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Quinn talks cuts *** Videos of Radogno, Quinn and Cross ***

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* 2:54 pm - From IRN reporter Dave Dahl’s Twitter page

Gov: 12 furlough days possible for state employees. Radogno: At least do a one-month budget. Cross still wants structural change.

I was occupied elsewhere, but my intern Mike Murray was at the media availability and told me the governor said that even if he gets his tax hike he’ll still have to do some furlough days. Not sure if AFSCME will agree to that or if he was talking about non-union workers. Am checking. He also talked about possible layoffs and other “shared sacrifice” budget cuts.

We’ll have video in a bit of the governor, Radogno and Cross.

Both chambers have adjourned. The House returns Monday, the Senate comes back Tuesday, June 30th, the end of this fiscal year.

* 3:31 pm - SJ-R

After meeting with the four legislative caucuses over the last two days, Gov. Pat Quinn repeatedly sent mixed messages on his budget plans for the next week.

Quinn reiterated he does not support a budget that includes huge spending shortfalls for social service programs but would not say whether he would make the spending cuts he’s threatened if lawmakers don’t provide more money.

The governor also said he’s considering asking state workers to take as many as 12 furlough days next year, and he may have to ask for layoffs to deal with the budget problems. But he wouldn’t detail how many layoffs might be needed.

* 3:19 pm - From Twitter

@BenYount Gov Quinn has “hope” for budget. But says layoffs furloughs 1b in cuts likely. But won’t say when he expects vote. Or if there’s support

@BenYount Sen GOP says Quinn’s threatened cuts are cruel. R’s say cuts and pension note ok ideas but don’t want to wait. Say Mid-July is real deadline

@RutherfordDan Outrageous! Senate adjourned, no action on Human Services fiscal year budge. I am calling for Bridge Budget to keep government running 7/1

* Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno, part 1…

Part 2…

* 4:12 pm - Gov. Quinn Part 1…

Quinn Part 2…

We’ll have Part 3 in a bit. Sorry about the delay.

Quinn Part 3…

* 4:47 pm - Leader Cross…

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

Creepiest. Video. Ever.

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* Patterson

This [video] is…

A. House Speaker Michael Madigan’s new spokesman describing statehouse events
B. A statehouse reporter possibly on the verge of cracking after 6 years of covering special sessions
C. Palatine Republican Matt Murphy’s campaign song for governor

The video…

The correct answer, by the way, is “B.”

…Adding… This song seems appropriate…

What’s wrong with you?
Oh, yeah
You’re crackin’ up

Any other song suggestions for the overtime session and budget meltdown?

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Cross; Steans; Mell; Reitz; Frerichs; Sox; College; Birkett; Fritchey; Chamber; Eddy; Tryon; Stephens; Giannoulias; Zalewski

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

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Question of the day

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* When somebody butters you up like this

Our very own Springfielder, Rich Miller, who has done for state house reporting what Franklin did for electricity, and in so doing has sharpened the pens and reporting of his colleagues to everyone’s benefit

You know a hit is coming. :)

Chris Robling continues…

[Miller] quite sadly goes way off the beam in [yesterday] morning’s Capitol Fax. As in:

“The problem this year, though, is the Republican legislative leaders have yet to show any real signal that they are ready to do a deal that will wrap this thing up.”

How’s that again?

Lest it go unsaid, the problem with Illinois government this year is that the Democrats have so far failed miserably at finding a way to clean up the mess in the making of which they happily participated from November 2002 until approximately 8 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, December 9, 2008, when their Governor’s arrest was first reported.

Robling’s absolutely right. What I wrote was not accurate and I was surprised when I read Robling’s piece that I had let that mistake get by me. I shouldn’t have written “this year.” I should’ve written “this week.” That’s what I meant, but I can’t expect people to read my mind. Call it a stupid typo. So, I retract that word. But I also wrote this, which wasn’t mentioned in the piece…

The real point is, [the Republicans] want their ideas heard, respected and considered on an equal footing with the Democrats. One can’t blame them.

And I stand by that.

* The Question: Who is most to blame for the current [as in “this week”] inability to come to a final budget agreement? Explain thoroughly. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   69 Comments      

Fun with Proft

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft and Carol Marin do not have the greatest relationship in the world. Here’s Proft on Marin earlier this month

“She is a liberal Democrat. She is somebody who has written the same story about Cicero for twenty years. She is not about to change her storyline… [Marin] has no concern for the facts, she is the one who is unethical by the way she chooses to disregard facts that are inconvenient to a storyline she has set… I am not going to be a pin cushion to the liberal media in this town.”

Proft was referring to a Marin report about Proft’s lucrative public relations contracts with Cicero. The Tribune also wrote about his contracts…

After helping Cicero’s town president win a close election, political strategist Dan Proft received no-bid contracts worth $578,000 a year to serve as the mouthpiece for the town and two local school districts…..Cicero spends nearly double what even much larger suburban communities spend on public relations… The municipal complex construction management contract with K.R. Miller Contractors Inc. (for a new city hall) sets aside $616,860 to go to Urquhart for public relations during the two-year project.

And, today, after Proft announced his statewide bid, Marin takes after him

Here’s hoping [Proft] discloses his income tax returns so we can see how much money he actually siphoned from this blue-collar, mostly Hispanic community.

Proft, who touts his conservative credentials and has done commentary on WLS radio’s “Don Wade and Roma” show, founded a public relations firm that was small in size but whose Cicero-related fees approached $1 million in 2008.

Besides being the spokesman for the aforementioned Larry Dominick, who has packed the town payroll with an army of his relatives, Proft picked up a separate fee of more than $300,000 to be the spokesman for a new municipal building. Yes, for a BUILDING.

The question is, when a henchman becomes a candidate, whom does he hire as HIS henchman?

This is gonna be a fun campaign.

Oops. I shouldn’t have used the word “fun.” Eric Zorn did that a while back and ended up in this e-mail exchange with Proft

PROFT: Fun for whom?

