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*** UPDATED x2 - Mendoza responds *** Illinois ordered to pay its Medicaid bills

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Judge Joan Lefkow just lowered the boom…


Half of that $586 million is reimbursed by the federal government, but it’s money the state doesn’t have and won’t have without a budget.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  From Comptroller Susana Mendoza…

As if the Governor and legislators needed any more reason to compromise and settle on a comprehensive budget plan immediately, Friday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court takes the state’s finances from horrific to catastrophic. Payments to the state’s pension funds; state payroll including legislator pay; General State Aid to schools and payments to local governments – in some combination – will likely have to be cut. Payments to the state’s bond-holders will continue uninterrupted. A comprehensive budget plan must be passed immediately.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The order is here.

From a press release…

In the face of the State of Illinois’s ongoing budget impasse, a federal court today ordered the state to substantially increase monthly outlays to pay bills for healthcare provided under the Medicaid program. Under the court’s order, if the budget impasse continues, the state Comptroller is obliged to pay $586 million toward the state’s Medicaid obligations monthly, as opposed to the current payments of about $160 million. The state will be able to claim reimbursement for half of those expenditures from the federal government.

The court-ordered payment, which is the amount the state ordinarily pays in years when there is a budget in place, will prevent the $4 billion backlog of unpaid bills from growing larger. The court also ordered the state to pay $2 billion toward the backlog of unpaid bills over the next 12 months, with the goal of getting it down to the amount owed before the state budget impasse started.

In issuing the order, Judge Lefkow additionally emphasized that the State shall, “prioritize appropriate preference to ‘Safety Net Hospitals’ and other providers most crucial to affording the plaintiff class members’ access to federally mandated healthcare services.”

“The court’s order prevents the collapse of the healthcare system that serves children, families, seniors and people with disabilities across Illinois,” said David Chizewer, an attorney with the Chicago law firm Goldberg, Kohn, who is part of the team representing the healthcare beneficiaries. They are also represented by attorneys from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Shriver Center) and Legal Council for Health Justice.

Although the court had previously ordered the state to make Medicaid payments during the budget impasse, for two years it has been paying only a small percentage of those bills. The growing backlog of unpaid bills precipitated the current crisis. “Without these payments, doctors, hospitals, clinics and other key healthcare providers would stop seeing Medicaid patients, or else simply go out of business altogether,” said Tom Yates, of Legal Council for Health Justice.

“It is important to note that the Illinois General Assembly met today, the last day of the fiscal year, to try finally to pass a full year fully funded budget,” said the Shriver Center’s John Bouman. “We urge them to get that work done and to be sure it includes a path to pay down the back bills. That is the only sure way through this thicket.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      


Kennedy: Pritzker would be “product of the Madigan machine” if elected

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Chris Kennedy was interviewed today by WLS AM’s Bill Cameron

KENNEDY: I won’t be someone who’s tied to the status quo, indebted to them for my election and reliant upon them for all good things in the future. […]

The establishment in both parties has failed to do the basic things like pass a budget. The fact that they can’t get that done is an indictment of their capacity across the board.

CAMERON: Why couldn’t JB [Pritzker] get that done?

KENNEDY: I think the manner in which he might get that done would be in a way that is completely reliant on the status quo and the current leadership. I think he’ll arrive there, if he were to be elected, as the product of the Madigan machine and as such he’ll be indebted to them.

Yikes.

* Kennedy also said this

The reason we don’t pay for our schools at the state level is it would mean we’d shrink the reliance on property taxes. But the leadership in our party and many of the people in both parties make their money in the property tax appeals business. So, if the property tax is a smaller part of our economy, then they’re going to make less money. So they’re not free of the conflict of interest to vote on what really matters to the future of our state. They can’t embrace a new system because they’re making money off the old one. Someone needs to stand up to that.

Man, that’s quite an indictment. Later, though, he said he thought Madigan would be willing to “sacrifice” by giving up his property tax assessment business. I’m not so sure I agree.

* Kennedy also went after the governor later in the interview, saying Gov. Rauner has created a “culture of fear” in his party and in the state. He also said this about Rauner

I think his hope, really, is to cripple it - cripple government’s functionality by leaving it with such incredible debt that it’s capable of doing little else than to service that debt.

* Full interview

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


The Kobach Commission can only get the same data that campaigns already have here

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* CNN

A Trump administration letter requesting data from all 50 state’s voting rolls has put some states and voting rights advocates on edge after many were already wary of the aims of the President’s commission on voting.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent a letter to each state Wednesday asking a series of questions soliciting feedback about election administration, voter fraud and the integrity of the process. CNN obtained a copy of the letter sent to Maine’s secretary of state.

Kobach also requested that each state provide “publicly available voter roll data” as allowed under each state’s laws, which could include full names of registered voters, dates of birth, party registration, last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting history.

The letter was discussed on an organizational call of the commission, according to a White House readout and spokesman Marc Lotter.

* Several states have refused to comply and people have absolutely freaked out about this on social media today, particularly about the Social Security numbers stuff. One Democratic gubernatorial candidate here issued a press release about it…

“There is no evidence of voter fraud in Illinois. That’s a fact and not an alternative one this administration is using to peddle false voter fraud conspiracies,” said JB Pritzker. “The Kobach Commission is nothing short of a scam. The administration’s request for Illinois voter rolls is not just a waste of time and resources, it’s a violation of Illinoisan’s privacy. I urge Bruce Rauner to stand with the leaders of Virginia, California, and Kentucky and refuse to comply. It is past time for Rauner to protect Illinois families from Donald Trump’s lies, attacks, and nonsense.”

* Secretary of State Jesse White was apparently getting bombarded with so many inquiries that he took to Twitter to remind Illinoisans that he doesn’t oversee elections here…


* And that led to the Board of Elections getting swamped

Illinois election officials on Friday acknowledged receiving calls of concern over information being sought by President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, but said they have yet to receive a formal request for the state’s voter data.

* But look at the Kobach letter which was received by Maine

I am requesting that you provide to the Commission the publicly- available voter roll data for Maine, including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.

Emphasis added. They don’t want anything that’s not already publicly available.

* Kobach’s own Secretary of State’s office in Kansas won’t even be fully complying

Kobach said Friday that Kansas also won’t be sharing Social Security information with the commission, for which he serves as vice chairman, at this time. The state will share other information about the state’s registered voters, including names and addresses, which are subject to the state’s open record laws. […]

Other states, including Republican-led Oklahoma and Utah, announced plans to provide some information to the commission while withholding other pieces, such as the partial Social Security numbers.

