Roughly $1.4 billion in state EDGE tax credits. The newly-revised program provides a 50 percent tax break for every job they create in Illinois.
$60 million in property tax breaks through the city and county programs known as Class 7B and 7C.
$450 million in site-specific infrastructure improvements that would come from the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Chicago Department of Transportation, the CTA and other agencies.
$250 million worth of investments in education, workforce development and “Neighborhood Opportunity Funds” to make certain that all Chicagoans can qualify for the 50,000 high-end Amazon jobs and that businesses that spring up or move here to support Amazon locate in Chicago neighborhoods.
Free land worth $100 million, if Amazon chooses to build its second headquarters at the old Michael Reese Hospital site purchased by former Mayor Richard M. Daley as the site for an Olympics Chicago didn’t get. If Amazon chooses either to re-purpose or demolish and rebuild the Thompson Center that the state has been trying desperately to sell, the free land would be worth even more money.
Barring the possible free land incentive, that works out to about $45,000 for each of the promised 50,000 jobs.
In mid-August, Governor Rauner vetoed House Bill 3649, the Debt Transparency Act. HB3649 was sponsored by state Rep. Fred Crespo and state Sen. Andy Manar, with the support of comptroller Susana Mendoza.
The bill would require all state agencies to report to the comptroller the dollar amount of any bills they receive and to indicate whether funding has been committed to pay off the obligations. Unlike current practice, the legislation requires reporting of due bills be done on a monthly basis. If an agency does not have any financial obligations, the comptroller can waive its reporting requirement.
The BGA supports an override of the governor’s veto of HB3649 and supported passage of the bill before the veto. An override vote is expected Wednesday in Springfield. The proposal passed out of the Illinois Senate and House with bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats. HB3649 would boost transparency and provide taxpayers with a clearer, more accurate and current assessment of our debt and other financial obligations.
This isn’t a debate just for accountants. If the state lets a bill go unpaid for 90 days, the interest rate by law generally jumps to 12 percent a year, which hits every taxpayer in the pocketbook. That also makes it a lot harder for the state to dig out of its financial problems.
After a lengthy budgetary impasse, Illinois’ finances are a mess. We should embrace anything that helps to restore order to the state’s checkbook. Rauner vetoed the bill, but no one has advanced a persuasive argument for upholding his veto.
The Illinois Legislature must override the governor’s inexplicable veto of a good government measure known as the Debt Transparency Act. […]
This is basic, slam-dunk stuff. It’s impossible to balance the budget, as constitutionally required, without an accurate, real-time handle on the balance sheet, on liabilities and cash flow. The comptroller needs to know how old the bills are, whether there’s been an appropriation, whether interest penalties are accruing — in short, not fly blind — to prioritize payments, where possible. Sometimes federal matching dollars are at risk. It is nuts that the unpaid bill backlog could grow by $1 billion or more in a single day because an agency held on to its bills. Think of a spouse running up a credit card. […]
Rep. Ryan Spain of Peoria plans to reverse his earlier “no” vote to a “yes” to override, and Rep. Keith Sommer and Sens. Chuck Weaver and Bill Brady should follow without hesitation. (All other local legislators were on board.) To do otherwise is to communicate that you’re opposed to transparent, fiscally responsible government. Really?
Gov. Rauner vetoed the bill. While acknowledging it would be good to provide more transparency about the state’s financial condition, he said, “This legislation more closely resembles an attempt by the Comptroller to micromanage executive agencies,” and complained about the amount of time the reporting would require. And the information provided, he added, would be “decreasing marginal.”
That from a businessman. To suggest Rauner would accept this reporting arrangement in his own businesses is ludicrous. To present himself as fiscally responsible and reject a bill spelling out requirements for that responsibility is disingenuous, a word we find ourselves using about the governor more often than we’d like.
Not that they’re always right or anything, but I’ve yet to see a newspaper editorial against an override of this veto. Mendoza has out-fought, out-hustled and out-maneuvered the governor on this one.
