Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Kennedy explains why he showed up for slating when he didn’t want the endorsement

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Tribune

Chris Kennedy on Thursday asked Cook County Democratic leaders not to endorse a candidate for the party’s governor nomination, a plea made as J.B. Pritzker urged city ward and suburban township committeemen to side with him and against contenders who attack their rivals. […]

“We need to install in everyone that notion that government is a good thing. And in order to do that, we need to make sure that government is squeaky clean, that it is free from conflict, that elected officials do not have an incentive to use their office for personal gain. We need to reaffirm with the electorate that we work for them, that we are servant leaders and not leaders of servants,” Kennedy said in a meeting at the county party’s Loop headquarters.

“I don’t think there would be anything that we could do that would signal that more powerfully than to say to the electorate, ‘We’re going to have an open primary in the governor’s race and allow you to make the decision for the Democratic Party as to who will be the Democratic nominee for governor,’ and I’m asking you all for support in that today,” he said.

In light of Kennedy’s criticism of the party establishment, ward committeeman and Ald. Ray Lopez, 15th, asked the candidate why he showed up if he did not want to “be endorsed by insiders.”

* Kennedy’s full response to that question

I’m here because I love the Democratic Party, I love Illinois and I think for Illinois to be saved the Democratic Party has to save it. We believe differently than the Republicans do. We believe government can be an agent of change, it can be helpful to people. But we need to ask the entire population of Illinois to make sacrifices, every taxpayer to make a sacrifice. I think they’re willing to do that. I think they’re willing to pay more for great government that will educate their children and keep their communities safe, but they’re only going to do that if the government is squeaky clean.

And I think calling for reforms like preventing elected officials from having a conflict of interest, mirroring the very laws that our United States Congressmen serve under, I don’t think that’s a big ask. I don’t think electing people who are banned from have a conflict of interest should be something that we’re stumbling over, that we’re wrestling with, that people think is a product of ‘aw, wow’ why would you ever think that would be OK. Because it’s OK everywhere else. Because it’s OK at the federal level. Because we need to return the faith people have in government and if we don’t we will never get the funding necessary to save the next generation.

A bit on the long side, but not a bad argument. It’s just not an argument that will work with party insiders, and you gotta figure Kennedy knew that going in.

* Raw video

According to the Tribune, powerful Thornton Township Democratic Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli told his fellow county Democrats that they need to endorse Pritzker “right away.”

* Mark Brown

Pritzker, who is expected to get the party’s backing, said as little as possible that might be regarded as controversial during his own appearance.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Madigan points finger of blame at Rauner

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* As I told subscribers this morning, House Speaker Madigan and House GOP Leader Durkin met yesterday. Madigan talked about that meeting with reporters today

I emphasized to Mr. Durkin that I am prepared to do a budget and am prepared to do revenue to pay for that budget. I’m prepared to work with every member of the Legislature on all issues before the Legislature.

I think that, again, the Legislature, especially the Democrats in the Legislature, have taken great steps to be responsive to requests from the governor in areas like governmental consolidation, procurement, sale of the Thompson Center, reorganization of the Lincoln Library. And unfortunately, we haven’t seen a comparable response from the governor.

We would feel that if we’re being responsive to the governor’s requests, he ought to engage with us on the budget-making and on raising the money to pay for the budget. And I haven’t seen that yet.

* Raw video

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Your own caption?…

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      

Today’s quotable

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Speaker Madigan was asked today what a House Democratic revenue bill will look like…

“A House Democratic revenue plan would be items that you’ve seen before and you’ve probably written about and others in the Legislature have talked about.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner to veto 911 bill

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

*** UPDATE ***  Governor’s office lawyers say that if the governor waits to take action on this bill until after June 30th, then an override won’t matter because the bill renews the Telecommunications Act and the Cable and Video statute. Those acts are set to automatically expire on June 30th. So, the GA couldn’t technically renew an act that had already expired with an override. And that’s why the governor is now demanding a “clean” bill.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* This bill passed the Senate 53-3 and cleared the House 81-27, way more than enough for an override if the Republicans stick to their guns…

From: Jason Heffley, Policy Advisor for Energy and Environment
To: Cindy Barbera-Brelle, Statewide 9-1-1 Administrator
Date: June 22, 2017
Re: Update on SB 1839

As you know, the House and Senate passed SB 1839 on May 31, 2017. The legislation combined several provisions including carrier of last resort (COLR) obligation relief for AT&T, Illinois State Police’s package of technical changes to the Emergency Telephone System Act, sunset extensions to Article XIII (Telecommunications) and Article XXI (Cable and Video) of the Public Utilities Act as well Emergency Telephone System Act, and 9-1-1 surcharge increases for the city of Chicago (from $3.90 to $5) and the rest of the state (from $.87 to $1.50).

While the Governor has yet to receive SB 1839 from the Senate for consideration, he has been very clear that the surcharge increases would be unacceptable. The city of Chicago has already received two significant increases in the last four years – from $1.25 to $2.50 in 2013 and from $2.50 to $3.90 in 2014. In fact, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a story the day after passage of the bill that touted the legislation as a 28% phone tax to bailout pensions. Additionally, the increase for the remainder of the state is significantly higher than the $1.05 that was recommended by the 9-1-1 Advisory Board that studied the issue for two years. The increase is especially concerning given the fact that the State’s consultant has not yet completed its assessment and made a recommendation, including cost projections, for moving the State towards a Next Generation 9-1-1 network solution, which would also include Chicago.

