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The exodus continues

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* The governor has often bemoaned the number of people who are leaving Illinois. Well

Last week paleoecologist Eric Grimm, the director of science at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, rented an 8-meter-long truck, bought $500 worth of lumber, and built temporary shelves in the back. Then, with the help of his wife and former coworkers, he loaded his cargo: roughly 30 sediment cores drilled from lake bottoms.

The cores, which hold pollen grains, minerals, and other clues that help researchers reconstruct past environments, had been stored at the museum where Grimm has worked for 28 years. But the museum is scheduled to close on 1 October as the result of a tense budget standoff between the state’s Democrat-led General Assembly and its Republican governor. So Grimm is moving his collection to the University of Minnesota’s National Lacustrine Core Repository (LacCore) in Minneapolis. And he’s retiring from his post at the museum—with a certain sense of dismay.

“It’s a travesty,” Grimm says of the political stalemate that has dominated Illinois for months, and the consequences for the museum. “I think it’s political corruption and malevolent anti-intellectualism.”

Grimm isn’t the only one mourning the imminent closure of the 138-year-old Illinois State Museum and four related sites. Researchers know the museum as the home to the largest collection of mastodon fossils in the world, databases used by international scientists, and artifacts from native Midwestern tribes. Its collection includes some 13.5 million objects, including 8.5 million anthropological and archaeological artifacts. The museum also hosts a relatively small but active research program, run by a staff of 10 curators and scientists. […]

For now, Grimm and his colleagues are continuing to pack up their boxes. Soon, he’ll be driving to Minnesota to sort his sediment cores and preparing to move from Illinois. “I can’t even stand to look at it,” Grimm says of the museum closure. “You watch the whole thing you helped build be brought down basically because of politics.”

* Meanwhile

“I am very disappointed they are moving forward with the closure,” said Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, who said he’s had “ongoing discussions” with Rauner’s office during the whole closure process.

“I’m going to continue talking to them,” he said. “We need to have a plan to reopen the museum. I do believe there is a commitment from the governor’s office to reopen the museum once we have a budget. It will be difficult. We’re going to lose some very good employees.”

Not everyone agrees. Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, defended the closure.

“The governor does have to do it,” Brady said. “The Democrats have left him with a multiple billion dollar budget deficit that has to be dealt with. I blame the Democrats with this.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   106 Comments      


Hizzoner is actually pushing a tax cut for half his city’s homeowners

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* Property taxes aren’t based on an ability to pay, and folks have been attempting to make that tax more “progressive” for a very long time. Mayor Emanuel’s proposed property tax hike is a big step in that direction. From Greg Hinz

At a council committee hearing this week, the mayor’s financial team released a revealing “fact sheet” on the pending tax/homestead plan that disclosed fascinating new details.

The most significant section, tucked into a paragraph in the middle of three charts on Page 2, says: “Homeowners living in homes valued at $250,000 or less will see little or no increase and most—nearly 290,000—will see a decrease in their overall bill.”

An accompanying chart spells that out. For instance, in the first year of the tax hike (the levy would be phased in after four years) the owner of a home worth $200,000 would see their tax bill drop to $3,054 a year from $3,260. Three years later—after the full hike is levied, and with the mayor’s proposed homestead break in effect—that owner still would be paying $65 a year less than now, assuming no other changes. […]

I can report that well over half of city taxpayers apparently would have their bill cut under the mayor’s plan, which is pending in Springfield. According to Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ office, 419,153 Chicago homeowners applied for the homestead exemption in the most recent tax year. Almost three-quarters of them—291,755 to be exact—had property worth less than $250,000.

Hinz is upset about this and I think he has a right to be. Everybody ought to have some skin in the game when solving this fiscal mess. That’s not to say that those at the bottom should pay the full freight, but shouldn’t they pay a little something something?

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* From a press release…

Four finalists remain in the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission’s search to replace retiring Auditor General William Holland. The Commission has been actively searching for candidates since Holland announced his intent to retire. An LAC Search Subcommittee reviewed a total of 14 applications, conducted background checks, and last week interviewed seven candidates before narrowing to four finalists. The four candidates include:

    • Frank Mautino of Spring Valley, IL. State Representative Mautino serves as Deputy Majority Leader in the Illinois House and chief negotiator on major legislative issues.

