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Cartoon removed, racism denied

Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Public Radio

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives twice expressed unanimous opposition Wednesday to expressions of racial animus.

In an official 105-0 vote, the House adopted a resolution — sponsored by Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, and Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills — which vilifies white supremacists. The proclamation specifically “repudiates and condemns'’ neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and others that “espouse hate.'’

The vote was a response to incidents in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, where a woman was killed and 19 injured when a man plowed his car into a group of counterdemonstrators at a rally of white supremacists protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

…Adding… Rep. Dave McSweeney’s floor speech

* More background is here. From the Sun-Times

An emotional state Rep. Jaime Andrade brought lawmakers to their feet on Wednesday in denouncing an Illinois Policy Institute cartoon that depicted a young African-American boy from Chicago begging for money for school from a wealthy white man with half-empty pockets.

The North Side Democrat denounced the cartoon as “s—,” prompting Democrats to rise to give him a standing ovation, with Republicans quickly joining in.

The conservative think tank defended the cartoon, arguing it was not racist, but late Wednesday took it down from the organization’s website, saying the controversy was a distraction from the real issue, “the failure of political leaders to address the root cause of our struggling education system.” […]

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, also joined in on the debate on Twitter: “Cartoons don’t make racism any more palatable @illinoispolicy should delete their cartoon and apologize. That has no place in policy debate.”

* Tribune

Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, raised the issue on the House floor Wednesday, asking his colleagues to stand in opposition, saying the representation in the cartoon was “unacceptable.”

“People forget that I am a minority, maybe because I move my hands and think I’m Italian, I don’t know. But this… this is just unacceptable,” Andrade said. “This unbelievable that we, today, in 2017, are still dealing with this s—.. Because that’s what it is.” […]

The Chicago-based advocacy organization, which has counted Rauner among its donors, has been a key player in efforts to promote conservative ideology in Illinois. The group recently took on an even higher profile after Rauner replaced several of his top aides with policy institute staffers.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said he had not seen the cartoon, but noted Rauner’s decision to formally bring the organization into his administration.

* John Tillman press release…

“The Illinois Policy Institute recently published a cartoon to address the sad reality that TIF districts rob Illinois children – including children of color – of the funds necessary for their education. The price our children pay for this misgovernance is steep.

“Some lawmakers are denouncing our cartoon. We respect these lawmakers, both as representatives of their constituencies and as bearers of their own experiences and perceptions, and we acknowledge their critique.

“But our cartoon told the truth: TIFs take away money from all students, and disproportionately harm students of color. We stand by that fact. And we have long fought to help all students get access to better educational opportunities. TIF prevents that.

“We have taken down the cartoon, not because we think it is racist, but because it is a distraction from another truth – the failure of political leaders to address the root cause of our struggling education system. We stand ready to work with all elected officials and advocates who would like to see TIF money properly refocused on students across the state.

“Finally, what we find sad, and frankly offensive, is that in a world where so much real, harmful racism exists, political leaders are using the false charge of racism in an attempt to smear policy opponents and distract the people of Illinois from politicians’ failures.

“This is a distraction from the most important task at hand in the Statehouse: Ensuring equitable education funding for all Illinois students.”

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45 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    ===“We have taken down the cartoon, not because we think it is racist, but because it is a distraction from another truth…===

    So Tillman stands by a cartoon that the entire IL House voting found racist?

    This is very good to know now about Tillman… in his own words too.


  2. - Ghost - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    IPI air raid siren racism because, its justified?


  3. - Anon E. Moose - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    This isn’t a one time thing, they apparently love racist cartoons: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DHYkTqkXcAImqAd.jpg


  4. - Annonin' - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    The sad reality is it took long to ubderatand what IPI and other Illinois vased Koch Brothers group stand for is any thing that doesn’t. put white 1%ers first


  5. - Rogue Roni - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:00 am:

    Cartoons aren’t racist, the people who draw them on the other hand…


  6. - PublicServant - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:00 am:

    Divide and Conquer once again. Pit local development against school funding thus shifting the costs to the local governments, followed by allowing them to declare bankruptcy. IPI is transparent in its austerity politics at least.


  7. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    Verifies what we already knew. Tillman doesn’t have a clue.


  8. - Anon221 - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    Tillman’s “gravity lesson”-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3glJIWQ4r0


  9. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    Not a single GOP rep. offered a word of defense?

    Popular crew, that IPI. Wonder if they have the coalition-building skills necessary in a democracy?

    I hear they have an infatuating website. It’s all the talk on the North Shore cocktail circuit.


  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    ===“We have taken down the cartoon, not because we think it is racist, but because it is a distraction from another truth…===

    “The War of Agression was not about slavery, it was about preserving State’s rights”


  11. - Juvenal - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:04 am:

    === some lawmakers ===

    In his defense, the Senate has yet to weigh in, and the other 49 states.

    Of course, the Senate wasn’t in session, so if he is demanding a joint resolution, I suppose it could be drafted.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:04 am:

    It’s been noted in news that Diana and Bruce Rauner appreciate and were obsessed with IPI and IPI’s messaging.