Since it is clear that the Governor will not sign this legislation as passed, I wanted to make sure you are aware of the potential impacts to other key provisions of the bill – specifically, the sunset provision for the Emergency Telephone System Act, which will repeal on July 1. Without an extension of the ETSA, carriers will no longer be able to collect surcharges from their customers and the State Police will no longer be able to distribute those surcharge monies to local 9-1-1 systems.

While there is nothing that will prohibit carriers from providing the 9-1-1 service if the Act sunsets and the State Police will be able to continue to disperse monies to the local operators through the lapse period in August, no new surcharge money may be collected as of July 1. It would be a decision of the local 9-1-1 service providers to continue to provide service without an extension, and the lack of monies being collected could have impacts in the long run on some local operators.

To be clear: the Governor absolutely supports 9-1-1 services across the state and strongly supports extension of the ETSA without delay. He supported a clean extension of the Act at the end of May and he continues to support one today. It is imperative that the General Assembly immediately take up and pass a clean bill to extend the sunset provision of the ETSA before June 30 to ensure there is no long term harm to Illinois’ 9-1-1 services.

The General Assembly should not put the 9-1-1 system at risk by sending the Governor legislation with poison pills knowing full well he will not sign them into law. There is time left to send the Governor a clean 9-1-1 bill prior to July 1. Please inform all local 9-1-1 operators of this potential danger and highlight the importance of passing a clean sunset extension by June 30.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Report: Impasse kills lucrative Thompson Center deal

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Greg Hinz

Gov. Bruce Rauner has rejected a new offer from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to clear the way for construction of an enormous, 2 million-square-foot office tower where the aging Thompson Center now stands, sources close to the matter in both Chicago and Springfield are reporting.

Insiders say Rauner had two reasons: He wanted a free hand to sell the state-owned property for an even larger building, one approaching the size of the Willis Tower. And he was unwilling to grant Emanuel’s requests to, in exchange, sign a bill dealing with city pensions, arguing that the mayor instead needs to lean on House Speaker Michael Madigan to make concessions on broader statewide matters. […]

The deal would have allowed Rauner to dispose of the Thompson site, perhaps netting the $300 million the governor wants to shore up his budget, putting the Loop site back on the taxable property rolls. Emanuel would have won final approval of a plan designed to refinance and put on stronger footing two city pension funds that cover municipal workers and laborers.

But the deal didn’t get done—even though House GOP Leader Jim Durkin personally intervened in recent days in an effort to reach a compromise. And now, “not much is going to pass until” a broader deal on the budget, taxes and other structural changes Rauner wants is agreed upon, says one top state government insider.

Go read the rest. Unreal.

*** UPDATE ***  Sun-Times

The Rauner administration said Thursday the city’s offer wasn’t a “fair trade,” and they issued a counter-offer to instead encourage Senate Democrats to send over a gun bill that has been held since it was passed by both chambers last month.

The administration said sending over the gun bill would be a show of “good faith” and would benefit the city. The city said they’d get back to the Rauner administration about their offer.

So, why wouldn’t the city agree to release the gun bill that the mayor fought so hard to pass? Something doesn’t seem quite right here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Because… Madigan!

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* From an Illinois Policy Institute writer

Madigan has stared down Gov. Bruce Rauner for more than 700 days while the state has sputtered along without a budget, daring him to “make a deal” as the House refuses to pass a budget.

Rauner just blinked.

His administration gave its blessing to a GOP budget plan that includes the $5.4 billion tax hike Illinoisans first saw in the Senate’s failed “grand bargain.” Dubbed the “capitol compromise,” the plan starts with a 33 percent income tax increase, and contains new taxes on services such as Netflix, laundry services and more. Each Illinois household would eventually have to pay $1,125 in additional taxes annually under this plan.

What the GOP budget proposal lacks in spending restraint it makes up for in fake reforms: A four-year property tax freeze time bomb that doesn’t address bloated local contract costs; a four-year spending cap that does nothing to rein in core spending drivers; and unconstitutional changes to government-worker pensions that keep in place the failed defined-benefit system.

The trap worked.

Madigan got his tax hike without any real medicine for Illinois’ fiscal sickness.

Thoughts on this?

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Senators are voting with their feet

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* It’s not a good look…

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Dems to block Rauner’s pick for US Attorney

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Sun-Times

Congressional Republicans from Illinois have recommended four lawyers to the Trump White House for the U.S. Attorney post in Chicago, with one of them, Maggie Hickey, likely out of the running because Democrats don’t want Hickey — now a top official for GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner — in the spot, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The other top potential nominees to replace former U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon in the Northern District of Illinois are attorneys John Lausch, Michael Scudder and Andrew Porter, sources said. In all, a pool of about a dozen names for the Chicago slot were sent to the White House, with Hickey, Lausch, Scudder and Porter flagged as frontrunners. […]

Hickey’s present position as a Rauner political appointee makes her viability as a contender to replace Fardon problematic: She has been Rauner’s Executive Inspector General since July 2015, winning confirmation for her post on May 23, 2016, on a 52-0 state Senate vote.

