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Question of the day

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* From the St. Louis Regional Chamber…

* The Question: Outlook?

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

An Illinois beverage tax would cut jobs and raise costs on working families

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

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- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Rauner compares Statehouse battle to “trench warfare,” says he’s “energized” and “we’re winning”

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* Steve Hoffman at the Piatt County Journal-Republican

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner promised voters after being elected in 2014 that he was in for the long haul in regards to government reform, and he reaffirmed it at the Piatt County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner on March 21 in Monticello.

“I’m very energized by the battle,” Rauner said of the disagreements over proposals that range from a real estate property tax freeze to pension reform; issues that have led to legislative gridlock when it comes to approving a state budget.

“It’s really hard, but you know, we’re making progress and we’re going to change our state dramatically, so that the government works for you, the people of Illinois, not for a corrupt political machine out of Chicago,” he added in a 10-minute speech at the annual dinner.

He pointed to progress made in cutting $800 million in state spending, upgrading computer systems to make state offices more efficient, ethics reform in state hiring and proposed union reform, which he discussed at the Monticello gathering.

* I called Steve and asked if he’d share his audio recording. Many thanks for sending it over.

As you can tell by the story above, much of what the governor said has been said many, many times before, but I did find this passage a bit interesting

So, we’re making the changes we need. It’s too slow. It’s trench warfare, basically. Battle here, gain two feet, lose a foot, gain five feet, lose two feet. I mean, it’s a tough battle.

But, we’re winning and we’re going to transform the state.

* If you’ve never listened to a Rauner campaign speech, or haven’t in a while, here’s the raw audio

- Posted by Rich Miller   74 Comments      

It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* But it may need more time in the oven

Despite the release of a highly favorable poll [this week by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute], one of the sponsors of a plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Illinois says she won’t press for a vote on the measure until at least next year.

“Our members need some time to get more comfortable with this,” said state Sen. Heather Steans, who last week along with Rep. Kelly Cassidy introduced legislation to allow those of at least 21 years of age to grow or buy up to an ounce of marijuana without legal sanction.

“(But) this [poll] will help,” Steans said. “Public sentiment has been moving pretty fast.” […]

Steans said she expects subject matter-only hearings to be held later this spring in both chambers. And while sponsors will consider accelerating their timetable, social questions such as this generally need some time, Steans said, pointing to years of intense debate before the state legalized same-sex marriage.

* Sun-Times

A Chicago legislator wants to link charter-school expansion to a school district’s ability to pay for them, an effort aimed at slowing the spread of the privately run, publicly funded schools in the city.

The bill introduced Friday by state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, would block the opening of any new charter campuses in any school districts with the Illinois State Board of Education’s two lowest financial ratings. The Chicago Public Schools system has been on that list for years.

“Our priority must be investing in the schools we have,“ Guzzardi said Monday outside Prosser Career Academy High School on the Northwest Side, where he was accompanied by other lawmakers, members of the Chicago Teachers Union and parents from the neighborhood.

“If your district is broke, take care of the schools you have before you open new schools,” Guzzardi said. “This isn’t about shutting down any charter schools that are already here.”

* Press release…

New legislation aimed at protecting the environment in rural Illinois was unveiled at the in the Illinois Senate today. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) unveiled a package of legislation that would make changes to the regulations governing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs.

CAFOs are farm facilities with a large concentration of animals such as hogs. Recently, a plan for a CAFO that would hold 20,000 head of hogs in rural Fulton County was withdrawn after a considerable pushback from the public.

Joined by farmers from all across the state, Koehler introduced the legislation to bring transparency to the process of planning and expanding hog farms.

“People in rural Illinois deserve to know what exactly is going to be built in their backyard,” Koehler said. “Registering these facilities and getting wastewater management on file are just of few of the steps we can take to make sure the public health of rural Illinoisans will be protected.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Don’t kill the golden goose

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* New York Times

Illinois legislators are considering a “right to know” bill that would let consumers find out what information about them is collected by companies like Google and Facebook, and what kinds of businesses they share it with. Such a right, which European consumers already have, has been a longtime goal of privacy advocates.

Two other proposals face a crucial Illinois House committee vote this week. One would regulate when consumers’ locations can be tracked by smartphone applications, and another would limit the use of microphones in internet-connected devices like mobile phones, smart TVs and personal assistants like Amazon’s Echo.

