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Stay tuned for more “fun” *** UPDATED x1 ***

Thursday, Jul 31, 2008

*** UPDATE *** I forgot to post the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s latest demand….

“The governor claims he wants billions in new infrastructure spending to create jobs and to guard against a bridge collapse as happened in Minneapolis last year,” Canary said. “But after years of headlines about contracts that look more like pay-to-play than legitimate state business, taxpayers have to wonder whether his top concern is bridge safety or building up his campaign treasury.

“If he would sign the bill to discourage pay-to-play and stop soliciting money from people doing business with the state, he would give the public reason to believe those new construction dollars would be spent fairly,” she said. “Legislative leaders should insist HB 824 is signed into law before giving the governor the ability to award billions in new spending for bridges, roads, and other projects.”

Seems reasonable.

*****************

* Eric Zorn makes the fatal mistake of assuming that just because there’s a “way” to find money to restore cuts to alcoholism and substance abuse programs, the “will” to do so will automatically follow.

But he does have this at the end of his post…

[Speaker Madigan] wants the Senate to reconvene and pass a different, highly specific and highly targeted “funds sweep” bill that would allow for restoration of many of the social-service cuts.

Senate President Emil Jones has shown no inclination to reconvene his chamber, but Brown and many others close to the situation say they have heard rumblings that Gov. Rod Blagojevich plans to call both chambers into special session during the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 8 -17.

Gubernatorial spokesman Lucio Guerrero responded to these grumblings with a a note that said, “The issue (of a special session) may come up at the leaders’ meeting, but nothing has been decided. The first priority is getting all the leaders - at least the three that show up - to agree on a compromise and then the decision would be made about the next step.”

* The leaders will meet this morning at 11 o’clock. We’ll live-blog it here. The Sun-Times has more

Gov. Blagojevich is prepared to revise or outright eliminate plans for a Chicago casino in a bid to jump-start his stalled statewide construction program, a top aide said Tuesday.

The governor also is open to reducing the size of the $34 billion capital plan and rethinking how to pay for it in an effort to gain the support of Mayor Daley and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). […]

Now, the governor is considering lowering the buy-in figure, giving the mayor broader control over how school construction money is spent and even eliminating the city casino entirely if that’s what the mayor wants, Blagojevich’s spokesman said.

“There are a whole host of things that are being looked at on gaming to make it more palatable,” Blagojevich press secretary Lucio Guerrero said.

“The governor thinks [a capital deal] is too important to let die. He’s looking for ways to compromise,” Guerrero said.

There’s more to this, but non-subscribers will have to wait and see what’s announced after the meeting. We’ll know more about 12:30 or so.

* But relying on gaming expansion outside Chicago is an iffy proposition at best

A drop in the number of customers at Harrahs Metropolis Casino riverboat is translating into not only in a decline in casino revenues but also a decline in the amount of money going into the coffers of the city of Metropolis.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board, adjusted gross receipts at the casino were about $10.3 million in June, down from the $14.7 million the casino pulled in during the same month a year ago. […]

Officials say the downturn in casino attendance can be traced back to January, when the state of Illinois instituted restrictions on smoking in public buildings.

That’s not the only casino experiencing trouble.

* The Sun-Times thinks that Speaker Madigan ought to show up to today’s leaders meeting…

What are we paying him for? Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, arguably the most powerful Democrat in the state, takes home $95,000 a year but refuses to sit down with the governor.

We say that’s what we’re paying Madigan for.

* But in a Sunday editorial entitled “The tale of ‘Governor Goofy’”, the Tribune offered up some reasons why nobody should take the governor seriously …

Blagojevich remains the governor who cannot govern, the thespian who tries to rule via press-conference theatrics: State troopers to the right of me, National Guardsmen to the left of me, I will triumph.

Blagojevich’s behavior is what it is. He cannot, though, control how he’s judged. He cannot escape from the nicknames people give him or from their anger about his ineptitude when it comes to bridging rivalries and fashioning solutions to his state’s crying needs.

* Related…

* Blagojevich, top lawmakers to meet again in Chicago

* Blago urges lawmakers to OK capital bill

* Sincere or Sensationalizing: A year after a Minnesota bridge collapse sent people tumbling to their deaths, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reflects on the situation and uses it to try to prod approval of his $34 billion gambling-expansion-for-road-construction plan.

* Bridge repairs hinge on capital funding compromise

* The DCEO bone is connected to the EPA bone…

* SJ-R Opinion: Governor’s cuts decimate DNR

* Some lawmakers showing resistance to IDOT jobs move before hearing

* Commission to gather testimony on IDOT move today

* Traffic safety employees speak their minds — big

* Officials: No plans to use results of prison study

* State Capitol Notebook: Pleading for cuts to be reversed

* Prosecutors, Defense Object To Governor’s Budget Cuts

* Davis Mansion shakes off budget woes, gears up for car show

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    This idea that Madigan should personally appear is an assumed point in all the press coverage, very few press stories, none outside of the Capital Fax that I have seen, note the presence of key Madigan leaders on the budget. If madigan is sending in expert proxies who would be the critical go to people for these negotiations that a lot smarter then madigan going himself. Yet the press seems to miss the presence of these folks ate these meetings.

    Building a State budget on sin taxes like gambling is a horrible idea. But that aside, why is the media not pointing out the Blago has not yet signed the ethics bill that would provide protection from the Gov abusing this capital spending plan by limiting his ability to get donations fomr those recieving the 34 Billion in spending.

    The press and the people should demand that the Gov sign the ethics bill into law before letting the Gov has access to a single dime of capital money. Otherwise we are not helping build roads, we are helping the gov to collect 25k checks in the largest funded pay-to-play bill passed in IL. Its nice that the republicnas would rather pad the Govs campaign coffers by giving him huge dollars to trade for dontations then stanbd up and push for signing the ethics bill before allowing a capital bill to move forward.

    I hope Madigan keeps a capital program from going forward until we plug Gov pay-to-play ability to trade that 34 billion for campaing donations.


  2. - anon332 - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:33 am:

    Yes, Ghost. I have yet to see one single article about the Gov not signing the ethics bill. It’s amazing how pro-Blago the media is.


  3. - Leave a light on George - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:38 am:

    DNR = Do Not Resuscitate


  4. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    I don’t have the capacity or time to grasp all this, but why is the Governor so concerned with a capital bill when the actual budget is so out of whack? I think he wants to use money approved to fix roads to close his budget’s holes.


  5. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:27 am:

    I have asked the DNR public relations office to tell me if our local state park is in jeopardy of closing because of cuts but they refuse to even respond to the request.


  6. - reflector - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:53 am:

    Ghost has it right.


  7. - Big Mama T - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:33 pm:

    There was one important thing Zorn left out of his column. The reason why Emil has no inclination to reconvene his chamber before the fall elections. Bad omission Eric.


  8. - Levois - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 5:30 pm:

    That Gov. Goofy editorial is pretty good, a lesson for all aspiring governors.


  9. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 6:19 pm:

    My memory isn’t as good as it used to be, and I don’t read as widely as I used to, but I don’t remember hearing or reading about any scandals in the last several years on the awarding of contracts to repair bridges. Anyone have any idea what CFPR is talking about?


  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 6:23 pm:

    Steve, there’s a whole lot more to this than bridge repair contracts. A lot more.


  11. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 6:43 pm:

    so why did CFPR use bridges as their focal point?


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