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This just in…

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007

* 1:18 pm - House Speaker Michael Madigan was the last person to walk into the leaders meeting a few minutes ago. It was supposed to start at noon, but was delayed for whatever reason.

* 2:03 pm - Voices for Illinois Children has a new position paper on how the state income tax could be made more progressive without amending the Constitution, which requires a flat tax. Go here to read the pdf file.

* 3:25 pm - Meeting should be wrapping up soon. Paul will have audio as soon as they’re done talking.

* 4:45 pm - Here are audio clips from the leaders after the meeting…

Speaker Madigan-


President Jones-


Minority Leader Watson-


Deputy Governor Nix-


* 4:59 pm - I haven’t listen to all of the audio yet, but it appears that three of the four legislative leaders have rejected the idea of leasing the Lottery to bail out the pension funds. Only Emil Jones supports it, Jones admitted.

Madigan regarding the governor’s involvement with the utility rate issue: “The governor has never taken any interest in that issue… To my knowledge he’s never been around the issue.”

Nix: Madigan’s budget “actually results in cuts in education.”

Nix: “Not entirely accurate” that Lottery lease is off the table now. Madigan said that he did not support it, but his members weren’t here today so he wasn’t able to caucus on the issue. The issue has not been surveyed in his caucus, so we think that there may still be open to negotiation. “The other leaders had some questions, but actually did not rule it out.”

Nix: “The House Democrats did not understand what they voted for” (regarding budget), so they should be brought back to town and be informed that they had voted to cut education funding. [I’ve asked for an explanation on this, but have yet to receive a reply.]

Nix: “They’re getting paid to work, so they should be able to be here without a special session.

Watson: “I just don’t know for sure whether the governor really truly wants to get out of here… If he did, we’d be focusing on the budget, we’d be talking about the issues of revenue and spending.”

Watson: Not getting message that GRT is dead. He talked about it “several times” today.

Watson: Too many people in the room. 25 last week, 30 today.

Madigan: House spending is not going to go over the 3 percent in the House-approved budget.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - washmyhands - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 1:51 pm:

    “…deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that someday he would return to her. With no where else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend Oscar Madison.”

  2. - Patriot - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 2:18 pm:

    Madigan power move?

  3. - Leroy - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 2:38 pm:

    Glad to see “Voices for Illinois Children” found a way around that pesky Constitution.

    We need more progressive thinkers like this.

  4. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 2:46 pm:

    Now if the governor could figure out a way around that equally pesky legislature…

  5. - hmmmm - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 3:19 pm:

    Are the leaders still meeting?

  6. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 3:23 pm:

    Rich Whitney will be hosting a press conference in the blue room at the Capitol, at 2:00pm tomorrow, on Wednesday, June 13, 2007. He will be addressing the current state of affairs in Springfield and the need for Green leadership. Phil Huckelberry, the Chair of the Illinois Green Party’s Government & Elections committee will also be present.

  7. - Number 8 - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 3:25 pm:

    Squid, why didnt Rich have his press conference today? It would make more sense to have a press conference when all the press is there instead of the day after.

  8. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 3:37 pm:

    Number 8, I apologize; but I do not know the answer to that question. I suspect that this might have something to do with his work schedule–he works full time as a civil rights attorney and isn’t always free to travel.

  9. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    It looks like “Voices for Illinois Children” didn’t get the memo that the problems facing our educational system are not necessarily monitary.

    When they are ready to talk about reform, voters will be ready to talk about more money - if at all.

  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 3:46 pm:

    Mr Vanilla: I do believe Voices and quite a few related orgs have been part of school “reform” discussions involving more than simply raising more dough. Maybe you “didn’t get the memo.”

  11. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 3:50 pm:

    But anon,

    Voices and those other groups are captives of the education establishment, so all their thoughts of “reform would just maintain the status quo Only VM, Jeff, and Extreme Wisdom and a handful of others are real reformers, and they haven’t been allowed to participate in the process, locked out by the Combine of teachers, admistrators, school board members and sheep-like parents.