ZORN: Fun for me, at least. Do you have a date set to make the announcement either way?

PROFT: I’m sure. I can only imagine your fair and balanced treatment in store me should I enter. Thankfully, I’m used to the counterfeit objectivity characteristic of most of the Chicago press corps. The bullies with bylines for bankrupt outlets in this town who confuse their liberal orthodoxy for intellect only encourage me. No decision yet thus no announcement date, either way.

ZORN: See, now that’s what I’m talking about! What could possibly be more fun than regular explosions of just this sort of bilious contempt for anyone who disagrees with you? I can’t wait. I mean it.

PROFT: Please. I get along famously with many people who disagree with me. Just not folks who cherry pick their facts and work backward from pre-drawn conclusions, discarding inconvenient facts. You cheap-shotted me in our previous exchange when cornered by the incongruity of your critique. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if you choose to offer anything more constructive or substantive, but that is, of course, your choice. I don’t worry about things beyond my control. It’s okay when you throw punches, even below the waistline, but when someone throws back, you resort to (silliness)–erecting straw men to knock down. Your salivating only serves to reinforce my argument.

Zorn also poked some light fun at Proft yesterday afternoon.

Proft’s kickoff announcement is here. CQ Politics writes

“I am running for governor so that others like me, who might have lost faith in their party and their state, know that a choice exists and know that their fight has been joined,” Proft said in a campaign speech that was posted to his campaign Web site.

Proft, whose clients have included the town of Cicero southwest of Chicago, said last month on political analyst Jeff Berkowitz’s “Public Affairs” television program that “I don’t believe there’s anybody in this state that has more innovative market-oriented ideas than I do.”


* Related…

* Davis eyes run for County Board chief: U.S. Rep. Danny Davis is forming an exploratory committee to consider running for Cook County Board president, said his spokeswoman Tumia Romero. Davis commissioned a poll which showed “very favorable” numbers for his run, Romero said, including placing him 7 points ahead of County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, the presumptive front-runner who pulled out of the race last week.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Hynes: Quinn failed and should start over

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* Comptroller Hynes blasted the governor yesterday…

In what he dubbed “an open letter,” Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes termed the proposed hike “an ever-changing proposal for an ill-defined problem” and urged the governor to “start over” with a new plan.

“The governor has not called on us to do the hard (cost-cutting) work that must precede any increase in taxes that would affect everyday working people,” Mr. Hynes said in a follow-up phone call. “I’m not the only person who thinks that.”


In a three page letter to the governor, Comptroller Dan Hynes said Quinn has “needlessly incited fear and panic” in calling for cuts to social service programs, while also pledging support for several different types of income tax increases.

“In a sense, we have all been given a false choice: raise taxes by $4 to $5 billion or cut human services by the same amount,” noted Hynes, who is considered a possible candidate for governor or attorney general in 2010.

With just a week left in the state’s fiscal year, Hynes says Quinn and lawmakers should start over when it comes to the budget debate.

“Call on the legislature to pass a 60-day budget that keeps education, health care and other vital services at current levels,” Hynes wrote.

But Hynes’ suggestions don’t even make up half of the budget deficit

For instance, the state could save up to $300 million if it cut legal and other consulting contracts by a fifth; eliminating “non-essential” programs like the state’s foreign trade offices would yield $350 million, and cutting social service grants just 5% would net $500 million, Mr. Hynes said. Similarly, a combination of expanded gaming and extending the state’s service tax to “luxury” items such as spas, marinas, tanning salon and travel could yield $1.8 billion.

Hynes suggested about $1.2 billion in cuts and $1.8 billion in new revenues, including expanding gaming, which House Speaker Michael Madigan has absolutely rejected, and raising the cigarette tax, which has passed the Senate but has stalled in the House.

Even if all that could be done, that’s $3 billion. The deficit is about $9 billion, but that’s not actually the case. If the state closes the $7 billion hole properly, it can apparently access the rest from federal matches.

Read Hynes’ full letter by clicking here.

He’s sure sounding like a candidate for higher office to me.

…Adding… Oops. I forgot to post this SJ-R editorial

The allegations leveled at state Comptroller Dan Hynes over the loss of millions of dollars from a pre-need funeral trust fund cry out for answers regarding what his office was doing about the fund’s growing deficit. {…]

After a story about the filing ran, Hynes spokeswoman Carol Knowles said the characterizations in the filing “are not accurate,” that the deficit was only discovered after a 2005 audit of the fund and that no deficit was shown in the IFDA’s annual reports..

It is time for Hynes and the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which is controlled by Gov. Pat Quinn, to release the full 2005 audit of the fund, which has been requested by The State Journal-Register under Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act.

The comptroller’s office also should outline any actions it took between 2001 and 2005 and release any audits it may have done during that period. Funeral home owners say the comptroller’s office was vigilant in auditing their books. Was it vigilant enough in auditing those of the IFDA?

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Meeks: Democrats failed

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* I hope the Southtown Star doesn’t mind, but I’m gonna excerpt more from Phil Kadner’s column than I should. Powerful words from Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) about the failure to get the job done by the end of May…

“The Democrats control both chambers and the governor’s mansion. We asked the people to send us here and we’ve failed to do the job. I don’t see how any of us can go back to the voters and ask to be re-elected after this. This is a failure of the Democratic Party, no doubt about it.” […]

“What were we doing here (in Springfield) from January to May 31?” Meeks asked. “What were we being paid for if it wasn’t to pass a budget?

On the proposed tax hike…

“The governor is still trying to pass his 1.5 percent income tax hike as a two-year temporary measure, but the House doesn’t even want to vote on that. They need Republicans to support it at this point and the Republicans aren’t going to do it. As far as Cullerton and the Senate Democrats are concerned that doesn’t do enough. It doesn’t provide enough money for all the things this state needs to do. If we’re going to pass an income tax hike, if we’re going to take the heat from voters, let’s pass something we can be proud of and defend.”

On what to do now..

