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Another collectivist rag weighs in

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* A bit too dramatic for my tastes, but they’re not wrong, except for the fact that the governor has yet to propose a truly balanced budget. From a Daily Herald editorial entitled “Enough! Time for leaders, lawmakers to quit the politics and produce a budget”

For two years in a row, rather than produce a balanced budget that will require real, practical spending restraints and let his party members stand accountable for them, House Speaker Michael Madigan has delivered a budget calling for billions of dollars more in spending than revenues will support. This year the deficit is $7 billion.

And as heinous as such a brazen political act is, remember this: His members have let him do it. No suburban Democrats — nor downstate nor Chicago Democrats, for that matter — have stood at the speaker’s doorstep and demanded, “Mr. Speaker, this is an irresponsible act you are committing in our name. I protest.” Only five in the House — Scott Drury, of Highwood; Jack Franks, of Marengo; Stephanie Kifowit, of Aurora; Elaine Nekritz, of Northbrook; and Carol Sente, of Vernon Hills — and four in the Senate — Melinda Bush, of Grayslake; Julie Morrison, of Deerfield; Laura Murphy, of Des Plaines; and Mike Noland, of Elgin — showed enough backbone to refuse to sign on to the sham of the speaker’s unbalanced budget. […]

Our Republican governor campaigned on a promise of economic competency, relationship building and compromise “to focus like a laser” — as he repeatedly vowed — to repair Illinois’ fractured financial condition. Yet today we find ourselves in even worse shape than when he took office 18 months ago.

He has offered budget proposals as required by the constitution, but for far too long, he has tied his support for a spending plan to his controversial Turnaround Agenda, a collection of many important reforms, but none vital to the immediate financial operation and well-being of the state.

Where were the Republican voices — suburban or otherwise — demanding a more productive strategy? There have been plenty of complaints against the other party. There has been all too little soul searching within.

The “We are worse off now than 18 months ago” theme, pushed hard by Crain’s Chicago Business (“By nearly every measure, the state is worse off since Rauner took office”) and now with the Daily Herald, is something the governor is going to have to deal with. Because no way in heck can you call the Daily Herald editorial board a bunch of collectivists.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


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Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

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*** UPDATED x1 - Angelo disputes *** Today’s quotable

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Dean Angelo Sr., president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, speaking today at the City Club

Angelo made little reference to police misconduct Tuesday. Although he did allow there were officers he wouldn’t want his son, also a police officer, to ride with, he said priests are more likely to abuse people than cops are.

Whew.

 

*** UPDATE ***  Angelo sent this e-mail to DNAInfo’s reporter…

Mr. Cox,

Earlier this morning I received a call from one the editor of Catholic Times. He made me aware your article covering my addressing the City Club of Chicago. I am more than a bit concerned about your accuracy when you wrote that I said…priests are more likely to abuse people than cops are. That is just not true and nowhere near accurate.

If you listen to the audio of my Q & A session that followed the presentation, you can hear for yourself that actual words I used in response to a question concerning police behavior. At no time did I use the word ‘priest’ and at not time do I make any correlation about “priests” or “abuse”. My statement was in reference to a 1970 Paul Harvey narrative, where Mr. Harvey mentions that less than one half of one percent of police officers tarnish their uniform, which is less than the problems we have with our clergy.

If you toggle down to the 33:33 mark of the attached audio, you will be able to hear the question and my response that followed. After doing so, I would expect that you would take the time to make the necessary corrections in you article and to let your followers know that you erred.

Your article is ’spot on’ to other comments I made yesterday when I addressed the audience about our concerns with the media and their decisions to put out incorrect information regarding Police Officers…and now the FOP is being misrepresented as well.

Feel free to reach out to me if you feel the need to further discuss this email.

http://wgnradio.com/2016/06/28/city-club-of-chicago-fop-president-dean-angelo/

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Illinois Review

In what can be explained only as the Tweets of a desperate re-election campaign, Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk’s last four posted comments insult and demean three key sectors of Illinois’ Republican voting bloc: those who are pro-life, pro-natural family and pro-2nd Amendment.

* The offending tweets…


* The Question: Do you think Sen. Kirk should worry about his right flank? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


survey solutions

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      


Munger has “exciting news,” Mendoza posts very long ad

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Hmm. Wanna guess who her generous benefactors are? Heh…

I have exciting news. Generous supporters have pledged to double any contributions I receive online between now and Thursday. That means your support will go twice as far!