  12. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:10 pm:

    Why does the US have the world’s best colleges, but falls so far short regarding public schools?

    It is because we have allowed competition into our colleges. When you shop for your degree, you determine who survives.

    Public schools are throwbacks to the old days. They are locked into an Eisenhower-age mentality that has become obsolete. When the Boston Latin School opened back in the 1700s, no one would have imagined we would still be depending on a system like the one we face today.

    The time has come for a long time to give parents the right to choose what is best for their children’s future. The age when we are forced to attend a public school and forced to pay for it ended when the Berlin wall fell in 1989.

    Too bad we have so many entrenched power players still feeding off the public trough and keeping real reform from happening.

    You think you are pro-choice? Not if you still believe children should be forced into rotted public schools - just because it worked in the last millenium. School choice!

  13. - I'm not criticizing but.... - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:17 pm:

    Vanilla Man - you think our colleges are the world’s best? You obviously haven’t set foot in a classroom over at the City Colleges of Chicago.

  14. - soccermom - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:22 pm:

    Didn’t Pat Quinn suggest most of the reforms in the Voices proposal a couple of months ago?

  15. - OK, no - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:23 pm:

    Yeah, let’s get rid of all our Eisenhower-era relics! Who needs an interstate highway system, civil rights laws or defensive nuclear capability?

  16. - Napoleon has left the building - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:29 pm:

    I just read the Voices white paper, thanks for the link Rich. Makes a lot of sense to me. I sure wish the Governor had talked to these people before opening his mouth about the GRT and his no income tax pledge . . .sigh . . .

  17. - 5 Day Man - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:34 pm:

    Looks like Giggles has lost some hearing…no one but Sen. Jones is for the lottery/pension scheme.

  18. - unclesam - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:38 pm:


    You are right. Lt. Governor Quinn did propose very similar “tax fairness” concepts earlier this year… only to see them fall on legislative deaf ears.

  19. - soccermom - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:43 pm:

    Uncle Sam,

    Let’s hope Voices can get some traction with these proposals. The unfair Illinois tax code is a national disgrace. We shouldn’t be taxing people into poverty. I think other states actually make fun of our pathetic little state Earned Income Tax Credit.

  20. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:56 pm:

    Uh, VM, those students in those world’s best colleges. Far more than half of them come from those p**s-poor elementary and secondary schools.

  21. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 4:57 pm:


    Why are our universities so good and our public schools so bad? Because the population at the universities is self-selecting. The bottom quintile never goes and neither do most of the 4th for long. Contrast that with the public schools who by law must accept everyone, even those who would rather not be there (well ’till 16). That includes the child who lives in a riotous foster care environment, the child whose mom works the streets and has no father, the child being raised by an over-strained grandma because Dad’s in jail and Mom’s not been seen in years, etc. School systems located in towns and ‘burbs where the families are functional are usually pretty darned good school systems. School systems that get the bulk of their students from disfunctional families are usually abysmal. But in a democracy it is expected that all will pay for educating all the children and in exchange for that payment, there will be civic control of the curriculum.

  22. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:00 pm:

    Rich, just a thought, but you might want to think about going back to summarizing the leader’s statements, so we aren’t all jumping on and immediately overloading the links. Then we could listen later at our leisure.

  23. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:06 pm:

    For obvious reasons, the Voices proposals appear to particularly benefit families with children, a worthy group but hardly the only one in need of tax relief. Young singles, older singles or couples who have chosen not to have children, empty nesters, all are entitled to substantial tax relief as well. A truly progressive tax is the only way to achieve this and that requires a change in the state constitution. Middle class citizens who, for whatever reason, are not currently raising children still have to pay for health insurance, retirement plans, housing and particularly property taxes from which they derive far less benefit than families with children. They should not be lumped in with the wealthy when state taxes are imposed.