    • Mary Modelski, CIA, CISA, CGAP, of Walnut Creek, California. Ms. Modelski, a Hoffman Estates native, is a Division Chief for Internal Audit for Alameda County, California.

    • Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, IL. State Representative Nekritz is an Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois House and an attorney.

    • Attorney Larry Sanders of Marion, IL. Mr. Sanders is the General Counsel of the Rend Lake Conservancy District. He served as senior partner of Sanders & Sanders, where he represented many southern Illinois school districts.

“The Auditor General serves as our partner in our effort to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability in State government,” said LAC Co-Chair State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). “This is why it’s so important that we find the best candidates for the positon.”

The Audit Commission will make its recommendation to the General Assembly from the remaining candidate pool. The Legislature has the final authority to choose the Auditor General and statute requires that the successful candidate be selected by a 3/5s majority vote in both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate.

The Auditor General is a constitutional officer charged with the audit of public funds of the State. In addition, the Auditor General performs investigations and efficiency, management, and program audits at the direction of the Legislature or the Legislative Audit Commission. State law requires that each State agency be audited every two years.

“Our next Auditor General will have a tough act to follow, as current Auditor General Bill Holland has built an impeccable reputation as a steward of taxpayer dollars,” said LAC Co-Chair State Representative Bob Rita (D-Blue Island).

Bill Holland has served as Auditor General since 1992. In June he announced that he will retire on December 31, 2015. The Audit Commission announced the search for a replacement soon after via press release and also placed notices in several online publications to attract individuals with experience in auditing, accounting, administration, law, or state government. Ads ran in four daily newspapers and a total of 14 individuals applied for the position.

* The Question: Your pick for Auditor General? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


feedback surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Oy

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* Sun-Times

[Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy] pointed to curious behavior from Chicago criminals, who tend to hold on to their guns during police chases because “the sanction from the gang for losing a gun is greater than the sanction for getting caught by police and getting put through the criminal justice system.”

I’m not sure the courts could order beatdowns of gun violators, but I see the superintendent’s point.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


My greatest pet peeve about living in Springfield

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* Um, OK, how about just taking out the lights and putting up stop signs?

As part of the city’s ongoing study into traffic-control devices, officials on Sept. 15 turned off the traditional red, yellow and green traffic light setup at two intersections: Spring and Monroe streets, and Second and Edwards streets.

Instead, drivers on Spring and Edwards streets saw a flashing red light, which meant they had to stop and then proceed when the intersection was clear, while drivers on Monroe and Second streets saw a flashing yellow light, which meant they could proceed through the intersection with caution but without stopping.

Some drivers didn’t pick up on the change and would often wrongly stop at the flashing yellow light, causing confusion, said Lori Williams, the city’s traffic engineer. In addition, pedestrians had trouble crossing the streets.

So last week, the city changed back the lights at both intersections to the traditional red, yellow and green configuration.

Oy.

Springfield has way too many traffic lights downtown. Most are only useful for about an hour in the morning and then another hour after work. And even then, stop signs would probably suffice.

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      


Today’s number: $400,000

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* AP

Guerry Suggs, chairman of the state museum board of directors, said the move [by the governor to close the museum] doesn’t make much sense.

Researchers and scientists will continue their work, but it’s unclear what staff such as tour guides and security officers will do, Suggs said. […]

“Closing the Illinois State Museum and Sparta Shooting Complex will save Illinois taxpayers millions of dollars,” [Rauner spokeswoman Lyndsey Walters] said in an emailed statement.

Suggs estimated the savings from laying off a small number of nonunion museum employees would be less than $400,000 annually — minuscule compared with the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit or the tax revenue generated by tourists, he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Deep thoughts

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* From Facebook

* Related…

* Dave Bakke: It helps to think of Illinois as ‘Illinois,’ the sitcom

- Posted by Rich Miller   124 Comments      


On the other hand…

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* Erickson

“As we move into fall, I think you’ll see some rank-and-file members calling for increased levels of discussions,” said state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington. “There are pressure points everywhere, from child care services to higher education.”

