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Afternoon roundup

Monday, Feb 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

When the whistle blows at the Belvidere Assembly Plant on Tuesday, it may signal the end of an era.

For nearly six decades, the massive auto plant has been the economic engine of the small river city near Rockford, churning out everything from the Plymouth Fury and the Chrysler New Yorker to the Dodge Dart.

But after several years of downsizing and dwindling demand for its current product, the Jeep Cherokee, Stellantis is idling the plant “indefinitely,” laying off the last 1,200 workers and perhaps closing it for good.

Statement from the Pritzker administration…

Illinois is focused on supporting workers impacted by the plant’s idling and has been on the ground providing workshops and support services to furloughed workers since receiving notification of the company’s plans in December 2022. In partnership with local leaders, community colleges and workforce partners, the State continues to work diligently to ensure impacted workers have the support they need. At the same time, Illinois continues to work closely with Stellantis as the company works to identify opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere facility to adapt to changes in the automotive market. REV Illinois and the closing fund, combined with our top-ranked infrastructure, abundant workforce and investments in statewide training, make Illinois a turn-key choice for any large company in the clean energy sector.

Not looking good.

* Pew

Nationwide and in 32 states as of the end of the second quarter of 2022, cumulative tax receipts since the pandemic’s start, adjusted for inflation, were even higher than they would have been if pre-COVID growth trends had continued—despite fallout from the pandemic and a two-month recession. According to Pew estimates, New Mexico led all states, with 17.1% more cumulative tax revenue than it would have collected under its pre-pandemic growth rate. Idaho was second at 16.7% above the trend. Nationally, combined tax revenue at the end of the second quarter of 2022 was 4% above estimates of what might have been collected had the pandemic not occurred.

However, estimates also show that cumulative tax revenue fell short of its pre-COVID growth trend in slightly more than a third of states since the pandemic’s onset. This suggests less extraordinary growth than the recent spate of budget surpluses and the scale and scope of enacted tax cuts might otherwise indicate.

Illinois in orange compared to all 50 states in blue and Ohio in green

Click here to do your own comparisons.

* Tribune

The Illinois Supreme Court should reject a “grab-bag of constitutional theories” put forward by prosecutors across the state who are challenging a measure that would eliminate cash bail, the attorney general’s office argued in a final appeal brief filed Monday. […]

The brief said the high court has “no persuasive reason” to side with the prosecutors, and argued that their position would “effectively bar the General Assembly from ever reforming pretrial procedures in the State.” […]

“The clause by its plain language guarantees rights only to crime victims; it cannot reasonably be read to require a system of monetary bail,” the brief said, “and it is easily squared with the pretrial release provisions, which at multiple stages require courts to consider crime victims in making release decisions.”

* Crain’s

The practice of considering environmental, social and governance, or ESG, risk has gained mainstream traction over the past two decades — in some quarters, it’s almost routine. Is it wise to invest in an oil and gas producer if the market is shifting away from fossil fuels, or in a company that has a record of sexual harassment complaints?

Some Republican officials have decided, however, that they’ve had it with what they call “woke” investing. A dozen states have enacted bills or issued advisories restricting ESG investing for public pension funds and other public money. Other states are considering similar measures.

Florida’s hard-line conservative Gov. Ron DeSantis led a resolution to bar state pension funds from considering ESG factors, and the state pulled about $2 billion in assets managed by investment giant BlackRock, an advocate of socially conscious investing. Texas blacklisted BlackRock and other financial firms it determined divested stocks of fossil fuel companies.

The backlash worries asset owners and managers in Illinois and other blue states. Why would anyone limit the considerations that go into selecting a sound investment strategy, they ask. That could potentially depress the returns of the pension funds or deprive the fund of a superior return because it’s unwilling to consider factors that impact long-term viability.

* Injustice Watch

Illinois’ state child welfare agency for years has been illegally blocking undocumented survivors of child abuse from seeking a special visa for crime victims that would allow them to remain in the United States, an Injustice Watch investigation has found.

Since 2019, state law has required the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and all law enforcement agencies to make a decision within 90 business days on whether undocumented immigrant applicants who have been victims of certain crimes and are applying for a type of permanent visa called a “U visa” are eligible.

That visa program was set up to help law enforcement gain the trust of undocumented immigrants who might otherwise be reluctant to come forward.