Meeks said he has told the governor to “let the whole thing collapse. Force the state to shut down.”

That seemed to contradict his concerns about social service providers who need money to help some of the most vulnerable people in the state, such as the developmentally disabled, children in day care programs, homebound elderly and mentally handicapped.

“There would be very short term suffering but long-term solutions,” Meeks said. “In the long run all of those people would get the help they need because legislators would be forced to work 24/7 to get the job done. We would have to solve the problem because the people of Illinois would demand it and all the elected officials would be worried that they would lose their jobs.”


* Related…

* Quinn wants to raise taxes, borrow and cut to plug state budget hole

* Taxpayers beware: Game is on this week

* Budget efforts remain stalled

* Local lawmakers: Zero completed Tuesday

* Special session a short one for lawmakers

* Lawmakers have little to do as clock ticks on budget

* Budget resolution to be put off another week

* Pension plan delays tax hike vote, for now

* Big rally, little action at Capitol

* State still divided on tax hike to erase budget deficit; thousands rally to avoid service cuts

* Hot, loud, demanding: Thousands pack Statehouse to protest cuts

* 5,000 protesters at Capitol call for budget deal

* Social-services rally greets lawmakers

* Thousands demand tax hike to avoid cuts in social services

* Thousands Protest Budget Cuts In Springfield

* Suburban groups among budget cut protesters

* State Capitol Q&A: What did the protesters do?

* This time, put Illinois first

* A Breakdown Of The Proposed State Budget Cuts

* Service agencies work to fight budget cuts

* Teacher urges lawmakers to help keep school for visually impaired open

* Health care cuts will cause ’significant crisis’

* Chestnut Health Systems to close detox center

* State budget puts added emphasis on local United Way campaign

* Dave Bakke: Four-day work week could mean savings for state

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* Parking lease deal weakens city, study says

* City gave up control of streets in meter privatization: study

“In order to maximize profits, the city not only gave up control of future revenues, but just as importantly [if not more] gave up all control of the public right of way on any streets with parking meters,” said the study by the Active Transportation Alliance.

Although the city is free to remove meters or change rates and hours of operations, Chicago Parking Meters LLC must be compensated for the loss of revenue at a rate that assumes “a car were parked in the space for 24-hours-a-day in the Central Business District,” the study said.

“This means that every potential project on a street with meters — including bus rapid transit, bicycle lanes, sidewalk expansion, streetscaping, pedestrian bulb-outs, loading zones, rush-hour parking control, mid-block crossing and temporary open spaces — are dictated, controlled and limited by parking meters,” the study said.

“These restrictions severely limit innovative planning for bicyclists, pedestrian and transit users. The loss of the potential for bus rapid transit on most streets over the next 75 years is one of the most disappointing losses.”

* Arlington Hts. shows its support for Olympics in Chicago

Mayors and parks across the U.S. jumped on the bandwagon for Chicago’s Olympic bid Tuesday.

The plan for Olympic Day was to honor the Games, then send photos and information to the International Olympic Committee to demonstrate the whole country is behind the 2016 bid. Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder brought the news back from the recent summer meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Providence.

The Arlington Heights Park District pitched Tuesday in with events that included races at the local swimming pools, with Mulder there cheering the kids, and the effort, on.

* CTA may cut service by 17.5 percent

The CTA may have to cut service by 17.5 percent in order to deal with a new $35 million shortfall in sales tax revenue.

Metra would suffer a $19 million hit, while Pace would lose $7 million, Palmer said.

* Police Dept. civilian workers protest cuts

Crossing guards, detention aides and traffic control aides descended on a City Council committee Tuesday to unleash their anger about impending layoffs.

Their frustrations were directed at both the city and their union, Service Employees Local 73.

The city was blamed for targeting 296 civilian police employees for a chunk of the 1,504 layoffs scheduled to take effect July 15, forcing uniformed police officers to do jobs that have nothing to do with fighting crime.

The union was blamed for failing to sign off on the 16 unpaid furlough days and other concessions that would avert the need for layoffs.

* Weis aims to use federal grants to hire more cops

Chicago Police officials are hoping to hire up to 150 officers this year with federal grant money, Supt. Jody Weis said Tuesday.

In the meantime, Weis is putting about 300 additional officers on the street this summer by shifting them from desk jobs or paying overtime with federal grants.

* Chicago police showing the colors for summer

Weis is ordering all plainclothes officers — about 800, by his estimate — to wear full uniform when on duty. The officers, who include members of the gun, gang enforcement and tactical teams, will also be asked to perform street and vehicle stops along with their regular duties.

* Police gear up for DUI crackdown over 4th of July

* 17 vehicles torched on West, Northwest Sides

Police, fire officials investigating; Supt. Jody Weis says damage may be gang-related

* Chicago cop Anthony Abbate sentenced to 2 years probation in videotaped bar beating

* Feds charge 37 people, four businesses with mortgage fraud

The U.S. attorney’s office today charged 37 people and four businesses with fraudulently obtaining $48 million in mortgages on homes in Chicago and the suburbs.

* Home sales and median prices drop in Chicago

In the city of Chicago, sales of existing homes plunged 27.5 percent in May year-over-year to 1,537. Sales rose 11.5 percent from April. Prices sank 29.5 percent to $225,000, but rose 2.3 percent from April.

In the Chicago metropolitan area, sales dropped 18.7 percent from May 2008 to 5,634, but were up 18.7 percent from April. Prices dropped 20.3 percent from May 2008 to $200,000. They were up 4.2 percent from April.

Statewide, sales were down 21 percent to 8,945, compared to a year earlier.

* State launches more mortgage relief help

* Empress set to reopen Thursday

* A new Empress in town

* University of Chicago hires Boeing CIO as its new investment chief

* Caterpillar unveils hybrid bulldozer

* Peoria Ag Lab to get $40 million in funding

* Will County adopts tobacco ordinance initiated by students

* Kane County sees potential cuts in health programs

* Railroad paying evacuees from train derailment

* Hospital puts autism resources online and on call

Parents can find services for counties all across Chicago area

* Streamwood behavioral health-care facility adds wing for children

The $10 million addition for 4- to 12-year-olds quickly filled up its 42 extra beds after it opened last month. The center scheduled a formal grand opening for the 30,000-square-foot addition this week with a ribbon-cutting and an open house.

