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Civic Federation defends Civic Committee against Tribune attack

Monday, May 29, 2017

* From Lawrence Msall of the Civic Federation

The Tribune’s editorial “Illinois lawmakers should focus not just on taxes but on major spending reforms” is a disappointment. In its criticism of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago’s recent report, it fails to recognize the enormous costs of the state not having a budget for two years.

While the Editorial Board has championed reforms for pensions, Medicaid and other areas of government in the past, the Civic Committee’s report rightly points out that policy fights must not delay the process of balancing Illinois’ budget. Until the state has a budget, savings proposed by the Editorial Board or anyone else are unlikely to occur.

The Tribune’s position not only does harm to our state’s most vulnerable citizens, but also to our state’s reputation and credit rating. The greatest savings our state could realize would be by passing a comprehensive budget and thereby not being subjected to an exorbitant premium on delayed bill payments and not having a near-junk credit rating that is costing us hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing costs.

Amen to that.

* Let’s revisit the words of Rep. Steve Andersson before he backtracked yesterday

“I think we all recognize that we are letting the state burn. We’ve destroyed our social-service safety net. In my opinion, at this point, there’s not enough reform to counter the damage we’ve done to the state in the past two years. and so for me, the biggest win is to create stability in this state. I want the [Turnaround Agenda] reforms. I agree with the governor that there are things in there we need to do. But the number one reform in my world is predictability and sustainability. Because people will stay [in the state] if they know what the rules of the game are.”

The one thing this state government has sorely lacked since 2003 is “predictability and sustainability.” Blagojevich was completely unpredictable and refused to do the hard work of governing, which meant the state never got to sustainability. Quinn signed a temporary tax hike into law which undermined both predictability and sustainability. And now Gov. Rauner is demanding yet another temporary tax hike coupled with a temporary property tax freeze.

This needs to end.

The House has already passed a permanent property tax freeze. Maybe they should crank it out again with some reasonable caveats.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 10:37 am:


    ===The Tribune’s position not only does harm to our state’s most vulnerable citizens, but also to our state’s reputation and credit rating. The greatest savings our state could realize would be by passing a comprehensive budget and thereby not being subjected to an exorbitant premium on delayed bill payments and not having a near-junk credit rating that is costing us hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing costs.===

    This is the making clear the Tribune Editorial Board’s position by stripping away the pretense that the Board’s position has the state of Illinois’ best interest at heart. In actuality, the Board refuses to look at the harsh realities of the position, but try to make the position palatable, by trying to tear down the Civic Committee’s honest look and plan to begin to repair the damaged done, while the Editorial Board forces the thought that continued damage and its escalation is the way to make the Board happy.

    Mr. Msall,

    Thank you.

    Well said.

    Your point(s) make the Tribune’s position one easily to see;

    The saving of Illinois is second to any position that they deem is worth the pain they, the Board Members, likely may never feel.

    Thank you. OW

  2. - Norseman - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    === … “predictability and sustainability.” ===

    Yes. This needs to be a goal. Too bad Andersson and his fellow Raunerites doesn’t want to walk the talk.

    On the topic of predictability and sustainability, a temporary income tax increase does not meet that goal. Also, a permanent property tax freeze may lend itself to predictability (although everyone can predict the financial crisis that will ensue), it will not be sustainable.

    Kudos to Lawrence Msall for speaking truth to the Tribune editorial board.

  3. - winners and losers - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    ==The House has already passed a permanent property tax freeze. Maybe they should crank it out again with some reasonable caveats.==

    A PERMANENT property tax freeze with some caveats? Do you know what that would do to funding for schools?

    And if you exclude property tax funding for schools, you exclude the majority of the property tax.

  4. - CCP Hostage - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    Predictability and sustainability are a very conservative ask. I cannot believe that we have to advocate for them, but here we are. We can accomplish nothing, in any sector of the state, without these two values. And we can’t achieve either without a budget. Pass a budget first, and debate the merits of the rest once we have restored predictability and sustainability.

  5. - 47th Ward - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    Lawrence Msall disagreeing with the Tribune is like hearing your parents argue when you are a child. It shows you how far right the Tribune has gone when it turns its back on the Commercial Club and the Civic Federation in favor of the propagandists at IPI.

    It’s like I don’t know who they are anymore, but a once happy marriage is now over. The Tribune as the state’s preeminent editorial force is over and has been for some time. I hope the Troncsters are pleased with themselves.

  6. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    The State worrying about a property tax freeze at this moment amidst the budget mess is like the neighbor telling you to paint your garage while his house is burning down.

  7. - Annonin' - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    Let’s be honest for a minute. Once upon a time the Tribbie editorial board was closely read and respected. Now it is largely a off key fog horn prepared by 3rd stringers and sold a an ever dwindling crowd.

  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    ===Do you know what that would do to funding for schools?===

    Yeah, it would force the state to finally step up.

  9. - winners and losers - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    ===Do you know what that would do to funding for schools?===

    ==Yeah, it would force the state to finally step up.==

    Where is the evidence for that, Rich?

    It is far more likely that the State will freeze local property taxes and then do nothing as it would require EVEN MORE STATE tax increases than are currently being discussed.

  10. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 1:06 pm:

    I love Laurence Msall. It’s not about ideology with him or the Civic Fed - it’s just math. And as they have done for years since selling their souls to Rauner and the IPI crowd, the Trib has apparently banned calculators and spreadsheets from the editorial board. No other way to explaining their fairy dust approach to our fiscal crisis. Just how exactly do they expect the now $15 BILLION in unpaid bills to be paid for? That’s closing in on 1/2 of GRF.

    Wake up Tribsters. When you’ve lost Civic Federation and Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, you’ve lost your base and all your credibility.

  11. - formerpro - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 1:15 pm:

    Without the Tribune’s support, the pressure on Rauner would perhaps be enough to get him to cave. So I hope they keep the pressure on BOTH the Tribune and Rauner!

  12. - Mockingjay - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 3:20 pm:

    4 year freeze on property taxes might make suburban school systems think twice before they sign that next $350 K contact with their superintendent

  13. - winners and losers - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 3:52 pm:

    =4 year freeze on property taxes might make suburban school systems think twice before they sign that next $350 K contact with their superintendent==

    In most cases superintendents are in effective control of their school boards. Boards will cut education before they cut superintendents.

  14. - wordslinger - Monday, May 29, 17 @ 8:19 pm:

    It’s a waste of time to use facts, logic or reason on the tronc edit board.

    Their shallow talking points are indistinguishable from the rest of the Rauner propaganda machine. They just throw more incoherent, hysterical tantrums.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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