But records show that DCFS so far has taken more than four years to establish a process to review the applications, potentially denying hundreds of families a chance at legal immigration status and keeping others from even trying.

Full statement from DCFS…

The safety, health and welfare of our children are the primary concern of DCFS. The Department has received 7 requests for certification since January 1, 2019 and has signed one certification. The Department has designated a point of contact to review U Visa requests and established a specific email address for individuals to submit a certification form request. The Department is committed to further developing this process to assist individuals who may be eligible for a U Visa. The Department will also reevaluate those requests that were previously submitted to determine whether the requests for a certification can be granted.

* Ralph Martire on the proposed state budget

However, many of the structural fiscal flaws that created years of deficits remain in place. Which means Illinois decision-makers have the rare opportunity to thoughtfully consider reforming the state’s fiscal system, with an eye toward building the capacity needed to sustain investments in core services over the long haul, rather than just dig out of the crisis du jour. Bottom line: the Pritzker administration should be commended for its responsible stewardship, but there’s still work to do.

…Adding… Illinois Policy Institute sending text messages attacking Brandon Johnson and CTU…


* Isabel’s roundup…

* Chicago stuff from Isabel…

       

25 Comments
  1. - Been There - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    ====Click here to do your own comparisons.====
    Interesting because there doesn’t appear to be a common denominator. New Hampshire is down but Vermont is up. Texas down but Florida up. etc


  2. - OneMan - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 2:38 pm:

    == Florida’s hard-line conservative Gov. Ron DeSantis led a resolution to bar state pension funds from considering ESG factors, and the state pulled about $2 billion in assets managed by investment giant BlackRock, an advocate of socially conscious investing. Texas blacklisted BlackRock and other financial firms it determined divested stocks of fossil fuel companies.=-

    Yeah, why consider some very legitimate risk factors when making investments, heck Florida if you are going to do that, why not put the whole pension system into selling property and hurricane insurance in Florida? Obviously, there is a fortune to be made there, since folks who consider these factors are pulling out of that market.

    Then again there is money to be made making big bets on higher risk/less likely outcomes.


  3. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 2:48 pm:

    More reasons to trust environmental poisoner Dow?


  4. - JS Mill - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    =Bottom line: the Pritzker administration should be commended for its responsible stewardship, but there’s still work to do.=

    Both high praise and words to the wise. Martire’s ideas should given given serious consideration.


  5. - Betty Draper’s cigarette - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:01 pm:

    Just wondering if the increased revenues also reflect online retailers collecting sales taxes. Amazon started collecting sales taxes for Illinois in 2017 and EBay in 2020. I know taxpayers were supposed to declare their online expenses on the tax form every year, but maybe some didn’t do that?


  6. - Back to the Future - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    Really bad news on the Belvidere manufacturing plant.
    The plant employed 5,469 people in 2019 and four years later they are now down to about 1200. Tomorrow they will be down closer to zero.
    Don’t want to count the workers out, but this is not looking very good for them.
    Maybe a last minute arrangement can be put together to keep the last 1200 jobs till the fall and work on a longer term solution for the plant.


  7. - Steve - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:08 pm:

    -Why would anyone limit the considerations that go into selecting a sound investment strategy, they ask-

    This is the funniest thing I read this month. If you are a pension fund your goal is to outperform the S&P 500. You can’t outperform the S&P 500 and meet your fiduciary if you are investing in companies that aren’t profitable without massive government subsidies.


  8. - Friendly Bob Adams - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:26 pm:

    Injustice Watch says the visa problem may impact “hundreds of families”. DCFS says they have received 7 applications in 4 years. As Shakespeare said, wassup with that??


  9. - Steve - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    -make Illinois a turn-key choice for any large company in the clean energy sector-

    In this sort of industry, how do you compete with a right to work state when you aren’t a right to work state? Just saying..


  10. - Nuke The Whales - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:35 pm:

    ==You can’t outperform the S&P 500 and meet your fiduciary if you are investing in companies that aren’t profitable without massive government subsidies.==
    Citation needed. ESG funds outperformed their peers in 2020 and outperformed their peers 2010-2020. The goal of this is to scare pension funds out of investing in competitors to fossil fuels with the idea they could be punished under anti-ESG laws while looking like you hate the elites who fund your campaigns.


  11. - Blue Dog - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:36 pm:

    I’m assuming Blackrock still manages some Illinois assets. But isn’t Illinois still producing and exporting tons and tons of coal. Although not directly investing in these coal companies, it seems Blackrock is a bit complicent.


  12. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:37 pm:

    ==Illinois Policy Institute sending text messages attacking Brandon Johnson and CTU==

    Another reason that no one should take the Illinois Policy Institute seriously. They are a hack organization and it irritates me when they try to bill themselves as non-partisan.


  13. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:37 pm:

    The Dow thing with the shoes?
    Looks like they need to lose whatever tax credits they were getting for “recycling” and pay some stiff fines too while they are at it.


  14. - West Sider - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:40 pm:

    If the IPI is attacking Brandon- does that suggest
    they see him as a formatible threat in the runoff for their “preferred” candidate aka Palos Paul ?


  15. - Give Us Barabbas - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:41 pm:

    I’m contemplating the Venn Diagram of politicians against “woke” investment policies… And the affected businesses who are contributors to the pol’s campaign funds.


  16. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:43 pm:

    -make Illinois a turn-key choice for any large company in the clean energy sector-

    Amendment 1 eliminates IL from that.


  17. - Chicagonk - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:47 pm:

    In Moline the news today was that the hopes of passenger rail ever making it to Moline appear to be dead at the moment. The mayor had a press conference - A lot of finger pointing at Iowa Interstate, Illinois DOT, and Amtrak.

    If Pritzker is looking for an infrastructure win, getting this on track would be a good idea.


  18. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==Amendment 1 eliminates IL from that.==

    You work for the Illinois Policy Institute? Because that’s the trash they spout.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 4:00 pm:

    ===In this sort of industry, how do you compete with a right to work state when you aren’t a right to work state?===

    Meh.

    Being against organized labor because you literally are saying corporations don’t want to pay you an agreed wage, or have negotiated benefits, what exactly is being lost?

    It reminds me of folks like you - Steve - who told me that the defeat of the Fair Tax Amendment would help keep people like Griffin.. who left anyway.

    Pandering to folks “in hopes” isn’t the same as the strength of an educated work force


  20. - Back to the Future - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 4:15 pm:

    Nuke the Whales numbers on ESG investing on average seem about right.


  21. - Red Ketcher - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 4:31 pm:

    Belvidere - was making a Vehicle in USA , with a USA made Engine, a USA made transmission , and now, sadly, it’s going to end.
    Buy American is just a Slogan


  22. - Blue Dog - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 4:57 pm:

    BTW. did Rivian ever sign an agreement with the UAW. CANT FIND ANY EVIDENCE ON GOOGLE.


  23. - This - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 5:25 pm:

    This is really bad news for Boone and Winnebago Counties and Northern Illinois. Here’s hoping JB can pull a rabbit out of the hat.


  24. - Corruption Committee - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 7:44 pm:

    Mayor Lightfoot is banking on black women to propel her into the runoff. Missing from that demographic will be Ald. Pat Dowell, Lightfoot’s former ally who Chairs the Budget Committee. Ald. Dowell has endorsed Brandon Johnson.


  25. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Feb 27, 23 @ 9:09 pm:

    ===Injustice Watch says the visa problem may impact “hundreds of families”. DCFS says they have received 7 applications in 4 years. As Shakespeare said, wassup with that?? ===

    DCFS says they’ve created a special designated email address for people to “submit a certification request” and how many they’ve received. No indication when they set up the email, how they’ve advertised the email, or what they’ve done to inform people of the process, whether or not they’ve created a standardized or accessible process, or so forth.

    The DCFS statement is not exactly refuting Injustice Watch’s claim.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Uber Partners With Cities To Expand Urban Transportation
* Yes on operations and capital spending, No on revenues to pay for it
* Giannoulias on House floor while bill goes down
* Some budget react
* Governor rebuffs Rep. Crespo’s worries of future fiscal cliff
* Coverage roundup: House sends $53.1 billion FY25 budget to the governor
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Welch: 'No one's ever said the House is boring'
* House passes budget 65-45 - BIMP passes 62-46 - Grocery tax elimination sails 86-20 - Revenue omnibus put on postponed consideration - Motion to reconsider passes - But big problem and Dems will have to suspend the rules - Concurrence motion finally passes as GOP gives up
* Yesterday's stories

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