And then 44-pound Verna became part of a growing pattern of similar fatalities: She was one of 15 Illinois children to die of abuse or neglect from 2012 through last year in homes receiving “intact family services” from organizations hired by DCFS, a Tribune investigation found.
There was only one such child death under the intact family services program during the previous five years from 2007 through 2011, according to DCFS records released to the Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act.
The mission of intact family services, which roughly 2,700 children are receiving statewide, is to offer counseling, resources and oversight to keep families together, instead of putting children through another trauma by removing them from the home and placing them with strangers.
The spike in deaths began in 2012 after DCFS completely privatized the program, putting the care of families in the hands of nonprofit groups but doing little to evaluate the quality of their work, give them guidance and resources, or hold them accountable when children were hurt or put at risk, the Tribune found. […]
Illinois’ new child welfare director, Beverly “B.J.” Walker, said she was alarmed by the Tribune’s finding on the surge of child fatalities in intact family services cases as well as by a sharply critical report from the DCFS Inspector General on Verna’s death.
Like a scene out of the fairy tales she loved, the little girl everyone called Princess was heard crying for help from her second-story window.
But unlike Rapunzel, no prince showed up to rescue 4-year-old Emily Rose Perrin, whose mother hallucinated about dark angels that told her to kill the child.
The state child protective agency with the power to take children from their parents didn’t save Emily either, despite receiving 10 reports of suspected abuse.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services now is calling Emily’s death a failure of the system and is making changes to stop it from happening again. […]
As a result of cases like Emily’s, Walker said DCFS has:
▪ Changed the numbering and case record search capabilities so investigators can get a better history of each family, including reports of abuse or neglect that at the time were found not to be credible.
▪ Created a report for supervisors on the 2,700 cases being monitored by DCFS that have new allegations of abuse or neglect.
▪ Come up with a plan to review cases with new reports at a higher management level in the agency to ensure the quality of the work.
▪ Come up with a plan to facilitate regular contact between the family’s caseworkers and investigators regarding additional needs.
▪ Come up with a plan to try to make sure investigators and caseworkers will visit the home together to make sure each understands the family situation and the scope of the new allegation.
The agency also will seek the help of police, school officials and mental health professionals, according to Skene, the assistant to the DCFS director.
The 2018 Illinois governor’s race is on pace to be the most expensive in U.S. history, propelled by a wealthy Republican incumbent and a billionaire Democrat who are airing TV ads and hopping private planes to campaign events more than a year before Election Day. […]
But this is not a typical race. All of the candidates combined have raised more than $100 million in the past year. Most of that comes from Pritzker and Rauner’s own money.
That’s almost as much as was spent in the entire 2014 governor’s race, which set an Illinois record at $112 million. […]
If the trend continues the contest “absolutely” could surpass the most expensive governor’s race to date, a record set in California in 2010, said Colin Williams, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s political data director. He said candidates spent about $280 million in that race, in which former Gov. Jerry Brown defeated ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman.
Aside from Pritzker the other Democratic gubernatorial candidates have combined to spend about $1.4 million so far, let’s say for argument’s sake they spend another $15 million on top of that in the primary. For our general election predictions let’s use Rauner’s 2014 spending as a guide. In 2014 Rauner had about $6 million in production expenses, let’s estimate that both Rauner and Pritzker will have about $7 million in production expenses this cycle. In 2014 Rauner directly spent about $3 million in mail plus had another $2.5 million from the Illinois Republican party for mail, for this exercise let’s estimate they each spend about $6 million in mail. Let’s give them each $1 million for polling, $3 million for materials (yard signs, buttons, bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc.) and $15 million for operations (operations, travel, payroll, consulting, etc.). Throw in the $9.3 million that Pritzker has already spent plus the $4 million that Rauner has already spent and you’ve accounted for about $94 million without even getting to media buys for the rest of the cycle yet. […]
The figures above total $93.7 million dollars, an impressive figure but still far from $300 million. The rest has to be spent on media buys between now and election day (the amount already spent on media buys and other campaign expenditures is listed above).