Brady, the ranking Republican on the House committee overseeing the budget for higher education, said the lack of a spending plan for the state’s universities is taking a toll.

Southern Illinois University, for example, recently announced a series of a program cuts designed to ensure the institution can continue operating into the new year.

Eastern Illinois University saved about $10 million through a series of cost-cutting measures enacted in the summer, including employee furloughs, attrition and reductions to athletic programs.

“We know that this cannot go on like this,” Brady said.

I have long been convinced that the real key to solving this impasse will be moderate Republican legislators who have been endorsed by unions. Those folks, like Rep. Brady’s ISU, often have government facilities in their districts. They don’t see unions as inherently evil. They generally prefer compromises.

So, if those moderates make common cause with Democrats who aren’t willing to bash unions, they could make a real difference.

* And then you have a handful of rich folks who don’t care what the governor might do to them

“The governor needs to show he has the votes,” said [Barrington Republican state Rep. Dave McSweeney], adding, “And he can count me as a ‘yes’ vote.”

But if Rauner’s rabidly anti-union Turnaround Agenda fails to get the necessary 71 votes in the House?

“We still need a budget,” declared McSweeney. “We need to get this over with.”

* Even so, betting on a “mushroom revolt” is always a fool’s wager. As much as I like Rep. McSweeney (and I do), he doesn’t exactly have a huge following in his caucus. And what makes moderates like Rep. Brady so, um, moderate is their general aversion to fights to the death, particularly with their leaders, and particularly when their leaders have taken such a hard line

Achieving a budget deal before 2016 looks to be a near impossibility. “Highly unlikely,” Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin tells POLITICO. The Illinois House only has two more session days scheduled for the remainder of 2015. Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders haven’t met since May. “At what point do they realize if they want to get through this they have to be willing to negotiate?”

Could be a while.

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      


I just don’t see it

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* Things are not always as simple as they initially appear. For instance

The lack of inertia to get a budget in place after three months of gridlock has some lawmakers itching to jump-start talks.

“I think we need an outcry from the rank-and-file lawmakers to the leaders to sit down and figure this out,” state Rep. Sue Scherer, a Decatur Democrat, said Tuesday.

But

At issue is the Republican governor’s insistence that Democrats approve a number of pro-business, anti-union proposals before he signs off on a tax increase designed to balance the budget.

Democrats have balked at the changes sought by Rauner, saying they would hurt the middle class.

“We can’t give that up,” Scherer said.

The bottom line is that while all rank and file Democrats want a solution, the vast majority of them (pretty much all, really) aren’t willing to decimate unions in the process (OK, maybe one guy is).

In other words, they’re not being held back by their leaders. There is no yoke on them, no golden handcuffs. When you see assertions to the contrary, you should always check to see if they’re being written by somebody who is regularly in Springfield

Rise up, mushroom lawmakers in Springfield.

Leave the musty darkness of your cellars. Unshackle yourselves from your leaders. Stifle your re-election fears.

Grow a spine.

There are few in the General Assembly willing to do any of that.

Again, where is the evidence that large numbers of Democratic lawmakers are impatiently itching to vote to whack unions, if only their party bosses would let them?

This protracted war is not about the budget or even taxes. The governor has said repeatedly that he is willing to raise taxes, but only if his anti-union preconditions are met.

* From Rep. Jack Franks

I can’t fault Democrats for opposing severe cuts to services, and I stand alongside many of my Republican colleagues in opposing higher taxes; like the people I represent, I believe that with hard work and compromise, we can find a more balanced approach. What troubles me is that instead of seeking this middle ground, both sides have come to agree on a destructive shared delusion that it’s OK for taxpayers to suffer as long as the other side of the aisle takes the blame.

It’s clear that breaking the budget stalemate will require a new way forward.

The governor campaigned on closing corporate tax loopholes as a means of generating revenue and closing the state’s budget deficit. This is a common-sense approach that Republicans and Democrats alike should agree on, but unfortunately the governor has yet to introduce legislation to make it happen. Illinois can’t wait any longer. Last week I introduced a bill that will generate new revenue without raising taxes by closing billions of dollars in corporate loopholes and rewriting outmoded elements of our state tax code.

