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“No growth” off the table? Plus: Meeks on the budget, gaming and the guv’s hair; House survey

Friday, May 18, 2007

* I told subscribers about this letter in an “extra” yesterday afternoon. The Tribune had a piece today…

Fifteen Democratic senators on Thursday demanded that lawmakers tackle school funding reform this session while gambling advocates renewed their pitch that more casinos would help solve the state’s budget problems.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), who leads the Senate Education Committee, is among the coalition of black, white and Hispanic lawmakers from across the state who signed a statement saying that any talk of a “no-growth budget is off the table.”

* The letter is below. Click the pic for a larger image…

nogrowth1.jpg

* Excerpt…

We will not be party to a betrayal of the people who elected us on a promise to bring education funding reform by voting for a no-growth budget. How can we Democrats work to gain a super-majority in the Senate, control the House of Representatives and control the governor’s mansion and not use this trust bestowed upon us by the people to bring education funding reform?

* Sen. James Meeks circulated the letter yesterday. Southtown columnist Phil Kadner has some quotes…

Meeks also said the governor would be breaking a personal promise to him if he supported such a scheme.

“When I withdrew from the governor’s race (in 2006), Gov. Blagojevich promised he would pass school funding legislation if re-elected,” Meeks said.

“If he signed a no-growth budget, I would consider that a betrayal of his promise to me and the people of Illinois.”

* Meeks also told Kadner that he is against expanding casino gaming in Illinois, saying “We may as well legalize brothels.”

“Brothels are legal in Nevada, just like gambling,” Meeks said. “They would bring in a lot of tax revenue, if that’s the intention. Then every little school girl in Illinois could one day aspire to becoming a prostitute.”

* We also have some raw audio of Meeks talking about the letter and gaming, courtesy of the fine folks at Metro Networks

* Excerpts…

“It doesn’t even have to be an income tax… Let’s put all the combs that [Blagojevich] combs his hair with on eBay.” […]

“He said during the summertime he was going to sell the Lottery for education. That plan seems to be gone off the table.” […]

“We’re at the point where somebody should start discussing how absurd the system is of waiting until the last 15 days to get serious. We’ve been here now for four months? Why would be just down to the serious discussion of the budget?”

* Back to today’s Tribune story for a moment…

Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is sifting through surveys aimed at determining whether his caucus would support any type of tax increase and how much his troops believe should be spent in next year’s budget.

I also wrote about this survey in yesterday’s Capitol Fax. Since the Tribune reported on it, here’s a copy of the survey for your perusal…

housedemprioritylist.jpg

Notice that there’s no category in the survey of House Democrats for the governor’s health insurance proposal.

* The funniest item of the day has to be the Tribune’s mockery of Gov. Blagojevich in an editorial that compares him to a Monty Python character.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


36 Comments
  1. - Pat Collins - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 9:09 am:

    You have to hand it to the Rev. Meeks, he is a straight talker, and puts it quite plainly.


  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 9:15 am:

    That Tribune editorial is freakin’ hilarious, Rich.

    Who knew there were Monty Python fans on the ed board.

    Thanks for the laughs!


  3. - Beowulf - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 9:17 am:

    Based on your comments from Reverend Meeks, as a Republican, I can now say that I am beginning to like this guy. Meeks was a little (a lot) gullible to believe Blagojevich but I guess he is just a slow learner.


  4. - Cal Skinner - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 9:46 am:

    Force those Democrats to do what comes naturally:
    raise taxes.


  5. - Frank Booth - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 10:01 am:

    Where’s the holy hand grenade when you really need it?
    run away, run away


  6. - Diego - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 10:11 am:

    The Trib piece is a hoot but sadly spot on. Is this guy so simple minded to belive that his making the Wall Street Journal is good publicity for him? There is a letter in today’s SJR that compares him to a spoiled child that deserves a spanking. State agencies are in such a mess due to the lack of leadership from the governor and his lackies (read lack of knowledge, talent and concern). They have no comprehension of mangement or public service.


  7. - Punley Dieter Finn - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 10:20 am:

    If Rod is the Black Knight, then who are Arthur and Patsy? Pray tell Richard the Miller.


  8. - demgrrl - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 10:36 am:

    I too found the trib piece to be hilarious considering that their grt proposal was for $13 billion, not the $3.5 billion they cited today. Only the trib ed bd would change their own position because the gov ended up embracing it. These Bush war apologists lost any credibility they had long ago.


