Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Good work if you can get it

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Jake Griffin at the Daily Herald

Most people have to wait until they’re out of a job to begin collecting retirement benefits they accrued while working there.

That’s not the case for at least 13 part-time suburban county board members who are receiving as much as $82,124 in annual pension payouts from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund for jobs in which they’re still getting salaries of $21,000 to $43,018.

Six Lake County Board members are receiving the pensions, as are three each in McHenry and Will counties and one in Kane County, a Daily Herald examination of IMRF beneficiaries shows. A fourth Will County board member just filed paperwork this month to begin collecting his pension while still on the board and receiving a $23,000 annual salary, IMRF officials noted in a response to a public records request to the agency.

So… wait. They’re being paid pensions for their county board service while they’re still serving on the same county boards?

* How the heck did this happen?

They get the retirement benefit while still working as a result of a 2016 law aimed at pension reform, which eliminated their ability to keep working toward a pension if they don’t provide documentation proving they worked at least 1,000 hours a year, or about 19 hours a week.

Many elected leaders chose not to submit timesheets and were kicked out of the retirement plan — but their previous participation in the plan allowed them to begin collecting their pensions even though they were still on the job.

*Sigh*

If county board members “chose” not to submit their timesheets, do you think that means they might not have been able to justify their previous claims of time they supposedly put in? Or, I suppose it’s possible that they just don’t like filling out paperwork to receive a pension.

Either way, never underestimate the determination of people to take full advantage of “reforms.”

Go read the rest, particularly the bit about Will County board member James Moustis.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Proft paper

Republican state Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-Crystal Lake) is taking his fight against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated income tax proposal directly to the people.

The veteran lawmaker is scheduled to speak at a “graduated income tax rally” hosted by the Illinois Opportunity Project beginning at 7 p.m. on April 29 at the Huntley Park District. Skillicorn is slated to be joined by policy experts Adam Schuster of Illinois Policy Institute and Ted Dabrowski of Wirepoints.

* The Question: Your predictions for “best” rally chants?

- Posted by Rich Miller   63 Comments      


Energy News: Local Governments To Miss Out On $222 Million In Potential Tax Revenue

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

On April 10th, the Illinois Power Agency held a lottery to award renewable energy credit contracts to community solar, large commercial and industrial projects. Community Solar is for the 75% of Illinoisans who can’t put solar on their roofs. Demand was exceptionally strong, but due to the limited program size, approximately 90% of permitted community solar projects failed to receive contracts. Now those projects and the $222 million in tax revenue they would have generated for their communities over the next two decades is in jeopardy.

Without a fix to the state’s renewable energy program, remaining projects may not be built.

Tim Nugent, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, said: “Rural communities need new sources of revenue right now, and solar is one way to do that. We’re interested in seeing more community solar projects move forward, because at this point we’re leaving money on the table.”

Vote YES on HB 2966/SB 1781 to fix Illinois’ clean energy cliff and let shovel ready projects move forward.

For more information, please visit pathto100.net

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Pritzker’s preposterous pension proposal

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Sun-Times

And the governor on Tuesday said he believed “pushback” about his pension plan is simply a “misunderstanding” — while trying to link that criticism to the graduated income tax, his top priority this legislative session.

“I think there’s a misunderstanding about what it is, because there’s an element of people, of opponents, to doing anything. The people who also don’t want the ‘fair tax,’ who don’t understand that we are in a dire situation in the state in terms of just addressing our fiscal challenges,” Pritzker said. “You can’t do nothing. That is not an option anymore. We are going to address this challenge in the state of Illinois and that is my job.”

I agree that some the criticism is coming from professional opposers who are making bank off doing and say anything they can to stop his tax proposal. But I don’t belong to that crowd.