I don’t believe anyone is currently airing TV ads, although digital ads may be ongoing. But for argument’s sake let’s say both Rauner and Pritzker went back up on TV the day after Labor Day (a Tuesday) and didn’t come down until general election day 2018 (also a Tuesday). That is 61 weeks. In order to spend the remaining $206 million you would still have to spend another $3.4 million per week combined (or $1.7 million per week for each candidate) for every week starting this September running through election day the following fall. […]
It wasn’t until the final four weeks of the general election in 2014 that Rauner was spending $1.7 million per week, that is a healthy statewide buy. In order to spend $300 million on the Governor’s race it isn’t about spending even more money late in the cycle, that spending only has so much room to grow, the only way they can hit that target is to start spending heavily early. Another way of saying that is in order for the Governor’s race spending to reach $300 million combined both Prizker and Rauner need to spend at a level that 2014 Rauner didn’t reach until the final month of the election - for the final 61 weeks of this election cycle. That seems unlikely.
During the last quarter, Pritzker spent about $1 million per week on everything, including TV ads. He has a ways to go to get to $1.7 million per week on TV alone. But, hey, anything is possible nowadays.
A Wheaton Republican lawmaker is actively considering a primary challenge of Gov. Bruce Rauner, saying she doesn’t expect him to win a general election contest next year.
Three-term Rep. Jeanne Ives has been courting social conservative groups and working to get her name out in settings far beyond her west suburban district in advance of a potential exploratory committee to determine if she can line up financing to take on Rauner, a former private equity investor.
Ives is looking into forming an exploratory committee, sources said, adding that she would likely run if she could raise $1 million.
While Ives is among the candidates that the anti-abortion groups are considering, Caprio said there have been a few other names floated and the coalition hopes to make an official determination at its next meeting in November.
Ives is contemplating a primary run against Gov. Bruce Rauner after he signed a measure allowing for taxpayer-funded elective abortions. Some folks think the underlying issue here is abortion. It’s not.
Rauner signed the measure after promising Republicans in the Legislature, multiple Catholic bishops and the public that he wouldn’t.
Rauner’s supporters knew he was pro-choice when they elected him. But they didn’t know he was a liar.
Ives, however, is undeterred. “I’ll be honest with you: I honestly think Rauner could spend his entire fortune and not redeem his reputation,” she told the southern Illinois radio station. […]
Even so, several GOP colleagues say privately that Ives is not among the most collegial members of the General Assembly — a trait she may have acknowledged when she was asked on Downstate radio about the exodus of lawmakers that have resigned or are not seeking re-election next year.
“To many of them I say, ‘Good riddance. You know, your policies have created the problems we have right now. So, bye bye,’” she said. “Let’s find some new blood. That’s OK with me. It’s important to turn over people.”
And even though about half of the country’s state legislatures either have training programs or laws and policies meant to prevent, report and punish sexual harassment, many women say they feel like their complaints are never addressed, or they are pressured to keep quiet in a male-dominated environment where retribution and retaliation are common.
“The thing here is the power dynamics. If an elected official does something to me, there is no way it’s going to be beneficial to speak out,” said Kady McFadden, who lobbies the Illinois state legislature for the Sierra Club.
“I’ve had hands up my skirt. I’ve had my hair pulled,” McFadden said. “There’s just kind of nothing you can really do.”
McFadden said recent reports about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long pattern of harassment and assault, and the subsequent #MeToo campaign of women on Twitter sharing their own experiences, brought up inescapable comparisons.
“It was hard for me to not be constantly thinking about comparisons to Springfield and the world of politics,” she said. “It’s probably hard to find a woman in Springfield who doesn’t have a story about what’s happened to them.”
Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen, a victim of sexual harassment some 30 years ago while serving as a page in the Illinois House of Representatives, said she’s glad women are talking about it. […]
Feinen said she faced repeated, unwanted sexual advances from a veteran suburban lawmaker while she worked in the House in the mid-1980s.
