* Back in August, Sen. Daniel Biss dodged a direct question about whether he favored repealing the Cook County pop tax. He actually kind of rationalized why the tax was approved in his response…
We have a tax code that was written by billionaires and political insiders for their own benefit. Because the system doesn’t work for middle class Illinoisans, local governments are placed in a no-win situation to generate revenue.
CAMERON: And let’s talk about the bill to repeal the pop tax the penny per ounce pop tax up here in Cook County, much hated because it raises the price so much and is so visible. Might have Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle who broke the tide to enact it, might be in trouble in the next year’s election. How would you vote on the pop tax repealer?
BISS: Well, listen, here’s the problem here. The problem is the pop tax is a regressive tax like we’ve discussed and yet the state doesn’t leave the county with a lot of options. And the truth is that local revenue sources in Illinois have been regressive whether it’s the pop tax, or any kind of other fees like this that tend to nickel and dime the poor or the property tax which is also regressive. OK? And so, in my opinion what the state needs to do is to have a comprehensive tax reform that enables local governments to fund their operations in a way that’s actually fair in a way that actually makes sense. And so a lot of people are going after Cook County now and making political hay out of this. What I would say is they didn’t have a lot of better options. So, let’s create better options for them. Let’s work on a comprehensive tax reform plan in the state of Illinois, use that to have a modern 2017 tax code, not a 1970 or 1920 tax code. And then with that tax code bring in adequate revenue from the people whose incomes have ballooned in the last two generations who can genuinely afford to pay. And then quit with this nickling and diming of poor people.
CAMERON: Was that a yes you’d vote for the repealer of the pop tax?
BISS: I’m for comprehensive tax reform. That’s the right way forward. And I think the kind of half measures that address one problem, but don’t actually fix the root, don’t really help us very much. Let me give another example. Property taxes in Illinois are way too high, way too high. And Bruce Rauner has been pushing for a property tax freeze that doesn’t actually solve the problem. And so, the Bruce Rauner property tax freeze would just hurt schools, hurt local governments. I’m not for that. I’m for a bill that cuts property taxes by reforming our tax code and funding our schools and the way they should have been funded for decades. And that’s something that we’ve been talking about for a long time but no one’s had the guts to do. I’m running for governor to finally actually get these things done, so we have a tax code that works for the rest of us in a school finance system that works with the rest of us and a state government that genuinely works for all of us.
CAMERON: That’s state Senator Dan Biss. Daniel, thanks for coming in.
BISS: Thanks so much for having me.
CAMERON: Who I think is for repealing the pop tax, but I’m not sure.
GOLDEN: Ok, two last questions. One raw policy and lawmaking and then one raw politics about the campaign and how you’re doing. So, look you clearly have a progressive vision, you know your campaign you said it’s a campaign about Medicare for all, it’s a campaign about a $15 minimum wage, about college affordability and tax fairness.
But in Springfield though, it has been noted that you’ve cast some tough votes. Sometimes were at odds with progressives.
At one point $6 billion in cuts as part of Medicaid reform and if the reporting’s accurate because I didn’t follow this legislation but it strips some public employees of collective bargaining even though I know that you are big on workers’ rights and you take on the governors of Wisconsin and not just Illinois but Wisconsin and Michigan too in terms of them trying to reduce the strength of collective bargaining power so I guess it’s a two-part question Daniel. The first is talk about sometimes you have to make tough votes and compromise in order to get anything done and if you will you may comment on a couple of those things I just noted in that recent legislation.
BISS: I mean, listen, you do have to compromise and I think that, frankly, the state of Illinois is burning in part because we have a governor who’s unwilling to compromise, who’s unwilling to find paths forward to work with the other side and I think that’s not a constructive way to do to make progress.
Now what I will say is that I have been focused in my time in the legislator on finding ways forward, on advancing progressive causes, and on compromising when necessary, and one legislator doesn’t have the ability to change the terms of the debate. And so, I have voted for things that I love, I have voted for things that were tough compromises and I’ve voted for those things to help move the state forward.
