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Pressed on anti-violence specifics, Kennedy says banning legislators from property tax appeals work is his top issue

Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018

* From Chris Kennedy’s press conference today

REPORTER: Can you speak specifically to legislation you would support to reinvest in communities and decrease violence in Chicago and across the state?

KENNEDY: Sure, there’s all sorts of programs that have been proven both in Chicago and around the country. We can duplicate ideas that have been successful elsewhere. And we can refund, reinvest in the programs that have worked in Chicago. Chicago pioneered the notion of interrupting the spread of violence once it begins, with programs like Ceasefire. The work that was done here was perfected in other communities like Boston. We could take the best of that thinking and bring it to Chicago and have an incredible impact. We don’t have this problem in other cities. We don’t, and we can solve it here. We just need the will to do so.

REPORTER: But in terms of legislation and education, or um, supporting business. Any ideas there that you would support as Governor?

KENNEDY: Well, I’d say the most important thing is to ban elected officials from having outside jobs that are adverse to the interests of the body they were elected to serve. We need to ban elected officials from being property tax appeals lawyers. Until we do that, until we get the dirty money out of politics, we’ll never get the dirty politicians out of government. They will prevent us from moving to a different system of funding our schools. If we don’t move to a different system of funding our schools we’ll never provide our kids great education. If we don’t provide them great education we’ll never provide them great opportunities. Without great opportunities, they’ll be doomed to spending their lives committing crimes of survival and that is not right, not in America.

Tracker video is here.

I would really like to see the legal and constitutional defense of this ban on doing property tax appeals while serving in the General Assembly.

* I asked Ann Lousin about Kennedy’s idea a while ago. Lousin, as you likely know, is one of our top state constitutional scholars. She didn’t think Kennedy could legally ban that particular outside work, but didn’t totally rule it out without first seeing how he worded it. Even so, she called it the “usual garbage” from a campaign. So, Kennedy’s “most important” issue could turn out to be a fairy tale.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    === the “usual garbage” from a campaign. ===

    That should be a required disclaimer on all campaign press releases and ads.


  2. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:52 pm:

    There is a law that a legislator can’t make more than 60% of the Governor’s salary from employment by a state contractor.

    Maybe a similar limit could be put on tax appeal income.


  3. - Shytown - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:54 pm:

    His “top” issue? Yeah that will solve all of the state’s ills. Talk about being out of touch - or just going off script (again). I mean, education and crime are never really that important to voters (sarcasm). I can think of a few more issues that voters might care more about like homelessness, ending poverty, pay equity gap…and many, many others.


  4. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:57 pm:

    I mixed up the 60% - any state legislator or any appointee or state employee who makes more than 60% of the Governor’s salary may not make more than the salary of the Governor from employment with a state contractor.


  5. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    It is good garbage, btw.


  6. - Dupage Saint - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    We have a top state constitutional lawyer. Out of curiosity have any of the candidates contacted her to see if what they want to do is legal? Seriously half the proposals being made, progressive income tax, term limits, no pay for no legislative work, school funding, pension etc all seem to me to require constitutional amendments or a new constitution. How do the candidates propose to do that?


  7. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    Isn’t Kennedy’s message the word salad version of “because Madigan”? He needs to do better.


  8. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    30 ILCS 500/50-13 is the law I’m talking about


  9. - anon2 - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    Is property tax appeal work the only legal business that legislators should be restricted from?
    If he wants to put limits on legislators, how about a law prohibiting them from going to the floor to the rail until a year after they leave office?


  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    Kennedy said in effect, Mike Madigan is a dirty politician. I didn’t think he and Rauner had anything in common, but there you have it.


  11. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    Kennedy’s hang up on Cook County property taxes is getting to be as bad as Rauner’s hang up on public sector unions.


  12. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:14 pm:

    The interesting question is how do you enforce the ban? With state contractors you can enforce them not paying a legislator more than the Governor by voiding their contract.

    Is Kennedy proposing nullifying any tax increase where the attorney is a state legislator? If so then whether that would pass a rational review equal protection standard is a debatable question.

    If he is proposing removal from office or ineligibility to run if say the legislator was the attorney on a tax appeal within the past 2 years, then that would require amending the Illinois constitution.


  13. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:15 pm:

    I meant nullifying any tax decrease (really assessment decrease)


  14. - Western Union - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:15 pm:

    Pat Quinn has performed property tax appeals work in the past. I am not sure if he has done so recently, but he did so while in private law practice.

