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Tell the truth, governor

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009

* Gov. Pat Quinn is hosting a rally of university types this afternoon at UIC. The rally is designed to boost Quinn’s efforts to pass legislation to fund the rest of the year’s MAP scholarship grant program. The money runs dry at the end of this semester.

But as I told subscribers in detail yesterday, Quinn has blamed everybody else except himself for this mess. Dan Hynes’ campaign issued a press release earlier today suggesting six questions that should be asked of Quinn at the rally.

Question 2…

In July you said you had “no reservations about signing the budget bill” and that it “stabilizes our budget,” even though it slashed funding for the MAP program by 50 percent. This weekend you blamed the General Assembly for the crisis, calling it “unacceptable” that it “decided to only fund the first semester of college scholarships.” How do you justify laying the blame so squarely on others even though as the Governor you have had the authority all along either to push to fund the program fully, or to restore funding?

Quinn made that “no reservations about signing the budget” comment during a July press conference that we videotaped at the time. Quinn, you may recall, surrounded himself with his budget staff during the media event.

I’ve isolated Quinn’s “no reservations” comment for you today. Also in this clip, Quinn talks about how he would have to “manage” the budget “very well” to make sure everything went smoothly. I guess that didn’t happen? Watch it

Question 3…

Even after it became apparent that hundreds of thousands of students who rely on MAP grants were being put in a terrible bind, why haven’t you used any of your remaining allocation authority to restore funding?

As I told subscribers yesterday, the governor used his wide discretionary authority (given to him by the General Assembly) to squirrel away $180 million in a reserve account. But throughout this MAP debate, Quinn hasn’t said Word One about using that cash stash to help keep the scholarship program alive. The program is short about $225 million. Instead, he wants to raise income taxes to shore up the program or hike the cigarette tax by a buck a pack.

* In other political news, the National Journal today defended its decision a few weeks ago to raise the competitive rating of Illinois’ US Senate race to the second-most vulernable seat in the country

If there was one ranking that generated controversy last time, it was Illinois. Surely, the critics suggested, Obama’s home state would never replace him with a Republican. In the end, the true-blue nature of Illinois — along with an expected serious financial investment from a White House laden with Chicagoans — would surely assert itself come November 2010. Right?

We’re simply not convinced that the field of Democratic candidates — with the possible exception of former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman — can present the sort of “outsider” credentials to avoid being lumped (fairly or not) with Rod Blagojevich, et al. Plus, it’s hardly unusual for a state’s voters to develop a “throw the bums out” mentality when one party has overstayed its welcome. Even so, can Rep. Mark Kirk (R) convince voters that his nine years in D.C. qualify him as the heir to the “outsider” mantle?


Hoffman, by the way, was endorsed today by Abner Mikva.

* Other campaign stuff…

* Quinn gets hotel union, Hynes gets ironworkers

* Hynes: State needs to cut back government to ‘05 levels

* Negotiations Continue For Campaign Donation Limits

* 2010: An updated look at that long list of candidates

* Lisa Madigan in B-N: Democrats have a lot to be proud of

* Jesse White Running for Re-Election

* White to announce for re-election today

* Aurora man running for secretary of state

* Hultgren joins Republican bid for 14th Congressional District

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Greg - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:33 pm:

    FWIW, many of us in today’s question of the day who leaned Kirk expressed a willingness to entertain a vote for Hoffman. I don’t recall anyone who said the same for Alexi. Not a representative sample by any means, but it’s more evidence that Hoffman may be more competitive.

  2. - Louis Howe - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:38 pm:

    Lisa Madigan may be right that “Democrats have a lot to be proud of…” Unfortunately, most of what we have to be proud of happened over 40 years ago—Civil Rights and Medicare. The rest have all been small bore issues. In Illinois the last truly great Democratic Governor was Adlai Stevenson II and that was nearly 60 years ago. If Obama fumbles Health Care Reform, Democrats will have a lot of “esplanning to do,” especially in Illinois.

