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State of the State open thread

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Click here to find the live feed. The text of the speech will likely be at this link somewhere.

…Adding… Text…

The following are the Governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Speaker Madigan, President Harmon, Leader Durkin, Leader Brady, Lieutenant Governor Stratton, my fellow constitutional officers, members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests and people of Illinois –

I want to begin by thanking the First Lady of Illinois, my wife, MK – With quiet strength and with little fanfare, you’ve worked hard over the last year to make this state more inclusive and welcoming to all, from DuQuoin to Springfield to Chicago, caring about and advocating for some of our state’s most vulnerable people. I want to say thank you for making some important aspects of Illinois shine once again.

To now former Senate President John Cullerton: I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your many years of service to our state. You have always fought for your constituents and for all the people of Illinois with a clear devotion, with a vision to advance this state as a national leader in healthcare, education and civil rights, and with a willingness to listen and seek compromise at just the right moments. John, you’ve brought kindness and humor in even the toughest days in the General Assembly, and everyone on both sides of the aisle in this chamber will miss you as you embark on a new chapter of your life with your beloved wife Pam, who has made so many personal sacrifices over the last 41 years, as many unsung heroic spouses do. On behalf of a grateful state, we thank you both.

And in turn, I look forward to working with our new Senate President, a friend and ally for more than a quarter century and a long-time champion of the Fair Tax amendment, Don Harmon.

My friends, it has been a little over a year since I was inaugurated Governor. I have a real abiding love for the work I do every day… and a deep respect for how fundamentally humbling it is to serve in this office.

Illinois is a state with a grand history of profound impact on our nation and our world. We’ve sent four transformative Presidents to the White House. We were the first state to ratify two of the most important amendments to the U.S. Constitution, one abolishing slavery and another granting women the right to vote. The first cell phone was invented here. So was the first television remote control and the first widely used internet browser.

What all these things have in common is that they were the product of the talented and forward-thinking people of our state.

Illinois is great because our people are great.

That’s why it’s been important to me as governor to listen – truly to hear people from across our state who come with passion and perspective that’s different than my own. Keeping an open door policy means that I’ve been rewarded with a wealth of constructive feedback, advice and help from Democrats and Republicans alike – an indication that perhaps, here in Illinois, we are not as divided in our values and goals as some would have you believe.

Our state has challenges. We inherited a mess that was years in the making, and it had bipartisan roots. On day one it was clear to me that we had a government infrastructure that had withered from neglect and a lack of public trust. At times, it seemed like even the most basic things – like getting a government-issued iPad to work – were hard to do.

But one thing I know in life is that if you want to make profound change in a broken system, you have to do the next good thing that needs to get done. Big problems become big problems when you let small problems sit.

Let me share one small example: The story of the Thompson Center flags.

Sometime last summer, a watchful Twitter citizen noticed that the flags flying outside the state government building in Chicago, the James R. Thompson Center, were hanging a bit haphazardly from their rods, dangling by their last threads.

I have to admit, I didn’t notice it. In fact no one among the 2,000 people working there seemed to notice it – maybe because you could spend all day noticing things dangling by their last threads in the Thompson Center if you tried.

So we did a little research and found that the flags used to be serviced by a small, fourth generation family-owned business in Chicago that has tended Illinois’ flags for a century’s worth of parades, state visits, and sports championships.

But during the last few years – you guessed it – the flag company stopped getting paid. Like so many other small businesses in Illinois that were caught up in the budget impasse, this company did their best, but the Thompson Center flags ended up falling into disrepair.

Once the dangling flags were brought to my attention, we contacted the company and heard their story. We immediately paid them what they were owed, and the next weekend they came with a huge ladder truck and fixed it so our state’s flags flew straight once again.

