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Tax hike vote today?

Friday, May 29, 2009

* The House is expected to vote on an income tax hike today

A proposed 50 percent increase in the state income tax could be voted on in the Illinois House as early as Friday.

With the clock ticking down on the Legislature’s spring session, the vote will signal whether lawmakers are ready to raise taxes or cut massive amounts of spending.

* Subscribers already know this…

In the Senate, only five Democrats support the Quinn income tax hike, said a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago. No Republicans support the plan, said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont.

And, while overly broad, I believe this is true

Between 30 and 40 House Democrats are solidly for the plan, according to sources, with another dozen “leaning” toward voting for it. It needs 60 votes to pass, meaning some Republicans will have to vote for it to pass. Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, said he doesn’t know of any Republicans who would vote for the plan now, including himse

The guv thinks he has close to 50 in the House, but that means Speaker Madigan will have to twist some arms if it’s gonna pass today. The big question is: Does Madigan even want it to pass? Nobody knows for sure yet. More soon.

* I also believe the Sun-Times’ sources are right

On another front, with Quinn’s push to raise the state income tax from 3 percent to 4.5 percent all but dead, his administration is considering a temporary income tax hike as a Plan B, legislative sources told the Sun-Times.

Publicly, however, Quinn showed no signs of backing off a permanent increase. “We’re hearing all sorts of propositions, but we are not for that plan,” Quinn spokesman Bob Reed said late Thursday when asked whether the administration supports a temporary income tax hike.

…Adding… Yep. The sources were right. From IRN reporter Dave Dahl’s Twitter page

Gov open to temporary tax increase if that’s what it takes.

* The Senate Democrats have demanded that the House act first. There are various reasons for this, but here are a couple

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton today said the fate of a state income tax increase lies across the Capitol in the House, where a significant number of Democrats in the majority are skittish about the political implications of voting to raise taxes.

“Most of the action, if not all of the action, is in the House,” Cullerton said after emerging from talks with House Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Pat Quinn. “Any effort on the income tax will be initiated in the House, and the Senate will respond.”

Cullerton is offering some political speak here. While Madigan, the powerful Southwest Side Democrat, holds considerable sway over his members and backs an income-tax increase, he also doesn’t want to put his Democrats at risk and knows that Republicans won’t be offering any votes on an income tax hike.

* The Tribune editorial page was in full swagger today….

Springfield, you’re asking for trouble with voters if you raise the income tax before you pass thorough and meaningful ethics and spending reforms. The results so far have been half-hearted. Put honest government first.

* And if the tax hike doesn’t pass? Well, here’s one option…

One option apparently still being discussed is to give state agencies lump sums of money and tell them they have to make it stretch, rather than lawmakers specifying how much should be spent on each item within an agency. “If you want to give the directors the ability to manage their budgets, they can probably get through to February or March of next year,” Mautino said.

Either that, or they have to cut more than $7 billion. Despite what the Tribune claims, there’s no way to do that. Not even close.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

68 Comments
  1. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    The tax hike will fail.


  2. - RoundToIt - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:56 am:

    The Trib cracks me up. They are themselves embrolied in the Blagojevich scandal and heading towards collapse and they have time to try and tell elected lawmakers what they should do.


  3. - lake county democrat - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:59 am:

    I think our outrage is being worn down by attrition — I have no problem with the Tribune’s “swagger” (the Sun-Times and Daily Herald have used equally withering language, they just don’t run it daily). If the GOP want to hold the budget hostage to true reform, not an incumbancy protection racket (i.e.,that keeps gerrymandering, increases the financial advantage of incumbants and power of leadership positions, makes pourous reforms of FOIA and only then, when they are all safe and secure, throw a bone on pay-to-play), then go to it. The party I have been loyal to has betrayed its name.


  4. - fed up - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:10 am:

    Either that, or they have to cut more than $7 billion. Despite what the Tribune claims, there’s no way to do that. Not even close.

    How do we end up with 7 billion more in expenses then in revenues. This is terrible goverment. We shouldnt have to cut anything these programs should of never been approved without proper funding. Ask grand poobah madigan how he let that happen.