But that bi-partisan vote does not translate when it comes to the selection of Fardon’s replacement, with an entirely different set of politics for the high-stakes job.

According to the article, Hickey was recommended by the governor. But giving a Raunerite full federal prosecutorial powers is probably not something the Democrats in this state relish, to say the least. That’s nightmare city for them.

*** UPDATE ***  From a senior GOP source…

We didn’t put Maggie forward… The article wasn’t right.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

The exodus continues

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Tribune

Cook County in 2016 again recorded the largest black population of any county in the U.S., but it carries that title with less conviction than previous years as more African-Americans move to outlying suburbs or warmer states in the South and West, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Between 2015 and 2016, more than 12,000 black residents left Cook County, an increase from the previous year when about 9,000 residents left. […]

Some of those who left Chicago and Cook County relocated to other parts of the state, but Illinois still recorded a population drop of about 10,000 black residents between 2015 and 2016, more than any other state. Experts say it is an indication that the majority of the state’s black flight is occurring in Chicago. […]

Africans-Americans are leaving in search of stability, experts say, hoping to find stable incomes and safe neighborhoods, something they feel Chicago isn’t offering them. The city of Chicago lost 181,000 black residents between 2000 and 2010, according to census data. […]

William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, said he thinks the trend points to conditions beyond just crime.

“People move from the city to the suburbs for a host of things, crime being one of them. But I wouldn’t expect those people to move from a whole metropolitan area. Something bigger’s going on,” he said, referencing the region and state’s general population loss.

* On to the Daily Herald

Cook County saw a 13.3 percent increase in residents over age 65, but in the collar counties the growth was much steeper.

The over-65 population rose 24.6 percent in DuPage County, 34.2 percent in Kane County, 24.5 percent in Lake County, 28.5 percent in McHenry County and 31.4 percent in Will County.

The number of Hispanic residents, the fastest-growing group, rose 5.6 percent in Cook County, 8.7 percent in DuPage County, 6.5 percent in Kane County, 7.3 percent in Lake County, 11.4 percent in McHenry County and 10.5 percent in Will County since the decade began.

The total population in the suburbs is relatively flat. Kane County shows the largest population increase with 3 percent growth to 1.06 million residents.

* Meanwhile, from the AP

The Census Bureau reported that the median age of Americans — the age at which half are older and half are younger — rose nationally from just over 35 years to nearly 38 years in the years between 2000 and 2016, driven by the aging of the “baby boom” generation.

The number of residents age 65 and older grew from 35 million to 49.2 million during those 16 years, jumping from 12 percent of the total population to 15 percent. […]

The Asian population and those who identified as being of two or more races grew by 3 percent each, to 21 million and 8.5 million, respectively. Hispanics grew by 2 percent to 57.5 million. The black population grew by 1.2 percent to nearly 47 million.

The number of non-Hispanic whites grew by only 5,000, leaving that population relatively steady at 198 million of the nation’s 325 million people.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Another hostage on verge of death

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017


No state in the nation has gone this long without a budget or has a bigger backlog of unpaid bills.

One bill – among thousands – was submitted by Autumn Country Club. It’s a an affectionate name for a family-run Joliet adult day care facility. It’s a facility whose owners are contemplating closing because its biggest client is a deadbeat.

The State of Illinois confirms it owes Autumn Adult Day Care $162,000. That represents five months of operating expenses.

“I’m a nervous wreck,” said owner Cassie Waterman. “I don’t know how next month I’m going to continue to run my facility.”

Autumn welcomes 60 senior citizens each day. Some are veterans. Many have special needs. All are under the watchful eye of a registered nurse and a dedicated team of caregivers who lead the group in activities, meals and entertainment.

“We are their safety net,” said registered nurse Christine Doyle. “We try to be their family during the day but they all know they’re going home at the end of the day… and that’s a good thing.”

The Illinois Department on Aging and other state entities contract with Autumn to provide day care for these seniors during the day. The rate, according to Autumn Adult Day Care officials, is $9.02 per hour per person.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

“Everybody’s doing it”

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* editorial

The biggest key to breaking through the political fog shrouding the capital city is for our leaders to declare a moratorium on politics, then stick to it, no matter the temptation to score political points.

* But the Tribune editorial board thinks it’s all much ado about nothing

Yes, Rauner’s television ads aimed at Madigan and Democrats are “campaigning.” And yes, it’s early.

But lots of pols are campaigning. Let’s not clutch our pearls, aghast.

Rauner’s Democratic opponents for the 2018 gubernatorial campaign so far are on the air, on the Web and at news conference podiums bashing Rauner. State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, spent Tuesday at a campaign event touting his proposals for property tax reform. Then he put out a news release Tuesday night criticizing Rauner for campaigning too much.

During the last six months, including when lawmakers should have been in Springfield working on a budget, Madigan raised at least $122,314 for his campaign fund. During the first three months of the year, that fund spent more than $330,000 on office rent, cellphones, workers and meals. Madigan is … campaigning.