We’ve talked about the Franks proposal before. But, again, nothing matters if the governor continues to make impractical demands about his Turnaround Agenda. Democrats just ain’t gonna go for it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   97 Comments      


Caption contest!

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* From Instagram

matthias1966 Well look who we found at #pilotlightchefs #chicago_gourmet #riseandshine #governorrauner #whowouldhavethought

* The pic…

- Posted by Rich Miller   87 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Dunkin doubles down

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* Rep. Ken Dunkin is best known these days for skipping a crucial House vote to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of AFSCME’s “no strike” bill. Rep. Esther Golar succumbed to cancer just a few days after needlessly traveling to Springfield to vote to override that same veto.

Dunkin has taken tons of heat for missing that vote. But he sat next to Gov. Rauner at Golar’s funeral today.

Whew.

*** UPDATE *** Photo from a pal…

- Posted by Rich Miller   161 Comments      


Roskam: More “aggressive” rhetoric can lead to “incremental” change

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* Lynn Sweet

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., mulling a leadership run in the wake of the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday that House Republicans “need to be more rhetorically aggressive against the administration.” […]

“We need to be more rhetorically aggressive against the administration,” Roskam said. “There are many times I hear from folks at home — and other Republicans — ‘you’re not fighting.” […]

Roskam said being more aggressive might be helpful – in moving along, not stopping the business of lawmaking.

If those hard liners “know you are fighting,” then “if you make a suggestion that the next move is incremental” then they may accept taking those smaller steps.

That last quote puts it in the proper context. He obviously understands his party’s base and believes harsher rhetoric can be used to manipulate the folks out there in the hinterlands to support more moderate solutions. But, still…

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraisers; Newbies

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

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

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Lottery dumps WGN for digital drawings

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* Just don’t asked to be paid if you win

There won’t be any more ping pong balls flying up tubes to pick daily winners in the Illinois Lottery, which goes to an all-digital format later this week.

Starting Thursday, Pick 3, Pick 4, Lotto and Lucky Day Lotto will go to the all-digital format, and that means the daily drawings will no longer be aired live on WGN-TV, Illinois Lottery officials have announced. Instead, winners will posted at illinoislottery.com. […]

The new digital draw system uses a random number generator (RNG) to pick numbers, the lottery said. A similar system has long been used for raffle games; the My 3 and Hit or Miss games; and at retail terminals when players use the Quick Pick option instead of picking their own numbers.

About half of all state lotteries nationwide use digital draw systems, according to the lottery.

This being Illinois, I’m wondering if Lottery players will trust the digital draw mode.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


Caption contest!

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* From left, Gov. Bruce Rauner, Tom Ricketts and Kerry Wood at the Wood Foundation’s recent gala

- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* From Michael Robertson at SolidOpinion.com…

Hey Rich,

I watch Illinois politics from afar. (My brother in law lives there.) Your site has unique content and amazing engagement and here’s a way to generate revenue with no sales effort. (My state CA has many similarities with IL.)

My company is launching “promoted comments”. This is where users can bid to push their comment to the top of the comment list. Users can still comment for free but any user can also pay to have their comment listed in the top 3 slots. It’s a fantastic way to generate revenue just using your natural visitor engagement. There’s no selling on your part. Commenters are given the option to pay using points (which are purchased with cash) to have their comment at the top of the list. Think of it as a mix between ebay/google ads/comment section. It’s super easy to implement. Just replace your current comment code with code from my company SolidOpinion. You get a check each month for 50% of whatever revenue is generated. You get more engaged users, relevant content and revenue!

A little about me. I’m the guy behind digital music pioneer MP3.com. This is my new company. We’re launching with Yahoo in their politics section in October and with a major finance site. I’m looking for a few marquee smaller publishers to launch with to show how it will work for any size publisher. Your site looks perfect.

Attached is a mockup of a non-profit news site based in San Diego that may use our technology. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to get on the phone or answer more questions via email.

– MR

* The attachment…

* I had some follow-up questions and he provided some answers. I added some emphasis…

1) How much do they pay to promote each comment?

The publisher (you) can set a minimum but the “market” sets the price much like a seller on ebay. If nobody wants it then you may not even get the minimum. If lots of people want it then they can outbid each other.