Should they be passed into law, these rules could end up guiding the rights of consumers far beyond Illinois — because they would provide a model for other states, and because it would be difficult for technology companies with hundreds of millions of users to create a patchwork of state- and country-specific features to localize their effects.

Congress is pushing to overturn regulations imposed by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration that limit the collection of data by broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast. The Senate approved the rollback last week, and the House is expected to follow this week.

OK, sounds good.

* Now, scroll way down

Illinois also has another dimension: class-action lawyers… (L)awyers at Edelson PC, a Chicago-based class-action firm that has become notorious among tech companies for its prolific filing of privacy suits, have gone on offense with a lobbying campaign of their own. Firm lawyers have also helped found a new nonprofit group, the Digital Privacy Alliance, as an advocate for privacy legislation in Illinois and elsewhere.

Go check out the front group’s website and you’ll see they’re behind this “Right to know” bill, among other legislation in a package being pushed at the Statehouse.

* From another NY Times story on Edelson and his firm

[Edelson’s] firm, which is based in Chicago, has become one of the most prolific filers of privacy class actions, a growing legal area that tech companies describe with a litany of unprintable terms. Asked to sum up the tech community’s feelings about Mr. Edelson, Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, a technology incubator that invests in very young companies, said the lawyer was regarded as “a leech tarted up as a freedom fighter.” […]

The firm started suing technology companies in the early 2000s, before data privacy was a national debate. Mr. Edelson claims to have won more than $1 billion in settlements in all, a number that is difficult to confirm because many of those agreements are private. Today he views these cases the same way Apple views its collection of iPhones and other iThings: as a line of products to be refined, repackaged and resold. Text messages are a product line. Online video is a product line.

Edelson PC contributed about $100,000 during the campaign last year, focusing on the two Democratic legislative leaders.

* Look, you won’t get an argument from me against prohibiting bad conduct and protecting consumers from real problems. And I intend no offense to Mr. Edelson and his firm - you gotta do what you gotta do (and he’s stopped some pretty egregious practices over the years). But Chicago now has a thriving tech community. Let’s not screw things up with a new state law that let’s them be sued into oblivion by trial lawyers.

Most of the bills in this package have now been amended to limit rights of action to simple injunctive relief. They all started out allowing for things like attorney’s fees and damages. At least one bill still has that language, however.

Keep it limited.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Today’s must-read

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* This NPR story on Cairo is a very good read, so go take a look at the whole thing

There is a lot of talk right now about how best to try and bring back struggling small towns, especially in the rural Midwest which Donald Trump carried easily. Many of these places would also see steep cuts in aid if the president’s budget gains traction in Congress. Visit Cairo, and at times it feels like a town on life support.

“You know, you say to your government, we want to clean it up,” Matthews says. “But we need help.”

In Cairo, there is a lot of anger and many people feel slighted. A few years back, then-Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn visited with reportedly great fanfare at the time and designated Cairo as a port authority. The idea was that the town could once again take advantage of all the barge traffic on the rivers. The governor left town, and so did the promise of funds.

A frustrated Tyrone Coleman, Cairo’s mayor, says the town is well positioned to take advantage of the expected increased barge traffic due to the Panama Canal expansion. After all, it’s what put the city on the map in the 1800s.

“Strategically, geographically, this is one of the most untapped resource areas in the country,” Coleman says.

Lately some state lawmakers have made renewed commitments. In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office says he is working to make Cairo and other small Illinois towns competitive. But in Cairo, that’s a tough task.

* By the way, the area’s new state Senator, Dale Fowler, has been making Cairo a priority…

* Fowler makes sixth trip to Cairo since election, discusses river development: “All I saw was potential,” Fowler said of his first trip. He has been back five more times, including Friday with Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman, Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, of Lemont, and a busload of other local leaders. The group hit the highlights of town — Fort Defiance, the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and Magnolia Manor.