  24. - Leigh - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:08 pm:

    Was the Governor there?

  25. - Leigh - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:11 pm:

    If Madigan says no the answer is no on the lottery. The gov’s office should quit trying to throw this back on the house. We all know who never goes to work, Blago.

  26. - Anon - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:14 pm:

    Where is the Voices white paper? What is the bill number for their initiative?

  27. - Blago Must Go - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:16 pm:

    One has to only look at who was supporting the lottery scheme. Blago and Jones. Thank God all the leaders aren’t idiots.


  28. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:37 pm:

    ‘Voices of the children’? Wonder where their funding comes from? Makes me think of all the ‘People’s Republics’ that weren’t

    Their basic premise that the Illinois taxpayer is undertaxed is flawed. Illinois may have a lower income tax rate than many states, but we also have a high sales tax (more than 10% in some Chicago areas) and nearly abusive property tax (10,000+ per annum is not uncommon, 70% going to the schools). Together that places us at the top of the heap in taxation.

    We continue to play the game of misdirection. The problem is spending and lack of economic growth due to an unattractive economic climate. As someone once said, follow the money.

  29. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:43 pm:

    The answer SHOULD be no on the lottery sale. Selling state assets which provide a pretty regular stream of revenue is most definitely not smart.

    How can education funding be less when there will be a billion dollars in revenue growth next fiscal year. I know we have to give Emil’s Earmarks for Supporters and Relatives a hefty line item but still, it’s out of a billion. There will be something left over.

    Blago isn’t going anywhere (there is no recall process for Illinois governors) but perhaps he should reconsider his choice of Sheila Nix. Her statements suggest that she is more into legislator-baiting (in her own party!) than staying above the fray. Petty remarks about
    working or not working hard enough simply muddy up the issue–the issue is our money, nothing else. In the 21st century, legislators can think about how to spend it at home as well as in Springpatch–and communicate their thoughts wherever.

  30. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 5:48 pm:

    I’m with Watson!

    Since when did a meeting of the budgeteers consist of 25-30 people?

    It needs to be limited to the four leaders, the guv, a FEW staff and maybe one or two other members. THAT’S IT.

    Having that many people in the room makes the back and forth too formal.

  31. - 5 Day Man - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 6:06 pm:

    I hear Giggles & Co has a hilarious explanation on how the House cut ed $$$. It suggests that rather than leaving a few drivers off the payroll, they would be “forced” slice ed $$ to balance.
    Very bright.
    But what can you expect from the newbies?
    Oh Bradley!!!!!

  32. - Truth - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 7:52 pm:

    Interesting responses, Rich. Tapes from the actual participants including Madigan, Watson, and Jones all personally addressing the media. I’m sure Cross did also. Then a tape of Sheila Nix’s response for the Governor? Sheila Nix? What percentage of the vote did she get?

    No wonder he is totally neutered as a leader. If he’s afraid of Finke and company, how is he going to take down Madigan. I’ll bet he sucks his thumb in those meetings.

  33. - Spin Spin Spin - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 7:54 pm:

    If the Governor’s Office could quit falling over themselves to spin and stretch everything way past the truth, maybe they could sit down and actually hammer this thing out.

    I have to think that Sheila’s nonsense is even too far out there for Filan (thus she’s the ’spokesperson’ on budget issues), and that is saying a lot about what is going on right now.

  34. - Bill - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 8:18 pm:

    Hey, Quit picking on Sheila! She is probably the most competent, intelligent, articulate person in the meeting. She’s not going anywhere.

  35. - headsupchicagoland - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 8:30 pm:

    This is what happens when there is no Capo. Da Mare cut off the unions and he’s got his own problems…and there’s no first ward anymore. So who’s gonna put down the gang wars now?

  36. - Papa Legba - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 8:49 pm:

    Does Ms. Nix have a little string coming out her back that when pulled the same few comments spew forth?

