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This just in… *** Important updates in “red” ***

Sunday, Jul 8, 2007

* 4:19 pm - The Senate just proved what a complete waste of time and money these special sessions are. They convened today’s special session (#5, in case you’re keeping track) and adjourned it almost immediately and without conducting any business whatsoever.

What a farce.

* 4:30 pm -
There’s a new website up for those of you who think that Gov. Blagojevich ought to be impeached. The domain Impeach Blagojevich is owned by Dennis LaComb, the executive director of the very conservative organization United Republican Fund.

Twice-failed statewide candidate Jim Oberweis is the group’s secretary, and Steve Rauschenberger, another guy who couldn’t move up the ladder, is the organization’s president.

Rauschenberger was on the Illinois Senate Republicans’ payroll earlier this year as a budget advisor. Not sure if he’s still drawing checks, but I have a call in to the SGOP to see how they feel about this new website. [UPDATE: Rauschenberger is no longer on the SGOP payroll.]

I would caution you again, as I did in comments earlier today, that the comments about impeachment here are getting way out of hand and are borderline delusional. Please try to tone it down. Impeachment of the governor on the facts at hand today has ZERO chance of happening. Thanks.

* 4:33 pm -
The House convenes at 5 pm today. The leaders meeting is scheduled for 6 o’clock.

* 4:45 pm -
I put this in Capitol Fax today, but forgot to link to it here

Gov. ROD BLAGOJEVICH may have to give a deposition in a case brought by more than 65 former Department of Corrections captains whose rank was eliminated by Blagojevich back in 2003. […]

A lawyer who recently joined the governor’s legal staff in the case is former Gov. JIM THOMPSON, a Republican whose firm also represented former Gov. GEORGE RYAN in his corruption case. Thompson on June 28 participated in a telephone hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge BYRON CUDMORE, who is based in Springfield.

According to U.S. District Court records, it was agreed during that conference call that Blagojevich will not have to provide the testimony “until after the current Illinois legislative session ends — probably late August 2007.”

Legislature watchers can only hope that doesn’t mean the overtime legislative session will go that long — but that arranging for the deposition will take a while after the end of the session.

[Emphasis added.]

* 5:04 pm -
Another special session proclamation is expected soon. Legislative leaders have been told the time will be 1 pm tomorrow, but that’s apparently not completely set in stone.

The leaders meeting has been moved to 6:30 tonight.

* 5:09 pm -
Just 79 House members responded to the attendance roll call.

* 5:12 pm -
Oh, for crying out loud. Check out the Rifle Association’s latest “action alert” issued to its members. Emphasis added to point out how goofy the group’s prediction is…

Governor Blagojevich and State Senator Dan Kotowski are planning to ambush gun owners on July 9th by calling for a special legislative session on so-called “gun violence.” It is expected that Kotowski will introduce legislation that would result in the banning and forced confiscation of most of your guns. The hope is to ramrod this legislation through the General Assembly while the public is distracted by failed budget negotiations.

Senator Kotowski is quickly establishing himself as the most dangerous anti-gunner in the nation. He is using every trick in the book to find a way to take your guns away from you. He doesn’t care if you are a hunter, target shooter, or trap shooter. He wants to take your guns away from you. He is obsessed with the notion of a gun-free Illinois. He is obsessed with the desire to humiliate you and strip you of your guns.

* 5:17 pm - Rep. Lou Lang just claimed that the governor worked out an “arrangement” with the Senate Democrats and Republicans allowing the members of the Senate not to show up at the Statehouse today.

Madigan responded that, to his understanding, it was confirmed that Senators would be told that they would not be required to attend today. He answered “Yes” when asked by Lang if members of the two chambers were being treated differently.

Lang suggested that all members attend tonight’s scheduled leaders meeting.

* 5:23 pm -
The House is convening itself into a Committee of the Whole to discuss the teachers and judicial retirement systems.

* 5:34 pm -
The Senate Republican spokesperson just said that her leader was not contacted by the governor or his office about allowing people to stay home today. The spokesperson said that the members knew nothing was going to be done anyway.

I’m also hearing that Senate President Emil Jones told his Democratic members yesterday that they didn’t have to be back to town until Tuesday even though there was a special session today and another will likely be scheduled for tomorrow.

* 5:47 pm - The governor’s spokesperson said just now that she didn’t know anything about what Madigan and Lang were referring to regarding telling Senate leaders that their members didn’t need to show up for special session today.

Another inside source said she has been pretty heavily involved in caucus discussions and would probably have known if such an advisory had been issued. She didn’t hear anything about it, either.

* 5:53 pm -
The official proclamation for Special Session 6 (tomorrow at 1 o’clock) has been issued. Download it here.

Tomorrow’s topics will be the State Universities Retirement System and funding for FY08 for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services “to provide assistance to sexual assault victims and for sexual assault prevention activities.” No specific legislation was defined in the proclamation.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:29 pm:

    Is there a chance the House will do anything? What can be done by the genral membership after yesterday’s debacle?

  2. - Esteban - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:30 pm:

    Have you noticed that Blago is NOT whacking
    Emil Jones despite the fact that all the
    members of the House of Lords are doing each
    day now is collecting their per diem and heading
    for the door as fast as is humanly possible?