Contribute now towards my efforts, and whatever amount you are able to give will be doubled.

We are now just over four months from Election Day, and the fundraising quarter ends this Thursday.

Now is the time to step up with me.

I am fighting to instill common sense in Springfield and respect for your hard-earned tax dollars. I am ready to continue to provide that leadership, but I need your help to ensure I win in November.

Please invest in my efforts by Thursday’s deadline. With the matching support, your contribution will have twice the impact!

Leslie Geissler Munger
Illinois State Comptroller

* Meanwhile, Munger’s opponent posted a five-minute Interwebtubes video the other day. Looks like they spent some money on it, too. Very slick stuff. Maybe they’ll cut it up into smaller TV-style ads. But I just can’t see many people actually watching the whole thing as-is. It’s so long and it doesn’t have subtitles. Lots of people watch videos at work with the sound turned off, which is why I’ve always asked campaigns to provide scripts for their ads. Subtitles are extremely important these days.

Anyway, here you go

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Emanuel says Rauner has “wasted” his term

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel…

“Instead of doing the hard work of fixing Illinois’ broken education funding formula, Bruce Rauner has wasted 18 months of his term holding the entire state hostage in the name of workers’ compensation and right to work. After all that time, Bruce Rauner is doubling down on the failed formula that rewards wealthy children who grow up in elite communities and penalizes poor children in Chicago and across the state, and he is standing behind Illinois’ ignominious distinction of being 48th in the nation for education funding. That is the real tragedy.”

Oof.

* However, please allow me another little rant.

The state currently has $8 billion in past-due bills. That stack would be a whole lot bigger if higher education, social services, etc. were funded over the past year. Illinois doesn’t have a budget for this fiscal year (which ends Thursday) or next. The income tax hike partially rolled back 18 months ago and nothing has replaced it, and nothing likely will until after the election - if then.

And yet, our state’s leading Democrats seem fine with increasing state K-12 spending by $860 million?

I happen to believe strongly that the state should help CPS out. But a 30 percent spike in their general state aid cash and another $100 million for their pensions when the state can’t get its act together enough to bring in more revenues or make huge cuts to pay its own bills?

C’mon, man.

It’s time for some realism here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


I just can’t

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* So, he thinks Republican-sponsored appropriations bills can get 71 House votes and 36 Senate votes? In this climate? Stretching it…


I say win a majority first.

* Having said that, the governor’s new non-education approp package is supposed to be the product of the bipartisan working groups. So, maybe, you know, if Madigan just went ahead and embraced those non-education proposals that’s where he could find the votes? Just sayin

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday unveiled a revamped stopgap budget proposal aimed at ensuring that schools open on time and most state government operations stay afloat until the end of the year, but the proposal does not contain a big boost in funding for Chicago Public Schools sought by Democratic leaders. […]

A spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago noted that the situation at the Capitol continues to evolve quickly, but he was not optimistic.

“It’s unclear where there would be enough votes to pass a bill this time of the year,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, referencing the increased threshold to enact legislation starting June 1. “I wouldn’t call it a disagreement, but how do you find three-fifths on the 29th?”

It’s only unclear if you want it to be unclear.

* And the House Democrats are gonna pass a transportation approp bill by the end of the fiscal year, but no K-12 bill? Seriously? Ashpalt before kids? Imagine all the “fun” House Democratic legislators are gonna have marching in 4th of July parades back home this weekend

“We are headed to Springfield,” said Brown, the Madigan spokesman. “We will work on bills to try to avert the panic of an IDOT shutdown, and see where it all ends up.”

The “panic” of a threatened IDOT shutdown is gonna pale in comparison to the reaction of parents who are gonna freak out beyond all previous freak-outs if K-12 isn’t taken care of pretty darned soon.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Maybe not

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* WGN TV

Today’s Supreme Court ruling could greatly benefit former Governor Rod Blagojevich. The High Court made it harder for prosecutors to use federal fraud statues.

Today’s case involved former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2014. He was found to have received gifts, money and loans in exchange for official acts.