* Bronzeville Advocates Outline Housing Plan

The group Housing Bronzeville wants to buy 500 city-owned vacant lots for a dollar each.

In turn, the nonprofit says it will find a developer to build homes for families earning no more than $60,000 a year.

Housing Bronzeville’s Jeffery Campbell says the possible Olympic Games coming to Chicago has residents in the historic neighborhood worried about gentrification.

* 11 affordable green homes to be built in Illinois

* Public Housing Museum plans to share the residents’ whole story

Old building from Jane Addams Homes to be part of museum set to open in 2012

* Southland reps key swing votes on energy bill

A national science-based environmental group sees two Southland congresswomen as swing votes for a controversial energy bill making its way through Congress.

But these U.S. Representatives - Debbie Halvorson (D-11th) and Judy Biggert (R-13th) - still are weighing how the bill would impact their districts before commenting on how they will cast their votes.

* Stephen R. Kustra, 1971-2009: ‘Free spirit’ drawn to San Francisco

The son of former Illinois Lt. Gov. Robert Kustra, Mr. Kustra, 37, died of complications from cancer on Friday, June 19, at a San Francisco hospital, said his sister, Jennifer Quinn.

* A sidekick for TV, McMahon was real-life hero

One of TV’s most famous sidekicks passed away Tuesday at 86. It was a rough last few years for McMahon, who faced myriad health and financial problems.

- Posted by Mike Murray   19 Comments      

John Callaway

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

* John Callaway was a mentor to me without him even knowing it. I had watched him for years on Chicago Tonight and always wanted to be there with him, talking about the issues of the day. I practically worshiped the man. So when the big call finally came during the 1998 gubernatorial campaign, I immediately hopped on a plane and flew to Chicago just to be on the set with the person whom I considered my journalistic idol.

Callaway died yesterday of a heart attack at the age of 72…

“It has been said that John Callaway, who has won more than 60 awards, including seven Chicago Emmys, is the best interviewer on television,” according to a 1994 Tribune article. “He can be tough, like when he told Sen. Paul Simon he hadn’t mastered his own campaign material. He can be sensitive, like when he delicately asked director Gordon Parks about the death of his son. He can elicit quotable sound bites. Mike Ditka, when he was Bears coach: ‘My motives are right, even if my methods stink.’ Rich Daley, when he was state’s attorney: ‘I could subpoena you overnight if you became my enemy.’ He made the Frugal Gourmet cry. When Johnny Carson asked William Buckley who was the best interviewer, Buckley answered, ‘That chubby fellow in Chicago.’ “

When it started in 1984, Callaway envisioned Chicago Tonight as “the second half of the news,” a program that provided a forum for a more reflective discussion of the news.

Speaking about the show around the time of his retirement in 1999, Callaway said: “We tried to be fair. We tried to view complexity as complexity, as opposed to trying to oversimplify it. And we had a lot of fun, too. But I think if you looked at that program for 15 years, you’d see a lot of the fabric and soul of the city.”

Callaway continued to work in the final months of his life, conducting interviews and mediating panels, his wife said. Most recently, he moderated a panel at an iron and steel industry conference in St. Louis in May, she said.

He can’t ever be replaced.

* Related…

* Ch. 11 broadcast legend John Callaway dies

* Legendary Chicago journalist John Callaway dies

* Chicago Journalist John Callaway Has Died

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

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Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

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Quinn’s Evening Press Conference: *** Agreement on pension obligation note *** Need to identify additional cuts from state operating budget *** July session more likely *** Raw video of the press conference ***

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* 9:40 pm - Posted by Mike Murray…

* Governor Quinn, speaking after a lengthy meeting with the four caucus leaders, announced a ‘meeting of the minds’ had coalesced around the concept of a pension obligation note.

A pension obligation note -basically a short term bond- would most likely have a 5 year term. The pension note will allow the IL to make all constitutionally required pension payments for the coming fiscal year.

The perk, according to Quinn, is that note will free up between $2.2 and $2.3 billion to help balance the budget.

Quinn expects the GA to pass the pension obligation note bill tomorrow.

* Leadership also agreed upon the need for further cuts in the state’s operating budget.

The size and scope of these additional cuts are still to be determined. There has been some talk in the Senate of an additional $1 billion in cuts from the operational budget, but the Governor did not commit to that figure. No specific departments or programs were identified as possible areas of saving.

Once a figure for the cuts is agreed upon, Governor Quinn will determine where the cuts will fall.

* The possibility that the GA will pass a new budget by July 1, already considered to be long-shot, has shrunk considerably.

Quinn said the Legislature’s focus tomorrow will be on passing the pension obligation note. Additionally, the Governor does not expect the GA back until Tuesday, June 30.

Considering that the Governor did not repeat his call for a new budget before July -and given the fact that tuesday is the last day of the current fiscal year- it appears that Quinn has backed away from his demand for a new budget to be passed before the new fiscal year.

* The raw video from the press conference will be posted shortly.

* 9:47 pm - Gov. Quinn’s press conference: part 1…

* 9:53 pm - Gov. Quinn’s press conference: part 2…

* 9:55 pm - Gov. Quinn’s press conference: part 3…

- Posted by Mike Murray   11 Comments      

Cullerton: Recall tied to ethics bill; House needs to take first step on taxes

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* 3:25 pm - Senate President John Cullerton just told reporters that the governor’s long-sought recall proposal will be tied to Gov. Quinn’s signature on HB 7, the controversial ethics bill passed by both chambers. The governor is under major pressure from reformers and editorial boards to veto the bill.

Cullerton also said the House must take the next vote on tax hikes, since the Senate has already approved an income/sales tax bill. He also said it was imperative that the Republicans agree to work towards a tax hike.

