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Proft paper: Rauner will sign HB40

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* This is from one of Dan Proft’s newspapers. There’s no byline on the story, but Dan does still have some friends in the administration. I’m not sure what to believe at the moment

Governor Bruce Rauner will sign House Bill 40, mandating state taxpayer funding of abortion, sources tell Prairie State Wire.

Rauner revealed his decision during a staff conference call this morning.

In signing the bill, Rauner will become America’s first governor to initiate taxpayer funding of abortions.

Could be misdirection. Could be a lot of things, including true. Stay tuned.

…Adding… I’m told this did not come up during the staff conference call.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Report: Chuy Garcia to endorse Chris Kennedy

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Good get, but he is also a strong supporter of the pop tax and Kennedy is strongly opposed, so you gotta wonder if this might come up tomorrow…


- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


House candidacy lasts just two days

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* BND on Monday

A Marion County Board member is making a run for state representative now that state Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem, has decided not to run for re-election next year.

Adam Smith, of Centralia, announced Monday he is seeking the Republican nomination for the 107th District. Smith owns Smith Truck Service, which services the local oil industry, and is a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker of Centralia.

He said he wants to roll back the recent income tax hike.

* From his Monday press release…

Smith said Illinois is driving businesses and taxpayers out of the state at an alarming rate, and that the trend will continue until real reforms which make Illinois a more business-friendly state are made in Springfield. Smith said it is no secret that the overall tax burden in Illinois is “absurd.” He said, “there is a limit to what is sustainable and we have exceeded it. It is time to bring Illinois back from the edge of the cliff before it’s too late.” Smith also supports term limits for legislative officeholders, saying “we have had a permanent tax increase being implemented by temporary politicians.”

* BND today

Two days after announcing his run for the Illinois House, a Marion County Board member is dropping out of the race.

* From his press release…

Marion County Republican and Centralia resident Adam Smith is suspending his campaign for the State House of Representatives, effectively immediately. Smith said, “Upon further review and a lot of introspection over the last several days, I have realized there are not enough hours in a day to achieve all that needs to be done for a campaign.” He added, “In addition to running a business, selling real estate, and fulfilling county board obligations, it is important to me that I still have time for my church and family responsibilities.”

Smith indicated many factors led to his decision to run initially in the March 20, 2018 Republican Primary, and the aforementioned factors also lead him now to suspend the campaign for State Representative of the 107th District of Illinois. Smith’s withdrawal does not, however, indicate a lack of interest in the issue of excessive taxation which he believes is debilitating the State of Illinois, nor does it dampen his interest in contributing to the betterment of our local and regional economy where he is able to do so. Smith also ran on a platform of pro-business reforms.

Smith will continue to serve as a Marion County Board Member. He stated, “I sincerely appreciate the vote of confidence I have received from all my friends and family.”

I have never seen a press release like that before. He “suspends” his campaign after two days because campaigning takes a lot of time and energy. And then he thanks all his friends and family for their “vote of confidence”?

* Related…

* July 14, 2017: With the school year and summer school complete, a freshman English and theater teacher at University High School in Normal has started his campaign for Congress.

* Today: A high school teacher who wanted to unseat U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, is ending his run for Congress.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Hmm…


* The Question: Your thoughts on this idea?

*** UPDATE *** I’m told by Madigan spokesman Steve Brown that the report has “No basis in fact”

When Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield in late October for the veto session, multiple sources tell NBC 5 the General Assembly are likely to consider whether to approve $100 million in capital funds for the Obama Presidential Library.

Sources say Speaker Madigan proposed the funding when he met with GOP Leaders Jim Durkin and Bill Brady.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


NCSL fires at proposed elimination of SALT deduction

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Press release…

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) issued the following statement in response to the release of the tax reform framework developed by the Trump administration, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance:

As a central tenet of tax reform is to provide tax relief for the middle class, NCSL is dismayed that the released framework will eliminate a deduction that is vital to middle class taxpayers, the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction. The SALT deduction has existed in the federal tax code since its inception, which coincidentally was also when the federal tax code was at its simplest, because federal tax writers were cognizant to not tax an individual’s income twice. Eliminating this deduction will lead to higher tax burdens for tens of millions of middle class taxpayers of every political affiliation, an outcome contrary to the stated goal of providing meaningful relief to taxpayers. The elimination of the SALT deduction also impedes the ability of states to invest in infrastructure, fund education, and provide the vital public services that Americans expect from their state and local governments.

Ensuring that the incomes of American workers are not taxed twice hardly counts as a special interest tax break or loophole that needs to be closed. NCSL strongly supports preservation of the SALT deduction and opposes any attempt to harm middle class taxpayers and their communities.

Protect state taxpayers. Protect local decision making. Protect SALT.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen NCSL take a hardcore public stance like that before.

“Blue” states tend to have higher state and local taxes, including property taxes, which is one reason why this is being floated in a Republican Congress. But there are a whole of of Republican members in high-tax suburban and rural districts that will be exposed to some serious constituent anger over this topic.