“I was just there to learn about government. I wanted to be the one who was sitting on the floor and to listen to the debate and watch what was going on,” she recalled. “There were a lot of great things that happened that summer because I had that experience, but I still, almost 30 years later, I could tell you word for word what he said to me and the effect on me.”
There was no one to go to for help, she said.
“There was an older secretary in the office who was sort of in charge of all the pages. When I talked to her about it, her response was sort of, ‘Yeah, that’s normal for him, and you’re one of many.’ I don’t remember exactly what she said but definitely the vibe was ‘Let it go and move on.’”
Stymied by a Democrat-controlled General Assembly and still in a contract dispute with the largest state employee union, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is looking to Washington for help advancing his agenda to weaken the influence of organized labor in Illinois. […]
Speaking to a gathering of business leaders in late September, Rauner said he was turning to Washington for help with one part of that effort — getting control of Illinois’ massive pension debt, which stands at about $130 billion and ranks among the worst in the nation. […]
The governor thinks Congress can release the state from that restriction by passing a law that would give states permission to come up with cost-saving changes to their pension programs. The option would be available to states only after they had established that spending money on workers’ retirement plans is hampering other essential services.
After conducting hearings, a state would have to propose its changes to a court, which would hear arguments from people who would be affected. Options could include reducing benefits provided under a pension plan, changing the way benefits are calculated or limiting the number of pensions a person can collect.
Last week, Rauner (along with deputy governor Leslie Munger) made a surprise appearance at a New Trier Republican dinner. He created another surprise by making a couple of declarations, according to people in attendance: one, he singled out National Republican Committeeman Richard Porter for his role in a federal effort to allow the restructuring of public pensions. The state has the worst-in-the-nation pension liability, estimated now at an eye-popping $130 billion. […]
Politically, however, it’s a tall order to advance a federal law to circumvent state constitutions. And any agreement would need 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, which Republicans don’t have. At an event last month before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Rauner talked about his efforts.
“We’ve got a bill now, we’re working with Congress. (If) Congress passed a law, we’re lobbying right now, allow states to restructure their pensions, supercede the restrictions that the special interest groups have put on the state,” Rauner said at the Sept. 28 event. (Audio) “And I’m hoping to get it done with the tax overhaul that we’re doing. If we can get this bill passed — transformative for Illinois government and taxpayers.”
Roskam, the Ways & Means Tax Policy chairman, who is taking a lead role in the tax overhaul effort, said there isn’t a separate bill but added: “I’ve heard the concept discussed, I’ve not seen the language. Not pension funds — but there’s some theory about the capacity of federal courts to get the jurisdiction to allow some level of bankruptcy,” Roskam said in an interview. “There is some discussion … there is no language that I’m aware of. I think it’s conceptual.”
Today, Governor Bruce Rauner officially announces his re-election campaign and will start his race as the nation’s “most vulnerable incumbent.” After a two year-budget impasse that only drove up debt and drove out jobs, and a general aversion to protecting Illinois from President Trump, Bruce Rauner has to work hard to rehabilitate his image. A July DGA poll found Rauner’s job approval rating at 34% and his disapproval rating at 63%, on par with President Trump. Not great!
Rauner earns the rare distinction of being the nation’s “most vulnerable incumbent” according to multiple political observers:
Cook Political Report: “Rauner has been under siege for much of his term in a standoff with the Democratic-controlled legislature over the state’s budget – or rather, the lack of one…As a Republican in a very blue state, Rauner is the most vulnerable incumbent seeking re-election next year.”
National Journal: “In what could break spending records for a state race, Republicans’ most vulnerable incumbent is seeking a second term after overseeing a two-year budget impasse in a state Hillary Clinton won handily.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball/University of Virginia Center for Politics: “Of all the elected GOP incumbents, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) of Illinois seems like he is clearly in the most trouble…This is a true Toss-up, although Rauner, who has been feuding with the Democratic legislature his entire time in office, is in really serious trouble.”