Lets say somebody bids 100 points for the top slot. If another commenter wants to list theres above that person they will have to bid more than 100 and so on and so on.

2) What payment method is used?

Commenters buy points using Paypal. It’s 88 points per dollar and they buy them in $10 increments.

3) Can they pay to promote somebody else’s comment?

Absolutely!

4) How about if I post this email and ask my commenters what they think?

Sure why not? I imagine some will be negative because everyone would rather have everything free. However, creating a market is actually a service to the community because if people feel strongly they have an avenue to insure their voice is heard.

Remember free comments are still available. They’re just displayed below up to 3 promoted comments.

There’s another benefit you might appreciate. Our commenting engine has a built-in reputation system so your time to manage comments will be greatly reduced. Here’s an example of a site running our comment engine: http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/09/nasa-confirms-evidence-that-liquid.html

They aren’t running “promoted comments” yet because that isn’t available until October 10th. It is very easy for you to turn on/off promoted comments. Our hope is that you have a very un-intrusive way to generate revenue for your site that some users actually see as a service.

Btw, the promoted comment must be relevant to the story or it removed. We believe promoted comments can enhance the content and help publishers generate revenue from their efforts!

Let me know if you have any questions. The company is: SolidOpinion.com

– MR

I’ll make the final decision, but I most definitely want your input.

Also, keep in mind that this is not a “pay to comment” system. It’s simply a “pay to promote a comment” system.

* The Question: On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most supportive, how do you feel about switching over to this new commenting system? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


web surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller   165 Comments      


SEIU sued over dues

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* From the Illinois Policy Institute

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn in 2014 forced Illinois to stop requiring the payment of union fees from unwilling home care providers and day care operators. The court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits Illinois and other state governments from compelling people like home care and day care providers – who accept state subsidies but are not government employees – to pay money to a union as a condition of receiving state funds.

Since then, revenue has plummeted for the union those providers were forced to support – the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. Before the decision, SEIU skimmed about $808,000 a month from the checks of day care providers alone; since the Harris decision, it has only been able to take about $343,000 per month from the minority of providers who have not opted out of paying union fees.

And the Harris decision might land another financial blow on SEIU: A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of nonunion day care providers seeks to make SEIU repay the tens of millions of dollars it wrongfully took from those workers since the state force-unionized them in 2005.

The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Laura Baston and Sandy Winner, who operate small businesses that provide day care services to low-income children. Watch them tell their stories in this video:

The lawsuit is here.

* The video

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


The cutting hand is ignorant of what the promotional hand values

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* The Illinois Office of Tourism has a couple of new promotional videos

Michael Higgins, owner of Maldaner’s Restaurant in downtown Springfield, wondered why the Illinois State Museum was being showcased with its future hanging in the balance. The museum’s fate, at least for the near term, became clearer as Friday wore on. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced late in the afternoon that the state museum system and the World Shooting and Recreational Complex near Sparta will close Wednesday.

The facilities will stay closed to the public until a court case over layoffs of state workers is decided.

The facilities were targeted earlier this summer for closure at the end of this month, casualties of the ongoing budget fight. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration earlier this week postponed previously planned layoffs of more than 100 unionized workers, including museum employees, due to an agreement between the state and the unions. The employees will return to work despite the closures.

Gemberling said the bureau’s video project that included museum footage began “several months ago.”

“We do have a contingency plan in place to replace some of that footage depending on what happens with the Illinois State Museum,” she said earlier Friday.

Video production takes a while, so I can see why it’s still in there.

But, here’s something to ponder: If the museum is so good that it’s in a state tourism promotional video, why is it being shut down even though the employees are still working?

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Dems: There’s really no point in meeting with Rauner

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* Senate President John Cullerton on Chicago Tonight

“I would love to meet with the governor. I’ll meet on any conditions, whether it’s just us, whether it’s all the leaders.

“The question is what are we gonna talk about? And are we really gonna talk about some serious negotiations and not just ‘This is my bottom line and I want a hundred percent’? That’s not gonna work.”

* Steve Brown to Bernie

House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago, and the governor did meet Monday, Madigan spokesman STEVE BROWN said.