Senate President John Cullerton has raised at least $104,500, and hosted and attended several fundraisers. Between January and March 31, he spent at least $150,000 on campaign activity, according to his financial disclosure reports.

Not one mention of Rauner’s $70 million in contributions raised since December, or the bigtime money he’s given to the ILGOP and the House GOP.

People should sheath their swords and do their jobs. We shouldn’t be encouraging this nonsense.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Where we stand

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Finke

Democrats held a private meeting to review a Republican proposal that calls for spending $36 billion next year and not increasing that amount for four years. Rauner and Republican lawmakers have touted the plan as a compromise that should be acceptable to everyone.

“There are some things in it I think we could be in agreement with. There are some things in it we could be in opposition to,” said Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago, the House Democrats’ top budget negotiator. “I think we looked at the Senate Democratic plan the same way.” […]

During Wednesday’s news conference, Durkin reiterated that the House Republicans aren’t interested in another stopgap measure if agreement can’t be reached on full-year budget. Cullerton has also said he will not consider another stopgap spending plan since the Senate has approved a budget. And Rauner has said he won’t sign a stopgap without approval of the other reforms he’s been demanding.

Still, Harris said the House Democrats “have not ruled anything in or out” when it comes to a stopgap budget.

* Garcia & Geiger

Chicago Rep. Greg Harris, who is acting as chief budget negotiator for Madigan, said House Democrats continue to review both of those plans and are likely to consider changes. Harris said neither plan is balanced, as they count on savings from an overhaul of the state employee pension system that is likely to face legal challenges and reduced health care costs from a union contract change that is already winding its way through the courts.

House Republican leader Jim Durkin said it was hypocritical of his Democratic colleagues to question whether the GOP budget plan was balanced, noting their history of passing budgets that spend more than the state has on hand.

“They couldn’t balance their way out of a wet paper bag,” Durkin said.

He didn’t actually answer the question, however.

Republicans say the employee healthcare issue is taken care of with BIMP language.

* Bishop

“In Rauner’s first year in office, the House passed a budget. In his second year in office, we passed a budget,” Madigan said. “We’re now in the third year in office, and we’re fully engaged.”

Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, had a different take on history and responded to critics who said the GOP plan isn’t balanced either.

He remembers “last year that the House Democrats passed a $7 billion unbalanced budget. The year before, $4.5 billion; and the year before that, $1.5 billion.”

Granted, but the governor has never proposed a balanced budget and has more than tripled the bill backlog since he took office because he can’t pass a budget. It’s now $15.2 billion.

* Kozlov

But the source of the problem continues to be disputed by state democrats and republicans – who have been pointing fingers at each other for years.

“The fact is when the Governor decides to walk into a room, with the four legistlative leaders, and say I am ready to do a budget, we will have a budget in two days, it’s not that hard,” said Lou Lang. […]

House minority leader Jim Durkin is backing a budget proposal crafted last week that includes some of the items democrats say they want, like an increases in the personal and corporate income tax. Madigan is mum about whether he supports any or all of it.

“My message is to the rank and file democrats, ask your leader on whether or not he wants to find a resolution, to help me find votes to bring this to a conclusion,” Durkin said.

Um, the governor says he “wants” an income tax hike, too, Dana.

* Vinicky

Though Republicans’ budget is predicated on higher taxes, such as the income tax hike approved by Senate Democrats, no GOP legislator has actually introduced or formally signed on to a tax hike.

Democratic Sens. Heather Steans and Toi Hutchinson held a press conference today and dinged the Republicans on that very issue. “The hardest part of working on a budget is the revenue side,” Hutchinson rightly said. At the end of the press conference, Hutchinson pointed out that a GOP press conference on education funding reform was about to begin and that their plan would require more state revenues. So she placed a form on the lectern that the Republicans could fill out to sign on as tax hike co-sponsors.

Good one.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** The high cost of deliberate inaction

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* From the U of I’s College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Plagued by the state’s budget impasse, the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois will shut down for the second time on July 1. Contractors have received written notifications from the Capital Development Board to prepare the site for demobilization.

Officials at U of I report that the budget for IBRL increased by nearly 30 percent after the previous yearlong stoppage. They are concerned that an extended delay at the present state of construction will result in much more extensive rework with unknown cost escalation to the $32-million project.

According to IBRL Director Vijay Singh, the building was scheduled to open for business in spring 2018.

“We’ve made great progress after recovering from the first shutdown. That momentum will be lost, as attention shifts to protecting the building rather than foundational project scoping,” Singh says. “Relationships that we’ve built with industrial partners will undoubtedly suffer major setbacks and exciting prospects for economic development related to bioprocessing and bio-products in Illinois and along the I-72 biocorridor will be delayed.”

Singh adds that federal and industrial research projects that were expected to begin in 2018 will be postponed or cancelled. Companies, which had set aside monies for projects, will likely look elsewhere for scale-up work.

The remaining days of June will be unproductive toward completion of the building as the work focus becomes securing it against weather and vandalism. Singh also notes that delays like this are compounded because contractors move on to other projects, disrupting the restart of the project.