  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    ===How do we end up with 7 billion more in expenses then in revenues. This is terrible goverment. ===

    Mostly, it’s due to a severe revenue crash.


  6. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:17 am:

    And as long as not a SINGLE Republican is willing to vote for it, it SHOULD fail.

    Raising taxes is too big of a political question to be turned into a partisan game.

    When George Ryan wanted to raise taxes to fund Illinois FIRST, Democrats helped shoulder the burden.

    When Governor Edgar wanted to raise the income tax to fund our schools, and made the income tax permanent, Democrats helped shoulder the burden.

    I think if you go all the way back in history to when the income tax was created, you’ll find its always been a bipartisan decision.

    Now, if Republicans want to turn it into a partisan issue, fine.

    Vote it down.

    Then, put a budget with NO TAX INCREASES up for a vote.

    There are 48 House Republicans.

    Put 35 Democratic votes on a zero revenue growth budget.

    If the majority of Republicans - 25 - vote for the NO TAX INCREASE budget, it passes.

    If they don’t, then the MAJORITY of Republicans are saying they are FOR a tax increase.

    If Republicans complain that the “Doomsday budget” isn’t a real budget, go STRAIGHT to the committee of the WHOLE. Day and night, if that’s what it takes.

    Allow members to offer amendments, have up-or-down votes.

    I’d LOVE to see the Republicans propose $7 Billion in cuts to General Revenue spending.

    Here’s just a sampling what the Republican-leaning Illinois Policy Institute suggests cutting from the Gov’s proposed budget:

    K-12 education: $173 M
    Higher Ed: $40 M
    Dept of Aging: $81 M
    DCFS: $34 M
    Medicaid Reimbursements: $643 M
    Corrections: $187 M
    Veteran’s Affairs: $10 M
    State Police: $32 M
    National Guard: $2.7 M
    Inspector General: $1 M

    PLUS Eliminating ALL income tax distributions to local government.

    Let’s vote on that! 12 Democrats and 48 Republicans is all it takes!


  7. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:17 am:

    Does Illinois need so many public universities? Maybe it’s time to get out the higher education racket. That would certainly save a lot of money.


  8. - dupage dan - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:18 am:

    LCD,

    We have been betrayed by our gov’t, period. I am a fecent convert to a more conservative view but that is a more national/foreign policy bent. Locally, I have a hard time differentiating the GOP and dem parties/platforms/behavior. Seems like all the same to me. I worry that this weariness is not just an accident. Waiting until the last moment to work on ethics reform and the budget is the typical process of the GA and gov. It seems that this manufactured hurry up/crisis mode should be identified as such by the MSM and the electorate. I certainly hope that it is come election time but who, then, should we support and vote for? Can’t vote the bums out - I am not a constituent of MM or Cullerton. Pat $15K Quinn doesn’t seem much of a choice, either.

    Sheeesh.


  9. - Anonymous - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:18 am:

    Rich,

    Please explain to us where a $7 to $11 billion revenue crash occurred. In fact the last three budgets were never match to reasonable revenue projections. I agree the recession has been painful but not to the extent of a $7 billion annual reduction. Let’s not let the legislature and our ex-governor off the hook that easily for thier past over spending.


  10. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    LOL.

    Hilarious Steve.

    You’re right. Shut down ALL public universities, and watch unemployment skyrocket in Champaign, Carbondale, Bloomington, DeKalb…

    Let families figure out how they’re going to afford to send their kids to Northwestern or DePaul at about $40K a year.

    Oh wait…all those Kids will never FIT into all the private universities.

    No worries, Burger King is always hiring.


  11. - George - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    “We shouldnt have to cut anything these programs should of never been approved without proper funding.”

    You are assuming revenue is constant. It isn’t. Usually it goes up gradually each year. This year and next year, it is down by a whole bunch due to the economic crash.

    So, the question is - do you just go and dramatically cut the heck out of public education, the safety net, etc., when people need help the most?

    If the State could operate on a deficit like the federal government and just print more money, that would most likely be the answer. But we can’t.

    So you have to cut or raise revenue, or both.


