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Our opinion leaders

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

* This Daily Herald editorial comically misidentifies Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris as House Majority Leader Greg Harris. The reason it’s so funny is because former Rep. David Harris represented Arlington Heights in the House, and that’s where the paper is based

House Majority Leader Greg Harris told lawmakers in a letter last week that state government collected 38 percent more from taxpayers in April than it did a year ago. We shudder a little to think about what Gov. J.B. Pritzker might have proposed if he had known before his February budget address that Illinois would collect $4 billion from taxpayers in April, instead of the $2.5 billion or so that was expected.

But with the tax windfall in hand now, the state has a perfect opportunity to focus on the much-troubled control side of Pritzker’s budget rather than the robust spending side. And the chief target of that attention must be the governor’s ill-advised proposal to take a so-called “holiday” from making required pension payments. The surplus announced last week will more than cover the $800 million Pritzker was planning to get by avoiding the pension payments, and that must be the first priority for its use. […]

The governor, who Harris reportedly said leans toward using the surplus to avoid the pension holiday […]

The $1.5 billion tax surplus eliminates any need to succumb to that temptation and leaves hundreds of millions for another systemic issue facing the state — its $650 million backlog of late bill payments.

Just to be sure, I checked with Leader Harris and he said he sent no such letter.

People make mistakes. No biggie. But editorials are supposedly written or at least approved by an editorial board. That would be multiple people.

And there are more problems with this editorial than getting a name wrong.

1) Director Harris didn’t “reportedly” say anything. He said the governor was recommending that the state use the increased revenue projections from Fiscal Year 2020 to pay the full statutory pension payment. I mean, it’s right here in black and, um, tan (or whatever color my website is).

2) The editorial board is apparently confused about the $800 million number. That’s the additional projected revenue increase for next fiscal year. Pritzker was planning to skip $900 million or so in pension payments, which is higher than the revenue spike, not lower, so something else will have to be cut or more revenues will have to be found.

3) A “$650 million backlog of late bill payments” would be great. The actual backlog is currently $5.9 billion. That’s lower than expected, but still high. Instead, the unexpected $1.5 billion April spike will be used to “address most of the $1.6 billion shortfall in the enacted FY19 budget.

Maybe if the paper hadn’t closed its Statehouse bureau it would have somebody to call before writing stuff like this. Or maybe they could just use the Google. Or Bing. Whatever floats your boat.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments »
  1. - Not a Superstar - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    They should have Asked Jeeves.


  2. - RIJ - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    Definitely not tan. More an eggshell, on the yellowish side.

    That is the important part of this post, right?


  3. - Smalls - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    If you look up shades of tan, it appears to be more of a buttermilk. We can just disregard everything the Herald had to say in their editorial. The correct info comes from the black and buttermilk site.


  4. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    Or maybe they should subscribe to Capitol Fax.


  5. - Norseman - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    === Our opinion leaders ===

    And thus explains our problem.


  6. - Rusty Ryan - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    They say taupe is very soothing.


  7. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    I’d argue that it’s more of a French Vanilla.


  8. - A guy - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    No word on David Harris being mistaken for the House Majority Leader?
    That’s a silver lining, no? lol


  9. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    So, if you read the DH editorial, especially the average person who does not follow state government closely, you become dumber.

    Where is the value proposition in that? Pay us to misinform you? (Often applies to Trib, too.)

    And, it raises the question what else is this paper getting wrong on subjects with which I’m less familiar?


  10. - Don Gerard - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    Eh, they are still Woodward & Bernstein compared to Jim Dey and his crew at the News-Gazoo…


  11. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    –its $650 million backlog of late bill payments.–

    Missed it by that much.

    How is it possible to go to work every day for the sole purpose of yammering on and on about things you clearly have no interest in or knowledge of?

    Some editorial boards have completely abandoned the idea of editing, i.e. putting their writing, facts and conclusions to the test before publishing.

    Seriously, Koko the gorilla at least proved herself capable of learning and understanding before communicating.

    The DH rates a Billy Madison for this one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQCU36pkH7c


  12. - Annonin' - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    Hence we understand why the “influence” of the opinion leaders is waning. Tribbie Katrina leads the way


  13. - PublicServant - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    Can I be an opinion leader? I know I’d have those mopes beat, anyway.


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