  3. - Quinn T. Sential - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:38 pm:

    {In the end, the true-blue nature of Illinois — along with an expected serious financial investment from a White House laden with Chicagoans — would surely assert itself come November 2010. Right?}

    They were so excited about the prospects of having to come back and support GALEXI, that they worked feverishly behind the scenes to recruit a better and more credible candidate (see-Dart), in an effort to avoid having Rezko splashed all over themselves as a result of the GALEXI candidacy come November 2010.

    The Blago trial should be front and center at that time; and the fact that Rezko may have learned the fine art of leveragus maximus de cooperatium by then is a little unsettling to those that could otherwise be called upon to stand squarely behind GALEXI at that time.

    The less chance they have for 6 degrees of Rezko, the better off they will all be.

  4. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:42 pm:

    It may be dawning on Quinn now how hard it is to be on the other side. Easy to stand on the sidelines at take pot shots at the leader. Easy to be seen as consistent if your message is always reform, reform, reform. Harder to stay consistent when you have all these competing interests (budget, investigations, re-election, enemies, etc) pulling at you.

    Oh please Mr Wizard, let me be lite gov again!

  5. - George - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:43 pm:

    Maybe I am misremembering - but I was under the understanding that the House passed a budget that they thought was temporary, and the Governor signed the budget saying he would fight in the fall for the revenue to do the full budget.

    I am not so sure you can hold his feet to the fire too much here for going to fight for more revenue. Nor can you fault some of the GA who mistakenly thought this was a 6-month budget and then they would come back to fund the rest. However, you can blame the GA for failing to find revenue in the first place.

    Granted, I think passing the cigarette tax increase for MAP funding is a mistake. I have the same reaction of everyone else who looks to the state for funds - why choose that out of all the things in the budget that need to be addressed. Plus, it is the only thing suburban republicans care about, so don’t give them an “out” in the tax debate.

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:49 pm:

    George, the so-called “six month budget” was vetoed. You did, indeed, misremember.

  7. - Johnnyc - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:57 pm:

    Again, its simply a problem of messaging. Had he said, “There are things about this budget we don’t like, but its better than nothing” (which was clearly the case) rather than trying to portray it as a victory it would have been fine. The truth is what passed wasn’t what he wanetd, but was all the general assembly was willing to do.

    I know that the response will be “it’s his budget”. That may be the case politically, but to intimate that he must have been for cutting MAP grants b/c they weren’t in the budget is simply not the case.

  8. - JonShibleyFan - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 1:59 pm:

    QTS, the list of posters on Capitol Fax blog who try to assert a nickname they think clever, only to have it fail in its cleverness and ability to stick is long. Welcome to that list.

  9. - cassandra - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:01 pm:

    The cigarette tax may be the easiest way out though, especially since Quinn doesn’t appear to have done much real budgeting so far. AFSCME, I would note, has told its employees that they don’t have to worry about layoffs for the “foreseeable future.” Quinn is making appeal noises as one would expect, but you have to wonder if the fix isn’t in on that part of the budget.

  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:03 pm:

    ===but to intimate that he must have been for cutting MAP grants b/c they weren’t in the budget is simply not the case. ===

    You sure? From July 10th, before the budget was passed…

    ===A spokeswoman for Quinn said the governor isn’t publicly proposing a target for ISAC funding, but she said the agency and MAP, its biggest program, won’t get the $440 million he originally proposed.

    “Given the current revenue estimate, it seems clear that cuts will be made throughout important state programs, including MAP,” Elizabeth Austin said.===

  11. - helpme - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    I’ll bet my lunch money Hoffam doesn’t get as many votes as he does free media stories about his candidacy from Rich Miller!

    i’ve never seen a guy with no support get so much ink Rich — what’s up? Why doesn’t Hoffman have to earn it like other polticans?

  12. - Johnnyc - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:08 pm:

    In other news, congrats Rich.

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:21 pm:


    whatever. i don’t live my life for contests. i rarely if ever even enter them. didn’t know about this one, but thanks, i guess.

  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:32 pm:

    Quinn campaigning against himself. I’m sure it feels good to be back in the bomb-thrower mode.

  15. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:41 pm:

    Plus, it’s hardly unusual for a state’s voters to develop a “throw the bums out” mentality when one party has overstayed its welcome.

