SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a Statehouse roundup

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

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

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


House Bill 14: Setting the Record Straight

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Myth: HB14 allows Illinois utilities to automatically raise rates every year.

Fact: That is not the case. Under HB14, utilities are required to submit to more frequent oversight (annual) and still are subject to stakeholder challenge and ICC prudence reviews over 8 ½ months.

Myth: HB14 eliminates much of the oversight currently provided by the ICC.

Fact: HB14 actually strengthens oversight because it makes the regulatory process a more frequent annual process that is transparent, allows discovery, holds utilities accountable for every dollar they invest and jobs they create. The ICC retains responsibility for reviewing utilities’ costs and setting rates.

Myth: HB14 provides utilities with higher-than-needed profits.

Fact: Under the Public Utilities Act, utilities are allowed to earn a reasonable rate of return. This is done through determining a return on the equity invested (ROE) for the utility. This rate has varied from rate case to rate case. This proposal only changes the way the ROE is set and is consistent with past ICC approved ROEs. Utilities still must establish that they managed work prudently at reasonable cost and stakeholder challenge and ICC prudence reviews remain.

Learn the facts. Visit SmartEnergyIL.com

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

* The setup

Hallucinogenic powders with names like “Ivory Wave,” “White Lightning” and “Zoom” may soon be illegal in Illinois.

The Illinois House Wednesday passed House Bill 2089, which would make the substance MDPV – the key psychoactive ingredient in those powders – illegal.

“These substances are legal in many states, although they have effects similar to cocaine and methamphetamine,” said the sponsor, Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville. “They’re sold in convenience stores as ‘bath salts,’ ‘plant food,’ but a 1-ounce package … is sold for $60, and it’s just below the street value of cocaine.”

According to Ivory Wave’s website, the powders sell for $36.31 for 500 milligrams, which is less than 2 percent of one ounce. Bath salts for foot baths typically sell for between $2 and $5 an ounce.

The street value of a comparable amount of cocaine is $80 to $100, according to Montgomery County Sheriff Jim Vazzi, who brought the proposal to Rosenthal.

* The Question: Should this substance be banned? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please. Thanks.


- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Stop accepting the numbers as truth

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

* It blows my mind that almost nobody is considering a recount of Chicago’s miserable census results. The city is down 200,000 people, but when you drill down, the numbers just don’t look right to me and to others I’ve consulted. Yet, the media is meekly accepting the figures as carved in stone or something. From a Sun-Times editorial

Admit it.

The news that Chicago was the only top 10 big city in the nation to see its population shrink over the last decade had you asking yourself:

What am I still doing there?

Or is it just us?

Detroit appealed its count 10 years ago and added 50,000 people. It’s planning yet another recount. New York City is likely to ask for a recount as well.

Yet, Mayor Daley is silent and the media just accepts the figures as gospel.

* For crying out loud, even Murphysboro is doing a recount. Suburban Westmont is also considering an appeal. It’s a pretty common thing. The city would have to pick up the cost, but the state might be convinced to kick in since Illinois narrowly missed out on keeping its 19 congressional seats intact.

Here are just a handful of stories from around the country about recounts…

* Davenport mayor presses for census recount

* Plainfield, NJ Seeking Census Recount

* White County [TN] is considering a possible Census recount

* WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach wants a recount after its latest U.S. census figures left the city about 80 residents short of 100,000.

* Little Flock, Ark. Mayor Challenges Census Bureau Count

* NC towns appealing census data due to fears of losing funding

* Roswell, NM to appeal census count

It’s time to at least consider it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      


Madigan issues not so veiled threat

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

* I told subscribers weeks ago that we might expect the General Assembly to use the long-dormant conference committee process to iron out differences between the House and Senate budget proposals. Senate President John Cullerton was the one who brought it up to me, but yesterday House Speaker Michael Madigan broached the topic as well, and in a way that appeared to be a shot at Cullerton

Reconciling those, and therefore the different chamber’s budget bills, could be troublesome.

Madigan laid out one possibility Wednesday during the Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee. When the Senate and the House can’t come to some kind of agreement on a specific bill, five members from each chamber meet and try to hammer out the details in a conference committee.