  12. - wordslinger - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:23 am:

    –Does Illinois need so many public universities? Maybe it’s time to get out the higher education racket. That would certainly save a lot of money.–

    That’s the first place to cut? There’s not a whole lot of money there to begin with. Give me a break.

    Sounds like they’re going to kick it down the road until after the primary.


  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:23 am:

    ===Please explain to us where a $7 to $11 billion revenue crash occurred===

    First, I said it was mostly, not fully.

    Second, CoGFA estimated in April that this fiscal year’s revenue drop alone would be over $3 billion. Guv’s office pegged it at almost $3.3 billion. And, remember, that doesn’t even include next fiscal year, which starts July 1.


  14. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:26 am:

    Steve, you post that same, exact question whenever higher ed is mentioned. Try to be more original. Thanks.


  15. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:27 am:

    What we have been witnessing over the past few years has been the General Assembly not meeting the budget deadline. It isn’t because of a need for bi-partisan support though, as the Democrats have enough votes to pass a budget before the deadline. It seems to be because of a need to spread blame and to allow a diffusing of responsibility. Not meeting the deadline gives the party in power an excuse not to take action.

    It will happen again this year. The tax hike will go down in defeat, and the party in power will not do it’s job, causing the deadline to pass.

    How much longer can we continue to support the leadership in Illinois when it refuses to take action on any difficult decisions? Why were these people elected, if not to make difficult decisions?

    Our political culture is broken, as broken down as GM, but unlike GM, entitled to take as much money from Illinoians as they want. We cannot afford the government we have because too many of us have demanded that government do what we also don’t want to do - take responsibility. The expectation that somewhere, somehow, there is someone else that could handle our responsibilities in a way we couldn’t handle them is an immaturity poisoning our society and undermining our liberty.

    1.) Pass reform and ethics.
    2.) Cut the budget to the very marrow of the bone.
    3.) Take administrative action to make budget last as long as possible.
    4.) Then…consider a temporary tax increase.

    This is not a one-year problem, we have to start a precedent where these problems are not always solved with a tax increase. Our economy is not expanding in Illinois and the tough times are just starting. Illinois has not hit bottom.


  16. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:37 am:

    Maybe Tony Rezko and Blago’s friends can take a more active role in Illinois higher education than they already have.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/ne
    ws/local/chi-college-clout-29-ma
    y29,0,2769925.story


  17. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    What we have been witnessing over the past few years has been the General Assembly not meeting the budget deadline. It isn’t because of a need for bi-partisan support though, as the Democrats have enough votes to pass a budget before the deadline. It seems to be because of a need to spread blame and to allow a diffusing of responsibility. Not meeting the deadline gives the party in power an excuse not to take action.

    VM -

    I agree with your observation of the facts (for the most part), although I disagree with your conclusions.

    First, recent overtime sessions were not due to Democrats not wanting to wear the jacket of responsibility. They were due to Madigan’s refusal to cave into our recently departed Gov.

    A decision, in retrospect, that I think we all agree was wise.

    THIS YEAR’S budget impasse is very different.

    Democrats, and even Republicans in private, largely agree that a tax increase is necessary.

    There is MINOR disagreement over how large it should be.

    But what IS different this year from tax increases of years past is that Republicans are refusing to put a single vote on a tax increase.

    That want Democrats to shoulder the responsibility for preventing a meltdown of state government that impacts not just Democrats, not just Democratic districts, but EVERY community in the state.

    Why? So that Republicans can attack them for it.

    Its deceitful, its hypocritical, and Democrats CANNOT and should not play along.

    There is ABSOLUTELY no reason Tom Cross can’t find 20 votes for a temporary tax hike in his Caucus. And ABSOLUTELY no reason Radogno can’t find 10 votes in hers. They’re just refusing to lead.


  18. - One of the 35 - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:49 am:

    Vanilla Man’s comments are right on target and shared by many suburban Mayors with whom I have spoken. Show us first that you can make meaningful cuts to earn the right to spend more tax dollars. Until that happens, don’t expect support for a tax increase.


  19. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:51 am:

    ===shared by many suburban Mayors with whom I have spoken. Show us first that you can make meaningful cuts===

    How about those mayors give up revenue sharing?