As it turns out, fixing those flags made people really happy. In fact it’s the most pleased Twitter has ever been with me. I think it’s because this simple story about a flag at the Thompson Center is a metaphor for where state government has been – and where it’s going. And it reminded me that - we have a choice about how we tell our story. We could spend our time reliving every past failure, every bygone insult and fight – or we could fix things and be ardent voices on behalf of an agenda of opportunity in the years ahead. The last year has shown what we can do when we roll up our sleeves and work together to restore stability to our state.

Those who would shout doom and gloom might be loud – using social media bots and paid hacks to advance their false notions – but they are not many. You see, we’re wresting the public conversation in Illinois back from people concerned with one thing and one thing only — predicting total disaster, spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting it, and then doing everything in their power to make it happen.

I’m here to tell the carnival barkers, the doomsayers, the paid professional critics – the State of our State is growing stronger each day.

Don’t believe me? Consider these facts…

Today the Illinois economy supports 6.2 million jobs. This is the most jobs on record for our state, and we now have the lowest unemployment rate in history. Last year, for the first time in nearly 20 years, every major region in our state was growing simultaneously – and even more remarkably, communities in southern Illinois like Carbondale have led that growth. Over the past year, Illinois has reduced its unemployment rate more than ALL of the top twenty most populated states in the nation — and more than our Midwestern peers.

237 Illinois businesses from all over the state made Inc Magazine’s List of Fastest Growing Businesses in the Nation, including companies in Columbia and Rock Island, St. Charles and O’Fallon, Taylorville and Chicago.

Student applications to Illinois’ public universities increased last fall for the first time in many years. Illinois is the second-largest producer of computer science degrees in the nation, accounting for nearly 10 percent of all computer science degrees awarded in the entire United States.

Our great state has an awful lot that’s going right.

And just look at what a difference a year can make.

We passed a bipartisan, truly balanced budget on time, with renewed investments in job creation, cradle to career education, and physical and mental healthcare. Even the credit rating agencies and financial analysts described a “distinct improvement” in our fiscal stability, and investors took notice and lowered our state’s borrowing rate.

A balanced budget is an important accomplishment, but it’s more than just about fiscal discipline. It’s a moral document that reflects our values as a state.

Thirteen years ago, Bonnie Brackett and her family opened the doors on a new family business: Heartland Kids Early Learning Center in Marion, Illinois. Over the years, hundreds of Williamson County’s babies and toddlers have gone through her program, which is one of the top-ranked in the state.

But as with hundreds of childcare providers across Illinois and more than ten thousand parents, the budget crisis became Bonnie’s crisis and disrupted families across the area. At one point, Bonnie’s staff dropped to a low of 14 teachers from a high of 21.

Bonnie, one of only three childcare centers in Marion, almost had to close her doors.

But this year, with the increase in state funding for childcare that we announced in December, Bonnie is not only able to stay in business but has a plan for teacher training, rebuilding enrollment, classroom improvements, and even beginning the process of hiring more staff. Now, thanks to our bipartisan investments, dozens more parents in Marion can go to work, and Bonnie can get back to the business that matters most to her: caring for the children of Southern Illinois.

Bonnie Brackett is here today, and we want to thank her for all she does for her community, for our kids, and for our state.

For the first time in a decade, we passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Rebuild Illinois will create and support 500,000 jobs in the state as we fix our aging and crumbling roads and bridges, bring broadband to parts of the state that are internet deserts, as well as modernize our hospitals, our community centers, our state police facilities, our universities and colleges – all of the things that keep us going and growing.

Over the last several months I’ve had the pleasure of attending many local events celebrating the jobs and projects that Rebuild Illinois is bringing to our communities. Most times those events are attended by legislators and mayors and local officials of both political parties, and it’s clear that when we stand together in front of the public and talk about what we are doing together to literally rebuild bridges and roads and childcare centers and schools – we restore a little bit of the public’s trust that has been lost in government institutions at all levels in the past few decades.