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision vacated McDonnell’s conviction. The justices were concerned that federal laws allow prosecutors to mistake common favors with criminal acts.

So the justices defined what an official act is. How does this connect to former Governor Blagojevich? He was convicted of bribery, attempted extortion, and wire fraud — some of that related to the trade of President Obama’s old Senate seat.

Under this ruling, perhaps Mr. Blagojevich’s actions could be seen as business as usual not a felony. In the Blagojevich case, no money exchanged hands. In the case of Governor McDonnell, there was money involved: $175,000 in gifts. All legal.

* Not so, according to the Tribune

“It really doesn’t change anything,” said Blagojevich’s lawyer, Leonard Goodman. “I don’t think this will be a primary focus.” […]

The Supreme Court vacated the 2014 conviction on fraud and extortion charges against McDonnell, who accepted more than $165,000 in loans and gifts from a wealthy businessman. The high court’s opinion hinged on the definition of what should be considered an “official act” of a public official. The Supreme Court ruled that while McDonnell’s actions were “distasteful” and “tawdry,” the government overreached in its “boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”

But the “official act” element does not apply in the Blagojevich case, Goodman said.

“Those legal issues are not really front and center at the resentencing,” Goodman said. “That’s really our main focus right now: trying to bring him home to his family.”

* More from CNN

“I think that some of the language in it and the concerns about government over-reaching are helpful,” Goodman said. “(But) I think that the narrow issue they looked at about the meaning of an official act is not directly on point with our case.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


A look at the elected Chicago school board bill

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* The Tribune takes a quick look at the elected Chicago school board bill, which passed the House months ago and hit a brick wall in the Senate

But as efforts are being made to ask voters to create a more independent way of drawing legislative district maps to take much of the politics out of the process, it’s interesting to note who would be charged with drawing Chicago school board election boundaries.

Under the measure, it would be the Illinois General Assembly. So 118 House members and 59 senators statewide would have a say in where individuals could run for spots on an elected Chicago school board.

And it looks like the map-making process would be in the form of a bill, which means it would be subject to a potential veto of Gov. Bruce Rauner if he didn’t like the way the lines were drawn.

The measure makes no mention of the school board districts having to comply with the Illinois Voting Rights Act, which affords legislative map-making protections to racial, ethnic and language-speaking groups to be able to try to elect their favored candidate.

Those would appear to be significant concerns given the various “good-government” groups that populate the Statehouse.

The Senate Democrats have other concerns, like no runoffs for winners of multi-candidate races, and the large number (20) of board districts. The biggest concern, of course, is that the mayor opposes the bill and Senate President John Cullerton’s constituents support it.

The bill was passed by the House in March, before the primary. It was probably designed to do three things: 1) Give Chicago Democrats a chance to look good for the voters back home before the primary vote; 2) Placate the Chicago Teachers Union, which was supporting Speaker Madigan and opposing people like Ken Dunkin; and 3) A little “love tap” for Senate President Cullerton and Mayor Emanuel, just to let them know they were being watched as they talked with the governor.

* In other “reform” news, I’ll bet this was an uncomfortable moment…


- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Caption contest!

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Heh…


- Posted by Rich Miller   105 Comments      


More like this, please

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* This is one of my bigger beefs with anti-union types. The trades have huge and vital training facilities in this state. If we want good jobs, we need highly trained workers. Who’s gonna train these folks if the government hobbles their unions?…

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Business Manager James Coyne and leadership from Plumbers’ Local 130 to break ground on the union’s new training center in the West Loop. When complete the center will provide a modern, green learning environment for more than 4,000 journeymen and apprentice plumbers.

“Skilled workers are a part of the fabric of Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said. “From the success that comes with advanced training to the values that come from vital work, this new center is building a strong foundation for the City of Chicago.”

The 50,000-square-foot new training center will be complete in July 2017. When complete the center will offer a number of technology-related and green, as well as traditional plumbing skills courses.

“The Plumbers Local 130 is building a green building for the City of Chicago that will serve as a state-of-the-art learning center for the future of skilled labor,” Business Manager and JAC Chairman James F. Coyne said. “This 50,000-square-foot, three-story building will create jobs and pave the way for the future by showcasing rainwater harvesting, solar energy and grey water systems, and training thousands of Apprentices and Journeymen who Protect the Health of the Nation.”