“That’s perfectly fine,” Kobach said Friday when asked about states that would provide names but withhold other information. “We understand that. And that is entirely up to each state.”

* Back to the Tribune

[The Kobach] letter hadn’t arrived yet in Illinois, where state elections board members are scheduled to meet Monday. They still could discuss the request for “publicly available data” the president’s commission is seeking. […]

Illinois law allows voter data to be obtained by political committees, which use them to develop their voter databases, and by governmental agencies for governmental purposes, such as for jury duty notices.

But Illinois law prevents the release of more personal information associated with the voter files, such as Social Security numbers, drivers’ license numbers or digital copies of voter signatures. [Emphasis added.]

So, most of your info won’t be shared and there’s no demand from Kobach that all of it has to be shared, either. Pritzker himself has probably already purchased the same voter info either from the Board of Elections or through Democratic list vendors, or his direct mail vendor did. It’s no more of a “violation of Illinoisan’s privacy” than what countless campaigns here have already done and will do in the future.

* Now, there’s no doubt that Kobach is hugely controversial

The A.C.L.U. has filed four suits against Kobach since he was elected in 2010. All of them challenge some aspect of his signature piece of legislation, the Secure and Fair Elections Act, or SAFE Act, a 2011 state law that requires people to show a birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers to register to vote. Kobach has long argued that such a law is necessary to prevent noncitizens from registering to vote, a phenomenon that he has repeatedly claimed is both pervasive and a threat to democracy. The A.C.L.U. has countered that the real purpose of the law is not to prevent fraud but to stop the existing electorate from expanding and shifting demographically. The same principle informed the “grandfather clauses” of the Jim Crow era, which exempted most white voters from literacy tests and poll taxes designed to disenfranchise black voters. Even a seemingly small impediment to registration, like a new ID requirement, favors the status quo, and in Kansas, and indeed nationally, the status quo favors the Republican Party.

And

When Kris Kobach, Kansas’ aggressive secretary of state, convinced the state legislature to give him prosecutorial power to pursue voter fraud, he said it was necessary to root out tens of thousands of undocumented aliens who were voting as well as tens of thousands more who he claimed were voting in two states.

Two years later, Kobach has produced exactly nine convictions. Most of them were not illegal immigrants but rather older registered Republicans.

Sheesh.

And the Kobach Commission is also hugely controversial. It looks like he put a bunch of vote-suppression types on it. Click here for that stuff. Whew.

Resisting this request is fine by me if that’s what states (including this one) want to do. The commission seems like a massive waste of time to me and may even have nefarious intent to find ways of suppressing votes.

* But some of your personal data is already being shared with campaigns. Keep that in mind when you take to social media to scream into the electronic wind.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** House adjourns, talks continue

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* The legislative leaders met earlier today, but didn’t talk to reporters afterward. Stay tuned…


And, yes, the blog will be up and running tomorrow.

* I checked the other day and Moody’s is also closed Monday and Tuesday…


*** UPDATE ***  Some folks have asked for an analysis of the House Democratic budget proposal. That proposal will undoubtedly be altered during talks with Republicans, but click here if you want to look at it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Rauner AVs 911 bill, blames Democrats, calls it “mean-spirited”

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Press release…

Governor Bruce Rauner today issued an amendatory veto of SB 1839 to ensure that critical 9-1-1 services continue without a massive tax hike on Illinois families and businesses.

“The majority in the General Assembly waited until the last moment to send this 9-1-1 service reauthorization bill to my desk. Unfortunately, those lawmakers also inserted a major tax hike into this bill, a tax that’s both excessive and unwarranted, and that I strongly oppose,” Governor Rauner said. “This extreme increase is unfair and indefensible. But the majority in the General Assembly is using the threat of cancellation of 9-1-1 services on Saturday as leverage to force this tax hike through over my opposition.”

In the amendatory veto, the Governor removed all the surcharge increases and special interest giveaways. He also revoked the sunsets on the Emergency Telephone System Act and the sections regarding telecommunications and cable and video in the Public Utilities Act. These changes mean 9-1-1 would continue in Illinois without the General Assembly having to pass legislation to renew the service.

“This mean-spirited strategy has been employed by the majority repeatedly over the years, most prominently in the current budget impasse: holding innocent people, our most vulnerable residents and essential services hostage as leverage to force excessive, unwarranted tax hikes onto the people of Illinois,” Governor Rauner said. “This practice must stop.”

“The majority” was actually a bipartisan super majority, and an even bigger bipartisan super majority passed another, revamped bill this week.

And you gotta wonder if this way over the top partisan slam was in response to Speaker Madigan’s mention of “the governor’s budget crisis” in his letter to ratings agencies today.

Everybody, take a breath already.

But at least he vetoed it in time to override it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Let’s all welcome our new Illinois Senate Republican Leader with a caption contest, shall we?

- Posted by Rich Miller   90 Comments      


Voices of dissent

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Not everybody’s happy about today’s floor adoption of the House’s budget amendment. Via the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

While noting that the measure that passed was “only an amendment,” Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said, “Obviously, things are heading in the wrong direction. Today, the Republicans in the General Assembly raised the white flag to a massive tax increase.”

McSweeney said Republicans who do vote for the tax increase that’s on the table – more than $5 billion – owe an apology to former Gov. Pat Quinn.

“Now they support a tax increase bigger than he did,” McSweeney said. “We’ve done nothing to reform government. Spending continues to increase. I am going to be fighting tooth and nail to stick to our core principals.” […]

Rep. Jeanne Ives criticized the House budget plan as bloated spending and requiring a tax increase that taxpayers can’t afford.

“This budget does not look out for small businessmen,” Ives said. “This budget does not look out for the ordinary taxpayer. This budget is gross overspending of people’s hard-earned income, going to a bloated system that we have failed to reform.”

She continued: “This budget is a disaster, and this budget is the death knell for Illinois. It tells every taxpayer who’s capable of moving from the state of Illinois it’s time to pick up stakes and leave. That’s what this budget does.”

* And…


…Adding… Related…

* Illinois Policy Institute: 4 Reasons Illinois Republicans Should Ditch the Tax Talk: Polling shows that Illinoisans are overwhelmingly opposed to an income tax hike, and Illinois’ poor economic growth combined with wealth out-migration mean billions in tax hikes will only inflict further damage on a struggling state.