Rebuild Illinois is about more than just roads, bridges and universities; it’s about jobs: middle class careers with wages and benefits, the kind of jobs that help you raise a family. And together, we did more to make these jobs more inclusive and diverse, by investing in the Illinois Works program to recruit new construction apprentices and set strong goals for our public works projects to include diverse employees.

With me today is Reggie Marizetts Junior, a first-year apprentice with Laborers’ Local 165 in Peoria. Reggie fell in love with hands-on work early in his life, and it’s his apprenticeship where he is learning all the skills to succeed not just now, but for decades to come. Reggie intends to become a full-time journeyman and later to pursue his lifelong dream: opening a father-son construction company with his dad. Reggie, please stand so we can cheer for your hard work and your bright future.

Over the next six years, in addition to our expansion of apprenticeships, Rebuild Illinois will transform our infrastructure – even as we create a lot more opportunities for Reggie and thousands of young people just like him, with steady work that will help make sure that our economy works for everyone.

Last year we made enormous strides toward equality and opportunity when Democrats and Republicans came together to legalize adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric legislation in the nation which will result in 63,000 new jobs, and new opportunities for entrepreneurs, especially those from communities that have been left behind. It gives us a chance to collect tax revenue from the residents of Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa and Indiana, and most importantly, we’re giving a second chance to hundreds of thousands of people who had a low level cannabis conviction or arrest on their record.

The bipartisan License to Work Act that I signed two weeks ago ended the practice of revoking driver’s licenses for unpaid parking tickets and fines – because often the only way someone has to pay their parking ticket is if they can travel to work. We restored driving privileges to more than 50,000 people.

When public policy makes it a crime to be poor, it ends up costing us all. The situation you may be born into, the struggles you may be born with — even the struggles you never expected to be your own — should not be allowed to write your entire future.

We’ve also begun the long work of tackling our pension problems. In addition to expanding our state pension buyout program, in the fall veto session we accomplished something that eluded governors and General Assemblies for almost 75 years by consolidating 650 downstate and suburban first responder pension systems – which will alleviate local property tax burdens and strengthen the funds that offer a decent retirement to our police and firefighters.

Maybe more significantly – the bill we passed was supported by both a leading progressive Representative, Will Guzzardi, AND an outspoken conservative Senator, Dan McConchie.

All I can say is, anything is possible.

We did big things to help people. Real people who live and work here every day. We raised the minimum wage, advanced equal pay for women and minorities, provided millions of Illinoisans relief from high interest on consumer debt, and expanded health care to tens of thousands more people across the state.

We are reaffirming that our most important commitments are to our children and their education. Mark my words, Illinois will be the best state in the nation to raise a young family. Today, 20,000 more kids are getting childcare, and thousands more are going to preschool. To address our state’s shortage of teachers, we raised the minimum teacher salary so we can retain educators in Illinois, and we made it more attractive for out-of-state teachers to move here. We made it easier for high school graduates to get a skilled wage by expanding vocational training and career and technical education for the first time in a decade. And after years of decline, we are turning around university student enrollment by making college more affordable, expanding scholarships to an additional 10,000 college-bound students – and this fall, more than half of the families in our state will be eligible for free tuition at the University of Illinois.

We made healthcare more available – and more affordable.

Working with Senator Andy Manar, we capped out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 for a 30-day supply so that no one in Illinois has to decide between buying food and paying for the medicine they need to stay alive.

We expanded insurance coverage for mammograms and reproductive health. And we protected people who need treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions.

Overall, the number of opioid related deaths are declining.

We diminished dependence on opioids by reforming the medical cannabis program to cover chronic pain conditions, and we’re focused on using evidence-based practices to reduce racial disparities as we continue to battle the opioid crisis.

In the face of the resurgences of measles, mumps and other diseases, we restored federal funding of our state immunization program — which was shut down under the previous administration.

We raised the age to buy cigarettes and vaping products to 21, so we can reduce youth tobacco use.