* The governor also talked yesterday about how he wants to transfer state assets to the pension system, something he’s never really fleshed out with specifics. And then he addressed the question about his plan to short the pension systems $1.1 billion a year over the next 7 years by lengthening the payment ramp

It really is designed to bend the cost curve going forward so that we’re not just in a straight line for a $9 billion payment to a $19 billion payment in… 2045 and then 2046 it’s like a billion and a half dollars.

* From the governor’s budget walk-down

1) That isn’t a “straight line” of projected state payments until 2045.

2) The real problem, as we’ve discussed before, is the ramp’s last ten years or so. Pritzker can’t “bend” that curve by lowering payments up front. That’s a preposterous thing to say. He’ll either make the curve worse or prolong the state’s fiscal agony or both.

3) If the governor truly wants to “bend the curve,” he’ll abandon this irresponsible idea and work on a solution for twenty years from now. Put more money in up front via bonding, asset transfers, whatever. But do not reduce payments by over $7 billion to spend elsewhere and then pat yourself on the back for fixing a problem that you’re only making worse.

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      


First remove the plank from your own eye

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* A member of the Eastern Bloc…



The link is to an Illinois News Network article about an AARP poll taken months ago about seniors who want to move out of Chicago.

The freshman GOP Rep. Caulkins lives in Decatur, which lost the Archer Daniels Midland world headquarters to Chicago. The top execs just didn’t want to live in Decatur any more. They preferred to live and work in the big city.

* And those execs aren’t the only ones leaving town

Numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show Decatur’s population declined by 3,400 residents from 2010 to 2016, or 4.5 percent. Among Illinois cities with populations over 50,000, Decatur’s losses were the worst in the state on a percentage basis.

* Decatur has had this problem for a long time

Legislators in this state should be working together to solve a problem that is hurting everyone rather than constantly trying to score cheap political points against other regions.

Putting down Chicago won’t help Decatur one bit, Representative. And it might actually make your own town’s problems worse.

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      


Who’s the favorite in the Lipinski vs. Newman rematch?

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Edward McClelland on the Democratic primary rematch between Congressman Dan Lipinski and Marie Newman

Newman didn’t exactly lose with grace in 2018. She refused to concede to Lipinski on election night, saying, “I would like Mr. Lipinski to have a very painful evening.”

She then said her family would never forgive Lipinski because, she claimed, his campaign had sent out texts accusing her of running an abortion clinic and trying to defund the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Despite that, Newman has a better chance this time than she did in 2018. Here in Illinois, the 2020 congressional primary will be held on the same day as the presidential primary, which means the supporters of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg — candidates whose philosophies are inimical to Lipinski’s — are going to show up at the polls.

Yes, she was a sore loser, but she had her reasons.

* Newman seems to understand her 2018 campaign didn’t do nearly enough in the city

“What we’ve done over the last year is we have really built out our ward structure much more significantly,” Newman told me.

“And it’s very evident when I go there now. I think that’s one of the things that we needed to do at the end (of the 2018 race.) It was clear that I needed to do more, be in the wards more.” Indeed, Newman worked for aldermanic candidates in the 2019 elections in the 14th, 15th and 22nd Wards.

The 14th Ward has a new state Representative tied to Chuy Garcia who could help a lot there. There aren’t many votes in 15 and 22 within the 3rd CD, but every vote counts.

* However

What may complicate the road ahead for Newman is the entry this week of another Democrat in the contest — a political unknown, Abe Matthew, who will compete with her for the progressive vote.

If Matthew, 32, a personal-injury lawyer who lives in Bridgeport, gets any kind of a campaign going — which he does not have now — it could guarantee a win for Lipinski.

The general rule for primary opponents is the more the merrier.

* Interesting

[The Brookings Institution conducted an exit poll and] concluded nearly one in five Lipinski voters also cast ballots for Trump.

We’ll see if they take Democratic ballots in a presidential year.

* Will this make any difference at all? Maybe if Gillibrand’s campaign survives until next March

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is endorsing a Democratic challenger to Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), making her the first presidential contender to wade into a down-ballot Democratic primary.

