Friday, Aug 11, 2017
* Chicago Magazine interviewed the Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman…
I’ve been covering this state government since 1990 (oy) and I have never once seen such an abrupt staff change that didn’t have anything to do with the end of a term. This is just not normal. The only comparable event was after Rod Blagojevich was arrested.
And as far as the staff advancing the governor’s mission goes, it sure looks like the governor is changing directions with his new staff in place. Like for instance, on school funding reform (click here), refinancing the debt owed to vendors and providers (click here) and food stamp eligibility (click here).
* Back to the interview…
All of them were involved in the legislative process? Not according to the lobbying registration records.
* This is a good time to clear the air on some things. I have a ton of respect for what Tillman has been able to accomplish. He took a small wonky group and turned it into one of the most feared organizations in this state. The fact that his group has been able to connect with so many people should be a model for everyone else (although, I’m not at all a fan of their methods, including the way they seem to enjoy ginning up anger and hate).
And while I take strong issue with their insistence that their fantasy state budgets are realistic, or that “right to work” is a good thing, or that the crushing impasse was really no big deal, I do happen to agree with them on several other points, like criminal justice reform or ridiculous over-regulation of food trucks, etc.
That’s really the genius of the group. The Policy Institute completely stays away from traditional social issues and focuses solely on fiscal and economic issues. That confuses the heck out of liberals who don’t pay close attention to this stuff. The Institute isn’t officially pro-gun, or pro-life or anti-gay, so they don’t look like extremists to most eyes. And they hate taxes. Everybody hates taxes, including lots of Cook County liberals screaming about the new pop tax right now. And liberals are overjoyed with conservative support for criminal justice reform.
But now that they’ve linked up so tightly with a hugely unpopular governor, things might change for them, and not for the better. The governor’s new Policy Institute staff is hampering, even hurting him, but the governor’s not so great reputation is also now splashing on the Institute. If he fails, they’re really gonna be hurt by that.