The center will also prepare apprentices to work on projects involved appliances, fixtures, rain and gray water harvesting systems and solar systems. Plan reading will be taught, as well as the safe, correct and efficient installation and maintenance of systems including underground water supply, storm water, sewer drainage, fixture installation, and waste and vent piping both inside and outside of commercial buildings and residential homes.

…Adding… Gov. Rauner signed the Plumbers’ training bill back in May. Good move.

…Adding More… Twitters…


- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      


AG Madigan announces huge VW settlement

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Press release [replaced with revised release]

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced her office has reached $275 million settlement with Volkswagen Group of America Inc. for misrepresenting the emissions of its 2.0-liter Volkswagen and Audi diesel engine cars sold in the U.S. As part of a multistate settlement, Madigan secured $28.9 million for violations of Illinois’ Consumer Fraud Act, and the state could see an additional $150 million in consumer restitution based on consumer participation in the settlement. Illinois can also apply for an additional $97 million from an environmental settlement reached by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The scandal uncovered in September 2015 affected approximately 29,800 cars sold in Illinois. The diesel cars branded environmentally friendly were equipped with defeat device software designed to reduce the effectiveness of the vehicles’ emissions control systems and as a result emitted excess nitrogen oxides (NOx) throughout the state.

“Volkswagen deliberately defrauded its consumers and polluted our environment while promoting its cars as clean diesel vehicles,” Madigan said. “This settlement is the result of the company’s deliberate misconduct and egregious corporate consumer fraud.”

Madigan was among 43 states and jurisdictions that settled with Volkswagen for violating state laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive trade practices by marketing, selling and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software. The agreement is part of a series of state and federal settlements that will provide cash payments to affected consumers, require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, and prohibits Volkswagen from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices in connection with its dealings with consumers and regulators.

Once the consumer program is approved by the court, affected Volkswagen owners will receive restitution payment of at least $5,100 and a choice between:

    A buy back of the vehicle (based on pre-scandal National Automobile Dealers Association/NADA value); or
    A modification to reduce NOx emissions provided that Volkswagen can develop a modification acceptable to regulators. Owners will still be eligible to choose a buyback in the event regulators do not approve a fix. Owners who choose the modification option would also receive an Extended Emission Warranty; and a Lemon Law-type remedy to protect against the possibility that the modification causes subsequent problems.

The consumer program also provides benefits and restitution for lessees (restitution and a no-penalty lease termination option) and sellers after September 18, 2015 when the emissions-cheating scandal was disclosed (50 percent of the restitution available to owners). Additional components of today’s settlements include:

    Environmental Mitigation Fund: Volkswagen will pay $2.7 billion into a trust to support environmental programs throughout the country to reduce emissions of NOx. This fund, also subject to court approval, is intended to mitigate the total, lifetime excess NOx emissions from the 2.0-liter diesel vehicles identified below. Under the terms of the mitigation trust, Illinois is eligible to seek up to $97 million from this fund to pay for emissions related mitigation projects.

    Additional Payment to the States: In addition to consumer restitution, Volkswagen will pay to the states more than $1,000 per car for repeated violations of state consumer protection laws, amounting to $570 million nationwide. This amount includes $28.9 million paid for affected vehicles Volkswagen sold and leased in Illinois.

    Zero Emission Vehicles: Volkswagen has committed to investing $2 billion over the next 10 years for the development of non-polluting cars, or Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), and supporting infrastructure.

    Preservation of Environmental Claims: Today’s settlement by state attorneys general preserves all claims under state environmental laws, and Illinois maintains the right to seek additional penalties from Volkswagen for its violations of environmental and emissions laws and regulations.

More info is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Rauner blasts Dems

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Statement by Gov. Rauner…

Democrat leaders who control the General Assembly made it clear they will not take any major action on balancing our budget or passing real reforms until after the General Election in November. That is wrong and that is why, despite their refusal, I am advocating for two bills: a stopgap funding measure to ensure our most critical government services continue being funded and a school funding bill that puts more money into education, holds all schools harmless and ensures they open on time in the fall.

This morning Republicans will introduce an updated stopgap measure to add funding for higher education, MAP grants, and human services.