* Editorial: Fowler’s presence in Cairo a sign of hope: Over the years, leaders have come to the city with promises. Driving through Cairo, it’s evident most of those promises were empty. But, Cairo Public Utility Manager Larry Klein, who said in Sunday’s story that he’s seen at least 50 similar trips by politicians, this feels different. He saw something that he called “a ball of fire” in Fowler.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

The feud is dragging us down

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* The Bond Buyer writes about the ever escalating feud between Gov. Rauner and Mayor Emanuel in the wake of the governor’s recent veto of the Chicago pension bill and its impact on the state’s bond rating

“I just think the politics just over the last week have gotten so fractious it’s hard to imagine more bad things not happening to the city and state’s credit profile,” said Matt Fabian, partner at Municipal Market Analytics. “The level of chaos is rising and Chicago will be dragged into that and it undermines the city’s narrative” that it’s turned a fiscal corner.

A sweeping bipartisan Senate budget fix has stalled and Rauner’s feuding with Democrats has escalated of late with harsh words exchanged with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and state Comptroller Susanna Mendoza. […]

If the state’s budget impasse drags into a third fiscal year July 1 its investment grade rating is at risk and that would have a trickle down impact on the city, Fabian said.

* Meanwhile, this is from the publication’s Illinois reporter…

* And from yesterday

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn’t even said for sure that he’ll seek a third term in 2019, but Gov. Bruce Rauner predicted Monday the mayor won’t be around for a fourth.

The governor’s prognostication that “the current mayor is not going to be mayor in 2023” came at an event about the stalled effort to create a toll lane on the Stevenson Expressway, as Rauner talked about his veto last week of Emanuel’s proposed changes to the city’s pension funds for municipal workers and laborers. […]

“Who’s not going to be mayor in 2023?” Rauner said. “The current mayor is not going to be mayor in 2023. That’s why they did it. All this is, all this is a system to dump the problem into the next elected official, no change, no protection of taxpayers, no fundamental reform.” […]

“At the rate he’s going, Bruce Rauner should be more concerned with who’s governor in 2019 than he is with who’s mayor in 2023,” [Emanuel campaign] spokesman Pete Giangreco said.

Yep. Lots of progress.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Steve Schnorf arrangements

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* With many thanks to the fine folks at, we will have a free live stream this Thursday afternoon March 30th for Steve Schnorf’s “celebration of life.” The event will begin at 2 o’clock in Room 212. The room holds almost 200 people, but we figured we’d better have a video feed for those who either couldn’t make it to town or couldn’t get into the room. A reception of sorts will follow at about 3, and will be held directly across the hall in Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. Thanks to everyone who helped out on this.

From the family…

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Steve’s memory to:

    The Marjorie Baker Schnorf Teaching Scholarship
    EIU Office of University Development
    600 Lincoln Ave.
    Charleston, IL 61920


    Rochester Public Library District
    1 Community Dr.
    Rochester, IL 62563

Speakers at the 2 o’clock event will include Steve’s widow Jane, Jim Kiley, former Gov. Jim Edgar, Speaker Michael Madigan, Sen. Donne Trotter, former Gov. George Ryan, myself, his three daughters (Quin, Rebecca and Elizabeth) and his granddaughter Jaelyn.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3- Mendoza says “No” - Could Mendoza do something on her own? - ILGOP responds *** Mendoza to pay some bills, lashes out at Rauner

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* Press release…

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced on Tuesday that state revenues will allow her office to pay another $94 million in past-due bills to Home Service Care providers who care for the elderly.

Since taking office in December, Comptroller Mendoza has now paid a total of more than $235 million in past due bills owed to vendors for the state’s Department on Aging, she announced Tuesday at the West Point Plaza senior apartments on the Near West Side.

“Our actions prove our commitment to Illinois seniors, the Department on Aging, the Community Care Program (CCP), and our citizens who rely on the program to stay in their homes and avoid being placed in a nursing home,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “We’re doing what we can to help, but this isn’t a long-term solution. To ensure our state’s neediest people are cared for, we need Governor Rauner to meet his most basic constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget for the General Assembly to act on. While people in Illinois continue to suffer, he continues to shirk his responsibilities and refuses to take ownership of the crisis.”

While the comptroller is prioritizing human services and programs like CCP, her office can only pay the bills it receives. Because the Governor shirked his constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget for the General Assembly to act on — and has twice vetoed funding for these social services — there is no spending authority to pay bills owed to these providers for services not covered by Medicaid. Nearly $200 million in bills for such services are sitting at the Department on Aging due to the lack of a budget.

“It’s time for Gov. Bruce Rauner to stop using seniors as pawns in his vicious budget game, where he is exploiting their pain and suffering to get what he wants on his political wish list,” said Tanya Moses, home healthcare worker in the Community Care Program.

