* The Chicago Tribune continues to identify Diana Sroka Rickert as “a writer with the Illinois Policy Institute,” when she is actually “Vice President of Communications at the Illinois Policy Institute.” She’s not just a writer, she’s in charge of the group’s spin.
Anyway, here’s her latest for the Trib…
“What would Illinois be like if we had different political leadership?”
It’s midafternoon on a weekday, and Illinois Rep. Christian Mitchell is on the other end of the phone. He laughs.
“Oh, you must be calling people who have already started drinking for the day,” says Mitchell, a Chicago Democrat.
And so began my quest to find out what Illinois could look like if it had new blood. By that, I mean: What if House Speaker Michael Madigan became former House Speaker Michael Madigan?
I teased Rep. Mitchell about that comment this morning. He chuckled and said she didn’t use any of his quotes about the current impasse and the governor.
* So, I asked Mitchell what he said and he sent me this summation…
You could remove Madigan from office, and Democrats would still oppose, almost lockstep, Rauner’s agenda. I didn’t like voting for pension reform, but I voted for it because I could score it. I could look at my constituents and say, you keep 87 cents on the dollar of what you earned - it’s not right that you’re being hit at all, but here’s where we are - and we have more dollars to spend on infrastructure, education and social services, while making sure you still have a pension.
I can’t do that with the turnaround agenda. We can move reasonably on workers comp reform, but we have to address insurance profits and exploitation of workers and businesses. A property tax freeze is a horrible idea that will cripple municipal governments and bankrupt our schools.
There isn’t a single independent analysis that demonstrates that the turnaround agenda will do anything to turnaround Illinois. On the other hand, I know that progressive tax reform that asks the Bruce Rauner’s of the world to pay their fair share for services means we can invest in the infrastructure that allows businesses to get their goods to and from market, and can put rural Illinoisans back to work. I know that reforms like fair scheduling and paid sick leave mean more workers will have more money in their pockets to spend and drive the economy. There’s data to show it.
Obviously she used none of that. But that’s what I said. MJM as the problem is simplistic. BVR is a boss too, and his agenda is anathema to Democrats.
So feel free to use that 😊