* Tribune Editorial: Madigan’s goal is to protect his enablers. They don’t deserve it: Come on, Mr. Speaker. What a stretch. House Democrats hold 67 seats. In this overtime session, they need four GOP votes — not 30 — to pass a tax hike.

* Kristen McQueary: Are Illinois taxpayers finally waking up?: You know the scene in the movie “Goodfellas” when Henry, actor Ray Liotta’s character, is worried about the pasta sauce, but drug enforcement helicopters are circling his house? That’s Illinois. The Too Late State.

- Posted by Rich Miller   85 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Don’t open the champagne yet *** House approves budget proposal, will remain in session at least through Saturday

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* The House has just voted to approve an omnibus appropriations amendment 90-25.

Speaker Madigan rose after the vote to thank Leader Durkin and the Republicans who voted for the amendment.

I think it’s a good step forward. A step that we can build upon. There’s much work yet to be done. Therefore the House will be in session tomorrow.

Momentarily I will send a message to the bond rating agencies asking them to defer credit ratings on the state of Illinois until we have sufficient time (to work things out)

Next I will be convening a meeting of the leaders today (to talk about budget and non-budget issues)… and I will convene a meeting of interested parties on the revenue bill…

Let’s keep up the good work and we’ll get the job done.

More in a bit.

* The amendment which passed can be found by clicking here.

Today’s House debate was remarkable for its bipartisan nature, which isn’t often seen in that chamber. GOP Rep. Steve Andersson received thunderous applause for his remarks, with Rep. Greg Harris saying it was the finest speech he’d ever heard delivered in the chamber.

* From Speaker Madigan’s office…

“The work of the governor and General Assembly is clearly not done. As a result, the House will remain in session. While we’ve made progress on solving the governor’s budget crisis, we are not done. We will remain in session to continue our progress toward passing a balanced budget. In light of this ongoing progress, I would ask that bond rating agencies temporarily withhold judgment and allow legislators time to negotiate a bipartisan, balanced budget.”

*** UPDATE *** As I noted earlier today in our live coverage post, this amendment vote was Speaker Madigan’s idea. He wanted the budget amendment adopted as a sign of good faith and then he’d restart negotiations on the non-budget issues and revenues. The budget itself is still not agreed.

So, a “top Republican source” described today’s floor action as more of a “procedural vote” than a sign of support for the underlying bill. There’s still a lot of work to do.

* Meanwhile…


* Sun-Times

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said he committed Republican votes as a “gesture of good faith.”

“I’m telling you we are close. We are so close. I can taste it,” Durkin said, while emphasizing there is still more work to be done.

- Posted by Rich Miller   69 Comments      


*** UPDATED x4 - Won’t comment on ad - Extends ad buy - Group cancels press conference - Oops!!! *** Dark money group readies new TV ad just in case

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

*** UPDATE 1 ***  I was moving so fast I posted the wrong ad. Sorry! I accidentally posted the first ad, which is already on the air. Here’s the Do Your Job, Inc. spot which is online right now, but will be put on TV if today ends without an agreement

*** UPDATE 2 *** Do Your Job, Inc. had scheduled a press conference for today at 1:30, but they just canceled it.

When I asked why, I was told “good faith.”

The ad’s still up, however.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Latest ad buy report from Comcast…

*** UPDATE 4 *** I asked the group’s spokesman what the group plans to do tomorrow and was told “We’ll see.” The spokesman said the buy extension was done to “coincide with the special session.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** Bill Brady chosen as new Senate GOP leader

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* 10:06 am: Several sources say the Senate Republicans have chosen Sen. Bill Brady as their next leader. Stay tuned.

I’m told Brady received 13 votes. 12 were needed to win.

They also held an acclamation vote for Brady.

* From the Senate Republicans…

The new Senate Republican Leader will be announced at 10:30am at the top of the grand staircase on the 3rd floor of the State Capitol.

* From the announcement…


*** UPDATE ***   Press release…

State Sen. Bill Brady was elected by a unanimous vote of his Republican colleagues to serve as new Illinois Senate Republican Leader for the remainder of the 100th General Assembly on Friday.

“It is an honor to be chosen to lead the Senate Republican Caucus,” Sen. Brady said. “I thank them for their faith in me. I also appreciate my constituents in the 44th District for giving me the privilege to represent them in the State Capitol and the opportunity to serve as Leader,” Brady said.

The Bloomington Republican was nominated by Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) and Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles.)

“The issues facing Illinois are daunting, but our caucus remains committed to working together to face those challenges,” Brady said.

Brady has served in the State Senate since 2002. He previously served as state representative from 1993 until 2001. He currently serves as Assistant Republican Leader.

The official vote will come by a vote of the full Senate as soon as possible.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Video

*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…

Governor Bruce Rauner issued the following statement on Sen. Bill Brady’s election as the new Senate Republican Leader:

“It’s an honor to congratulate Sen. Bill Brady as the new Senate Republican Leader. He is a champion for Illinois families – understanding the changes our state needs to create jobs, lower property taxes, strengthen schools, and reform our political system. I look forward to working with all of the outstanding leaders in the Senate Republican Caucus as we work to fix Illinois by creating a more responsive and responsible state government.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Mendoza: “Derailment is imminent”

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Politico

Comptroller Susana Mendoza explains what’s at stake if there is no budget passed by midnight Friday (as well as where we are and how we got here) in a new video that for Illinois, is going viral. As of last evening it had 1.4 million views and more than 32,000 shares on Facebook.

“Derailment is imminent,” Mendoza warns. “This is not a false alarm.” Unless there is a budget, she says: “Illinoisans must brace for maximum impact.” In the video, Mendoza urges the public to call state legislators and the governor and tell them to pass a budget.

I don’t really trust Facebook’s view count numbers, but, for what it’s worth, the video is now up to 1.8 million views.

* Here’s the YouTube version

* Meanwhile

After a caucus meeting on Wednesday, a number of other House Democrats have started floating the notion in private conversations they could live with passing a budget deal before the first checks of the next fiscal year are scheduled to come out on July 15th.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza, a former House Democrat herself, strongly advised against this reckless strategy.

“People need to act like adults,” Mendoza said. “Anyone who thinks that June 30 at midnight is not a real deadline is just insane. Because guess who does think that’s a real deadline? All of the credit rating agencies who are watching. They don’t believe July 15 is a credit deadline.”

* And

Lindsay Perez, a suburban Chicago mother, and her 9-year-old daughter Elena, who survives on a Medicaid-funded ventilator, described for reporters on Thursday the horrific situation of losing some of her medical supplies because of the budget crisis.

The girl, who was born without a lung, urged politicians to pass a budget.

“If you could try hard enough, you could do it,” she said.

Click here for the video.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Squeezing the beast

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Tribune

City Colleges of Chicago is laying off 120 employees, part of larger cuts planned in response to the prolonged state budget crisis.

Chancellor Juan Salgado announced the cuts Wednesday to outline priorities for his spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Reductions also will include 10 percent pay cuts for senior leadership. City Colleges also plans to sell the district headquarters at 226 W. Jackson Blvd. and move administrative staff to the Kennedy-King College in Englewood and Dawson Technical Institute in Bronzeville. […]

The layoffs come at a time when City Colleges has experienced a significant decline in enrollment and what administration officials have called an unprecedented state budget shortfall of $70 million in the last two years alone. The system has about 90,000 students at seven colleges and five satellite locations.

* Charleston newspaper

Eastern Illinois University’s president announced a “hard freeze” on purchases effective immediately Thursday.

In a memo, David Glassman told account managers, P-Card holders, and OfficeMax users that he is implementing a temporary freeze on “all purchases.”

Last year, there was a freeze implemented on many purchases at the university, including things like travel expenses and non-instructional capital equipment purchases. This time around, the freeze has “stronger” and more definitive language to better rein in university expenditures, said Paul McCann, vice president for business affairs.

He said Thursday’s halt has been implemented to set more rigid control over cash outflow.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - GOP pulls down ad *** GOP tries to tag Madigan with “junk” label

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* This is an online ad. From the ILGOP…

Mike Madigan may be about to take Illinois to a new low.

16 years without a balanced budget and 26 credit downgrades on his watch have destroyed our state.

But Mike Madigan doesn’t care. As long as his power is maintained and his special interests are flush with taxpayer cash, Madigan is content to turn Illinois into junk.

Today, the ILGOP is releasing ads calling out Madigan’s meltdown.

* The ad

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Pritzker campaign…

“We’re approaching a third fiscal year without a budget and our bond rating is about to go to junk, but Illinoisans can find Bruce Rauner sitting at his desk waiting for someone else to do his job,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Governor Junk has driven this state to the edge of a fiscal cliff and he is about to slam his foot on the gas.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Text from a top Republican…

Hey - Think it is worth noting that the party has pulled down the digital ad they released last night following the floor action this morning

The House adopted a budgetary floor amendment today. Click here for more.

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      


Here we go…

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* Tina Sfondeles leads our coverage

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan plans to call a Democratic spending plan for a vote on Friday, amid a midnight fiscal budget deadline and the very real threat of credit agencies dropping the state to “junk” status. […]

Leaders met again on Thursday to iron out their differences, including on workers’ compensation and pension reform. While Madigan said he’d call the Democratic spending plan on the floor, Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said House Democrats have a backup plan, placing provisions within the spending plan into “smaller subsets” in case the overall spending bill fails.

“We took the higher education portion, the K-12 and the transportation provisions into separate bills. They’re ready to go. They look exactly the way they look in the main bill. And we may or may not call them. We’ll just see how the votes goes when we vote on the entire spending plan,” Lang said.

State Rep. Greg Harris, Madigan’s appointed budget negotiator, filed an amendment on Thursday to the Senate’s revenue bill. While the income tax rate hike remains at 4.95 percent, streaming and satellite fees have been removed.

“We have closed corporate tax loopholes. We have increased the earned income tax credit for working families to keep more in their pockets. We’ve also restored the research and development and manufacturers’ tax credit to attract more businesses and bring jobs,” Harris said.

* Tribune

*Where they’re at on tax increases: There’s general agreement to hike the state income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent but disagreement on whether to make the start date Saturday or retroactive to Jan. 1, which would take a bigger bite out of your paycheck. There’s also disagreement about whether to make the tax hike permanent. And there’s disagreement about whether to expand the service tax or close corporate tax loopholes.

*What else is up in the air: The tax hikes almost certainly won’t pass without resolution of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s economic items. Differences remain on a property tax freeze. A four-year freeze is agreed to, but House Speaker Michael Madigan wants exemptions for Chicago Public Schools, Chicago City Hall, troubled school districts and pension costs. Rauner is opposed. Another sticking point is workers’ compensation reform. Rauner wants to further cut fees that doctors, hospitals and pharmacies receive for treating injured workers. Madigan said if those fees were cut, they wouldn’t be cut as deep as the low amounts set by Medicaid rules. Madigan also wants to regulate workers’ comp rates set by insurance companies.

*The potential ramifications if nothing gets done: A Wall Street downgrade to “junk” credit status, no Mega Millions or Powerball lottery games, uncertainty for some school openings in the fall, the future of what remains of a frayed social service safety net and the prospect of road construction project shutdowns. In addition, a federal judge’s ruling is expected on a lawsuit that seeks to require the state to start paying hundreds of millions of dollars more each month to Medicaid providers. All of that led Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza to say that the consequences to the state of failing to reach a budget agreement by midnight Friday go from currently “horrific” to “catastrophic.”

*The backup plan: If those measures fail to gain enough support, state Rep. Greg Harris said Democrats would consider a series of bills to appropriate funds in key areas such as social services and education. But those efforts would not come with the needed dollars to actually pay for the programs, meaning they are likely designed to provide political cover to allow Democrats to say they voted in favor of projects important to their districts.

* The House Democratic perspective from Rep. Kathleen Willis’ Facebook page

Today I plan to vote on a full budget. It is a spending plan that is lower than the governor’s proposed plan and lower than what we are spending now under court orders. It is funded by a combination of cuts, closing corporate loop holes and returning the income tax to 4.95 percent.

* The anti-tax House Republican perspective from Rep. John Cabello’s Facebook page

The note on the left a unknown person put on my car at the hotel I am staying at. The note on the right I put on my car in response.

* The notes…

- Posted by Rich Miller   68 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Special session coverage

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

* It’s gonna be a busy day, campers. It’s the last day of the fiscal year, the House and Senate convene at 9 o’clock, with the House taking up its budget bill. The Senate Republicans will meet today to vote on Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno’s replacement. As always, watch it happen in real time with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


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Friday, Jun 30, 2017

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More on the Radogno announcement

Friday, Jun 30, 2017

[Bumped up to Friday for visibility.]

* Click here for background if you’re not up to speed. CBS 2

In a stunning development amid ongoing negotiations to end the budget crisis in Springfield, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno has announced she is stepping down July 1.

Radogno’s announcement came after a private meeting with GOP Senate colleagues, on the heels of a meeting of the four top state lawmakers at the Illinois State Capitol.

“I have really tried hard and it’s time for someone else to take the reins,” Radogno said at a news conference, adding she wants to travel with her husband and spend time with her five grandchildren.

She told reporters that the end of the fiscal year is a “natural break” to leave her position, despite the fact that leaders in the House and Senate have still failed to reach a budget deal. She said she would continue to work on a resolution through Friday.

* Sun-Times

Radogno began her third term as leader in 2013. She has served in the Illinois Senate since 1997 and represents the 41st District in DuPage, Will and Cook counties.

In discussing her departure, she also became teary-eyed while discussing the sudden death of Lisa Radogno, her daughter, in 2014. Lisa Radogno, 31, was an executive assistant for Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; she died from a blood clot in her lung about a month after she was injured in a hit-and-run accident.

“It doubled down my interest in it [politics], but it did give me the perspective that nothing is forever,” Radogno said. “And I don’t want to squander my life with my husband and my grandkids and my other daughters. We only all have a certain amount of time and that experience told me, that’s for sure.”

Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, praised Radogno, saying she “demonstrated true willingness to negotiate in good faith,” and that she showed the “humanity” that’s needed within the next few days to end the budget impasse.

* Tina took a great photo…


* More…

* Illinois Senate Republican leader Radogno steps down: Even before her announcement, behind-the-scenes efforts to replace Radogno were being made by state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who served as her top deputy in the Senate GOP caucus, and by state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, the former Kane County Board chairwoman from St. Charles, legislative sources said. Talk of Radogno’s decision had begun spreading privately during the closing days of June in the aftermath of months of contentiousness with a Democratic legislative majority and a demanding Republican governor who has extensively used his personal wealth to command loyalty among GOP lawmakers. Radogno found her members’ loyalty to Rauner sometimes created problems with loyalty to her leadership, some GOP lawmakers said privately. That surfaced in attempts with Democrat Cullerton to negotiate an end to the state’s historic budget impasse known as the “grand bargain.”

* Christine Radogno resigns from Illinois Senate: She said she was not leaving out of frustration with a lack of support from the governor. “I feel strongly the governor has the right agenda, but it’s not that easy getting there. We need fundamental change in this building, but we need to compromise in order to get there,” she said.

* Radogno sends shockwave with sudden resignation from Senate: Radogno said she isn’t resigning because of the lack of budget progress. “I can expel that unequivocally,” Radgono said. “I was disappointed … that it didn’t happen. If that was my motivation, I would have been gone then. I really wanted to continue to try to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt and try to get to a place where we have the agreement.”

* Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno to resign: In the past few weeks, Radogno has maintained a relatively low profile at the Capitol. When Senate Republicans have scheduled news conferences or other public events to present their views, Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Sen. Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles have often led the discussion. Radogno, who has served in the Senate since 1997, did not mention a successor to her role as Senate Republican leader. In her statement, she said it was time for a new leader.

* Batinick: Timing of Radogno’s resignation ‘brings uncertainty’: “I’m not surprised that she resigned; I am surprised that she is doing it so soon,” Batinick told the Will County Gazette. “I knew her very well and respected her very much. I wish her the best in the future. Her replacement has big shoes to fill.”

* Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno latest to resign: Radogno’s resignation follows that of state Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine, state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge, among others.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Madigan summarizes leaders’ meeting

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* Speaker Madigan told reporters this afternoon, “We had a very good leaders’ meeting,” and then gave everybody a summary of what went on

* Education funding reform…

    “Sen. Cullerton and I reasserted our strong support for SB 1,” and said the governor should “sign the bill as-is.”

* Workers’ comp…

    Madigan restated the need for “real rate regulation” for the companies that sell workers’ comp insurance.

    “We indicated that if there were to be, if there were to be adjustments to the medical fee schedule, we would not relate them to the Medicare schedule.”

* Property taxes…

    The Republicans asked for adjustments to the property tax freeze bill that couldn’t pass the House yesterday. “We indicated that we would be open to other adjustments.”

* Government consolidation…

    The bill that passed the House and the Senate is the one they’re sticking with. “We ought not to go any further.” (The governor wants another bill on this topic).

* Pensions…

    “Sen. Cullerton indicated that we should delete the section of the bill that’s concerned with a voluntary consideration model and just proceed with the remaining elements of the bill, which I think would be satisfactory to the other leaders and the other caucuses.”

My translation after speaking with Democrats: Despite what he said, I think there’s still some movement possible on SB 1. I was told yesterday there are some important language issues on the workers’ comp insurance regulation stuff. Madigan seems to be moving a bit on his refusal to lower rates for workers’ comp medical providers, which is something the IMA wants. There’s more work to do on property taxes, but Madigan at least appears open to more movement (the big sticking point is still an exemption for pension costs).

Madigan also said the House will bring their spending plan to the floor tomorrow. Revenues are still being discussed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* Earlier today, Gov. Rauner tweeted out an image of himself sitting at a desk in his ceremonial Statehouse office “preparing for a balanced budget to arrive.”

A buddy of mine just said to me, “You can’t cut a final deal until the principal lays out his bottom line.” By all accounts, Leader Durkin is doing a good job, but the governor is most definitely “the principal.” Then again, Rauner, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton aren’t exactly pals. If he joins the meeting, things might not go so well. But without his presence, the other leaders may not be certain he’ll support whatever they come up with (if they do come up with something).

* The Question: Should Gov. Rauner join the leaders’ meetings? Click here to take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      


Do Your Job, Inc. slams Rauner in robocall as a “bully with an extreme agenda”

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* Press release…

Do Your Job, Inc. is calling voters across the state and asking them to tell Governor Rauner to do his job.

The call can be heard here: https://clyp.it/i1h5wcgv

Transcript:

    Every year for decades the state of Illinois has passed a budget. For the three years under Bruce Rauner, Illinois had failed to pass a budget due to Rauner’s refusal to compromise. Governor Rauner is a bully with an extreme agenda who is destroying our state. The consequences will be grave if we don’t pass a budget right away. Call Governor Rauner at 217.782.0244. Encourage him to sit down, pass a budget and do his job. Paid for by Do Your Job, Inc.

