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This just in… *** Governor threatens daily special sessions until Christmas ***

Thursday, Nov 29, 2007

*** 11:29 am *** I told subscribers this morning that it looked pretty clear to me that Speaker Madigan wanted to wait until January before moving any more legislation, including the mass transit bailout. Come January, he’ll only need a simple majority to pass everything except a bond authorization bill. And so it goes

House Speaker Michael Madigan adjourned the special session this morning called by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Madigan said there is nothing more for lawmakers to do so he’s sending them home until January. But he told them they’re on call to come back to work if legislation develops. […]

A Blagojevich spokeswoman says the governor hasn’t decided whether he will call another special session to keep lawmakers working.

Today’s special session was called last night. It was supposed to deal with transit and a capital bill. You can view the official proclamation by clicking here.

I’m told that a leaders meeting is scheduled for noon. No idea yet whether Madigan will show up. Rumors are rampant that Blagojevich will call another special session for tomorrow or next week. Stay tuned.

* 11:41 am - Wow

Unemployment in the Rockford region jumped more than in any other U.S. metro area over the past year. A report from the U.S. Department of Labor shows the unemployment rate in Rockford almost doubled since October 2006. Eight-point-one percent of workers there are listed as unemployed.

And double-wow

Sears Holdings Corp. reported a 99 percent drop in third-quarter profit Thursday on weak sales at its Sears and Kmart department stores and continuing investment losses under hedge-fund manager Chairman Eddie Lampert.

And another wow

The mortgage crisis will cost the Chicago area almost $4 billion next year in lost economic activity, according to a report. The report, released Tuesday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors , measures the effect of the crisis on employment, consumer spending and other indicators of economic output. In Chicago, the ripple effects will result in a $3.9-billion drop in gross metropolitan product, a measure of overall economic activity in the area.

*** 4:21 pm *** It was quite the press conference. Here’s a very brief summary

Blagojevich says he’s meeting with legislative leaders early next week. If negotiations continue to produce nothing, the governor says he’ll call daily special sessions until Christmas to try to force action.

* 4:38 pm -
LOL. Here’s more

“Now, you ask me about a hockey game last night. You could say, in fact, I’ll say, I prefer to actually go to a game that wasn’t rigged. In other words, let me say it another way, um, I prefer to watch a game that wasn’t rigged,” Blagojevich told reporters. “That vote last night, unfortunately, if you look carefully at that roll call, where some leaders of the Democratic caucus voted against it, suggested to me it wasn’t a serious effort to pass it.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - He makes Ryan Look like a Saint - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    Is the Governor scheduling the meeting around a Bulls Game?

  2. - Reality Check - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:48 am:

    Seeing as the Senate President by his own admission did not muster enough members to consider anything during these specials, I assume we can expect the governor’s lawsuit to come down on Jones any minute now?

  3. - Ghost - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:57 am:

    I hope somone goes back and re-does the states projected revenue before they get into more CTA RTA and capital spending. it looks like they need to first cover what will be shortfalls in the current budget if the States income falls; which these finiacial bits may be precursors for.

  4. - Ghost - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:09 pm:

    ===White House predicts slower growth
    Forecast says unemployment will rise as housing and credit market woes tax the economy.
    === (

  5. - Wumpus - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:11 pm:

    99% or $.99 for Sears?

  6. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:20 pm:

    This just goes to show you that the world is still spinning during the very critical ego battles downstate…what a mess…IL’s economy is being ignored and soon we’ll have no public transit system in Chicagoland…get my violin, I’ll be playing it and watching the ineptitude of our duly elected officials play out…

  7. - Greg - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:22 pm:


    It just means they didn’t make any profit in Q3. Not as if revenue collapsed.

  8. - Beancounter - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:24 pm:

    I see no hope for Kmart, but the Sears news is a shocker. I was in a Kmart last week–mid day, right before a major holiday–and saw only one other customer in the entire store. I can’t think of anything that Kmart is doing right (from my middle-aged, middle-income perspective). But I have an overwhelming urge to run to Sears and spend money. Can’t imagine life without Sears!

  9. - Cal Skinner - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:44 pm:

    Not exactly the time to commit to spending $385 million without knowing where it is coming from.

  10. - Bookworm - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:48 pm:

    Is Rockford’s unemployment rate up because businesses are moving over the border to Wisconsin? Does anyone know if this is a factor?
    I don’t recall where I saw this — think it was in some online biz journal — but I read recently that businesses think more about the future than the present when deciding where to locate. The article also said that while Illinois does currently have lower taxes than Wisconsin, the perception (based on all the hullaballoo about the GRT, health care, capital, etc.) is that our taxes and infrastructure are going to get worse while Wisconsin’s will stay the same or improve.

