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More things that make me wanna bang my head against a wall

Monday, Oct 17, 2011

* There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh? Sheesh

Dozens of top state officials could be booted from their posts later this month under a new law originally designed to fumigate state government in the aftermath of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s ouster.

On Oct. 25, an estimated 90 agency heads, various university trustees and members of a number of state boards and commissions face an uncertain future when a deadline expires on their terms. […]

The law limits the ability of appointees to serve for more than 60 days past the effective date of the new act, which is Oct. 25. To avoid a break in service, the governor could rename all of the members before Oct. 25. He also could name them as acting appointments. Or, he could name new people to those positions. […]

Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the governor has not communicated his intentions.

“We assume we’ll get a big stack of reappointments and appointments on Oct. 24,” Phelon said.

* Meanwhile, for this kind of money, we could send all these kids to the best private boarding schools in the world and have money left over to pay their tuition and expenses at Harvard

Unlike the state’s overcrowded adult prisons, Illinois’ juvenile facilities are operating at just 68 percent capacity. The number of juveniles sent to them is dropping — from an average daily population of 1,603 a day in fiscal 2005 to 1,113 in fiscal 2011.

As the numbers have decreased, the per-bed costs have skyrocketed. In Murphysboro, which operated at about 40 percent capacity, the estimated cost to house just one youth in fiscal 2010 was $142,342 a year. Yikes.

The girls’ facility at Pere Marquette near Alton has an even more outrageous cost of $215,750 per youth. Quinn wanted to close that facility in 2009, then backed off because of public pressure.

* Oy

Leigh Ann Stephens, executive director, DuPage Center for Independent Living, in an Aug. 17 letter asking for payment:

“The bank has declined a line of credit, despite a track record of strong fiscal management, not one single year ending in the red for the last 20 years. Their reason for this reduction was that the state is our major funding source.”

* Oh, man

In one of the more egregious cases, the city stopped making payments into the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund for 10 years to free up money to pursue Daley’s school reform agenda. Now the teachers’ pension fund is reeling. In 2014, when a pension holiday negotiated by the Daley administration ends, the Chicago Public Schools’ contributions into the fund will triple to nearly $700 million, equaling the size of this year’s budget deficit.

* A little late, perhaps?

The Democratic-led Legislature needs to reel in government pensions on its own during the upcoming fall veto session and not expect any financial lifeline from Washington, a group of leading congressional Republicans said in a letter Sunday to the four legislative leaders and Gov. Pat Quinn.

“We can say with clarity: There will be no legislative bailouts from the U.S. House of Representatives. The federal government is already borrowing over 40 cents of every dollar it spends — a sad reality House Republicans are working to correct. Given that incredible fiscal weight and the pressures facing many other states in our Union, the federal government cannot be expected to take on these additional obligations,” the joint statement from 19 House Republicans read. […]

The communiqué follows a statement from Quinn’s administration last February that it intended to seek “a federal guarantee of the debt” of the pension systems, though no such bailout of the pension systems that are $85 billion underwater has been initiated by the governor since then. […]

“The authors of this letter failed to note the following statement made in February by the governor: ‘Notwithstanding any media reports to the contrary, the state of Illinois has not and does not intend to request any federal guarantee of any of its bonds,’” said Kelly Kraft, spokeswoman for the Governors Office of Management and Budget.

* This is strange

Like many homeowners these days, Victor and Yvonne Delia stood to lose a lot — about $90,000 — when they sold their townhouse near Midway Airport five months ago.

Instead, the two retired Chicago police officers managed to walk away with a 23 percent profit — thanks to property taxes collected from 61,145 of their fellow Southwest Side homeowners.

The Delias benefited from a law Illinois legislators passed in 1988 to curb white flight in Chicago’s bungalow belt. The law offered homeowners a guarantee: They wouldn’t lose money if they sold their home even if property values declined.

But there was a catch: No one was supposed to profit if their property values went down because of a national housing slump — as has happened in Chicago the past several years.

Still, some, like the Delias, have ended up profiting, while others aren’t getting paid at all.

The article’s headline is: “Taxpayer money set aside to curb white flight helped some flee city.” But, of course.

* And what the heck?

Soon after Northwestern University professor Robert Fourer entered into a civil union, he did what many others in newly recognized relationships have done: He applied to add his partner to his health insurance.

But Northwestern denied his request because his partner is a woman.

The university’s top-tier PPO insurance plan is available to same-sex partners in a civil union, but not to heterosexual couples in the same type of legal relationship. Male-female partners are eligible only for the university’s HMO plan — unless they marry, in which case they can pick either plan.

* Other stuff…

* Deadbeat Illinois: Cash-strapped state deliberately waits to pay its bills as residents suffer

* $700,000 state debt to CWLP a big improvement

* State debt to pension funds ‘much better’

* Official takes another slap - County board cuts $9,000 regional school chief’s budget

* Dixon Mayor Speaks Out Concerning Plan to Close Local Mental Heath Center

* School districts feel pinch of transportation funding cuts

* Editorial: Quinn’s veto pen is not a budget panacea

- Posted by Rich Miller        


16 Comments
  1. - How Ironic - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 7:51 am:

    I have no problem with the university denying benefits for a the professor that entered into a ‘civil-union’ with his girlfriend. Get married. I am all for civil unions in IL for homosexual couples, as unfortunatly…that’s as good as they can get right now.

    But if you are hetrosexual, really what’s the point of a civil union? Get married.

    You don’t need a church or any fancy arrangements. Go to the courthouse, see the JP, and be done with it.


  2. - JustaJoe - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 8:42 am:

    On “fumigation”….it’s about time to see some action on Quinn’s pledge to fumigate state government. If the reported measure actually happens, it will probably show just how unwilling both the governor and the general assembly are to actually reform the political hiring, promotion & firing that has seen such growth since the beginning of the Blago years. Don’t expect any action to be real unless it reaches down to lower-level appointees and until the recommendations of Quinn’s own commission are followed on this matter. Reference
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJG75FJkjr8


  3. - dave - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 9:11 am:

    **But if you are hetrosexual, really what’s the point of a civil union?**

    Solidarity with your LGBTQ brothers and sisters?


  4. - Qu.inn T. Sential - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 9:17 am:

    The cost per prisoner in the youth detention population is in part a reflection of the fact that the courts are more often charging juveniles as adults for certain crimes.

    This is also a reflection of the fact that there are certain fixed costs which have not been adjusted as the population served has diminshed over time. Part of this has to due with union contracts, and part with “labor peace” philosophy, the cost of which is borne by the anonymous invisible taxpayer. There is obviously also the cost of local and regional politics that goes along with this as well.

    If insolvent Illinois were a private business it would have been be shuttered and disolved already.


  5. - Dooley Dudright - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 10:00 am:

    Re: civil unions and health insurance — it depends, due to ERISA and other considerations.

    See this link for a quick explanation: http://www.illinoiscivilunions.com/do-partners-receive-equal-health-insurance-and-retirement-benefits/


  6. - How Ironic - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 10:01 am:

    @Dave,

    The mechanism (however faulty) is currently in place now in IL for homosexual couples to begin getting the benefits (health) they deserve. The civil union isn’t for hetro couples who wish to have those same benefits.

    If the professor wants to have his now civilly united girlfriend to share in his state offered benefits…get married. Has nothing to do with solidarity.


  7. - Both Sides Now - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 10:10 am:

    Rich - do we have a list of the appointees this lack of action would affect?

    JustaJoe - LOVE the YouTube Reference. Had forgotten about that song & dance - how appropriate!


  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    –The Delias benefited from a law Illinois legislators passed in 1988 to curb white flight in Chicago’s bungalow belt. The law offered homeowners a guarantee: They wouldn’t lose money if they sold their home even if property values declined.–

    That’s a pretty slick move. A few near-in suburbs, including my own, Oak Park, have similar equity guarantees.

    It’s not automatic, I believe you have to buy into it, like insurance, so I doubt if the exposure is too large. To my knowledge, it has never been tapped in Oak Park because property was on about a 30 year bull run.

    But some of the whiz kids in City Hall and those village halls better check it out.


  9. - MrJM - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 10:51 am:

    Putting poor kids in prison isn’t a legitimate jobs program.

    – MrJM


  10. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 11:14 am:

    Wow after pouring over “Deadbeat IL” we can understand how the media has missed so much in recent months while preparing this 12 year old story.

    Instead of reporting on the facts surrounding new gaming bill, they counted the number of ways various towns get their names spelled on vouchers

    Instead of writing about why Footdraggin’ Aaron Jaffe has yet to get the state one penny from video poker law we get to listen to whiners who sought state biz and are now getting slow pay.


  11. - dave - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 12:01 pm:

    **The mechanism (however faulty) is currently in place now in IL for homosexual couples to begin getting the benefits (health) they deserve. The civil union isn’t for hetro couples who wish to have those same benefits.**

    Actually, yes, civil unions ARE also for heterosexual couples. And no, same-sex couple do NOT get all of the benefits that they deserve, in that they are not allowed to get married.


  12. - How Ironic - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 12:17 pm:

    @Dave,

    I think we’re arguing for the same thing. Equality for all. However, at this time the unfortnate reality is that ‘civil unions’ are the best IL has to offer.

    If the professor wants his ‘civil union’ girlfriend to have state offered healthcare…they need to get married.

    I don’t have a problem with the University system drawing that particular line in the sand.


  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 1:14 pm:

    Without any intent to insult anyone, no statement from Mr. Kirk regarding the Arlington Heights Church incident? I’d be interested in knowing how he applies “thought crimes” and “free speech” to this one.


  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 1:26 pm:

    Sorry. That obviously should have read “hate crimes” and free speech.


  15. - JJS - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 3:42 pm:

    RE: Juvenile population,

    Less juveniles are not being incarcerated actually their are more. Incarcerated youth are being sent to the parole board ASAP and being relased very few exceptions.


  16. - mokenavince - Monday, Oct 17, 11 @ 5:12 pm:

    We have been a deadbeat State for as long as I can
    remember.Always late in paying so both sides are to blame. We need to insist on holding up payments to pols for 90 to 120 days and you will see how fast thing can get done.


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