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Illinois Credit Unions: Providing Financial Literacy Training to Future Leaders

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

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Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* Washington Monthly takes a look at why the Minneapolis/St. Paul region does so well. Here’s one big reason: The Fiscal Disparities Act.

In the 1960s, local districts and towns in the Twin Cities region offered competing tax breaks to lure in new businesses, diminishing their revenues and depleting their social services in an effort to steal jobs from elsewhere within the area. In 1971, the region came up with an ingenious plan that would help halt this race to the bottom, and also address widening inequality. The Minnesota state legislature passed a law requiring all of the region’s local governments—in Minneapolis and St. Paul and throughout their ring of suburbs—to contribute almost half of the growth in their commercial tax revenues to a regional pool, from which the money would be distributed to tax-poor areas. Today, business taxes are used to enrich some of the region’s poorest communities.

No other metro region in the country has ever replicated that strategy, but in 2015 Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council wanted to know why Minneapolis was growing at almost five times the rate of their city. They came up with three reasons:

    The Fiscal Disparities Act
    Education
    Quality of life

Notice that both education and quality of life are largely dependent on the funding formula in the Fiscal Disparities Act.

Remember, this is growth in commercial taxes, not residential.

* The Question: What do you think of this idea?

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      


Madigan, in a nutshell

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* More from Speaker Madigan’s deposition in the Jason Gonzales lawsuit

Early on in the deposition, Peraica asked about Madigan’s political background, including his election as 13th Ward Democratic committeeman in 1969. Madigan described the drudgery of the unpaid political job, from hooking residents up with government services to preparing sample ballots to raising money to pay for such activities.

Peraica asked: “With all the other responsibilities that you have in your various roles, why would you want to continue as a committeeman for 50 years?”

“It’s a good question,” Madigan said.

“Have you figured out the answer? I’m curious,” Peraica said.

“My stock answer is to tell people that I’m rather peculiar,” Madigan replied.

“You’re passionate about that position, right?” Peraica asked.

“You want an answer to that?” Madigan said. “I’m not sure I’m passionate, but I still perform the duties.”

Go read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


“This guy’s trying to destroy your soul”

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* The Tribune obtained depositions taken during the federal lawsuit filed against Speaker Madigan and his political organization by his 2016 Democratic primary opponent Jason Gonzales. You really need to read the whole thing

The 76-year-old speaker used the phrases “I don’t recall,” “I don’t remember,” “I don’t know” and “I have no memory” more than 100 times during a five-hour deposition that he said was the first he’d ever given.

* For instance

Peraica then asked Madigan whether he had reached out to any political allies to try to load up the ballot with candidates.

“I don’t remember that,” Madigan said.

“Is it possible that you did?” Peraica asked.

“No,” Madigan responded.

“So you’re certain that you didn’t?” Peraica asked.

“I don’t remember,” Madigan said.

* They really got into Gonzales’ head

During his deposition, Gonzales said the campaign attacks led him to seek help from a psychiatrist, who prescribed medication.

“This guy’s trying to destroy your soul,” Gonzales said of Madigan. “He just doesn’t want to defeat you. He wants to make sure that you never come back again.”

And not just in campaigns, either. Ask Bruce Rauner if he wants to be governor again.

* More

On Election Day, Madigan won with 65 percent of the vote, while Gonzales had 27 percent, Rodriguez had nearly 6 percent and Barboza 2 percent. […]

“If those candidates weren’t on the ballot,” Gonzales said under oath, “I believe I would have won this election.”

Again, go read the whole thing.

* Related…

* Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan gave his first-ever deposition. Here’s what he said: Madigan also brushed aside a Peraica question on whether he was concerned in the 2016 primary about Gonzales as a challenger, saying he was “concerned with all of the money that Bruce Rauner was going to bring into the election.” “We were going to make sure that the voters in the district knew that Bruce Rauner was on the scene and that he was supporting Jason Gonzales because Bruce Rauner is not a popular person in the 22nd District,” Madigan said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Today’s villain is yesterday’s honest politician

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* Agreed…



* And to help prove Mark’s point, here is the Chicago Tribune from February 10, 2015

25th Ward: Ald. Danny Solis tells you exactly what he thinks. He’s all in on a casino for the city of Chicago. He doesn’t apologize for being an ally of the mayor. He says resolving the city’s pension crisis means that city workers “are not going to get the same deal they have now.” He defends tax increment financing and for good reason: The Pilsen Industrial Corridor TIF has helped bring hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs to the ward, he says. TIF money has helped pay for an expansion of Benito Juarez High School, for a library and field house in Chinatown, and for sidewalks, streetlights and other improvements — “10 times what I could have done with my menu money,” he says. An impactful community organizer before he joined the council, Solis deserves credit for steady progress. He is endorsed over four opponents.