* From GOP Congressman Rodney Davis…

“Today House Republicans united around middle-class Americans who are being crushed by our outdated tax code,” said Davis. “Illinois residents know all too well the impact high taxes are having on their families’ ability to save and get ahead and our state’s ability to compete for good-paying jobs. Our plan uses Illinois as an example of what not to do. We want to cut tax rates for individuals, simplify but maintain important middle-class deductions, and make it so American businesses can compete globally. There’s still much more work to be done, but this is our shot at changing the lives of each working American for the better and I hope we get bipartisan support to get it done.”

But under this bill, those high state and local taxes won’t be deductible.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


SDems unveil female candidate program and other campaign news

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Press release…

Today, the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund announced a new initiative to support female candidates running for the Illinois Senate: Wings.

“We are proud to introduce Wings as an initiative to support our female legislators and candidates running for the Illinois Senate,” SDVF Communications Director Courtney Zientek said. “The amount of enthusiasm we’ve seen from women across Illinois looking to run for office has been so inspiring, and we are looking to harness that energy as we head into 2018.”

Wings will bring a special focus to our five female Senators up for re-election in 2018, and our seven female candidates working to get on the ballot and challenge Republicans next fall to join the ranks in the Illinois Senate. Wings will highlight their campaigns across the state and give women a platform to reach historic heights in Illinois government.

“There has been a lot of talk about the lack of women running for Governor of Illinois, but we have heard from many women at the local level looking to make a difference for their communities,” Zientek said. “Senate Democrats strongly believe that our historic number of female candidates will lead us to victory in the 2018 elections and add to our majority in the Illinois Senate.”

We are proud that Illinois currently has more female Senators than any state legislature in the country. However, women are still sorely underrepresented in state government and the Illinois Senate Democrats are dedicated to ensuring we add to our historic number of female legislators serving in the Illinois Senate.

Stay tuned for more information on how to get involved in our Wings campaigns and learn more about the female candidates running for the Illinois Senate here:

* In other news, US Sen. Tammy Duckworth won’t take a side in the governor’s race

On Illinois politics, Duckworth said she is not taking sides in the crowded Democratic primary race for governor. But she said she has offered to help all of them, even making available her precinct-by-precinct election results from Downstate counties that both she and Trump won. Some Democrats have taken her up on the offer — she declined to name them — but not all.

She said J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy are past contributors, and state Sen. Daniel Biss was an intern in her failed 2006 race.

* Meanwhile, in the attorney general’s race

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday declined to say how much input community members will have in finding a new head of the just-launched police oversight agency that’s a key piece of his effort to increase public trust in the Chicago Police Department.

Talking to reporters for the first time since sources acknowledged Monday that Sharon Fairley had told the mayor she was planning to step down to run for attorney general, Emanuel offered few specifics about the search for a successor.

“We’re going to have a process to — I’m going to be naming a process, working with a lot of different people, working, and I’ve had a number of discussions with individuals about how to create a process that has input to have a set of names that reflect, I think, the independence and authority that we’ve built over the past 22 months,” Emanuel said.

The mayor praised Fairley and said she has left the agency ready to carry on without her. Fairley took over the widely distrusted Independent Police Review Authority following the crisis sparked by the fatal shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald by a white police officer, turning the agency into the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

As far as I can tell, Fairley has made just three local/state campaign contributions totaling $5k. Her first was $1K to Democratic gubernatorial candidte Paul Vallas in March of 2002, then $1,500 to the eventual nominee Rod Blagojevich in August of the same year, then $2,500 to John Stroger in 2006 while she was in law school.

This NY Times article about Fairley’s 2002 marriage to Ariel Investments CEO John Rogers (they’ve since parted ways) said she was “executive director of consumer marketing and trademark development at Pharmacia, the pharmaceuticals maker in Peapack, N.J.” at the time of her first contributions. According to the piece, she “graduated magna cum laude from Princeton and received an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.”

She got her law degree from the University of Chicago and she is listed as a law lecturer. From her bio

After receiving her J.D. degree from the law school in 2006, Sharon served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Appeals section of the Office of Illinois Attorney General. In March 2007, Sharon joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. As an AUSA, Sharon investigated and tried a variety of criminal cases involving federal criminal law violations such as illegal firearms possession, narcotics conspiracy, bank robbery/murder, murder for hire and economic espionage.

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police is not a Fairley fan, to say the least.

* Moving right along, we’ll just have to see if anyone in the media will take this bait…


- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Caption contest!

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* I’m not sure if “Scott” is Rep. Drury and someone else wrote this tweet or if Scott is the name of the tour guide other than Rep. Drury, or what. But have at it…


*** UPDATE ***  As you can see, he or his campaign deleted the tweet, but somebody I know saved the photo…

Carry on.

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      


Opioid deaths are skyrocketing

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* SJ-R

[Gateway Foundation’s Springfield Treatment Center] has seen the substances plaguing its clients change drastically over the past five years as a nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse took hold in downstate Illinois, Henry said.

Gateway, which draws clients primarily from 60 downstate counties, used to serve more alcoholics but now sees 85 percent of its clients dealing with addictions from heroin, prescription drugs and other opioids, she said. […]

Statewide, the 1,826 opioid-related deaths reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health for 2016 represent more than a 70 percent increase compared with 2013 and a 32 percent increase compared with the 1,382 opioid-related deaths in 2015.

