal cartels cannot access the court systems, they resort to violence when settling territorial disputes or business conflicts. As a result, legalizing recreational dispensaries can reduce violent crime rates by diminishing the prevalence and influence of these black market groups.

* He might also want to read these stories…

* Legal Marijuana’s Social Impact On Colorado

* Colorado Takes Aim at the Marijuana Black Market: A new measure that limits the number of marijuana plants a person can grow at home won approval in March from the Colorado House of Representatives. It is expected to win approval in the Senate, and Gov. John Hickenlooper has also supported tighter restrictions in the legal marijuana market.

* Ivy League Study: These Are the Top Reasons People Want Legal Marijuana

That state is showing the way. They have some problems and they’re fixing them. But crime isn’t an issue.

Sometimes I suspect that, back in the day, the local weed dealer was an AFSCME shop steward who ran over the Rauner family pet.

- Posted by Rich Miller   79 Comments      


When Springfield is in Atlanta

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* My brother sent me this image today…

* Along with two text messages…

Sent to a retired teacher re: Healthcare forms. Funny.

From the person — A very late notice that they messed up my “proof of health insurance” form…for taxes.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Poll: Half of Illinoisans want to keep Obamacare, a third say state impasse has affected them, 41 percent blame the government for poverty

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* From the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute…

Since the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare, was enacted in 2010, many Congressional Republican members have vowed to repeal and replace the program. Under President Trump’s administration, Congress is now debating the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House Republicans’ bill to “repeal and replace” the existing system.

According to a new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois voters are divided on whether or not to repeal and replace the existing health care system. The poll, conducted Saturday, March 4 through Saturday, March 11, 2017, asked whether respondents agreed to repeal and or replace the current health care system. The sample included 1,000 registered voters in Illinois with a margin for error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Sixty percent of the interviews were conducted on cell phones.

Overall, when asked the question “Do you think Congress should vote to repeal the 2010 health care law, or should they not vote to repeal it?,” responses were varied. Just over one-third of those asked supported repeal (35 percent), half were in favor of retaining the current ACA (50 percent), and 15 percent had no opinion. Within the 35 percent (N = 353) who supported a repeal, 29 percent wanted Congress to vote to repeal the legislation immediately, 68 percent supported repeal once an alternative was in place, and 3 percent either didn’t know or refused to answer.

Voters in Chicago were the most supportive (60 percent) of the ACA, with those in suburban Chicago and the Collar Counties the second most supportive (52 percent); and the lowest levels of support (39 percent) were in the Downstate areas of Illinois. Chicago residents were only 25 percent in support of repealing the law, while 34 percent of suburban residents and 44 percent of Downstate residents responded yes to repealing. The disparity was even more marked among those identifying with a specific political party. Only 13 percent of Democrats supported repealing the ACA; 31 percent of Independents and 66 percent of Republicans supported repeal.

“The ultimate future of Obamacare, while unpopular with many people, has dramatic implications for the state of Illinois, “said Linda Baker, university professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. “As a state that added more than 650,000 people to its Medicaid program through the ACA, if the Act is repealed and the state is expected to assume costs currently being borne by the federal government for those recipients, there will be enormous consequences for the state and for those who may lose coverage.”

The current health care reform debate is occurring at a time when Illinois legislators have the Herculean task of solving an increasing structural deficit in the midst of almost a two-year budget stalemate. With Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrat leadership in the General Assembly at odds with how to deal with that deficit and ultimately enact a budget, respondents to the Paul Simon Institute survey were also asked how the budget stalemate was impacting their lives.

Respondents were also asked, “Have you or someone in your immediate family been affected by the Illinois budget stalemate” 33 percent said it had affected them, with 62 percent responding that it had not. Of those affected by the budget crisis, the largest groups of respondents argued that it had resulted in K-12 funding cuts, job loss and cuts to needed social services. Finally, the respondents were asked if families living in poverty are more or less affected by the impasse. Over half (56 percent) said families in poverty had been more impacted, with 22 percent saying that families in poverty had been impacted less and another 22 percent saying they did not know.

Realizing there is a divide in the nation’s ideology on poverty, manifested in the debate on affordable and accessible health care coverage, the Paul Simon Institute also asked the same 1,000 Illinois voters about their opinions on causes of poverty. When asked “Thinking about the causes of poverty in your area, please tell me one major reason that people are poor,” a plurality (41.4 percent) of respondents blamed the government. About one-fourth (23.3 percent) blamed social or cultural factors, and 16 percent viewed a lack of employment as the cause. The remaining respondents placed blamed on medical factors (10.4 percent), educational factors (2.5 percent), and other factors (6.3 percent).

Asking for a secondary cause of poverty, respondents cited, in descending order, employment, social/cultural, education, government, medical and other. About 27 percent of respondents indicated employment as the secondary cause of poverty; 15.1 percent social/cultural factors as the secondary factor; 13.2 percent as education or relative lack of it; 12.5 percent government; 7.1 percent medical issues; and 24.9 percent with some other secondary cause.

