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The Senate’s “grand bargain” pops out into the open

Monday, Jan 9, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As I told subscribers early this morning, the Senate’s grand bargain was a whole lot grander than we thought last week. It included a minimum wage hike to $11 an hour over five years, a huge gambling expansion bill and a whole lot more…

Also, Amanda Vinicky has updated her Friday story with some more deets. Click here. I don’t believe a service tax is part of this, though.

* Meanwhile, in the House

In the House on Monday, Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, filed a proposal that would give social-services programs $258 million and higher-education programs $400 million. That money would include a full semester for MAP grants for all colleges, universities and community colleges, as well as funds for adult, vocational education and GED programs, according to Harris.

The money would come from two funds — the human-service fund and the educational-assistance fund. Both are fed from income taxes and would be available to spend within the first six months of the year.

“It’s a lifeline. As you remember, all the appropriations for social services and higher education ran out on the first of January, so you have schools trying to figure out how to stay open and you have MAP grant recipients trying to figure out if they can actually go to school — or if their school will be funded for the whole year,” Harris said. “Social service agencies are literally deciding whether to shut their doors, so this proposal would be a lifeline to them as the larger negotiations go on.”

The governor has repeatedly said he would oppose a stopgap budget unless he got term limits and a permanent property tax freeze, however.

…Adding…. More details on the House Dems’ proposal can be found by clicking here.

* Related…

* Illinois public employee union strategy to fight for pensions: Members should “do nothing” and let Madigan be our goalie.


  1. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 12:55 pm:

    And this has Rauner’s support? Seems like this could have easily been accomplished sooner. I see nothing all that outrageous when compared to the TA

  2. - Deft Wing - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    This all makes for great theater … for two days when the 99th General Assembly ends. The House cannot act on any of these bills so this is all about sending messages to Rauner & Madigan.

    And those messages are likely to be utterly ignored.

  3. - Anon221 - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    OK, if they are just making technical changes of the to the, are these considered shells right now? Not snark, honest question. Has anything of substance actually been added to the majority of these bills?

  4. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:07 pm:

    Anon221 go pull up the bills. This ain’t Google.

  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    While Rauner wastes his time attacking Madigan, Democrats should be working on a jobs bill.

  6. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:11 pm:

    I’m struggling to see what the Governor would get out of this package.

  7. - Anon221 - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:11 pm:

    Rich, I have been pulling up the bills. Some just have a the-to-the change. Others do have Amendments on them. My question was more toward the ones with only a the-to-the change. In the past those seemed to be done for shell purposes.

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    local government consolidation is needed

  9. - Broken Down Horse Player - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    Unless it is buried in the actual text of the bills, I did not read a word about permitting video gaming or slot machines at the three remaining Illinois horse racing tracks.

    This is an imperative.

  10. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    Townships, drainage districts, and road districts are in play …

  11. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    The devil is in the details, of course, but as a liberal, I find very little objectionable on this list. There’s pension reform, but that’ll probably get struck down anyway.

  12. - Honeybear - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    Is “flexibility” in collective bargaining still part of the deal? This gives local governments and school systems the flexibility to decide what they will collectively bargain over.
    Village doesn’t like wage expense. Wages not bargained over
    You now all make x
    School health insurance high. Not bargained
    Gone no more insurance for teachers.
    Cops not working enough. Boom hours not involve give bargaining. Cops work more

    Limiting collective bargaining is a huge loss.

    Can someone let me know if this is still in?

  13. - Ron - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:32 pm:

    - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    Townships, drainage districts, and road districts are in play …


  14. - Anon221 - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Amendment 1 to SB 284- borrowing to pay down old bills: Page 17 shows that the General Obligation Restructuring Bonds will be paid at over 14% interest.

  15. - Anon221 - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:47 pm:

    Ron- as someone who HAS to pay into a drainage district, consolidating those is not great. Drainage lawyers and commissioners have had the ability to do this for years. Your land could be placed into one drainage district, then subsumed into another district, and then into a super district. You potentially pay assessments then at ALL levels and there ain’t no way out of it unless you have thousands and thousands of dollars to protest in court- and you are going to have to plan to go at least to the Appellate level. Drainage district fees are not taxes, they are assessments, but by IL law are placed on your tax bill. You are supposed to get value for assessments whereas you may not for taxes. There is no value to me to support drainage that goes 10-20 miles north of my land, when my watershed flows south.

  16. - Cadillac - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    === - Anon221 - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Amendment 1 to SB 284- borrowing to pay down old bills: Page 17 shows that the General Obligation Restructuring Bonds will be paid at over 14% interest. ===

    I don’t think so.