  3. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:32 pm:

    I didn’t even see Jones in the Senate today. He is probably already home.

  4. - Back to the Northside Hideout - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:35 pm:

    Just goes to show ya, how an effective leader Blagojevich is.

  5. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:35 pm:

    By the way, Lou Lang ought to get some sort of award for his speech yesterday. And it should be engraved on the side of the state airplane the Governor uses so he can read it over and over again as he flies back and forth.

  6. - Anon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:35 pm:

    Isn’t it unconstitutional for them to hold the session and not act on the purpose for which it was called?

    Quick, take them to court and make them do something before western civilization as we know it comes to an end!

  7. - Esteban - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:37 pm:

    Neither the GoP or the Dems want to make Quinn
    governor, although for different reasons. It’s
    still fun to contemplate the possibility…..

  8. - Jacques Strappe - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:38 pm:

    Thrice failed.

  9. - AsAMom - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:39 pm:

    Will the Gov issue a proclmation for SS#6 to get the Senate back before Tuesday?

  10. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:40 pm:

    Everybody ought to leave town and leave the Governor in town alone at the mansion. How ironic would that be?

  11. - Leigh - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:42 pm:

    In spite of the rhetoric from the governors office, I would argue that the senate is every bit as responsible for a budget as anyone else, yet they have done less than nothing. I hope the general public is taking note of Emil’s charade as a leader.

  12. - Sponge! - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:49 pm:

    I think the leaders’ meeting is at 6:30 p.m., now, fyi (I think!).

  13. - jaundiced eye - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 4:56 pm:

    If you appreciated Lou Lang’s candor in his speech yesterday, e mail and congratulate him. I did — and got a response in 15 minutes. He must be lonely — God knows my representatives at the city, county, state and federal levels never lift a finger or reply (unless I’ve enclosed a contribution check of course).

  14. - Esteban - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:07 pm:


  15. - Lainer - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:16 pm:

    How this for an idea to lighten things up… next time Blago calls special session, especially if it’s on an inconvienient weekend time, have them all meet at the lake or a park or a swimming pool in beach attire, meet only long enough to make it legal and then all have a big beach party afterward!!

  16. - Leigh - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:18 pm:

    What was the roll call for the senate?

  17. - Ken in Aurora - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:18 pm:

    Rich, I’m not an ISRA member and I really don’t pay them much attention, but IMO their comments re: Kotowski are generally on the mark. If he found a genie lamp, making guns disappear would be his first wish.

  18. - Lainer - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:20 pm:

    Of course, this would only work if 1) Blago doesn’t know about it and 2) he fails to specify that they are supposed to meet at the Capitol. Either house can meet somewhere besides the Capitol as long as the other house consents, right?

  19. - AsAMom - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:21 pm:

    No Roll Call for the Senate - as just discussed in the House… it was an agreement between the Gov and Senate. Gov is certainly showing which ‘child’ is his favorite.

  20. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:23 pm:

    We will need programs to keep the special sessions straight. We are in #5 headed toward who knows how many?

  21. - NRA Endowment Life Member - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:24 pm:

    I am not too concerned about action from Sen. Kotowski. Even if the claim of a special session is true (which I doubt), so far the Senate has been in special session for a total of about six minutes over all the sessions. It is hard to do much damage when you can’t even agree what time to start session.

    Sen. Kotowski may be little more than a gun-grabbing liberal but I doubt action like this would go anywhere in regular session, much less in special session. If the good senator’s office started this they are only looking for ink; otherwise the ISRA is only looking for contributions. Either way - nothing to see here.

  22. - silentk - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:26 pm:

    Absent from the Democratic Illinois General Assembly July 8, 2007:

    (sorry folks, I couldn’t keep up with the Republican side)

    Absent from today’s session:

    Perhaps these Representatives missed the call of their fellow Representative Lou Lang when he said, “I think we had an engaged body. It’s too bad all of our members weren’t here, I think we should have some comments for them when they return.”

  23. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:27 pm:

    Lang and Madigan have a pretty good two man team going similar to Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” classic.

  24. - Rich Miller - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:29 pm:

    Nice list, SilentK. The problem is, almost nobody showed up in the Senate today, allegedly by pre-arrangement with the governor. Check the 5:17 update, posted before you finished your comment.

  25. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:32 pm:

    The reps who are left should probably sit down, shut up and listen to Bauman. They might learn just how bad they have screwed up this state.

  26. - Pate - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:33 pm:

    How spineless are the Senate Republicans!!!!! The 22 profiles in courage should be holding a press conference about the farce in the Senate today. No attendance roll call, no one calls for quorum, were there even 30 Senators in Springfield today?

    Did members of the Senate receive per diem???????

  27. - RJW - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:37 pm:

    Bill is right, though I suspect (at least I hope) that most of the members are aware of the pension situation. It should not, however, be addressed at this time. This should not hold the budget up. They should work on a budget and make the pension payments that are due now and then they should deal with the pension issue separately. You’re not going to solve it here and now.

  28. - Lobbyist A - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:40 pm:

    Hey Rich,

    Any chance you could post today’s CAP FAX as a subscriber-only post for those of us monitoring from home, not work?