Ashley’s Quality Care, which provides home care services for seniors, is just one example of the consequences of this inaction. The Canaryville home care provider is owed about $800,000 in non-Medicaid payments from the state. The lack of funding has forced them to reduce the number of seniors they care for from 900 to 300 in the last two years.

To add insult to injury, Gov. Rauner’s administration has prohibited Community Care vendors from participating in third-party loan programs managed by the administration and widely used by vendors like the highly-paid consultants Governor Rauner wants to prioritize. At a time when many social service providers have exhausted their lines of credit from banks, these programs could give them access to operating funds they need to keep their doors open.

“It really shows where The Governor’s heart is when he has opened up the Vendor Assistance Program to some of America’s largest corporations but has denied offering the same kind of life preserver to our frail elderly,” said State Rep. Gregory Harris. “I think it’s small business in Illinois we should be helping. Big insurance companies and multinational corporations should have the capacity to take care of themselves.”

*** UPDATE 1 ***  From the ILGOP…

“Susana Mendoza taking credit for releasing these funds is like an arsonist posing as a firefighter. She’s throwing water on a fire she started by starving providers in the first place.”

Pretty tough case to make against a liberal, female Democrat. Just sayin…

*** UPDATE 2 *** A buddy of mine who represents a company that loans money through the Vendor Assistance Program just called to say that Comptroller Mendoza could change some paperwork coding for social service providers on her own to get them into the bill-paying program. Mendoza’s Republican predecessor apparently refused to do so. So, it’s not Rauner’s fault, it’s actually hers.

Time to put away the press releases and get to work.

*** UPDATE 3 *** The comptroller’s office says they will hear out the company rep, but they’re pretty adamant that they can’t change the coding on these vendors and is likely a misinterpretation of the rules. It’s up to CMS, they say, and the agencies, which submit the coding to the comptroller.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Director Shah tosses more patients to the curb

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* This is ridiculous

The Illinois Department of Public Health has rejected intractable pain and autism spectrum disorder as medical conditions that could be treated with medical cannabis.

The petition to add intractable pain to the medical marijuana program was submitted in July 2015 to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah on Monday noted in rejecting the petition that none of the information submitted demonstrated an individual diagnosed with intractable pain could benefit from medical cannabis.

So, instead, we condemn these people to a life of opioid use? Seriously, if the pain is truly intractable, then why deny suffering patients something that can help?

Shah’s rulings have been overturned numerous times in court. Let’s hope this one is as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Study finds integration could boost the Chicago-area’s economy

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* A different sort of Turnaround Agenda. Tribune

The Chicago region’s deeply entrenched patterns of segregation extract a steep price in lost lives and unrealized economic growth, according to a study to be unveiled Tuesday.

The seven-county area’s murder rate could be cut by 30 percent, its economy could churn out an additional $8 billion in goods and services and its African-American residents could earn another $3,000 a year if it could reduce racial and economic segregation to the median level for the nation’s largest metro areas.

And 83,000 more residents could have earned bachelor’s degrees, spurring another $90 billion in collective lifetime earnings.

Those were the findings of a study by the Metropolitan Planning Council, a Chicago-based public policy research group, and the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.

* From the MPC

The Metropolitan Planning Council, together with Urban Institute and a team of regional policy advisors, analyzed segregation patterns in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country. We examined three types of segregation: economic segregation, African American-white segregation and Latino-white segregation. We then examined what impacts we would see if the Chicago region reduced its levels of segregation to the median levels of segregation of the nation’s 100 biggest metros.

* The full report is here. From the “Next Steps” section

For now, we know that we can create a more robust regional economy by making our city and suburbs less racially and economically segregated. The second phase of this initiative will identify how we can accelerate our rate of desegregation and create a more inclusive, prosperous path forward for all. That work will include developing a projected baseline scenario for the Chicago region that assumes the continuation of our current patterns of racial and economic segregation and an alternative vision that incorporates policy changes in housing, transportation, public safety, health and education.