In Sangamon County, there have been 33 opioid-related deaths so far in 2017, compared with 23 in all of 2016, 41 in 2015, 32 in 2014, 14 in 2013 and 29 in 2012, according to Coroner Cinda Edwards.

At least 17 of 2017′s opioid deaths were caused by heroin overdoses, Edwards said, compared with nine heroin deaths in all of 2016 and 21 in 2015.

The full state report is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Cosgrove tries to stir up pro-life groups against a possible Rauner AV

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Personal PAC’s Terry Cosgrove on the possibility that Gov. Rauner could issue an amendatory veto of HB40 to remove the public funding component but leaving the new “trigger” deletion in place as a sort of compromise between the two sides…

Will Anti-Abortion Activists Back Trigger Repeal Move?

If Brady, Durkin, McSweeney, Breen, Morrison, Jiesel, McConchie, McDormand et. al. put their stamp of approval on Rauner’s deal to get rid of their sacred “trigger” law in exchange for his piles of money and their supporting him, how will the folks at Illinois Review, “we are not a hate group!” Illinois Family Institute, Illinois “Right to Life” (except for women, of course) et. al. react if their so-called “champions of life” legislative leaders saying that it is ok to get rid of the “life begins at conception” language in Illinois law? Outlawing all abortion is their dream with a Trump appointed Supreme Court ready to allow it, and now they are all trading it away. I believe there are a few bible verses they all might want to look at.

Um, OK. Your thoughts?

*** UPDATE ***  Illinois Review

Wednesday, State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington) and Jerry Costello (D-Collinsville) introduced HR 620, a bi-partisan effort to stop Illinois taxpayers from paying for abortions and squelch the growing movement to effectively end the “Hyde Amendment.”

The resolution

WHEREAS, in the 2017 spring session of the 100th General Assembly, both houses of the General Assembly considered, and with partisan votes passed, a bill – House Bill 40 – that was primarily drafted to expand state funding for abortions; and

WHEREAS, on April 14, 2017, Bruce Rauner, at a time when the Governor was in full awareness of HB 40 and its intended purpose, publicly pledged that the he would veto the bill; and

WHEREAS, Illinois is already one of the highest-taxed states in the United States, especially after the adoption of the recent 32% increase in the income tax rate, and it is not appropriate to expand state funding for abortions; therefore be it

RESOLVED, by the Illinois House of Representatives of the 100th General Assembly, that we call upon Governor Bruce Rauner to immediately honor his pledge to veto HB 40; and be it

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


CTBA: Tier 3 plan will cost government, employees more, won’t save much money

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* From the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability…

Illinois’ fiscal year 2018 budget introduced major changes to the state’s public pension systems in an attempt to grapple with Illinois’ roughly $130 billion in unfunded liabilities. One of the most important aspects of these changes was a new package of benefits. This new package, called “Tier 3,” introduced a hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plan in addition to the defined benefit plans of Tier 1 and Tier 2.

This month, the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) released the first long-term actuarial analysis of the effects of Tier 3 and other changes contained in the FY2018 budget.

CTBA has identified three major takeaways from SURS’ analysis:

    * The “normal cost” of Tier 3’s defined benefit plan-that is, the cost of funding the benefits earned by current employees in a given year-will be higher than many observers expected. As a result, public employers-in this case, public universities and colleges-will be required to make larger payments on behalf of their Tier 3 employees.

    * The larger normal cost also means that Tier 3 employees will pay the maximum 6.2 percent of their income towards the defined benefit portion of their retirement benefits. When added to the 4 percent of income they will pay towards the defined contribution portion of their retirement benefits, that means Tier 3 employees will pay 10.2 percent of their income in pension contributions-significantly more than the 8 percent current SURS workers pay.

    * Contrary to some reports, which concluded that because Tier 3 will not be implemented in FY2018 it will not be able to produce any savings in this fiscal year, SURS still projects $61 million FY2018 savings from Tier 3. Over the long run, however, the pension changes made in the FY2018 budget do not meaningfully reduce the state’s projected pension payments.

The full report is here.

Apparently, the new plan is just about as “This Is Illinois” as you can get.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Pritzker campaign releases statement on Mendoza endorsement

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Press release…

Today, Comptroller Susana Mendoza endorsed JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton at a grassroots campaign event at IBEW Local 193 in Springfield. This marks JB’s second endorsement by a statewide officeholder after Secretary of State Jesse White endorsed the campaign in August.

“Comptroller Susana Mendoza is a force. She is strong, she is fearless, and she is a vital voice for the people of Illinois,” said JB Pritzker. “There is no one who has done more to hold this governor accountable than Susana Mendoza. Since day one, she has traveled this state, meeting families hurt by this governor and working towards solutions. Think about how much Susana could accomplish if instead of spending her time defending families from the governor of Illinois, she had a governor as a partner in Springfield who would stand up for working families. Now it won’t be easy to defeat Bruce Rauner and his right-wing allies in 2018. But we’ve got Susana Mendoza on our team, we’re going to win. Together, we’re going to defeat Bruce Rauner for good.”

“As your state Comptroller, I have seen firsthand the division and destruction Bruce Rauner has caused this state. Over the past three years, we’ve seen the longest budget impasse in the country’s history, our bill backlog triple to $16 billion, eight credit downgrades, and social service providers decimated,” said Comptroller Susana Mendoza. “We need a governor who looks out for all Illinoisans, who will join me in lending a voice to the voiceless, and unify our fractured state. That is why I’m proud to endorse JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton for governor and lieutenant governor. I believe JB and Juliana have a vision that will put an end to Rauner’s crisis and move our state forward.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Rauner administration sets off alarm bells with proposed coal pollution rules

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Tribune

In a move that could lead to dirtier air in Chicago and other downwind communities as far away as New York, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration is pushing to overhaul stringent limits on lung-damaging pollution from some of the last coal-fired power plants in Illinois.

Proposed amendments to state rules would scrap limits on the rate of pollution from a fleet of eight coal plants in central and southern Illinois owned by Dynegy Inc. Instead, the state would impose annual caps on tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emitted by the fleet — a subtle but significant change that could stall or reverse efforts to reduce Dynegy’s contributions to smog, soot and acid rain.

Drafted with extensive input from the company’s Chicago-based attorneys, the proposed pollution caps are significantly higher than what Dynegy’s fleet emitted during each of the past two years, according to a Tribune analysis of federal pollution data.

Alec Messina, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, said the goal is to keep the financially struggling coal plants open by giving Houston-based Dynegy more flexibility to operate individual generating units, several of which are not equipped with modern pollution controls. Before joining the Rauner administration, Messina worked as a lobbyist for a trade group that represents the company’s interests in Illinois. […]

None of the Dynegy plants burns Illinois coal; the company ships its fuel by train from Wyoming mines that produce coal with a lower sulfur content. But the company employs about 1,000 people in Illinois and the power plants contribute to the tax base of local communities, making their survival a potent campaign issue as Rauner seeks re-election next year.

* The story has prompted a couple of campaign responses. Here’s Ameya Pawar…

“For too long, politicians have allowed major corporations and powerful special interests to exert control over our government, to the point of allowing companies to rewrite laws that serve their own self-interests. Gov. Rauner is continuing that tradition by allowing Dynegy to rewrite environmental regulations to benefit the coal giant at the expense of public health and the environment. As governor, I’ll stand up to the political insiders, special interests and corporations who put profits over people and will fight to protect our environment and improve people’s lives in our state.”

Illinois has the opportunity to lead the country in the fight against climate change and the creation of a 21st century economy. Pawar believes a commitment to environmental sustainability is the best path to economic prosperity and quality jobs that cannot be automated or shipped overseas. Through statewide green initiatives, protections and policies, we can revitalize our economy, create 21st century jobs, improve quality of life, and protect our future.

The coal industry doesn’t employ enough Illinois residents to justify preferential treatment in our energy mix. These plants increase asthma and local air pollution, damaging the health of our communities. Over the next 18 years, we should make a commitment to replace all that dirty power with renewable energy. Wind and solar energy are approaching grid parity in many areas, and the economics of those projects will continue to improve if we make long term commitments and deploy these technologies around the state. We can accelerate the pace of renewable integration by harnessing local installation expertise, lower the barriers to permitting and grid integration, and make an investment in our energy future.

* Sen. Daniel Biss…

“With this revelation, Bruce Rauner has proven himself an ally to those who seek to pollute our ecosystem, as well as our political system. He’s allowed coal company lobbyists to rewrite their industry’s own regulations, endangering the health of generations of Illinoisans and threatening the land on which we all live in exchange for continued political support. As Rauner once again chooses billionaires over working families, he’s confirming who he represents in the Governor’s mansion, and it isn’t the rest of us. Too bad for Bruce, it is the rest of us who get to decide who belongs in the governor’s mansion, how we run our state, and whether we will fight for a clean environment for generations to come.”

…Adding… Kennedy campaign…

Governor Rauner’s Illinois EPA has become a lackey for coal industry executives who are more driven by profits than by a belief in innovation and progress. The IEPA agreed to change a provision concerning pollution caps to allow coal companies to close plants with more pollution control equipment and replace them with cheaper, dirtier plants that tend to be more profitable. This change alone is an abdication of responsibility by the IEPA, and it is a deplorable sacrifice of the public good in order to increase the profit margins for Rauner’s big business allies.

We cannot allow the standards that protect the environment and our families’ health to be hijacked by company executives behind closed doors. We need open and frank discussions about how to overcome our environmental and economic challenges.

…Adding More… Press release…

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition issued the following statement today in the wake of a report published today by the Chicago Tribune detailing a proposed rule change being drafted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency:

“After having worked for more than two years in an open, transparent process to pass historic clean energy legislation, the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is deeply disappointed to learn of backroom negotiations taking place between Gov. Rauner’s political appointees at the Illinois EPA and Houston-based Dynegy Inc., which would result in massive new air pollution for the state of Illinois and beyond. We are especially dismayed by this turn of events given that Gov. Rauner less than a year ago signed into law the Future Energy Jobs Act, a bill which brings cleaner air and better health to people across the state, and in particular will deliver groundbreaking investments in clean energy development to central and southern Illinois. Instead of advancing real, long-term economic solutions for Illinois communities and protecting public health, the Rauner administration appears to be re-writing critical rules to help an out-of-state company pad its profits while polluting our air.”