  11. - Jack Lint - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:19 pm:

    Go ahead and call another SPECIAL SESSION, no one cares….

  12. - Independent - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:21 pm:

    According to the link the loss of jobs at Belvidere’s Chrysler plant was behind the jump. Even so with sprawl along I-90 making Rockford a de facto exurb I’m surprised their unemployment rate is so high.

  13. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:24 pm:

    Re: Wow(s)

    Everything will turn around when Chicago lands the Olympics… right?

    – SCAM

  14. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:26 pm:

    I love that the special sessions are called to keep lawmakers working. Does that mean they will be told to go home, go out for a jog, and then fly to Chicago for a sporting event?

  15. - Sacks Romana - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    I have friends and family that works for Sears out in Hoffman Estates. Sad news, but that company has been run so poorly for so many years it’s astounding.

    It’s all buzzword bingo over there with the newest business fads and trends. The CEO’s (plural because there’s been so many over the last ten years) are like Oprah, letting all the employees know what books about business management they’re reading at the moment. Instead of reading books about trends that have already passed the industry by, they need to re-examine their entire core business model, figure out why Wal-Mart and Target are kicking them all over the place (which, in fairness, Wal-Mart and Target are doing to a lot of stores), and realize that buying K-Mart is only the most obvious, prominent, and worst decision made in a long, sad line of bad decisions.

    Also, unrelated, I’ve developed a Pavlovian response of adrenaline and anger whenever I hear or read Blagojevich’s name. Thank you CFB.

  16. - As A Mom - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    The Senate just adjourned to perfunct schedule every Wednesday. (1:23 pm)

  17. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:52 pm:

    I remember when Rockford’s unemployment rate was well in the double digits, as its machining/manufacturing industry was slowly being outsourced overseas. The city and area has made a fairly strong comeback against those odds (It has actually gained more population than Peoria from 1960 til now, and Peoria still has its strong Caterpillar presence). Still, unemployment in the 8% range has to hurt in these days of near-full employment in many other areas of the state. Many smart-growth advocates would say that Rockford’s becoming a commuter suburb is a bad thing, with lower quality of life due to long commutes, over-reliance on automobile commuting (even if Metra is extended), and a non-diversified tax base being undesirable.

  18. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 1:53 pm:

    NERO[Blago] fiddles while Rome[Illinois] burns.

  19. - Captain America - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:01 pm:

    Not a fiscal expert by any means, but the State’s structural deficit, combined with the impending economic recession, suggests that the state needs more revenue not less. The Medicaid shortfall alone suggests a fiscal crisis even without a recession.

    That’s why I believe the Hamos Plan, coupled with reasonable fare increases, is far superior to the Cross-Blago proposal because it creates a new revenue stream rather than putting a $365 million home in the state’s general revenues.

    In my opinion, Cross looked foolish for not supporting his own plan last evening.

    Madigan can pass the Hamos plan or the Cross-Blagojevich plan in January easily. The leverage of the Republicans and downstaters insisting on a capital casino plan will be gone after January 1.

    Emil Jones is still an impediment, but I don’t think he can withstand the political pressure for an up or down vote on any mass transit funding bill in the Senate, regardless of the status of the capital/casino bill.

    I hope they can come to some agreement in early January on the capital/casino bill. Otherwise it looks like more dommsday brinksmanship in mid-January.

    I’m still very curious whether Madigan will advance the Hamos plan or the Cross- Blagojevich plan in Janaury. Waht does Madiang want to do first? Destroy Blago by forcing him to veto the Hamos plan, and then using the the Cross-Blago plan as a fail-safe back-up or proceeding with the compromise plan initially after making Jones and Blago look very bad.???

    Good luck to us all next year - since it appears average citizens and service providers will continue to be collateral damage in the war of political egos.

  20. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:03 pm:

    Peoria went from 103,162 to 112,936 (gained 9,774)
    Rockford went from 126,706 to 150,115 (gained 23,409)

    Peoria was long the 2nd most populous city in IL til Rockford passed it with the 1960 census. Rockford still holds the title according to the official decennial census. But Aurora has zoomed past Rockford unofficially with an expected count in 2010 somewhere around 190,000, where it will likely top out due to being hemmed in by neighboring municipalities. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

  21. - FED UP - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:20 pm:

    Any luck getting the ethics bill out of committe or are halvorson and e. jones to busy doing nothing.

  22. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:06 pm:

    The Rockford news is sad, but it could be a temporary setback for a city that has been seeing growth for real reasons for quite a while. I don’t feel this is a long term trend for the city.