We are three days away from the end of the fiscal year. While we have essentially reached agreement on a six-month stopgap budget, the super majority is focused on passing a school funding bill that forces suburban and downstate taxpayers to pay for a massive bailout of the severely mismanaged Chicago Public Schools system.

I have said it before, and I say it again today: we must not bail out a broken system that refuses to change the way it does business. Forcing Illinois to raise its income tax to bail out CPS is fundamentally unfair to our school children, parents, homeowners, and small business owners across the state.

The real tragedy is that we have proposed legislation which would let Chicago fix every one of CPS’ problems, allowing city leaders to protect their students and taxpayers while eliminating the need for any bailout – but Speaker Madigan has refused to call the bills for a vote.

    · Granting local control of collective bargaining would allow CPS to remove teachers’ pensions pickup from contract negotiations, saving taxpayers from the single biggest threat to CPS’ financial health. The Mayor requested the state do this last year.

    · Applying President Cullerton’s pension reform proposal to CPS teachers’ pensions would save Chicago taxpayers billions in the long run and give them the resources to hire more teachers.

    · Allowing CPS to declare bankruptcy if the Mayor or city council deemed it necessary to reorganize school contracts and debts could protect teachers’ jobs and prevent the need for massive tax hikes on homeowners in Chicago. And even if the Mayor chose never to exercise the option, it would fundamentally alter the balance in teacher union contract negotiations, making tax hikes no longer the only inevitable option.

If Mayor Emanuel would join with his friend, President Cullerton, and lead in the effort for reforms along with Republican legislators, then together we could protect students, teachers, and taxpayers in the city and the state, creating a better future for everyone.

The reason for this statement is contained in another post. The House Democrats are so far refusing to vote on a stopgap bill other than for transportation, so Rauner is introducing a stopgap bill that was negotiated by the budgeteers.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Scherer opponent drops out

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* WAND TV

Local business owner Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer suspended her [Illinois House] campaign Tuesday.

Deadrick-Wolfer, who owns Shop on Main and also runs the marketing company Events Plus, was running as a republican for the Illinois House of Representatives 96th District. […]

Deadrick-Wolfer was running against incumbent Sue Scherer for the district covering Macon, Sangamon, and Christian Counties.

Right now, it appears, Scherer will be unopposed on November’s ballot.

* Her full statement

As of today, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, I am formally announcing that I have suspended my campaign for Illinois House of Representatives 96th District.

As a business person and community member, I have not only witnessed, but have experienced the many issues that impact the viability of a thriving State of Illinois. I had hoped that my background in business and community would provide a common sense voice for change and help put us on a different path.

Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people, within the various communities that make up the 96th District, and have learned a great deal about a number of organizations that are providing exceptional service and outreach. I wish them all the best as they strive to make a difference.

This was a difficult decision and I will be eternally grateful for the support of friends, family, business colleagues and many elected officials for their personal efforts in this endeavor. They have provided support through their gifts of time and talent, financial resources and expertise. Unfortunate as it is, that effort is just not enough in this politically challenging time.

Rep. Scherer has her issues, but it’s such a Democratic district that Deadrick-Wolfer wasn’t given much of a chance anyway.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Rauner poll: Voters oppose CPS “bailout”

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* Keep in mind that many of these questions are obviously slanted, but polls like these are done to test messaging. And, according to their poll, that messaging is working. From the governor’s campaign operation…

Victory Phones, which accurately tracked the 2014 Illinois governor’s race, conducted a statewide opinion survey about the status of school funding and the current budget impasse. The poll surveyed 777 likely Illinois voters between June 25-27 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.52 percent. The sample was D+15 and included 25% cell phones.

Key Findings

1. Speaker Mike Madigan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Teachers Union are all unpopular.

Q. What is your opinion of Mike Madigan?

    Favorable 13.2%
    Unfavorable 71.1%
    No opinion 15.6%

Q. What is your opinion of Rahm Emanuel?

    Favorable 17.7%
    Unfavorable 61.6%
    No opinion 20.8%

Q. What is your opinion of the Chicago Teachers Union?

    Favorable 21.5%
    Unfavorable 50.3%
    No opinion 28.2%

2. Democrats’ intransigence and decision to leave Springfield without passing a budget is helping Gov. Rauner’s image recover.