* And this is an important point

Chicago’s present-day segregation did not occur overnight and it was not a process that occurred “naturally.” Private and public policies and programs built our divides: Restrictive housing covenants. Urban renewal. Redlining. Predatory lending and the massive foreclosures that followed. Illegal discrimination against housing voucher holders. It is not merely by chance that public school quality closely follows the racial composition of the student body, or that after the housing bubble, property values have recovered or even risen in well-to-do, largely white communities while they remain well below for much the South and West sides of Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

CTBA tallies up what Chicago could lose

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability tallies up what Chicago stands to lose if US Attorney General Sessions makes good on his pledge to cut off Justice Department grants to so-called sanctuary cities

A review of Chicago’s 2017 grants suggests that the city received about $24.5 million from the DOJ in this fiscal year, including:

    $9.6 million in Justice Assistance Grants, which fund a variety of programs in the Chicago Police Department;
    $7.3 million in grants from the COPS Hiring Program;
    $1.4 million in grants for body-worn cameras; and
    $154,000 in grants for programs that address violence against women.

Not all of this money may be immediately threatened, however. Some grant programs, like COPS, are subject to Congressional appropriation, and may therefore require Congressional action to change.

* Sun-Times

Examples include a joint Chicago/Cook County Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant of $2,333,428; the Cook County Justice and Mental Health Collaboration, $243,012; and the Cook County South Suburban Safe and Thriving Communities Project, $1 million.

Besides Chicago and Cook County declaring sanctuary status, Evanston and Oak Park have sanctuary ordinances; Melrose Park has one in the works.

Evanston Police and the Northwestern University Police Department won $139,277 for a Body Worn Camera Implementation Program.

* Related…

* Lawyer says man was shot by ICE agent ‘without cause’

* Mark Brown: Shooting shows Trump immigration push makes us less safe

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 - There is a problem with zoning - Durkin weighs in - Rauner whacks Madigan *** Madigan scolds Rauner on Thompson Center sale

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* A letter sent today to Gov. Bruce Rauner from House Speaker Michael Madigan…

Governor Rauner:

Yesterday my staff and CMS had another productive discussion about the sale of the Thompson Center in Chicago. As you know, I have publicly acknowledged a desire to work with you on legislation authorizing the sale of the Thompson Center. Over the course of staff discussions, both your staff and mine determined the legislation proposed by Leader Durkin does not adequately plan for the sale and inadvertently interferes with the zoning authority of the City of Chicago. Your staff previously acknowledged that the legislation needed to be rewritten, and it was further conveyed, again yesterday, that legislation is not ready to move forward at this time.

Around the same time as this productive meeting, you stated publicly that I have held up the sale of the Thompson Center and that reporters should ask me why I’ve been blocking progress on this part of your agenda. With all due respect, I believe it is disingenuous of you and beneath your office to make such false statements to the media when you know or should have known that I have pledged my cooperation, that our staffs are working together on this initiative, and that we are working toward the same goal with your administration in good faith.

As you are aware, your administration included the sale of the Thompson Center in your proposed FY18 budget, with an anticipated sale price of $300 million. I have directed my staff to provide any assistance necessary so that we may pass legislation advantageous to the State of Illinois, while providing the least disruption to CTA commuters utilizing the lines that feed into the Thompson Center. I am advised CMS is in negotiations with the City on issues related to the CTA station and the easement, as well as zoning matters, and it is these discussions that have led to the stalling of the legislation, not my actions or the actions of the House.

Despite your inability to provide an accurate account of the facts or acknowledge my public and private comments, my staff will continue working cooperatively with your staff and CMS to develop a plan to maximize the ability of the State to sell the property, with a goal to passing legislation no later than May 31st.

With kindest personal regards, I remain

Sincerely yours,
Michael J. Madigan
Speaker of the House

Your thoughts on this?

*** UPDATE 1 ***  From Eleni Demertzis at the governor’s office…

Speaker Madigan and his majority have had two years to do anything productive for the people of Illinois, but instead he’s held up every proposal to create jobs, provide property tax relief, balance the budget and improve education. Two years of holding up the people of Illinois — and now just more excuses and distractions to hold up something as simple as selling the Thompson Center. As usual, positive changes in government take place when the Governor can make things happen on his own — and change hits a brick wall whenever the Speaker has the ability to block it.

Yeah, things are sure looking brighter these days.

To be clear here, the governor’s CMS director said during a House committee hearing that the administration can sell the Thompson Center without the General Assembly’s involvement. It just can’t make the sale on the administration’s preferred timeline unless legislators approve. Rauner wants to use proceeds from the sale to help balance next fiscal year’s budget.