  17. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Reading the pension bill language, I’m having a hard time discerning WHAT they’re doing with collective bargaining. I’ll wait for the big brains to weigh in on that

  18. - Cassandra - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    Local govt consolidation may be needed but it is very, very hard to do. Somebody has to pick up the work of the disappearing part and since the associated jobs are often pretty nice ones, with benefits,and sometime political strings, there is always a ruckus about any disappearing jobs. When a politician says local government consolidation, I say never.

  19. - Rod - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    Really, Senator Radogno is going to agree to SB 432 as amended as part of a big deal, the CPS pension bailout bill, as filed by Senator Cullerton this morning? If that is the case wouldn’t it be a good idea for her to have been a co-sponsor of the amendment, I don’t see her on that amendment.

    After how Leader Radogono has publicly trashed any CPS bailout, now she is going to approve $436.5 million to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund for just FY 17 and 18. Leader Christine Radogno has publicly and repeatedly said since at least 2013 whatever Chicago doesn’t get in pension aid, it more than gets back by grabbing an oversize share of funding through poverty, early-childhood, property tax limitation and corporate income tax replacement programs. What just happened to change all of that?

    Moreover Sen Rodogno is also going to agree to SB 432 as amended which contains an on- going payment to the CTPF beyond FY 2018 based on “actuarial tables and other assumptions” extending indefinitely into the future. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this, not that CPS and its retired teachers couldn’t use the funding.

  20. - TominChicago - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    The local government consolidation bill is a nothing burger. Under the proposed languate, the entity to be consolidated has to consent to being consolidated before it goes to referendum. In all but the rarest cases that won’t happen. Just look at the old Cook County TB District. It went out kicking and screaming.

  21. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    Gosh there is a lot here to like. My cynicism monitor is beeping, but I’m gonna ignore it for the time being….

  22. - Anon - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    Oh. So we’re going to issue bonds to pay the past government expenses for services to provided to people who didn’t pay enough taxes?

    That’s some great generational equity there. Instead of raising taxes now, we’re just going to bond the debt and pass it on to the next generation.

    Might as well call that bill the “Screw Millennials to Avoid Paying Our Bills” plan.

    Illinois is just the worst. I’d be nice you all would suddenly decide to take responsibility for the mess you’ve made.

  23. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    I am sure linking them together is a common practice but it sure seems to make the separate bills appear to be a de facto individual bill, contrary to the spirit of the single subject clause.

    Not that I want this to fail. I so desperately want an end to this logjam!

  24. - Chicago Taxpayer - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    =Really, Senator Radogno is going to agree to SB 432 as amended as part of a big deal, the CPS pension bailout bill=

    It ain’t a “bailout.” How is it a freaking bailout when every school district in the state EXCEPT Chicago has their teacher pensions paid by the State, and this bill would just give Chicago a fraction of what it owes in teacher pensions under State-mandated pension laws?!

  25. - No Longer A Lurker - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    Why would the Senate propose recalculating how the state pays into the pension system? Their proposal will backload the pension payments, paying less now with the promise that the state will pay more down the road. Um, isn’t this more kicking the can down the road?

  26. - Anony - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    Perhaps I am overly skeptical, but I suspect this dance is part of the public relations battle within the overall war…

    Hopefully it results in a workable deal.

  27. - Signal and Noise - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:19 pm:

    “borrowing, pension ref., gambling expan., local gov consolid., CPS pensions, income tax hike, procurement”

    So, a bunch of stuff that everyone agrees on and is totally non-controversial. This should be a snap to get done in a few days.

  28. - Honeybear - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    It might surprise some but I am a strong proponent of local consolidation. I know it will cost jobs. But I’m from the Metro East and we’ve got huge corruption problems here. Consolidation will go a long way to addressing that.
    Just one major issue for me. General Assistance. This is money for the truly impoverished. This is usually distributed by townships. In east St. Louis I sera lot of this on our area and those in bone crushing poverty rely almost solely on it. There aren’t a lot who get it but it’s vital to a few. I hope they keep that and transfer it to the primary government unit. Folks it’s getting truly bad down here. East St. Louis and many towns in the area smell wonderful right now. Fires in fireplaces. How wonderful until you realize nthat people are heating their old homes solely with firewood. Many house fires here. In begging our government to renew programs for the those who have nothing.

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:23 pm:

    ===isn’t this more kicking the can down the road? ===

    I believe that’s a Rauner ask.

  30. - NoGifts - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:25 pm:

    Local government consolidation sounds like it would be more efficient, but I don’t know that data bears that out.