* And here’s the Sun-Times endorsement from the same year

25th Ward

Pilsen, Chinatown

Pilsen has grown to become one of Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods, still solidly Hispanic, but increasingly home as well to artists and young professions of all backgrounds. Daniel “Danny” Solis, who gets our nod, has been the alderman for 19 years and deserves a share of the credit. Solis’ challenge is keep the comeback going while preserving the neighborhood’s rich Latino cultural core. We appreciate Solis’ honest take on how to tackle the city’s crisis of underfunded pension systems — “Everybody is going to have to give something,” including city employees, and a property tax hike is “probable.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Minimum wage hike roundup

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* I went over this with subscribers today, so we’ll just do a roundup. Here’s the AP

Business advocates now resigned to the likelihood that Illinois will soon adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage urged legislators Wednesday to make it a tiered approach based on geography, arguing there are vast cost-of-living differences between Chicago and more rural areas downstate.

While Illinois’ statewide minimum wage has remained at $8.25 an hour since 2010, Chicago has jumped ahead, with the minimum wage there going to $13 this year .

Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, told the Senate Labor Committee that the nation’s third-largest city shouldn’t set the wage floor for everywhere else in the state. […]

New Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned on the issue last fall, wants to sign the proposal into law before he lays out an annual budget to the General Assembly on Feb. 23, Lightford said.

The budget address is actually scheduled for February 20th, less than three weeks from today.

* Prairie State Wire

“We believe the market should determine wages,” [Todd Maisch, Illinois Chamber president and CEO] said. “For example, $15 an hour in the Chicago market may make sense, while $15 an hour in Cairo, Illinois, does not.”

Other marker factors also should be considered, Maisch said.

“Regional market wages should be considered along with additional options for seasonal, teen and training wages,” he said.

Teen and training wages are in the proposal they’re working on.

* Illinois News Network

Some legislators want to know if Illinois can mandate different minimums based on geographic boundaries.

“There’s a huge discrepancy regionally about how much money is needed in order to live a higher quality of life,” said state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora. […]

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, will likely sponsor legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage. She said she was open to the idea of regional minimum wages, but said there could be constitutional issues with that concept.

“It’s challenging because there are some constitutionalities that go along with a flat minimum wage,” she said. “That’s something that I know our lawyers are checking into.”

I don’t think the regional wage is gonna fly.

* Capitol News Illinois

Lightford said rate increases would be phased in, and the $15 rate would not take effect until at least 2025, although an exact timeframe for the increase is not yet defined.

Business representatives at the committee preferred a longer-term rollout. Lobbyist Mike Noonan, representing the Illinois Restaurant Association, said his industry would be OK with a seven-year rollout — $1 each year for the first six, then 75 cents the final year.

Worker rights advocates, such as Greg Kelly of the Service Employees International Union, preferred a more timely increase. He said 41 percent of all workers in Illinois make less than $15 per hour, and more of those workers are in their 40s, 50s and 60s than are younger than 25.

Kelly added that more women than men make less than $15 per hour, and 48 percent of African Americans and 61 percent of Latinos make less than $15 per hour. He said 52 percent of those making less than $15 per hour work full time, and 15 percent of Illinois working families receive food stamps.

* Finke

Chris Boyster of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth said more than 12,000 people are employed by the organization’s member agencies. Many of them are working at or near minimum wage, he said.

“These human service organizations will not be able to accommodate an increase in the minimum wage without increased financial support from the state,” he said. “Providers want to pay their workforce better. They just need the means to do so.”

The Illinois Association of Park Districts also said increasing the minimum wage would put pressure on park districts that employ teens as life guards, camp counselors and other jobs that pay the minimum wage. Likewise, the state’s nursing homes that serve large numbers of Medicaid patients would be squeezed between paying higher wages with stagnant Medicaid reimbursements, said Pat Comstock of the Health Care Council of Illinois.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have a higher minimum wage than Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      


Food for thought

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* This is good advice during any election cycle, but it’s particularly good advice during the current Chicago mayoral campaign. Lots of old friends and allies are on different sides right now and things are really heating up between them…



It’s not personal, it’s business. Or, it should be anyway.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Pritzker names IDPH, IDVA directors, U of I trustees, policy director and DC liaison

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* Press release…

Building on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields, Governor JB Pritzker announced the following personnel appointments:

STATE AGENCY DIRECTORS

Dr. Ngozi Ezike will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).* Dr. Ezike is a board-certified internist and pediatrician who comes to IDPH from Cook County Health, where she has served for more than 15 years. She currently serves as medical director at the Juvenile Detention Center, the largest juvenile detention facility in the country. Previously, Dr. Ezike served as medical director for the Austin Health Center where she actively engaged with the community through health initiatives involving obesity, diabetes, and breastfeeding. She also has delivered inpatient care at Stroger Hospital as well as primary and preventive care in community and school-based clinics. Dr. Ezike is a national policy advisor on juvenile correctional health topics who has presented at numerous local and national conferences for medical professionals and youth audiences alike. She received her Doctor in Medicine from University of California at San Diego and her Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Harvard University. Dr. Ezike also holds a management certificate from Harvard Business School and is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Rush University.

Jaime E. Martinez will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA).* Martinez currently serves as executive director of Illinois Joining Forces, a nationally-recognized statewide nonprofit and public-private partnership that brings services and support to veterans at the community level. A 26-year Army combat veteran, Lieutenant Colonel (R) Martinez was assigned to operational infantry units throughout his career and deployed to Panama, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan (twice), four of these deployments as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. When not serving on the line with troops, he was assigned as a policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Vice President, United States Senate and the Office of the Under Secretary of the Army. After his medical retirement from the Fort Belvoir Wounded Warrior Battalion in 2010, he has served as a staff attorney for veteran legal aid clinics, general counsel to the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, senior counsel to Student Veterans of America (National), supervising attorney to the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN), and as the executive director of the Illinois Joining Forces Foundation. He received his Master of Arts in Law and economics and his Juris Doctorate from the George Mason School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in political science from Eastern Illinois University. Martinez was also a distinguished graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Kareem Dale will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Dale is currently a director and senior counsel at Discover Financial Services. He previously served as special assistant to the president and associate director of the Office of Public Engagement in the Obama White House and as the national disability director for the Obama-Biden Transition and Obama for America. He founded the Dale Law Group after spending eight years representing Fortune 500 corporations and privately-held companies as a litigation attorney for Winston & Strawn LLP. Dale currently serves on the Chicago Cook Workforce Innovation Board and formerly was a board member of Access Living and board president of the Black Ensemble Theater. He received his Juris Doctor, Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Donald Edwards will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Edwards is the founder and CEO of Flexpoint Ford, LLC, a private equity investment firm with $3 billion under management that focuses on health care and financial services. Prior to founding Flexpoint in 2004, he was a principal at GTCR from 1994 to 2003 and an investment banker at Lazard Ltd. During his career, Edwards has served as a director on the boards of more than 20 publicly- and privately-held companies as well as theChicago Park District, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and World Business Chicago. He received his Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and his Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ricardo Estrada will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Estrada is CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, one of Illinois’ largest and best respected human services agencies. Since joining Metropolitan in 2011, Estrada has helped the agency double its growth in revenue and families served. Estrada has nearly three decades of leadership experience in human services, philanthropy and government. Prior to joining Metropolitan, Estrada served as first deputy commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). Before that, he served as executive director of Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, his Master of Arts in social service policy and administration from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Loyola University.

Patricia Brown Holmes will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Holmes is a managing partner at Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP and was formerly a partner at Schiff Hardin LLP from 2005 to 2016. She has practiced law on both sides of the bench in courtrooms at every level, serving as Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, assistant U.S. attorney, assistant state’s attorney for Cook County, and Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for Municipal Prosecutions for the city of Chicago. She received her Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Naomi Jakobsson will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* After teaching at the Urbana School District and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign early in her career, Jakobsson went on to represent UIUC and the 103rd House District from 2002 to 2015. In the legislature, she chaired the House Committee on Higher Education and was a member of the Appropriations-Higher Education Committee. Jakobsson previously served as Champaign County Recorder for 12 years, interim director of a domestic violence shelter and the executive director of the University YWCA. She received her Master of Science in teaching English as a second language and Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Ramon Gardenhire will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the Office of the Governor. Gardenhire currently serves as the vice president of policy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, overseeing AFC’s advocacy and policy work at the federal, state and local level. Gardenhire previously served as AFC’s director of government relations from 2011 to 2013 where worked to expanded Medicaid coverage for half a million Illinoisans and helped enact comprehensive sexual health education for Illinois students. Before coming to AFC, Gardenhire worked at the SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana, Federation for Community Schools, Young Democrats of America, National Democratic Committee, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Physician Assistants, where he worked on state level political and legislative initiatives. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School and his bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University.

Pat Collier will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Federal Affairs in the Office of the Governor. Collier previously served as policy director on Governor Pritzker’s campaign. Prior to the campaign, he was the director of government affairs for the Center for American Progress, a progressive Washington think tank. Collier also spent several years as policy counsel to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee. He also served as a regional political director for Obama for America in 2008. He received his Juris Doctor from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Virginia.

Edwards was originally appointed by Gov. Rauner to the board of trustees.

Other thoughts?

…Adding… From the U of I…

The new board members succeed outgoing trustees Timothy Koritz, James Montgomery and Patrick Fitzgerald, whose terms ended this month, and Sanford Perl. Perl was appointed by Rauner and served since last May, but had not yet been confirmed by the Senate, which allowed Pritzker to withdraw the appointment and select his own nominee.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


It’s just a bill

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* Illinois News Network

Illinois lawmakers accidentally left a requirement for a minimum number of hours in the classroom out of last year’s education overhaul and now Democrats and teachers unions are racing to put it back.

Illinois school kids are required to be in school for 176 days. But, because of an oversight in last year’s education reforms, there’s no set number of hours for those days.

Some schools are using the new-found flexibility to let students learn from home on snow days or enroll in an apprenticeship.

Democratic lawmakers and teachers unions, however, want to enforce a minimum of five hours in the classroom.

Sean Denny with the Illinois Education Association told lawmakers Tuesday that allowing local schools to set their own calendars is making it hard for the union.

“All we’re asking for is to even out the playing board again,” Denny said. “So we can hit the reset button, and actually talk about these flexibilities in the light where there is an entire group of people who have all of the cards. And we have nothing.”

But some Republicans, like state Sen. Chuck Weaver, R-Peoria, and local school districts like the flexibility of not having a required number of hours.

* Capitol News Illinois

Introduced by State Rep. Margo McDermed of Mokena, House Bill 879 would ban lawmakers from registering as a lobbyist, or receiving or making payments as a lobbyist, for one year or the remainder of their term — whichever is longer.

“The people who spend time [in Springfield] tend to stay here,” McDermed said. “Is one year enough to break the relationships? Maybe. It’s certainly better than one minute.”

Alisa Kaplan, policy director for Chicago-based Reform for Illinois, agreed with McDermed that any amount of time is better than none. Kaplan also outlined the main concern that comes with lawmakers quickly becoming lobbyists.

“The risk is that the legislator will pay more attention to a potential employer [a lobbying firm] than they will to their constituents,” Kaplan said. “You don’t want representatives to be supporting legislation that they think might get them the cushiest job when they leave.”

I’d settle for a ban on legislators negotiating for a lobbying job while in office.

* Finke

Rep. DAVID McSWEENEY, R-Barrington Hills, who definitely does not like taxes, introduced one to make sure everyone is aware when a bill would increase revenue.

His proposal is that any bill that increases a tax or fee has to have the words “Tax Increase,” “Fee Increase,” or “Tax and Fee Increase” in the short title, which would mean that pretty much anyone would get the idea the bill raises revenue. It also requires the sponsor of such a bill to provide a statement about why the increase is needed. […]

Also on McSweeney’s agenda is a crackdown on rich people buying elections.

Of course, that’s not how his bill is worded. Rather, it puts a $5 million limit on the amount of money a person can contribute to a political committee that benefits himself or herself.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Rauner on Madigan’s “Mafia empire”

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* The Sun-Times caught up with former Gov. Bruce Rauner about the revelation that House Speaker Michael Madigan was taped by the FBI in his law office soliciting property tax appeals business

“It certainly would have served Illinois if this had come out 20 years ago,” Rauner said of revelations contained in a federal affidavit. “This should have come out 20 or 30 years ago.” […]

“I was on the [Civic Committee] steering committee for years,” Rauner said. “This stuff is common knowledge in the business community. This has been and is like Mafia behavior. Victims don’t talk about it because you fear retribution.” […]

“I’ve been talking about it. Everybody knows. When a business owner comes in or there’s a new building in Cook County — I don’t know how they carve up the market between [Ald.] Ed [Burke] and Mike, but one of them calls, or one of their cronies call — depends on the day — and say, ‘We do property tax appeal work and we want to work for your building.’”

“The guys are totally freaked out. ‘Holy s—. Who are you again?’ And they’re scared. And then often times one of their [people] call and say, ‘You better use their firm,’” Rauner said. “This has been going on for decades. And some guys swallow hard and say, ‘Oh s—. I don’t want the retribution,’ and never answer the phone. They use somebody else or leave the city. A lot of people are not investing in Chicago because they don’t want to deal with these guys.” […]

“[Madigan has] been in control for 35 years. He’s totally integrated in a family empire. It’s like a Mafia empire. It’s his family business and it’s totally corrupt and rife with conflicts,” Rauner said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   103 Comments      


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Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

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