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This just in…

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise has been informed her duties will be reassigned, and that she will become an adviser to President Timothy Killeen.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   34 Comments      


IFT boss hits Rauner for CPS board comments

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* From a press release…

Today, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery released the following statement in response to recent comments made by Governor Bruce Rauner and ongoing contract talks in Chicago:

“Governor Rauner’s comments about empowering Illinois voters to choose an appointed school board would be laugh out loud funny if it wasn’t so pathetically out of touch.

“The Governor is suggesting that citizens want less say in their government. Less say. That hasn’t worked out very well in Chicago, the only place in our state where the school board is selected by the Mayor, not the voters. Like our largest affiliate the Chicago Teachers Union and a staggering 90% of voters in a majority of city wards, the IFT supports legislation for an elected, representative school board in Chicago.

“Governor Rauner’s talk of empowerment is a page out of his so-called “turnaround” playbook, a self-serving agenda that may sound nice but has been rejected by 95% of citizens whose city councils and county boards looked closer and found “right to work” to be oppressive for average families. Illinois communities didn’t want less voice then, and they don’t want Chicago-style school boards now.

“Real empowerment is protecting the rights of regular people to collectively bargain with workplace management, and allowing voters to reelect or remove those officials if they want a change of direction. That’s empowerment, and that’s democracy. Governor Rauner prefers neither.

“Instead, he prefers to withhold funding for vital services until the legislature meets his obsessive political demands. He prefers to lay off workers, lower wages, and restrict the rights of middle class families instead of negotiating in good faith. He prefers to cut support for our children and most vulnerable neighbors before asking the very wealthy to pay a dime more.

“Governor Rauner’s priorities are irresponsibly out of sync with the rest of Illinois and the real challenges we face. It’s time to listen to taxpayers —or at least former (Republican) Governor Edgar — and start representing our best interests.”

* The comments referenced…

“The power of the teachers union has been overwhelming. Chicago has given and given and given. It’s created a financial crisis that the Chicago schools face now,” Rauner told reporters outside his 16th floor office in the Thompson Center hours after CPS officials released a new spending plan that counts on $480 million in pension help from Rauner and the General Assembly that so far hasn’t gone anywhere.

“We believe the right answer is to empower: The people of Chicago, the voters of Chicago, the mayor of Chicago, the school board of the Chicago Public Schools should be enabled to decide what gets collectively bargained and what doesn’t so they don’t end up with the teachers union having dictatorial powers, in effect and causing the financial duress that Chicago public schools are facing right now.”

Rauner restated his belief that changes in collective bargaining should be statewide, and not just for Chicago, if there’s an attempt to alleviate CPS’ cash crunch for the coming school year.

At the same time, Rauner said he opposed proposals to create an elected school board in Chicago, something the CTU backs, citing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to challenge the union. Chicago is the only school system in the state with an appointed board of education and Rauner said he believed voters in other school districts should have the option of choosing an appointed school board.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   44 Comments      


Durkin backing Walker

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* This is not too big of a surprise given Walker is coming to Chicago this week to fundraise on Durkin’s behalf…

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, is poised to back 2016 GOP White House hopeful Scott Walker, the Sun-Times has learned.

Durkin is the first major Illinois elected official to back Walker, the Wisconsin governor. All signs point to Durkin becoming the Illinois chair of the Walker presidential campaign. Durkin’s statewide political organization and network would give Walker a massive advantage in organizing delegate slates for the March 2016 Illinois primary.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   42 Comments      


Kirk camp pushing back on Trib story

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* From this morning’s Tribune…

Sen. Mark Kirk, who has needed help with some everyday tasks such as preparing meals and physically getting around since suffering a debilitating stroke in 2012, put his live-in caregiver onto his campaign payroll, according to records and interviews.

Kirk’s placement of his caregiver — who had no prior campaign experience — onto his campaign staff raises questions about whether Kirk used political donations to pay for personal expenses. Campaign finance records show that Kirk for Senate had paid his caregiver a salary totaling more than $43,000 from August 2013 through the end of 2014.

Federal law says campaign funds cannot be used for expenses that would occur regardless of whether the person were running for or holding office.

“If the expense existed irrespective of whether Sen. Kirk was a candidate or officeholder, then he cannot pay for it with campaign funds,” Ryan said. “It seems to me that Sen. Kirk had these home care expenses irrespective of his candidacy.”

* I called the Kirk campaign. They say the Senator was only under Fombe-Abiko’s care in the mornings and evenings, which Kirk paid for personally. During the day Fombe-Abiko drew a salary from the campaign for work related to the Senator’s re-election efforts, they say. He was charged with tasks like data entry and staffing events.

A senior Kirk campaign official said Fombe-Abiko was interested in doing something with his life other than home healthcare, and that the Senator thought the campaign job and assignments might help him expand his skill set.

* The Senate Select Committee on Ethics reviewed the arrangement back in 2013, and it does not appear they had a problem. The full letter is here, but here is a snippet…

Senator Kirk should take care that the individual should only provide personal assistance to the Senator to facilitate the performance of his official Senate duties, and that the individual should not perform any Senate service. Accordingly, the individual may not handle any tasks that should be undertaken by paid Senate staff and may not supervise or direct the work of any Senate employees.

Kirk’s camp says Fombe-Abiko only worked the campaign during the day and for the Senator personally in the mornings and evenings. They also say he was not one of the Senator’s body men during the day.

* The Kirk campaign official told me he was contacted by three D.C.-based publications that did not call back after they were shown the above letter. The official does not know with any certainty who was shopping the story.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   25 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Overtime session coverage

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* Committees start at 9:30 a.m. today. Watch it all via ScribbleLive

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   8 Comments      


Congratulations Exelon!

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Exelon made $638 million in profits in the 2nd quarter of 2015.

That’s an increase of 22.2% from 2014 - adding up to more than $1.3 BILLION in profit for Exelon so far this year. But Exelon says Illinois legislators should help the company make more. Exelon wants to increase costs on struggling families, businesses and government at a time when human services are being slashed and the state is facing a $6 billion budget deficit.

Yet Exelon is demanding a $1.6 BILLION bailout from struggling family, business and government ratepayers including more than $20 million from Chicago and CPS. Maybe Exelon should be bailing out the State of Illinois and City of Chicago instead of the other way around!

Just Say NO to the Exelon Bailout

BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. Visit www.noexelonbailout.com.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Question of the Day

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* Which, if any, State Fair Grandstand show are you most interested in?

Click here to review the lineup.

All things Fair…

* Illinois Stair Fair officials outline weather safety plan

* Ride inspectors review safety at Illinois State Fair

* Illinois State Fair vendors say budget or no budget, show must go on: Uncertain budgets are a part of business, say vendors who travel the multi-state circuit of state and county fairs. In Illinois, budget deadlocks have become as common as salt-water taffy, funnel cakes and corn dogs on a stick. “We’re not too worried about it. We’re here to sell some candy and keep on going,” said Tony King, whose family operates State Fair Taffy.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   29 Comments      


Today’s number: 1,149

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* From WGN-TV’s coverage of the split JCAR vote on the Governor’s new eligibility rules for the state’ child care program…

“Right now we have denied 1,149 applications for service because they have not met the restricted criteria - the four target populations - that we’ve implemented with the emergency rule.”