But I also think it’s important to say we have not asked all of the right questions in Illinois, and the most important question that we should be asking is how to reform our tax system so that we can actually have the ability to afford the government that we need. And since I first began running for state Rep. and through my time in the legislature and certainly now in my campaign for governor I’ve been fighting very hard to repeal that flat tax provision in the Illinois constitution, which has made it impossible for us to ask the richest residents to pay their fair share. And because of that inability we’ve had devastating budget problems throughout my time in the legislator. Those devastating problems have resulted in unpleasant compromises that I’ve sometimes voted for to move the ball forward but in the meantime, we need to actually fix the underlying problem and to fix the underlying problem we need to fix our tax code.
Beyond supporting Rauner during his 2014 campaign, I also briefly worked in his administration this summer. I learned firsthand during that time how strident the Rauners are in their support of abortion, so I’m not going to attempt here to prove to them how morally wrong it is. I won’t try to convince them that abortion is murder; that claiming to fight for women’s rights is contrary to allowing millions of them to be exterminated in utero; that science proves life begins at conception; that pre-born children are more than just “clumps of cells.” (Perhaps on this last item, the Rauners can refer to a recent social media post by the Ounce of Prevention Fund, where Diana Rauner is president. A Sept. 18 Ounce of Prevention Fund Facebook post said: “Parenting begins before your baby is even born: Did you know babies’ taste buds begin developing at 8 weeks? Research suggests that what you eat during your pregnancy impacts what your child eats as they grow up — so time to start developing their taste for veggies now!”)
Since moral arguments will not resonate, I’ll stick to the political and economic ones.
In April, the governor’s office stated he did not support HB 40 due to “the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion.” Rauner’s initial assessment of the situation is correct, and he should stick to it. Taxpayers on both sides of the abortion debate are deeply divided over whether taxpayers should pay for abortions, especially abortions that are entirely elective and are not related to rape, incest and/or the life of the mother.
The governor should stick to the theme that was his battle cry during the 2014 campaign: Protect taxpayers. Forcing taxpayers to pay for elective abortions is not consistent with the promises Rauner made when he ran for office. […]
If Rauner wants voters — especially those who comprise his conservative base — to believe anything he says on the campaign trail in 2018, he should veto the abortion bill on his desk. If Gov. Rauner truly believes in doing what’s best for taxpayers, he must veto the legislation.
When the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy looked at every state with an income tax, guess who they said was the most unfair?
That’s right. It’s Illinois.
It’s time for that to change. As governor, I’ll fight to pass a progressive income tax. It will make the wealthy pay more, provide support for priorities like education and reduce the tax burden on middle class families.
Let’s make our tax system fair and bring real change to Illinois.
*** UPDATE 1 *** There’s a problem with Pritzker’s analysis.
If you look at ITEP’s Illinois analysis [click here], you’ll see that the share of family income going to the state’s personal income tax is actually quite a bit less for the lowest 20 percent of earners than it is for the highest earners. That’s likely because of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The real culprits are sales and property taxes. The bottom 20 percent pay 7.1 percent of their family income to the sales tax, compared to 0.8 percent for the top 1 percent. And the bottom 20 percent spend 4.9 percent of household income on property taxes, compared to 1.8 percent for the top 1 percent.
So, while he’s right that our tax system is unfair, his solution won’t do anything about the really regressive taxes.
The study, Who Pays?, provides insight into the drivers behind the unfairness encoded into Illinois’ existing tax system. Illinois relies heavily on taxes that are not based on ability to pay, but rather on a flat rate. Further, unlike most other states, Illinois does not have an income tax where taxpayers with higher incomes pay a higher rate and taxpayers with lower incomes pay a lower rate. As a result, the income tax doesn’t bring more balance to the overall tax system by offsetting the higher share of income that poorer taxpayers pay in sales and property taxes.
One positive aspect of Illinois’ tax system is the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which lets low- and moderate-income working families keep more of their earnings to help pay for things that help them keep working, such as child care and transportation. To improve tax fairness in Illinois, lawmakers should increase the value of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.
*** UPDATE 2 *** From the ILGOP…
J.B. Pritzker supported the income tax hike without reform, engineered a property tax scam that saved him over $230,000, and is partnering with Mike Madigan, who profits from Illinois’ broken property tax system. Pritzker pretending to care about fair taxes is just his latest scam.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Buildings today announced the 53rd tower crane to operate in Chicago in 2017, breaking the record of 52 tower cranes operating set last year. The latest tower crane to dot the sky is located at 2345 N. Lincoln Avenue, a six- acre mixed-use development on the former site of Children’s Memorial Hospital.