The robocall comes on the heels of a mailer paid for by Bruce Rauner’s Republican Party distorting the budget crisis. The mailer attempts to solely blame the legislature for the budget crisis and abdicate the state’s chief executive of his responsibility to govern.

The robocalls will also begin on a day when Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno – who often worked on a bipartisan basis for the good of the state - announced that she will be vacating her post at the start of the fiscal year. In a statement, Radogno expresses her “sadness and some disappointment” and joins Illinoisans who “hope and pray that the Governor, other legislative leaders, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House can find a path to solve the state’s problems.”

Do Your Job, Inc. is currently on air with an advertisement entitled “The Brink” encouraging Governor Rauner to secure a budget. In the ad, which began airing yesterday, Edgar declares that Illinois is in the worst condition he can ever remember including the state’s tenure during disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich. That ad can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2seEb1I

Do Your Job, Inc. is led by IL Sen. Michael E. Hastings of South Suburban Cook County, IL Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie and Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan. “The Brink” will run in conjunction with the legislature’s special session schedule in hopes of helping to secure a budget.

* The call…

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


*** UPDATED x7 - Brady, Cullerton, Emanuel, Durkin, Rauner respond *** Radogno to resign Saturday

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* I’ve been talking with Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno for weeks about the rumors that she’s going to resign. We chatted yesterday and I was promised a formal response today. Radogno just sent me a text message…

I’m out of here 7-1. End of business.

Let’s hope she helps finalize a budget deal by then. Personally, I’d like to see her go out on a high note.

*** UPDATE 1 ***   Full statement…

Statement from Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno:

“It truly is an honor to represent the 41st Senate District and my Republican colleagues in the Illinois Senate.

I have done the job to the very best of my ability and always with the needs of the state and my constituents in mind. I am proud of my legislative accomplishments – none of which were achieved alone. I have always appreciated the support, advice and counsel of my colleagues in both parties, staff and family.

I have particularly enjoyed my friendship and working relationship with Senate President John Cullerton that began the day we were chosen as Leaders of our respective caucuses.

However, I believe it’s time for a new Senate Republican leader.

I have done everything I can do to resolve the state’s budget crisis. I will continue to do so for the coming days. But if the solution will not come on my watch, I hope and pray that the Governor, other legislative leaders, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House can find a path to solve the state’s problems.

Though I leave political office with a sense of sadness and some disappointment, I leave with no regrets. I did my best – that’s all I could do. It has been a privilege to serve. But now I am looking forward to returning to private life and spending time with my family, especially my five grandchildren.

Effective close of business on July 1, 2017 – the start of the new fiscal year – I intend to resign my position as Senate Leader and Senator from the 41st District.

The Caucus has already begun executing the plan for a smooth, orderly and expeditious transition.”

She’s a class act through and through.

*** UPDATE 2 ***  I think it may wind up being a little narrower than this, but this is true at the moment…


From what I’ve been hearing, Brady has been working a roll call for the past couple of days.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Press release…

Governor Bruce Rauner today released the following statement regarding Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno’s resignation:

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Leader Radogno these last two years as we continue to try to improve the lives of the people of Illinois. She is a consummate professional and public servant, who has championed fiscal responsibility and human services that help our most vulnerable residents. While she will be sorely missed, Diana and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** From House GOP Leader Jim Durkin…

“Chris Radogno has been my Senator and Co-Republican Leader for many years. I am fortunate to call her a confidant and friend. Her contributions to her district and the State of Illinois are immeasurable. Chris always stayed above the fray in this very partisan environment. Her constituents and I will miss her valued leadership.”

*** UPDATE 5 *** From Mayor Rahm Emanuel…

“Leader Radogno has been a committed and courageous public servant who has put the needs of her constituents, and all Illinois residents, ahead of special interests, politics and partisanship. Throughout her five terms in office she has always proven willing to reach across the aisle to find solutions for Illinois’ most pressing challenges, and her reasonable, pragmatic, collaborative approach to policy stands as a model for other legislators to follow. As the first female leader of a party in the Illinois legislature, she has served as a role model and paved a path for future generations to follow. I join residents across the state of Illinois in thanking Leader Radogno for her service and wishing her well in her next chapter.”

*** UPDATE 6 *** Press release…

Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton issued the following statement regarding the pending retirement of his colleague and friend Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

She and I began as Senate leaders on the same day. We started our relationship in those roles by voting for each other. We then turned our attention to the impeachment trial. We followed that up with a long-overdue, bipartisan agreement on investing in roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure.

It has been nine years of cooperation and professionalism

It’s been my honor to have Leader Radogno as my legislative partner, and I have cherished the opportunity to work with her as a colleague and friend. She was the one who first reached out to me to start the Senate effort to show that we could balance the budget. Frankly, this week’s leaders meetings wouldn’t be occurring if it wasn’t for her.

I will miss her camaraderie and common sense. But I also hope that she has a few tricks left up her sleeve before July 1 to help us finally get out of this mess.

*** UPDATE 7 *** Sen. Bill Brady…

“Over the years, it has been a privilege and an honor to work alongside Leader Christine Radogno. Chris has a track record of being an incredibly hard working, principled and bipartisan leader who truly believes in working across the aisle to do what is best for the people of this state. I want to thank her for her years of service to the state of Illinois, and wish her and her family nothing but the best as she moves on into this next phase.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   144 Comments      


Edgar didn’t know about anti-Rauner ad prior to its release

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* As subscribers know, Edgar told me much the same yesterday. Here’s Bernie

Former Republican Gov. JIM EDGAR said he didn’t know in advance that his voice would be used on an ad critical of Rauner.

“Do Your Job, Inc.” announced the new ad this week, and the made-for-TV spot includes audio of Edgar in a radio interview saying no budget for two years “has put this state in the worst condition I can ever remember. Even during the (ROD) BLAGOJEVICH years, it wasn’t this bad.”

A narrator says Rauner “has brought Illinois to the brink of collapse.” Rauner has consistently blamed Democrats for not meeting his pro-business conditions to approve a full budget.

Contacted Wednesday, Edgar said he didn’t know about the ad until he read about it on the Capitol Fax blog.

“I guess when you say something to the media and it’s reported, that’s fair game,” he said. “That’s my comment.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      


Caption contest!