IRBL is a part of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. ACES Dean Kim Kidwell says this second halt on construction could have serious long-term consequences.

“It’s not just about a building,” Kidwell says. “Obviously, we’ll need to postpone hiring staff to operate the facility, but there is also the potential for the loss of very talented faculty and scientists as they consider other opportunities. Illinois will be challenged to retain and recruit talent working in the industrial biotech space. Enrollment in the Professional Science Masters (PSM) program in bioprocessing and other related majors may suffer from the lack of available facilities and faculty.”

Kidwell adds, “It is an ironic twist that the construction on this building, which is to be a catalyst for innovation, is stalled not once, but twice. It’s disappointing, not just for the College of ACES, but also for the state of Illinois’ efforts to be a leader in renewable bioprocessing technologies.”

All emphasis added.

*** UPDATE ***  Last September, the Senate Republicans touted that U of I project as a way to “help the state grow its way out of the current budget mess”

An announcement during the week that the state is investing $26 million in the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab (IBRL) at the University of Illinois underscored the importance of pursuing projects that will make Illinois a destination for employers as a way to help the state grow its way out of the current budget mess. Funding for the IBRL, which will help Illinois compete for nearly 20,000 jobs in a new job sector, was secured by the stopgap budget signed into law on June 30.

Except now we’re finding out that, at least in this instance, we can’t grow our way out of this mess without a budget.

20,000 high-paying jobs could fly right out the window. Heckuva job, everybody.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Throwback Thursday

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* April 27, 2016

Gov. Bruce Rauner said Wednesday that if a bipartisan budget agreement can’t be reached by the end of May, he’d be willing to pay for a special legislative session out of his own pocket to continue negotiations.

During a visit to Auburn High School to discuss education funding, the Republican governor said he remains cautiously optimistic that he can reach a “grand compromise” with lawmakers in negotiating a budget for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years by the end of the spring session.

Two things. 1) Whatever happened to that idea of paying for a special session out of his own pocket? 2) I forgot about the “grand compromise” branding. It morphed into “grand bargain” when the Senate took over and now the Republicans are calling their plan the “Capitol Compromise.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Drury demands vote, won’t commit to voting “Yes”

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Tribune

State Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Illinois has been “hijacked” by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and is no longer a “democracy.”

“The state has been hijacked by a billionaire governor, Bruce Rauner, and by an all-too powerful speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, who continuously put their self-interest against the public interest and that is going to stop once I’m the governor,” Drury said in an interview Tuesday evening on WTTW Ch-11’s “Chicago Tonight.” […]

Drury said Madigan should call for a House vote on a Senate Democrat-passed budget package that includes higher taxes and spending cuts.

But Drury wouldn’t commit to vote for it. Instead, he called it “a good start” but warned the cuts it contains are “too much of a hatchet.”

If he thinks the Senate’s cuts are “too much of a hatchet,” wait until he sees what actually has to happen to balance the budget with the Senate’s proposed revenues that the governor has apparently agreed to.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

“Two experts disagree”

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* You gotta love this headline

Tax hikes vs. spending cuts; two experts disagree

The experts? Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, who has been arguing for more state taxes for what seems like decades. And Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, which believes the budget can be balanced without a single penny in new tax hikes.

* From their discussion

How do you see the next 10 days playing out in the legislature?

Dabrowski: “We believe a balanced budget without tax hikes is the way to go. The next 10 days will be a debate about that. It will be a debate about how much taxes should go up. There will be a debate about a compromise between the political elite ignoring what Illinoisans want and need… I want to talk a little bit about the polls that have been done showing that Illinoisans don’t want tax hikes, they want spending reforms.”

Martire: “What is our basic problem? I think it’s been a lack of political will for generations to deal with tax policy honestly. Tax is one of two, three-letter words ending in ‘X’ in the English language that really gets people excited. And generally, not in a good way. So, most elected officials want to avoid dealing with tax policy. Our chosen method for avoiding dealing with tax policy in Illinois has been, and everyone knows this, is to underfund what the state owed to its five pension systems and divert the revenue that should have gone to normal costs to instead fund current services.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   80 Comments      

Crain’s jumps to Rauner’s defense

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Crain’s Chicago Business rides to the governor’s rescue

From their lofty perch in Midtown Manhattan, the editors of the Wall Street Journal opined on the years-long budget stalemate here in Illinois. The deadlock has naturally drawn the notice of investors who happen to hold state of Illinois bonds—bonds that could soon be downgraded to junk if Gov. Bruce Rauner and his archnemesis, House Speaker Michael Madigan, don’t come to terms on a budget by the beginning of the next fiscal year, July 1.

If the Journal’s editors intended to help resolve the Springfield deadlock for the good of bondholders—not to mention the people who live and work in Illinois—then they missed the mark. In fact, they made matters much, much worse.

