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Afternoon roundup

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This proposal from the Action Center on Race & The Economy and the People’s Unity Platform is not serious

The first is a move to impose a city income tax of 3.5% on any household with income above $100,000 a year. This tax would apply to both Chicago residents and money made by suburbanites employed in the city, and would yield an estimated $2.1 billion a year. […]

[Report co-author Saqib Bhatti, who serves on a 45-member Johnson transition subcommittee] said many of the bigger ideas contained in the proposal would require approval from Springfield.

They claim that this wouldn’t be a graduated tax, but I cannot see how this gets around the state constitutional prohibition: “A tax on or measured by income shall be at a non-graduated rate.” The state has a low income exemption to avoid triggering that provision. So, “approval from Springfield” would likely only be one step. Illinois voters would then have to adopt a constitutional amendment, and that didn’t go too well last time. Even if you buy into their constitutional argument, this is just more typical hocus pocus so the far-left can avoid talking about devising real-life solutions and blame others when it doesn’t happen.

* Define “lacking”

But in Chicago, the new [asylum-seeking] arrivals are finding an increasingly fraying safety net as the city is expected to run out of funds for migrant assistance by the end of June, while assistance from state and federal governments has been lacking. […]

Pritzker’s administration has said the state has spent $260 million on shelter and care for asylum-seekers.

* The same publication might want to define “bloated”…

* Comptroller Mendoza…

Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza announced a $150 million transfer to the Rainy Day Fund on Wednesday, bringing the fund’s balance to a record-high level of $1.73 billion.

This week’s transfer into the Rainy Day Fund is part of an $850 million supplemental appropriation the legislature and Gov. Pritzker adopted in January.


This week, Illinois General Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman filed a last-minute amendment to Illinois House Bill 219, which aims to allow recovery of punitive damages in wrongful death cases.

“This amendment is a clear attempt by the trial bar to line their pockets at the expense of Illinois families,” American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce said. “This ill-conceived amendment not only threatens to escalate costs but will further exacerbate Illinois’s reputation as a Judicial Hellhole®. We urge Illinois’s government leaders to reject this measure and protect the state’s economic vitality.”

H.B. 219, initially titled the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act, is essentially a shell bill that has become a vehicle for the proposed amendments. Amendment 1 would allow punitive damages to be recovered in wrongful death cases, except in cases against the state or a state employee acting in the person’s official capacity. Amendment 2 would further carve out healing art malpractice or legal malpractice.

“This amendment is arbitrary and imbalanced,” Joyce said. “It exempts state government, local government, and medical malpractice cases. If this amendment was truly about punishing defendants for certain behavior and protecting victims, then why would they create exemptions? The answer is simple: this amendment is nothing more than a power grab by the trial bar.”

Just two years ago, the trial bar snuck a pre-judgment interest rate amendment through the back door in the middle of the night during a lame duck session. This amendment, filed at the eleventh hour, echoes the trial bar’s past efforts to push through unfavorable legislation.

“This is, unfortunately, the exact sort of tactic we’ve come to expect from the Illinois trial bar and is a page straight from the trial lawyers’ playbook,” Joyce said.

The bill is moving quickly through the legislative process and, in a matter of days, has passed the House and now is awaiting committee assignments in the Senate. Leader Hoffman has said the bill is a top priority of the trial lawyers.

Cook County’s status as a perennial Judicial Hellhole®, currently ranked fifth-worst in the nation by the American Tort Reform Foundation, underscores the urgent need for fair and balanced legislation.

“Rather than burdening Illinois businesses with punitive damages, lawmakers should focus on creating an environment that promotes growth and prosperity,” Joyce said. “This amendment threatens to exacerbate the challenges faced by businesses and further dampen Illinois’ competitiveness.”

* Self-appointed morality police call the real police about a book option

Sarah Bonner has been an Illinois middle school teacher for 20 years, and she has always tried to offer her students a diverse collection of books.

This year, a parent called the police over her book choice.

It started on Monday, March 13, 2023, when [the Heyworth Community Unit School District 4 teacher] held what she calls a “book tasting” for students.