Q. What is your opinion of Bruce Rauner?

    Favorable 43.1%
    Unfavorable 41.4%
    No opinion 15.6%

3. Voters oppose bailing out Chicago Public Schools even if it means turning down additional money for their own schools.

Q. Do you support or oppose a taxpayer-funded bailout of Chicago Public Schools if it includes increasing state funding for all schools across Illinois including your own local school districts?

    Support 32.3%
    Oppose 53.7%
    Unsure 14.0%

4. Voters don’t want their legislators to vote for any legislation that would bailout Chicago Public Schools.

Q. Would you be more or less likely to vote for your state legislator if you found out they voted for a bill that increases local school funding but also provides the largest taxpayer-funded bailout in the history of Chicago Public Schools?

    More Likely 23.3%
    Less Likely 53.9%
    Unsure 22.8%

5. Voters prefer Gov. Rauner’s education funding proposal over the one proposed by House Speaker Mike Madigan

Q. One proposal, put forward by Speaker Mike Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would provide record funding for schools throughout Illinois, but would also give Chicago a bailout worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The other proposal, put forward by Governor Bruce Rauner, would increase education funding by $240 million but would not include a Chicago bailout. Of these two proposals, which do you prefer?

    Speaker Mike Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bill that increases school funding for all and includes a Chicago bailout 38.8%

    Governor Rauner’s bill that increases school funding but does not give Chicago a taxpayer bailout 61.2%

6. Illinois voters believe Chicago Public Schools are poorly run and don’t pay enough of their own costs.

Q. Do you agree or disagree that Chicago Public Schools is run by corrupt politicians?

    Agree 59.6%
    Disagree 23.1%
    Unsure 17.3%

Q. Do you agree or disagree that Chicago Public Schools gets unfair treatment by the state and deserves more funding than most other school districts?

    Agree 35.2%
    Disagree 50.45%
    Unsure 14.4%

Q. Do you agree or disagree that Chicago Public Schools is a financial wreck that gives sweetheart deals to special interests and political insiders, forcing taxpayers to pay more to foot the bill?

    Agree 64.7%
    Disagree 18.1%
    Unsure 17.2%

7. A robust messaging campaign will further solidify support for Gov. Rauner’s education plan and opposition to the Democrats’ plan.

Q. Chicago Public Schools has had years of runaway spending, reckless mismanagement and giveaways to special interests and political insiders. Knowing this do you support or oppose a taxpayer-funded bailout of Chicago Public Schools?

    Support 20.2%
    Oppose 67.8%
    Unsure 12.1%

Q. The proposal to bailout Chicago Public Schools is supported by Chicago politicians Rahm Emanuel and Mike Madigan but opposed by reformers like Bruce Rauner. Knowing this, do you support or oppose a taxpayer-funded bailout of Chicago Public Schools?

    Support 25.3%
    Oppose 64.8%
    Unsure 10%

* Top takeaway: That question about support/oppose more money for their own schools as part of a CPS bailout is truly not good for Democrats, who’ve proposed doing just that. The folks out there in VoterLand don’t need to buy in to the governor’s “CPS is bad” rhetoric because they’ve always felt that way.

Also, check out those MJM numbers. Even with a D+15 sample. Ouch!

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      


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Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

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*** UPDATED x1 - Madigan won’t say if he has the votes *** House not yet in agreement with Senate

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* The Senate is set to run several approp bills this week. But the House Democrats are not ready to roll on everything yet. Here’s Greg Hinz

Cullerton also is expected to put votes on a separate “stop-gap” measure that would fund most of the rest of state government. A third bill would appropriate $1 billion for higher education, including Monetary Assistance program (MAP) grants for low-income students, and a fourth to take care of capital needs for the year. […]

While the Democratic plan almost certainly will clear the Senate, the House remains a question mark.

“We will be voting on elements of the stop-gap budget where progress has been made, and around this panic over road construction,” says Steve Brown, spokesman for Speaker Mike Madigan.

And education? “Hopefully that can be handled sooner rather than later,” Brown replied. “Discussions have been going on. I’m not sure things are finalized.”

Other sources were more optimistic.

There is “a conceptual agreement with the House,” with final action expected next week, said one insider.

Could get crazier before it gets saner.