That’s because partisan brinkmanship of the sort they’re dishing out is one of the biggest reasons Illinois is in the shape it’s in now. The Journal drubs Rauner for saying he’ll accept a four-year increase in the state income tax and expand the sales tax, labeling such concessions “capitulation” and “a political defeat by any definition.” Implying that Team Rauner’s tax hike talk is a sop to credit rating agencies that “never met a tax increase they didn’t like,” the Journal writes that Rauner “doesn’t want to run for re-election next year as Governor Junk.” […]

Given the long, hard battle that’s been fought over these very elements of Rauner’s “Turnaround Illinois” agenda, to cite such shortcomings now is essentially to cheer for both sides to harden their positions. But this state can’t afford more tantrums. Rhetoric like this only adds fuel to a partisan fire that’s threatening to immolate Illinois. We agree with the Journal that Madigan is the stumbling block that has prevented Rauner from realizing what he campaigned on, but campaigns are about vision; governing is about seeing clearly. Yes, Madigan is stubbornly in the way. But he cannot be wished away—nor can his​ constituents. Acting as if they are not there is to enter Fantasyland—and Illinoisans have no further need for fairy tales.

So here’s a thought inspired by a famous headline from another fine New York newspaper: “Illinois to Wall Street Journal: Drop Dead.

I agree with Crain’s. We need a practical solution here. And I’ve never been a fan of that WSJ editorial page.

But, on one specific level, I totally agree with the Wall St. Journal. Rauner did indeed pledge to roll back the income tax rate all the way down to 3 percent by the end of his first term. Instead, Rauner chose a 2-year impasse over tax reduction. That’s totally and completely on him. Period.

And, remember, the governor and his wholly owned state GOP subsidiary have repeatedly blasted Speaker Madigan for suggesting in late 2015 that a good place to start would be returning the tax rate to 5 percent

The state GOP launched a Twitter campaign attacking Madigan by promoting the hashtag #taxhikemike. It includes a video publicizing Tax Hike Mike’s plan, building it around his comments at the City Club.

“Mike Madigan thinks raising your taxes is funny,” the narrator states.

Then the video shows Madigan being asked and answering the question, as audience members laugh at the delicacy of the issue and Madigan smiles broadly.

“Mike Madigan wants to raise your taxes by 33 percent … and thinks it’s funny,” the narrator concludes.

Doesn’t it make you just want to grab Tax Hike Mike by his tax-hiking neck and give it a good tax-hiking wringing? That’s the response the advertisement is designed to elicit.

If they had returned the rate to 5 percent (or even 4.95 percent, as the governor claims to favor now) in 2015, they could’ve lowered it over time with gradual cuts and other reforms. Instead, we’re stuck in a hopeless morass.

So, kindly spare me the hand-wringing over a little editorial. Rauner’s a big boy who promised to “take the arrows.” Let him deal with it for a while. It’ll build character. /s

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      

Impasse creating “a perfect recipe for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease”

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Term limits will solve this, I’m sure

Thousands of children in Illinois are at risk of not getting their immunizations this year amid the ongoing state budget crisis, officials said.

More than 100,000 kids on Medicaid in Illinois face potentially not getting their immunizations as the state nears its third year with no budget, according to local officials of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Under the current plans, vaccines for Medicaid Title 21 children are purchased by their doctors, who are supposed to be reimbursed by the state through Medicaid managed care organizations. MCO’s are state contractors.

“This spring, things came to a halt in getting compensated,” said Dr. Timothy Wall, Medical Director and President of Pediatric Health Associates. “We have had to cut back the ages of children we can give vaccines to.” […]

According to the AAP, the backlog is so burdensome for some doctors, they’ve had to stop providing immunizations altogether.

“That’s a perfect recipe for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Edward Pont, who serves as the governmental affairs chair for the Illinois chapter of AAP.

The Rauner administration, of course, blamed the comptroller, which is just completely ridiculous on its face. Absolutely nothing is ever his fault. Her office’s response

“Like the check bouncer who yells at his bank for bouncing a check from an account he himself emptied, the Governor disingenuously blames the Comptroller for not writing checks from state coffers that Governor Rauner emptied by failing his constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget,” said Abdon Pallasch, Director of Communications for the Office of the Comptroller.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

The Republican round-up of Day One

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* From the ILGOP…

On Day 1 Madigan Stalls, On Day 2…?
Madigan Blasted for Stall Tactics

The ball’s in Madigan’s court.

On Day 2 of the Special Session, what will Mike Madigan do? Will he show up and get to work? Or will he stall because he has no plan to fix Illinois?

Yesterday, he chose stalling.

Instead of working yesterday on a solution, Politico is reporting that Madigan wasted the first day of the special session.

Politico reports, “As the state crumbles awaiting a budget, the House speaker plans to use the second and third days of special session - on more hearings. Maybe Madigan’s ultimate strategy is to waste so much time that when lawmakers finally emerge from the Capitol, the state’s remaining residents will have dwindled to zero.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that instead of working with Republicans on a compromise budget and reform plan, Madigan “provided no details” and “needled Rauner via a statement”.

The Peoria Journal-Star Editorial Board writes that Democrats “got things off to a confidence-draining start on the first day of the special session by adjourning the House after 30 minutes, with senators meeting outside the public eye. The House under Speaker Michael Madigan has yet to even vote on a budget.”

WYMG called Madigan’s stalling schemes “a familiar tactic out of his toolbox”.

And NBC Chicago notes that, “House Speaker Mike Madigan is sounding his familiar themes as the special session begins.”

Speaker Madigan – stop stalling and get to work.

* Not mentioned in the roundup is what Mary Ann Ahern said during her setup to her story last night

The one meeting that really needs to take place is between the governor, the speaker and other top legislative leaders. And that hasn’t happened. And until then there’s just a whole lot of talk and not much action.

The governor, of course, is responsible for calling leaders’ meetings.

Now, as I explained to subscribers today, there’s more going on here. But every special session I’ve ever covered has involved leaders’ meetings. And the governor has been on a “unity” kick this week, so you’d think he’d at least give it a try.

…Adding… From the Pritzker campaign…

On Tuesday, instead of acting to alleviate the widespread distress among families across the state, Bruce Rauner provided Illinoisans with a 3-minute sham “unity” address. Rauner called on legislators to support the Republican “Capitol Compromise,” a partisan budget written behind closed doors. 722 days later and Illinoisans are still getting the same political games and no results from their failed governor.

“While Illinois has gone a record 722 days without a budget, Bruce Rauner would rather fake compromise than bring legislators together to pass a fair budget,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Rauner talks a big game, but he doesn’t have the courage to face the budget crisis he’s inflicted on our state. Illinois needs a leader, not a coward in Springfield, and Illinois families deserve a real budget, not sham speeches and fake compromises.”

…Adding More… From the ILGOP…

It’s Day 2 of the special session, and time is ticking for Mike Madigan to propose a balanced budget and path forward for the State of Illinois.

Mike Madigan has yet to put forward any solution to the budget stalemate or agree to reforms needed to fix our state.

That’s why today, the Illinois Republican Party has updated to feature a countdown clock to remind the Speaker just how much time he has left to compromise and pass a budget and reform plan.

Mr. Speaker – there isn’t much time left. Get to work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Special session coverage

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

* Watch it all in real time with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Madigan's daily press briefing: He'd meet with Rauner and he's peeved at Durkin
* We're staying open!
* Hardiman on Madigan: "He’s like the Godfather down there"
* Rauner asked why Madigan could work with other governors and not him
* Emanuel goes off on Rauner... again
* *** UPDATED x4 - Rauner denies Cullerton claim - Cullerton: Special session is a "stunt" - Manar wants Rauner to call daily leaders meetings - Durkin said he opted out on his own *** Cullerton claims Rauner "pulled the plug" on meeting
* NRDC warns of "giant jumping fish" at Oak St. Beach
* Question of the day
* Rauner takes questions for first time in several days
* Illinois' "get along" shirt
* Pritzker slams Rauner over federal health care overhaul
* Emanuel doubles down
* New school funding reform plan appears DOA
* Let's be careful out there
* A little context, please
* After hot dispute, Rauner to sign gun crimes bill today
* Proft on Rauner's "massive" tax hikes: "He's done and so are Republicans for another generation"
* The Republican special session roundup
* Rauner administration loses legal power play to AG Madigan
* *** UPDATED x1 - The plot thickens *** As if things couldn't get any weirder
* *** LIVE *** Special session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





* Rauner signs gun bill; still no progress on bud.....
* Rauner names new director of Illinois child wel.....
* State Week: Special Session Begins - NPR Illino.....
* Rauner names new director of Illinois child wel.....
* Rauner Names New Director of Illinois Child Wel.....
* Rauner names new director of Illinois child wel.....
* Rauner names new director of Illinois child wel.....
* A budget by June 30, or Illinois faces unpreced.....
* Rauner names new director of Illinois child wel.....

* FBI: Search for visiting Chinese scholar is agency priority
* Trump slashes grant for group combatting white extremism
* A look at recent settlements in fatal police encounters
* Rauner names new director of Illinois child welfare agency
* The Latest: Brendan Dassey lawyers petition for his release
* Illinois governor signs repeat gun offender plan into law
* A look at high-profile police-related killings of blacks
* Governor threatens to reject 911 funding bill over fee hikes
* Snyder urges Michigan House to OK incentives for Foxconn
* Cullerton calls budget special session a 'political stunt'

* People like the building, not the gridlock
* Rauner threatens to reject 911 funding bill over fee increases
* Former Edgar appointee tapped as new DCFS director
* Rauner signs repeat gun offender plan into law
* Illinois House leaders meet, but no action on a budget
* House leaders meet, but no action on a budget
* SJ-R Podcast: Talking with Bernard Schoenburg about the special session
* Schuyler County hog farm opponents seek state ag meeting; threaten lawsuit
* SJ-R Live: Tax hikes vs. spending cuts; two experts disagree
* Retired SIU doctor cited for alleged unethical conduct

* Was Rauner's televised speech a success? Sort of.
* How this company defies the law of large numbers
* Toronto's simple marching orders for PrivateBank's Richman: Grow
* Move over, Champagne. There are some new (old) bubbles in town.
* Why a stabilizing banking sector is good news

* Drug charges stack up for pair who sold pancake mix to undercover cops
* At age 150, celebrate that long and peaceful U.S. – Canadian border
* Paving project to close lanes of Western Avenue on North Side
* I stand on the shoulders of great black men and women
* A budget by June 30, or Illinois faces unprecedented ‘junk’ status
* Illinois stands to lose $40 billion in Medicaid cuts: hospital group
* Services held for Alexis Stubbs, a girl who dreamed of fame
* A call to revive America’s political center
* Former Elk Grove Library employee charged with sexually abusing child
* Stan Bowman: Blackhawks deals “not based just on one playoff round”