Rauner hasn’t shifted from wanting action on what Madigan has called “nonbudget issues,” Brown said, so “it would be hard to say there was much progress.”

* And that seemed to be confirmed by a Republican leader last night. Back to Chicago Tonight

Senate President Cullerton: “What [Gov. Rauner is] doing is… the process of shutting down government in order to get leverage for these things [like workers’ comp and prevailing wage reforms].”

Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno: “Otherwise, how does it get done?”

…Adding… But

Achieving a budget deal before 2016 looks to be a near impossibility. “Highly unlikely,” Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin tells POLITICO. The Illinois House only has two more session days scheduled for the remainder of 2015. Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders haven’t met since May. “At what point do they realize if they want to get through this they have to be willing to negotiate?”

- Posted by Rich Miller   91 Comments      


Illinois Credit Unions – A Smarter Choice

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

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It’s time your money profited YOU. If you are a credit union member, you already know the credit union difference. If you are not a member, go to asmarterchoice.org to discover all the advantages credit union membership holds.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Paper: State threatening human service agencies

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* If true, this needs to be a much bigger story. From the Rockford Register-Star editorial board

To make matters worse, the state is threatening human services agencies, telling them they must continue to operate without funding or else be barred from ever getting a contract should there ever be a budget. In what universe does that kind of blackmail make sense? Only in Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Somebody’s not telling the truth

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* Tom Kacich

A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton said there have been no budget meetings with Rauner in September although Cullerton is willing to talk anytime, anywhere.

Likewise, Rauner spokeswoman Lyndsey Walters said that since May the governor “has invited the four (legislative) leaders to meet as a group and members of the majority party have declined. Despite their unwillingness to meet as a group, the governor has held individual meetings with the leaders whenever and wherever they’ve agreed to meet.”

* Bernie

Phelon also said there have been no such meetings with all four leaders and the governor since May, and she denied that Cullerton has turned down any meetings since the last one took place.

“At this point, we’re ready to work with the governor to resolve the budget issues in whatever forum that works,” Phelon said. […]

Asked if Madigan has turned down any requests for a full meeting of the governor and leaders, Brown said, “I’m not aware of anything like that, so … that doesn’t hold any water either.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      


Study: Decatur ranked just above Detroit in growth

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* From WalletHub

In 2014, the U.S. recorded its lowest population gain since the Great Depression. Growth stood at .73 percent, largely in contrast with the 5 percent of the 1990s, a period of prosperity. Demographer William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution attributed the decline to the economic downturn. Not only did the crisis deter job-seeking migrants from flocking to the U.S., but it also discouraged couples from having children. Meanwhile, population numbers shifted across states, creating short- and long-term effects on local economies.

In order to identify the cities that have expanded most rapidly in socioeconomic terms between 2008 and 2014, WalletHub compared 515 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 10 key metrics, ranging from population growth to unemployment rate decrease. The results of our study, as well as additional insight from experts and a detailed methodology, can be found below.

The highest ranking Illinois city was Elgin, at 211th Aurora at 187th [thanks to a commenter for pointing out my mistake].

Oy.

Bloomington was ranked 270th, Naperville tied for 336th, Peoria ranked 372nd and Chicago ranked 379th.

Illinois had two cities in the bottom ten, Skokie was 508th and Decatur ranked 510th, just a sinlge notch above Detroit.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


We have a new state Senator

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

* I told subscribers about this last week

Democrat Laura Murphy of Des Plaines will be the newest member of the Illinois Senate after being picked by party leaders Monday to finish the term of the departing Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge.

Murphy, a former Des Plaines alderman, was backed by Kotowski going into Monday’s vote and emerged the victor.

Schaumburg Township Democratic Committeeman Mike Cudzik said no other candidates made presentations before party leaders, and Murphy — the Maine Township committeeman — abstained from voting for herself. […]

Kotowski announced earlier this month he’d be stepping down to become the CEO of the Chicago nonprofit ChildServ, capping a nearly nine-year career in Springfield.