    Who wants to wait until getting to work tomorrow morning to gain from your wisdom?

  29. - Anon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:40 pm:

    Does anyone know Lang’s e-mail address?

    I have known parents who favor the child who is the underachiever and who has not accomplished what the other children have. Madigan has the maturity to know why he is not Blago’s favored child and I’m quite sure he can handle it.

    Hello Bill. Good to hear from you today.

  30. - silentk - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:41 pm:

    Sorry, I couldn’t get reception inside Target this afternoon and missed the Senate (blink, it’s gone)… Was typing when you posted 5:17pm.

    Could you clarify what happened with the rescinding of the 2:00pm Special Session? Was that in both Houses - and therefore, calling Madigan into court is a moot point? I missed something, somewhere.

  31. - Esteban - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:43 pm:

    Regarding the Senate not showing up today or
    tomorrow: will this be the “final straw” for
    the House members?

  32. - Rich Miller - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:44 pm:

    Bill, you might want to listen to him, too. He’s not all that excited about the pension bond scheme.

  33. - Rich Miller - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:44 pm:

    Lobbyist A, your wish is my command. Use last week’s password to access it.

  34. - Lobbyist A - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:47 pm:

    Rich, you rock

  35. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:48 pm:

    I’m listening. The fund is funded at 62%, the worst in the country!

  36. - jaundiced eye - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:48 pm: — per Anon’s request.

  37. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:54 pm:

    Based on the Senate’s sham special seesion today, the 6:30 meeting should be another real “lovefest.”

  38. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 5:56 pm:

    “The governor’s spokesperson said just now that she didn’t know anything about what Madigan and Lang were referring to regarding telling Senate leaders that their members didn’t need to show up for special session today.”

    If true - then why did Senators apparently defy todays special session proclamation en masse? Oh, I forgot…there is no roll call to tell us who was and was not there. I guess the news reported here last night that the Senate was adjourned until Tuesday didn’t happen either.

    The governor and his propagandists…er ’spokesmen’… are swimming in so many lies that they can’t even keep them straight anymore.

  39. - anon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:01 pm:

    Sounds like both the senate dems & republicans knew they would not need to return until tuesday… Listen to Frank Watson’s comments after saturday’s meeting at the gov’s mansion.
    He said something along the lines that he believed they were done until tuesday, and that Jones told him he would talk with the Governor about it. Sounds like mr. jones surely did talk and make a deal.

    so many lies.

  40. - Rich Miller - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:02 pm:

    So, Bill, did you hear what he just said about how the system is solvent, avoided using the word “crisis” and that the accumulated assets and the Constitution will guarantee that pensioners get their checks?

  41. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:04 pm:

    Are we going to have a special session for EACH line item and department in the budget?????? What kind of joke is this?

    I see that the governor has again attempted to set the time of the special session…I guess he hasn’t learned much. The proclamation says ‘General Assembly’ but is the Senate even going to be required to show up or do they get a free pass once again?

  42. - Rich Miller - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:05 pm:

    Wow, I just looked at yesteday’s comment totals. More than 250 comments on a Saturday. Amazing.

  43. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:07 pm:

    We try to hold up our end, Rich!

  44. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:08 pm:

    The Governor (I use the term loosely) will use these proclamations as political fodder for later. He will point to them and explain he was forced to use these as a way to get the General Assmebly “back to work” on the budget. What a joke.

  45. - Rich Miller - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:08 pm:

    “Name/Nickname/Anon” I think you’re catching on to the game here.

  46. - disappointed supporter - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:13 pm:

    Maybe Blago has a brain tumor (not that I would wish that on anybody) but you have to believe that something is just plain wrong with him. This is not the State of Blagojevich where anything he says goes and he is not the King of Illinois, so what is up with his strange behavior?

  47. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:20 pm:

    Rich, if they have to continue to sell off assets to the tune of 1.5 billion each year to meet expenses they will be in crisis soon enough. The money has to come from somewhere. The state can pay now or pay a lot more later. Yes, the constitution guarantees payment assuming there is no change during a con con. It doesn’t guarantee that the state will have the money to pay. If you think the alternatives look bad today, do nothing and wait 30 years. It is going to get a whole lot worse.
    The bond sale is not perfect but has a high liklihood of successfully bringing the funding level up significantly saving the state billions in interest in the long run.
    I knew that was coming. The republicans want the employees to pay more!

  48. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:25 pm:

    You can re-finance debt at a better rate to pay less interest!

  49. - Fiduciary Liability - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:30 pm:

    Did everyone comprehend the fact that the Baughman just stated that they were required to sell assets of approximately $1.2 Billion over the last 2 years in order to cover benefits and expenses. He stated that they sold S&P 500 Index funds over that time period.

    During that time period the S&P 500 Index has gained almost 22% in value.

    Who are the Trustees of the TRS? Are they appointed by both the Administration, as well as the Teacher’s Union’s? I would not want to be wearing the jacket for those decisions, but they certainly have to pay the benefits somehow.

  50. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:34 pm:

    Mitchell should ask how much Chicago teachers contribute out of their checks for their pensions.

  51. - Just Me - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:38 pm:

    Bill said, “Rich, if they have to continue to sell off assets to the tune of 1.5 billion each year to meet expenses they will be in crisis soon enough.”