…Adding Even More… JB Pritzker tweeted this out today

Instead of working to protect our environment, @GovRauner is showing his loyalty to his special interest friends.

By making an inside deal with an out-of-state polluter, Rauner makes it clear that special interests take priority over our state.

We need a governor who puts Illinoisans first, and that’s exactly what I’ll do in Springfield.

* Meanwhile, let’s set the Wayback Machine to March of 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s bid to dig the state out of its financial hole could strip a program designed to boost Illinois coal production.

As part of the Republican governor’s spending proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the Office of Coal Marketing and Development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity would be reduced from eight employees to zero.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


ILGOP says Mendoza “repays her debts to Madigan” with Pritzker endorsement

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* From the Illinois Republican Party…

Susana Mendoza Repays Her Debts to Madigan, Endorses Madigan’s Candidate for Governor

Mendoza’s endorsement of J.B. Pritzker is the latest order she’s taken from Mike Madigan

“Mike Madigan made Susana Mendoza’s political career by backing her campaign and clearing the field of her opponents. Now, she’s repaying those debts by endorsing J.B. Pritzker, Madigan’s favorite candidate for governor. Madigan is steamrolling all opposition to Pritzker, and Susana Mendoza is playing her part as a cog in Madigan’s corrupt Chicago Machine.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

In the latest example of Mike Madigan doing whatever it takes to ensure J.B. Pritzker wins the Democratic nomination for governor, Madigan ally Susana Mendoza endorsed Pritzker’s campaign for governor.

It’s well established that J.B. Pritzker is Mike Madigan’s chosen candidate for governor. That is why Mendoza’s endorsement comes as no surprise - she’s been showering Madigan with praise and doing his bidding for years.

Mendoza thinks Madigan is a“brilliant politician, tactician, and public servant and a great man”. Mendoza even said Madigan is her “political mentor”.

Just a day after voting for Madigan’s massive 67% tax hike, Susana Mendoza seconded Madigan’s nomination for Speaker, ensuring yet another disastrous two-years of his reign over Illinois. In her speech, Mendoza said this of Madigan:

    “It’s also my sincere honor to second the nomination of Michael J. Madigan for Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. I’ve had the privilege to serve under his unparalleled leadership for 10 years now, only a quarter of the time that Illinois has benefited from his almost 40 years of stewardship. Over the last decade, I have witnessed his skills as a leader and a man who time and time again has demonstrated his passion and love for this state and has consistently put Illinois first.”

And in 2015, Madigan pushed Daniel Biss out of the race for comptroller to clear the field for Mendoza, preventing a contested primary and ensuring an easy nomination.

Over her long career in politics, Susana Mendoza has racked up a lot of debts with Mike Madigan. Now, Mendoza is repaying her debts to Madigan by endorsing his favorite candidate for governor, J.B. Pritzker.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


“All it did was do more devastation”

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Tom Kacich interviewed retiring state Rep. Reggie Phillips, a very conservative Republican who voted for the tax hike and the veto override

Phillips came into the Legislature as a disciple of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s so-called turnaround agenda. He said he still believes in it, but it’s obvious in both his words and actions that Phillips didn’t buy into all of Rauner’s political strategies and methods. Phillips voted both for the income tax increase and the budget deal that Rauner outwardly opposed.

“The theme was to make Illinois better, shake up Springfield. I understood it. I’m in. I’m for it,” Phillips said. “But the direction it took, it took off on its own. It was like being on a whitewater raft with a professional helping you, and then all of sudden, you don’t have paddles. […]

Phillips, whose district includes Eastern Illinois University, community colleges, hospitals, prisons and other institutions affected by the two-year-long budget impasse, said he couldn’t watch it continue.

“And all it did was do more devastation at that point, in my opinion,” the two-term lawmaker and builder-developer said. “I was looking at my crystal ball, and my crystal ball said, wait a minute. You don’t want to see your university close on your watch. You don’t want to see the community colleges in your area devastated with less students going. You don’t want to see dentists leaving your district. You don’t want to see everything else that could happen.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


The cursive mandate debate continues

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* NBC 5

Gov. Bruce Rauner has rejected a measure requiring Illinois elementary schools to teach cursive writing.

The measure was among several bills Friday that the Republican took action on. In his veto message, Rauner says the legislation is “yet another unfunded mandate” for schools that doesn’t protect students’ health or safety.

Proponents had said it’s important to teach tech-savvy kids to write in cursive so they can sign documents, write personal notes and read historical texts. The proposal would’ve taken effect in the 2018 to 2019 school year.

He vetoed the bill last Friday. Click here to read his full veto message. The bill passed the Senate 41-15, so that’s a veto-proof margin. But the House vote was 62-38.