One of the program’s administrators pointed out that the roughly 161,000 kids who qualified for grants BEFORE the emergency rules were announced won’t be turned away unless they leave the program.

As you all know by now, the House Democrats’ amendment to the federal pass through appropriations bill survived Committee yesterday with most Republicans voting Present. The amended bill could come before the full chamber this afternoon. A huge chunk of the new state appropriations included in that amendment is for child care grants.

* The Governor has called the amendment a “poison pill,” and subscribers have more of the backstory on the why.

* Related…

* Democrats can’t override Rauner cutting day care help to poor families: Under his plan, a family of three would have to make less than $10,000 per year to get into the program, down from about $37,000.

* PLAN TO RELEASE FEDERAL MONEY STALLS IN IL BUDGET BATTLE: “What the speaker wants to do is put a poison pill in that uses state money that frankly we don’t currently have without doing anything to control costs and that’s going to blow the whole thing up,” Murphy said.

* House Panel OKs Federal-Funding Plan Over Rauner’s Protest: “Don’t you think it would be better to move forward on the stuff that we can agree on?” GOP Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville asked. “There’s $4.8 billion that’s already ready for the governor to sign.”

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   23 Comments      


HEAL the Budget

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Illinois is in crisis. Our budget woes are exacerbated by rising rates of costly chronic diseases. Through a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act would generate an estimated $600 million annually to invest in community health programs supporting healthier nutrition and exercise, and to restore cuts and fund prevention in Medicaid.

A recent opinion poll found that this modest tax enjoyed broad support in every part of the state provided the funding is dedicated to health. This reflects growing awareness of the proven dangers of sugary drinks, the largest source of added sugar in the American diet.

In June, a New York Times article featured preliminary results from a comprehensive study that found that a tax on sugary beverages is one of the most effective approaches to lowering body mass index in children for the least cost and greatest return on investment. Also, The Washington Post reported on a study that showed sugary drinks are linked to 25,000 American deaths annually, and more than 180,000 globally.

Legislators can support a healthy and prosperous state by including the substance of the HEAL Act in the FY2016 budget. It’s a win-win for Illinois.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Poe says he will run

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* There have been rumors circling for months about whether Ray Poe would run for another term. One by one the names on local observers’ watch lists were taken off for one reason or another. Now Bernie has the man himself saying he’s ready to go in 2016…

Poe, 71, has been in the House since 1995.

“I always said I’d like to stay long enough to get the pension system sort of straightened out,” Poe said. “I don’t know if that will ever happen or not, but that’s one of my big concerns.”

Though a Republican, as is first-term Gov. Bruce Rauner, Poe has differed with the Rauner administration on some issues. For example, as a member of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, Poe voted to recommend that the Illinois State Museum should stay open, though it has been targeted for closure by the Rauner administration because of lack of adequate funding.

By the way, I never got the impression any of those rumors were based on the thought he wasn’t up to the job after his recent medical treatments. I have yet to hear someone doubt the man’s tenacity…

“All my blood tests are back to normal,” he said in an interview. “I’m producing my own red cells. So everything’s a go on that end.”

Awesome.

* Meanwhile, Brendan Reilly, the 42nd Ward Alderman and former Legislative staffer, is reportedly being talked about as someone who should run for Danny Davis’ seat if the Congressman decides to hang it up. Greg Hinz…

In calling around to see who else might be interested in the seat should Davis vacate it, one insider mentioned Reilly. So, I emailed him and got this response:

“I have been encouraged to consider it seriously—so I’m doing that,” Reilly responded, adding only his best wishes that I have an “excellent summer.”

Reilly did not respond to a request for further comment. But a race by the downtown alderman sure would mix things up in a district that is nominally majority African-American and has had huge developments of new upper-income housing come online on its east end in recent years.

Should he do it?

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   28 Comments      


Today’s quote

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

“Speaker Madigan and the Governor are acting like kids.”

- U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D - Chicago)

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   23 Comments      


Illinois credit unions - Stepping up to meet the financial needs of families

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

With an ultimate goal of helping to alleviate financial stress for their members, Great Lakes Credit Union is one of the nearly 30 credit unions across the state stepping up to provide “peace of mind” for State of Illinois employees whose payroll may be interrupted.

As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, Illinois credit unions such as Great Lakes have been a shining example of offering financial assistance during challenging times like the State’s current budget impasse. “We pride ourselves in providing members with loan solutions to help sustain their family’s financial responsibilities,” says Vikki Kaiser, President/CEO.

The loan process is simple and funds are available quickly. Loan representatives are available six days a week, including Saturdays and most nights until 6:00 p.m. via any one of the credit union’s 11 branches throughout Chicagoland as well as online 24/7.

The credit union mantra — “People Helping People” – is evident in Great Lakes’ dedication to looking out for their members’ best interests, as well as providing peace of mind that their credit union will always be there. To find a credit union near you that is specifically stepping up to help Illinois State employees and their families, please go to www.icul.com.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Feds denied Schock immunity

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* Here’s where that takes an interesting turn…

Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock bought a new Chevy Tahoe for nearly $74,000 with campaign cash in 2014, sold it to back to the dealership in April and yet was spotted with the Tahoe in May after the dealer allowed him to “continue to drive it at no cost,” court papers unsealed Tuesday said.

Schock resigned from Congress amid questions about his spending, including mileage reimbursements involving a different Tahoe he owned earlier. He sold that vehicle to Green Chevrolet in Peoria in July 2014, at the same time buying a 2015 Tahoe from the same dealership and paying with campaign cash, according to a court filing signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Bass.

Schock is known to be a good friend of Jeff Green, president of the dealership.

Green donated to Schock’s campaigns and flew the lawmaker to events in private aircraft. He also traveled on official trips with the then-congressman to India and Saudi Arabia.

Schock had the 2015 vehicle titled to him personally, then received mileage reimbursements from his taxpayer-paid office account and two campaign funds, the prosecutor’s filing said.

Back to Lynn…

Though Schock sold the Tahoe back to Green Chevrolet — whose owner is a longtime supporter — on April 6 for $46,000, he was allowed to continue to drive it at no cost, the government document says.

Federal agents observed the Tahoe at the Peoria airport on May 20 with dealer plates on it.

“I talked to the feds and they seem to have all the information. Thanks,” Jeff Green, of Green Chevrolet, told the Chicago Sun-Times after being asked about the Tahoe.

Schock, as a private citizen after March 31, is free to accept a loaner car from anyone.

Emphasis added.

* Related…

* AARON SCHOCK RECORDS SUBPOENAED DAY BEFORE RESIGNATION

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   15 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

By Barton Lorimor Email | @bartonlorimor

* Surprise!

Yup, the animals have taken over the farm. Miller is out until next week, so you guys are stuck with me until then.

* A lot of you somehow survived the last couple of times I filled in, so you know the drill. I’ll try to get as many posts up before I have to go punch the time card, and then I will follow up with some updates in the afternoon over my lunch hour.

I am also going to include my information at the top of every post in the event you need to contact me. I do not have access to the capitolfax(at)gmail.com account, so if you have a press release you would like considered please send it here instead.

* Alright. Let’s get right to it…

* LITTLE LEAGUE ALLEGES ONLY 5 JRW TITLE PLAYERS LIVED WITHIN BOUNDARIES: Attorneys for Little League alleged JRW submitted a boundary map in May. After the championship series, JRW submitted a different map in which 12 of 13 players were within the boundary. Little League asserts after further investigation, the second map was intentionally backdated and the result, only five of the championship players actually lived within the boundaries.

* Illinois State Fair street to be named for Topinka

* Dawn Clark Netsch leaves $5 million bequest to university

* Jim Dey: Ruling in Salaita case not the final word

* Rent for One-Bedroom Apartments in Chicago Up More Than 11 Percent Over 2014

* CME Group cuts 3% of staff, with half coming from technology

* LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE CASES ON THE RISE IN ILLINOIS

* Day care smoking ban OKd

* Obama team scrambles for Illinois Dems’ votes on Iran deal

* Scott Walker hits Chicago, Downers Grove on Thursday: He will raise money for Illinois House GOP leader Jim Durkin and then keynote the DuPage County GOP Summer Reception. Durkin has known Walker since his days as a Milwaukee County executive. Durkin, so far not taking sides in the crowded 2016 GOP presidential primary, would be a logical choice for Walker to pursue to lead his Illinois campaign.

* Illinois Senator Darin LaHood — Bishop On Air

* Illinois Farm Bureau endorses LaHood for 18th Congressional District

* LaHood highlights agriculture on campaign stop

* CPS inspector general looks into why CPS vendor info vanished

* NFL draft will return to Chicago in 2016

* Metra: Construction to delay Rock Island Line trains through October

* CTA ordering 125 new buses as part of fleet modernization plan

* Elgin likely to OK $3.6 million to finish downtown improvements

* Rosemont tries to evict Toby Keith’s bar for back taxes, rent: According to the lawsuit, filed in July, Boomtown owes the Illinois Department of Revenue $379,958 worth of sales taxes and emergency 911 surcharge fees. It owes another $302,976 in 2014 local property taxes, including late fees, according to the Cook County treasurer’s office website. Though the village owns the property on which Toby Keith’s sits, the restaurant’s lease stipulates that it will pay its own real estate taxes.

* DuPage sheriff: Safer site needed for Downers Grove traffic court

* Plan could equip DuPage sheriff’s deputies with body cameras

* Curran says he’ll run for Lake County State’s Attorney

* Melissa Calusinski Case Front And Center In Lake County State’s Attorney Race

* Vernon Area library halts fines on overdue books

* Lake in the Hills begins to court auto dealers, retail developers

* Measurable performance part of Lake County incentive policy

* RI schools expect $1.4 million deficit next year

* Geneseo names new city attorney, engineer

* Mistake means higher Moline pension contributions: The total recommended increase — $1.28 million — is nearly triple how much the city’s contribution rose this year. Finance director Kathy Carr said the large jump in the city’s firefighter pension contribution is partially because of an error by the city’s former actuarial firm, Tepfer Consulting Group Ltd. Last year the firm recommended Moline increase its firefighter pension contribution by $9,000, much less than the $400,000 increase the city expected. Ms. Carr said when questioned about the figure, the firm said the lower-than-expected increase was because of cuts in firefighter staff. However, she said, Moline recently discovered the company’s recommendation was based on incomplete data it collected.

* County board rejects merging recorder, clerk offices

* Monticello takes over bridge, in line for $6 million from IDOT

* Villa Grove moving ahead on new municipal building

* Bloomington Budget Task Force could make recommendations in September

* [Quincy] Council agrees to continue electric aggregation program

* Downtown Springfield Inc.: Change Panhandling Ordinance

* Springfield aldermen mull restricting rentals on leased land

* Mold problem forces closure of Tri-Valley Elementary

* Congressman Rodney Davis talks Trump, Iran and More

* Williamson County’s 911 consolidation awaits state approval

* New Parking Coming to Downtown Carbondale

* Carbondale High School Installs Lightning Detection

Oh, and I don’t think anyone has forgotten the banishment hammer of death, right? ;)

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   21 Comments      


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

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

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

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Rauner admin turns thumbs down on Wise deal

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* A letter from the governor’s office urging the three U of I trustees who will vote on Chancellor Wise’s golden parachute to reject it…

* AP

McMillan did not return a call. Fellow committee member James Montgomery said the letter could be seen as political interference and a threat since the university relies on state funds.

Yes, I suppose it could. It might also be seen as common sense.

* This was a recently negotiated agreement, not a contractual item

U. of I. spokesman Thomas Hardy said Monday that the $400,000 lump-sum payment reflects “a negotiated agreement” between attorneys for the chancellor and the university, and reflects her completion of nearly four years in the job.

* More

Former U. of I. board Chairman Christopher Kennedy, who approved Wise’s initial employment agreement, has said that Wise should not get the bonus payment.

“I wouldn’t give someone $400,000 to leave peaceably if they (did what she did). My belief is that those emails will reveal behavior that should be investigated,” Kennedy told the Tribune. “This is actionable information. You can fire someone for cause for this. When have we started giving money to people who (do this)?”

U. of I. on Friday released about 1,100 pages of emails that show Wise and other campus administrators used their personal email accounts in an attempt to circumvent state public records law, a violation of university policy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Congratulations Exelon!

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Exelon made $638 million in profits in the 2nd quarter of 2015.

That’s an increase of 22.2% from 2014 - adding up to more than $1.3 BILLION in profit for Exelon so far this year. But Exelon says Illinois legislators should help the company make more. Exelon wants to increase costs on struggling families, businesses and government at a time when human services are being slashed and the state is facing a $6 billion budget deficit.

Yet Exelon is demanding a $1.6 BILLION bailout from struggling family, business and government ratepayers including more than $20 million from Chicago and CPS. Maybe Exelon should be bailing out the State of Illinois and City of Chicago instead of the other way around!

Just Say NO to the Exelon Bailout

BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. Visit www.noexelonbailout.com.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Milk trains ain’t fast

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* I’m all for high-speed rail. It can spur quite a bit of
development

According to Zhang Gui, a professor at the Hebei University of Technology, Chinese planners used to follow a rule of thumb they learned from the West: All parts of an urban area should be within 60 miles of each other, or the average amount of highway that can be covered in an hour of driving. Beyond that, people cannot effectively commute.

High-speed rail, Professor Zhang said, has changed that equation. Chinese trains now easily hit 150 to 185 miles an hour, allowing the urban area to expand. A new line between Beijing and Tianjin cut travel times from three hours to 37 minutes. That train has become so crowded that a second track is being laid.

Now, high-speed rail is moving toward smaller cities. One line is opening this year between Beijing and Tangshan. Another is linking Beijing with Zhangjiakou, turning the mountain city into a recreational center for the new urban area, as well as a candidate to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

* So, who knows, maybe Dwight will become an exurban paradise some day

A high-speed rail linking Chicago and St. Louis is taking a big step today. The Daily Journal reports that a groundbreaking event will take place this afternoon in Dwight, Illinois, marking the construction of the first station that will service the rail line, which promises to exceed speeds of 120mph.

But, really, why is Amtrak still stopping in Dwight? It has a station mainly because it once had a state prison, which is now closed.

If we want to increase speed and efficiency, shouldn’t we be getting rid of the tiny town stops along the way and confine the stops outside Chicago to Joliet, Bloomington/Normal, Springfield and St. Louis?

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* Well, at least we now know what the new COO does…

Good afternoon Directors,

I hope you all are looking forward to the state fair as much as I am. We do not have a state fair of this scale and magnitude in Hawai’i so I am very excited to experience the Illinois State Fair.

I apologize for the lateness of this letter, but I understand that it is a tradition to extend an invitation to the agencies, through the directors, for state staff to join the Governor in the Twilight Parade. Governor Rauner would be honored with their presence on the evening of August 13th. For logistical purposes I ask that you send a final list of staff in your agency who would like to walk with the Governor in the Twilight Parade to Wally Swenson by close of business Tuesday, August 11th. We welcome any and all employees to join, but unfortunately won’t be able to accommodate any participants who are not on the list.

We ask that you and your staff meet at the intersection of 9th and North Grand no later than 5:30pm on Thursday, August 13th. Please check in with a member of the Governor’s Office staff (wearing a blue shirt with the state seal on it). You will then be checked off the list of attendees and escorted to the parade staging area. The parade will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m., so anyone not checked in at that time will not be allowed to accompany the Governor’s team, so please check in as early as possible.

Thank you all very much. I look forward to seeing you at the parade!

Aloha,

Linda Lingle
Chief Operating Officer
Office of the Governor

* The Question: Other possible duties for COO Lingle?

Snark is heavily encouraged, of course.

- Posted by Rich Miller   88 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** JCAR splits on party lines

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* JCAR, keep in mind, is a bipartisan commission, so it’s split evenly between the two sides.

Press release…

On Party Line Vote, State Panel Fails to Suspend Governor Rauner’s Irresponsible Child Care Cuts

Voices for Illinois Children is deeply disappointed by the decision not to suspend the Governor’s cuts to child care reached today by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).

Voices continues to assert that on July 1, 2015, Governor Rauner improperly used emergency rulemaking to change the Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP. The purpose of CCAP is to ensure that low-income, working families have access so safe, quality early learning environments for their children.

“Lawmakers who did not vote to suspend the Governor’s cuts to child care are on the wrong side of this fight for the future of low- and middle-income families,” said Emily Miller, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Voices for Illinois Children. “Ensuring that parents can go to work and have a safe, enriching place to leave their children is not a partisan issue, and it’s unfortunate that some members of the committee chose politics over children and families.”

With the Governor’s cuts, 90 percent of new applicants who would have qualified are no longer eligible and will be denied child care services through CCAP. Only families that fall within one of four priority populations may now receive child care assistance:

    • families receiving TANF cash assistance
    • children with special needs
    • families earning below 50 percent of the federal poverty level (annual income of less than $10,045 for a family of three)
    • teen parents

Advocates will continue to ask lawmakers to examine the impact of the Governor’s cuts to child care. Members of JCAR have another opportunity to vote to suspend the Governor’s cuts to child care at their next hearing.

“Lawmakers on this panel will have another chance to make things right for children and families, and we hope they’ll take it,” said Miller.

*** UPDATE *** Another press release…

As the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules failed to find the three-fifths majority necessary to block Governor Rauner’s devastating blow to the Child Care Assistance Program, Senate Democrats called for immediate action on legislation revoking his hastily implemented rules, which have already left 2,000 needy families without affordable child care.

“It’s my hope that we will be able to send a strong message to those people who are doing exactly what we told them to do, which is get up every day and go to work or go to school, and that as a policy, we don’t turn children away,” said Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) while presenting Senate Bill 570 for a vote last week. Hutchinson is the lead sponsor of the legislation.

Rauner used a secretive emergency rulemaking process to circumvent both the General Assembly and public comment. His new eligibility requirements for child care assistance leave out an estimated 90 percent of new applicants who would have qualified for help before July 1 and will again if the Senate Democrats’ plan prevails. Under the Rauner rules, even most working parents making minimum wage are not eligible for assistance with child care. The average cost of care for an infant in Illinois is more than $12,000 per year.

The emergency rules took effect on July 1 and, without legislative action, will remain in effect for 150 days. JCAR, a legislative oversight committee that reviews executive branch rules, had an opportunity this morning to block Rauner’s move to decimate the child care program, but supporters fell short of the three-fifths majority they needed, as Republicans on the committee sided with the governor over working families. The Senate approved the measure restoring the existing eligibility standards last Wednesday; next, the House must vote on it before it goes to the governor.

“Emergency rules are getting put in place that undo the very fabric of things that help make Illinois a competitive and compassionate place,” Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) said in support of SB 570. “If we undo this child care program, we’re not only making it difficult for families to work, we’re undermining our whole effort to do preschool for all. It’s hugely problematic that by an emergency rule we’re undermining so much of what’s important.”

“What’s happened now is that the governor has made a policy decision to throw a huge number of families off of child care and is trying to advance it via an emergency rule,” Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) said. Biss is the proposal’s chief co-sponsor. “That’s a bizarre decision for him to make… It is our prerogative to restore to the legislature the authority to guide policy on this question.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Don’t make the exception the rule

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* AP

The top federal official for worker safety says an Illinois businessman’s “outrageous behavior” of bringing in Mexican workers to remove asbestos without safety gear warrants fines of nearly $1.8 million.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied the fines Monday. Investigators found Joseph Kehrer, Kehrer Brothers Construction and a Kehrer-affiliated company, D7 Roofing, exposed workers to asbestos in violation of federal health standards.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels says the workers spoke no English and were threatened with firing if they spoke to investigators.

* More

Many of the workers came to the U.S. to work for Kehrer under the provisions of the H-2B visa program that allows companies to hire foreign workers temporarily.

Ugh.

They are far from alone in abusing that federal visa program. I mean, do we really have such a severe construction worker shortage in this country that we have to import them?

* More

In its citations, OSHA alleges that Kehrer and Kehrer Brothers Construction failed to:

    Provide basic personal protective equipment such as hard hats, eyewear and protective clothing.
    Create a decontamination area for employees to remove work clothing before leaving the worksite.
    Use appropriate work methods to minimize asbestos exposure, such as removing tiles intact and using wet methods to keep asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.

* That company is no stranger to controversy

Kehrer Brothers Roofing of Albers, Ill, lacked workers’ compensation coverage for its 12 crew members and was fined $3,600, Pechie said.

All of the Kehrer workers and 16 of the 20 Pinnacle workers were Mexican citizens with valid permanent residency cards to work in the United States, Pechie said.

It’s “aggressive” companies like this one which stand to benefit the most if we get rid of prevailing wage here.

Just sayin…

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


HEAL the Budget

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Illinois is in crisis. Our budget woes are exacerbated by rising rates of costly chronic diseases. Through a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act would generate an estimated $600 million annually to invest in community health programs supporting healthier nutrition and exercise, and to restore cuts and fund prevention in Medicaid.

A recent opinion poll found that this modest tax enjoyed broad support in every part of the state provided the funding is dedicated to health. This reflects growing awareness of the proven dangers of sugary drinks, the largest source of added sugar in the American diet.

In June, a New York Times article featured preliminary results from a comprehensive study that found that a tax on sugary beverages is one of the most effective approaches to lowering body mass index in children for the least cost and greatest return on investment. Also, The Washington Post reported on a study that showed sugary drinks are linked to 25,000 American deaths annually, and more than 180,000 globally.

Legislators can support a healthy and prosperous state by including the substance of the HEAL Act in the FY2016 budget. It’s a win-win for Illinois.

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Man, do we ever suck

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* From a press release, with emphasis added

While the heroin-use crisis in Illinois and the nation continues to grow, the state is falling alarmingly far behind the rest of the country in providing treatment for users who need help in overcoming addiction, a new study by Roosevelt University shows.

A review of treatment capacity finds Illinois, in just five years, fell from 28th in the nation to 3rd worst in the nation, ahead of only Texas and Tennessee, in terms of providing publicly-funded treatment for addiction.

The study also found that in Illinois 25 percent of state funded treatment admissions were for heroin while nationally that figure was only 16 percent. Chicago and the collar counties fared even worse – 35 percent of those entering treatment reported heroin use as their reason for going. Metro East Illinois heroin admissions quadrupled during the same period and Decatur had a six fold increase. […]

The team found evidence that more youth and women in Illinois are using heroin, while those arrested in Cook County are more likely to test positive for opiates, including heroin, and more likely to self-report to authorities their use of heroin, than in any other place in the country. […]

While the study showed the proportion of treatment admissions into state-funded programs for heroin increased dramatically, particularly in the Chicago metropolitan region, Illinois’ capacity to provide such treatment was found to be in free fall, according to data for 2007-12.

In fact, Illinois ranked first in the U.S. for its 52 percent decline in treatment capacity, according to the report. The state also was found to be the least equipped in the Midwest to provide treatment for growing numbers of heroin users in need of help and it also was at the bottom of the nation in terms of having the treatment resources available to aid in their recovery.

From 2007-12, state general revenue funding dropped by nearly 30 percent, and Medicaid funding dropped by 4 percent, leaving state-funded addiction treatment in jeopardy, according to the study. What’s more, the situation is likely to continue under the state’s proposed FY 2016 budget, which includes a 61 percent cut to state-funded addiction treatment.

* Tribune

Illinois’ heroin crisis has drawn increasing attention from government officials in recent years, and lawmakers have proposed numerous measures aimed at attacking the problem. One of the most expansive bills, the Heroin Crisis Act, was approved by both chambers in May but has yet to be signed by the governor.

Kane-Willis said that bill would be especially helpful because it would allow the state’s Medicaid program to pay for methadone, a medication used to ward off heroin cravings. The bill comes with a $15 million price tag, though, and the Illinois Department of Human Services has said it is unaffordable.

The governor needs to sign that bill.

The full research report is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Overtime session coverage

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* Watch it all via ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


Illinois credit unions - Stepping up to meet the financial needs of families

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

With an ultimate goal of helping to alleviate financial stress for their members, Great Lakes Credit Union is one of the nearly 30 credit unions across the state stepping up to provide “peace of mind” for State of Illinois employees whose payroll may be interrupted.

As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, Illinois credit unions such as Great Lakes have been a shining example of offering financial assistance during challenging times like the State’s current budget impasse. “We pride ourselves in providing members with loan solutions to help sustain their family’s financial responsibilities,” says Vikki Kaiser, President/CEO.

The loan process is simple and funds are available quickly. Loan representatives are available six days a week, including Saturdays and most nights until 6:00 p.m. via any one of the credit union’s 11 branches throughout Chicagoland as well as online 24/7.

The credit union mantra — “People Helping People” – is evident in Great Lakes’ dedication to looking out for their members’ best interests, as well as providing peace of mind that their credit union will always be there. To find a credit union near you that is specifically stepping up to help Illinois State employees and their families, please go to www.icul.com.

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Rauner accuses Madigan of adding “poison pill”

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* AP this morning

The Illinois House returns Tuesday for what has become a weekly visit to the state Capitol during a summer-long budget standoff.

Democrats who control the chamber plan a committee vote on a plan adopted last week by the Senate to disburse $5 billion in federal funds despite having no budget.

An afternoon joint hearing is planned for two House appropriations committees - those governing general services and human services.

The wire service obviously didn’t read a House amendment added yesterday.

* As subscribers already know, the governor’s office ain’t happy. From a press release…

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and the legislators he controls are considering an amendment to SB 2042 – the bill appropriating money for the pass through of federal dollars, which as a clean bill would have no impact on the state’s budget deficit – that would increase General Revenue spending by nearly $600 million.

“Governor Rauner has supported and continues to support a clean federal pass through appropriations bill,” Rauner Spokesman Lance Trover said. “Unfortunately, Speaker Madigan continues to play games with taxpayer money and is trying to force through higher state spending with no budget.”

Tim Nuding, Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, issued the attached memo to the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff outlining that the line of spending included by Speaker Madigan is identical to the spending in the unconstitutional, unbalanced budget that the Democrat majority passed earlier this summer.

The Nuding memo is here.

* Speaker Madigan’s shop sent this out earlier today…

Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan on Tuesday announced the House’s plan to make sure that programs serving children with disabilities and life-saving cancer screenings are included in a plan to spend federal dollars while lawmakers continue to push for a balanced approach to the state budget.

“Spending authority for 11 federally funded programs will be added Tuesday to legislation giving state agencies the ability to spend federal dollars on several vital programs during the current budget impasse,” Madigan said.

Madigan’s amendment to the $4.8 billion measure approved by the Senate last Tuesday adds funding for disaster relief, breast and cervical cancer screenings, funding for assistance to children with disabilities, and Meals on Wheels for homebound elderly residents, among other items. The amendment adds $1.56 billion in spending authority to the spending plan under Senate Bill 2042.

“After examining the legislation passed by the Senate, which Governor Rauner expressed his support for, we were contacted about additional programs of vital importance to the health and well-being of families across Illinois where the state and federal governments both provide funding. We believe funding for these programs, which can be delivered despite the lack of a state budget in place, is needed before the measure is sent to the governor,” Madigan explained.

The current version of the federal funds spending plan passed with bipartisan support in the Senate, and Gov. Rauner announced his support for the plan. Madigan expressed optimism the bill would have not only wide bipartisan support when the House passes the bill Wednesday, but support from Rauner, as well.

Emphasis added to show some of the GRF-funded items in the amendment.

- Posted by Rich Miller   160 Comments      


Today’s number: $19

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* Greg Hinz

In a budget briefing [yesterday], new [Chicago] schools CEO Forrest Claypool made it clear that if the state does not help with the district’s fast-rising pension costs—by picking up part of the tab itself, forcing teachers to pay more or giving the district more time to pay off unfunded pension costs from previous years—the impact will be severe.

Without $480 million in relief in its proposed $5.7 billion budget, the district will have to either engage in “more unsustainable borrowing” or impose “serious classroom cuts,” he said.

Claypool did not detail what those cuts would be, but said the day of reckoning will occur “at the beginning of the 2016 calendar year.”

* But

Property taxes will rise to the state-mandated cap, generating $19 million and costing the owner of a $250,000 home an additional $19 a year.

From what I’ve been told by House and Senate Democrats, the city itself can levy for the capped CPS. The schools don’t need special legislation.

Obviously, $19 a year ain’t much of anything. They need to put some significant local skin in the game before they ask the state for anything.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Today’s assignment

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* Gov. Rauner was asked yesterday about administration officials using personal e-mail to discuss governmental business

“We have a very firm policy. We say: no personal email if you’re serving in the administration,” Rauner said. “Don’t use personal email for any government business whatsoever.”

There’s been a recent uproar over that very issue involving the outgoing U of I chancellor.

* It turns out, though, there was a reason behind that question

Yet Rauner’s hand-picked, $250,000-a-year education secretary Beth Purvis has used private email to communicate with outside consultants about education policy in Illinois — and the governor’s administration for months refused to make the exchanges public.

In fact, the governor’s office initially denied a May Freedom of Information request by the Chicago Sun-Times. When the paper appealed, Rauner’s office then advocated extensively in a seven-page argument to the Illinois Attorney General’s office against the release of such emails. Attorneys further argued that employees’ private emails are not subject to freedom of information laws.

Oops.

* Not long after the Sun-Times asked the governor about the issue, top staff intervened with legal staff and had the documents released. You can click here to see them.

The first e-mail on the list is Purvis requesting that somebody use her government account. Another is a congratulatory e-mail and a third is about hiring a young prospect.

But there’s also a confidential document

In December meetings on plans for education, Purvis relied on the assistance of private consultants from Bain & Co. and the Civic Consulting Alliance, according to documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The discussions were to remain strictly confidential and any inquiries about the meetings were to be directed to the governor’s press office. That team helped formulate education goals, which have largely remained private under the new governor.

* So, your assignment: Have a look at that document and tell us if you find anything interesting.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Public enemies and hypocrisies

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

* All politicians love to highlight their enemies

“The power of the teachers union has been overwhelming. Chicago has given and given and given. It’s created a financial crisis that the Chicago schools face now,” Rauner told reporters outside his 16th floor office in the Thompson Center hours after CPS officials released a new spending plan that counts on $480 million in pension help from Rauner and the General Assembly that so far hasn’t gone anywhere.

“We believe the right answer is to empower: The people of Chicago, the voters of Chicago, the mayor of Chicago, the school board of the Chicago Public Schools should be enabled to decide what gets collectively bargained and what doesn’t so they don’t end up with the teachers union having dictatorial powers, in effect and causing the financial duress that Chicago public schools are facing right now.”

Rauner restated his belief that changes in collective bargaining should be statewide, and not just for Chicago, if there’s an attempt to alleviate CPS’ cash crunch for the coming school year.

* And they all have their own hypocrisies

At the same time, Rauner said he opposed proposals to create an elected school board in Chicago, something the CTU backs, citing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to challenge the union. Chicago is the only school system in the state with an appointed board of education and Rauner said he believed voters in other school districts should have the option of choosing an appointed school board.

Yep, he’s for voter empowerment except for when he’s not.

The same goes for currently elected judges, whom he wants to appoint.

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

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Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015

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This Is Illinois

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* An unincorporated subdivision needs to hook into Joliet’s sewer system. So, it creates a board which eventually has property tax authority.The last member of the Greenfield Sanitary District Board died about 10 years ago. The last payment made to Joliet by the district was in 2009. Now, Joliet wants the rest of its money, totaling $197,000.

Confusion follows

Withers and a couple of neighbors in Greenfield, located in the area of Rowell Avenue and New Lenox Road, have been trying to find out more about the status of the Greenfield Sanitary District.

They know the district existed at one time, because they used to pay bills to it. The Greenfield Sanitary District still appears on their property tax bills, but it does not levy for money.

“We wanted to see who the board members were and how many homes there are,” Withers said. “We haven’t got any answers.”

When Withers picked up the latest copy of the annual Will County Directory, the page that lists sanitary districts in unincorporated areas did not include Greenfield.

Joliet officials said they have had trouble getting information.

Moral of the story: We apparently have so many local units of government in this state that we can’t even keep track of them all.

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      


Question of the day

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* From the twitters…


LIUNA is the Laborer’s Union, in case you didn’t know.

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   101 Comments      


Can we move on to more important things, please?

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* The Associated Press takes a look at the dispute over Gov. Rauner’s “off-shoring”

Amid this summer’s budget impasse, Democratic lawmakers argued that the Republican governor’s administration is squeezing essential state services, particularly by having high-priced consultants’ salaries paid by other agencies. The administration acknowledged that about $3 million in salaries for Rauner’s staff was paid by other agencies and provided lawmakers with lists showing that his Democratic predecessor, Pat Quinn, annually offshored even more — $3.5 million.

Rauner aides, who continue to insist that the office pays less in compensation than Quinn, were not counting key contractual agreements, such as a $250,000 salary for education adviser Beth Purvis paid by the Department of Human Services or a seven-month, $135,000 contract financed by the Department of Revenue for chief financial officer Donna Arduin.

Based on a publicly available online directory of governor’s staff, Rauner is asking other agencies to cover about $4 million — more than Quinn, the AP’s analysis found.

The directory lists about 80 people with contact information. Counting a dozen more staffers provided by the governor’s office and not on the list — such as those staffing the Executive Mansion — annual salaries total $7.8 million. Half of that total comes from at least 18 other agencies, including the Department on Aging, the Illinois State Police, the Capital Development Board and the Department of Natural Resources.

The problem is that the AP is apparently counting people like the director of the budget office as being off-shored, but GOMB has its own staff paid for out of its own approps.

So far, this story is a rabbit hole of little consequence.

…Adding… From an e-mail…

No, Rich, Tim Nuding was not included in the analysis; he and others were removed from the list when the governor’s office reviewed it and discussed with me why they shouldn’t be included. Please correct this supposition on your blog.

Thanks,

John O’Connor

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


And the prize for most overly optimistic goes to…

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* Heh

ROB MELLON, the Quincy Democrat running against state Sen. DARIN LaHOOD, R-Peoria, for the U.S. House in the Sept. 10 special election in the 18th Congressional District, has pledged not to raise too much money.

Mellon signed an agreement with a nonpartisan organization based in Chicago called RunClean.org to limit fundraising to $150,000. The group claims to be improving the political climate by having campaigns run on “dramatically less money” while letting the candidates who agree to fundraising caps post their issues on the website.

I asked Mellon if it wasn’t merely convenient that a candidate who hasn’t raised much money would pledge to cap his fundraising. LaHood has raised more than $1 million for this race, including more than $111,000 from June 18 through June 30. And he had more than $265,000 on hand as of the end of June. […]

“When I win, I pledge to sign another agreement to limit campaign fundraising for the 2016 election,” Mellon said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


More hide the ball

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* Once again, the Tribune editorial board enthusiastically backs Rauner’s “reforms” without actually mentioning what they are

Rauner is thinking long-term: If Illinois doesn’t restore economic growth and rising incomes, legacy costs will continue to strangle this state’s 7,000 governments. Empowering those governments to control their own costs is one way to give them a chance of survival in the form their constituents expect. Tax hikes will drive even more employers and other taxpayers to more competitive states.

* I’m not sure which Democrats they’re talking to, but maybe they’re part of IllinoisGO

And some Dems wary of Rauner’s effort to permit local right-to-work zones admit privately that the unions may have to relent: Four of the six states bordering Illinois — Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin — now are right-to-work states, poaching businesses from jobs-starved Illinois.

* More

Until now the survival strategy at CPS, City Hall and elsewhere has been to beg help from Springfield, duck cost reforms and keep borrowing by the billions. But the credit markets, which already charge huge interest penalties to indebted governments here, won’t let that go forever.

Not yet, as Crain’s reports today. People keep predicting the return of the bond vigilantes, but that return is nowhere in sight.

* Final Trib graf

At some point — maybe now — Democratic leaders have to decide: Will we keep blocking reforms that would cut government costs? Or will we tell our union allies the truth? We can compromise to rescue failing governments. Or we can let them, and many union jobs, implode.

No doubt that compromise is what we need. But that means real and true compromise, not anti-union legislation.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Schnorf nails it again

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* Steve Schnorf commented Friday about Phillys Wise’s golden U of I parachute

U of I needs the best top faculty they can get. The regionals need good faculty.

On the other hand, no one needs a $500,000 a year university president, and those presidents’ salaries draw up the next couple of layers of administrators’ salaries.

We pay CFOs and Deans more than we pay the state Auditor General or Comptroller or Treasurer.

For a small one-time finder’s fee I would be happy to talent hunt for those jobs and save the universities a ton.

- Posted by Rich Miller   119 Comments      


Missed McPier transfer payment a “credit negative”

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* From Moody’s…

On p. 19 of its new Credit Outlook released today (attached), Moody’s notes the recent notification by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority of Illinois (rated Baa1/negative outlook) that holders of its expansion project bonds did not made a required $20.8 million monthly transfer to the bonds’ debt service fund is credit negative for the State of Illinois (A3/negative) and symptomatic of the state’s political paralysis and ongoing failure to enact a budget for fiscal 2016, which began July 1.

By starting the fiscal year with no enacted budget due to the political impasse between the state’s governor and legislature, Illinois failed to authorize transfers for the Metropolitan Pier bonds. Our rating on these securities (a notch below the state’s A3-rated general obligation bonds) has always recognized their vulnerability to governmental inaction. The bonds’ legal provisions include a so-called trapping mechanism meant to ensure annual appropriations: if the government fails to act, state sales tax receipts equal to annual debt service are trapped in the Expansion Project Fund. This year’s omission supports our long-held view that the mechanism does not fully offset non-appropriation risk.

The state continues to make required monthly debt-service transfers on its other rated securities, which consist mostly of general obligation bonds. The Metropolitan Pier bonds (with about $2.5 billion outstanding) account for a comparatively small 7% of Illinois’ $34 billion of rated debt. The state also has about $40 million of Civic Center bonds (Baa1 negative) outstanding. These securities are also subject to legislative appropriation. The lack of appropriation for these bonds has not interrupted monthly transfers to date, but, if not addressed by the December 15 payment date, would lead to a default.

Moody’s declaration of “credit positive” or “credit negative” does not connote a rating or outlook change. It is indicative of the impact of a distinct event or development as one of many credit factors affecting the issuer.

Please contact me if you have any questions or wish to speak to anyone at Moody’s. Thanks

David Jacobson

AVP, Communications Strategist - Public Finance Group

Moody’s Investors Service

What I want to know is why the Rauner administration didn’t tell legislative leaders that they needed an approp to make that McPier transfer payment after Rauner vetoed the original legislation.

Not cool.

Click here for the above-referenced report.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Let’s get to governing, please

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

There are those who believe strongly that one side or the other is “winning” our latest and perhaps greatest Statehouse impasse in Illinois history.

I think it’s too early to judge, and, frankly, I think everyone is going to end up losing here anyway.

As you know, the governor has refused to negotiate a budget until the Democrats accede to his demands to essentially neuter the power of labor unions. The Democrats won’t ever back down from his more radical proposals, including forbidding schoolteachers from negotiating their own salaries.

Many who think Gov. Bruce Rauner is winning point to the fact that about 80 percent of the state general revenue fund’s budget is being spent under court order or signed legislation.

State employee wages and pensions, Medicaid-reliant hospitals in Cook County, part of the state child care program, debt service, transfers to local governments and human service programs tied to federal consent decrees all are being funded. In addition, Rauner signed the K-12 budget, so schools are being paid on time.

In addition, as I write this the House is expected to pass legislation appropriating about $5 billion in federal pass-through money.

So Rauner has managed to avoid wearing the jacket for any devastating consequences of a state shutdown because there hasn’t really been a shutdown.

But there are plenty of crises to come.

For instance, the state’s Monetary Award Program can’t distribute money to 125,000 poor college students without an appropriation. As of Friday afternoon, Western Illinois University was planning to inform its students that they would have to replace that state aid with other sources or out of their own pockets.

Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times has been doing a great job documenting the impact of Rauner’s child care program changes, which are wreaking havoc throughout the state.

There also are serious problems with federal grants matched with state dollars. If there’s no state appropriation by the end of September, the state could lose a whole lot of money in the next federal fiscal year.

And what about nursing homes? The federal Medicaid decree doesn’t cover them, and neither does the “federal only” appropriations bill. But many rely heavily on Medicaid. Are we gonna see old folks kicked to the curb soon?

There’s also over $3 billion in nonfederal human service appropriations that can’t be spent. We definitely will see some all-too-real horror stories very soon.

Then there are all the fiscal problems in Chicago. The city’s media tend to give the mayor a whole lot of credence in disputes with governors, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been cranking up the heat on Rauner lately, so that’s a major pressure point.

Not to mention that former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar publicly chided Rauner the other day for not dropping his more extreme anti-union demands and focusing on the budget. That attack could give cover to pro-union Republican legislators to eventually break with Rauner.

What Rauner’s been doing so far kinda reminds me of those movies where somebody gets chased through a house. One door is breached, so the person being chased runs into another room and locks the door. That door is broken, so he runs into another room and puts a chair in front of the door. Etc. That’s kind of what Rauner has been doing with state dollars. The spending has given him breathing room to last another day.

But Rauner can’t just escape through a window. He runs the government. Eventually, he could very well run out of doors to lock.

Right now, I think voters are giving the new guy the benefit of the doubt. Add those who approve of his job performance to the undecideds in the last statewide poll we’ve seen and you have a 57 percent majority.

That could change quickly, however, when pain starts being felt.

Rather than focus on winning or losing, I really wish the state’s leaders (all of them) would start focusing on solving problems.

You want to bring down local government costs to ease the burden of a property tax freeze? You want to help employers with workers’ comp costs? You want a more equitable and fair way of drawing legislative district maps? OK, then find a way to do these things that both sides can live with.