  20. - lake county democrat - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:52 am:

    To Rich (and Dupage Dan, who I think I largely agree with) — Revenue crash, fine, but a responsible government know that recessions happen — that’s why you don’t enshrine a crushing pension burden in the state constitution (unless you don’t have any care what damage you do to the public interest/future generations when placating government employees) and you don’t over-extend your budget in general. We’ve been warned about the pension-fueled budget crisis for years, that’s part of what I mean when I say that our outrage has been numbed.

    To DuPage D re: more broad/national interest, I think I’d agree that the center is dead. None of our politicians are willing to tell hard truths (especially to baby boomers with respect to entitlements). For example, for the last decade there was a pretty broad consensus that energy prices were not reflecting costs (to the environment, to our foreign policy, and to the economy) and that some form of government action was needed to raise prices to reduce consumption and keep billions of dollars in the economy. But the pols wouldn’t go there: the GOP bleated on about offshore drilling and ANWAR (which is fine, but at best only a drop in the bucket) and the Dems pretended that alternative energy sources were both a short and longterm answer (and minimizing nuclear to boot).


  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:56 am:

    ===but a responsible government know that recessions happen===

    Understood, but you just can’t plan for a crash like this one.


  22. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:58 am:

    The ultimate problem is that those in government and their enablers ultimately believe that it is more important for the government to have money then the tax paying public.

    As we see in the daily headlines, there is a constant drip drip of cash and benefits going to the powerful, their friends and those queued up to benefit from the rivers of money flowing around in the government circles. Preferences in University admissions being the latest drop. There is another continuous leak that was highlighted last week where people buy affordable housing and flip it for a profit. There is no need for a laundry list because everyone know how the system works.

    My experience in local government is that the unions and the employees in them expect a 3% COLA and 3-5% annual increase in compensation along with a very generous benefits plan for doing the same job year after year. (for those who are math impaired, an 8% wage annual increase results in a 216% increase in compensation over 10 years) There is no consideration of the costs or revenue projections because they fully expect another incremental tax increase to cover any budgetary shortfall. I expect the same applies to state government. The rise in governmental costs is simply not sustainable without considering new and potentially worthwhile programs..

    The government is broken and it is irresponsible to support the system as it stands now.


  23. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:00 pm:

    Nothing is so permanent as a “temporary” tax increase.


  24. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:05 pm:

    Steve, the 1983 income tax hike was a temporary tax and it expired. The 1989 temporary tax was made permanent after a Republican ran for governor on a pledge to make it permanent.


  25. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    “How about those mayors give up revenue sharing?”

    Where does that revenue come from? It is from the citizens. Revenue sharing has been a way to move the taxes collected closer to the people who pay them. If the state wants to cut off revenue sharing, then refund the money back to the taxpayers.

    Does the argument now degenerate to which two tigers fighting over the spoils of a hunt deserve the largest share?


  26. - Johnny USA - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:08 pm:

    == Why? So that Republicans can attack them for it. ==

    So what is the point of being the party in power if you are unwilling to make the tough decisions?

    All the power. No responsibility. That is why Illinois is a disaster.


  27. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:11 pm:

    Rich:

    You proved my point. Neither party in this state has a monopoly on truth telling. I like that Orwellian phrase ” the 1989 temporary tax” . Made permanent.


  28. - Captain America - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:13 pm:

    Political cowardice/expediency and continuing failed legislative leadership at its finest despite the absence of Blago to muck up the process.
    I’m for temporary if that’s what it takes to get new revenues.


  29. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    ===Neither party in this state has a monopoly on truth telling===

    Um, Steve, Edgar told the absolute truth about making the tax permanent when he ran for governor and the voters supported him. It was one of the largest issues of the entire campaign. He won on it. Get over it.


  30. - wordslinger - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:17 pm:

    –Um, Steve, Edgar told the absolute truth about making the tax permanent when he ran for governor and the voters supported him. It was one of the largest issues of the entire campaign. He won on it. Get over it.–

    And Hartigan made his opposition the centerpiece of his campaign. It was a clear-cut choice and the voters decided. What a concept.


  31. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    So, when politicians in year one sell a tax increase as “temporary” ,then someone comes along later and says it’s permanent, and a majority go along with it: we are supposed just accept that it’s no longer “temporary”. When words lose their meaning, people tend to lose their freedom. I guess the good news is Madigan and Cullterton don’t want income taxes too high because then people might want a property tax cut. Lower property taxes mean less appeals for their law firms. They wouldn’t want to hurt business, would they?


  32. - Anonymous - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    I think it’s fair for some of us skeptics to indulge in, well, some skepticism about whether doomsday will come if the tax is 1) smaller and 2 temporary. This is a negotiation, after all, between Quinn and the tax-hikers and those members of the middle class who are justifiably annoyed at having to pay up in the middle of a major recession–not to mention suspicious about where a lot of that money will end up.

    Quinn himself has cut almost nothing, retains most of the Blago top bureaucracy and I believe his proposed operational budget actually reflects a substantial increase over last year. This is negotiating?

    And then there is the quarter billion in the capital bill for refurbishing legislative offices. For that much money, I’m thinking designer drapes and very expensive furniture. Maybe our fearless legislators could donate a little of that money to us, the populace. Kind of a symbol that they care, ya know?


  33. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:26 pm:

    ===And then there is the quarter billion in the capital bill for refurbishing legislative offices. ===

    Absolutely false.


  34. - Anonymous - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:42 pm:

    Not according to Carol Marin’s recent column. Was Carol making it up?


  35. - Anonymous - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:46 pm:

    If I may quote from that Marin column without violating any copyright laws:

    “And if nothing else drives home that point, consider this: Tucked inside the capital bill that will bring home the bacon to lawmakers’ districts in the form of bridges and roads, there’s an interesting little window into their priorities.

    The Senate bill sets aside $250 million to refurbish legislative offices in Springfield but is eliminating $100 million set aside for affordable housing in Illinois”.


  36. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:48 pm:

    Yeah, and she’s wrong.


  37. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:52 pm:

    And the $100 mil for affordable housing is in the companion bill.


  38. - wordslinger - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:55 pm:

    Geez, Rich, way to let the facts spoil Carol’s self-righteous outrage.


  39. - Concerned Observer - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==So, when politicians in year one sell a tax increase as “temporary” ,then someone comes along later and says it’s permanent, and a majority go along with it: we are supposed just accept that it’s no longer “temporary”. ==

    Well…yeah, Steve, you are. That’s kind of the way a representative democracy works. The voters chose to make it permanent. Sorry you were apparently on the losing end of that one.


  40. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:00 pm:

    Also, and I may be wrong here, but I my addled brain seems to recall that Edgar made sure that the “make it permanent” vote passed with a three-fifths majority.


  41. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:05 pm:

    The Illinois state constitution and the U.S. constitution guarantee a republican form of government. I know these things are now unpopular because adhering to a constitution would get in the way of the whims of a property stealing majority through voting.


  42. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:08 pm:

    Steve, I think you’re just too fanatical for the folks on this blog.

    ===adhering to a constitution would get in the way of the whims of a property stealing majority through voting===

    One reason why the current IL constitution was written was to specifically allow for an income tax. That constitution was then approved by the voters.

    Get a clue.


  43. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:10 pm:

    So, why didn’t Quinn learn from Edgar and just go for a temporary increase and then say he will revisit the increase if elected and if revenues are still down? This is a political no brainer for an unelected office holder.

    Who is advising him? This should hve been so easy.


  44. - OneMan - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:10 pm:

    ==There is ABSOLUTELY no reason Tom Cross can’t find 20 votes for a temporary tax hike in his Caucus. And ABSOLUTELY no reason Radogno can’t find 10 votes in hers. They’re just refusing to lead. ==

    Umm, no they are against the tax increase as is their right. As I understand it the Democrats could do this without a single Republican vote or with very few of them.

    I don’t get how Democrats feel they can do all sorts of stuff they way they want to do them (see Reform) and then look for some Republican cover when things are tough.