*** UPDATE ***  This question was not worded properly. MJM will need a veto-proof majority before he can pass the K-12 bill. We’re in overtime, so the bill will require a three-fifths majority. Even so, it’s a problem for Madigan and he apparently needs more time to work his caucus…


- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Bills filed *** Rauner unveils his stopgap plan

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* This proposal will be filed on two bills. Note extra funding for MAP grants, higher ed and human services. Subscribers already knew about most of this stuff. But it isn’t smooth sailing yet, campers

The Governor’s stopgap funding plan will serve as a bridge to a comprehensive balanced budget for fiscal year 2017. This plan does not count on enactment of a tax hike or reforms. This plan provides a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, road construction, federal programs and other non-GRF programs. It also provides funding to support 6 months of critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities including prisons and veterans’ homes, fuel for the State Police to patrol our roads, and other core operations and programs for public safety, health and welfare. Funds are available under current law for all components of this bridge plan. The plan is contained in two bills: one bill which has K-12 education funding, and a second bill which has all other funding.

For fiscal year 2017 operations, the total package is $50.3 billion. This includes $8.2 billion in general funds, $33.7 billion in other state funds and $8.4 billion federal funds. The FY17 appropriations include:

o K-12 education. The Governor has proposed an increase of over $240 million over this year’s enacted education budget, for a total of $7 billion in general funds. This plan would fully fund the foundation level for the first time in many years, and ensure that all school districts get at least as much as they received in this past school year (a “hold harmless”). This plan does not include a bailout for Chicago Public Schools.

o Higher education funding of $1.0 billion. This is on top of $600 million already approved in FY16. The new funding is from the Education Assistance Fund, at $680 million (which is the amount of money expected to be available in that fund in the first six months of FY17), $200 million from the Fund for the Advancement of Education, $20 million from GRF, and approximately $100 million from the Personal Property Tax Replacement Fund for community colleges.

    ▪ This plan should ensure that universities are able to open on time and complete the full fall semester.
    ▪ Community colleges are funded at $114 million, plus funding for adult and career tech and other grants.
    ▪ Includes $151 million in funding for MAP for spring semester 2016. This goes to public and private colleges, for all students who were awarded MAP grants for the spring semester
    ▪ Funds the Illinois Math and Science Academy, East St. Louis and Lake County centers and some higher education and community college board operations.

o Funding for critical State government operations with GRF totaling $454 million. This GRF comes from $454 million freed up by removing the requirement to repay interfund borrowing. Also relies on full use of the rainy day fund ($275 million). These resources will be used to cover critical needs at agencies, including:

    ▪ Utilities, food and medical services at state prisons, mental health centers and veterans’ homes.
    ▪ Fuel and vehicle repairs for six months for State troopers’ vehicles to ensure public safety and IDOT vehicles to ensure repairs, salt distribution and snow removal.
    ▪ Funding to continue child support collection.
    ▪ Continued operations of other key State government services, such as collection of cigarette and other taxes.
    ▪ No GRF is appropriated for health insurance providers for State and university employees, which has a bill backlog of over $3 billion.

This stopgap funding means that approximately 20% of all State government operations are funded, counting health insurance (or 50% without health insurance.)

o Human services funding of $650 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund. This is the amount of resources projected to be available in this fund through December 2016. This plan will help cover critical services not being paid under consent decrees or court orders. Includes $35 million in additional human services grants. This funding level means that human services will get over 90% of the amount they typically would get over 18 months when you include spending authorized by court orders.

o Full-year appropriations of federal funds of $8.4 billion. Includes federal funding that goes directly to providers, and takes full advantage of all available federal funds.

o Full-year appropriations of non-GRF/other state funds of $33.2 billion, and capital appropriations of $17.0 billion. This non-GRF funding includes:

    ▪ Capital appropriations, which will ensure continuation of road and bridge improvements, payment of school construction grants and local water and sewer improvements. Includes new pay-as- you-go IDOT projects, covered by available projected Road Fund revenue. Will allow completion of projects for colleges and key state facilities which were halted in FY16.
    ▪ Debt service payments for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and the State’s Civic Center bonds.
    ▪ Lottery prizes, local government distributions (including motor fuel taxes), low-income heating assistance and other services.
    ▪ Appropriations of all remaining non-GRF items in FY16 which ends June 30th, generally at the Governor’s estimated level recommended in his fiscal year 2016 budget, totaling $25 billion. Fiscal year 2017 appropriations include language allowing those appropriations to be used to pay FY16 bills, if necessary.
    • Spending under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations and statutory transfers will continue in FY17 without enacted appropriations.