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* From the twitters…


- Posted by Rich Miller   192 Comments      


Today’s quotable: “It’s not about you”

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* Remember this Bruce Rauner quote from the other day?

I’m giving speeches seven days a week, five, six times a day. I’m speaking at African American churches every Sunday morning, and I judge myself by how many standing ovations I get.

* Bernie followed up

Rauner’s public schedules do not list anywhere close to the number of speeches he claimed to give, and there is not always an African-American church on his weekend schedule.

He and his wife were at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Springfield on Sunday, but TERESA HALEY, a member there who happens to be president of the Illinois chapter and Springfield branch of the NAACP, said there was no speech. Rauner introduced himself and his wife when visitors were asked to say who they were, and he said something like, “It’s not about Democrat or Republican, it’s about coming together and worshiping Sunday morning,” Haley said. She said the Rauners seemed to enjoy the service.

She said Rauner “did walk around and introduce himself to several people.”

“No one gave him a standing ovation,” Haley said.

“When you go to church for fellowship and to praise God … it’s not about you,” she said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Republicans release new ad about special session, send more attack mailers

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* ILGOP…

Illinois lawmakers led by House Speaker Mike Madigan have barely worked during the special session – convening for only 122 minutes and sometimes not even showing up.

While Mike Madigan stalls, Illinois crumbles. Financial institutions are threatening junk status.

Madigan needs to get serious before his caucus of junk politicians fails to send the Governor a balanced budget for the second year in a row.

Today, the Illinois Republican Party is releasing a digital video highlighting the legislature’s inability to get to work.

Time is running out.

* The ad is based on an Illinois Policy Institute report and uses TV coverage of the special session

* Meanwhile, as I told subscribers this morning, this is one of the five Illinois Republican Party mailers that have been sent into Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello’s district in the past seven days…

Notice anything missing from the Rauner plan? A way to pay for it, perhaps?

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Rep. Cassidy endorses Sen. Biss

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* Press release…

Today, Daniel Biss announced the endorsement of State Representative Kelly Cassidy.

“From the minute I met Daniel, I was impressed,” said Kelly Cassidy. “First, by his hair. But after that, by his willingness to be his own person - that he would make his own decisions on behalf of his district based on what he believes is right, even when a vote might be politically risky for him.

“Daniel is the only candidate in this race who has a record of enacting real, progressive change, including for the LGBTQ community. When we passed the ban on conversion therapy, when we passed marriage equality — he was there every step of the way, working with me and others in the community, doing the actual hard work of making laws that protect us.

“We have seen from the last 2.5 years that being Governor should not and cannot be an entry level job. Daniel has the real experience in governing we need. I’m proud to support him, and excited continue working with him as Governor.”

“It’s an honor to have Kelly on my side,” said Daniel Biss. “Kelly has proven herself a moral compass in a lost legislature, and a passionate defender of equal rights, especially for the LGBTQ community. From fighting for a living wage, to reforming our criminal justice system, to creating a safe and equal place for all of our communities, Kelly and I have worked together for years, and it means the world to me to me to receive her support today. I’m excited to work with Kelly today and for years to come to ensure that all Illinoisans have a seat at the table.”

That’s the second House Democrat to endorse Biss this week, even though he spends a lot of time lumping Speaker Madigan in with Gov. Rauner.

* Tribune

Pritzker, meanwhile, is planning a phone bank over the issue of health care as Republicans in Washington try to advance a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The phone bank is the latest effort among Democrats critical of Rauner for not saying more about the GOP proposals, including a Senate Republican measure that would phase out funding for Illinois’ expansion of Medicaid coverage.

Rauner has said he has “concerns” about the proposals.

“We will call Bruce Rauner. We will call Republican congressional leaders. We will call (Illinois’ Democratic U.S. Sens.) Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin to thank them for their hard work. And we will call on others to help us make a difference,” Pritzker said in a statement.

I’ve never seen a press release announcing a phone bank before. Then again, I’ve never seen a phone bank that focused on calling elected officials. They also called voters, though.

* Meanwhile, Ameya Pawar has a new campaign video (click here) and the Trib talks about Chris Kennedy’s latest fundraising e-mail (click here).

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Hinz tries, tries and tries again to get an answer out of the administration

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* Greg Hinz points to a New York Times piece entitled “How Governors From Both Parties Plotted to Derail the Senate Health Bill” as the basis for his latest attempt to get Gov. Rauner’s office to talk about the national healthcare debate. Hinz lays out the Raunerite push-back

Now, the Rauner people don’t like me writing about this issue, as I have a few times now.

Illinois’ two U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, have pretty much made up their minds and won’t move much even if Rauner talks to them, the governor’s people say.

And, they add, some other GOP governors who are outspoken are lame ducks and don’t have to manage the calculus of keeping the GOP base intact, as Rauner will have to do in his race for a new term next year.

And as one ranking Raunerite argued in an exchange today, the governor has his hands full right now in Springfield battling House Speaker Michael Madigan and other intransigent Democrats to finally bring a dose of desperately needed reform and structural change to Illinois.

I get all of that. But most of those excuses are lame or wrong—or both.

Ouch. Click here to read why he thinks their excuses are lame and/or wrong.

* I would only add that the governor has not taken any public role in the overtime session negotiations and yet still managed to squeeze in the time to leave town today for this event

WHERE’S RAUNER? In Chicago, taking part in a round table to discuss trade and commerce opportunities between China and the Midwest.

I don’t blame him for going to Chicago for that highly important event. I’m just saying he ought to be able to find time to at the very least answer a question about something that could totally blow up this state’s budget and very probably harm many of the state’s hospitals.

…Adding... From the governor’s office…

He’s not going to Chicago. He’s attending via video conference from Springfield.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - Bill passes House *** Looks like you may be too late, SJ-R

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* From the governor’s press office…

ICYMI: Lawmakers must ensure funding for 911 centers continues

The following is an editorial published in this morning’s State Journal-Register:

    The legislation that allows the collection and distribution of fees for the state’s 911 call centers expires June 30. […]

    This is the textbook example of a “no-duh” action that must be addressed in the Statehouse. Ensuring responses by police and fire departments in emergency situations is about as essential a service as it gets. But we’re in Illinois, where bitter partisan bickering has left us teetering on the brink of fiscal insolvency.