    But if I’m not mistaken, it is unusual for Illinois. I can’t even think of a state election when Illinoisans ever voted en masse to vote the bums out. Can you?

  16. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:46 pm:

    ===I can’t even think of a state election when Illinoisans ever voted en masse to vote the bums out. Can you? ===

    Are you serious?

    1994 and 2002

  17. - Bill - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:47 pm:

    Even Quinn knows that the cig tax won’t pass. He just needs a reason to blame the legislature instead of himself. He underestimated the outcry from middle class parents who use MAP to send their students to private colleges which they could otherwise not afford. Once he realized the political consequences, he flipped. Just like he flipped on pension reform, ethics, the tax increase (HB174)in the Senate and a whole bunch of other things. He won’t layoff non-union employees and he can’t layoff the union employees. He’ll be blaming the courts when he loses his appeal.
    I hope someone asks Hynes’ questions but I bet he will have this extravaganza managed in typical Blagojevich style.
    It is always everybody’s fault but Quinn’s.

  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 2:50 pm:

    ===free media stories about his candidacy from Rich Miller===

    Actually, that was the National Journal. I just reprinted it.

  19. - D - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 3:23 pm:

    Quinn’s ISAC Commission made the decision to front load all of the budgeted funds into full grants for the first semester. Same thing happended in Missouri and they chose to cut the indivudal grant amounts in half. Gov created this crisis because they are desperate for revenue. The cig tax may pass in February but can’t in veto, especially with Cross outflanking the dems by coming up with a funding source –and the revenue should be used for Medicaid anyway because of the increased federal match. For now, Quinn will have to access his discretionery $$ to save MAP and hope he can consolidate the democratic legislature for additonal nickle dime revenues after he wins the primary. Blaiming them for the MAP mess is not smart long term poltics.

  20. - Eastside - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 3:42 pm:

    I don’t know where the notion of the $180 million in a “reserve account” comes from, but since revenues are off almost $200 million from last year (even with federal stimulus) I’m thinking the reserve might be gone already.

  21. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 3:49 pm:

    ===I don’t know where the notion of the $180 million in a “reserve account” comes from===

    Gov. Quinn’s July 31st, 2009 budget allocation plan.

  22. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 3:55 pm:

    When the idea of the cigarette tax and other programs facing cuts came up after the temporary budget was passed, some members of the GA suggested publicly that Quinn use the reserve money. I do not recall which one(s) suggested it.

    The cigarette tax is a very cook county board thing to do, and it’s not a good idea anyway. It’s the type of thing that elected officials resort to when they have no real answers to solving budget problems. The sin tax thing is played out.

    you’re right it is his budget he had the power of the sword. Nuff said. No one is going to try to read his mind. He gets no slack on this or anything else that he has done or not done as governor. This is exactly why he needed and derseves to have a democratic primary challenger.

  23. - Ghost - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 3:58 pm:

    I agree with the National Journal’s conclusion, but no their reasoning.

    It is not my impression that Alexi is failing because of his ties to Blago; I think he is failing all on his own including a few bad pres headlines. Lots of people who see Alexi attached to the drop in their college funds, and that recognition hangs out there. By the same token I think Kirk has been getting good press overall. I would suggest the GOP bashing Kirk for supporting cap n trade gave him a boost as well; makes Kirk look felxible etc.

  24. - Justice - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 4:06 pm:

    Has anyone heard of the 98th district that is Hannig’s? I heard an announcement was in the works today for Wayne Rosenthal. Rich what do you know about this race?

  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 4:07 pm:

    On the phone about that now. Read tomorrow’s capitol fax.

  26. - Eastside - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 4:37 pm:

    Kind of missed the point Rich. If revenues under-perform, there is no reserve account.

  27. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 4:41 pm:

    ===If revenues under-perform, there is no reserve account. ===

    At the end of the FY, or near the end, yes. But in the meantime, cash management can keep things flowing.

    Besides, revenues often under-perform in some months and then things change. I’ve seen that over and over and over again.

  28. - have Issues? - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 4:57 pm:

    (time for a new nick with the change in seasons)

    National Journal is 100% correct. Alexi has too much baggage from the family bank and bright start, and Cheryle has Blago tie. Hoffman is the only hope.