 

*** UPDATE ***  The bills have now been filed…

Illinois Republican leaders Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) filed legislation on Tuesday that would provide a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, road construction projects and federal programs. It would also provide six months of funding for critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities (such as prisons and veterans’ homes), public safety, health and welfare.

In total, the funding package introduced totals $50.3 billion for FY17 and another $25 billion to close out FY16. The plan is contained in two identical bills in each chamber, one which contains K-12 education funding (SB 3439, HB 6590) and the other which contains funding for other agencies (SB 3438, HB 6591).

Senate Bill 3439/HB6590 would ensure Illinois schools have funding to open this fall, with an increase of more than $240 million over this year’s enacted education budget, for a total of $7.2 billion in general funds.

“The measure we filed today would fully fund the foundation level for the first time in years, as well as include a ‘hold harmless’ to ensure that all school districts get at least as much as they received in this past school year,” said Radogno. “What this plan does not contain is a bailout for Chicago Public Schools, as Democrat legislators have proposed. Their plan is not acceptable or affordable to the taxpayers of Illinois – particularly in our downstate and suburban communities.”

The Republican leaders’ state agency funding proposal reflects budget items negotiated in the bipartisan, bicameral legislator working groups, in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

Higher education funding totals $1 billion, which is on top of the $600 million already approved in Fiscal Year 2016. This measure, if approved, would: ensure that universities are able to open on time and complete a full fall semester; allocate $151 million in funding for MAP grants for the spring semester of 2016; and provide community colleges with $114 million, plus funding for adult career tech and other grants.

Leader Durkin notes that under SB 3438 and HB 6591, funding for critical state government operations would total $729 million, and would help cover critical needs at state agencies, including: utilities, food and medical services at state prisons, mental health centers and veteran’s homes.

“Time is running out with less than three days until the start of a new fiscal year. The citizens of Illinois deserve a balanced negotiated budget that cares for students, the most vulnerable and all Illinoisans. The language in these bills can be amended to active bills in both chambers to meet our Thursday deadline. Those who claim this cannot be completed by then are just plain wrong,” Durkin said.

Under Senate Bill 3438 and HB 6591, $650 million will help cover critical human services not being paid under consent decrees or court orders. This includes $35 million in additional human services grants. This funding level means that human services will get over 90% of the amount they typically would get over 18 months when including spending authorized by court orders.

Full-year appropriations of non-GRF/other state funds of $33.2 billion, and capital appropriations of $17.0 billion, will ensure that: road and bridge improvements can continue; payment of school construction grants and local water and sewer improvements are met; local government distributions are made and funding is allocated for low-income heating assistance and other services.

“We are at a critical point in this budget impasse,” said Radogno. “The time for political posturing has passed — the time to act is now.”

Both the Illinois Senate and House are scheduled to be in session on Wednesday, June 29.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


SDems leak K-12 funding plan

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

[This post has been bumped up for visibility.]

* AP

Senate Democrats plan to put forward an education funding plan Tuesday that increases money for public schools this fall by $750 million.

The plan released to The Associated Press late Monday would pump $286 million more into Chicago Public Schools.

Both the Senate and House return to session in Springfield on Wednesday to try to put together a budget agreement to keep government operating past Thursday’s end of the fiscal year.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the Legislature to act on a GOP school-funding plan that increases funding by $235 million. And he wants a second measure approved keeping government operating for half a year.

* According to the numbers I got from the Senate Democrats earlier today, Chicago would, indeed, receive a $286 million General State Aid increase, which would be a 30 percent boost from this fiscal year’s funding levels.

But Chicago would also get another $100 million or so via a state pension pickup, the SDems told me today.

Also, from what I was told, it’s a $760 million total increase - $60 million for the formula and $700 million for poverty grants.

…Adding… The governor’s folks think that it’s actually an $861 million increase because, they believe, that $100 million for the pension pickup isn’t included in the $760 million figure.

…Adding More… The governor’s office was correct. The Senate Democrats confirm that the $760 million is only GSA. So, it’s an $860+ million package.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


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