*** UPDATE 2 ***  House Republican Leader Jim Durkin told reporters this morning (click here for raw audio) that objections to the Thompson Center sale legislation by CMS is “news to me.” He’s had the bill out there since 2015, he said, and hadn’t heard of any problems identified by the administration.

Leader Durkin claimed that Madigan was engaging in stalling tactics to prevent the governor from getting any wins.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Greg Hinz discovers there is a real problem, but it can be dealt with

Rauner has been counting on the proposed sale to generate $220 million for the state, plugging a hole in his budget, as well as tens of millions of dollars in future property-tax revenue for the city. But to get that kind of money, he wants to ramp up zoning on the site, clearing the way for a huge development, perhaps the 115-story tower that one developer envisions.

One Rauner official who asked not to be named conceded that talks with the city are continuing about tripling the size of what now legally can be built on the site, as well as access to the CTA station in any new development.

But the city agrees in principle with selling the property, and any remaining issues with language can be resolved after the General Assembly passes legislation authorizing the sale, that source said.

However, it appears the speaker wants those issues settled first—and doesn’t like Rauner attacking him in the process. He wrote, “I believe it is disingenuous of you and beneath your office to make such false statements.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* Today’s post is sponsored by the American Heart Association of Illinois. Follow everything in real time right here with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Republicans, Rauner react to Democratic candidates

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* Let’s circle back to yesterday’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate speeches and then look at the GOP react. Sun-Times

Pritzker took digs at Rauner, saying he’s standing up for the Koch brothers, not the working people of the state: “He didn’t shake up Springfield. He instead tore it down.” And he also vowed to invest in the Democratic party’s infrastructure to try to combat the heavily funded Illinois Republican Party.

State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, said he’d help to build up the party with a new surge of activism that is coming out of anti-President Trump efforts. […]

“Divide and rule is exactly what Bruce Rauner is doing. We’re entering our third year without a budget. And the way our governor makes it seem it’s like a game of chicken,” Pawar said. “Like he’s taking a principled stance against overspending and the only reason we somehow don’t have a budget is because the other side won’t flinch. But the truth is Bruce Rauner wants to lose this game of chicken. He has to lose this game of chicken in order to win re-election. He wants chaos. He does not want a budget.”

Pawar may be on the right track with that argument, but I think he needs to punch it up a bit.


“This is going to be a campaign that’s about building the party. It’s going to be a campaign that’s about building new networks of activists and bring them into the party. And I’m not going to be able to write a $50 million check. I mean I can write it but it won’t’ help. He’s what I can do. I can bring a lot of new people in,” Biss said. “Those are people to make small and medium donations that ought to be the lifeblood of our party,” said state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston.

Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar offered: “The only way forward is to require us to come together around a vision. Make sure that people who make more, pay more. That the rich pay their fair share, and be honest about our obligations to our retirees. While Bruce Rauner preaches austerity, our job is to be bold and push progressivism.”

While all of the other candidates were from the Chicago metropolitan area, Madison County Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber said he is Democrats’ best bet because he can win downstate – the large swath of Illinois that backed Rauner over former Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014.

“Why can I win? I will tell you that Bruce Rauner is in office today because Pat Quinn only carried one other election authority other than Cook County, and that was East St. Louis, where I’m from. I can carry downstate Illinois. My challenge is to get a percentage of the vote out of Cook County, and I will carry the rest of the state,” Daiber said. “Honestly, I don’t intend to get Cook County’s endorsement. I don’t even know how you could endorse me. I’m here today to introduce myself to you so you know who I am.”

The honest admission prompted applause, and at least one official to say “I like him.”

* CBS 2

Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers admitted all the potential candidates are similar on the issues, He said what is important is who’s discussing issues people care about and how authentic they are.


Ald. David Moore, who also serves as the committeeman of his 17th Ward, asked Pawar if he is running for governor to gain name recognition in anticipation of a campaign for Chicago mayor in 2019.

“This isn’t a game to me,” Pawar said. “If this isn’t it, I’m out.” […]

[Pritzker] also said that if Democrats want to be competitive against Rauner, they should be prepared to go up against Rauner’s powerful communications infrastructure, which Pritzker dismissed as “fake news.” […]

Biss last week launched his campaign in a Facebook Live video criticizing disconnected “billionaires and machine politicians,” but he didn’t pursue that line of criticism when he stood before the party leaders on Monday.

