* Let’s go back to Brian Mackey’s interview of Rep. Jeanne Ives…
Mackey: I wonder, though — that message, I’ve heard something similar from Gov. Rauner — about we need to be focusing on business and improve the business climate in Illinois. And I think some people might hear about your candidacy and say: We already have a Republican governor. How would you be different?
Ives: Well, you know Gov. Rauner has actually bought into some of the same policies that have hurt Illinois in the past. His energy bailout bill in December basically gave carve-outs and favored status to a company that is — had a $2.25 billion net profit. Who’s saying that’s going to help the average Illinoisan when you’re just going to raise the price for ratepayers to a favored company? That’s the type of stuff that needs to stop.
* This topic came up during an interview with her new running mate, former Rep. Rich Morthland…
Morthland lives in Cordova, which also is the home of the Exelon nuclear plant.
One of Ives’ complaints about Rauner is that he signed a bill that overhauled the state’s energy policy and provided subsidies to two Exelon nuclear facilities — in the Quad-Cities and Clinton, Illinois.
The company, as well as Quad-City business leaders, pushed for the legislation, saying hundreds of jobs were at stake. But Ives called it a bailout financed by higher utility rates.
Morthland says he’s supported Exelon while on the county board. And while he said that he and Ives “haven’t completed our conversation about it,” he notes her opposition to the legislation and that she’s at the top of the ticket.
In 2011, The General Assembly Overrode Governor Pat Quinn’s Veto Of Legislation – SB 1652 – To Grant ComEd Automatic Annual Electricity Rate Increases In Exchange For Upgrading Its Power Grid. “Lawmakers today overturned Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill that will allow the state’s two biggest utility companies to raise customers’ rates in exchange for investments in the state’s power grid. Under the plan, Ameren and Commonwealth Edison will be able to increase customers’ rates by 2.5 percent annually in exchange for $3.2 billion in spending on the grid over 10 years. The companies will add smart grid technologies that allow them to monitor transmission and respond quicker to outages. The measure would also require ComEd to create 2,000 new jobs through the plan and Ameren to create 450 jobs.” (Jamey Dunn, “Legislators Override Quinn’s Veto On Smart-Grid Bill,” Illinois Issues, 10/26/11)
Opponents, Including Conservative State Senator Kyle McCarter, Said The Automatic Rate Hikes Were A Giveaway To Utility Companies And Would Drive Business Out Of Illinois. “Opponents say the bill is just a way for the utilities to skirt the authority of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), which rules on proposed rate hikes. ‘I’m not sure smart grid’s really the issue here. It think the real issue is that this is a new way to recalculate rate hikes because Ameren and ComEd didn’t get the approval that they wanted from the ICC. Let’s be honest, that’s what this is about. If you put the name smart grid on it, it doesn’t make it any better,’ said Sen. Kyle McCarter, a Lebanon Republican. McCarter said that increased energy rates would drive business out of the Illinois. ‘One of the last good things we’ve got going in this state for businesses is affordable power. We’ve increased taxes on people, we’ve got high regulation. and we still have high workers’ compensation rates.’” (Jamey Dunn, “Legislators Override Quinn’s Veto On Smart-Grid Bill,” Illinois Issues, 10/26/11)
Morthland Voted To Override Quinn’s Veto And Pass S.B. 1652. (S.B. 1652, House Roll Call Vote, Passed 74-42, 10/26/11, Morthland Voted Yea)