We may have video, but maybe not. The cam crashed. Oops.

* 5:07 pm- Here is the audio, in 3 parts, of President Cullerton at the Sen. Dems’ presser…

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

*** UPDATED x13 *** Today’s rallies, protests, etc. *** STATEHOUSE CLOSED *** Quinn open to lower corporate tax hike ***

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

[Bumped up x2, updated and comments opened so that you can post any protest/rally observations in comments.]

*** UPDATE 13 - 5:14 pm *** Here are Rep Harris, Rep. Turner, and Rep. Feigenholtz with some passionate speeches…

*** UPDATE 12 - 2:45 pm *** Here is Gov. Quinn’s speech…

*** UPDATE 11 - 2:22 pm *** Another view of the rally…

*** UPDATE 10 - 2:01 pm *** From Fran Eaton’s Facebook page

Fran Eaton wonders when people who depend on the government to meet their needs will realize how enslaved they’ve become.
2 hours ago

Fran Eaton thinks we should support the Republican House members who are staring down angry tax demanders who’ve been ushered out of the Capitol.
15 minutes ago

*** UPDATE 9 - 1:50 pm *** More on Quinn and the corporate tax hike proposal

The governor still wants to raise the income tax rate on individuals by 50 percent. But now the governor says he’s open to negotiating the size of the tax hike on businesses.

“Some of our Republican friends I think would be interested in seeing that happen,” Quinn told reporters after a rally where thousands of people protested potential budget cuts if no more money is found.


Thousands of people squeezed into the Illinois Capitol to protest possible budget cuts and instead demand higher taxes.

They waved signs in support of programs for children, women, senior citizens, disabled people, drug addicts and more.

Authorities say Tuesday’s rally attracted more than 5,000 people. At one point, police stopped letting more people into the Capitol building because of safety concerns.

*** UPDATE 8 - 1:45 pm *** Here’s my intern Mike Murray’s video of the rally. Very good stuff. He learned how to do this all on his own…

*** UPDATE 7 - 1:32 pm *** Facebook post by Rep. Osmond…

I am in my seat at the Capitol and the building has been closed as to those 5000+ individuals here demanding a yes vote for a tax increase. Just like others have written it is not a good day with the outside 90+ degrees. They just cleared the gallery and told all they have to go thru a security check and the visitors are not happy. There is a security meeting in the back and they have called for additional manpower

And Michael Marshall

It’s just one of those days where it is truly a blessing to have an office in the Capitol building. 5,000+ whining people, you can’t walk anywhere, seems like everyone has a drum, whistle, or microphone, and because its 96 degrees outside we get a really ripe smell to top it all off

Illinois Immigrant Rights

Youth chanting “if I lose my home cn I live in yours”. Its chilling, how many ppl have 2 suffer before IL has a humane budget?

*** UPDATE 6 - 1:32 pm *** Another Tweet

@ToddAF The nearly 5,000 protesters who swarmed the capitol today are slowly making their way out now. At least some of them, anyway.

*** UPDATE 5 - 12:57 pm *** From a pal…

Today got me thinking about the AFSCME budget rally in May 2004…. You called it the “largest statehouse rally in my 20 years” I believe.

One legislator addressed that rally.

He’s living a ways east of here now, in a big white house.

*** UPDATE 4 - 12:53 pm *** Another important Tweet

@capitolbureau Quinn backing a temporary income tax hike. Said he is open to lowering the proposed corporate rate [hike] of 7.2 in exchange for Republican votes. [emphasis added]

*** UPDATE 3 - 12:23 pm *** Wow. From Twitter

@andreazelinski Upward of 5,000 people flooding the state capitol today, says Sec of State office. For safety’s sake, they won’t let more in the building.

…Adding… That’s confirmed.

*** UPDATE 2 - 12:23 pm *** A photo from inside the Statehouse. Click on the pic for a larger image…

*** UPDATE - 12:18 pm *** I’ll be posting on Twitter off and on today. Here are a few relevant “Tweets” that I’ve seen so far…

@Pov2Opportunity Update From Springfield- Thousands of people inside and outside the Capitol Building

@DanProft On my way to Springfield for more discussion as to how we “un-fix” Illinois

@kiyoshimartinez A traffic jam on I-55? Are you kidding me?!

@ILSenDems President Cullerton has filed a letter… scheduling a regular session day on Wednesday, June 24th at 10:00am

[ *** End of Updates *** ]

* From GateHouse

8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. - Social service providers have a forum at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in downtown Springfield to talk with local legislators about devastation caused by possible state budget cuts.

10:30 a.m. - Advocacy groups fighting domestic violence and sexual assault and others gather at the Abraham Lincoln Statue on the east side of the Capitol, with tents, to show the impact of possible budget cuts to their services.

11 a.m. - Service providers meet at the state Capitol’s Lincoln statue, then march nearby to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and the state Republican Party office in downtown Springfield to warn about budget cuts.

11:30 a.m. - About 5,000 providers, workers and clients rally in the state Capitol Rotunda along with Gov. Pat Quinn against budget cuts.

The session begins at 2 o’clock.

* More

They’ve hit the phones, sent the e-mails and even had face-to-face meetings. On Tuesday, service providers take their message en masse to the state Capitol in hopes of getting better answers.

About 5,000 black-clad protestors plan to welcome the Legislature back to Springfield for a special session meant to hash out some of the state’s problems, including human service organizations that could see their funding cut in half in the next budget year.

They promise this won’t be another ordinary legislative rally.

“Every day, you can find another rally, you can find another group that is interested in their issue. What is different is this time … everyone is coming together as a whole,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcohol and Drug Dependence Association.


Experience tells us that protest rallies — a big one is scheduled for Tuesday in Springfield — aren’t going to rile up average taxpayers. We’ve heard too many doomsday forecasts and are tired of political posturing that feels an awful lot like extortion:

Fund our programs or real people will really suffer.