Because the House’s $33.2 billion revenue projection is more conservative than the Senate’s $34.3 billion projection, Madigan said Senate Republicans might be inclined to side with the House in such a meeting.

“In the Senate, I think the people that want to raise the numbers would be the Democrats, and they would have three appointments on that conference committee, and they ought to be out voted,” Madigan said. “The report coming out of the conference committee should be for the numbers contained in the House bill(s).”

Actually, conference committees were used during the early 1990s. But the system got out of hand as lobbyists and members started inserting major legislative changes into long conference committee reports. So, it was stopped.

* But the scenario might not work as Madigan envisions. The Senate Republicans aren’t yet willing to completely abandon their Democratic colleagues and throw in their lot with the Speaker

State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, the Senate GOP’s budgeteer, said he’s not sure how a conference committee on budget legislation would play out.

His Republican colleagues in the Senate generally lean toward more conservative budget numbers and didn’t agree with the Senate’s adopted $34.3 billion projection, he said, with a caveat.

“We also felt like a number a little bit higher than what the House came up with is reasonable as well,” he said. “I think it’s a little premature for us to start to weigh in, and choose sides, in a conference committee that I don’t know is even going to happen.”

* Meanwhile, some in the media focused attention on the apparent detente between Madigan and House Republican Leader Tom Cross

A truce broke out in the Illinois House Wednesday as Democrats and Republicans embraced the outline of a budget plan that is more conservative than the one proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn and would cut money for schools.

In a rare side-by-side appearance, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, acted like old chums rather than political warlords out to crush each other. They led the House in allocating billions of dollars for debt and pension payments and setting out spending plans for areas including education.

Heh

As Madigan and Cross faced reporters, shoulder to shoulder, after a committee hearing, both brushed off the idea that there was ever bad blood between them.

“I don’t think there ever was a problem. Was there, Tom?” said Madigan, who routinely has bottled up Republican bills in the Rules Committee and repeatedly referred to Cross’ caucus as “nonparticipating dropouts.”

“I don’t remember a problem,” said Cross, whose political organization put up billboards throughout northeast Illinois blaming the state’s fiscal problems on Madigan.

“Maybe some journalists thought there was a problem,” Madigan said.

Yeah. OK.

Madigan teamed up with Cross and the Senate Republicans the last time he went up against a free-spending governor and Senate President. Cross eventually broke with Madigan over the capital bill (with Cross siding with Rod Blagojevich and Emil Jones) and the two have not cooperated since then. Until now, that is.

* The school cuts are just part of the package

The latest projection from Springfield is that schools can expect at least $600 million less than last year. […]

Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, said there will be $200 million fewer state dollars, and nearly $400 million fewer federal dollars this year. Davis, who will craft the education budget in the House, said he’s been told he can spend no more than $6.8 billion. […]

Although school districts have received less money and delayed payments from the state, ISBE is still advocating for more education funding. The agency recommends $7.6 billion in state funding for fiscal year 2012 budget, more than 5 percent more than the governor’s proposed $7.2 billion.

ISBE is going to be sorely disappointed, and this story about schools hoarding cash reserves won’t help their cause

The statewide total of $8.9 billion unspent at the close of the 2010 budget year is enough to cover the entire state portion of public school budgets across Illinois next academic year, though districts stress that the money isn’t just sitting around for no reason — some of it is meant for future school expenses, building projects and other uses.

They say that while these balances can help stave off staff or program cuts, they cannot eliminate the need for them. Many districts that lay off teachers or cut programs have already spent down their reserves, and school officials say it’s irresponsible to use fund balances, which the state likens to checking or savings account balances, for ongoing expenses.

Fund balances are widely considered prudent by school officials weathering Illinois’ fiscal crisis, but they rile taxpayers who say districts are hoarding their money and should give some of it back by lowering tax bills.

The balances have grown by $3.6 billion since 2004-05 and now average about 40 percent of districts’ main operating revenue, up from 30 percent five years ago. The Illinois State Board of Education’s barometer for healthy fund balances is at least 25 percent — enough to cover three months of expenses.