    I would like to see a ban on current elected officials holding side jobs as lobbyists like Joe Berrios.


  15. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    Or they could say no assessor or board of review or the PTAB could accept any appeal filed by a state legislator.

    That would probably pass rational review.

    However, the IL Supreme Court would strike down a ban on legislators pursuing property tax reductions in court because they would say that infringes on their sole constitutional mandate to regulate admission to the bar.


  16. - Anon324 - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    Federal employees are banned under the US Code from engaging in outside work which would put them at odds with the government or agency thereof, or would put them in conflict with their official duties. I realize the US Constitution and the Illinois Constitution are different, but it seems there should be a path forward here. And if not, it really puts another point into the argument that the Constitution should be redone because the current one doesn’t work for the people as a whole.


  17. - DuPage Bard - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:24 pm:

    So what jobs does Kennedy propose for legislators? Every career intersects with Government at some point.
    Maybe he can be like Rauner and promise not to take a salary and get it so only the rich and privileged can run for office?
    Nice work Progressive Champion


  18. - DuPage - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:30 pm:

    Kennedy just had TV ads implying reducing gun violence would be his big priority. People living in violence-plagued neighborhoods didn’t even have to wait until after the election for Kennedy to de-prioritize them. He seems to have forgotten about them already.


  19. - Anonish - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:36 pm:

    Why stop with property tax law? How about banning any legislator from working as an attorney?

    It is completely unfair for them to write the laws they get to practice under. That’s completely corrupt. Also why should those who write the laws understand how they might be applied or interpreted by the courts? That is madness!


  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:52 pm:

    If this is the Kennedy message, he needs to make it clear: Because Madigan, Because Cullerton, Because Berrios.

    Being obtuse about it doesnt help.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 3:23 pm:

    We’re 77 days out… Kennedy is still trying to figure out where he fits in, and how his ideas translate into actual policy.

    Kennedy should be running as a Kennedy…

    Big, overarching rhetoric, flowery visions, and steely resolve.

    Kennedys are best when speaking over the policy, not about it.

    You’re a visionary not a wonk. Going wonky with “corruption” and “policy” isn’t Chris Kennedy’s forte.

    Another embarrassing example.


  22. - TKMH - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    Kennedy is one or two press conferences away from hanging Hadiya Pendleton’s death on Joe Berrios personally. This is embarrassing.


  23. - Sue - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    Assuming Pritzker wins the corruption associated with total one party control will resemble what we lived thru between 2003 thru 2015


  24. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 4:12 pm:

    I think the point he is trying to make is that people see the system as rigged for insiders and so you have to deal with that first. It’s probably not direct enough for most people. Also, it seems that most voters in Illinois are ok with elected officials playing the system to make a living. Otherwise why would Madigan contunally win elections? It’s certainly not because this state has succeeded beyond our wildest dream under democratic rule for the past few decades.


  25. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 4:41 pm:

    === Also, it seems that most voters in Illinois are ok with elected officials playing the system to make a living. Otherwise why would Madigan contunally win elections? ===

    I’m not necessarily disputing your larger point, but Madigan doesn’t run statewide; his district represents 1/118 of the state.


  26. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 5:02 pm:

    ==I think the point he is trying to make is that people see the system as rigged for insiders and so you have to deal with that first.==

    I guess, but it’s the same problem Rauner has. There’s no guarantee you’re going to win these silly little political turf wars, so maybe have something to offer people in the meantime. Madigan, Rahm, etc., they’re all going to be there, whether you wish they were or not.


  27. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 7:11 pm:

    Yes, Sue, because things since 2015 have been such a thrill.

    Now, if you want to attempt to make a comment that isn’t dripping with partisanship you might comment generally about the problems one party rule can generate.


  28. - Just Me - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 7:48 pm:

    I’m shocked that a politician would propose an idea that polls incredibly well but yet is unconstitutional. Next thing he’ll be suggesting that legislators shouldn’t get paid unless they pass a balanced budget, or that we should reduce state retiree pensions.


  29. - Southside Markie - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 9:23 pm:

    I’d be interested in hearing an explanation from someone here about why such a ban would be unconstitutional.


  30. - Rabid - Thursday, Jan 4, 18 @ 7:48 am:

    It’s unconstitutional to ban citizens from office, like cops writing laws


  31. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Jan 4, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    Ugh. And here I thought Kennedy coulda been a contender.


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