The governor should stop trying to stick it to the unions and the Democrats absolutely need to help him come up with some alternative ideas.

Forget about “winning.” Try governing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      


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

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

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« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* *** UPDATED x2 *** How independent is Madigan's new independent counsel?
* Fourth Legionnaires’ case confirmed at Quincy veterans' home
* Biss endorsed by Sierra Club
* Question of the day
* Two Metro East GOP primaries take sharp turns toward weirdness
* Rotheimer becomes issue in Rep. Hammond's primary
* Agencies a no-show for Senate hearing on Quincy veterans' home
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition and other campaign news
* Rauner on pension cost-shift's impact on property taxes: "It'll help bring them down"
* *** UPDATED x4 - Cassidy explains - Madigan responds - Mendoza, Bustos and Ammons issue statement - Sen. Bush echoes demand *** Rep. Cassidy wants independent probe into "culture that appears to pervade the organizations led by Speaker Madigan"
* Ives, Kennedy up with two new ads
* Raoul donates Decremer contribution to TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
* Candidates lash out at Pritzker after WCIA cancels debate
* More on Gov. Rauner's budget proposal
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** UPDATED x1 - Madigan responds *** Madigan operative removed from campaigns after complaints, Biss demands resignation of party chairmanship
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner slammed from the right over Janus case
* *** UPDATED x3 - IDCCA clarifies - Biss buy - Quinn responds *** Holiday Monday quick takes: Rotering's new ad slams Quinn; Biss is up on Downstate TV; Pritzker reloads; Daily Journal endorses Ives; IDCCA unveils zero-tolerance policy and pledge
* Konkol out at Chicago Reader after "tumultuous ten days"
* Madigan asks Bustos, Mendoza and Ammons to "develop a plan for elevating the status of women in the party"
* Saturday quick hits: Mendoza wants Quincy veterans moved; Biss and Raoul report big bucks; Reader cover fallout intensifies
* Yesterday's stories

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* Peter Oswald’s ‘Mary Stuart’ takes on timely new meaning
* Resurrecting David Bowie — New tour features original band members in tribute
* Dispelling the stigmas: Changing the way we look at dementia
* Rev. Billy Graham is dead at 99; ‘America’s pastor’ had roots in Chicago
* Stomach, digestive system health: What’s your gut telling you?
* Purple line trains to Loop operating with residual delays
* Smallmouth, rock bass, perch: Prospecting on Illinois record fish around Chicago
* 2-Minute Drill: Hoiberg rewrites script; wear it, Pitino; and, Vonn gets bronze
* Woman, 19, suffers graze wound in Lake View
* Man shot in South Austin


* A nice idea for Blackhawks fans angry over the racist treatment of Devante Smith-Pelly
* Blanked by the Czechs in a shootout, U.S. men's hockey team is out of the Olympics
* After record rainfall, icy roads for morning commute
* Bradie Tennell 11th after shaky starts for U.S. women in short program
* Florida shooting survivors in capital, demand action on guns: 'We're what's making the change'
* Renowned evangelist Billy Graham dies at his home in North Carolina at 99
* Mark Cuban 'embarrassed' by allegations of 'corrosive' Mavericks workplace culture
* White Sox's Eloy Jimenez a big hit in any language
* U.S. women win 1st-ever Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing
* 'Criminal activity' by key informant doomed drug ring case against ex-Schaumburg cop, prosecutors say


» Lawmaker Rips Rauner On Legionnaires' Response At Vets' Home
» Illinois Lawmaker Looks To Ban AR-15, 'Ghost Guns'
» After Husband's DUI, Supreme Court OKs Seizure Of Wife's Harley
» Setting the Record Not-So-Straight: Rights Group Pushes Inclusive History in IL Classrooms
» Mourners: Slain Chicago Officer Was 'One Of The Good Guys'
» Madigan Says He's Taking Steps To End Harassment, Abuse
» 2016 Report Put Quincy Plumbing Fix At $8M
» State Week: Governor Rauner Presents His Budget
» Rauner Budget Doesn’t Use 'Pixie Dust,' But It’s Fanciful Nonetheless
» Dem Candidates Dissatisfied With Madigan's Response To Sexual Harrassment Claims


* Madigan's leadership becomes Democratic primary litmus test amid handling of harassment complaints
* Our View: Illinois Democrats, tell Madigan to step aside
* (No heading)
* Another Legionnaires' case found in Quincy as lawmakers meet
* Ralph Martire: Rauner's budget proposal fails our schoolchildren
* Catherine Rampell: Don't blame 'Washington.' Blame the GOP.
* Marc Thiessen: Stop politicizing the Russia investigation
* Byron York: A non-alarmist reading of the Mueller Russia indictment
* Illinois Senate plan would require rear-facing car seats until age 2
* Gov. Rauner accused of politicizing Janus union dues case


* Unit 5, Olympia schools start 1 hour late; outages throughout area
* Forecasters warn of icy roads during metro-east commute
* Worth the wait
* DACC adds armed officer on campus
* DACC to discuss tuition increase
* Area under flood watch
* Owners of burned apartment building face almost 800 violations at multiple sites
* Area Calendar 2/21/18
* Fire calls
* Police reports


* The Latest: Dutch claim Olympic bronze in men's team pursuit
* UK jobless up for first time since Brexit vote aftermath
* Japanese father of 13 surrogate children veiled in mystery
* Dawn Patrol: Berlin explains dropping case against ex-Schaumburg cop
* National Weather Service issues ice advisory into Wednesday

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* Have a happy Valentine's Day with the Venus II, the greatest masturbation machine ever invented in Illinois
* Early Man is an unexpected dud from the creators of Wallace and Gromit
* Former JJ Pepper Storefront Available For Lease
* CBS Chicago: Why Are CTA's Train Lines Color-Coded?
* Posting pictures at United Center entrances -- how else to ban them?
* Learn about Connections Between Health and Nature at ICA’s Mental Wellness & Uptown’s Coast
* "Coverage Where It Counts" -- In Uptown
* GoGrocer Coming To Imperial Towers
* Breitbart: ‘Black Panther’ Criticized for Lack of LGBT Representation
* Where is Tim Cunningham? #ATL #Morehouse #Blackandmissing


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 845 VR reference design, AI Engine and more
* 'Alto's Odyssey' Launches One Day Early on iOS and tvOS App Stores
* Galaxy S9 leaks some more in AR and hands-on pics, release date also confirmed
* Xiaomi ‘Blackshark’ benchmark and Mi 7 rumors include plenty of high-end features
* We may now know a number of Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact specs, as well as prices
* Key Moto G6 Play specs confirmed in benchmark, G6 family codenames also revealed
* Apple in Talks to Buy Key Battery Ingredient Cobalt Directly From Miners

* The Game I’ll Never Forget: Chet Lemon
* New South Side Sox Instagram Account: @southsidesoxsbn
* If you’re a writer, and you see good writing, sometimes, or mostly,...
* Robert finding comfort zone at first spring camp
* All clubs to don Stoneman caps for ST openers
* All clubs to don Douglas caps for ST openers
* All clubs to don Stoneman caps for ST openers


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