The Tribune found that 8 of 10 school districts had fund balances exceeding that amount when the books closed on June 30, 2010. Nearly half of districts reported fund balances of 50 percent or higher, and 70 school districts — many in the Chicago area — had balances equaling 100 percent or more, enough to cover a whole year of expenses.

* And we can expect to see much more hand-wringing as reality sets in on the other appropriations committees

Madigan and Cross have settled on a revenue projection about $600 million lower than Quinn’s. After covering various fixed costs, such as pensions, they’re allocating that money to five different broad categories: $6.9 billion for education, $1.2 billion for general services, $2.1 billion for higher education, $12 billion for human services and $1.7 billion for public safety.

Now House appropriations committees are supposed to decide which particular programs get money and which ones don’t. The demand far exceeds the amount of money available.

“We’re going to try to figure out how to stick a 10-inch foot in a 5-inch shoe,” said Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago.

And don’t forget the lobbyists

Meantime, dozens of lobbying groups circulated through the Capitol Wednesday calling on lawmakers to reverse cuts proposed by Quinn.

In a letter distributed to members of the legislature, Southern Illinois Healthcare President Rex Budde, said Quinn’s proposal to reduce Medicaid spending by $552 million could result in delays to bricks and mortar improvements at its hospitals and other facilities as well as cuts in services and physician re-cruitment.

“We urge the General Assembly to reject the proposed Medicaid cut,” Budde noted in the letter.

* And the Tribune editorial board contradicted itself today in an editorial against a Pat Quinn borrowing plan that would capture a higher rate of Medicaid reimbursement

Quinn spokesman Kelly Kraft responds that paying interest costs on another $2 billion in debt might still leave Illinois with a good chunk of the $175 million Medicaid reimbursement. She notes that the Republican proposals couldn’t be enacted soon enough to produce $2 billion in the current fiscal year. And, she says, the higher income tax isn’t producing new money fast enough to meet the other demands on that revenue and also pay these Medicaid bills. We won’t argue. [Emphasis added.]

Um, so the state shouldn’t borrow, but it might be a good idea? I don’t get it.

* Related…

* Press release: Senate Democrats Respond to GOP Budget Suggestions

* John Cullerton: Give new era in state Senate a chance

* House bill would require state contractors to stay in Illinois

* Tuition bills fail; SIUE finances still troubling: Two bills pending before the higher education committee in the state Senate would have frozen public university tuition for two years.

* Press release: Cross and Madigan co-sponsor budget proposal

* Schools stockpile large amounts of money in fund balances - Taxpayers, school administrators debate how much is too much money in reserves

* Inspector General: City wastes $18 million a year on truck drivers

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


Can everybody finally settle down now and get to work? Thanks

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

* Perhaps now all the Nervous Nellies will stop claiming that the sky is falling

News reports that Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc. was thinking of exiting Illinois were misleading, Doug Oberhelman, chairman and chief executive of the construction and mining machine maker, said Wednesday.

The media read too much into his recent letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, he said.

“The headlines were sensational — they said things like ‘Cat leaving Illinois,’ and lots of other things, which isn’t what the letter said,” Oberhelman said in an address to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce gathering in Washington, D.C.

“I actually said, I’m looking forward to finding ways to invest more in Illinois and to change the business climate,” he said at a summit hosted by the chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness.

The business climate in this state is in definite need of improvement. If nothing else, the shock from those nutty headlines might hopefully spur Springfield to act.

* Much of the reporting and commentary on this story has been crazily sensationalistic and just downright horrible. Here’s just one goofy example

Joliet became part of TV news coverage of the Caterpillar story Sunday when Andrew Mihelich, one of the city’s mayoral candidates in Tuesday’s election, held a quickly staged rally in support of the company and invited coverage of the event. Four Chicago TV news crews came to town, and at least two stations aired footage of the event attended by about 40 of the candidate’s supporters, many of whom held up “Mihelich for Mayor” signs and wore Mihelich T-shirts.

No Caterpillar employees were even at that rally

About an hour into the rally at Mihelich campaign headquarters, no Caterpillar workers could be found. But Keith Godsey of Joliet, who said his father is a Caterpillar retiree, was there and said he supported Mihelich’s efforts.

It was pure politics and the media fell for it

Joliet City Councilman Warren Dorris, another Joliet mayoral candidate and a former manager at the Joliet plant, said Sunday that he thought the news coverage of Oberhelman’s letter was overblown.

“I worked for that company for 36 years,” Dorris said Wednesday. “Caterpillar has always challenged the state of Illinois and the governor to improve the business climate of the state.”

Dorris said he was “not surprised at all” by Oberhelman’s comments Wednesday. “His letter was intended to open dialogue. It did that. Unfortunately, some people took it and made political hay.”

Dorris has been critical of Mihelich’s rally, saying it was an attempt by a candidate to gain attention for his campaign.

Dorris is exactly right.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

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

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* "As far as we’re concerned, it’s dead"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


* Thumbs Down: To the never-ending Mendoza-Rauner.....
* Can budget deal ever get done with Rauner, Madi.....
* Morning Spin: Chicago City Council member calls.....
* Can budget deal ever get done with Rauner, Madi.....
* Rauner: Democrats say they want to see departme.....


* Pennsylvania town marks vacant buildings with scarlet letter
* Illinois man sentenced to life for 2011 slaying of parents
* EXCHANGE: Streator man continues his search for relative
* Man gets 45 years for killing grandmother for inheritance
* Man gets 45 years for killing grandmother for inheritance
* Illinois unemployment rate drops below 6 percent in February
* Illinois unemployment rate drops below 6 percent in February
* Nelson Algren Museum to open Sunday in Gary's Miller area
* Black Lives Matter groups joining forces with wage activists
* Smartphone maker may open plant at shuttered Motorola campus

* Illinois judge rules in favor of lawmakers seeking pay
* Chicago has biggest population dip as Southern states grow
* Illinois Supreme Court leaves hospital tax exemptions in place
* Could vacant state jobs be moved to Springfield?
* Proposed law would require headlights on while driving
* Agencies told to decide if vacant jobs can be moved to Springfield
* State agencies told to evaluate if vacant jobs can be moved to Springfield
* House panel approves bill to reduce patient 'dumping,' understaffing
* Jacksonville lawyer suspended for borrowing, purchasing decisions
* Rauner agencies told to evaluate if vacant jobs can be moved to Springfield

* Pity the investors who bought into this Inland Group real estate trust
* And now: Artisanal tea
* House sets health care showdown after Trump demands it
* Kraft Heinz cuts 200 more white-collar jobs
* Tronc cashes out disgruntled Oaktree investor


* James ‘Jim’ Roetheli was a State Street Santa for 35 Christmases
* ‘Dig Two Graves’ offers fine acting, big thrills on a low budget
* THE WATCHDOGS: Chicagoans take triple hit on old Wrigley factory
* Trump administration issues permit for Keystone XL pipeline
* Chicago’s Shea Coulee finally gets her chance to ‘Race’
* Swap meet, wild game feed, coho derby: Show/Go, Chicago outdoors
* At nearly 110, Carol Stream woman is working on a book — her 12th
* Agile XTS delivers big size, fun performance
* Man shot in Washington Park apartment
* Mastermind behind massive CPS kickback scheme to be sentenced


* Man's license should have been revoked years before crash that killed 3 members of a family, officials say
* What the Mark Sanchez signing tells you about the Bears’ idea of quarterbacks
* Cops escape punishment as officials lose track of cases
* Black Lives Matter joining forces with minimum wage activists for nationwide protests
* Sanchez signing reminder Bears moves at QB position forever curious
* No 'doubt' about it, Sears only part of retail's pain
* A father and 2 sons given prison for sex trafficking underage girls
* Judge: Move state lawmaker pay to front of long line of unpaid bills
* Ex-Ukrainian finance minister, originally from Chicago, to oversee Puerto Rico economic crisis
* Cubs noticeably quiet after last season's spring training antics


» Key Figure In Chicago Bribery Scheme That Brought Down Schools Chief To Be Sentenced Friday
» Key Figure In Chicago Bribery Scheme That Brought Down Schools Chief Sentenced Today
» Why The CHA Failed To Meet Its Mixed-Income Ambitions
» Illinois Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana
» Immigrant Learning Center Slated To Close
» Lincoln Park Zoo Conservation Work Goes National
» Chicagoans Consider Implications Of ACA Replacement
» Comptroller Cannot Delay Paying Illinois Lawmakers, Judge Rules
» Supreme Court Punts On Non-Profit Hospital Taxes
» Chicago Cop Faces New Charges In Shooting Of Laquan McDonald


* Illinois judge rules in favor of lawmakers seeking pay
* Thumbs Down: To the never-ending Mendoza-Rauner blame game
* Endorsement: Gordon Gates for Lincoln Land College Board
* Department on Aging: Innovative changes needed for senior care in Illinois
* Eugene Robinson: Mr. President, the disgrace is all yours
* George Will: Whatever replaces Obamacare will look a lot like Obamacare
* Chicago has biggest population dip as Southern states grow
* Illinois Supreme Court leaves hospital tax exemptions in place
* Could vacant state jobs be moved to Springfield?
* Proposed law would require headlights on while driving


* Highland area police briefs: March 10-16
* New farming exhibit opening at museum
* Decatur's favorite things to do when stopped by a train
* PODCAST: Steve Beckett 03/24/17
* Congressman, activists split on health care delay
* Multiple contested township races on ballot in St. Clair County
* O’Fallon group offers $1,000 grants to start local gardens
* Two vastly different points of view on ACA
* Scientists plan April 22 protest march
* Hospitals welcome ruling that keeps them tax-exempt


* Long overdue for Krause to be in HOF
* Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new parking spot
* IN Current Conditions
* France's best striker Karim Benzema tired of being unwanted
* The Latest: Trump ties health care vote to abortion

* US Rep. Randy Hultgren reflects on busines...
* Tension And Confusion In GOP Health Care T...
* US Rep. Randy Hultgren accepting internshi...
* Protesters converge on US Rep. Randy Hultg...
* Veterans seek answers at forum with US Rep...
* Our View: Time for Randy Hultgren to hold ...
* GOP Obamacare replacement takes flak from ...
* Letter: Call representatives as nation fac...
* Where do Chicago-area Congress members sta...
* GOP congressman appears to distance himsel...

* Neil Gorsuch And His Past Hostility Agains......
* New Durbin Report Breaks Down Impacts of R......

* Duckworth: Trump Sacrificing Veterans For ......
* Duckworth: Trump Sacrificing Veterans For ......

* Finger painting as fun, learning and an act of resistance.
* If it’s Friday, it’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.
* The Week In Chicago Rock
* Mark your calendar for consolidated election in two weeks
* The [Friday] Papers
* REALTORS® give IE support to help reelect Braun as Flossmoor mayor
* Murasaki Sake Lounge is a fountain of Japanese whiskey
* Jason Van Dyke indicted on 16 new charges—one for each bullet that hit Laquan McDonald, and other Chicago news
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective


* Governor Discusses Improving Illinois' Digital Literacy
* Governor Addresses Illinois Terrorism Task Force
* Governor, DoIT Unveil Cybersecurity Strategy to Protect Services and Information
* Momentum Builds for Senate’s Compromise Pension Bill
* Illinois Department of Insurance Issues Spring Travel Tips - Protect Your Trip & Your Loved Ones With These Important Travel Reminders

  
* This sensory wearable is designed for flirting
* Fossil is releasing a ton of smartwatches in 2017
* [TA Deals] Grab a lifetime subscription to VPNSecure for $39! (91% off)
* Casetify Debuts Red iPhone 7 Case Collection
* Google makes ‘server-side changes’ to iron out Bluetooth kinks on Pixel phones
* iPhone 8, aka Pro, tipped for September launch alongside 7s duo, but in limited supply
* Samsung finally looks to tie up loose ends with charge-disabling Galaxy Note 7 update in Korea

* Moncada, Giolito, Lopez reflect on Sox camp
* Katz, Goldberg relish Classic experience
* Quintana flashes perfection; Delmonico homers
* Hahn won't budge on asking price for Quintana
* White Sox youthful core building bonds
* Engel, Kahnle among four sent down
* Melky, Sanchez highlight offense vs. A's


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller