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Campaign notebook

Thursday, Sep 1, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Dave McKinney takes a look at the two Illinois Supreme Court races

Democratic losses could imperil existing state and local laws dealing with abortion, gun control and union rights and throw a wrench into a potential second term for Gov. JB Pritzker should he defeat Republican Darren Bailey this fall. […]

In a fundraising pitch to donors earlier this month, the state Republican Party went so far as to say the court elections are “MORE important to fixing our state” than even elections for governor or Congress — a concession, perhaps, that Bailey and the GOP’s congressional prospects in Illinois may be looking iffy this fall and that the court is where all the political marbles are at. […]

Indeed, the same culture wars that have divided the electorate could wind up before a newly constituted state Supreme Court.

On guns, for example, justices might again wade into whether the state firearms owner identification card is constitutional after punting on that question in 2020, sending the matter back to a local court. Legal challenges also have been threatened against a crackdown by Naperville this month on the sale and possession of high-capacity rifles and ammunition like those used in the Highland Park mass shooting on July 4.

And on abortion, a new court ultimately could be confronted with litigation from anti-abortion advocates that seeks to dismantle a landmark state law Pritzker signed in 2019 that requires health insurers cover abortions and that repealed a 1975 law criminalizing abortions. That case is pending in Sangamon County Circuit Court.

* Center Square

Republican candidate for Illinois treasurer Tom Demmer continues to push against his opponent, Mike Frerichs, and vows to stop any possible taxing of retirement income in the state.

Demmer, a Republican state representative from Dixon, faces Frerichs, the incumbent Democrat, in the November election.

Demmer has campaigned against a proposed retirement income tax, which he says his opponent will implement. Frerichs’ campaign says that simply isn’t true.

Demmer spoke Wednesday in Edwardsville alongside Illinois State Rep. Amy Elik, R-Fosterburg, candidate for the Illinois House 112th District Jennifer Korte, and candidate for the Illinois Senate 56th District Erica Harriss.

It was the second news conference Demmer’s held on taxing retirement income.

“Retirement income tax is something that Mike Frerichs during the debate in 2020 said we should have a discussion about,” Demmer said. “Well, if that discussion is going to happen, then we are going to show that a majority of people are against taxing retirement income.”

But Frerichs’ campaign said Demmer’s statements aren’t true.

“Mike Frerichs has never proposed taxing retirement income. He opposes it and will not support it,” his campaign manager, Lauren Young, said in an email to The Center Square. “Anything that contradicts this statement simply is untrue. Anyone who contradicts this statement should be asked, ‘why are you lying?’”

* Center Square’s take on the BGA report

An investigation has revealed that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s investments include companies that earned more than $20 billion in state business since he took office.

In 2019, Pritzker promised to divest his personal fortune of investments in state contractors and to transfer his portfolio into what he calls a “blind trust.”

The nonpartisan watchdog Better Government Association found in some cases, state dollars flowed to companies that were registered to lobby Pritzker, who as governor could influence the outcome of the contracts.

“We found that three of the companies had lobbyists registered to lobby Pritzker directly,” BGA reporter David Jackson said.


Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Kathy Salvi announced today that she has accepted the invitation to attend the first Senate debate, hosted by WTTW, WBEZ, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Kathy Salvi called for two additional debates with Senator Duckworth, consistent with the three debates held by Duckworth and then Senator Mark Kirk in 2016 as well as in keeping with Illinois’ “long tradition of monumental political debates,” as said in the Salvi campaign’s press release.

“Senator Duckworth should accept Kathy Salvi’s invitation to debate. Illinois families are facing a triple-threat from Washington; record inflation caused by out-of-control government spending, unprecedented pain at the pump from anti-energy policies, and looming tax-hikes at the worst time. The fate of the US Senate could very well hinge on this seat, and Senator Duckworth owes voters the same transparency that she demanded of her 2016 opponent. She must answer for her support of the reckless Biden administration policies that have fueled gas and groceries inflation, handcuffed US energy producers while enriching foreign energy producers, and hired 87,000 IRS agents to harass Illinois taxpayers ,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy.

* DeVore tells the Tribune why he busted the campaign caps in the AG’s race

“I am all in for the fight against Kwame Raoul, JB Pritzker and the overbearing political class that protected power at the expense of hardworking families and businesses in this state,” DeVore said in a statement. “I’m all in for the people of Illinois.”

Under state law, contribution limits are lifted when one candidate for statewide office gives their campaign more than $250,000. Until then, limits range from $6,000 for individuals to $239,900 for political party contributions to statewide candidates.

The move to lift contribution limits in the race is a gamble for DeVore, who prior to the loan had raised just under $122,000, including previous loans he made totaling $28,500, state campaign finance records show. DeVore started July with less than $16,000 in his campaign fund after winning a GOP primary in which he was vastly outspent by one of his two opponents.

Raoul, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, had more than $1.1 million in the bank at the beginning of July.

* Brady press release…

A common-sense, cost-and-time effective solution to a longstanding problem was authorized by the Illinois General Assembly 21 years ago, but two decades later taxpayers are still waiting for that long-promised relief. Illinois Secretary of State candidate Dan Brady, a Bloomington Republican, pledges to make the implementation of that solution one of his top priorities once he’s sworn into office.

“We’ve been waiting far too long for the Electronic Lien and Title system in Illinois, and as Secretary of State I will implement this system as soon as possible,” Brady said. “We need more than just discussion on this system, we need action. Neighboring states with this system are only too happy to snatch away our business for every day we delay its implementation.”

The Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) system in Illinois will make the switch from an expensive, time-consuming, and less-than-secure paper system of tracking vehicle title liens to an electronic system that will be faster, safer, cheaper, and easier to access for both businesses and consumers.

The Illinois General Assembly passed a measure in 2001 that authorized the Secretary of State to develop and implement the ELT system. The deadline to do so has been extended several times, most recently to July 1, 2022. That most recent deadline was also not met.

“The Secretary of State issues millions of paper vehicle titles every year, more than half of which contain a lien holder notation, and they must also process hundreds of thousands of lien release letters each year,” Brady said. “This terribly outmoded paper system means delay, expense, and many opportunities for mistakes and fraud. It’s time we helped our vehicle lenders and buyers by moving Illinois into the 21st century with the ELT, a system we’ve been waiting on for more than two decades.”

“An ELT system will expedite the validity and release of liens and help to ensure against the fraudulent release of liens,” Brady said. “Title holders, lenders, purchasers, dealers, and the State of Illinois will all benefit from this up-to-date system.”


  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:31 pm:

    ===“Mike Frerichs has never proposed taxing retirement income. He opposes it and will not support it,” his campaign manager, Lauren Young, said in an email to The Center Square. “Anything that contradicts this statement simply is untrue. Anyone who contradicts this statement should be asked, ‘why are you lying?’”===

    “Miss, this is a Wendy’s”

    Mike Frerichs made clear, he’s for discussing taxing retirement income.

    All those words, no mention of that fact.

    I can’t help that Mike Frerichs stands tall for a discussion to taxing retirement income.

    It’s more than misleading that one decides to pretend that isn’t Frerichs thoughts.

  2. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:53 pm:

    While it may have played a part in derailing the fair tax, the suggestion that we discuss taxing retirement income shouldn’t be fatal. We should be able to debate tough choices and the decision not to tax retirees is a tough choice. I’d much rather have that discussion than the dishonest conversations around “pension reform” or covert efforts to gut Medicare and Social Security.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:56 pm:

    ===it may have played a part===

    It was the admitted strategy to defeat it

    ===I’d much rather have that discussioN===

    In context, Frerichs made the point, if passed, discussions *to* taxing retirement income were welcomed.

    This ain’t no Yale Dorm Room thought.

  4. - JS Mill - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:09 pm:

    I am not sure if Demmer realizes he can’t actually “tax” anyone let alone retirees as treasurer. Does he know that?

    I also thought Demmer was a 1st Amendment guy, but seems to want to cancel people when they discuss ideas.

    I would hate to be at his dinner table.

  5. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:10 pm:

    The post mentions that US senate candidate Salvi suggests debates with Senator Duckworth.

    Speaking of debates…has there been a time and place announced for the Pritzker/Bailey debate. Anyone, anyone.

  6. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:15 pm:

    With the wacko Republican candidates running up and down the ticket I think it will spill over to Supreme Court candidates and county boards and any other partisan election and result in a wipeout for the Republicans. If I were a Democrat I would bring back straight ticket voting. I think Pate got rid of it after punch 10

  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:16 pm:

    ===I also thought Demmer was a 1st Amendment guy, but seems to want to cancel people when they discuss ideas.===

    The 1st Amendment is about freedom of speech. The repercussions of Frerichs championing a discussion is on the table.

    With respect.

  8. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:33 pm:

    From my perspective, the push from republicans against taxing any retirement income is for only one purpose.

    They don’t want any discussion to even get started that may lead to the wealthy being taxed.

    What is the opposition to a tax on retirement income above 500k/yr. If that’s too low, then how about setting it at the same limits as the death tax.

    Nobody wants to tax a pensioner living within their means, and that has never been part of the discussion to my knowledge.

    But with a flat tax, we can’t set that specific income bracket to be taxed without it applying to everyone independent of income.

    The taxing of retirement income question is very much intertwined with the flat tax.

  9. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:44 pm:

    To be clear, I don’t have a problem in Demmer calling out Freirichs’ on his retirement tax remarks. He should, it would be political malpractice not to. But it’s not particularly persuasive in terms of my vote as the Treasurer is in no position to do anything about this. And the comment may politically disqualify Freirichs from holding an office where he could act on this.

    From my perspective if Demmer wants to make hay he should focus on what Freirichs’ has actually done in the office. The $1.6B that Freirichs’ seemingly overlooked would be a good start. Let’s dig into that a bit deeper. And at the same time Demmer’s track record in supporting Rauner’s agenda should be fair game in understanding how he might approach the job.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:44 pm:

    ===What is the opposition to a tax on retirement income===

    I’m going to stop you there.

    Illinois not taxing *any* retirement income keeps population.

    Otherwise their would be a push to end it all

    Voters don’t do nuance, taxing retirement income is just that.

  11. - From the Middle - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:55 pm:

    The real issue here is not the discussion on taxing retirement income. Nobody is denying Frerichs right to say it. The issue is Fredrichs and his people trying to deny he brought it up. If this is a free speech issue as his apologists frame it, Frerichs should lead the discussion.

  12. - zatoichi - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 4:10 pm:

    “Demmer has campaigned against a proposed retirement income tax, which he says his opponent will implement”. Huh, thought that was the GA’s exclusive ability. How does Demmer claim Frerichs will do this tax?

  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    ===The issue is Fredrichs and his people trying to deny he brought it up.===

    Ball game.

    It’s phony to deny it.

    That quote is ridiculous and it’s embarrassing.

    Why? What can they say, Frerichs said what he said.

  14. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==and hired 87,000 IRS agents to harass Illinois taxpayers==

    A. That hasn’t been done yet
    B. That’s a number to be hired over 10 years

    Of course her supporters won’t care about any facts. They’ll believe anything they are told.

  15. - JS Mill - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 4:22 pm:

    =The repercussions of Frerichs championing a discussion is on the table.=

    Yep, he inserted foot squarely in mouth when he broached that subject.

    That does not excuse Demmer for lying about it (I see you said essentially the same thing).

    Nothing dishonest about talking about it. The revenue would solve a lot of issues, but it is THE political third rail. Expect to be voted out of office for any attempt to implement a retirement income tax.

  16. - BarryRumack - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 6:28 pm:

    ==With the wacko Republican candidates running up and down==
    …Biased, much?

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 6:54 pm:

    ===…Biased, much?===

    You’re claiming “sanity” for members of the GOP slate?

    For openers, Demmer stated Bailey could run this state as a governor.

    I mean, huh?

  18. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 7:23 pm:

    No I do not consider myself biased much. Just my opinion. I was a Republican precinct worker for years. In DuPage in Addison Township home of Pate Philip Jim Ryan Lee Daniels and Henry Hyde
    Now all RINOs. So you true believers will crash and burn. I am sad for the party of Lincoln Percy Dirksen Thompson

  19. - jimbo - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 7:29 pm:

    ==Illinois not taxing *any* retirement income keeps population.==

    It definitely keeps some people here, but does it actually keep our population higher than if they left? I’m not convinced.

    I know it’s just an observation, but the high home values this summer caused 3 houses in my neighborhood owned by snowbirds to finally sell, and they each sold within days to young families just starting out.

    Resulting in no net loss of population, and likely even an increase since they were all bought by younger folk. Lastly there are now people here spending money 12 months a year

  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 8:59 pm:

    ===It definitely keeps some people here, but does it actually keep our population higher than if they left? I’m not convinced.===

    It’s a “third rail” issue, so much so Frerichs is still trying to distance himself.

    Taxing retirement income likely wouldn’t help with the politics.

  21. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 9:23 pm:

    I’m still baffled at the idea that keeping people here who pay zero income taxes currently, is somehow a good thing.

    If they leave because we start to tax retirement income over a certain amount, zero state taxes are lost by their absence. Because that’s what is being collected from them now.

    Again, avoidance of this discussion is just a way to avoid even starting a discussion on taxing the wealthy.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 9:29 pm:

    ===zero state taxes are lost by their absence. Because that’s what is being collected from them now.===

    Now do sale taxes, maybe property taxes…

    The reality is the concerning math is the math of the politics towards it. Voting for it or sponsoring even a discussion to it is poison to a candidate.

    ===Again, avoidance of this discussion is just a way to avoid even starting a discussion on taxing the wealthy.===

    You can tax the wealthy AND not tax the retirement income.

    Frerichs pointed that out, as he wanted to discuss possibly adding the retirement income to that pool.

    Pretty easy to see, ask Frerichs.

  23. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 10:08 pm:

    ==You can tax the wealthy AND not tax the retirement income.==

    It’s all in the framing. Define “retirement income” and don’t tax it; the rest if fair game. (Example: Social security and IRAs don’t get taxed, but if you say “capital gains aren’t retirement income” you can tax it.) Frerichs messed that one up which helped tank the Fair Tax amendment and now he and won’t be able to move up the ladder. (It’s hard to see how Demmer can ride that to a win for the Treasurer’s office, but if Frerichs tries for Gov or Senate, he’s probably toast.)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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