* Sun-Times

The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said in an email that he was “disappointed” by the veto.

“Research is clear that cursive writing improves cognitive learning and other important things in life,” Welch said. “But we are talking about Bruce Rauner, who could care less about kids and working families.”

* Illinois Policy Institute

Imposing a mandate on school districts – and by extension, taxpayers – at an unknown cost is irresponsible given the high tax burden piling up at the local level. Instead of adding a new cost, lawmakers should be looking to ease that growing tax burden. And reforming school districts, rather than placing additional mandates on them, would be a good place to start.

* From the Senate’s sponsor, Kimberly Lightford

“The governor’s veto threatens the ability of students to learn a fundamental skill that they will need going through life. Practical benefits, including writing a check, developing a motor skill and even interpreting historical documents like our Constitution, all require using and understanding cursive writing.

“Even with advances in technology that have emphasized more typing and less writing, we cannot give up teaching a skill that students will still need in their lives.”

* BND

“If the parents want cursive writing, they should tell their district,” said state Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville. Superintendents argued that the state should be legislating safety and civil rights issues, not cursive writing. Others argued that there were more important things that schools needed to focus on, and abandoning cursive was a sign of the times.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


Could Rauner be the first to sign taxpayer funding of abortion into law?

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* From the Catholic Conference of Illinois…

Hi Rich,

There’s an interesting tidbit about HB 40 if Gov. Rauner signs it into law. It was brought to our attention by professor Michael New at Ave Maria University in Florida. He studies abortion trends and the impact of public policy on those trends. […]

Fifteen states currently fund elective abortions through Medicaid. In 11 states this is because of a court order.

However, the four states where the policy is “voluntary” (HI, MD, NY, WA) all legalized abortion before Roe v. Wade. The legislation which legalized abortion did not contain any language about funding abortion through Medicaid. What happened is that after abortion was legalized, administrative agencies in these 4 states decided (on their own) to reimburse doctors and hospitals for abortions. Subsequent legal action by pro-lifers was unable to reverse the policy.

So, if Gov. Rauner signs HB 40, he would literally be the first governor to sign legislation that would start taxpayer funding for elective abortions in his or her state.

* Meanwhile

The Illinois Republican delegation to Congress signed onto a letter sent to Rauner on Tuesday, urging him to veto HB40.

“As you have said yourself, this bill wrongfully requires taxpayers to participate in funding abortions,” the letter reads. “While the political pressure may feel extreme, we respectfully ask you to focus on the underlying issue and not waiver [sic] on your commitment to protect taxpayers as well as the most vulnerable members of our community. We ask you to veto this harmful legislation.” Read the letter

[Personal PAC’s Terry Cosgrove] said the assertions in the letter that the bill would allow late-term abortion in Illinois is “a complete political red herring.” “Post-viability abortions are not legal in Illinois and doctors don’t do them. Late-term abortions are already outlawed in Illinois and that was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Did those police officers really violate the rules?

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel declined to criticize two Chicago police officers caught on Instagram kneeling in support of nationwide protests, but said he understands why the department is disciplining them.

“They were somewhat betwixt, between two different aspirations,” Emanuel told reporters Tuesday.

The officers are facing a reprimand for violating department policy against political activity while on duty. “The policy of the Police Department is consistent, I can say this,” the mayor said.

* Sun-Times

After a weekend of sideline demonstrations that swept through the NFL and exposed the nation’s bitter racial divide, the two uniformed African-American officers were photographed “taking a knee” in the lobby of a South Side police station.

The officers are seen kneeling beside a woman whose head is bowed. While the woman’s face is not clearly visible, the photo was posted Sunday on the Instagram account of Englewood community activist Aleta Clark, who is best known for selling T-shirts with the slogan “Hugs No Slugs.”

Clark posted several photos of herself striking a kneeling pose at several locations with children and neighborhood residents.

The photo shows the woman kneeling between the two officers, all three with their fists raised, beside the caption: “That Moment when you walk into the police station and ask the Men of Color are they Against Police Brutality and Racism & they say Yes… then you ask them if they support Colin Kapernick [sic] … and they also say yes… then you ask them to Kneel!”

* But here is what CPD policy actually prohibits

In addition to the positive requirements of all the foregoing sections, the following rules of conduct set forth expressly prohibited acts.

Prohibited acts include […]

Rule 42: Participating in any partisan political campaign or activity.

Look, I get why the department would want to nip this sort of thing in the bud, but how is what those cops did a “partisan” activity? Partisan means something connected to a political party, right?

*** UPDATE ***  And of course this would happen. From Chicago Code Blue’s Facebook page


Hey it's only a reprimand right? God Bless this CPD officer for having the courage to also stand up for what he believes…

Posted by Chicago Code BLUE on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The organization describes itself as a “coalition of law enforcement supporters whos mission is to support the efforts of our brave men and women of our Chicago BLUE.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Biss attacks Pritzker on taxes

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Press release…

Biss for Illinois campaign manager, Abby Witt, released the following statement in response to J.B. Pritzker’s latest ad announcing his support for a progressive income tax.

“It’s great to hear a billionaire talk about a progressive income tax, but actions that live up to those words would be even better. This summer, when asked if he supports taking action in Illinois to close a tax loophole that hedge fund billionaires use to avoid paying their fair share, J.B. said no. That’s the same thing he said when asked to pay his full property taxes last year, instead gaming the system for a big tax break.

“Daniel has been fighting for a progressive income tax for years, publicly supporting proposals by his colleagues in the Senate and introducing his own proposed amendment this summer. He passed the first bill in the nation to close the carried interest tax loophole, which would provide much needed revenue for Illinois.

“J.B. might be spending millions to do it, but talk is still cheap.”

Background

* Biss is right about Pritzker’s position on the closing the state loophole, but the billionaire does favor federal action

If the Biss bill becomes law, it would impose for the first time a state tax of 20 percent on Illinois private-equity firms, as well as venture and hedge fund firms, for the investment gains they achieve for clients. That would drive investment firms out of the state, O’Hara says. An Illinois Department of Revenue analysis suggests she may be right. It predicts $1.7 billion in additional revenue the first year, but a wash in later years as firms leave or reclassify income.

J.B. Pritzker agrees that Illinois firms might flee, and take jobs with them. “I favor a federal law to close the carried interest loophole nationally, which would create an even playing field across states and ensure Illinois is not disadvantaged in drawing investment capital to our state,” he says in a statement.

…Adding… From the Pritzker campaign, which points out that the candidate has been pushing a graduated income tax since Day One of his campaign…

April 2017: At His Campaign Kickoff, Pritzker Told Reporters That We Needed To “Start With The Millionaires And Billionaires And Make Sure That They’re Paying Taxes First.” “At his kickoff event, Pritzker told reporters, ‘I think that we ought to start with the millionaires and billionaires and make sure that they’re paying taxes first, and then we’re not going to be talking about raising taxes on middle-class families until we take care of that problem.’” [Chicago Tribune, 4/6/17]

HEADLINE: “Pritzker Says State Needs Progressive Tax Structure” [State Journal-Register, 4/17/17]

May 2017: Pritzker Called For A Progressive Income Tax That Would Require Wealthier People To Pay More. “Instead, Pritzker’s proposing a progressive income tax structure that would require wealthier residents and corporations to pay more.” [Peoria Public Radio, 5/26/17]

June 2017: Pritzker Called For A Progressive Income Tax So That We Weren’t Putting The Burden On Working Families. PRITZKER: “Well, we need to start with a progressive income tax in this state. People who can afford to pay should be the first ones who step up to the plate. We shouldn’t be putting the burden upon working families, and middle-class families, and people striving to get to the middle-class, before we ask people who can afford to pay to step up to the plate.” [Morning Shift, WBEZ, 6/14/17]

July 2017: Pritzker: “We’ve Got To Make Sure We’ve Got A Progressive Income Tax In This State.” “‘Well, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a progressive income tax in this state so that people could afford to pay a higher rate due,’ Pritzker said. ‘And people in the middle class, striving to get to the middle class don’t get burdened by higher taxes.’” [Fox Illinois, 7/4/17]

July 2017: When Asked If They Supported A Progressive Income Tax, All Six Gubernatorial Candidates Raised Their Hands. “When asked by moderator Brandis Friedman, of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, who supported a ‘progressive’ income tax, all six men raised their hands. Each also said they supported raising the state’s minimum wage and working to fund public schools before charter schools.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 7/14/17]

August 2017: Pritzker Talked With The Democratic Women Of Kendall County About A Progressive Income Tax. “The pair addressed an event hosted by the Democratic Women of Kendall County, a relatively new organization formed in April, at the UAW Local 145 hall… During his address, Pritzker focused on issues such as implementing a progressive income tax to give property tax relief to residents, improving funding for education and social services, and legalizing marijuana. Pritzker said he favors a progressive income tax, in which those who make more money pay a higher income tax rate, to help fund schools and offset the property tax burden.” [Kendall County Now, 8/16/17]

September 2017: JB Pritzker To Macomb County: “We’re One Of The Few States Left That Still Has A Flat Tax. It’s Antiquated, It’s Unfair And It’s Regressive.” “Pritzker outlined some points needing to be addressed to solve the state’s financial challenges. He encourages a progressive income tax. ‘We’re one of the few states left that still has a flat tax system. It’s antiquated, it’s unfair and it’s regressive. But we have a challenge because it’s written into the constitution,’ he said. ‘We can overcome that in two distinct ways. The first is to elect enough state representatives and senators to get it done. He need 71 votes in the House and 36 in the Senate. We don’t have enough in the House for sure.’” [McDonough County Voice, 9/27/17]

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Another problem for McCann

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Add this to a long and apparently growing list of financial issues for the GOP incumbent, who faces a contested primary next year and may run for governor

State Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, and his wife, Vicki, were subjects of a foreclosure lawsuit filed last summer on a home they purchased in Florida in 2005.

McCann, who owns a construction company, said the property included 20 acres he hoped to develop, but the purchase was followed by the “financial meltdown” of 2008-2009.