* 'Chicken lady' farms in Rogers Park, despite neighbors' gripes
* $208K grant aims to help Northwest Indiana residents get HIV test, treatment
* Asian carp discovered close to Lake Michigan as Trump pushes budget cuts
* Welcome to Fear City, Illinois: Lessons from the New York financial meltdown
* Man convicted in 'unprovoked' fatal stabbing of co-worker in Waukegan draws 40-year sentence
* Rauner signs gun crime bill, favored by Emanuel, that cracks down on repeat offenders
* Man held in slaying over phony money claim during heroin deal, prosecutors say
* 2 in good condition after Thunderbirds jet goes off runway before Ohio air show
* No little plans: More than $20 billion of megaprojects in Chicago's pipeline
* Blackhawks trade Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin in separate deals, bring back Brandon Saad

» State Week: Special Session Begins
» Prosecutors Seek To Uphold 'Making A Murderer' Confession
» Budget Impasse Makes Future Of Sojourn Shelter Unclear
» Bulls Trade Butler To Timberwolves, Go All In On Rebuild
» Illinois Experiments With High Schools Of The Future
» Senate Democrats Urge Republicans To Compromise On Budget Deal
» Cook County Democrats Hear From Gubernatorial Candidates
» $25,000 Reward Offered For Rare Clock Stolen In Chicago
» Obama Presidential Center Could Include Playground, Sledding
» There's At Least One Thing On Which Illinois Democrats And Republicans Agree ...

* People like the building, not the gridlock
* Rauner threatens to reject 911 funding bill over fee increases
* Former Edgar appointee tapped as new DCFS director
* Rauner signs repeat gun offender plan into law
* Illinois House leaders meet, but no action on a budget
* Point: Education of state's children harmed with property tax freeze
* Counterpoint: Illinois should cut property taxes now
* Eugene Robinson: With health care bill, the GOP is mounting a historic heist
* Our View: Thumbs Up to promoting civility in politics
* House leaders meet, but no action on a budget

* PODCAST: SportsTalk 06-23-17
* Alton’s Germania Brew Haus brings coffee, craft beer to Downtown Alton
* Grafton’s Buena Vista enters industrial age with one-of-a-kind functional art
* Fosterburg Water District appointments draw ire, two board members replaced
* Rauner names new director of Illinois child welfare agency
* No new flooding from rain this week, but some effects of April flood still linger
* Five at 5: Video gaming turns 5 and four other stories you should see
* Highland Splash swims away from Freeburg Waves to go 4-0
* Man committed home repair fraud against eldery couple, police say
* Beiser highlights warning signs during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

* Plenty of questions remain about Bulls' sudden change of direction
* Ingleside man sentenced in marijuana conspiracy case
* 2 accused of trying to sell pancake mix to Elgin cops in drug deal
* Picnic with police next week at Lincolnshire library
* Prospect Heights Block Party is Saturday

* Hultgren backs Trump; suburban Democrats d...
* Climate Lobby travels to Washington - Chic...
* President Trump urged to appoint a special...
* Randy Hultgren: US should remain on UN cou...
* Rep. Randy Hultgren constituents decry sec...
* Payments in the future will be sent like t...
* Illinois GOP representatives plan fundrais...
* Northern Illinois Congressman Co-Sponsors ...
* The importance of funding science research...
* Hultgren pushes for job training, educatio...

* Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows - ......
* Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows - ......
* Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows - ......
* Watch Ali Velshi Call Republican Cory Gard......

* New bill would expand SBA cyber training -......
* White House sends Durbin, Duckworth a name......

* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Chicago Zombie March, Logan Square Arts Festival, and more things to do in Chicago this weekend
* Raise Your Pride Flag!
* EXTRA: Everybody’s spewing a load of bull in the land of Springpatch
* Steppenwolf releases ‘official statement’ on Hedy Weiss review uproar
* Di Leo: Springfield – The City That Banned Capitalism
* Next week saxophonist Dave Rempis plays solo and leads a full-band performance of a South African jazz classic
* Don't Rain On Our Parade -- Or Park Near The Route
* Fathers Day Sunday.
* Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode #21.

* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

* CEO: India should hold off new tariffs to keep OnePlus 5 pricing stable
* Only two months in and there’s a Sony Xperia XA1 deal on Amazon
* HTC U11 Edge Sense updates will let you zoom in and pick up
* Google bringing YouTube TV to 10 new markets
* Galaxy Note 8 pegged for late September launch
* YouTube hits 1.5 billion viewers per month, introduces new share and dynamic adapt features
* [TA Deal] Buy five Powertabs for less than $20!

* Even-keeled Buehrle regular guy amid success
* Baseball is a family tradition for Matthews
* Pelfrey faces A's to open homestand
* White Sox prospects on the move in Minors
* Breakthrough Series has Chicago flavor
* Pelfrey faces A's to open homestand
* Buehrle was one of a kind in time with Sox

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller