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*** UPDATED x1 - Griffin issues statement *** Friday Roundup: Cannabis; Ken Griffin; ILGOP; Casten; COVID-19

Friday, Sep 4, 2020

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* Sun-Times

State officials announced Thursday the next round of long-delayed and highly sought after cannabis dispensary licenses will be awarded in a lottery later this month.

The 21 qualifying applicants for the 75 new licenses were informed after a global accounting firm finished grading 1,667 applications, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

All those applicants received perfect scores and qualify as social equity candidates, meaning they were afforded a leg up in the application process as part of the state’s efforts to build diversity in an industry dominated by white men. […]

Applicants with tied scores in each of the 17 regions will receive a single entry into a region’s lottery for each application they submitted, the IDFPR said. Some firms gambled and paid to submit multiple applications at a cost of $2,500 each.

* From the administration…

Social Equity Applicants

    Of the 21 applicants eligible to enter the lottery process, all identified as Social Equity Applicants under the Act. See 410 ILCS 705/1-10.

    14 of the 21 applicants qualify as Social Equity Applicants because they have least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who have resided for at least 5 of the preceding 10 years in a Disproportionately Impacted Area.

    4 of the 21 applicants qualify as Social Equity Applicants because they have at least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who have been arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is eligible for expungement under this Act.

    2 of the 21 applicants qualify as Social Equity Applicants because they have at least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who have a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent, or who was a dependent of an individual who, prior to the effective date of this Act, was arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is eligible for expungement under this Act.

    1 of the 21 applicants qualifies as a Social Equity Applicant because it had a minimum of 10 full-time employees, at least 51% of whom either currently reside in a Disproportionately Impacted Area or have been arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is eligible for expungement under this Act or member of an impacted family.

Race

    Of the 21 applicants, 13 are majority owned and controlled by people of color and 17 have at least one owner who is a person of color.

Gender

    Of the 21 applicants, 16 have at least one owner who is a woman.

Age

    The age range of the majority owners of the 21 applicants is 26 to 77 years old.

* But the small number of qualifying applicants for the large number of licenses has infuriated several folks. Here’s Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside)…

That list is a total disappointment and a punch in the gut to the small business owners who were looking for an opportunity. 75 licenses are going to 21 applicants. Mostly shill companies. The lottery should not take place until wholesale changes happen. At this moment when our country demands racial equity, the administration has screwed us!

Ouch.

* More from Crain’s

“I’m disappointed. This is disheartening,” state Sen. Cristina Castro, whose district stretches from Elgin to Hoffman Estates, said after hearing from several constituents who didn’t make the cut. “We had quite a few minority-led groups. Many of them paid thousands and thousands of dollars to apply and were incredibly disappointed. The same names won in every region. Given everything going on today in the discussion about social equity, we had a huge opportunity to make a mark. But we failed. I want to see where and how this came about.”

Applicants were allowed to seek multiple licenses in each of 17 regions. Several applicants are seeking licenses in every district. Each license cost $2,500 to submit. “You saw the same names in every region,” Welch said. “There’s no way for a real social equity applicant to afford to apply for licenses in every region. That shows it was big-money people who made the list. […]

Ron Holmes, co-founder of consulting firm Majority Minority Group in Chicago, worked with more than 30 applicants, none of which was successful. “The people most impacted by the war on drugs were not successful today. Folks spent a substantial amount of money on this process. They’re going to have to find a way to put their lives back together at a time when the economy isn’t flush with jobs or opportunity.”

Lots more in that story, so click here.

* On to the next topic


* Tribune

The move by Griffin sets up a battle among billionaires over the fate of the proposed tax amendment with Pritzker, who is an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune.

Pritzker already has pumped $56.5 million into the Vote Yes for Fairness political fund, which is promoting passage of the amendment, which is before voters on the Nov. 3 ballot. […]

Prior to Griffin’s contribution, which was reported Thursday, the anti-amendment coalition had received $950,000 in donations. They included $100,000 apiece from a trust run by real estate mogul Sam Zell, MacNeil Automotive Products of Bolingbrook which produces WeatherTech products, Craig Duchossois, who runs the diversified Duchossois Group, and Jay Bergman, president of Hinsdale-based Petco Petroleum Corp.

*** UPDATE *** Ken Griffin, Citadel Founder & CEO…

People aren’t waiting until November to vote against the economic hardship created by the Springfield’s spending addiction – they’ve been voting with their feet for the past decade as Illinois has lost more residents than any other state in the nation. In that time, two tax increases have already failed to improve our situation, and what’s now being marketed to voters under the guise of a “fair tax” is nothing more than a graduated tax scheme engineered to extract the greatest amount of money possible from all Illinois taxpayers. As we’ve seen in other states with a graduated tax scheme, everyone inevitably pays a higher rate. It’s time the Governor and Illinois legislature stop taking advantage of constituents and wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars. It’s time for the Governor and the legislature to focus on spending our money wisely to provide for better schools, better public safely, better infrastructure and greater opportunities for all our citizens.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks…

Ken Griffin and his billionaire friends have collectively made more than $42 billion a week since the Coronavirus pandemic began, and yet he pays the same tax rate as our essential workers. Mr. Griffin reportedly made $1.5 billion last year, and under the Fair Tax, he would have had to pay $45 million more in taxes while 97% of Illinoisans would have seen their taxes go down or stay the same. It’s no surprise he’s now doing everything he can to protect the special deal he gets under Illinois’ current tax system. If Mr. Griffin would like to explain why he thinks it’s fair that he pays the same tax rate as our nurses and grocery store clerks, that’s a conversation we welcome having

* Vote Yes for Fair Tax chairman John Bouman…

Yesterday—the day that unions representing more than 1 million Illinois workers stood up to support Fair Tax reform—the state’s richest billionaire Ken Griffin spent $20 million to protect the broken status quo.

Griffin took home $1.5 billion in 2019 alone, yet paid the same state income tax rate as teachers, nurses, grocery store clerks and other essential workers. That’s wrong and it’s exactly why Illinois needs the Fair Tax amendment.

To end the sweet deals for the super-rich, cut taxes for everyone under $250,000 a year, make the wealthy pay their fair share and invest in shared priorities like education and health care, it’s time to Vote Yes for Fair Tax

* Coalition To Stop The Proposed Tax Hike Amendment…

We are encouraged that people from throughout Illinois, especially bipartisan small business owners, are responding positively to our message that this is the worst possible time to raise taxes. The Coalition welcomes support from anyone who believes we must stop Springfield Politicians from having new power to increase income taxes on every group of taxpayers, whenever they want.

The Constitutional Amendment sets no limit on the number of tax brackets that can be created and no limit on how high tax rates can be increased on groups of individual taxpayers – including middle-income families.

If passed, it would immediately result in billions in new taxes that would be especially devastating to over 100,000 small businesses, family farmers and large employers –causing tens of thousands of lost jobs that hurt women and minorities the most.

* Moving right along


The full opinion is here.

* And…


* Jeanne Ives has complained for a while now about how Democratic US Rep. Sean Casten won’t debate her. But

The Jeanne for Congress campaign has made the decision not to participate in the Editorial Board endorsement processes with the Daily Herald, SunTimes or Northwest Herald. […]

We value a free and fair press. And we are happy to continue to work with those in the media who report with fairness and accuracy. But we won’t continue the charade. We are not going to pretend that our message and ideas have been fairly or accurately represented by these three outlets, or that they have held our opponents to the same level of scrutiny. We can simply no longer trust in the objectivity of the Daily Herald, SunTimes and Northwest Herald.

* On to our last topic. IDPH press release…

Earlier this week, a slowdown in data processing within Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) systems affected the reporting of tests due to the large volume of testing occurring in Illinois. All available resources were deployed to improve the data systems, which are now fixed, and the backlog created by the slowdown has been cleared. Two system upgrades were put in place and the systems now have significantly faster processing capacity. Although the slowdown did delay the reporting of some additional aggregate numbers, it did not affect the reporting of positive or negative results to individuals in any way.

IDPH today announced 5,368 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 29 additional confirmed deaths.

    Bond County: 1 male 70s
    Cook County: 1 male 40s, 2 males 50s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 80s
    Cumberland County: 1 female 90s
    Edgar County: 1 female 90s
    Henry County: 1 male 90s
    Kankakee County: 1 male 90s
    Lake County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
    LaSalle County: 1 female 80s
    Macoupin County: 1 male 70s
    Madison County: 2 male 70s
    McHenry County: 1 male 80s
    McLean County: 1 male 90s
    Moultrie County: 1 female 90s
    Perry County: 1 male 60s
    Richland County: 1 female 90s
    Rock Island County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 90s
    Stark County: 1 male 80s
    Tazewell County: 1 female 80s
    Will County: 1 female 70s
    Williamson County: 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 245,371 cases, including 8,143 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from August 28 – September 3 is 4.1%. Using a 7-day rolling average for this metric helps account for any variation in day to day data collection, such as a data processing slowdown, and provides the public and decisions makers with a consistent picture of trends over time. As of last night, 1,621 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 360 patients were in the ICU and 155 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 149,273 specimens for a total of 4,309,941.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IDPH is now reporting both confirmed and probable cases and deaths on its website. Reporting probable cases will help show the potential burden of COVID-19 illness and efficacy of population-based non-pharmaceutical interventions. IDPH will update these data once a week.

* Also from IDPH…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 29 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

Twenty-nine counties are currently reported at a warning level – Boone, Bureau, Clinton, Coles, Cumberland, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Henry, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, McLean, Monroe, Pulaski, Randolph, Rock Island, Shelby, Stark, St. Clair, Union, Wabash, Warren, Williamson, Will.

Although the reasons for counties reaching a warning level varies, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with college parties, weddings, large gatherings, bars and clubs, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, travel to neighboring states, and spread among members of the same household who are not isolating at home. Cases connected to schools are beginning to be reported. General transmission of the virus in the community is also increasing.

Public health officials are observing people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings. In some counties, local law enforcement and states’ attorneys are not enforcing important mitigation measures like social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. Additionally, some people refuse to participate in contact tracing and are not providing information on close contacts or answering the phone. Individuals are also waiting to get tested believing their symptoms are allergies or some other cause.

Several counties are taking swift action and implementing mitigation measures to help slow spread of the virus, including increasing testing opportunities, working with schools, meeting with local leaders, and educating businesses and large venues about the importance of mitigation measures.

IDPH uses numerous indicators when determining if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county. A county is considered at the warning level when at least two of the following metrics triggers a warning.

    New cases per 100,000 people. If there are more than 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning.
    Number of deaths. This metric indicates a warning when the weekly number of deaths increases more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
    Weekly test positivity. This metric indicates a warning when the 7-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.
    ICU availability. If there are fewer than 20% of intensive care units available in the region, this triggers a warning.
    Weekly emergency department visits. This metric indicates a warning when the weekly percent of COVID-19-like-illness emergency department visits increase by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
    Weekly hospital admissions. A warning is triggered when the weekly number of hospital admissions for COVID-19-like-illness increases by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
    Tests perform. This metric is used to provide context and indicate if more testing is needed in the county.
    Clusters. This metric looks at the percent of COVID-19 cases associated with clusters or outbreaks and is used to understand large increase in cases.

These metrics are intended to be used for local level awareness to help local leaders, businesses, local health departments, and the public make informed decisions about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do. The metrics are updated weekly, from the Sunday-Saturday of the prior week.

* Related…

* Metro East school district decides to return to in-person learning: The Superintendent of Collinsville Schools announced to families today the district will start hybrid learning on Tuesday, September 8. Students will attend two days a week and learn remotely the other three. … The Metro East area of Illinois had a seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate of 9.6%, according to numbers released by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday. Two weeks ago, the positivity rate was 9.2%.

* Covid-19 has killed more police officers this year than all other causes combined, data shows: At the state level, Texas stands out for having the highest number of law enforcement covid fatalities with at least 21, according to NLEOMF. At least 16 of those represent officers with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which manages the state’s correctional facilities. Louisiana has 12 covid-related officer deaths. Florida, New Jersey and Illinois round out the top five with eight each.

* Herd Immunity Is Not a Strategy: But “herd-immunity strategy” is a contradiction in terms, in that herd immunity is the absence of a strategy. Herd immunity is an important public-health concept, developed and used to guide vaccination policy. It involves a calculation of the percentage of people in a population who would need to achieve immunity in order to prevent an outbreak. The same concept offers little such guidance during an ongoing pandemic without a vaccine. If it were a military strategy, it would mean letting the enemy tear through you until they stop because there’s no one left to attack.

* While Underwood wants to boost postal funding, Oberweis suggests reducing mail delivery

….Adding… On another topic…


* From Chairman Welch…

State Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch released the following statement Friday regarding the scheduled first meeting of the House Special Investigating Committee:

“The Special Investigating Committee has scheduled its first meeting for Thursday, September 10 at 9 a.m. in Springfield. As we begin work of this committee, I ask members of the committee to come prepared to conduct themselves in a manner reflective of the serious business before us.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments
  1. - A Jack - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 9:18 am:

    I was on the fence with the fair tax. But if Ken Griffin is against the fair tax, I will be voting for it.


  2. - Petey L. - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 9:34 am:

    The last thing this state needs is Ken Griffin relocating to another state.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    ===The last thing this state needs is Ken Griffin relocating to another state.===

    Why?

    If you’re voting to help billionaires keep more money you’re doing it wrong.

    It’s quite pathetic, the argument “don’t anger rich people”

    If they had their way, they’d pay no income tax and force the percentages of higher taxes on the middle class, “the ones who see value in a functioning state” as the wealthy still have multiple homes and arguably live in multiple places.

    Oh, riddle me this, why hasn’t Griffin left already?

    Rauner left in full humiliation, I know why Bruce left, lol


  4. - Montrose - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 9:40 am:

    “The last thing this state needs is Ken Griffin relocating to another state.”

    I would hope that we would never design tax policy - or any other policy - around keeping one guy happy.


  5. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    The other billionaire still has a $30 million advantage, right?


  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    === The other billionaire still has a $30 million advantage, right?===

    The money advantage/disadvantage is moot now.

    The “Fair Tax” folks wasted days, weeks, months on pretending they have a plan, probably with silly Zoom calls, exchanging texts with kittens or puppies playing…

    I’ve rarely seen such a waste of time with more than adequate resources since Hillary Clinton thought running out the clock and not visiting Michigan or Wisconsin made sense.

    I coulda sat on $50+ million and did nothing… what skill… does it take to talk someone into parking tens of millions of dollars instead of spending when people are stuck home during a global pandemic?

    For the love of Pete, they’re probably at somewhere between $480-600K a day burn rate to even justify the parking of that type of cash now.

    After Pritzker got both chambers to put this on the ballot, there is seemingly no real effort to measure the $50+ million to ensure it passes?

    Sincerely, what have y’all been doing?


  7. - Rabid - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    Twenty million to carry his water, a plank nailed down on the GOP platform


  8. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    @CZ - Pritzker’s money helps the little guys. Griffen’s attempts to help himself.


  9. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    @PS - The help is little, the guys certainly aren’t.


  10. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Sep 8, 20 @ 4:09 pm:

    The trouble is you can’t get good help nowadays, but Pritzker’s trying to help them, while Griffy want’s to use them to shield him from paying his fair share.


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