My sense is that, this time, only a true crisis will generate popular support for a tax increase. And that even when the suffering is real, the public isn’t going to dig deep until legislators scrap all but the most urgent infrastructure-repair projects in the budget.

They’re not gonna “scrap” anything in the capital bill. Notice that neither side has pointed out the goofy projects in the bill? It’s a “gentlemen’s agreement” - albeit made with one female (the Senate GOP Leader) - not to stir up trouble.

- Posted by Rich Miller   154 Comments      

Coolest. TV ad. Ever.

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* This has nothing to do with anything, but I’m a big Rolling Stones fan and I’d never heard of this TV ad until Eric Zorn pointed it out today…

What’s your favorite TV ad of all time?

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

A buried nugget in the legislative furlough bill

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* I should’ve posted this earlier, but I forgot until a commenter reminded me a bit ago.

From that recent statewide poll we talked about yesterday

In general, do you approve, disapprove or have no opinion about the job the Illinois General
Assembly is doing?

Approve - 16.13%
Disapprove - 42.63%
No Opinion - 41.25%

You gotta wonder how the respondents would’ve reacted if they were told about this little budgetary trick. A bill requiring legislator furloughs calculated the furlough days based on a 365-day working year

That seems to mean that lawmakers believe they never stop working, even though it would appear from the results of the most recent legislative session, they never really started. […]

If calculated against their base pay of $67,835, the 365-day plan will cost each lawmaker a total of $743 from their paycheck.

If they based it on a five-day workweek, it would cost them a total of $1,043.

And, of course, there are so many committee chairmanships, minority spokespersonships and leadership slots - all which come with higher stipends - that the actual impact for most legislators is far greater.


- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Question(s) of the day

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* Question 1: Should AFSCME agree to reopen its state contract, which doesn’t expire for another three years, in order to help the state balance its budget?

* Question 2: If the contract is reopened, should AFSCME agree to a wage freeze, wage/benefit cuts and/or mandatory furloughs?

Fully explain both your answers, please.

And, please, no drive-by comments that just blast unions in general. We’re talking about one union here and one state contract. Stick to the question.

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      

Big problem with ethics bill?

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* Is there a constitutional problem with the “ethics” bill? Chicago Public Radio takes a look…

Paul Ryan, Campaign Legal Center: There’s one provision of the bill that seemingly applies a contribution limit to a political committee organized to support or oppose one or more questions of public policy, which, I’m interpreting as meaning a committee formed to support or oppose a ballot measure in the state.

Ballot questions, Ryan points out, cannot be held to contribution limits. Or, so said the Supreme Court almost 30 years ago. Ryan says there’s a reason it’s alright to limit donations to politicians but not to committees working on ballot questions.

RYAN: Unlimited contributions to candidates and officeholders could corrupt those individuals, potentially. By contrast, in the ballot measure context, there are no human beings who can be corrupted by the contributions.

The sponsor of Illinois’ bill says changes can be made if need be.

* Greg Hinz looks at the failure of a payday loan regulation…

In these days when “reform” supposedly is the mantra in Springfield, business as usual continues, well, as usual. The only thing that’s surprising is the sheer audacity of the players.

A prime example is what didn’t happen late last month on a bill to put more limits on the payday loan guys. You know, the good folks who say they’ll lose their shirts helping worthy citizens if they can’t charge interest rates of 300% or 400%.

The bill, a top priority for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, got a grand total of one vote in the Illinois House committee in which it had been dumped. Yes, one vote. Neither House Speaker Michael Madigan (Lisa’s dad) nor anyone else offset the squads of connected lobbyists who pulled strings to kill the bill — and likely will pull out their checkbooks again when lawmakers are raising cash for their next campaign.

Ah . . . the sweet smell of reform!

* My favorite “ethics” story this year

It looks like the University of Illinois dropped the ball — and violated the spirit of the law — when redacting public documents connected to its shadow admission process for well-connected students.

In records released last week, U. of I. officials blacked out Cubs broadcaster Ron Santo’s name in an e-mail discussion about one of his Hall of Fame snubs. […]

The e-mail is dated March 2, 2005, the day Santo failed in another bid to enter Cooperstown. U. of I. spokesman Tom Hardy said the employee handling the redactions didn’t know who Santo was and assumed he was a rejected student.

“I know it may surprise the Tribune and die-hard Cubs fans, but Ron Santo is apparently not a household name,” Hardy said.

Quite the comeback. Now, if Hardy would only answer my question about any attempts by “landmark” Tribune employees to clout kids into the U of I…

* And Chris Kelly’s lawyer has a point about some of the charges against his client. Kelly pleaded guilty to moving huge amounts of money around to conceal payments to a Kankakee bookie, but the feds have shown no interest in the bookie…

[Michael Monico] noted the bookie in the case never has been prosecuted and the matter hasn’t been referred to state prosecutors either.

“Because it’s unimportant to the government,” he said.

Strange, that. They’ve got a major illegal gambling enterprise and no criminal referrals?

* Related…

* U of I president refuses to release UIS coach records

* Lawsuit on Blagojevich’s health-care plan settled

* Blago’s politics all in day’s work

* News media urge court to unseal Blago wiretaps

* More Legal Troubles for Blagojevich Fundraiser

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Heckled, pessimistic and braced for the worst

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* Legislators are getting heckled by social service advocates. As I told subscribers this morning, GOP Rep. Mike Bost was booed off the stage

The cheering gave way to heckling and shouting after State Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, took to the microphone. Bost urged those in attendance to remember that even if lawmakers pass a proposed income tax increase the state will still have a $5 billion budget deficit, which will require more cuts.

“Then cut from the top,” one woman yelled.

“Raise more money,” another followed.

Bost continued on and said that he didn’t want to “give false hopes” and that people should remember how the state’s finances arrived at their current state.

Here, the shouts tumbled one on top of the other drowning out Bost’s voice.

“Quit politicking,” one man shouted.

“If you don’t want the truth, and you can’t handle the truth, I’m out,” Bost said before dropping the microphone and walking out.