“I wanted to give them a smattering of fiction and nonfiction to choose from on a day that we call ‘Reading Monday,” Bonner, 42, tells “We just read and celebrate books.”

One of those books was Juno Dawson’s “This Book is Gay.” It’s a bestselling nonfiction book that’s billed by its publisher as an entertaining and informative “instruction manual” for anyone coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.

“By Wednesday, I received notice that parents had gotten a hold of pictures from that book that their child had taken in class,” Bonner says. “By Friday, I was told that parents had filed a police report against me for child endangerment.” […]

The day after Bonner learned about the police report, she received a letter from her school district — she had been placed on paid administrative leave. […]

The following Thursday, the school district held a special board meeting and voted unanimously to accept Bonner’s resignation.

* Well-earned…

On Wednesday, House Assistant Minority Leader Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) was awarded the Vince Demuzio Legislator of the Year Award from the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies for 2023. The president of IACAA, Arturo Puckerin, visited Leader Haas’ Springfield office to present the award to her.

“Poverty affects too many communities in the 79th District and across Illinois, and it is imperative we work hard to combat it and help our low income neighbors,” said Leader Haas. “I’m honored to receive this award and am committed to improving the lives of low income Illinoisans so every Illinoisan has the opportunity to succeed and live happy, fulfilling lives. As a social worker for over 30 years, I understand the issues people affected by poverty face. I will continue supporting legislation to also assist these individuals and help them overcome challenges presented by poverty.”

The Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies is a membership organization and serves as the backbone for training, technical assistance, and advocacy efforts. It was founded in 1971 in Springfield and former State Senate Majority Leader Vince Demuzio served as the first executive director of IACAA prior to his first Senate term in 1975.

Leader Haas has fought for low income residents of the 79th District since she began her service in the House of Representatives in 2021. One of her most significant accomplishments was backing bipartisan legislation to bring natural gas to Pembroke Township, an area in the 79th District that has been historically underserved. Residents in Pembroke had been forced to heat their homes and cook with wood, propane gas, or electricity, causing a significant financial burden for many. Leader Haas also leads the House Republican Supporting Women & Families working group, which tackles issues such as the cost of living, child care, and retaining Illinois teachers and medical professionals.

Community Action Agencies were first established in Title II of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to provide stimulation and incentives for rural and urban communities to mobilize their resources in order to combat poverty. The concept then evolved into the board structure of Community Action Agencies for equal representation by people with low income, public interests, and private entities.

* Harmon press release…

Today, Democratic Oak Park Township Committeeman Don Harmon announced details of the process to be used by a committee of the Cook County Democratic Party to fill the vacancy in the 1st District of the Cook County Board of Commissioners created by the resignation of Mayor Brandon Johnson. Mayor Johnson announced his resignation from the Cook County Board on May 13th, 2023 thus creating a vacancy to be filled by the elected Committee members of the Cook County Townships and Chicago Wards that comprise the 1st District. As the Committeeman with the highest number of “weighted votes,” Harmon will serve as the Chair of the proceedings.

“We welcome all applicants from the 1st District to serve the people of Cook County,” said Chair Don Harmon. “Anyone interested in applying to our committee for the appointment should submit a resume and a short cover letter signifying their interest and qualifications,” he concluded.

As described by Illinois statute and Cook County Ordinance, the election committee is comprised of elected party officials in the district who share the same political party as the last member to hold the district’s County Board seat. Weighted votes in each ward and township that make up the 1st County Board District, for the purpose of this appointment, are calculated by the number of votes Mayor Johnson received in the November 2022 election. Committee members elected to represent Chicago wards are based on the ward maps drawn previous to this redistricting cycle as those members have not faced an election under the newly drawn ward maps.

The members of the 1st District’s election committee include Alderperson Daniel LaSpata (1st Ward), Tim Egan (2nd Ward), Angie Gonzalez-Rodriguez (26th Ward), Alderperson Walter Burnett (27th Ward), Alderperson Jason Ervin (28th Ward), Alderperson Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward), Alderperson Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), Alderperson Emma Mitts (37th), Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (Oak Park Township), and Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough (Proviso Township).

All registered voters residing in the district are eligible to submit an application via email at Applications may be submitted until May 31st, 2023.

Once the application period is closed on May 31st, 2023, the election committee may narrow the field of applicants and set a date and time for in-person interviews. Upon completion of interviews and deliberation, the committee will vote on the appointment of the new commissioner. A vote of the majority of the weighted votes will determine the appointee.

Additional details of the committee’s meeting will be announced once the committee has chosen the time and place to meet.

* I’ve never heard of this outfit, but it just ranked Illinois as the second happiest state in the nation

Scholaroo has identified the Happiest States in the US by comparing all 50 states across 54 relevant metrics distributed in 7 key categories (Personal Finance, Leisure Activities, Mental Health, Physical Health, Employment, Personal Relationships, and Social Policies).

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:11 pm:

    I’m sick to death of these book banning parents. Why do we allow this vocal minority of people to engage in this sort of behavior? A police report? And it was taken seriously? And this school district. What a profile in courage they are. If you don’t like these books then don’t let your kids read them. Problem solved for you. Stop telling me what my kids can or cannot read. These people are nothing but bullies and schools like the are letting them get away with it

  2. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:13 pm:

    == The first is a move to impose a city income tax of 3.5% on any household with income above $100,000 a year. This tax would apply to both Chicago residents and money made by suburbanites employed in the city, and would yield an estimated $2.1 billion a year ==

    Hello, work from home!

  3. - H-W - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:14 pm:

    Re: ATRA

    The author lost me when I he wrote this:

    Judicial Hellhole®

    A registered trademark? Give me a break. If you want to make a compelling speech, avoid waving political banners.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:24 pm:

    ===Action Center on Race & The Economy and the People’s Unity Platform is not serious===

    If you can’t explain and understand 60/71, 30/36 and the constitutionality of being as ridiculous as this, it’s merely click bait or grifting… or both

  5. - Sue - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:25 pm:

    Johnson’s supporters are all going to learn that their candidate was less than honest with them. Virtually his entire program of tax and spending for new social welfare (equity) programs requires State legislation which will not be forthcoming. At least Vallas would have attempted to balance a budget something which Johnson is I’ll equipped to do or at least his CTU handlers have no interest in attempting

  6. - H-W - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:27 pm:

    Re: Self-appointed morality police

    It is a shame that Bonner offered a resignation letter. She should have hired a lawyer, and stayed put, forcing the school to follow through on its potential support for the reckless policy position of suggesting LGBT kids should be closeted.

    Unless the book had been previously “banned,” I would think any lawyer could win such a case.

    Any middle school child who would be harmed by learning that (1) LGBT people exist, and (2) that they have a right to be open about their identities, is a very sad child. Indeed, such evidence would suggest their parents might be problematic at the community level, and potentially endangering LGBT kids. They clearly are segregating their own child from the real world in which they live.

    Books do not endanger children. The absence of books does. And parents who would ban books endanger all children, not simply their own.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:31 pm:

    ===Johnson’s supporters are all going to learn that their candidate was less than honest with them.===

    Campaign in poetry, Govern in prose

    Still better than the option of Paul Vallas, and now Johnson… can’t beat someone with no one… a mere two days after being sworn in.

    Take a breath, it’s not like the GOP darling Vallas even publicly embraced all the vile he hoped would bring him victory.

  8. - Old IL Dude - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:31 pm:

    Re: 3.5% Chicago Income Tax: We’re dual-earners, living in Chicago with a HHI of over $300K. If we move out to Evergreen Park, Westchester, Frankfort, or Orland we would get a $10K+ raise. I’d think about Palos, but I might run into Paul Vallas, so gonna cross that place off the list.

  9. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:32 pm:

    While I appreciate the Comptroller’s efforts for the Rainy Day Fund, wouldn’t we get more “bang for the buck” if that money was applied to pension debt?

  10. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:53 pm:

    Re: Self-appointed morality police

    I can’t see how a report was taken for child endangerment by the police. The situation described does not seem to match up with the state statute for child endangerment.

    The only way this makes sense is if the local police were supportive of this action and potentially even helped coordinate it. The police report then went to the school district, which placed the teacher on leave.

    It sounds like the school policy may be to place an employee on leave immediately at the filing of a police report, no matter how lacking of a valid legal claim. The book banners just worked backwards and got the police to write a report on a non-existent crime, which caused the district to automatically place her on leave.

    The police have some questions to answer here as well. Perhaps the mayor of the town who appointed the police chief would like to answer some questions about this situation as well.

    This shouldn’t be brushed aside. These tactics are going to keep being used, until there is sufficient pushback. Lets start with filing a false police report is a crime.

  11. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:59 pm:

    - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:32 pm:

    But would that give the grandstander-in-chief the same bang?

  12. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 4:00 pm:

    - Sue - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 3:25 pm:

    Paul Vallas couldn’t even balance his campaign budget. That’s why he’s adopted the same strategy as the Republican Party’s leader and that’s to simply stop paying people and file lawsuits.

  13. - Pundent - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 4:02 pm:

    =At least Vallas would have=

    The voters didn’t have the same degree of confidence in Paul Vallas that you do. There’s a reason for that.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 4:16 pm:

    ===Re: 3.5% Chicago Income Tax: We’re dual-earners, living in Chicago with a HHI of over $300K. If we move out to Evergreen Park===

    Explain each and every domino that would be required for this to be a reality.


  15. - Rudy’s teeth - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 4:27 pm:

    Did the team from the Action Center on Race and the Economy and the People’s Unity Platform fall off the tractor one too many times?

    To tax income over 100K to both Chicago residents and suburbanites employed by the city is ludicrous at best and indicates that these so-called advisors have nothing to offer and no legitimate plans.

  16. - City Zen - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 5:00 pm:

    Draft legislation that allows municipalities with a population over 1 million to levy a city income tax on only its residents.

    If Chicago wants to tax themselves into oblivion, let them.

  17. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 5:10 pm:

    Taxing suburbanite income for those employed in the city is a sure way to… reduce the number enployed in the city. I mean Loop daytime populations are barely half what they were before COVID. This is a sure way to drive that down. Watch as companies close their Chicago offices, let people continue to work from home, and attach them in name only to a suburban or out of state office. No tax. No people downtown either.

  18. - ChicagoVoter - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 5:17 pm:

    Calling the police was not the proper way to handle it, but that book (if any of you even bothered googling it contents, like I have) is a clearly not appropriate for middle school. The parent should have gone to the principle and then the school board. There is a proper way to handle these types of issues and involving the police is a waste of the time and resources of law enforcement.

  19. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 5:44 pm:

    –is a clearly not appropriate for middle school.–

    I’m sure you have the same feelings about teaching about Henry VIII, and all his wives in middle school. I quite clearly remember that in my history books in middle school, at a Catholic school. Interestingly, reading about that in books didn’t cause me to become a philanderer and murder any of my wives, while trying to destroy the state religion just so I could get married once again. Well maybe that last part, but not because I want to get married.

    There’s nothing inappropriate in the book, that isn’t openly discussed already but with heterosexual couples. Shockingly, middle Schoolers have probably already learned about Romeo and Juliet - it’s even in their library as something they could choose to read for themselves.

    Just so we are clear, middle school is ages 11-14. Everyone was once that age. If you think 14 year olds don’t have romantic crushes on their peers since, well forever, that’s kind of sad to hear actually.

  20. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 5:56 pm:

    Spoiler alert: Tony Montana dies.

  21. - DTownResident - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 6:29 pm:

    The idea of Vallas balancing the budget is absurd. He mismanaged budgets of pretty much anything he was in charge of including apparently his one campaign.

  22. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 8:33 pm:

    ==That’s why he’s adopted the same strategy as the Republican Party’s leader and that’s to simply stop paying people and file lawsuits.==

    The law and order crowd want Foxx to prosecute more aggressively. Last time I checked passing bad checks all over town was a crime. Maybe Foxx should give them what they claim they want.

  23. - Tinman - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 11:08 pm:

    Its concerting that we already have a proposal to increase taxes in Chicago . We haven’t fully recovered from the Covid shutdown. Businesses will leave , these guys haven’t got a clue . I hope that the noise will be just that . But if it isn’t we will have a tough road ahead.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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