“People are optimistic about the future of Chicago. They want to move here, they want to invest here and they want to build here,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As Chicago’s economy continues to get stronger, we will continue to partner with businesses, big and small, to keep this progress going.”
With this new tower crane, there are 53 tower cranes in operation this year, 31 are still on construction sites in Chicago and seven new tower cranes are pending installation. This marks the largest number of operating cranes in a year since the Great Recession, when the City dropped to as low as 12 operating tower cranes in 2010.
The new tower crane is the second to be installed at this development, called The Lincoln Common. The transit-oriented development features 94,000 square feet of retail space, 538 apartment units, 40 luxury condominiums, a 47,000 square foot boutique office building, a parking garage with 850 spaces, a 149-room senior living facility and more than an acre of open space. New buildings will be mixed with restored and revitalized structures to integrate into the existing neighborhood fabric with ready access to the Fullerton train stop (red/brown/purple CTA lines), buses and bike lanes.
“The Hines McCaffery partnership is very proud to share in this historic moment,” said Dan McCaffery, Chief Executive Officer of McCaffery Interests. “We love this city and the opportunities it offers for so many. Congratulations Chicago!”
Cranes typically operate on construction sites for over a year and can operate for as long as two years, depending on the size of the development.
In addition to tower crane records, Chicago last week reported a dramatic uptick in permits issued for single-family home renovations. In 2015, the average number of permits issued per month was 169, and through the first half of this year, we have averaged 202 permits per month. Following a commitment to homeowners last fall to issue single-family home renovation permits without special zoning approvals in 30 days or less, the average time to get this permit in 2017 is 25 days (a decrease of 10 days from 2016).
“The Department of Buildings is committed to being a partner, not an obstacle, for building projects,” said Building Commissioner Judy Frydland. “We have laid the groundwork in the last two years with reforms that make it more cost-effective to build and easier to obtain building permits.”
Recent reforms implemented under Mayor Emanuel and Department of Buildings Commissioner Judith Frydland include a new Electrical Code approved by City Council in early September, the elimination of multiple dwelling registration, and additional code relief for plumbing, energy, and natural light and ventilation requirements.
Might wanna get rid of that cloud services tax, Mr. Mayor. Amazon awaits.
A strong market for the wares of those [medical] device-makers is why, when statewide manufacturing employment clocks in at 16 percent lower than its prerecession high, Lake has recovered to within 1 percent of the 51,700 workers the industry employed there in 2008. Will County, busting at the seams, has done even better: Last year manufacturing employment surpassed the high it hit in 2008 by 3 percent. The industry employed almost 22,000 in the county in 2017’s first quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. […]
Lake County, on the other hand, is not solely medical equipment, but that’s one of the largest clusters, says Kevin Considine, CEO of economic development firm Lake County Partners. The largest is pharmaceuticals. Drugmakers Abbott, AbbVie and Baxter are headquartered there, with AbbVie operating a factory in North Chicago while Baxter has one in Round Lake making products “from penicillin to pre-filled IV bags.” Though the recession certainly touched the county, he says, “we’re very fortunate to be deep in sectors that weathered that well.” […]
In Will County, economic development specialists say there’s no single factor driving the rise in manufacturing employment. Certainly, the county has taken its lumps. Caterpillar has shrunk the workforce at its Joliet plant from 770 in 2015 to 475 now, with the plant scheduled to close in 2018. But small and midsize companies are relocating from elsewhere in the region, attracted by the county’s low taxes and thriving distribution and logistics industry, says John Greuling, CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development.
Magenta, a plastics injection molding company, has added at least 70 jobs, distiller Diageo North America added 100 in Plainfield in 2013, and Julian Electric moved 300 employees in May from Westmont into a new corporate headquarters in Lockport.
* The Olympia Fields Democrat will have served 6 terms by January of 2019. He was active in the behind the scenes efforts to convince Democrats to vote for the tax hike and attract Republican votes to the bill. He’s probably best known for his transportation work, particularly on mass transit.