Rep. Sullivan

State Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr., a Mundelein Republican, said he was protested and picketed while marching with his wife and two young children at this past weekend’s Libertyville Days parade by local social service groups scared into a frenzy by the governor’s doomsday talk.

“It is absolutely immoral what the governor is doing,” Sullivan said of the governor’s tactic. “If you want to picket me, that’s great. But leave kids out of it.”

Pat Quinn is not Rod Blagojevich. Rod Blagojevich would’ve ordered protesters to shout taunts at legislators. Quinn is not that sort of fellow.

* Parents are some of the most afraid, and angriest

“I’m infuriated at the lack of responsibility (of state legislators),” said Dianne Hall of Moline, whose son receives aid from the Department of Human Services. “They’re hitting and striking at the most vulnerable population.”

There’s also a lot of activity among organizations as well…

AFSCME members have “picketed, marched and met one-on-one with dozens of lawmakers,” Lindall said. “For the last several weeks, we have sustained an intensive e-mail and phone campaign by our members that has generated many thousands of calls and messages to lawmakers, and those calls and messages are continuing.”

The AARP set up a hotline to connect members with their legislators. So far more than 5,000 people have used the service, according to AARP Spokesman David Irwin. […]

People involved with the Ounce of Prevention Fund, an early childhood education advocacy group, have sent almost 6,000 e-mails and made hundreds of calls to their lawmakers, spokeswoman Jelene Britten said.

Dan Schwick, spokesman for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, said his group has called on about 1,000 members of a grassroots network to bombard lawmakers with calls and e-mails.


From the Southwest Side campus of Daley College, they marched a dozen blocks to the district office of the man some regard as the most powerful figure in Illinois politics: House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago. They found his door locked. […]

Madigan’s House Democrats have blocked a big increase in the state income tax sought by Quinn. It’s been approved by the state Senate. The protest at Madigan’s district office was organized by the AFSCME union local representing some 700 adult education instructors at the City Colleges.

“The Speaker could work harder,” Mark Freeman, president of AFSCME Local 3506, said. “There are a lot of Democrats waiting for his leadership.”

* But there’s not a lot of optimism about a solution this week…

But lawmakers, both Republican and Democratic, said Monday there were no signs an income tax increase would pass.

“Our expectations are very low,” said Rikeesha Phelon, a spokeswoman for Democratic Senate President John Cullerton.

Yet the governor remains optimistic

“I think a number of legislators who voted `no’ on May 31 understand that when it comes to this crisis, and it is a crisis, they may have to switch their vote,” Quinn said.

But in late May, Quinn also expressed optimism lawmakers would approve. They didn’t.

And he doesn’t have a lot of reason to be

A memo [fixed link] obtained by the Sun-Times and circulated by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) to his Democratic members lays out an array of “legislative items” to be considered during the Quinn-called special session that begins today.

But one thing missing on Madigan’s to-do list for the week is a vote on a tax increase, which is likely recognition that the Quinn plan seems to be barely registering a pulse in the House with Republicans en masse against it.

The SJ-R calls out the GOP…

Poe and Brauer also favor reforms to the budget process, reforms that the Republican leadership insists are a pre-requisite for Republicans to even consider a tax increase.

They must have amnesia. Dozens of Republicans voted for a menu of tax and fee increases in order to fund projects in their districts, including $500 million in member-initiated, re-election greasing projects. Those votes came before the governor signed a single reform into law.

And the guv may call the GA back in next week as well

Last week, Quinn said he wanted them to vote on a tax increase by Wednesday. But he now says that might not happen.

QUINN: I think we want to keep working and working until it’s the right time to take a vote whether it’s this Wednesday. Certainly by the end of this month we got have a vote.

* Check out the drop in personal income taxes, compiled by

* Here’s one bit of “good” budget news: Illinois’ welfare rolls aren’t up nearly as high as some other states

…for the first time in 15 years, welfare numbers are up in at least 26 states. In Illinois it’s 3 percent, but in South Carolina that number is 23 percent; in Florida, it’s 14 percent and in California, it’s 10 percent.

…Adding… Via NewsAlert, we have this visual of state budget deficits

* Related…

* Crisis is real; tax hike alone won’t solve it

* Budget cuts back on the table today in Illinois: Brady, who is running for governor next year, disputes the deficit numbers that Quinn is using, and insists the state can get by with its existing funding “if the governor stops his scare-tactics crusade for a tax increase, acts like a leader and manages the state’s finances within the resources we have.”

* States Turning to Last Resorts in Budget Crisis

* Quinn: Won’t cut human service funding in half: But just how he will work with the legislature to enact a balanced budget before July 1 is a mystery

* People Over Politics

* Hundreds rally in Quad-Cities against feared service cuts by state

* Officials warn of danger of cutting health services

* County leaders warn of effects of budget cuts

* Society will suffer from budget cuts

* Citizens need health, not just wealth, protected

* Cuts could end Stark’s mental health service

* Foster parents worry about effects of budget cuts

* What about the taxpayers?

* ATR Urges Illinois Legislature to Reject All Tax Hikes

* URF Calls for Support of Republicans in Opposing Tax Hikes

* LTE: Don’t Blame IL GOP for Illinois’ Fiscal Mess

* Illinois, Missouri governors pledge to work together for high-speed rail

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Morning shorts

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* Deal near on partial rollback of Cook sales tax hike

Under a proposed compromise that has been the subject of a series of closed meetings in recent days, the board would repeal half of the one-cent-on-the-dollar hike that was adopted at the request of County Board President Todd Stroger.

The move would reduce the county’s sales tax levy from 1.75% today to 1.25%, effective Jan. 1.

Aides to Mr. Stroger failed to return phone calls seeking comment. But the president, who twice has vetoed bills to repeal the entire one-percentage-point increase but has said he could live with a one-quarter-cent reduction, is said to be willing to back the half-cent cut.