  31. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    =Screw Millennials to Avoid Paying Our Bills=

    Already used that on the Tier 2 legislation.

  32. - Sue - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    Where is Madigan on any of this. Does anyone think he is willing to give Rauner this exit ramp?

  33. - A Jack - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    So I can “elect” and get an amount equal to 10% of my pensions contributions as well as any future pay increases from a guy who doesn’t want to bargain, while giving up a future amount equal to more than three times that 10%.

    I don’t think the consideration is nearly enough for someone to take that election seriously. Up that consideration to 30% and I might consider it.

  34. - MAMA - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    What about Special Education and School Busing funds? Do they plan to fund those and other PreK-12 expenses with this budget?

  35. - BK Bro - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    Language on consolidation is a joke. The opposition to consolidation comes from the entity being consolidated. Giving them veto authority over plans to consolidate does nothing/little to solve the problem.

  36. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    There are so many units of local government they can violate FOIA, quite often unintentionally as they’re not up on FOIA, and no one is aware of it.

  37. - DGD - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    I can’t see how eliminating townships will decrease costs when counties will have to pick up the slack on road maintenance. Townships could easily be eliminated within the borders of a town/city, but in rural areas, not really practical. Very few of those tar and chip roads out in the sticks are maintained by counties.

  38. - NoGifts - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    Imagine it this way:
    If you take over the townships in the county, the county equipment yard is no longer big enough to hold all the equipment so they have to acquire more property. They need more mechanics, who might be paid better. They need more space for tools and parts inventory so they need a new garage in addition to the larger yard. If the equipment is different, they need an in inventory of parts for different vehicles. Maybe the county highway supervisor didn’t need a computer but he highway department provides computers to staff. The county highway director says he/she needs a higher salary because he/she is now supervising more staff. The county has to hire people to maintain different kind of infrastructure which requires different expertise. etc.

  39. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:17 pm:

    ==I can’t see how eliminating townships will decrease costs when counties will have to pick up the slack on road maintenance.==

    The hope, I suppose, lies in economies of scale…

  40. - Sue - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    limiting pension credit to salaries below what Governor is paid in terms of the State’s contribution is going to cost the suburban school districts a bucketload -at the same time the property tax freeze will impair what the School Districts can raise to pay for the cost shift- how will that work?

  41. - Get a Job!! - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    =Amendment 1 to SB 284- borrowing to pay down old bills: Page 17 shows that the General Obligation Restructuring Bonds will be paid at over 14% interest=

    Better re-read that one. The section you’re reading doesn’t mean what you think it means. It simply says that 14.2% of the debt will mature annually, meaning principal of the $7B we borrow will be in 7 equal payments. Interest rates will be determined by the market. Currently the state is paying 12% annually on these old bills, so anything under that amount can be considered savings.

  42. - blue dog dem - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    its amazing what one learns on CapFax, but I found more savings for the state. Cut the budgets for the African American and Latino Family Commissions.

  43. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    ===Cut the budgets for the African American and Latino Family Commissions.===

    Be very specific, why do you think they shoukd be cut.

    Very. Specific.

  44. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 3:52 pm:


    It means Rauner voters will become a bigger part of the F U War he has launched on the people of Illinois.

  45. - Repeating - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 4:04 pm:

    Hunch: Next round will have the income tax at 4.999999999. Anything but 5 percent.

  46. - Sue - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 4:08 pm:

    Precinct Captain- I guess you can’t evaluate election maps. The Dems are doing just fine in suburban Cook and the wealthier collar counties. Rauner voters are down south and Northwest. Trump did great in Illinois south of I 80 and northwest suburban and rural areas

  47. - blue dog dem - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 4:12 pm:

    Months ago, I proposed a one penny/Oreo tax. Wouldn’t that have been a better idea?

  48. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 4:56 pm:

    “The hope, I suppose, lies in economies of scale… ”
    Besides fewer buildings and equipment, fewer elections, FOIA training, websites …

  49. - G'Kar - Monday, Jan 9, 17 @ 9:40 pm:

    IFT sent out an e-mail tonight claiming that they have “killed” this grand bargain. Not sure exactly what they mean by that.

  50. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 7:32 am:

    G’Kar, send that Letter to Rich. Maybe he’ll post it. Why did they kill it, supposedly? Was it the “flexibility” for collective bargaining as I posted this morning. I can understand why they would kill it over that. Teachers, Municipal/County workers would be so up a creek if that was in the bargain.
    Please send Rich that letter. We need all the intel we can get about what is going on.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Question of the day
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* State pre-pays $422 million in pension payments
* Dillard's gambit
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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