* Public Radio

And former Merchandise Mart President Chris Kennedy said he thinks Rauner wants to run for president on a campaign of busting unions. In response, a GOP spokesman said that’s laughable and Rauner’s focused on Illinois.

* Sun-Times

“Today’s audition exemplifies everything wrong with Mike Madigan’s political machine,” said Steven Yaffe, spokesman for the Illinois Republican Party. “Democratic candidates had a chance to stand up to the status quo, but chose to talk about tax increases without reform. Instead of seeking to fix Illinois, the Democratic candidates made clear they will continue the broken system run by the Speaker.”

* Tribune

Asked about the governor’s race Monday at a separate event, Rauner labeled the Democratic candidates as “a continuation of the status quo.”

“They’re not proposing any new ideas to grow jobs. They’re not proposing any new ideas to protect taxpayers. But they’re proposing tax hikes, income tax hikes. And they’re proposing to continue to work for the political machine that’s dominated Illinois for decades,” he said. “That’s not going to make things better.”

With the Cook County Democratic organization scheduled to meet in August to consider an endorsement, Kennedy told reporters afterward that he didn’t think slate-making was as “meaningful as it was 50 or 60 years ago when people in the backroom could control the outcome of an election.”

Still, he stopped short of saying whether he would seek their endorsement.


- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Rauner explains why he’s airing TV ads *** Rauner in new TV ads touting his agenda

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* I told subscribers about these ads earlier today. From a press release

State Solutions, an affiliate of the Republican Governors Association, launched a new television and digital advertisement effort today in Illinois, highlighting Governor Bruce Rauner’s push to balance the budget, reform government and improve the state by capping spending, freezing property taxes, creating term limits on politicians and adding jobs. […]

“Governor Rauner is working hard to enact a balanced budget that protects taxpayers and grows jobs,” said State Solutions spokesman Jon Thompson. “The same duct tape solutions - higher taxes, more spending and no real reforms - that Illinois politicians have used in the past won’t fix the state. It’s time for a true spending cap, a real property tax freeze, and reforms to repair the state’s broken political system and add jobs.”

The 2018 season has officially arrived.

* Here is the 30-second ad

* And here is the 15-second spot

…Adding… Press release…

Illinois Working Together Campaign Director Jake Lewis released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s new television ads:

“Governor Rauner’s new television ad blitz is just another reminder of the governor’s wrong priorities, putting political games ahead of getting the job done for the people of Illinois. Not only has Rauner never passed a budget, the most basic responsibility for any governor, but he has never even proposed a balanced budget as required by the Illinois constitution. Rauner’s “balanced budget” claims have already been deemed “pants-on-fire” false by Politifact Illinois.

“What Rauner fails to mention in his ads are his accomplishments in more than two years as governor — because he has none. Rauner’s wrong priorities have resulted in disruptions to school funding, cuts to services for seniors, and an Illinois economy hobbled by uncertainty. Enough with the political games, governor. Do your job.”

*** UPDATE ***  Gov. Rauner was asked by reporters today why he was airing TV ads

I hope and believe that messaging to the people of Illinois about what’s going on and what’s at stake will help us get an agreement in the General Assembly, help us get a balanced budget with structural changes to grow jobs, protect our taxpayers, get term limits.

I think it’s very important that the people of Illinois understand what’s going on, they understand what’s at stake and I’ve personally worked hard in my role to communicate with the people of Illinois. I’ve done it directly by going to meet with people around the state in groups of from two to two thousand, to talk with them about what’s at stake. I’ve met with you, members of the media on a pretty regular basis to talk about what’s going on and what’s important and asking you to communicate back to the people of Illinois. I’ve used social media, tried to use social media to communicate the important issues that’s going on in the state of Illinois.

And now, and from time to time, we have used and we will use paid media to communicate to the people of Illinois what’s importantly at stake, the changes to fix the broken system that we’re advocating, term limits and property tax freeze and balanced budgets with more jobs. We can’t tax our way out of our problems, we gotta grow. We need regulatory changes to be competitive and grow jobs. It’s important that the people of Illinois understand what we’re working for and that’s what we’re trying to do is help them understand.

No mention that his poll numbers are in the tank.

- Posted by Rich Miller   76 Comments      

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