    So why is the Gov proposing that we sell an asset — the lottery — to meet the expenses of the pension?

  52. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:40 pm:

    I wish that they would televise the leaders meeting or at least let the press in.

  53. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:44 pm:

    Do we have the audio link for Fitzgerald’s guy?

  54. - unclesam - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:45 pm:

    House adjourned till 12 noon tomorrow.

  55. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:45 pm:

    Just me,
    The Gov wants to sell the lottery to pay down debt, not meet operating expenses.
    It would be like Rich selling his boat to pay his mastercard bill. Not only will he have less debt he will not have to pay any more interest.

  56. - NIEVA - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:52 pm:

    As of June30th I pay 402.00 per month on my pension. The last several raises have been eaten up by this. Now I don’t mind paying my part,if the money is actually going into the system but I think the state needs to try to get a handle on the amount owed to the system. I don’t expect it all at once but we must start somewhere. Selling the lottery won’t work, not near enough money there, how about a one percent sales tax strictly for the retirement funds?

  57. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:52 pm:

    Bill -

    The governor wants to sell the lottery to pay down debt incurred in earlier years. He underfunded and used pension money to pay for operational costs and social programs in years past and to camouflage ongoing multi-year budget deficits. Use of a capital asset such as the lottery to now ‘pay down the debt’ is nothing but shifting liability and paying operating expenses by proxy.

  58. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:55 pm:

    Jon Bauman cracks me up - they ask him if he’d like 10 or 15 Billion Dollars input to the system and he calmly says that would be fine! No wonder he’s Exec Dir - he’s the brightest bulb in the gov’s chandalier so far. Sure outshines Filan by a mile.

  59. - AsAMom - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:55 pm:

    The Senate Pensions & Investment Committee members have to be here tomorrow for a 2pm hearing on Subject matter - don’t know about all members. On ILGA web home page it says next Sen day is 7/10

  60. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 6:59 pm:

    Uh oh! Bauman’s gonna buy the Lottery for the TRS. Great investment Jon! Good job - you’ll even up that 17% profit/income, that’s not too shabby.

  61. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:02 pm:

    You are absolutely correct except that the plan was way underfunded before Rod was even born. In fact, the state has NEVER made the payments that were required to fully fund the pension plans.
    Shifting liability from the plans to the state would be a good move in my view.
    Don’t get me wrong. Rich is right. As long as the state makes the payments required by whatever RAMP is now in effect the plans will not be in crisis. The problem is that those payments will eventaully exceed natural revenue growth. There will be no new revenue for anything else. The only way out then will be a super tax increase possibly ordered by the courts.

  62. - FED UP - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:03 pm:

    Rich said no more impeachment talk so can we get enough people interested in a coup d’etat.

  63. - Little Egypt - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:04 pm:

    Bill, he won’t have a boat either.

  64. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:05 pm:

    TRS buying the lottery is a great idea! as long as all proceeds go to TRS.

  65. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:09 pm:

    Sure rings the school bell doesn’t it. Still would go to education - only in a bit of a roundabout way. Heck let’s give it the good old college try.

  66. - Just Me - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:24 pm:

    So, Bill ,when you sell an asset to pay one year’s expenses, it’s bad, but when you sell an asset worth 10 times as much to pay 10 year’s expenses, it’s good? And the analogy to Rich’s boat is nonsense. His boat isn’t an income-producing asset.

    The “sel-the-lottery” proposal is nothing but a shell game. Moving the pea ($10 billion worth of income-producing assets) from one place to the other. But with a shell game, we know why the con man running it is trying to make you lose track of the pea. What is the Gov’s motivation?

    Is he trying to sell it on the cheap to friends? Or is he trying to generate transactions fees for the friends who will do the deal? I have no evidence that either is the motivation, but no other rational explanation fits the known facts. Unless, maybe,he is really playing the “bigger fool” game and hoping someone will pay him more than the lottery is worth? You know what they say about that theory — if you don’t KNOW who the bigger fool is, it’s probably you.

  67. - General Assembly Watcher - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:31 pm:

    Who is Blair? A couple representatives mentioned not being able to get him before the committe of the whole.

  68. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:34 pm:

    The income produced by the lottery would be more than made up by the interest savings as well as investment income produced by the proceeds. The state would make money. I think the problem is what would they do with the income. Would it replace or increase the $650 million that goes to fund education or would it just go into the GRF to be wasted on pork?

  69. - steve schnorf - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:37 pm:

    Bill, keep up the good fight, because on the pensions you are right.

  70. - Bill - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:47 pm:

    I thought for sure you would be in the “leaders meeting”. Wishful thinking on my part, I guess.

  71. - Anonymous - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:53 pm:

    notice that the senate gop said they didn’t talk to the govs office and vice versa. they never said they didn’t talk to emil or his staff. the deal was cut yesterday when dale righter withdrew his motion for a quorum call.

    both sides in the senate should be ashamed and there should be an investigation and embezzlement charges for any senator who takes a per diem for today despite being absent.

  72. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 7:56 pm:

    Rich, do you expect to have any audio after the Leaders Mtng.?

  73. - Anonymous - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:02 pm:


    the members that didn’t show up today, missed nothing, and saved the taxpayers money.