Roll Call: “The governor is willing and able to spend tens of millions of dollars to get re-elected. But that doesn’t change the distinct Democratic lean of the state. … The state and political environment will likely work against the governor. Tilt D.”
And most of these came before Rauner’s summer of chaos.
“With nearly two-thirds of Illinoisans agreeing that he is bad at his job, Bruce Rauner seems to be the only person who believes he deserves reelection,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner has failed the voters of Illinois and earned the title ‘most vulnerable incumbent’ in the nation. His two-year budget fiasco only increased debt and worsened the economy for middle-class families. No matter how many millions he spends, Rauner cannot escape the fact that Illinois is clearly worse off than it was before three years of his failed leadership.”
* Pritzker campaign…
Complete with a 63% disapproval rating, Bruce Rauner is riding in on a motorcycle like the sham savior nobody asked for to announce his re-election campaign. But before he gets to ask Illinoisans for another four years, here are five questions Bruce Rauner needs to answer:
1. Why should working families trust you to rebuild the same economy you destroyed and put in constant crisis?
2. How can Illinois women trust you after lying about HB40?
3. What role did you play in crafting the education funding bill you tout in your commercials?
4. How has your strategy of bad mouthing Illinois everywhere you go helped create jobs?
5. What have you done to save and protect social service agencies from closing because of your rising bill backlog?
“Bruce Rauner’s motorcycle must have taken a wrong turn if took him three years to ‘choose’ to fight for this state,” said Pritzker campaign manager Anne Caprara. “Let’s be clear: Rauner promised to shake up Springfield and after just one term, our state is truly shaken. Rauner forced Illinois into a record-long budget crisis, racked up a record-amount of bills, and is now at a record-low approval rating. I guess when he notes that ‘they said it couldn’t be done’ what he really means is the damage is already done. It’s time for Rauner to go, and at least we know he already has his transportation.”
Democrat JB Pritzker spent $21 million on his gubernatorial campaign through the end of September and recently opened his tenth campaign field office. The billionaire spent more money on staff and consultants last quarter ($1.5 million) than any of his primary opponents raised.
The spending appears to be paying off. A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll of 1,154 likely Democratic primary voters has Pritzker with 39 percent of the vote, far ahead of the rest of the pack.
Chris Kennedy, who has struggled to raise money and hasn’t run any TV ads to date, was at just 15 percent—a whopping 24 points behind the frontrunner Pritzker. Word is going around that one of Pritzker’s own recent polls had him ahead of Kennedy by 17 points.
State Sen. Daniel Biss, who has had more success at raising money than expected, but appears to be hoarding most of it for later, was at just 6 percent in the poll taken October 17-18 with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
The other two Democrats, Tio Hardiman and Bob Daiber, each polled at just 1 percent. 47 percent of the poll’s respondents were made to mobile phones by live callers. Automated calls were made to landline users.
Is it over? No. The primary isn’t until March. With 36 percent of Democrats currently undecided, somebody could still make this a race—but that somebody is gonna have to run a better campaign than they are now. And right now, the only person running a full-on campaign operation is Pritzker.
“There will be plenty of polls in this race,” the Kennedy campaign claimed, “but clearly there’s a reluctance among Democratic voters to support JB. After spending more than $20 million and being unchallenged on TV for months, that he can only get about a third of the electorate to support him shows that voters are looking for fundamental change. They recognize JB is an extension of the status quo. There’s a long way to go until March and we’re confident that when voters tune into the race and hear Chris Kennedy’s message, we win.”
If you look at Kennedy’s poll that he released in July, its Kennedy-Pritzker matchup had Pritzker at 38 percent, which is about the same place as he is now. Kennedy was at 44, but this new poll shows he has dropped like a rock—perhaps because he isn’t on TV and doesn’t have nearly the ground game that Pritzker does. Either way, the margin is what’s important, and the margin is huge.