Murphy will stand for election next year.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* The updated legislative retirement list
* Question of the day
* Today's quotable
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign news; Supplement to today's edition; More candidate announcements
* Poll: 66 percent of Chicagoans think the city is on the wrong track
* Our new and unbalanced budget
* Proft calls HB40 "integrity test" for Rauner
* There will be no kid glove treatment for Drury now
* Madigan denies "reports" that Rauner has asked him for budget meetings
* Catholic group warns Rauner against signing "electoral suicide note"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Nekritz out, Raoul backed by Cullerton as unknowns ask "Why not me?"
* We need a capital bill, but don't hold your breath
* Biss starting to get questions about his voting history
* SEIU derides "3 strikes" rule, Rauner admin defends
* Preckwinkle tries again to defend pop tax
* *** UPDATED x4 - DGA, Pritzker, Pawar, Biss respond *** Rauner speaks out on NFL protests
* *** UPDATED x6 *** Harmon will lift the hold on HB40
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax
* Personal PAC planning newspaper ad claiming Gov. Rauner and First Lady "lied"
* Yesterday's stories

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* Rauner blasts NFL 'insult' to nation, touts fre.....
* Rauner to decide on abortion bill 'in the near .....
* The Latest: NBA's Chandler disheartened by Trum.....
* The Latest: NBA's Chandler Disheartened by Trum.....
* Trump's top Illinois donor Shad Khan at odds wi.....
* The Latest: NBA's Chandler disheartened by Trum.....
* The Latest: NBA's Chandler disheartened by Trum.....
* The Latest: NBA's Chandler disheartened by Trum.....


* Indiana governor seeks federal funding for railroad project
* Illinois governor 'strongly disagrees' with anthem protests
* 5 ex-managers of Bloomington arena indicted on 111 counts
* Violence in US rises for second straight year
* Patients in Illinois get legal help for non-medical issues
* FBI reveals sketch of person of interest in post office bomb
* Suburban Chicago man charged with killing ex-girlfriend, son
* Ex-congressman Mel Reynolds' tax trial to start Monday
* Ex-congressman Mel Reynolds' tax trial to start Monday
* EXCHANGE: Peoria police helped shape new surveillance robot

* Abortion rights bill on way to Rauner
* Ex-congressman Mel Reynolds' tax trial to start Monday
* Public invited to vote on Main Street preservation projects
* Scramble begins in Illinois attorney general race
* Abortion bill is hot potato for Gov. Rauner
* New Illinois law will let adults earn high school diplomas
* Raoul enters AG race, apologizes for 'Miss America' comment
* AG candidate Raoul apologizes for 'bad characterization' of opponent
* Report: Payments for treatment of addictions, mental illness often denied
* Republican McClure will run against McCann in 50th Senate district

* Trust in health insurers sinks to an all-time low
* O'Hare is the nation's best for connections
* Target is smart to raise its minimum wage
* Steeler who stood for anthem now has best-selling NFL jersey
* WTTW/WFMT announce $65 million fundraising campaign


* 62-year-old man found stabbed to death in Melrose Park
* The Bears somehow won despite Mike Glennon
* 28-year-old man stabbed in West Town
* Rauner blasts NFL ‘insult’ to nation, touts freedom ‘to be insulting’
* 24-year-old man shot in the back in Austin
* DOUBEK: Cheer on efforts to remake government
* Good, bad and best: How the Bears fared in their Week 3 win
* Non-takeover bank robbery reported in Elmwood Park
* Two men killed, woman hurt in apparent Glendale Heights murder-suicide
* Ellen Page heard about first ‘Flatliners’ from Kiefer Sutherland


* GOP hopes for Senate health care bill flickering out
* Rauner to decide on abortion bill 'in the near future'
* Trump's top Illinois donor Shad Khan at odds with Rauner over anthem protests
* Police: Students hurt, school bus driver ticketed after accident in Niles
* For sale: John Hancock Center offices, parking … and name
* North Korea's top diplomat says Trump has 'declared war' on his country
* Trump 'proud of NASCAR' for protest-free New Hampshire race
* Motorcyclist dies after being struck by SUV in Crystal Lake, officials say
* Yorkville may amend golf cart rules for people with disabilities
* Insurance for kids from low-income families at risk amid Obamacare debate, advocates warn


