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Credit Union (noun) – an essential financial cooperative

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Cooperatives can be formed to support producers such as farmers, purchasers such as independent business owners, and consumers such as electric coops and credit unions. Their primary purpose is to meet members’ needs through affordable goods and services of high quality.

Cooperatives such as credit unions may look like other businesses in their operations and, like other businesses, can range in size. However, the cooperative structure is distinctively different regardless of size. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions serve individuals with a common goal or interest.

They are owned and democratically controlled by the people who use their services. Their board of directors consists of unpaid volunteers, elected by and from the membership. Members are owners who pool funds to help other members. After expenses and reserve requirements are met, net revenue is returned to members via lower loan and higher savings rates, lower costs and fees for services.

It is the structure of credit unions, not their size or range of services that is the reason for their tax exempt status - and the reason why almost three million Illinois residents are among 95 million Americans who count on their local credit union everyday to reach their financial goals.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

* Despite the fact that pretty much every poll I’ve seen for weeks has had the Judy Biggert vs. Bill Foster race as a dead heat, the campaign hasn’t really generated the same intensity of media coverage that the Joe Walsh vs. Tammy Duckworth or Bob Dold vs. Brad Schneider campaigns.

I have to figure that since both candidates are pretty vanilla and moderate, they’re just not “good TV” like Walsh/Duckworth. And Dold and Schneider look positively charismatic when compared to Biggert and Foster. Also, Biggert has until recently kept a pretty low media profile, unlike the other candidates, which tends to tamp down coverage as a whole.

So, let’s put on our thinking caps, shall we?

* The Question: What could Judy Biggert and Bill Foster do in the final week to gin up coverage of their campaign?

Snark is highly encouraged, of course. Have fun, but keep it clean, please.

Also, sorry that I posted this so late in the day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      


Bad news not hurting Illinois bonds

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

* Bloomberg LP held a forum earlier this month on how scary it was to invest in Illinois bonds. But this was published today by Bloomberg’s news service

Debt sold by Illinois issuers is rallying the most in 20 months in the face of a warning that the state’s pensions may run out of money and drain funding from education, infrastructure and local aid.

Investors seeking to enhance returns amid the lowest municipal interest rates in a generation shrank the extra yield on bonds of Illinois and its localities to 1.43 percentage points last week, the least since February 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Debt-holders in the lowest-rated U.S. state by Moody’s Investors Service are willing to take the risk because of their confidence in getting repaid. Illinois is one of seven states with the strongest legal provisions for paying debt service on its general obligations, according to Fidelity Investments. The yield spread relative to AAA tax-exempts is still the highest among 19 states tracked by Bloomberg. […]

Some investors still can’t get enough Illinois bonds “because they’re cheap, and the risk of non-payment is miniscule,” said Matt Fabian, a managing director at Concord, Massachusetts-based research firm Municipal Market Advisors.

The state has also had some cause for fiscal cheer. Its revenue has grown 2.9 percent in the fiscal year that started July 1, beating the state’s 1.8 percent estimate, according to MMA.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Fresh Polling: Plummer down by 5 points, Walsh tanking hard

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

*** UPDATE *** The We Ask America site has been updated.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* I’ll have links a bit later, but the Democratic district drawn to reelect Congressman Jerry Costello (who then decided to retire) appears to be finally doing its job for Democratic candidate Bill Enyart. We Ask America has Enyart ahead of Jason Plummer for the first time this year.

I’m told that We Ask America now has Enyart up by five points, 51-46, with Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw getting less than 4 percent. The poll was taken October 28th.

Not good at all for Plummer.

Again, links in a bit.

…Adding… From the pollster

Illinois 12 encompasses a large part of southwest Illinois and has elected conservative Democrats since the original lungfish crawled out of the ocean. Still, Barack Obama is not particularly popular here, and Republican candidate Jason Plummer hoped to be able to parlay his family’s well-know lumber business and 6-foot 8-inch frame into a winning effort. Many thought he was well on his way, but a series of post-primary moves by the Democrats have put Plummer on an uphill climb against his main competitor, former Adjutant General Bill Enyart.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,313 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.7%

* Meanwhile, back in early October, We Ask America had Tammy Duckworth leading incumbent Republican Joe Walsh by six points, 50-44. But then, after President Obama’s disastrous debate performance had sunk in, We Ask America showed Walsh with a slight lead.

Since then, Walsh has made one mistake after another and Duckworth has gone super negative against him and the natural Democratic advantage in that district has really kicked in. As a result, Walsh began falling way behind in We Ask America’s tracking last week and he’s now at a more than 9-point disadvantage, rounded at 54-46. The poll was taken October 28th.

That gives us a whole lot of polls in a row now which have Duckworth above 50 and Walsh trailing by tenish.

Turn out the lights, the party’s over?

…Adding… From the pollster

While Duckworth hasn’t proven to be a great candidate, she has a distinct advantage in this re-drawn district by running against a guy who seems to enjoy being a lightning rod for controversy. Walsh surprised many by keeping this race competitive as long as he did, but Duckworth’s campaign has taken advantage of Walsh’s without-exception pro-life views while whacking him for not paying child support. That one-two punch seems to have pushed Walsh over the edge where he now may be in a free fall:

* We Ask America also has Republican Rodney Davis up by 5 over Democrat David Gill, 50-45, with five for the independent.

…Adding… From the pollster

While IL-13 leans slightly Democratic, the core of this newly configured district has chosen the opponent of Democrat David Gill in the last three congressional elections. It’s difficult to overcome that record, and Gill’s platform may prove to be a bit further to the left than the downstate area can accept. Republican Rodney Davis came into the race late and had to claw and scratch his way into the name recognition game, but it appears to be working. He recently received the endorsements of three top area newspapers which didn’t hurt matters.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,360 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.7%

* Congresswoman Judy Biggert and former Congressman Bill Foster are tied.

…Adding… From the pollster

The new 11th District leans slightly Democratic and is not a great fit for either candidate here. Foster was a one-term congressman who was defeated in 2010, while Biggert has has a long career in both the Illinois General Assembly and Congress. Neither are particularly strong campaigners, but each have lots of campaign and outside money flowing. Foster’s vote for Obamacare has not been universally accepted in this area, and Biggert’s long career made it easy for her opponent to cherry pick past votes that could be splashed in direct mail and on TV. Like other area Democrats, Foster’s campaign has tried to paint pro-choice Biggert as an extremist. Unlike IL-10, though, much of the 11th District is new to both candidates.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,303 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.7%

* Freshman Republican Bobby Schilling leads Cheri Bustos 52-48, but the firm has had Bustos slightly ahead in other recent polls, so they’re calling this a draw for now.

…Adding… From the pollster

We consider this one a dead heat. Schilling and Bustos change leads every other poll (we’ve done several there in the past 14 days, the last one had Bustos up by nearly 3 points) and it’s averages out as a simple 50-50 split. While heavily Democratic, this area has a blue-collar and somewhat conservative lean to it. Incumbent Congressman Schilling fills the “one-of-us” role well as a pizza restaurant owner who is both unpretentious and affable. But Schilling leans farther to the right than the district as a whole. Still, he’s found a strident-free way of communicating with constituents. Bustos, who was previously a news reporter and East Moline alderwoman, came to the race as a camera-ready fresh face with a solid political pedigree that hasn’t disappointed although her stance on issues remains a tad nebulous. Both work hard and both leave favorable impressions.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,325 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.8%

* And Bob Dold appears to be doing quite well, with a 54-46 lead over Brad Schneider. That district is tough to poll, however.

…Adding… From the pollster

This affluent congressional district has always been one to ignore Party labels. Challenger Schneider’s campaign never seemed to understand that and is trying to portray pro-choice Bob Dold as a right-wing nut to a very well-informed electorate. While missing that target, Schneider has also stumbled a bit about the reality of his business experience. Questions about his resumé are being tied into his refusal to release his income tax records. Still, this district is strongly pro-Obama enough that Dold finds it hard to pull away outside of the margin of error:

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,257 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.8%

* Related…

* Schilling’s ‘Democrat’ newsletter angers Bustos: Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., is promoting his candidacy with a newsletter titled “The Illinois Democrat,” a piece that’s angered his rival, Democrat Cheri Bustos. The Bustos campaign complained about the mail piece Friday afternoon, arguing it’s an attempt to deceive voters. Schilling’s campaign countered, saying it’s merely an effort to reach out to Democrats with whom the congressman has much in common.

* Schilling, Bustos sharply divided on trade, jobs

* Durbin stumps for Bustos

* VIDEO: American Unity PAC ad: Judy Biggert — Clear Choice

* Endorsement: Bobby Schilling is our pick for Congress in 17th District

* Endorsement: Bustos for Illinois’ 17th District

* Endorsement: Schilling for U.S. District 17 representative

* Tight contest expected in 17th District

* Ex-Outsiders, Running on Record in Congress

* Schneider Colleagues Discuss Business Record

* Suburban candidates push early voting

* Moderates Biggert, Foster discover sharp contrast in heavyweight battle

* AUDIO: David Gill RadioSpot “Thanks”

* 13th District spending nears $8 million

* Vogel: Money cheapens 13th District race for Congress

* VIDEO: Peter Roskam on Joe’s Campaign

* VIDEO: Joe Walsh Speaks at FreePAC

* VIDEO: 8th District Women to Duckworth - Enough on Abortion

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Quinn wins a round in prison closure dispute

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

* This is just one round and we are not near the end

Gov. Pat Quinn has won the latest round in his bid to close two state prisons and a handful of other facilities, but the legal wrangling over his controversial move will keep them open for now.

An arbitrator ruled Friday that the state had acted reasonably when it began taking steps to close the Tamms Correctional Center, the all-female prison in Dwight, a youth lock-up in Murphysboro and halfway houses in Decatur and Carbondale. […]

In response to the decision, the Quinn administration Monday asked a Cook County judge to lift an order that has kept the prisons open two months longer than the governor had originally.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees responded to the decision on Monday by asking a judge in Alexander County to keep in place the injunction preventing the closures. The union also asked the court to vacate Bierig’s decision.

Notice how the union is using a judge from a tiny county in southern Illinois which houses the Tamms super max. That judge knows what’ll happen if he rules against the union. Not saying he’s biased. Just saying.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


America’s natural gas producers are committed to protecting America’s air, land, and water

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

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- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Groups begin spending big in Illinois

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Independent expenditures in state legislative races are closing in on the $2 million mark since July 1st, with most of that spending coming in the month of October, Illinois State Board of Elections records show.

Last March, a federal judge struck down Illinois’ law capping contributions to so-called state super PACs. Since then, according to the State Board of Elections’ website, $1.8 million has been spent by groups on Illinois campaigns, and as of late last week, $1.3 million of that has been spent in the month of October alone.

Super PAC money is expected to increase exponentially in 2014, when gubernatorial and other statewide candidates are up for bid. So far, just eleven independent expenditure committees have been formed, but more will surely be formed after this cycle ends.

Some of the top spenders have familiar names. The pro-choice Personal PAC, the Jobs PAC, formed by the Illinois Manufacturers Association, and the National Association of Realtors have all spent big bucks this month backing or opposing various candidates.

A new super PAC called Liberty Principles PAC, formed by Republican activist Dan Proft, has reported spending $78K this past week, with more on the way. The group’s ads are targeting Senate and House candidates in the same districts. So, for instance, they’re running a TV ad blasting Sen. Mike Jacobs and Rep. Pat Verschoore (D-Milan) at the same time, as well as Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Democratic Senate candidate Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield).

Personal PAC has so far been one of the biggest players in the Illinois super PAC arms race. Its parent organization is a pro-choice behemoth which has long wielded major influence in Illinois politics. The group plays hardball. If a candidate refuses to fill out its questionnaire, which often happens with moderates in the middle or those who lean pro-life, Personal PAC labels the candidate pro-life without exception. And then the direct mail and the TV ads start to fly. It’s never a pretty sight, unless you like this sort of thing.

As of late last week, Personal PAC has reported spending over $330,000 on independent expenditures. But they have plenty more cash available. The group ended the third quarter with almost $290,000 in the bank. Since the end of September, the group has raised about $400,000, half of that from two people.

According to the State Board of Elections’ website, Personal PAC is the only super PAC which has spent more than $100,000 on a single race. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law this year which removes all contribution caps once a super PAC crosses that $100,000 threshold. So far, only Personal PAC has done so with its $159K against Republican state Senate candidate Joe Neal of northern Lake County.

In comparison, the only “pro-life” super PAC registered with the state has spent just $1,500 so far this month. The Pro-Life Victory Committee is backing a Republican state Senate candidate in the Quad Cities area. When it comes to the abortion issue, nobody has ever come close to Personal PAC’s dominance.

The Jobs PAC, formed by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, has outspent Personal PAC so far, dumping over $400,000 into races just this month, according to State Board of Elections records. About half of that spending occurred just last week, with big bucks for and against five state Senate candidates. Most of the candidates the group is backing are Republicans, but they’ve spent a considerable amount of money to help state Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline).

The National Association of Realtors has a super PAC which has spent almost $200,000 this month. The group is focusing on four state legislative races, with its biggest spending, $50,000, coming on behalf of state Rep. Skip Saviano (R-Elmwood Park). Saviano is in the fight of his political life right now against a heavily funded Democratic opponent.

Super PACs are a relatively new phenomenon in Illinois politics. They haven’t yet dominated campaigns like they’re doing at the federal level, where their spending is dwarfing congressional candidates’ own cash. But like with any new political invention, you can bet that this cash will increase in the coming years. A few years ago, hardly anyone received robocalls. Now, everybody in a contested district is being flooded with them. It’s the way of the beast.

The one difference between state and federal law is that state law kills off the caps as soon as somebody spends $100,000. That law allows people to defend themselves. As this roundup of independent expenditures from Illinois Review shows, federal candidates ain’t so lucky. Independent expenditures so far have topped $30 million

* 17th - Schilling vs Bustos – $7.3 million
* 11th - Biggert vs Foster – $5.5 million
* 13th - Davis vs Gill – $5 million
* 12th - Plummer vs Enyart – $5 million
* 10th - Dold vs. Schneider – $4.4 million
* 8th - Walsh vs Duckworth – $3.5 million

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


Southern Illinoisan endorses Jason Plummer

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

* The Southern Illinoisan has declared that “coal” is the number one issue in the 12th Congressional District race, and so it endorsed Jason Plummer

Coal is the biggest issue in the vote for the 12th Congressional District and Plummer is the most aggressive in promoting the potential for Southern Illinois coal.

An industry that employs 4,400 people in a region that’s thousands of square miles is the number one campaign issue?

OK.

* The paper’s editorial board believes that Plummer will grow in office

Plummer gets the nod over Enyart, even though the former general might initially be a more influential voice for the district because of his depth of experience and military connections. The latter would serve the district well in charting a sustained future for Scott Air Force Base. But Plummer is no stranger to Scott; it is the base he serves as a Naval Reserve officer. And his tenacity and tireless nature as a campaigner are characteristics likely to carry over into congress, serving constituents and transforming the freshman congressman into an eventual leader.

It also is worth noting that with the near-certain re-election of Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus to the 19th Congressional District, the region would be represented consistently by GOP congressmen. Teamwork will aid the district and it is more easily achieved by members of the same political party.

…Adding… The St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed Enyart

Mr. Plummer shows energy, enthusiasm and a passion for becoming the district’s next U.S. representative. He has studied the material, traveled the district and become conversant on the talking points he needs to sound like a serious candidate.

Strip away that veneer, however, and you come away with a paint-by-numbers conservative who signed the anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist “no tax increase” pledge. Mr. Plummer’s protest that he signed it only after his competitor had accused him of signing isn’t much of an explanation. Having run for lieutenant governor just two years ago, he remains more conversant with state issues than national.