    When was the last time you shopped at either Sears or KMart? So how can we be surprised by this news? Also, how many of you really thought that Sears buying KMart was NOT a dinosaur dance? Sears has been slowly evolving into nothingness for twenty years, so if a once-giant retail business wanted to die off, they couldn’t have done it in a nicer way. That is, for those who have eyes and recognize the obvious signs. Like Oldsmobile, Sears belongs in that retro-age of the 1960s. Loved by WWII vets, and spurned by Boomers who see Sears as the place they were too embarrassed to be seen in buying cheap jeans.

    The Council of Mayor’s report is correct in the direction the mortgage situation is sending us, but they have exaggerated the impact. It is too soon to really know what dollar impact the situation will have until we know what the impact is. They have taken a worst case scenario and have extrapolated it into the ground. The report stinks of partisanship for the upcoming election year. The Council of Mayors is simply not a group to quote as a primary source for economic or housing information.

    They got the direction right, but not the dollar impact.

  23. - Tracey S. - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:19 pm:

    Blago reminds me more of the Roman Emperor Caligula than Nero.

  24. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:23 pm:

    Finally, the economic news should not be surprising to those of us who keep up with business news.

    We have been seeing Illinois being passed by with the national economic boom many other states have been enjoying for the past seven years. So, while Mr. Blagojevich and friends have been spending every dime, the hoped-for rising tide didn’t come in for Illinois. Like a gambler that hoped for his monthly Social Security check to buy food, Blagojevich and the Illinois Democrats expected the post 2000 economic boom to save their bacon.

    But Illinois is not the same state it was 50 years ago. Since we are a smaller percentage of the US economy than we were then, any national economic recovery will be smaller too. So, these past five years were NOT the time to increase social spending, as we all know too well now. Instead it was a time to make capital improvements, so that we could catch the economic wave when it came to shore. But we didn’t do that, did we?

    Now we have five year older infastructure at a time when competing states have upgraded theirs. With the bull market wearing a long gray beard, we will not have the money this year or next year either. 2008 looks like a very tough time for Illinois.

    The news from Rockford isn’t good. But it just joins the other bad news that has been coming out of Decatur, Danville, Kankakee, East St. Louis, and a few other small, formerly industrial, Illinois cities.

    There are three thing we do not need right now - an AWOL big spending governor, an economic downturn, and anti-business atmosphere. But that describes Illinois perfectly right now, doesn’t it?

    Expect more bad economic news for our state.

    If you thought Blagojevich, Madigan and Jones fought a lot this summer - watch what will happen when the trough is empty!

  25. - Lefty - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:25 pm:

    I was stunned by your matter of fact comment in this morning’s Capitol Fax about how this being the second week of deer hunting season many of the lawmakers want to get out of town. Oh, the priorities of life we have?????

  26. - Rockford No-it-all - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:53 pm:

    Folks, keep your pants on about Rockford. The unemployment rate bounced so high because Belvidere Chrysler laid off 3,600 employees for two weeks to let dealers catch up on overstocked inventory. That temporary layoff hit the same week as the unemployment survey (ouch). So the picture isn’t quite as bad as 8.1 percent joblessness suggests. But the third shift at the assembly plant (about 1,000 workers) is being eliminated early next year, so there will be some permanent impact in a few months.

  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:35 pm:

    ===I was stunned by your matter of fact comment in this morning’s Capitol Fax===

    It was stated matter of factly because it is a matter of fact.

  28. - The Cupboard is bare - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:35 pm:

    Guess Blago’s trying bring up his gift quota for 2007 with the special sessions till Christmas.
    Go ask Tony, Chris, Bill etc.

  29. - Crimefighter - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:48 pm:

    Blago didn’t make a serious effort to get it passed.

  30. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:49 pm:

    Did the gov clarify where the sessions will be held?

    At a Blackhawks or Bulls game? At his house? Jogging down the street? (picture that session) Via conference call from home?

    If he can work effectively from everywhere but the Statehouse, surely the Reps and Sens can too.

  31. - Shell Game - Illinois Style - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:53 pm:

    Rod says jump! The legislature says how high.

  32. - Levois - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:56 pm:

    LOL! I liked the way he took a shot at the House session last night but calling more specials session won’t help him. In fact calling that transit vote rigged might not help him either.

  33. - 312 - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:05 pm:

    GRod needs to get some new advisors. Being at a hockey game (flown back at OUR expense) during a critical vote AND a damning news segment is just plain stupid. Then making fun of the legislature, threatening to call them in until CMas, and referring to the game again? Double triple DUMB.

    He just doesn’t get it.

    But he should surround himself with people who do!

  34. - some former legislative intern - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:09 pm:

    what a joke Blago is. His hommie Cross voted present, this was the Blagojevich/Cross proposal, and he blames members of the Democratic caucus??? If I remember correctly, at least three of the “Blago Bunch” (i.e. Democratic House Reps who are foolish enough to be alied with the Governor) were MIA. To top it all off, he goes to the Blackhawks game instead of getting the Blago Bunch to show up and vote.