» Violence In US Rises For Second Straight Year
» In Major Reversal, Cook County Prosecutors Agree To Reduce Sentence Of Addolfo Davis
» Abortion Legislation Puts Gov. Rauner On Election Bind
» Abortion Legislation Puts Gov. Rauner In Political Bind
» State Week: IL Attorney General Candidates, The Soda Tax, and Courting Amazon
» State Week: IL Attorney General Candidates, The Soda Tax and Courting Amazon
» Governor Running Out Of Time On Location Tracking Regulation
» In Cook County, 3 Prosecutors Are Handling Hundreds Of Wrongful Conviction Claims
» An Accounting For Meteorological Violence Among Insurers
» Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Murder Conviction Of Drew Peterson


* Abortion rights bill on way to Rauner
* Ex-congressman Mel Reynolds' tax trial to start Monday
* Public invited to vote on Main Street preservation projects
* George Will: America's engine is being slowed by complacency
* Scramble begins in Illinois attorney general race
* Statehouse Insider: Illinois finances not the worst? Believe it or not.
* Angie Muhs: New content coming to Sunday SJ-R
* Our View: Path to health care reform is bipartisan compromise
* State employees, retirees have opportunity for giving
* Citizens weigh in on the community


* Schedule for budget discussion set at county
* Five at 5: Decatur woman killed in I-55 wreck and 4 other stories you should see
* Your guide to $2 Tuesdays (and cheap dates) in the metro-east
* Smith: 'Great chance to make a statement'
* Princess Bride turns 30, Rock Island library celebrates with movie night
* HS Golf: Big 12 Conference
* Morthland College investigated by state, federal agencies; fined millions over alleged mishandling of federal funds
* Edwardsville Walk to End Alzheimer’s raises $130,000
* Marion County Board member making run for state house district 107
* Rantoul man gets 10 years for DUI crash that injured 12-year-old


* Wheeling deadlocked over 'bridge to nowhere'
* Mecum Chicago auto auction returns to Schaumburg
* Kenneka Jenkins' funeral scheduled for Saturday in Chicago
* Lyric-Joffrey collaboration updates triumphant 'Orphée et Eurydice'
* Sommers sizzling in the fall

* What suburban members of Congress say abou...
* Rep. Randy Hultgren announces 2017 Congres...
* Rep. Randy Hultgren to host Senior Resourc...
* Congressman Randy Hultgren Visits Raue Cen...
* Hultgren pushes for CHIP funding ahead of ...
* Indivisible billboard targets Hultgren, Ro...
* Nick in the AM: Bartonville native plans t...
* Hultgren Comments on CAT Closure, Hurrican...
* Montgomery mayor hosts health care forum a...
* Measure extends term of FSOC independent m...

* IL Senators write to President Trump addre......
* Dept. of Labor to permanently close Golcon......

* Senator Duckworth Statement in Opposition ......
* IL Senators write to President Trump addre......
* Fight erupts over training hours for pilot......

* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Concerned Bloomington citizen files FOIAs on city-owned stadium, results led to 111 indictments
* The [Thursday] Papers
* How flood insurance works, and how it ought to work
* Appeals court requires Texas cities co-op with immigration officials; Illinois bans same
* The premiere of The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week
* August brings higher Illinois home prices, lower sales amid tight inventory
* Are Some Cultures Better than Others?
* DR Legal News provides 5 reasons to like changes to the Real Estate License Act
* Rauner still mum on abortion funding bill


* 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

  
* Users reporting iOS 11 sluggishness will want to factory reset
* RIP Wear24: Verizon’s exclusive Android Wear smartwatch is gone
* How to Capture a Live Photo in FaceTime on iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra
* A history of HTC in 12 devices
* WhatsApp blocked in China, though past bans proved temporary
* Amazon Drops Prices on 4K Content After Apple Offers 4K for HD Prices
* PSA: iPhone 8 Fast Charging Works With Third-Party USB-C Power Adapters That Support Power Delivery

* White Sox, Shields open final homestand of '17
* Episode 154: The 2nd Wave
* Sox Century: Sept. 24, 2017
* White Sox 8, Royals 1: Season series tilts Chicago’s way
* White Sox, Shields open final homestand of '17
* White Sox bats erupt to back Giolito vs. KC
* White Sox bats erupt to back Giolito vs. KC


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