  74. - RJW - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:19 pm:

    Steve Schnorf:

    Can you clarify what you think Bill is right about as far as the pensions go? Do you think he’s right about the pension bond, right about the lottery sale, or both? I used to work for you at BoB and am aware of your intelligence on budget matters, so I would like to know your opinion.

  75. - zatoichi - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:28 pm:

    Rod: We will work 7 days a week. Here are my proclamations for day and time.
    Mike: Ah, I’ll pick the time.
    Emil: Ah, We’ll come in for a couple minutes and will be taking Monday off. (How many free day passes does he have in the deck?)

    This is sounding more like pro tag team wrestling. The spots with the reporters are becoming promos where they work the mic to move the story line. “Knock it of”, “I’m not going to”. Emil’s face turn is coming next.

    If Schoenburg’s column is right about the deposition, ya gotta wonder how much more stuff is driving the behind the scenes.

  76. - Randall Sherman - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:29 pm:

    If someone can come up with a suggestion as to make our Governor act in a rational and productive manner, I think we would all be glad to hear it. I am not the only person sick and tired of the Governor’s ineptitude, inaction and increasingly erratic (if not irrational) behavior.

  77. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:37 pm:

    If TRS bought the Lottery for 10 Billion and got the Lottery plus the 10 Billion proceeds from the sale then they should be about 100+% funded.

  78. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:44 pm:

    How about giving the TRS the last casino license?

  79. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:45 pm:

    I missed it. Is the leaders meeting over?

  80. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:46 pm:

    No, that one goes to SERS !

  81. - Don Gwinn - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:46 pm:

    The ISRA release as quoted is shrill in tone, fine.
    There may not be a July 9th “gun violence special session,” either. Fine.

    But you aren’t seriously suggesting that Dan Kotowski doesn’t want to ban and confiscate guns, are you? The guy was the head of ICHV. You don’t get that job by respecting the right to keep and bear arms.

  82. - steve schnorf - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:48 pm:

    It’s hard for me to make a dispassionate evaluation of the lottery deal, because generally I oppose the idea of government selling non-surplus assets, whether revenue-generating or not. E.G., I wouldn’t want to sell off New Salem either, though it might be pretty valuable. When you’re selling (or leasing) a revenue generating asset, I suppose the acid test is what you do with the payment you receive. I guess you could analogize it to simply converting a fixed asset into a liquid one; you have no more or less to show on your balance sheet, just in different categories.

    To be as fair as I can about it, I think if you take assets (lottery) and liabilities (unfunded pension debt) and exchange one for the other you’ve done no harm (reduce assets, liabilities by like amounts). Some will say what do you do about the lost revenue. You really don’t have lost revenue, you have net decreased expenditures.

    On the POBS, I have no reservations at all. Assuming they are done right (and this administration did one very well), it is about as close as you can get to found money.

    The key to all this is what you do with the cash/savings. If you use it to pay operating expenses you are really exacerbating the problem. If you use it to pay down the pension debt, you have done a good thing.

    I know some of you argue (correctly) if the cash influx to the systems allows you to reduce annual contributions you are really subsidizing operating expenses. If you listened, that was a big part of the debate with Harmon the other day in the Senate.

    IMHO. pulling the 90% funding goal forward by 5 years is a very positive accomplishment. The principals could debate out whether it could be pulled a little farther forward by tweaking the payment schedule.

  83. - dupage progressive - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:48 pm:

    how bout giving TRS the keys to the gov’s office, or maybe JRTC or maybe the land deeds to the unused jails around the state. Sounds like they have a knack for real estate investments.

  84. - reform - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:49 pm:

    This year will cause the voters to want a new CONCON hoping the results will be recall and other reforms to end this stupid way we run Government in Illinois.

  85. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:50 pm:

    Lefty - …Is the leaders meeting over? … Not that I’ve heard, maybe Rod is having a sleepover?

  86. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:54 pm:

    - dupage progressive -
    Bauman headed CMS’s Property Mgmt Bureau when the Thompson Center was built - who better to “manage” it for the Retirement Systems. Problem Solved.

  87. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:57 pm:

    I would bet they are playing a big game of charades.

  88. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 8:59 pm:

    Hey, let’s SELL the Thompson Center to the TRS also!

  89. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:07 pm:

    Comeon Lefty, don’t forget the Judges Rtmt Sys and the Gen Assmbly Rtmt Sys - we have to let them in on it too. The Rtmt Systems money once in the System is not Taxpayer money per se. It’s special. Done right it pays its own way!

  90. - Norseman - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:13 pm:


    I agree that Madigan’s parlimentarian overreached with his opinion on the governor’s authority to set the date and time of a special session. If a governor didn’t have the ability to specify a date, then a special session could be delayed indefinitely. I can also see a court agreeing that the governor’s proclamation can set a time. However, I don’t see any rational court issuing a Writ of Mandamus ordering a chamber of the legislature to convene at the time specified by the governor when an earlier time is scheduled by the Speaker or the Senate President. Especially given the fact situation we have here. Historically, special sessions are meant to bring legislators back to town to undertake a legislative activity. In this case you have a governor using successive proclamations to keep legislators in town. It really hysterical to hear the governor’s attorney saying that it is okay to start the special session late, but not early. How can a court say that it is against the public’s best interest for the chamber to start early. What a joke.