    By overwhelming margins, the House and Senate passed Senate Bill 1839, which would extend the ability to collect and distribute fees to fund 911 services. As proposed, the legislation would raise the 911 surcharge in Chicago from $3.90 to $5, and from 87 cents to $1.50 elsewhere in Illinois. […]

    If approved as is, it would be about a 28 percent increase in fee for Chicago residents, and more than 72 percent for everyone else in the state.

    And as Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration noted in a memo issued June 22 that declared the hikes “unacceptable,” Chicago has already received two increases in the past four years: From $1.25 to $2.50 in 2013 and from $2.50 to $3.90 in 2014. The memo didn’t offer a suggested amount, but noted a 911 advisory board recommended a $1.05 statewide fee. It also warned of the dire consequences if lawmakers don’t send Rauner a “clean” extension bill before July 1. […]

    We urge lawmakers to put SB 1839 to the side for now and explore other avenues to ensure continued operation of 911 centers. Legislators have introduced or amended existing bills to provide other options. The simplest — and one that should fly through the Capitol’s chambers and land on the governor’s desk as soon as humanly possible — is House Bill 4072, which would extend the sunset dates for 911 and similar services from this week to Dec. 31, 2020. […]

    HB 4072 would allow 911 services to continue uninterrupted, and Rauner’s office said Wednesday he would support it. Leave the fee increases — and the fighting that accompanies them — to another day, and extend the act.

The emphasis was added by the governor’s office.

One problem: A revamped 911 bill with the fee increases intact overwhelmingly passed the Senate yesterday on a vote of 47-2.

Apparently, the SJ-R editorial board was only paying attention to what the governor’s office told them.

So, let him veto it again. It could turn out to be worse than Pat Quinn’s humiliation on the ComEd “smart grid” veto.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  47 votes in the Senate and the governor still calls it a Democratic tax hike…


*** UPDATE 2 *** The House just passed the revamped bill 86-24. Boom.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Gloomy headlines as June 30th deadline approaches

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* The Tribune’s headline today is: “Rauner, Madigan talk ‘compromise’ while doing little of it”

During a special session that’s costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day without any results, both Democrats and Republicans are talking up the idea of compromise without publicly doing much to reach one. […]

Compromise, then, is proving to be in the eye of the beholder at the Capitol, a rhetorical tool to help sell the idea that the other side is to blame if no budget deal is reached by a Friday deadline.

Despite the fallout that will accompany such a failure, there’s little to indicate a resolution will be reached by then. Rauner sent the loudest signal Wednesday when he said if lawmakers fail to send “a balanced budget package to my desk by Friday, we will have no choice but to keep them in session until they get the job done.”

* AP: “Budget hopes dim as Illinois House property tax freeze fails”

A property tax freeze critical to ending Illinois’ historic budget jam failed in the House Wednesday and the Republican governor who is demanding the freeze threatened to keep lawmakers in session over the July 4 holiday unless there is an agreement on a spending plan by the end of Friday. […]

But on a 59-46 vote, far short of the three-fifths majority necessary for the measure to take immediate effect, lawmakers’ efforts to avoid the ignominy of starting a third consecutive July 1 without a budget outline were thrown into doubt. Republicans oppose the Democrats’ freeze because it makes significant exceptions for Chicago, its school system and 17 other financially-strapped school districts, and for cities struggling to pay long-term debt and make contributions to police and fire pension accounts. […]

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs branded Democratic moves on Wednesday as “political theater.” While the four leaders of the House and Senate met for a second straight day in Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s third-floor Capitol office, none emerged to speak to a media throng outside.

But that could signal progress and an unwillingness to publicly criticize one another. Rep. Tom Demmer, a Dixon Republican tasked with pension-fix negotiations, said the House votes on the tangential issues were “premature” and negotiations continue.

John O’Connor is a longtime Statehouse reporter and he picked up on the same thing I did yesterday afternoon. When the leaders meet and then don’t talk to reporters, that’s usually a good sign. But that’s one of the only good signs we had yesterday.

* Sun-Times: “As negotiations drag on, Rauner and Madigan go their own ways”

Meanwhile, legislative leaders planned to meet again on Thursday morning.

As long as they’re talking, there’s some hope. But talks can also be used as a cover to mask a refusal to actually close a deal. Appear as if you’re making progress, then claim the other side was being unreasonable or hasty or whatever. We saw this happen a bunch in the Senate this year.

* SJ-R: “Rauner threatens to keep lawmakers in Springfield if no budget by Friday”

Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said there was no point in postponing a vote.

“We are at 90 to 95 percent of what the governor asked,” she said. “The idea that we should wait, wait, wait doesn’t make much sense.”

Republicans aired similar complaints about the other bills, that they were the product of Democrats alone and not negotiations between the two parties. They complained the measures were watered down and that negotiations should continue on stronger legislation.

However, Democrats said the time had come to vote with just a couple of days left before the start of a new fiscal year.

So far, it’s almost an exact replay of the Senate at the end of May.

* WTTW: “Rauner Threatens to Prolong Special Session If There’s No Budget by Friday”

Republican state Rep. Steven Andersson urged lawmakers to pump the brakes on voting for bills currently being negotiated by leadership on both sides of the aisle.

“I’m certainly going to urge every member of my caucus not to vote for these bills,” Andersson said. “Not necessarily because they’re all that bad. Some of them might be there; some of them might be close.

“But if we vote ‘yes’ now, that ends that negotiation. Those negotiations are over because we already agree with you and we’re not quite there yet.”

Both sides are gonna play this game as long as they think they can. The only question is when does it end?

* CBS 2: “Gov. Rauner Threatens To Keep Lawmakers In Springfield, Indefinitely”

“I don’t know that I’m optimistic. I’m hopeful,” state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, tells CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Unclear on the concept

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* WGN

Meanwhile on the House floor, Democrats moved their bills pertaining to Governor Rauner’s reforms, but Republicans called them “fake.” They said Democrats abandoned negotiations in order to ram through their own plan.

“Hell, you have no idea how low I will go to get a budget,” Representative Steven Andersson said. “You have no idea. But the point is here, you do this now, you interrupt these negotiations.”

Democrats counter they’re trying to work with the GOP.

“This is a place of compromise. This is a place of negotiation. Each and every one of these proposals have been discussed with Republicans,” Representative Lou Lang, said.

Bills that are only “discussed” with the other party are, by definition, not compromises.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


This is so Twitter

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* The setup


* And then

Heh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Special session coverage

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

* Watch it happen in real time with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


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