    Is this what the Rauners meant?

    ======“We have taken down the cartoon, not because we think it is racist, but because it is a distraction from another truth…===

    I dunno if that’s good messaging after the backlash.


  13. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    “Some lawmakers…” I suppose one could call 105 out of 105 law makers “some” but I tend to disagree.


  14. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:08 am:

    “not because we think it is racist”

    Others think it’s racist. The IPI doesn’t think it’s racist–a young destitute black child on the street, sitting down panhandling? It reminds me of what Trump said during the campaign about African-Americans having terrible schools and no jobs, or something like that.

    Plus, it has Chicago in it, with the cap, so it’s a slur of Chicago. On Twitter the IPI very recently was one of four followers of a troll who referred to Chicago as S***cago (rhymes with twit). That’s very telling of the IPI’s true sentiments.


  15. - Earnest - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:08 am:

    Years of bipartisan negotiation on school funding reform without TIFs being part of the discussion and Rauner suddenly makes that a major issue. It’s a pity he didn’t tell his legislators what was going to be very important to them sooner.


  16. - justthefacts - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    IPI is disingenuous, really bad at math, or both.


  17. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    Q: What is the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI)?
    A: It’s Bruce Rauner’s Brietbart

    It really is that simple.

    – MrJM


  18. - Archpundit - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    I have to say I was surprised by the collage of black caricatures.


  19. - MacombMike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    You should probably include the discussion from WVON this morning: https://www.facebook.com/mazjac/posts/10155319864635342


  20. - TominChicago - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    Studies have determined that TIFs do not deprive schools of tax revenue. While the errant racism of that cartoon obviously needed to called out, why is the IPI allowed to continue spinning it’s false argument.


  21. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    Since the Rauners are so infatuated with IPI messaging, perhaps the press should ask them if they think it is racist. The answer might be quite revealing.


  22. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    ===But our cartoon told the truth: TIFs take away money from all students, and disproportionately harm students of color. We stand by that fact. And we have long fought to help all students get access to better educational opportunities. TIF prevents that.===

    That’s not a fair characterization of TIFs. There have been some abuses and some questionable spending decisions, but TIFs have also succeeding in boosting economic development and raising all property value in a given area. Those rising property values lead to higher assessed valuations for properties near the TIF district that, for lack of the TIF development, would not have increased. The general idea with TIF is that a rising tide lifts all boats. It isn’t perfect, but I don’t believe we have to choose between economic development and public education. We can have both and TIFs, when used properly, allow for that.

    Tillman couldn’t be more wrong about TIFs, nor could he be more blind to the racist cartoons his organization promotes.


  23. - MacombMike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    ===Studies have determined that TIFs do not deprive schools of tax revenue.

    Absent TIF, CPS would have been entitled to $300 million more in 2016. They didn’t get that money. Seems pretty straight forward that TIF deprives schools of tax revenue.


  24. - X-prof - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    With no apologies to Steve Bannon: The longer IPI focuses on identity politics, we got ’em. If IPI is focused on race and identity, and we go with basic human decency, we can crush the Raunerites.


  25. - MacombMike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    ===It isn’t perfect, but I don’t believe we have to choose between economic development and public education. We can have both and TIFs, when used properly, allow for that.

    Most of the EAV is coming from the TIFs in or around downtown. That development would have happened without TIF. I’m pretty sure CPS could use $300 million in annual revenue about now.


  26. - Political Animal - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    ==Absent TIF, CPS would have been entitled to $300 million more in 2016==

    But those property values only increased, generating that $300 mil in revenue, because of the TIF.

    Your argument would be like a corporation complaining about all the money they would have had if they didn’t have to pay dividends to their investors.


  27. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    ===Absent TIF, CPS would have been entitled to $300 million more in 2016===

    It’s hard to prove, but if you examine TIF-funded developments over the last twenty years, you’ll see that these have contributed to higher property values in and near the TIF districts. TIFs take the increased property tax revenue from within the TIF district, but the rising property tax revenue from nearby properties goes into the normal channels, like schools. And my argument is, the property taxes paid to schools via higher valuations of properties near a TIF district and the resulting new development within a TIF district, more than makes up for any so-called diversion.

    Have you been to the West Loop or South Loop recently? TIF funded projects jump started those developing neighborhoods. As I said, it is hard to calculate the impact, but I’d argue the annual return is more than the $300 million figure often cited.

    Also, IPI publishes racist cartoons.


  28. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    @MacombMike -

    Because of property tax caps, CPS is limited in what it can spend.

    You can argue that other property taxpayers pay more in Chicago, Clinton, Peoria, etc. due to TIFs. But to suggest eliminating TIFs would increase spending by the same amount for taxing bodies is incorrect.

    Its also important to understand that properties within the TIF aren’t getting a break on their property taxes, those monies are just being used for area economic development/infrastructure.

    Without TIFs, municipalities would presumably just end up raising taxes to fund economic development projects.

    So its hard to argue that eliminating TIFs would save taxpayers big bucks either.


  29. - MacombMike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    ===As I said, it is hard to calculate the impact, but I’d argue the annual return is more than the $300 million figure often cited.

    There are other ways to encourage economic development. TIF doesn’t have to be the way to do it. But, for a second, let’s say that TIF did a good job from the 80’s until now at raising the EAV. At a time when CPS is in crisis (and has been in crisis for years now), it’s time to make CPS whole NOW. Not 23 years from the creation of a TIF.

    The $300 million number is what they are entitled to. Approximately 53% of $561 million in annual TIF revenue.


  30. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    Mike, you’re buying into a false notion that we can’t afford both economic development and public education. John Tillman has an agenda, and believe me when I tell you, that agenda has nothing to do with helping to better fund CPS.

    He is a charlatan and a propagandist whose organization publishes racist cartoons.


  31. - MacombMike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    ===Because of property tax caps, CPS is limited in what it can spend.

    Are you talking about the PTELL caps? Because TIF is exempt from PTELL. When a municipality wants to claim the new EAV from a TIF (either by expiration or cancellation), they can increase their levy. That’s part of the exemption.


  32. - MacombMike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    ===Mike, you’re buying into a false notion that we can’t afford both economic development and public education.

    The only notion I’m buying into is that CPS is entitled to $300 million in annual revenue that is being kept from them under the guise of economic development. Again, most of the TIF revenue is coming in around downtown (and includes 2 TIF districts in the Loop).

    Now, if you want to talk about TIF in neighborhoods like Austin, Englewood, etc, that’s fine. But as long as most of the TIF money is coming from downtown and around downtown, this argument persists.


  33. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    ==not because we think it is racist==

    They chose to portray a black child on purpose. Don’t try to tell me the cartoon wasn’t racist. That was the point of the cartoon. Own up to your message.


  34. - Juice - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    MacombMike, its not about TIFs being exempt from PTELL, it’s that CPS is covered under PTELL. So its levy can only be increased by CPI, meaning that it could not legally raise its levy to capture the property growth in those downtown TIFs if those TIFs had never existed.

    You are correct in pointing out that it can capture that EAV and raise its levy if the TIFs are cancelled or expired, but that is only possible because they were in a TIF in the first place, but it should be noted that there is also a nearly dollar for dollar reduction in State funding under the current formula once that is done. (The Governor’s budget proposal from last year which would have resulted in a $74 million reduction for CPS was primarily the result of the expiration of the South Central TIF and despite the Governor’s rhetoric, had very little to do with declining enrollment at CPS.)


  35. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    This cartoon was just Rauner’s anti-Chicago campaign rhetoric translated from a dogwhistle into visual form.

    Would be nice if the Republicans that stood against the divisive cartoon also stand against the divisive dogwhistle stuff that Rauner/IPI are running their 2018 campaign on.


  36. - DeseDemDose - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    Demoralized…exactly. That is the backbone of IPI. Chicago bad….


  37. - Mike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:20 am:

    what is the makeup of CPS students again? apparently even the truth is racist now


  38. - MacombMike - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    Juice- There are a lot of things going on there.

    Under the existing formula, CPS still ends up a net winner by eliminating TIFs. The GSA lost is certainly not more than the TIF share. I think a few years ago, when TIF EAV in Chicago was $10 billion, the GSA share was around $250 million. Now that TIF EAV has dropped to around $6.6 billion. That would mean the GSA share would also drop. If I had to guess (without running the numbers) the difference is still net $100 million for CPS.

    Under SB1, they have the hold harmless that allows them to not lose any money. So they would get the $300 million without losing GSA.


  39. - walker - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    McSweeney is an intelligent, responsible, traditional Conservative.

    Afraid the Raunerites are abandoning such leaders, as much as they are abandoning traditional moderate Republicans.


  40. - Wensicia - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    A simple apology for the harm and offense caused by their cartoon would be appropriate. Whether Tillman thinks it’s racist or not, he agrees the perception exists or why take it down?


  41. - Hey Now - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    IPI ala Rauner and his wife. WOW and this is the real feelings of the governor and his wife. Can it get more extreme here in Illinois? Or will he and his wife keep sticking to the plan of lying and denying the fact that they support this group, now his whole administration, financially and morally? IPI is a radical group linked to white nationalism via Trump aka Rauner.


  42. - PhD - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    The cartoon is so obviously racist that it becomes impossible to have a credible discussion about the economic implications of TIF districts.


  43. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 1:36 pm:

    “what is the makeup of CPS students again? apparently even the truth is racist now” They could have drawn more than one kid. They could have left off the Cubs hat. Mr. Moneybags could have also been African-American. They could have drawn the kid as Latino or Asian. They could have made the kid less of a caricature. Need I continue?


  44. - Pundent - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    ===“We have taken down the cartoon, not because we think it is racist, but because it is a distraction from another truth…===

    Is this there way of saying “there’s blame on both sides”?


  45. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 6:07 pm:

    If it wasn’t racist it was completely tone-deaf. And it was completely fixable: say drawing a group of students composed of various races/ethnicities instead of one -


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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