    This is probably a moot issue. I doubt that the Governor will continue to pursue his battle over this “constitutional crisis.” He already looks like an idiot on this one.

  91. - ZC - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:16 pm:

    For all the Lou Lang lovers out there, a historical tidbit that Lou _did_ run for governor, same time as Rod did, back in 2002. He trooped all over the state, asking for support. His bid went nowhere. In retrospect, he might have been an even better gub than Paul Vallas.

    Another one of the those endless what ifs.

  92. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:17 pm:

    Citizen- “Done right” is where your argument breaksdown. The temptation for government to spend for today and let tomorrow take care of itself is the logical consequence of short-sighted “how do I get elected next term?” politicans, if and when reelected, disavow any responsibilty for the past problems they helped create or amplify during previous administrations. i.e Governior Olgilvie correctly recommended the need for a State Income Tax and was promptly defeated in the next election. So much for thinking of tomorrow as far a the electorate is concerned. I am sure our Governor is thinking of only the next election and his polictical career in all that he says and does.

  93. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:23 pm:

    Lefty, “Done Right” means the investment and management is outside of the usual governmental operations which is how the retirement systems are supposed to operate. Your concerns are valid if you take packing the boards or the Rezko types into account. Psssst! Don’t tell Fitz.

  94. - Show n' Tell - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:23 pm:

    What happens to the so-called monies that are earmarked for education if the Illinois lottery is sold?
    Question really is, did any of that lottery money ever fund education in the first place?
    Or is it all a huge shell game?
    Compliments of the vast greed that exists in Illinois.

  95. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:27 pm:

    It was a Shell Game. The Lottery money does indeed go to education, however the GRF money that went there before goes elsewhere.

  96. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:30 pm:

    So, the moral is “vote for the truth” no matter how much it hurts. Our Governor believes, and sadly rightfully so at this point, that poeple just want to be given things today without a thought about how we are to pay for them tomorrow. That is how to get elected and reelected. People do not want to hear or vote for the truth. They want “feel good” candidates who tell them what they want to hear, not the truth. That is how we get a governor like this, and he is obviously not alone. He does the best job at defining the truth based on what the people want to believe. Until we elect people who know can recognize the truth, tell us the truth these problems will not disappear any time soon.

  97. - SPEND, SPEND, SPEND - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:35 pm:

    What a poor message Illinois sends.

  98. - Cassandra - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:36 pm:

    Money is fungible, and whatever you call it, the effect of selling the lottery and putting the cash in the pension system is to reduce the annual payment the state is required to pay into the pension fund. Whether you call it paying down debt or paying operating expenses the effect is the same.

    That frees up more or less money for other schemes of the guv, whatever they may be.

    Bauman is right, though. There is no crisis. And the pensioners don’t have to worry about getting paid–a rather cruel potential side effect to all the political hype.

  99. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:42 pm:

    Ogilvie was the best governor of the bunch, in my opinion.Good friends of mine though made good arguments for Adlai S. - his private sec. Margaret Munn, for one always told stories of him as a very ethical and highminded public servant with great vision, much like Ogilvie. We have had much better in the past the problem referring to your post is that it now is “tomorrow”.

  100. - Lefty - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:43 pm:

    Cassandra- once again you debate the real truth about the pension plans. Are the dooms-dayers correct or are the don’t worry about it people correct? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle? If I had my choice, I would like to see someone from Principal Mutual, one of the largest private companies in the pension business, take an unbiased look at it and give us their professional opinion. That would be the way to ge closer to the real truth.

  101. - curious george - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:45 pm:

    Is former Blagojevich chief of staff LON MONK’s firm is AM3 Consulting, Ltd., Park Ridge, IL representing the any of the retirement funds in the lottery purchase deal?

  102. - Ethics - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:52 pm:

    We are light years from the “TRUTH” in Illinois.
    But we all sleep better knowing Blagojevich is somewhere flying overhead looking out for each and every one of us best interest’s.

  103. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 9:55 pm:

    - Ethics -
    That would be a comforting thought if we could just remove the landing gear!

  104. - steve schnorf - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:00 pm:

    I think to say that payments are still going out to annuitants means we have no crisis is semantics at best. We have multiple problems, all with totally foreseeable results. Some of the systems are selling revenue producing assets to make payments. The ramping up cost of the State’s contributions is pinching the State’s operating budget. By that definition the CTA pension system isn’t in crisis; it’s still making payments.

    That’s pretty disingenuous. I liken it to a levee that’s ten feet tall, and the water is at 9 feet and rising and it’s raining like h— upstream. I guess technically you don’t have a crisis until the water comes over the top but that’s a pretty narrow definition, and if you use that as an excuse do put off doing something you’re not doing your job.

  105. - The Goat - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:02 pm:

    Are the leaders still meeting?

  106. - silentk - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:03 pm:

    Isn’t the lottery-for-education one of the oldest myths in Illlinois?