    As for Quinn, yes, this is why it is way too early to count Hynes out. I have been saying, since June, to former collegues and others (and it is pretty obvious from the votes), that there will be no GOP votes for a tax increase. Why? There is no incentive to help the Dems out at this point. It is also clear that MJM will not pass a tax hike without GOP votes. The Trib would get their primary “countdown clock” nonsense going, so I understand the rationale. However, this budget is a disaster, and increased revenues are the only way to solve the problem.

    As a result, Quinn will wear the jacket, particulary in light of the videos you posted, Rich. Hynes will benefit.

  29. - Apple - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 5:22 pm:

    I don’t recall Hynes saying Word One when MAP funding wasn’t included in the budget. It must be nice to bask with the benefit of hindsight. Gov. Quinn carries blame- along with the General Assembly. If Hynes bemoaned this, please show me the clip. Otherwise- I give Quinn credit for taking this on.

  30. - Eastside - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 5:25 pm:

    You have more faith in the economy than I do. In the first two months of the current fiscal year we collected 13.7% of the FY10 revenue estimate. Over the past 25 years we’ve averaged 15% of general revenue collections in those months. The 13.7% is the lowest in the past 25 years. FY94 was close, we collected 13.8% of FY94 receipts in the first two months. FY94 was a good revenue year, so you may be right. But things have to turn around quick for this fiscal year to match the latter year performance of FY94.

  31. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 6:16 pm:


    You’ll have to factor in the fact that federal revenues will be a bigger piece of the revenue pie this year as compared to other years. In essence the revenue mix and the rate of receipts won’t necessarily be comparable to other years. FY10 will have atypical revenue streams due to the federal stimulus mechanisms.

  32. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 6:20 pm:

    Is there any data (polling) to support that Rod Blagojevich will be a drag on Giannoulias or Democrats in general?

    I know it’s what Mark Kirk and the GOP want to be true, but what Republicans want to be true sometimes differs from what is true.

  33. - Eastside - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 6:26 pm:

    Anon, if anything, FY10’s federal revenue receipts will be more stable than previous years because of the federal stimulus requirement that most Medicaid providers be paid within 30 days. Regular Medicaid spending translates into regular federal Medicaid receipts. It’s not like the first two months were down because we weren’t paying Medicaid bills. This was the case in many previous fiscal years, but not FY10.

  34. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 6:38 pm:


    I think you’re making my point. Federal revenues tied to Medicaid will be likely be more equally distributed throughout the year. Typically, federal Medicaid revenues have lagged in the last half of the fiscal year as Medicaid pay cycles have grown due to limited appropriations. Not so this year (assuming we want to get the higher match rate). Federal revenues should be stronger in the second half of the year than in previous fiscal years, due to the timely payment requirements of the stimulus money. That means the first two months would constitute a relatively smaller percentage of annual revenue estimates.

  35. - Eastside - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 7:15 pm:

    I can see your point Anon but don’t forget that this is the worst in the last 25 years. That includes the late 1990’s when we were paying our Medicaid bills within an average of 15 days. The phenomenon of large end of year backlogs was the norm for the past few years, but was not consistent over the 25 year period. In fact, over the past 25 years, we average 16.9% of total federal receipts in the first two months of the fiscal year. In FY10, we’ve collected 16.7% of the FY10 federal revenue projections in the first two months of the fiscal year. Federal receipts are not the reason for the lag in general revenue receipts for the first two months of FY10.

  36. - Bobs yer - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 8:35 pm:

    Funny how every program is untouchable. The reality in such an economic situation is that something has to give. PQ showed his lack of backbone when he refused to consider changing the “free rides for seniors” program. While that fiasco had more negative impact on local transit agencies than on the State budget, his unwillingness to eliminate a program that Blago shoved down everyone’s throat (and one that no one asked for), spoke volumes. Sorry, Pat, a little lacking in the cred department, know what I mean?

  37. - Its Just Me - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 11:58 pm:

    Hmmm, seems to me that Quinn has learned from the Rod Blagojevich book of how to govern. Now watch him get re-elected. If voters were stupid enough to re-elect Rod Blagojevich, they will be stupid enough to elect Quinn.

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