    She reminds me of my Cecile the Seasick Sea Serpent hand puppet I had as a child.

  37. - Holdingontomywallet - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 10:02 pm:

    This is all pay-back for Blago. You can’t treat everyone like five-year olds and not expect some push back. It is all coming home to roost for Blago - from both parties.

  38. - Michelle Flahertry - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 10:13 pm:

    Oh Bill, you’re so funny.
    Ms. Nix is about as crucial to the budget talks as a flight attendant is to aviation.

    Can’t wait to hear what Mr. Whitney has to say about the budget tomorrow. Gee, if only a couple million more people had voted for him, we’d have already raised taxes. A Rich Whitney governorship is probably the one thing that could have had Jones and Madigan agreeing on a legislative agenda. The General Assembly probably would have been done by the end of March.

  39. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 10:28 pm:

    Michelle, under House Bill 750, the plan Rich Whitney supports, most people–the majority–would be paying the same or LESS in taxes.

  40. - anon - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 10:49 pm:

    Just Listen to Nix…Let me get this straight… “Its important for all legislators to be in Springfield, especially the House since Madigan survey’s its members”…OK, but “President Jones has indicated his cacuas will support increse in education and Health care..”. Last I checked is that the Senate only passed a gaming bill all year with the miminum (30 votes). NO healthcare bill (SB5), NO Education funding bill (SB1). Last time his members were pooled, some wanted rate relief first, others want to fight, some are targets, some are new. Now they need a supermajority to pass anything. Whats the “Godfather” gonna do? Threaten his members? Offer incentatives?

    And suppose it now passes the Senate, even it every house dem signs on, still gonna need Cross.
    And Cross is saying the House budget passed is the high end. So lets forget the speaker for a moment…. How is: President Jones going to pass the Gov’s plans and who is gonna offer Cross enough perks to support it? I wish Nix can anwser that.

  41. - Old Elephant - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 10:49 pm:

    After listening to the comments and talking to someone who was in the meeting, all I can say is I think we are in for a long, long summer.

    I’m becoming convinced that for Blagojevich this has absolutely nothing to do with budgets, taxes, health care or education. Increasingly, it seems to be all about power and trying to become the top dog in the Democrat Party.

    He’s had dozens of opportunities to declare victory and get out, but seems, instead, to be bent on picking fights. He and his staff are delusional and in the end Blagojevich can’t win, but it could take months before he finally figures it out.

  42. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 11:03 pm:

    HB 750 does not raise any taxes on middle and low income people, up to $54,000, yet the gov doesn’t care. The exemption rate has been brought to the gov’s attention, but he
    “refuses to raise taxes on people” - any proposal is worthless to him unless it is raise business fees.

    HB 750 actually REFORMS the ed system. Less prop taxes, and hello actually read the bill before you say “the tax rebate will just go up next year” HB 750 require the state to put more into education, by over 20%, and that just makes us in line with the average of other states.

    Until we honestly take a look at our tax system we will forever make the “F” grade. NICE ILLINOIS!

    Politicans use divide and conquer and the gov used it this year with ed and health care.

  43. - JohnR - Tuesday, Jun 12, 07 @ 11:59 pm:

    Not doing the lottery for pensions deal will actually hurt the state more than you all could ever imagine.

    I keep harping on this point, but it is true.

    Ask any basic accountant, and he/she will tell you it is the smart thing to do.

    But, no. You would rather pay $3.5 billion a year in interest than give up $600 million a year in revenue?

    That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

  44. - 5 Day Man - Wednesday, Jun 13, 07 @ 8:11 am:

    1. JohnR: every accountant I know say %@#%@#%&*)&*! state worker pension
    2. We worked through the night, after dinner with Wyma and the boys, on a full transcript of Ms. Nix in-meeting comments. You be the judge…
    “………., tee hee,” said Nix.

    FAA say wheels up about 10:30 from O’Hare.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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