    I agree that some sort of tax increase is needed (they may take away my Republican card away for that) but it’s time to make the tough vote if that is what you feel is needed.

    It’s a ‘Profile in Courage’ moment for a decent number of Democrats (and some Republicans), it’s time to see how they do.


  45. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    Forecast: State income tax will be at or above 8% by 2012 to support underfunded state employee pension plans and enhance local government givebacks so they can contribute to the over 600 government employee pension plans in Illinois. The executive, legislative and judicial branches will ensure continued viability of these lavish plans because their elected, appointed and hired individuals all are in them. Furthermore, elected officials require the campaign contributions, campaign workers and votes of employees, pensioners and dependents to ensure re-election. A tax increase today without meaningful pension reform guarantees another tax hike next year as the aging workers march towards retirement.

    Any talk of a temporay tax increase being allowed to expire is delusional unless this issue is dealt with, and it won’t be.

    Stay tuned for the public employee pension plan annual reports for 2008 due to start appearing in late 2009. Also stay tuned for the Division of Insurance’s biennial pension report due in 2009 by law. Then try to stay dry when the crocodile tears start flowing from eveyone at the trough.

    No single line item on state and local government budgets is more sacrosanct and protected. Take note of how quickly the teachers unions mobilized when Gov Quinn had the temerity to suggest new teachers be placed in a 401-like system. Notice how quickly Gov Quinn backed down, and how only a handful of officials use the word pension in public.

    See the website Pension Tsunami to see how this issue is tearing apart California and other states.


  46. - Anonymous - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:16 pm:

    I don’t want to beat this to death, but I have always found Marin to be a solid, conscientious reporter–and have read her column and seen her on Ch.11 many times.

    There is a big difference between being “self righteous” and making up numbers out of thin air.
    This may be a misunderstanding of some legislative proposal but I find it difficult to believe she would deliberately make up numbers.


  47. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:16 pm:

    Plus it specifically states we are supposed to have a flat tax, which Quinn and others what to get rid of de facto by credits and exemptions. I throw out this questions to all : is there any level of taxation which wouldn’t be allowed by the Illinois state constitution. If the state legislature wanted a 20% income tax for whatever purpose would that be alright?


  48. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===If the state legislature wanted a 20% income tax for whatever purpose would that be alright?===

    It would be allowed, but they would all likely lose their next elections.

    That’s why this relatively small tax hike has been so difficult to pass, Steve. Fear of voters. That’s part of a democracy. Get it? Voting? Understand?


  49. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:23 pm:

    Rich:

    I wish what you said applied in Cook County since 1931. I doubt Mayor Daley and Ed Burke are too concerned about the parking meter situation. Democracy is working very well in Chicago.


  50. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:23 pm:

    ===I find it difficult to believe she would deliberately make up numbers. ===

    I dunno what she did, but there is no $250 million project to refurbish legislative offices.

    There is a project to gut out the Stratton Building, which has a floor of legislative offices and a floor of committee hearing rooms, but several other floors of gvt. offices.

    The Stratton is so toxic with asbestos that you can’t even change a ceiling light without a haz-mat team. It’s gonna cost a fortune to fix it.


  51. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:25 pm:

    …And then he changes the subject.

    Not so deft.


  52. - The Tax Man Commeth - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:30 pm:

    What seems like ages ago… when the Quinn administration was just a few days old… I seem to remember some talk about Quinn eventually pushing for a constitutional referendum to institute a “progressive” tax, as Federal taxes work. You know, the more you make, the higher percentage you pay. Does anyone think that’s a possible scenario, maybe as a way to sell a temp flat tax increase?


  53. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:41 pm:

    Further to my comment above about sacrosanct state pensions, the News. Gazette. com reports that the Illinois house today voted 102-0, with 14 voting present, to fully fund pensions at a cost of about $4 billion. No cuts apparently will be tolerated.


  54. - Steve - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:41 pm:

    Tax Man:

    You raise a good question on progressive income taxation.


  55. - always anonymous - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:54 pm:

    “One option apparently still being discussed is to give state agencies lump sums of money and tell them they have to make it stretch”
    These are many of the same Directors / Agency Heads that have Blago toxicity all over them and the plan is to give them total control — wtf.