According to the lawsuit, filed July 1, 2016, by Bank of America against the McCanns, a bank and two unknown tenants, the McCanns defaulted on the loan and failed to make any payments since April 1, 2015.

The final judgment of foreclosure, dated June 1, listed the total due as $157,573. That included the unpaid principal of $134,081, plus $17,346 in interest, as well as other charges, such as title search, service of process and notice of publication. […]

“Unlike some other legislators, or would-be legislators, I don’t have to read about the problems real Illinoisans face in a textbook,” McCann said. “I have faced and continue to face many of the same problems that so many citizens face every day. I have indeed walked a mile in their footsteps.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Homeland Security confirms Illinois voter registration database was targeted by Russian hackers

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* From the Illinois State Board of Elections

On Friday, September 22, 2017, the Illinois State Board of Elections received a call from the Department of Homeland Security confirming that Illinois was one of the states which had its voter registration database targeted by Russian “hackers.” This notification related to the incursion into the Illinois database that occurred in July of 2016, as detailed in our August 26, 2016 Illinois Voter Registration System Database Breach Report. There was no new information provided to Illinois in the DHS call.

Click here for more background.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Special session for Amazon?

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* Dave McKinney interviewed House Republican Leader Jim Durkin this week and he summed up the interview for WBEZ

On what Durkin doesn’t want Amazon to do

McKinney: He doesn’t want to see environmental standards relaxed to suit Amazon. He doesn’t want to see Amazon given permission to fast track any kind of legal disputes to the state supreme court. These were concessions that Wisconsin made to Foxconn. He doesn’t want to do that. … If, for some reason, Amazon doesn’t meet the 50,000 jobs that it’s promising to create, he wants to give Illinois the ability to yank those subsidies. So those are his key points. Here we have one legislative leader, going on record saying what he wants to see contained in an incentive package. […]

What’s next for Illinois before October 19

McKinney: Jim Durkin has said that perhaps here we need to schedule a special session in Springfield prior to the deadline to submit these proposals, which is Oct. 19. Durkin told me that the Foxconn example caused him to sit up and think a little bit about what ought to go into an incentive package that will have to be acted on by Springfield.

Watch for whether or not we get a special session or not. Durkin is going to be pushing for that, or he at least favors it. We would probably know ahead of the 19th what the details of it are. If there is a decision to try and show an act of good faith and get a package passed ahead of that deadline, I think strategically that would be a good move. I think if not, I would expect word of what’s going into these things to begin trickling out after the 19th. Nobody wants to show their hand prior to that.

…Adding… Press release…

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner today announced the formation of a committee that will support the drive to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to the Chicago area. The committee will be co-chaired by Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines.; Penny Pritzker, Founder and Chair of PSP Capital; Jim Reynolds, Chairman and CEO of Loop Capital; and Miles White, Chairman and CEO of Abbott.

The effort will be headed by the Mayor and Governor, who are serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Committee, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who is serving as Honorary Vice-Chair. In total, the committee is comprised of more than 600 leaders from across the business, financial, technology, arts and culture, civic and education communities.

“This unprecedented coalition brings together the public and private sectors with education, community and faith leaders to speak with a powerful, unified voice that says that Chicago is the ideal location for Amazon to build its new home and continue to grow for generations,” Mayor Emanuel said. “As we prepare the bid to bring Amazon home to Chicago, this committee will highlight the region’s competitiveness and strength as a national and global leader in business, education, research, culture and quality of life.”

“This Committee’s membership compellingly represents the assets that Illinois offers business,” Governor Rauner said. “These leaders take advantage of our resources in transportation, distribution and logistics; technology and engineering excellence; world renowned medical, academic and educational research; and culture, arts, recreation and sports. Most important, they access Illinois’ diverse, highly skilled workforce. Their involvement sends a great message about the value of doing business in Illinois.”

The full and very long list is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Will Gov. Rauner AV HB40?

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

* The AV rumor was flying all day yesterday, so I tend to believe this, but we’ll just have to wait and see what he does

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin met with Cardinal Blase Cupich on Tuesday to relay that Gov. Bruce Rauner is mulling issuing an amendatory veto to the HB40 abortion bill, sources told POLITICO.

Durkin — hailed as one of the chief negotiators in the landmark education funding bill — discussed with Cupich the thinking behind Rauner’s anticipated step with the abortion legislation just sent to his desk: veto the portion expanding the public funding of abortion, but support a reversal to the so-called “trigger law,” sources said. The trigger law would automatically make abortion illegal in Illinois in the hypothetical case that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Rauner has already voiced support for that portion of HB40, saying he would sign a bill that only contains language reversing the so-called “trigger.”

It’s the expansion of public funding of abortion that’s riling opponents of the bill, so much so, in fact, that they’ve threatened to primary Rauner if he signs it. But supporters say an amendatory veto would kill the whole bill. (more on that below). […]

Reached Tuesday, Durkin confirmed he had met with Cupich but would not elaborate on HB40 talk. “The Cardinal and I had a conversation about the education bill, the tax credit program, implementation and other areas of interest,” Durkin told POLITICO. “Sure we had a meeting. I just don’t want to go any further than what I told you.”

An AV was the plan under the prior staff regime.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


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