We stood up for human rights and civil rights when we put Donald Trump on notice that Illinois will not be complicit in his shameful and draconian immigration policies.

We opted in — to welcoming refugees to Illinois – continuing a proud tradition in this state that stretches back to my great grandparents, welcomed here a century ago after fleeing anti-Semitism in Europe.

We invested in public safety by expanding the number of new Illinois State Troopers. And we’re building a new state police forensics lab so we can solve crimes faster and address the backlog of DNA testing of rape evidence — because crime victims shouldn’t have to wait for justice.

We stopped bad-mouthing the state and started passing laws that make Illinois more attractive for businesses and jobs. Working across the aisle, we brought tax relief for 300,000 small businesses through the phase out of the corporate franchise tax. And we laid the groundwork for new high-paying tech jobs by opening new business incubators, by incentivizing the building of new data centers, and by investing $100 million in a University of Illinois and University of Chicago partnership that will make Illinois the quantum computing capital of the world.

Jobs and businesses are coming to this state because we are investing in the things that have always made us great: a skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, great public schools, top research universities, a robust agricultural sector, and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship literally built into the steel frames of our skyscrapers – themselves a symbol of Illinois’ ambition and belief in the future.

By almost every measure, over the past year we’ve improved the financial wellbeing, health, education and safety of the residents of Illinois – and we did it working together.

And now we have to work together to confront a scourge that has been plaguing our political system for far too long. We must root out the purveyors of greed and corruption — in both parties — whose presence infects the bloodstream of government. It’s no longer enough to sit idle while under-the-table deals, extortion, or bribery persist. Protecting that culture or tolerating it is no longer acceptable. We must take urgent action to restore the public’s trust in our government. That’s why we need to pass real, lasting ethics reform this legislative session.

Honest members of the General Assembly from both sides of the aisle have some good ideas, and so do I.

It’s time to end the practice of legislators serving as paid lobbyists. In fact it’s time to end the for-profit influence peddling among all elected officials at every level of government in Illinois. Disclosure of conflicts of interest and punishment for breaching them must be included in any ethics package for us to truly clean up government. Most states have a revolving door provision for legislators, and it’s time for Illinois to join them. Elected officials shouldn’t be allowed to retire and immediately start lobbying their former colleagues. It’s wrong, and it’s got to stop.

There are many more ethics reforms that must be addressed this spring, and I expect the legislature’s bipartisan ethics commission to issue its report in the next 8 weeks. Restoring the public’s trust is of paramount importance. Let’s not let the well-connected and well-protected work the system while the interests of ordinary citizens are forgotten. There is too much that needs to be accomplished to lift up all the people of Illinois.

The overwhelming majority of people involved with government and public policy and politics here in Illinois truly just want what is best for this state. From legislators to citizen activists to reporters – they chisel away at intractable problems and put their shoulders into making real, lasting institutional change. They don’t get distracted or dejected – whether they are battling poverty, fighting for increased education funding, or fixing the unglamorous but essential problems of our state’s IT infrastructure. Illinois is full of people who love our state and are willing to work earnestly every day to fight for her.

Which is why we have to be committed to the hard work of changing another aspect of the political culture in this state that has too often rewarded a go-along-to-get-along attitude at the expense of truly ethical conduct.

When I took office a year ago, I hired people who came from all walks of life, all different backgrounds – who were diverse in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography and life experience and whose only loyalty is to good ideas and good results. And I took heat for it from some who had been here a very long time. Many were incredulous that I wasn’t just automatically hiring the same old faces that get jobs year in and year out.

A commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just a talking point for me, and I hope that the past year has proven that. I have an administration that looks far more like the state we represent than any that has come before it. I have elevated talented people who have been overlooked for far too long, and our state is doing better because of it.

Change needs to happen. And much of this change needs to happen outside of the scope of legislation. It’s about how we, as public officials, conduct ourselves in private that also matters. Common sense and basic decency need to prevail in the everyday interactions that make government work. People need to treat disgusting suggestions with disgust. The old patronage system needs to die…finally and completely. The input of women and people of color need to be treated as essential to decision making – not as some token show of diversity.

Bit by bit, inch by inch, I am working hard to reverse the harm that has been done to people and communities that have been left behind over many generations by government policies and elected officials who were content to simply ignore them. I remind myself every day that I have obligations not just to the current people of Illinois, but to the many people who preceded us who were discriminated against, harmed, treated as lesser, and forgotten – lasting damage that echoes through too many communities today. We are obligated to make our future more equitable and fair.

I came into this office with the message that I am committed to doing things differently in my administration. A lot of folks didn’t believe me a year ago. Now you can see how far we can come in a year – even when work still remains.

It’s time for us to recommit ourselves to the hard work of bringing prosperity and opportunity to all communities in Illinois through a fairer tax system, job creation, education and job training programs, child care and pre-school, and a focus on building essential tools of success such as high-speed Internet in all corners of our state.

This spring, working with legislators, we will begin the long path toward a fairer criminal justice system. That starts with phasing out cash bail and following many of the recommendations made by the bipartisan criminal justice reform commission created by my predecessor, most of whose ideas were never adopted because of the rancor and dysfunction.

Our spring agenda must also address the pressing issue of adopting new clean energy legislation that reduces carbon pollution, promotes renewable energy, and accelerates electrification of our transportation sector. We saw the effects of climate change right here in Illinois last year with a polar vortex, devastating floods, record lake levels, and emergency declarations in more than a third of Illinois’ counties.

Urgent action is needed — but let me be clear, the old ways of negotiating energy legislation are over. It’s time to put consumers and climate first. I’m not going to sign an energy bill written by the utility companies.

Property taxes in Illinois are simply too high. That’s why it’s time to put the best ideas to work from both sides of the aisle. Local governments continue to max out their levies even when they don’t need to. There are perverse incentives in state law that encourage that. We can change the law to support local governments and lower property taxes. And with nearly 7,000 units of government in Illinois, it’s time to empower local taxpayers to consolidate or eliminate them. These changes, along with our landmark pension reform that consolidated police and firefighter pensions, can make a serious dent in property taxes.

Today in Illinois we are governing with our heads and our hearts. In a time when cynicism has too often become the rule rather than the exception, we’re proving that we really can make progress. We’re showing the rest of the nation what pragmatic progressive leadership looks like – and putting our state back on the side of working families.

A year ago, I shared a story at my Inauguration. It was also about flags – about how a couple in Barrington, Illinois, had their Pride flag stolen from their backyard and replaced with an American flag.

Bigots wrapping themselves in a veil of patriotism are an increasingly familiar sight these days, and it’s a dangerous trend.

But the community fought back. A neighbor, Kim Filian, upon hearing about the incident, put a Pride flag in her yard in solidarity. And then suddenly lots of people were asking for them, and she was giving out Pride flags to everyone in Barrington – they were popping up in yards all over the neighborhood.

Kim told the news at the time: “Frankly, I’ve grown weary of this, of all this hate. And I gotta say, it just seemed like there was one thing that I could do that I had control of.”

I’ve thought a lot about that story this past year. It reminds me of the fundamental goodness and decency of the people who live here in Illinois and about how hard they will fight for each other.

It reminds me that we all ought to think a little like Kim Filian every day – to remember the things we have control of.
So this past June, I asked Secretary of State Jesse White to fly a Pride flag over the Illinois state capitol for the first time in our history. After all, we have a choice about how we tell our story, and I want our Illinois story to be one of hope, inclusion, opportunity and kindness. I want it to be inspired every day by the fundamental goodness of the people who live and work here and who struggle so hard for a fair shot.

Those are good ideals to live by. Those are good ideals to govern by. Let’s all try to remember them in the year ahead.

Thank you.

       

49 Comments
  1. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    ===There are many more ethics reforms that must be addressed this spring===

    I for one am quite excited to see the reforms suggested by a person that is a relative political outsider that is not dependent on his elected office for fortune and only gains in clout with a successful ethics reform.


  2. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    Those who would shout doom and gloom might be loud – using social media bots and paid hacks to advance their false notions – but they are not many. You see, we’re wresting the public conversation in Illinois back from people concerned with one thing and one thing only — predicting total disaster, spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting it, and then doing everything in their power to make it happen.

    I’m here to tell the carnival barkers, the doomsayers, the paid professional critics – the State of our State is growing stronger each day.

    Governor, dismissing your critics who urge bold action to do your part to solve the pension crisis that is bankrupting Illinois as paid hacks and bots is beneath you.

    Doing nothing will accelerate the problem.

    How can you ignore the unfunded liability increased by 3.8 billion last year?

    There was bipartisan opposition to your plan to short the pension contributions. The Speaker has called the pensions unsustainable.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/fiscal-stability


  3. - Ok - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    Looks to be on a record pace …

    Comparisons to Pat Quinn and his 90-minute extemporaneous speeches are rampant


  4. - fs - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    == a relative political outsider==

    Lol

    Compared to who? Madigan?

    The guy who was on tape with Blago over a decade ago is a “political outsider” now?

    I guess relative is a relative term.


  5. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    It has always amazed me that these PR-savvy politicians can’t have a complimentary power point presentation that is streamed on-line and on the legislators lap tops.


  6. - Not fs - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    He supports bipartisan, common sense approaches. Come on now.


  7. - :) - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    Governing with our heads and our hearts…gave me the biggest laugh of the week.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    First.

    @ChicagoBars gets a shoutout. Wow. Restaurant quality.

    === He supports bipartisan, common sense approaches.===

    Explain the Capitol Bill, in between hyperventilating.


  9. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    You forgot to list raising liscence plate fees on utility trailers from $18 to $118 as another accomplishment.


  10. - Ok - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    “Just Me 2″

    You must have missed both Rod and Rauner do the powerpoint thing.

    Funny, though, when the camera shows the powerpoint, it doesn’t show the politician.


  11. - Ok - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    “watchful twitter citizen” is great


  12. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    ===I guess relative is a relative term. ===

    You’re welcome to disagree, but which prior offices has JB Pritzker held? Which prior party positions had the Governor held?

    Was Governor Pritzker relevant to Illinois or machine politics because he showed up to do campaign work with the promise of a job or at a later date, the hope of a job, or the “well they’ll know who to hire based off of who they’ve seen around” with a wink and a nudge?

    The only thing Governor Pritzker owes to any of the existing or remaining political machines in the State of Illinois is a strong enough working relationship to enact his legislative agenda.

    Take, for example, how John Sullivan was dismissed from service to the state.

    Pritzker’s greatest weakness right now are exempt positions at agencies that he didn’t fill with people committed to his goals and administration doing whatever they can to avoid being the next John Sullivan — tossed on the street for wrong doing they ignored years ago.


  13. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:46 pm:

    So much more optimism than before. Looking forward, hopefully, to more bipartisanship and common ground. Indescribably better than the previous administration, whose MO was war and obstruction.


  14. - Charlie Brown - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Lots of people noticed the flags and @Chicagobars tweets. There were a lot of them.

    In fact, @chicagobars even tweeted @CMSIllinois but to no response.

    The administration didn’t notice though until it was retweeted by a journalist, which is really the story of this last year.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    === We could spend our time reliving every past failure, every bygone insult and fight – or we could fix things and be ardent voices on behalf of an agenda of opportunity in the years ahead. The last year has shown what we can do when we roll up our sleeves and work together to restore stability to our state.===

    Right here.

    This is the last year in comparison to his predecessor and what needs to be done going forward. This is solid work here.

    === By almost every measure, over the past year we’ve improved the financial wellbeing, health, education and safety of the residents of Illinois – and we did it working together.===

    Almost a verbal spanking, while an important distinction…

    “By almost every measure, Illinois is worse off… “… describing his predecessor. Again, solid. A new day.

    === I’m here to tell the carnival barkers, the doomsayers, the paid professional critics – the State of our State is growing stronger each day.===

    Putting into perspective the differences, even the differences we read in pressers, the phony angst of Raunerism is based on film-flam, and moving forward after that first year, those described are not about the solutions, and they should be called out… with examples following.

    It’s a B+, A-, with a governing lean and a bipartisan feel, with the honesty of what has been done in year one.

    It’s a new year, we’ll see how it goes.


  16. - illinoyed - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:50 pm:

    Well, it is nice to have a “glass half full” gov for a change…


  17. - Not fs - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    OW(wow). I was replying directly to fs and his specific comment regarding ethics reform. You can keep your brown paper lunch bag. ;-)


  18. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    =You forgot to list raising liscence plate fees on utility trailers from $18 to $118 as another accomplishment.=

    The capital bill was a bi-partisan accomplishment and long overdue. You do realize that roads don’t pay for themselves?


  19. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    It’s good to know that JBs solution to fixing things will be to continually raise taxes and fees. Seems so darn simple I cant believe somebody didnt think of that before. I smell a Nobel Prize in economics in someone’s future.


  20. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    Roads dont pay for themselves. 38.38 plus inflation.


  21. - Windy - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 1:08 pm:

    A couple of references seemed to be directed to one of the guys standing behind him ==I hired people who came from all walks of life, And I took heat for it from some who had been here a very long time== followed by ==the old ways of negotiating energy legislation are over== Good on him.


  22. - 17% Solution - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    === You see, we’re wresting the public conversation in Illinois back from people concerned with one thing and one thing only — predicting total disaster, spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting it, and then doing everything in their power to make it happen.===
    Looking at you John Tillman.


  23. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    ==and bots==

    Get your feelings hurt because he called out bots such as yourself?


  24. - Victor Kingston - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    Long. Very long. But also very well written. We can talk about the realities of the situation, but the team that wrote this need a pat on the back. The rhetoric was soaring and it was only blatantly partisan four or five times. That’s a solid improvement over previous years.


  25. - 13th - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    at least he also not adding or dropping his “g” /s


  26. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    “your critics who urge bold action”
    So suing to blow up a bond referendum in order to lower the State’s credit rating is “bold action?” Not having a budget for years is “bold action?” Not paying bills is “bold action?”


  27. - Smoothly done - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    JB is a very articulate guv, the most articulate in quite a while, actually. Who is/are his speechwriters? How much of this is his own work? Because it’s really quite good. Every speech of his I’ve seen, the quality of the remarks is of a high standard, whether you agree or disagree with his points.


  28. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    ==the paid professional critics==

    So they should go unpaid? That’s not labor-friendly. Race to the Bottom.


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:29 pm:

    Raised trailers from 18 to 118. I get the capital bill and roads arguement but a car was raised almost 50%. A utility trailer was raised over 600%


  30. - 17% Solution - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:38 pm:

    == So they should go unpaid? That’s not labor-friendly. Race to the Bottom.==
    No one is suggesting the mercenaries don’t get paid. Worried?


  31. - Southern Illinois Mayor - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    That is the only disappointment I have had with Pritzker, he blew through the G budget pretty early. He has already spent more on Gs in the first year that Rauner did in four years.


  32. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    ” He has already spent more on Gs in the first year that Rauner did in four years.” Don’t worry, they get cheaper the more you buy.


  33. - Shytown - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    Lets start with banning legislators from lobbying other governments. A no-brainer.


  34. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===Roads dont pay for themselves. 38.38 plus inflation.===

    Back in my day, I could get roads for a shiny buffalo nickle.