  9. - Troubled Me - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 11:13 am:

    Rich - That’s funniest editorial I’ve read in long time. But sooooo true! Thanks!
    All our legislators always pride themselves on how intelligent they are. How can they not see what is going on.
    Our legislators need to find a way to unload Rod soon.
    Maybe they should all personally write Patrick Fitzgerald and seek his help.


  10. - Cassandra - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 11:39 am:

    Now, wait a minute. Our legislators are not going to be able to “unload” Blago for four or eight, even 12 more years, unless he wants to be unloaded. There are no viable Republican candidates in the hopper and his potential Dem opponents will likely have increased difficulty unseating him as his incumbency grows, always assuming he can stay out of trouble with the feds–and I’m talking indictment, which seems very unlikely.

    The legislators who are so anxious to reform education could actually (gasp) take a look at their priorities and maybe reconsider their hasty decision to ditch the GRT. What’s more important–pleasing the business community that pays your campaign (and perhaps “other”) expenses or education. Really. Come on now.

    The senators’ letter seems to be yet another spin on increasing income taxes for the middle class. Not the wealthy. They wouldn’t feel a five percent income tax increase, much less the 2 percent proposed in 750. And the so-called poor will get generous “tax credits” to keep them from having to pay anything. The no-no-growth budget folks may talk about the lottery, but what they really want is an income tax increase. On the middle class. The folks who are also feeling the electric and gas price pinch are their target, which makes sense, since many of our state senators are, yes, wealthy. Like in multimillionaire. They won’t feel a thing.


  11. - Anon from BB - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 11:55 am:

    demgrrl, you need to get your facts straight.

    Directly from the editorial:

    “A 1 percent tax on gross receipts in Illinois–goods, services, the works–would raise more than $13 billion a year, according to a study for Houlihan’s office by Alma, Wis., consulting firm Program Analysis Inc. Illinois then could repeal the 5 percent state portion of the sales tax, which now gives Springfield $7.5 billion per year, and kill the $2 billion corporate income tax. The state would have revenue for a $3 billion education fund, plus about $500 million that could be directed to other needs or for other tax relief.”

    See that part in there about repealing the sales tax and corporate income tax?


  12. - i d - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 12:19 pm:

    So, are the legislators the knights that say neh?


  13. - the patriot - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 1:01 pm:

    The democrats like Meeks need to listen to Nancy Reagan and learn to just say no. They keep giving Blago everything he wants early in the session then when it comes time to hammer out the details on unimportant little issues like education we are already dealing with a multi billion dollar deficit. For 4 years they have given him what he wants hoping to get something in return. Perhaps its time for a new strategy. Stop saying yes to every little pet project Hot Rod dreams up and maybe there will be some money left over in May for little things like education, infrastructure, and, pensions.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.


  14. - Ambulance chaser - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 1:21 pm:

    And now for something completely different… G-Rod will be running for Minister of Funny Walks!


  15. - In the Stars - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 2:01 pm:

    Some astrologer should do a chart on Governor Milo.
    Wonder if any Nostradamus quatrians reference Illinois falling into the crapper.


  16. - fed up - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 2:16 pm:

    How about spending less. Maybe as a gesture of fiscal responsibilty Emil Jones will leave one family member off the state payroll. Blago could give a few state contracts to the most qualfied instead of a campaign donor. We could probably do without Anymore tollway signs with Blagos name on them at 12,000 each lots of ways to save money but the answer seems to be spend spend spend and then fight about which taxes to raise.


  17. - demgrrl - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 2:57 pm:

    anon 11:55

    The fact us that the trib’s grt raises $13 billion. They only get to a net of $3.5 billion if, and only if, they can convince the GA to do away with sales and corporate income taxes. Fat chance on the former since local governments rely on 1.25% collected on their behalf by the state. There are too many municipalities in this state to allow for a consensus on doing away with the sales tax — whether there’s a legit replacement tax or not.

    In addition, the trib’s grt taxes virtually everything that moves and every business — even small businesses that are already struggling, as well as exports which would result in a big hit on manufacturers.

    Again, the trib editorial board is trying to cover their behind with advertisers for suggesting the grt to begin with, while pounding away at their favorite punching bag, blagojevich.


  18. - Casual Observer - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 3:09 pm:

    Seems to me, Ex-Governor Gray Davis of California did a lot less and voters corrected the situation by a recall and electing a new governor. But Illinoisan continues to take it on the chin compliments of Governor Blagojevich.
    Get real Illinois!


  19. - demgrrl - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 3:32 pm:

    CO

    Why would anyone want to recall blagojevich? 13,000 fewer employees, stronger pensions, improved medicaid payments, 500,000 more people getting health care, 20 fewer state agencies, reduced structural debt, billions more going to schools, etc. Sure, let’s reverse progress!

    gray davis got recalled because he lacked vision and didn’t get things done. The dems are better off without people like him in office.


  20. - Poolside @ Hotel Ibiza - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 4:14 pm:

    - demgrrl
    Still spewing false propaganda I see. Your are in a true dreamland.
    If all the above is true, why do we need more taxes? I’ll tell you why, Milo’s visions are bankrupting the state of Illinois.
    And without taxes Milo’s screwed!


  21. - Anon from BB - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 4:29 pm:

    Demgrrl, the 1.25 local tax wouldn’t disappear. The part the Trib said to do away with was the state’s five percent. There would still be a local sales tax, albeit very small.

    For example, if the state did away with its portion of the sales tax, the local and county sales taxes in this area would be 3%. It’s the state’s five percent cut that disappears.

    Also, consider this from the Trib’s editorial:

    “That said, zeroing out the state sales tax would instantly make Illinois a more attractive place for consumers to buy their retail goods. Killing the corporate income tax would be another bonus for many (granted, not all) Illinois companies. And while a gross receipts tax appears to fall on businesses, you can argue that it’s factored into their prices and thus borne instead by the final purchasers.”


  22. - One too many shrooms - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 4:33 pm:

    Sounds like - demgrrl should be in line for drug testing.

    Oh! I forgot FBI, STATE INVESTIGATE DRUG FIRM

    Allegedly Billed for Testing It Never Performed

    A Chicago drug-testing company with a long-standing no-bid state contract is under state and federal investigation amid allegations it billed the state for drug tests it never performed.

    The company–K.K. Bio-Science Inc.–came under scrutiny following an Oct. 27 report in the Tribune detailing how Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wife, Patricia, earned more than $113,000 in real estate commissions from the company’s owner and president.

    Looks like your safe for now - demgrrl.


  23. - fed up - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 4:34 pm:

    Demgirl if blago is doing so great why raise our taxes, This bum wants to give everyone all these new programs we cant pay for. Hes running up debt like a college kid withthere first credit card only he has no limit and Illinois tax payers are getting the bill. NO NEW TAXES LESS SPENDING LESS NO BID CONTRACTS TO CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS, SHUT DOWN THE STATE AIRLINE. A FEW LESS BODYGUARDSFOR BLAGO


  24. - A Citizen - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 5:00 pm:

    drmggrl - How’s the recovery coming. I know you were Bill before the sex change. Best wishes on your recovery - hope you had good state employee group insurance, or better yet the state officers’ package.


  25. - Gene Parmesan - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 5:22 pm:

    A Citizen: demgrrl is far more delusional than Bill.


  26. - hmm - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 5:41 pm:

    1) The obvious point is that Illinois doesn’t have a recall process unlike California so this argument is moot.

    2) Illinois JUST had an election and Blago was re-elected by a wide margin. I didn’t vote for him, but I respect the outcome of the election.

    3) Frankly, all these attacks on demgrrl are quite offensive. I don’t know if she works for the Governor, but no one has even attempted to argue with what she actually said.

    Why do we need more taxes? The state can’t pay its constitutional pension obligations, the foundation level for education level is rising while tax receipts aren’t reflecting the growth in the service sector, oh and, because in order to provide property tax relief you have to make up for it with an increase in a different tax.

    Does government waste money? absolutely. Do schools waste money? of course.

    But, do we have an obligation to give every kid a chance at success with a barebones quality education? (which is what the foundation level represents) - yes.

    And that is why we need more revenue - because the school funding system is broken - and has been broken for decades. Edgar realized this back in the day, and I only hope this Governor doesn’t let this opportunity pass him by.


  27. - To: Hmm - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 7:03 pm:

    I disagree with your statement that Super Rod was re-elected by a wide margin. A more accurate statement would be that he was elected by voters north of I-80 and east of I-39. In nearly 90% of the state’s counties he had virtually no support. There is no representation in the vast majority of this state as the entire government is held hostage by Chicago machine politicians.

    This state is a blue-state ONLY on the basis of Chicago’s population. I have little respect for a political process that allows one county to hold sway for an entire state. I can really see how people in western New York State must feel about their ‘city-state’.


  28. - From Northside Hideout - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 7:23 pm:

    ~ hmm
    Attacks on - demgrrl ….. you’ve gotta be kidding and you need to Lightin Up.
    There are the FACTS and then there is Manufactured BS by Milo’s minions courtesy of the state payroll.


  29. - hmm - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 8:21 pm:

    Come on, Democrats won a supermajority in the Senate and hold a majority in the house. That’s not just North of I-80 and east of I-39. That’s the sign of a pretty blue state. (Not to mention the sort of support liberal anti-war Democrat Barack Obama got statewide in 04). That’s not to say there aren’t Republicans in Illinois - of course there are, but Illinois is pretty much the definition of a blue state and the majorities for Governor, House and Senate illustrate that quite clearly.


  30. - aquanet+ - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 8:40 pm:

    What is illustrated quite clearly is that with all that influence and power nothing has changed.
    In with the new Boss same as the old boss, only much worst.


  31. - A Citizen - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 9:34 pm:

    As to this state being a blue one - it’s sorta like food poisoning. You just have to let it run its poisonous course until it is finally out of your system. Then it will be healthy and red once again.


  32. - To: Hmm - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 11:31 pm:

    A Senate supermajority is only relevant if there is no discord among the Democrats. Based solely upon the observation of the past few weeks, it only takes a Senate president and a few lieutenants (lets be honest…lackeys) to completely control the agenda of the upper house. Again…machine politicians ALL.

    I stand by my statement that outside the Chicago area there is little support for Blago and his minions. Control of both houses and the executive offices did not, for example, prevent a major slap down on GRT. Despite the best spin he was humiliated publicly by his own ’supporters’. This is a pretty clear repudiation of Blago and it shows that while the Democrats in the GA are numerically in the majority that they are not even in the same ball park with the governor on how to run the state.

    Ask the average downstate citizen - Democrat or Republican - if he or she feels that their local representative has any power at all or if they are at the mercy of the Jones/Madigan/Blago power structure. I think we know the answer you are most likely to get. It is only going to get worse when they miss the end of session deadline and actually have to get (God help us!) Republicans involved! With this lack of governance it is likely to be a VERY long summer.


  33. - Obama? - Friday, May 18, 07 @ 11:41 pm:

    I daresay Obama’s support outside the Chicago area in 04 was more of a commentary on who he ran against than who he was or what he stood for. In some respects, Obama 2008 will be defined exactly the same way.

    Keyes=Carpetbagger
    Obama=Glamour Flake / Flavor of the Month

    Clinton=Carpetbagger
    Obama=Slightly Older Glamour Flake - No Gravitas

    He sure has been effective as Durbin’s ‘well-spoken’ mouthpiece though. Other than that…what has the man really accomplished?


  34. - Holdingontomywallet - Saturday, May 19, 07 @ 8:06 am:

    I for one am glad that the Democrats won a super majority. Every now and then this needs to happen to expose their real agenda. Look what they have done so far - their priorities are entitlement programs for illegal immigrants, gays, higher taxes, anti-business, and taking corruption to a new level. They have done nothing to lower gas prices, nothing for the pension they raided, nothing for business to create new jobs, nothing for property tax relief, nothing to address the inequity in school funding, nothing to address the electric rates, etc… Yes, the dems won a super majority, but now that their agenda is exposed the public is outraged. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. How about free gas for illegal immigrants? Sounds like that is right up their alley on the priority list.


  35. - Corruption Central - Saturday, May 19, 07 @ 8:26 am:

    The democrats are giving it all away at the expense of responsible individuals.
    If we can’t have a recall election, change the laws.
    Start the impeachment process, but to bad we don’t any politicians with any onions in Illinois.
    Or resignation rather than embarrassing Illinois with indictments.
    Meanwhile, our governor hides daily in his northside bunker. Must of run out of feel good scripts.


  36. - lincolnlandbubba - Saturday, May 19, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    While GRod baiting is never ending fun for so many in Springfield, I can not help but notice that neither the 107 no’s nor anyone else has yet to offer up an alternative plan. Suprise, suprise, suprise, they have no programs they plant no trees!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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