“My understanding is that the president would sign it,” said Commissioner John Daley, who heads the board’s Finance Committee. He said he is inclined to support the measure.

* Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods

Chicago is home to four of the top 25 most dangerous “neighborhoods” in the country, including a sliver of Washington Park that ranked No. 2, a recently released study of FBI crime statistics shows.

Folks who lived near 55th and State — less than two miles from President Obama’s house and the possible site of a future Olympic stadium — had a 1-in-4 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime each year between 2005 and 2007, according to

* Cop arrested for beating Waukegan chief

A North Chicago police officer is facing battery and assault charges after he allegedly pistol-whipped Waukegan Police Chief Artis Yancey.

The Lake County State Attorney’s office has charged police officer Carl Sain, 45, with beating Yancey, after Sain found Yancey in his estranged wife’s home.

* ‘Top cop’ accused of beating up chief

North Chicago’s “Officer of the Year” allegedly pummeled and seriously injured Waukegan’s police chief after finding him in his estranged wife’s home.

* Jurors award $21 million to man framed for murder allegedly by former Chicago cop

* Record verdict: Former gang member awarded $21 million for wrongful conviction

* High court ruling has unfairness in its DNA

And yet the U.S. Supreme Court last week, in a 5-4 decision that obsessed over procedural matters at the expense of actual justice, ruled that prisoners have no constitutional right to DNA testing that might prove their innocence.

* Olympic Team Knew City Could be on the Hook for Games

The head of Chicago’s Olympic bid committee says he knew “weeks ago” the city would have to accept full fiscal responsibility for the 20-16 Games.

He says revealing that information earlier could have resulted in negative publicity for Chicago.

* Ryan defends Daley’s Olympics switch, promises disclosure

* Chicago 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan to go before City Council, lay out insurance policies to protect taxpayers

* Chicago 2016 head says taxpayer risk ‘improbable’

* Train derails: Railway warned of washout by county

* Train derails: Other cargo could have made it worse

* Trail derails: ‘Significant’ fish kill may be tied to wreck

* CN critics: Accident raises safety issues

* U.S. cars catching up with imports

Ford and Chevrolet ranked virtually even with Toyota and Mercedes-Benz in the J.D. Power & Associates initial quality survey for 2009 vehicles.

The widely followed report issued Monday showed the Detroit automakers narrowing — and in some cases eliminating — a quality gap compared with overseas manufacturers. But the report also demonstrated that the competition remains tough, with Lexus, Japan-based Toyota’s luxury brand, producing the most trouble-free lineup.

* JP Morgan sues FBOP over $246M loan

Federal banking regulators hit Oak Park-based bank holding company FBOP Corp.’s largest bank with an order requiring it to raise capital even as JPMorgan Chase & Co. sued FBOP demanding repayment of a $246-million loan.

* 6,000 pounds of local ground beef recalled

* Levi, Ray & Shoup lays off 23 workers in pension unit

* Hartmarx mulls offers from 5 bidders

* Costly 911 center remodeling called a ‘waste’

The Daley administration spent $480,000 to modify 911 center consoles to accommodate 17-inch monitors instead of the current 15-inch models, even though the consoles themselves were about to be replaced, a source said.

Jim Argiropoulos, deputy executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, gave AT&T the go-ahead to modify the 107 dispatcher and call taker consoles. At about the same time, OEMC was issuing a request for proposals to furniture vendors interested in ripping them out.

* Tribune Co. could end up with bigger stake in Cubs

* Rockford seeks $2M in concessions from fire, police unions

* Even with cuts, Kane budget is still troubled

* Niles board member out because of his teen record

Today’s Niles village board meeting will be missing trustee George Alpogianis.

He resigned Monday over his teen criminal record for aggravated battery.

* Obama picks Evanston man for post of Great Lakes ‘czar’

* More uproar after DePaul picks interim law dean

- Posted by Mike Murray   13 Comments      

Proft to announce today

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

* He’s even getting a boost from Don and Roma. From a press release…


WLS Commentator Dan Proft to Announce Plans for 2010 Election Cycle

Chicago, Illinois – On Tuesday, June 9, WLS (890AM) political commentator Dan Proft, a longtime Republican political consultant and public relations professional, will announce his decision as to whether or not he will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in the 2010 election cycle.

WHO: - WLS Morning Talk Show Hosts Don Wade & Roma
- Dan Proft

WHERE: Chicago Hilton & Towers
720 S. Michigan Avenue
Room Boulevard C
(second floor off the Michigan Ave entrance to the hotel)

WHEN: Tuesday, June 23

Click here for the Proft 2010 campaign website and a video.


* Related…

* Analysts weigh in on Cole’s candidacy - Funds, recognition and Ryan could pose problems: While Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole has said he will not reveal which statewide office he will pursue until Labor Day, he cannot stop local political pundits from speculating about his future candidacy. Though Cole would not confirm that he is considering running for lieutenant governor, several analysts said they believe that position, comptroller or state treasurer would be his likely choices.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Even more shenanigans!
* More shenanigans!
* Saturday campaign money report
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Shenanigans!
* Tribune drops bombshell on Biss running mate
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner: "Madigan has rigged the Democratic primary for Pritzker"
* New Ives radio ad claims Democrats are trying to help Rauner, while Brady does Rauner robocall
* *** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Elections board says DGA should file disclosure for Ives ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Jones; IEA/IFT; Reis; Mitchell; Edgar
* ISRA, Drury both try to claim Raoul inserted "poison pill" into gun bill
* Pro-life group launches GOTV effort for Lipinski
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner opens new online track against Ives
* Erika Harold still can't remember comments, but says "I was wrong"
* Rauner calls Madigan "a unified force of bad, of evil"
* Sen. Duckworth gets involved in another state central committee race
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Has Pritzker gone to ground?
* Illinois House Bill HB 4900 Wastes Government Resources
* McCann, barred from SGOP caucus meeting, claims Rauner threatened to "destroy you and your family"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Caption contest!
* Obama mailer kerfuffle in Lipinski district
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