Pritzker leads in every region of the state. He’s at 39 percent in Chicago, 42 in suburban Cook County, 37 in the suburban collar counties and 39 Downstate. Kennedy does best in Chicago and the collars, at 18 percent. Biss does best in suburban Cook, where he lives, at 11.
Biss slightly outpolls Kennedy 13-12 among 18-24 year olds, but Pritzker takes the traditionally low-turnout (particularly in off years) demographic with 27 percent. Pritzker leads his two top rivals Kennedy and Biss among women 39-15-5, and among men 40-16-8. More women (39 percent) are undecided than men (33 percent).
The poll found that 56 percent of Democrats have a favorable impression of Pritzker, while 7 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Another 16 percent hadn’t yet heard of the billionaire and 21 percent were neutral.
Kennedy’s favorables were 41 percent, and his unfavorables were just 4 percent. But 30 percent hadn’t heard of him and another 25 percent were neutral, signaling that if he could ever raise any real money he might possibly be able to make this a race. But that clock is ticking as Pritzker continues to spend millions.
Kennedy does best among the 65 and over crowd, with 17 percent. And his favorable numbers are significantly higher among respondents aged 55-64 (42 percent) and 65+ (43 percent). That makes sense since those folks would have been alive when Kennedy’s father Robert and his uncle John were in the public eye.
According to the poll, 69 percent of Democrats have not yet heard of Sen. Biss. Surprisingly enough, that’s actually more than the 66 percent who hadn’t heard of Bob Daiber and the 60 percent who hadn’t heard of Tio Hardiman, although Hardiman did run against Pat Quinn in the 2014 Democratic primary.
Just 13 percent of Democrats gave Biss a favorable rating, compared to 3 percent who rated him unfavorably and 15 percent who were neutral. Both Hardiman and Daiber had slightly higher favorable ratings than Biss (15 percent for each).
It seems like everything in politics has been on an accelerated timetable this year, so Biss had better do something fast.
Governor Bruce Rauner launched his reelection campaign this morning with a vow to keep fighting for the future of Illinois.
“We believe in the future our kids deserve and the possibilities of this great place we still call home,” Bruce said. “We have a choice. We can throw in the towel, walk away and leave our future to the same corrupt, career politicians – or we can fight. I choose to fight.”
Over the last four years, Bruce has shaken a corrupt system to its core and won some important battles:
Bruce signed historic education reform that gives unprecedented support and opportunity to schoolchildren from every community in Illinois.
Bruce enacted criminal justice reforms that restore hope for those captured by the streets while ending the dangerous practice of early release.
Bruce ended illegal patronage hiring conducted by Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn.
Bruce reformed Illinois’ job creation program to eliminate special deals, protect taxpayer dollars and hold corporations accountable.
Bruce signed a groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act that saved thousands of jobs and will spur thousands more 21st century jobs while making Illinois a national leader in clean and renewable energy.
Bruce launched an historic technology partnership with our state’s leading research universities.
Now, it’s time to finish the job.
Bruce will fight for real, lasting property tax relief. Illinois homeowners face the highest property taxes in the nation. We must freeze property taxes and put in place a system to easily allow referendums, so citizens can lower their local property taxes and consolidate local units of government at the ballot box.
Bruce will fight to rollback the Madigan 32 percent income tax hike. Over the summer, Madigan’s legislators passed a budget containing a permanent 32 percent income tax with no reforms over Bruce’s veto, and the budget is still out of balance by over $1.5 billion. That is unacceptable.
Bruce will fight to term limit the career politicians who created Illinois’ mess. In 2014, 600,000 Illinoisans joined Bruce in signing petitions to put term limits on the ballot, but Mike Madigan and his attorneys kicked it off.
The next election is about saving Illinois, demanding more from the politicians, and holding them accountable. The election is a choice between throwing in the towel, walking away, and leaving Illinois’ future to the same corrupt, career politicians – or choosing to come together to fight for real change for Illinois.
Bruce chooses to fight and invites Illinoisans across the state to join him. Because Illinois is home. And home is worth fighting for.