    “Rep. Giorgi (D-Rockford) estimated that some $60 million would be raised annually for the state’s general revenue fund.” (Chicago Sun Times, Dec 2, 1973)

    “Other critics, including some who voted for earlier Giorgi-sponsored lottery bills, said they coud not support the measure unless the money were earmarked for education financing.” (ibid)

    But it wasn’t.

  107. - Zzzzz - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:10 pm:

    So is spending the taxpayer’s money. The only crisis that exists, is the one in Blago’s head. It’s all about the money.
    Money that Blago thinks is his by some divine right.

  108. - RJW - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:14 pm:

    Silent K:

    You are absolutely wrong that the lottery money wasn’t earmarked for education. It was and still is earmarked. Whether they simply replaced GRF support with lottery support I don’t know b/c I wasn’t there. Some $630 million is generated by the lottery for education. The problem is, state dollars appropriated for education is about $7 billion. The lottery money doesn’t even cover General State Aid, which is the largest source of revenues to school. GSA is at $4 billion. People perpetuate this myth all the time that the lottery doesn’t fund education. It does. Every penny of the net proceeds goes to education. The rest of the money goes to pay out the winnings and to administer the lottery, which is very little.

  109. - Aquanet+ - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:21 pm:

    So the million dollar question is, if the Illinois Lottery is sold, we lose a $630 million revenue source?

  110. - RJW - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:22 pm:


    Bingo! You would need to replace that $630 million otherwise you’ve just created a $630 million hole in the education budget.

  111. - S. Illinois - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:28 pm:

    It looks like they are at least talking now. AP story filed at 9:45 says that EXISTING budget issues are $875 million out of balance. That does not include any new initiatives. At least they seem to finally have an idea of where to start. Now if they will only continue talking.

    Read the AP story here:

  112. - Aquanet+ - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:31 pm:

    Guess Blagojevich should sell the Illinois Tollway instead. Then there wouldn’t be a $630 million hole.

  113. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:32 pm:

    And remember, you need to do the same + every year in the future.

  114. - RJW - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:34 pm:

    A Citizen:

    Thanks for the reminder. Good point!!

  115. - muon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:37 pm:

    If we take the House vote against the lottery sale at face value, then that leaves the 16 B$ bond sale for the pensions. TRS would get about 55% or 8.8 B$. That would bring them up to about 79% funded. That’s close to 80% which is what Bauman said he would be comfortable with.

    Even so, the bond sale would require debt service and continuing current contributions. Even the interest savings would not cover those combined costs. As Bauman pointed out, the failure to make current contributions even as previous bond sales took place led to a net negative cash flow, and subsequent asset sales.

  116. - Offended by the Governor - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:39 pm:

    Yes Sickofitall, Channel 20 reported the Governor worshipping at a Springfield church and alleging that it’s everyone’s God given right to have healthcare. I strongly disagree with that position. Healthcare is not and should not be a government entitlement program. If the government provides healthcare, there will no longer be an incentive for people to better themselves to obtain a job that provides health insurance or to be able to afford health insurance. I’m so sick of this socialist agenda. It’s disgusting. The government should not be providing health insurance for anyone other than employees who work for it and contribute to the costs.

  117. - Squideshi - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:40 pm:

    I agree that this nonsense is going to convince people that a ConCon is needed. I think it might be the best time to have one, as the requirements to serve as a delegate are the same as a member of the General Assembly; and with the Green Party being established statewide, that means that it can elect a few delegates and open up the process a bit to more democratic reforms.

  118. - RJW - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:41 pm:

    I think we had our shot at the pension bond thing when the Governor did it the first time. I think the guys testifying the other day (from Citibank I think) made the point that perhaps Illinois should have done a $20 or $30 billion sale at that time since interest rates were insanely low. They also pointed out though that even at $10 billion it was the largest pension bond ever. I don’t think anybody disputes the benefits of that sale. The timing now, however, isn’t so good.

  119. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 10:45 pm:

    If you do the bond sale and put the money into the retirement systems the debt service is not done by the retirement systems. To them it is asset investment and resultant investment earnings/proceeds for their operations - pensions and operating costs.

  120. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 11:27 pm:

    Steve S, give Kj a call tomorrow and see what kinda deal he can get on $20 Billion in bonds for us. Seems no one else is fleshing out that option, guess we should (have you) step up and get it done!

  121. - muon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 11:31 pm:

    A Citizen I agree that from the retirement system’s point of view the bond sale provides an asset only. But when the General Assembly uses the creation of a new asset as a justification to short the contribution it leads to net negative cash flow. To the extent that the GA relates the two, it doesn’t matter that they really are separate from the point of view of TRS or the other systems.

  122. - Loyal Whig - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 11:31 pm:

    Illinois is a political junkie’s heaven. This is a very bad soap opera.

  123. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 11:39 pm:

    - muon -
    The state is not creating a new asset - it “owes” the retmnt systems the debt due to not having made the contributions required by law. Each rtmnt system carries the unpaid contribution as a debt owed them (aka an asset) on their balance sheets. I don’t know if they accrue interest on the debt and add it to the balance sheet debt from year to year, but they should. That is one reason they appear a bit more solvent than if it was just wiped off the books.

  124. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 11:51 pm:

    I imagine, under the Constitution, the Retirement Systems actually are the only entity (or at least the Class A debt holder) holding Stock in the State of Illinois. If they fail to pay pensions then the State must begin liquidating assets to pay the pensions - they are first in line and guaranteed by the Const.

  125. - muon - Sunday, Jul 8, 07 @ 11:51 pm:

    A Citizen - if all was accounted in a business-like manner I think you would have it. The bond sale in 2003 did create additional assets on the pension system books. However, the debt showed up in the general fund, not in the pension system. It moved liabilities from one fund to another, so the pension system does become more solvent with the added bond revenue. The general fund then has a hard fixed obligation to the bond holders, rather than a soft obligation to the pension fund.

  126. - A Citizen - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 12:01 am:

    In the worst case, the debt to the retmnt systems would not be soft - the pensions under the Constitution would be required to be paid before state employees, legislators, judges, education, state medicaid, . . . everything. NO salaries, no programs, nothing until the pensions are paid.

  127. - A Citizen - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 12:05 am:

    You might say that a STATE PENSION is a Class AAA Platinum Investment.

  128. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 12:11 am:

    Schnorf, you are being disingenious when you-
    1) Compare any of the State pension fund. There’s a true apples to fruit salad comparision if i ever heard one. CTA is in a crisis. They spent pension money that they really need on health care. Dumb and illegal. As a result, pension fund is 22% funded

    TRS probably objects to the use of the word “crisis” because they know from past experience that their phones will start ringing like crazy with understandably concerned retired rteachers that have seen or heard about this “crisis”

  129. - A Citizen - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 12:17 am:

    - Arthur Andersen -
    If there ever is a true crisis, as far as state retirement systems are concerned, they will be the last to experience it. Cook County and Chicago, I don’t know. Even the pension bond debt would go unpaid in favor of the state retirees, in a worse case situation.

  130. - A Citizen - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 12:24 am:

    I suppose that what I am saying is that the State would be very smart to make sure that the rtmnt systems are fully funded and healthy. They have the capability of literally becoming the wolf at the door. Playing debt games with them is a fools bet, they WILL win and all other debtors will go unpaid.

  131. - A Citizen - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 12:50 am:

    From the AP . . .”HARRISBURG, Pa. - Gov. Ed Rendell late Sunday ordered a range of state government services shut down and placed about a third of the state work force on indefinite unpaid furlough after frantic last-minute negotiations failed to break a budget stalemate. . . . ” Better tell Rod he needs to compromise or or or . . .

  132. - reform - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 7:01 am:

    This mess is the poster child for ConCon.
    Maybe we can have recall rights on the Governor?
    Then it is Elvis is leaving the building?

  133. - North of I-80 - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 7:52 am:

    Reference the 5:12 PM “goofy prediction” from Rifle assoc alert: at this stage of the game, I will take “goofy” over the outrageous behavior demonstrated at our $$$ expense by our elected leaders. NOTHING is off the table as far as IL Govt is concerned…. it is as though we are paying Moe, Larry and Curly to see how much havoc they can create and make IL look really bad in the process.

  134. - Lula May - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 8:01 am:

    The problem here is not Blago. He’s just a nut. The enabler Emil Jones is the problem. He need to go.

  135. - Leigh - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 8:03 am:

    Who is paying for the governors trip to India? And what kind of moron announces a trip like that when there is no money for health care, education, pension, or state workers? On another note, is Emil adopting? I could use some nice state contracts…..

  136. - Lula May - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 8:26 am:

    I would imagine the trip will be paid by the India political contributors. Follow the money. Devon Ave. is the second home of our Governor. Money, money and more money

  137. - Squideshi - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 8:26 am:

    “Maybe we can have recall rights on the Governor?”

    I know that the Green Party supports full binding initiative, referendum, and recall. Does anyone know the position of the Democratic or Republican parties on this democracy issue? It seems to me that it is on issues such as these that the elections of delegates to a constitutional convention will hinge.

  138. - Lula May - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 8:30 am:

    Oh,I should have added. This smells like more pay to play. It’s payback time.

  139. - Just silly - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 9:19 am:

    This Impeach Blago thing is ridiculous. Some of these Republican hypocrites should look in the mirror. The GOP never even considered impeaching George Ryan and they still have senior people from George Ryan’s administration running their State Party right now (very badly I might add). Then they have this Bob Kjellander, Individual K guy they won’t even get rid of. And Kjellander’s not even a public official, he’s a leader of their own organization. Blago just faced all the voters of Illinois. Kjellander never has.

    These silly Republicans should clean up their own yard before they even start making fools of themselves again. The last people Illinoisans need a lecture from is this gang that can’t shoot straight.

  140. - GOP - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 11:26 am:

    LaComb needs to justify the $5,000 he is taking down from Healy and Oberweis for losing numerous legislative campaigns and failing to effectively recruit candidates. This is another half-baked idea that accomplishes nothing.

  141. - Rebel13 - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 1:10 pm:

    And yet, Blago just called, or is calling, for a special session for gun control. This is going on right now!

    I guess ISRA was correct!

  142. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 9, 07 @ 1:21 pm:

    Rebel, they’re not gonna take away all your guns, as ISRA claimed. IF they tried to pass a bill like that, it would get about five votes in each chamber, if that. The ISRA release was way over the top.

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