He’s a smart man who puts in the work and he’s gonna be missed.
* Press release…
State Representative Al Riley announces that he will not seek re-election in 2018, thus ending six terms representing the 38th District in Springfield. Riley came to the House in January 2007. One of his main goals was to focus on the development of the south suburban region. Riley also attempted to highlight regional inequities in the distribution of resources throughout Chicagoland.
“Residents of the Southland have always had some of the longest times to work of anyone in the Chicago metropolitan area.”, Riley says. “Similarly, reaching entertainment venues, schools or other places has always been difficult.” Because of that, Riley has always been a champion of transportation equity. As Chairman of the House Mass Transit Committee, Riley presided over numerous hearings, and developed policies and legislation to address many of those issues.
Riley co-sponsored the bills which created public-private partnerships for the South Suburban Airport and Illiana Expressway. He also was the sponsor of legislation, which abolished “Section 41” of the Metropolitan Transit Act of 1945. The abolition of Section 41 negated the CTA’s ability to throw out a claimant’s injury lawsuit if a minor detail was missing from the claim.
Riley and his other Southland colleagues worked collaboratively to develop the I-294/I-57 interchange and bridge projects. He also started the process, almost ten years ago, to secure new Highliner cars on the Metra Electric line that had bathroom facilities; the last commuter rail line to have such facilities. Recently, he was the chief sponsor of a bill creating a process for the sale of the Thompson Center and a bill creating a framework for procurement reform, which was recently signed into law
During his tenure, Riley has served on numerous committees; chairing Cities and Villages, Mass Transit and State Government Administration. “I guess one could look at the committees I chaired, and get an idea of my philosophical bent”, Riley says. Riley also served two terms as Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois House. “I really enjoyed my tenure in House leadership”. “It gave me a larger platform from which to discuss, create policies, and help my colleagues in a more official position”, Riley says. Riley’s intention is to serve out his current term in the House, which ends January, 2019.
“Many of the things I set out to accomplish in 2007, I have done so”, says Riley. “If a few did not fully come to fruition, I am proud that I raised the issue and in many cases, got laws on the books”. “My plan is to continue that kind of advocacy once my legislative career ends”, Riley says.
…Adding… The updated retirement list…
Another day, another name added to the list of legislators choosing to leave the Illinois General Assembly pic.twitter.com/JhkBfxDZmq
Representative Al Riley has been a leader for our communities and a strong voice representing the Southland in Springfield. Rep. Riley helped to usher in a great expansion in the south suburban region, leading to economic and social growth.
He was a great battle buddy to have in Springfield, however Rep. Riley will still be engaged in fighting for families across the Southland. I wish him all the best and look forward to working with him in other capacities.
Time is running out on Governor Bruce Rauner to act on a bill that would change the way websites track a user’s location and how they store that data.
The bill is here. Notice that an amendment specifically exempted political committees. How convenient.
* Gov. Rauner vetoed the bill later that afternoon. From the Chicagoland Chamber’s response…
Protecting consumer privacy is important, but not when that legislation is designed to open up businesses of all sizes to litigation. This bill would have directly contradicted the FTC’s call for short, in-context disclosures, which are more effective and easier for consumers to understand.
(T)he Governor’s veto is a betrayal of consumer trust and total failure to people who value their personal privacy. The Governor’s action is a clear message that he values his Silicon Valley friends more than the people and small businesses in Illinois.
Ari Scharg is a board member for the alliance. He’s also a partner at Edelson PC, “a consumer protection firm based in Chicago and San Francisco.” The alliance’s legislative director is Jacob Wright, an attorney at Edelson PC.
Edelson PC and its namesake have been contributing to legislators since August of last year, and many of those contributions were in the $10K range.
When technology executives imagine the boogeyman, they see a baby-face guy in wire-rim glasses. His name is Jay Edelson.
Mr. Edelson, 42, is a class-action lawyer. He is also, if not the most hated person in Silicon Valley, very close to it. His firm, Edelson PC, specializes in suing technology companies, claiming privacy violations. He has gone after pretty much every tech company you have heard of — Amazon, Apple, Google — as well as many that you have not.
He’s stirred up some stuff in Cook County, too. Click here.
* So, I was mainly curious what JB Pritzker and Chris Kennedy thought about the bill, since Pritzker has been very involved in the tech community through his work to set up 1871. The wildly successful tech center is located in the Merchandise Mart, which Kennedy ran. But I also wanted to give everyone else a chance to weigh in, so I asked the campaigns: “As governor, would your candidate sign this bill into law? Why or why not?”
* Here are their answers in order of their submission…
Gubernatorial Candidate Tio Hardiman supports HB3449 and would sign this bill into law because it is very important that we protect consumers on all levels. As leaders, we should always find a way to make sure that people come first and agreeing to allow websites owners or APP developers to track or store information about consumers without their permission could present serious problems for the majority of consumers in the state of Illinois.
Bob Daiber says he would sign HB3449 because this legislation brings a dimension of privacy for consumers. Daiber said in today’s digital world, individuals should possess the right to grant consent before information is tracked or stored in a database.
* Sen. Daniel Biss…
“Litesa and I both strongly supported this bill in the spring, and I would definitely sign it.
“As the recent Equifax breach reminded us, neither corporations nor the government can be blindly trusted with our personal data. That’s why I’ve led on these issues in the Senate, introducing legislation to limit police surveillance, crack down on banks selling credit card data, stop Equifax from profiting off their data breach by selling data protection services, and more. We need a Governor who will stand up and protect all Illinoisans, not a Governor who continually sides with millionaires and big corporations over the rest of us.”
* Pawar’s campaign initially sent me a press release about the governor’s veto, then sent me this…
Yes, Ameya Pawar would have signed HB 3449, the geolocation privacy bill. It’s a shame Gov. Rauner chose to protect big corporations instead of consumer privacy. Because of his veto, Illinois missed an opportunity to become the first state to codify these protections and lead the way nationally on geolocation legislation.
Rauner saying this bill would result in job losses without improving privacy protections is false. It’s merely an attempt to distract from his strict pro-business agenda that protects the billionaire class while ignoring the needs of working families.
Pawar would have signed the geolocation privacy bill because he believes government exists to serve its residents and protect their privacy, especially when private consumer information is being used to serve corporate self-interests without their consent. Giving consumers more control over what information is shared, and to whom, is necessary for increasing transparency and restoring trust in our institutions.
* Now, here’s Chris Kennedy…
Yes, signing this bill allows the consumer to hold the power when it comes to the personal information they share with businesses. I trust the wisdom of the consumer more than the wisdom of government regulators or corporate competitors. Let them decide to opt in or opt out. In the age of Equifax and Russia meddling in our political elections, our priority should be to protect people online and build trust among consumers.
* JB Pritzker…
As governor, I will sign the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act. Protecting digital privacy ought to be a priority for our state and for our nation. Without federal action, we need to make sure every mobile phone user in Illinois isn’t having their location information tracked by companies without a user’s explicit permission.
I thought it might be possible that one of those two guys would break from the pack on this topic. I should’ve known better.
…Adding… From comments…
How about this little twist ….. Aren’t we recruiting Amazon to the State of Illinois?
* Some heads on the governor’s far right flank are gonna explode in three… two…
LGBTQ and allied groups met with Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday morning to discuss challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Illinoisans that might find remedy in actions by the state.
The issues discussed during the meeting at Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, included healthcare and human services, youth and schools, housing, immigration, LGBTQ cultural competency of state-funded programs, and the protection and promotion of civil rights.
The governor also presented ceremonial copies of two bills he signed this summer that were part of the 2017 Equality Illinois legislative agenda–bills that modernize the birth certificate law for transgender Illinoisans needing to correct their gender marker and ban the anti-LGBTQ panic defense in murder cases. He also signed this year a bill to build LGBTQ representation on state boards and commissions.
“We thanked the governor for signing these significant measures that advance LGBTQ civil rights,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “It is also important that he heard from diverse voices in the state about the challenges LGBTQ Illinoisans still face in achieving full equality in Illinois and being able to live fulfilling and authentic lives.”
In addition to Equality Illinois, the organizations represented at the meeting included ACLU of Illinois, Affinity Community Services, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA), Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Howard Brown Health, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Lambda Legal, and Pride Action Tank.
During the approximately half-hour meeting, the participants presented an overview of key issues and provided the governor with an expansive agenda for consideration by him and his administration. (The organization(s) requesting inclusion of the particular policy item on this list is indicated in parentheses.)
Healthcare and Human Services
Protection of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, especially opposition against the Graham-Cassidy rewrite of health insurance (AIDS Foundation of Chicago)
Gubernatorial leadership opposing ACA repeal (Howard Brown Health)
Ensuring the Department of Insurance provides proper oversight to stop and take action against discrimination for people living with HIV and other chronic diseases in the ACA insurance marketplace (AIDS Foundation of Chicago)
Adequate funding for HIV services and programs and launch statewide “Getting to Zero” HIV elimination plan (AIDS Foundation of Chicago)
Restore Illinois Department of Human Services funding to levels of two years ago (Chicago House and Social Service Agency)
Sign House Bill 40 to ensure access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare for all women in Illinois (Equality Illinois)
HIV quality measures in Medicaid managed care (Howard Brown Health)
Medicaid access to Hepatitis C cure treatments (Howard Brown Health)
More resources for LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness (Pride Action Tank)
Sign the Medicaid 1115 Waiver so that Medicaid can pay for tenancy support services in Illinois (Chicago House and Social Service Agency)
Youth and Schools
Improve treatment and placement of LGBTQ youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) (Grayson Alexander)
Improve access to mental health services for LGBTQ students in schools (Grayson Alexander)
In order to foster consistent affirming policies across the state, the Illinois School Board of Education should issue guidance to schools for affirming and supporting transgender students, including by allowing them to use facilities that match their gender identities, as required by the Illinois Human Rights Act. (ACLU of Illinois)
Regarding the fair and inclusive treatment of transgender students across Illinois, we want gender-affirming and clear guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education using existing district policies that have been working well for years and that is consistent with the Illinois Human Rights Act (Illinois Safe Schools Alliance)
Child welfare experts believe that LGBTQ youth are over-represented in child welfare systems and that one of the most significant barriers to providing this population with better care is a lack of research. For this reason, we have been advocating for a study on the prevalence and experiences of LGBTQ youth in DCFS care. The Governor’s office can play an important role in identifying funding and intellectual resources to facilitate such a study. (ACLU of Illinois)
Requiring LGBTQ-cultural competency training for state-funded programs (Pride Action Tank)
Immigrant Rights and the LGBTQ Community
Urge the governor to make statements against the President’s recent decisions regarding the pardoning of former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted on criminal contempt for racial profiling of Latinos, and against the President’s ban on recruitment of transgender individuals by the military (ALMA)
Urge the governor to support greater protections for all immigrants, especially LGBTQ folks. For instance, the governor should support providing specific state resources to organizations providing both legal and advocacy services for LGBTQ immigrants seeking asylum and citizenship. An example of such an organization is the National Immigrant Justice Center, a Heartland Alliance program. Many of our LGBTQ immigrants face the threat of violence or death if returned to their countries of origins. (ALMA)
Enhance our civil rights protections by reducing the 15-or-more employee requirement to be a covered employer under the Illinois Human Rights Act (Dr. Anthony Kreis)
ORGANIZATIONS and INDIVIDUALS OFFERING ISSUES AGENDA
ACLU of Illinois
Contact: Khadine Bennett, Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs
Affinity Community Services
Contact: Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Contact: John Peller, President and CEO
Ramon Gardenhire, Vice President of Policy
Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action
Contact: Luis Roman, Board Member
Chicago House and Social Service Agency
Contact: Scott Ammarell, Chief Executive Officer
Contact: Brian C. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer
Howard Brown Health Center
Contact: David Munar, President and Chief Executive Officer
Illinois law prevents political parties from fielding candidates on election ballots unless they meet certain conditions. One condition is known as the full-slate requirement: If a party hasn’t attained sufficient voter support in past elections, it must field candidates for all offices on the ballot in the political subdivision in which it wishes to compete. So in the 2012 election, the Libertarian Party of Illinois could field a candidate for county auditor in Kane County only if it also proposed candidates for circuit clerk, recorder, prosecutor, coroner, board chairman, and school superintendent.
In this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Libertarian Party argues that the full-slate requirement violates its right of political association under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The district judge agreed and entered judgment invalidating the requirement. On appeal Illinois contends that the full-slate requirement is justified by its interests in political stability, preventing ballot overcrowding, and avoiding voter confusion.
We affirm the district court. The core of the fundamental right to political association is the right to band together in a political party to advance a policy agenda by electing the party’s members to office. That necessarily includes the party’s right to access the ballot and its candidates’ right to appear on the ballot under the party banner. For a minor party and its nominees, Illinois’s full-slate requirement extinguishes those rights unless the party fields candidates in races it may want no part of. This is a severe burden on fundamental constitutional rights, and Illinois hasn’t offered a compelling state interest to justify it. Indeed, by incentivizing minor parties to manufacture frivolous candidacies as a means to an end, the full-slate requirement actually thwarts the interests Illinois invokes.
A leading state Senate Republican says expanded gambling in Illinois could pay off existing capital construction projects, but there would still need to be a gas tax increase for future ones. […]
But Syverson said a future capital plan may require a gas tax increase because, he says, people are driving less and vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient.
“It may make sense to be looking at a small gas tax increase, something maybe as little as five cents,” Syverson said. “But if the feds do a capital program then we could be matching those dollars.” […]
Illinoisans currently pay the 18th-highest gas taxes in the nation. But because Illinois is one of only seven U.S. states that applies a sales tax on gas, that ranking fluctuates significantly depending on the actual price of gas. When gas prices were closer to $4 a gallon a few years ago, Illinoisans paid the third-highest gas taxes in the nation.
In 2007, the gross revenue from the state’s 19 cents-per-gallon motor fuel tax was $1.49 billion. By 2016, the amount had fallen to $1.27 billion. That downward trend will continue.
Meanwhile, since 1993 the federal motor fuel tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon. Inflation has risen nearly 70 percent since then, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator.
How do we continue to repair and rebuild roads given that the cost of the state’s backlog of deferred maintenance is about $1 billion, construction costs are increasing and revenue is declining?
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, says we will have to face the music and consider raising the motor fuel tax. He suggests an increase of 5 cents per gallon, although road construction folks say much more than that is required.
“More than that isn’t going to get a favorable response” in today’s political environment, Syverson said.
“Indiana just raised their motor fuel tax 10 cents, and a penny each year after that for the next several years, something we should have done years ago,” Syverson said. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average of state motor fuel taxes is about 28 cents a gallon.
The governor has said he opposes a gas tax hike, so I’m not sure where he’s going with this. And notice that you aren’t yet seeing Democrats get out in front of this idea.
* I’m told the governor is meeting Thursday with a couple of Republican legislators who are opposed to HB40…
“I’m gonna keep doing what I’ve been doing and that is listening to advocates all across the state of Illinois and also meeting with legislators about it,” Rauner said following an unrelated appearance at a Chicago charter school on Monday. “And then we’ll be deciding where to go from there.”
Rauner said that he will make a decision in the “near future” but would not elaborate further about a timeline for action.
“These are complex issues, they’re very heartfelt, very strong, strong views on all sides and I want to make sure that I respect everyone in the process and listen to their points of view,” the Republican governor said.
He declined to say whether he might use his AV powers on the bill.
“This is a disturbing pattern with Bruce Rauner: he says one thing and does another thing. This is a very disturbing pattern of Bruce Rauner being a politician,” said Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, noting that conservatives are already frustrated with Rauner for signing a law they decry as making Illinois a “sanctuary state” because it says that law enforcement cannot detain someone based solely on his or her immigration status, as well as a new education funding law that sends more money to Chicago Public Schools.
“A lot of conservatives are very upset,” McSweeney said. “People are very, very focused on the fact that Bruce Rauner needs to keep his word.”
* But “keep his word” to whom? In April, his office said he’d veto the bill. But back in 2014, gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wrote this on his Personal PAC questionnaire…
“I fundamentally believe that abortion should be a woman’s private decision, hopefully in consultation with her loved ones and her faith community, and that decision should not be impeded by government,” Rauner wrote in reply to Personal PAC’s questionnaire.
“This principle should apply to all women, regardless of income level or location of residency. As governor, I will work to ensure equal access to contraception and abortion services. It is my hope that by increasing access to reproductive health services we can reduce the incidence of abortions in Illinois, while ensuring that women who do make this decision receive services in a timely manner,” he wrote.