  56. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    That vote was two days ago. And it’s been held on a procedural motion


  57. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 2:32 pm:

    Any word on when a tax hike vote may come?


  58. - Secret Square - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 3:04 pm:

    Re the Stratton Building: don’t forget the toxic mold in the basement, roof leaks, and uncontrollable heat/AC.


  59. - One of the 35 - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 3:10 pm:

    “How about those mayors give up revenue sharing?”

    Rich: A deal is a deal in good times and bad. The agreement, many time reaffirmed, is for 10% from the LGDF.


  60. - Truthful James - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 4:25 pm:

    Rich — you insist on saying no way. The Illinois Policy Institute says “Way.”

    Here are their numbers. And yes I have read it, hard cheese and all.

    http://illinoispolicyinstitute.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=1023&utm_source=Illinois+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=69ce1821ac-Chicago+Tribune+features+Institute+budget+plan&utm_medium=email.


  61. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 4:32 pm:

    Yeah. It’s called a doomsday budget. Not original.


  62. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 4:33 pm:

    One, you’re basically saying “break eerybody else’s deal but not ours.” Doesn’t work that way.


  63. - Truthful James - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 5:03 pm:

    Rich –

    It really depends on a definition of doomsday.

    Doomsday is when the world stops turning, gravity fails and people die from every communicable disease in the streets.

    And the reaper appears saying “The Wages of sin is death.”

    Doomsday is he California voters saying “No more.” Something we should have said a long time ago

    And it is only doomsday for the politicians who have spent beyond the means of the tasaxpayers and rewarded the the public sector

    I reached adulthood in 1953, and the politicians have always been threatening to cut essential services to get their way. Time and time again the usual bogeymen have been trotted out. Doomsday…the world is coming to an end unless you pay us more.


  64. - preteg - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 5:05 pm:

    any updated news on budget


  65. - cover - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 5:11 pm:

    The Illinois Policy Institute’s report is actually very similar to Governor Quinn’s doomsday budget. Unlike Quinn, IPI doesn’t identify what their proposed cuts really mean in terms of reduced state services.

    Also notice that IPI’s own recommendations sometimes contradict each other. For example, they suggest a “rebalance” of Medicaid long term care away from institutions and toward community care, a laudable goal that would save money, but elsewhere they recommend a cut of $81 million to the Department on Aging which pays for that community care. IPI, which cut do you want, you can’t have both.


  66. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 5:36 pm:

    OneMan:

    If you think Tom Cross is FOR cutting $7 Billion from the state budget, you’re deluded.

    If he is, where is his $7 Billion budget cut proposal?

    I was one of three Democrats in a room full of Republicans when Tom Cross spoke last month. He didn’t say “Read my lips: No New Taxes,” or anything like it.

    Instead, he told THEM that we shouldn’t raise taxes without cutting first, and that we shouldn’t cut the programs that people depend on.

    Well, that sounds an awful lot like Gov. Quinn’s budget.

    Senate Leader Radogno is a former social worker. Tom Cross is the father of a child with special needs.

    Do you really think either of them believes we should gut the social services network?


  67. - DuPage Dave - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 6:45 pm:

    This is one of the best comment threads in a long time. Don’t kick Carol Marin too hard on this one, she’s a good egg- just got the wrong numbers. Rich- keep up the good work. Maybe one of our underfunded state U’s will give you a job teaching civics or government or something.


  68. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:43 pm:

    Capital Bill or no Capital Bill, pouring money into the Stratton is a bad idea. That building has one, and only one thing going for it. Location, Location, Location.

    No Lege, or Agency would ever move in that dump if it wasn’t cheek to cheek with the Capitol.
    That doesn’t mean it’s right to do-over a flawed, inefficient structure. We all know the old saying about what you have after you polish a ****. A rehabbed Stratton would constitute the biggest, most ornate, and certainly most expensive polished doot in the Midwest and would stand in contrast to everything Gov. Stratton believed.

    State Trivia Test: Does anyone here know where that building was originally supposed to be built and why it has its unique shape?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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