* Meanwhile, Plummer is advertising on Facebook…

* Related…

* Enyart accuses GOP rival Plummer of taking tax break for home where he doesn’t reside

* Enyart Accuses Plummer of Tax Evasion

* Enyart claims Plummer campaign a tax cheat

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Caption contest!

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

* First it was the Executive Ethics Commission, now it’s the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget…

Winner gets an invitation to our yet-to-be-announced election night party. The co-host will boggle your mind.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


Duckworth pulling away?

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

* While I have some quibbles with the way the questions were ordered, Public Policy Polling has a new poll showing Democrat Tammy Duckworth opening up a huge lead on Republican Joe Walsh


The poll of 500 likely voters was taken October 25-26 for Credo Super PAC, which is working against Walsh. Crosstabs are here. According to the poll, Walsh’s unfavorables are higher among men than women

* Meanwhile, a press release from the Duckworth campaign has some interesting news…

Congressional Franking rules prohibit 500 or more pieces of mail to be sent at a time by a Member of Congress within 90 days of an election. There have been at least 10 unique glossy-mailers from Congressman Walsh’s Congressional office sent between August 10th and October 10th of this year. Of note is the fact that he is only sending these mailers to his constituents who are eligible to vote in the new 8th Congressional district. Walsh is clearly using taxpayer dollars to target potential voters instead of focusing on constituent services.

* Related…

* Tea Party Polls: Allen West, Joe Walsh Among Incumbents In Trouble, PPP Data Finds

* Iraq Vet Takes On Tea-Party Incumbent In Fiery Illinois House Race

* Duckworth touts shared experience in campaign for 8th

* 8th incumbent Walsh sees himself as ‘average Joe’: His own research, Walsh says, has changed his mind on social issues since his 1996 campaign against 13-term 9th District Democratic incumbent Sidney Yates. In that unsuccessful run, as well as in his 1998 bid for Illinois House, Walsh presented himself as supporting abortion rights, gun control and gay rights and against prayer in public schools. Walsh said he arrived at his “pro-life without exception” stance — even in the cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother — after years of thought and research.

* VIDEO: Peter Roskam and Joe Walsh speak to volunteers in Addison Illinois 27 Oct 2012

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a campaign roundup

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


HB 5440 Will Close the Education Gap for Illinois Students

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Illinois is facing a crisis in education funding and the currently proposed state budget would leave a $200 million shortfall for Illinois schools, exacerbating an ongoing trend of school underfunding in our state. In fact, a 2010 research report conducted by the National Education Association found that Illinois ranks last among U.S. states in percentage of revenue for public K-12 schools from state governments. Further, the Education Law Center gave Illinois a “D” on its 2010 School Funding Fairness National Report Card.

Fortunately, the Illinois Senate identified a solution to bring more funding to our schools and protect Illinois students. In June, the Senate passed an amendment to HB 5440 that generates $75 million in revenue for the state’s education fund. This new revenue would directly support students by providing general state aid for local schools, early childhood education, and the Monetary Assistance Program for Illinois college students.

HB 5440 will fill a significant portion of the education gap, helping avert large budget cuts that would impact Illinois students and educators.

We urge members of the House to vote YES on HB 5440 and close the education gap for Illinois students.

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

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

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* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile Tout Boosted Cellular Capacity Across Twin Cities in Anticipation of Super Bowl LII
* HMD confirms date and time for MWC 2018 launch of ‘awesome’ new Nokia phones
* Google Fi’s new Bill Protection feature brings savings and “unlimited” data
* Switch to Cricket Wireless, and get a free new Alcatel Verso or old LG Fortune
* These are the Xiaomi devices that will get the MIUI 9 update
* Newly published Samsung patent imagines phones with ‘hole areas’ rather than a notch
* 18% off travel adapter compatible in 150+ countries

* Collins ranked MLB's No. 9 catching prospect
* With maturity comes lofty expectations for Eloy
* Pirates rebuild not met with enthusiasm
* Moncada guiding Robert during mini-camp
* White Sox announce player development staff
* Robert at ease during Sox hitters mini-camp
* Moncada guiding Robert during mini-camp


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