At a Democratic Party event in Chicago, Gillibrand endorsed Marie Newman, a liberal activist who narrowly lost to Lipinski in 2018.

Your own thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Numbers don’t add up

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Jacksonville Journal-Courier

West-central Illinois school officials are making plans in case one of two state bills passes to mandate a $40,000 minimum starting salary for teachers.

Two nearly identical bills have been passed — one in the House and one in the Senate — that would direct districts to increase their minimum teacher salary to $40,000 by the 2023-24 school year. […]

Increasing the North Greene school district’s minimum salary to $40,000 is a huge pay increase for the district, Superintendent Mark Scott said.

The starting salary for North Greene teachers now is $29,850, Scott said, adding that he expects any increase in the starting salary to be met by a demand for an equal increase from teachers higher on the pay scale.

“It’ll cost at least $3.5 million just to raise our teachers up $10,150,” Scott said.

$3.5 million?

* From North Greene school district’s website

The district serves approximately 865 students. North Greene Elementary houses approximately 480 Pre-K-6 students while North Greene Junior-Senior High School houses approximately 130 students in grades 7-8 and 245 students in grades 9-12. The district is a member of the Four Rivers Special Education cooperative, with special education services provided within the district as well as facilities located outside the district. The district employs about 70 licensed educators, 61 support staff members and two building administrators as well as the district superintendent and a supervising principal. [Emphasis added.]

So, they have 70 educators. I seriously doubt that all of those 70 are making the starting salary of $29,850, but whatever. Seventy times $10,150 equals $710,500. And, again, that’s only if all 70 teachers are making the starting salary, which seems highly unlikely. And that undoubtedly inflated number is still a far cry from the alleged $3.5 million cost, which would, in reality, give every one of those 70 teachers a $50,000 annual pay increase.

…Adding… Check out the school district’s salaries by clicking here.

* Related…

* Teacher shortage ‘is real, large, and growing’

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      


Like an episode of Veep, only real life

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* The Cook County State’s Attorney and her employees ought to realize that these official communications are publicly accessible under the Freedom of Information Act. The fact that they are chatting like it’s a private conversation says almost as much about them as the substance of the conversations

Just after news broke that “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett had been indicted on 16 felony counts, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told her top deputy that Smollett was a “washed up celeb who lied to cops” and the number of felony counts he faced was excessive, communications obtained by the Chicago Tribune show.

“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A,” Foxx said in a text message to Joseph Magats, her top assistant, on March 8.

Foxx went on in those texts to Magats to compare Smollett’s case to the office’s pending indictment of R&B singer R. Kelly on 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts),” she wrote. “… Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.” […]

When asked why the state’s attorney continued to communicate about the case after her withdrawal, a spokeswoman issued a statement Tuesday night on Foxx’s behalf saying she reached out to Magats only “to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority.”

#FacePalm

There’s no doubt in my own mind that Smollett was ridiculously over-charged. And the comparison to the number of charges against R. Kelly has some merit.

But, wow. If you have something to say that might not look so great splashed all over the front page of the Chicago Tribune, maybe just walk down the hall.

* Related…

* Black Caucus: We will continue to stand with State’s Attorney Foxx

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      


Open thread

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Please keep it Illinois-centric and be nice to each other.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


*Yoink*

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* It's just a bill
* Question of the day
* Energy News: Local Governments To Miss Out On $222 Million in potential tax revenue
* White, rural and suburban enrollment plummets at WIU
* 40,686 K-12 students in Illinois not vaccinated for measles
* Circular firing squad escalates: Rep. McSweeney calls on Leader Durkin to resign
* Audit: Department of Insurance not examining troubled local pension funds
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Raoul turns up the heat on bus company
* New tollway director, ICC chair named
* Courts go back and forth over hospital closure
* *Yoink*
* Our sorry state
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
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

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




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