Rauner added: “My highest priority in this area will be to ensure effective administration of the laws regarding access to contraception and provide that access regardless of income. I dislike the Illinois law that restricts abortion coverage under the state Medicaid plan and state employees’ health insurance because I believe it unfairly restricts access based on income. I would support a legislative effort to reverse that law.”
Additionally, Rauner checked “yes” boxes on questions about whether he would sign bills repealing the so-called trigger law as well as legislation about lifting Medicaid and state-employee insurance restrictions.
…Adding… Pritzker campaign…
“Bruce Rauner has gone from yes, to no, to undecided on HB40 in a shameless attempt to pander to voters,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Now his time is up and this spineless governor must decide which promise to break and which Illinoisans to betray.”
After checking with multiple experts, we found no evidence of such a community. What we did find was a satirical Daily Beast article headlined, “Next, We Muslims Bring Sharia to Indiana.” We rate Moore’s statement Pants on Fire.
* Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and Rep. Dan Brady (R-Normal) are filing a bill called the Higher Education Strategic Centers of Excellence Plan,to overhaul the higher education system. Dot points…
• Creates a uniform admission application to be accepted at all public universities in Illinois.
• Any high school student with a grade of B or better average will qualify for automatic admission to an academically appropriate public university if they maintain their B average through graduation. This will extend an opportunity to all students in Illinois; while respecting individual institutions rights to admit students that are the best fit for their existing programs.
• Any student who is not offered admission to a public university must automatically be referred to the community college district where they live and provided with enrollment information.
• If a public institution of higher education accepts a student, they will receive an acceptance letter from that institution setting forth any grants or scholarship offers extended by the institution at that time.
Seems a bit small ball, but what are your thoughts?
Five former management officials of the city-owned arena face a total of 111 indictments accusing them of stealing city funds, money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy, filing false sales tax returns and conspiracy to commit tax evasion.
The indictments, returned Sept. 20 by a McLean County grand jury, were unsealed Monday after all five defendants posted bond.
Charged are John Y. Butler, president of Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM); Bart Rogers, CIAM general manager; and CIAM employees Jay C. Laesch, Paul E. Grazar and Kelly W. Klein.
The theft charges against Butler accuse him of taking more than $1.1 million in city money between May 2010 and March 2016 — the end date being days before the expiration of CIAM’s 10-year management deal with the city.
Former McLean County Board Chairman Matt Sorensen was sentenced to a year in federal prison on wire fraud charges Tuesday.
The Pantagraph reports Sorensen was sentenced Tuesday in federal court after submitting hundreds of thousands of dollars of false invoices for consulting work not actually performed for State Farm. Sorensen and business partner Navdeep Arora both pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in connection with the case.
Questions about a plane ticket to Japan for the girlfriend of the mayor of Bloomington point to just the latest case of questionable spending at city halls in Illinois.
The Edgar County Watchdogs, John Kraft and Kirk Allen, said Bloomington is not the only city where it appears city leaders are misspending city money or misusing city assets.
Kraft said the available facts for the Bloomington case don’t answer all of the questions. Mayor Tari Renner is accused of buying a nearly $1,900 plane ticket for his girlfriend to go to a Sister Cities event in Japan – or at the very least “floating” her airfare on the city’s credit card.
Kraft said that’s against the law, and he thinks Renner knows it. He believes Renner claimed his girlfriend would reimburse the city for the ticket only after he was caught.
Monday, Senator Dale Fowler announced plans to seek a second term.
The Harrisburg Republican made the announcement in a series of stops today in Elizabethtown, McLeansboro, Thompsonville and Goreville. […]
News 3 caught up with Fowler in Thompsonville, where he pledged to not criticize or condemn any opponents. He said he wants to show you can run an honest and ethical campaign and still win.
Fowler defeated Democratic Sen. Gary Forby last year.
I spent some time with the freshman before and during the Ozzy Osbourne solar eclipse concert and found him to be a friendly, genuine guy.
But it’s one thing for him to pledge not to criticize any of his opponents. It’ll be quite another to convince the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee and the ILGOP (where the real money will be spent) to do the same.