    For any State Reps reading this, if he calls specials, don’t bother to show up. I think the man is competely out of his mind.

    BTW–Abby’s comments to Flannery were uncalled for. Come on Abby, I know you — you are better than that.

  35. - A Citizen - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:11 pm:

    One trick pony. We should get used to it - this Really is the best he has to offer. A vacuous megalomaniac.

  36. - Retired State Employee - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:11 pm:

    Rumor has it that the Comptroller has issued a notice to state agencies that it is running 60 days behind in paying bills. Looks like the recession is already off and running in Illinois. As “Ghost” mentioned earlier, better redo those revenue projects because the deficit it really going to be big this year. And Blago can’t blame Ryan for this one.

  37. - Lefty Lefty - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:15 pm:

    Hey! That other Lefty is back again! Just to be clear, Mr. Miller et al, I know how important deer hunting is even if I am from Chicago.

    Time to use my alter-alter ego. I don’t know what other words so-called “Lefty” will put in my mouth.

    When does the Constitutional Convention start?

  38. - Captain America - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 6:00 pm:

    The governor appeaars to be very desperate to avoid having the Hamos bill on his desk in January.

    Maybe Mike Flannnery’s expose, such as it was, lit a fire under him.

  39. - Lotta Liaison - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 6:14 pm:

    What happened to El Salsa?

  40. - DumberThanYouThink - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 7:26 pm:

    As you may know, I jetted back to SPI About ll a.m. (Flight Tracker turned off of course) held a photo op and double talked my way around the failures and then loaded everybody into 2 SUVs and raced back to my hectic life in the Windy. My round the clock negotiations (aka insult fests) resume about 11 a.m. Monday.
    Geez…just typing all this gets me tuckered out.

  41. - State worker w/ an MBA - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 7:46 pm:

    I am required to travel alot for work - on m credit card of course. Reimbursement is currently taking 3-4 months.

    Hate to see what it will be if when they realize there is no money left.

  42. - Prairie Sage - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 7:54 pm:

    January isn’t going to be that relevant. The 2010 Groundhog’s Day gubernatorial primary will be pretty miserable for the incumbent if there is no capital bill — perhaps Madigans’ strategy is to surreptitiously block 3/5ths votes until then. Apostrophe intentional.

  43. - DumberThanYouThink - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 8:11 pm:

    What the puck
    How cum no one noticed Fumbles Harris (and that beard he has been trying to grow for five months) and Wymaramabama next to me at the big game? Looks like thhey were enjoying some cool beverages too.


  44. - Just wondering... - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 8:31 pm:

    Is English Composition required for a MBA?

  45. - NotABlagoFan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:16 pm:

    Here’s what I really don’t get — “Blackhawk Blago” makes a statement that Madigan didn’t try hard enough to get the bill passed, meanwhile he’s sitting at a Blackhawks game. And his sidekick, “Jump When Rod Screams Jones” didn’t even bother to make sure he had enough people to conduct business??? This is nuts. If I recall correctly Blago’s suit against Madigan is partly Blago trying to convince a court that Madigan broke the law when he didn’t compel his members to attend special sessions - meaning he didn’t force them to attend. So why isn’t Jones getting sued? I just don’t get the hipocracy. The taxpayers are probably going to pay millions in lawyers fees for this stupid lawsuit, that is still going on, just so Blago can attempt to smack Madigan. I say attempt because I’m sure he’ll lose - as he always does.

    Who advises this guy and what clown school did the graduate from?

  46. - Randall Sherman - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:31 pm:

    Rich, does he who calls himself our Governor realize that Abuse of Power can (and has in American history) been used as grounds for Impeachment action? I wouldn’t blame the House members one bit if they jumped at the opportunity to strike back at Rod in such a manner.

  47. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:23 pm:

    If anyone wondered why Madigan would agree to the Cross/Blago proposal, it’s clear.

    NEVER play poker with Madigan. NEVER.

  48. - Anon times ten - Friday, Nov 30, 07 @ 1:28 am:

    I hear his advisors are young import ivy league types that have no idea how politics or government works in IL. Hence the bad advise Blago is receiving.

  49. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 30, 07 @ 7:52 am:

    Blago surrounds himself with Rod worshipers. Young,naive sycophants.. The administration always has the feel of a Frat party. This guy takes no criticism. And everything and everyone is a joke. The people of Illinios have no clue about the man they elected.

  50. - Illinois state employee - Friday, Nov 30, 07 @ 8:33 am:

    The question should be -
    Wonder what the new Blackhawks management wants from Rod Blagojevich?
    Another thing!
    I thought it was against Illinois ethics policies to accept tickets, beer, food etc. Bet Rod didn’t pay for anything… then again never has.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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