    I hear tell of a place beyond the Mississippi with mile after mile of free roads that don’t cost a thing and ain’t got no potholes and no construction or delays either.


  35. - 17% Solution - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 3:08 pm:

    == I hear tell of a place beyond the Mississippi with mile after mile of free roads.==
    Turn right when you hear the buzzing of the bees and see the cigarette trees.


  36. - dbk - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    Very well-written and well-delivered, too. His administration has accomplished (through bi-partisan cooperation - repeat and repeat) a lot in its first year, and it looks like they’re taking on further big initiatives in 2020, esp. Ethics reform.

    I liked his acknowledgement of his wife in the beginning, his thanks to Cullerton, welcome to Harmon - all indications of the humanity and decency he displays in interactions with others (well, what I’ve watched anyway).

    Seems like there’s an actual plan here: one accomplishment laying the foundations for the next and the next … makes sense to me, a logical progression.

    Before we know it, he’ll be a delivering a SOTS speech explaining how Illinois is going to address the pension deficit - and he’ll actually mean it.

    Proud that Illinois has JB as its governor - surely he’s one of the most (if not the most) progressive governors in the country?


  37. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    “Back in my day, I could get roads for a shiny buffalo nickle. [sic]”
    Yeah but back then they were uphill both ways and covered with 3 feet of snow.

    “Mississippi with mile after mile of free roads.” I heard they’re paved in gold too.


  38. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 3:37 pm:

    No Super 8 Card means the speech was a winner.

    We haven’t had a governor who’s a good, or even decent, public speaker in quite some time. So the bar’s low, but he delivers a pretty good speech


  39. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 4:34 pm:

    ===So the bar’s low===

    JB definitely forgot to throw the ‘gee’ away.


  40. - Bruce - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 4:37 pm:

    I miss Squeezy the Pension Python.


  41. - The G - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 4:48 pm:

    =We must root out the purveyors of greed and corruption=

    Said the guy who had his toilets ripped out of his second mansion in his tax-avoidance scheme.


  42. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 5:04 pm:

    Restorative is the word that comes to my mind…How truly refreshing to have a Governor who’s for Illinois.


  43. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 5:08 pm:

    ===Said the guy who===

    Said the guy who made a public mea culpa and paid all back taxes with interest.

    I for one am open to allowing a corruption amnesty period where legislators, other elected, and other public officials can come forward and admit to their mistake, pay relevant fines and penalties, and allow the people to judge them.


  44. - SSL - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 5:21 pm:

    It was a good speech. I didn’t expect him to do anything but talk about was accomplished, and he did get things done. Not things that everyone agreed with necessarily, despite his thoughts that it is a select, noisy few. The experiment is just beginning in Illinois, and it may or may not be successful. I will remain an interested observer. But please don’t try to kick that pension can again, or all is lost.


  45. - 17% Solution - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 5:26 pm:

    == Said the guy who had his toilets ripped out of his second mansion in his tax-avoidance scheme.==
    Says the guy who participated in the vacancy relief provision that was available for everyone with a vacant building.


  46. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 5:37 pm:

    Commenting before reading the other comments …

    Overall a good speech and nice to hear a positive approach to things. I don’t agree with everything JB wants to do, but I would still give it a solid 8.5 out of 10.


  47. - dr. reason a. goodwin - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:04 am:

    Good speech, but how can his staff let him begin the talk early — before noon — when broadcast stations around the state were expecting to join at the top of the hour? Amateur mistake.


  48. - Touré's Latte - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    Good speech. Bad situation. Few concrete solutions past raise taxes and fees for increased spending.

    It will will interesting to see where everything stands EOFY.


  49. - Sure thing - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 11:52 am:

    All this progress and yet Illinois remains the worst state financially with only growing debt burdens.

    There will be fewer people next year and more debt. That much is certain. His job is not to reform, just to put a friendly face on your next tax hike.


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