In both the initial and secondary questions, there were subcategories associated with the key causes. Under the cause of employment, job shortages and wage levels were the primary causes listed. There was no singularly significant factor mentioned in the social/cultural category, while in the education category, the poor quality of public schools was cited as the most significant factor.

The survey next asked respondents what types of government interventions would best alleviate poverty. Respondents offered a variety of answers, in the topical areas of employment, education, social services, and social/cultural. As with prior questions, each response had several subcategories. With respect to the area of employment, the most significant responses were in support of government intervention to create jobs/prevent outsourcing and to increase funding for jobs programs, at 8.8 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Under the heading of education, the two most significant responses were at 13.9 percent for increased funding for job training programs and 12.8 percent in favor of improving the quality of education.

The survey next asked if respondents would be willing to pay more in taxes for poverty alleviation measures. Slightly over 59 percent said they would be in support, with 35 percent opposed with 6% undecided.

Toplines are here.

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Friday, Mar 24, 2017

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Rauner source on grand bargain: “As far as we’re concerned, it’s dead”

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* Rick Pearson has a long story in the Tribune today about the impasse entitled “Can budget deal ever get done with Rauner, Madigan at the table?” It’s pretty good, so you should go read the whole thing. I’ll probably circle back to it later today, but let’s focus on this part for now

Illinois is likely to see “a series of what we’ve done the last couple of years — temporary patches, stopgaps and fixes, and that’s not ideal,” said a Rauner confidant who spoke on the condition his name not be used. […]

[On the Senate’s grand bargain] “It came down to three things: workers’ comp, parity in (the length of) the income tax and property tax and budget cuts. Cullerton’s position is ‘This is the deal, take it or leave it’ and as far as we’re concerned, it’s dead and there’s nothing more for us to do because we’re not going to take a bad deal and neither is the Senate (Republican) caucus,” he said.

But Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul, a lead negotiator, said “it’s hard to figure out” if Rauner truly ever wanted to strike a deal.

“I think he applies this sort-of maybe venture-capitalist approach to deal making where you try to squeeze every bit you can without respect to good faith negotiations that good public policy negotiations require,” said Raoul, whose district includes Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. “I think certain tactics that may be very useful in another forum undermine the ability to kind of do things cooperatively in government.”

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Friday, Mar 24, 2017

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PREVIOUS POSTS »
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Chris Kennedy busts the contribution cap in governor's race
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* *** UPDATED x2 - Emanuel responds - Cullerton responds *** Rauner vetoes Chicago pension fund bill
* State ban on med-mar campaign contributions struck down by federal judge
* Question of the day
* Vendor is hacked, Rauner admin calls out Mendoza
* So, what will Vallas do?
* The high price of deliberate inaction
* A completely bogus Democratic argument
* Caption contest!
* Durkin says he has 26 votes for pension reform and one-year CPS funding
* Leader Radogno: "No Governor's spokesman, even Goldberg speaks for the Senate caucus"
* *** UPDATED x1 - Mendoza slammed, too *** Republican Party pounces on AG Madigan
* Rauner says his Colorado friends are telling him "pretty terrible things" about legal weed
* When Springfield is in Atlanta
* Poll: Half of Illinoisans want to keep Obamacare, a third say state impasse has affected them, 41 percent blame the government for poverty
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* Rauner source on grand bargain: "As far as we’re concerned, it’s dead"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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* Lincoln museum director considers what can be added
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* Rauner vetoes overhaul of Chicago city pension system
* 1.4M Illinoisans affected after state agency vendor hacked
* Illinois judge rules in favor of lawmakers seeking pay

* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Rauner vetoes Emanuel's pension bill
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* Lives really are at stake in the state budget war; it needs to end


* Vacant Illinois agency jobs could move to Springfield area
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* New anxieties as Trump says Obamacare will ‘explode’
* Trump attacks conservative lawmakers over health bill
* 15 shot, 1 killed at Cincinnati nightclub
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» Lawmakers Relieved To Receive Delayed Paychecks
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» Durbin Goes After Trump Budget in Springfield
» State Week: Budget Battles Continue In Courts


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* State lawmakers look again at pension buyouts
* SIU grad says state discipline won't interfere with service to marijuana patients
* Statehouse Insider: Lawmakers may be happy, but is anyone else?
* Endorsement: Kristin DiCenso for Springfield City Council Ward 6
* Bernard Schoenburg: Democrats seek to rally in wake of Trump win
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* Endorsement: DiCenso for Springfield City Council Ward 6


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* Rauner Urges Swift Action on State-City Pension Deal as House GOP Readies Its Votes
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* Vendor Contracted by Illinois Department of Employment Security Data Breached
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