* Click here for background…
“Too many people look at our pension obligation through green eyeshade – in terms of dollars and cents. That is just one way to see it, but it is not the whole picture. The other is in terms of our principles and priorities,” Emanuel is expected to say in his speech. “That is why I am also for amending the clause added to the constitution in 1970 that caused the Supreme Court to shoot down our initial agreements with labor.”
Emanuel in particular will cite the 3 percent annual compounded cost of living adjustments, or COLAs, for retirees in the laborers fund.
“Think about it. What kind of progressive, sustainable system guarantees retirees 3 percent annual compounded pay increases when inflation has been at basically zero and current employees have at times been furloughed, laid off, or received one percent raises?” Emanuel said. “There is nothing progressive about 3 percent compounded raises for retirees and furloughs for workers. The mantle of progressivity must not just be more taxes on the wealthy, it must be more respect for our workers’ paychecks. I applaud our labor unions for being willing to fix this inequity in 2012 with me.”
*** UPDATE *** Jordan Abudayyeh at the Pritzker transition…
As JB has said, pensions are a promise and the state has a responsibility to live up to that promise. As governor, he will work with the General Assembly to propose a balanced budget that meets our pension obligations and puts the state on a more sustainable path forward.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Democratic State House Campaign Staffer goes to Tiffany Moy and it wasn’t even close…
She was responsible for nearly all of the top tier races. Tiffany is a no-nonsense powerhouse who will tell it like it is and do what is necessary to get the job done. She works more than she should, but does it all for the House Democrats. Tiffany is the campaign staffer others should be measured against and aspire to be.
Tiffany Moy for the already mentioned reasons, but also for her many efforts that can go unnoticed in the off-season. She’s one of the few who puts in the work for candidates and campaigns all year round. From recruitment, to petitions, to candidate management and everything in between - she does it all. It’s not glamorous stuff, but it’s that kind of work that helps campaigns build a strong foundation and she does it all without complaint.
She was also endorsed by “Soccermom”…
TIFFANY MOY IS AMAZING.
Good enough for me.
* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Republican State House Campaign Staffer goes to Ryan Tozer…
Not only did he do an awesome job in Norine Hammond’s general, but he also did a great job on the primary too.
No way that his ground game was going to be outmatched in either race. Lots of Republicans that fended the right flank in March went down in November. Not Hammond, and that’s because of Ryan.
This is what put him over the top…
It’s been six plus years since I’ve lived in the state or had anything to do with politics but I still got hit up by Ryan Tozer to knock doors for Norine Hammond. Dude, how about “how are the kids?”
* Honorable mention goes to Deb Kraulidis, who was nominated by Rep. Mark Batinick…
Based on performance my Staffer, Deb Kraulidis, should win the GOP staffer award. Only one to win a competitive race in a district Rauner AND Harold lost. Outperformed Rauner by 3.75% while most targets in the suburbs were 3%-7% behind him. Withstood the massive late spend. She managed/developed a large team of volunteers. And she did on the smallest budget of any incumbent target. She’s unknown in Springfield and is unlikely to be nominated but she should be!
* OK, on to our next categories…
* Best Government Spokesperson
* Best Campaign Spokesperson
Don’t forget to explain your votes or they won’t count. And please do your best to nominate in both categories. Thanks!
- Posted by Rich Miller
A volunteer for a candidate for alderman of the 15th Ward was shot while on Facebook Live as he was out canvassing the West Englewood neighborhood Sunday, officials said.
Maxwell Omowale Justice, 32, a volunteer for the Joseph Williams campaign, is speaking to the camera when shots can be heard in the video.
The shooting took place while Williams was a few houses away with his two children, as a group from the campaign tried to get affidavits from residents following a challenge to Williams’ petitions, said Erin Ellenbolt, Williams’ campaign manager.
“Maxwell had just shown up and he was handing out flyers as well and trying to get signatures,” Ellenbolt said.
Justice drove himself to Little Company of Mary Hospital, where he was treated and released. Reached Monday morning, Justice said he was resting and wasn’t ready to speak more. In social media posts, he shared an image of his bleeding leg.
Glad he’s OK.
* Justice is also known as Maxwell Little. You may remember that name…
The shooting of a campaign worker in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood has led to a heated war of words between the incumbent alderman and one of his challengers in the 15th Ward.
Campaign worker Maxwell Little was handing out literature for candidate Joseph Williams in the 6600 block of South Marshfield Avenue Sunday afternoon, and broadcasting his efforts via facebook live. Suddenly, without warning, a series of gunshots are heard on the video, and after a brief jumble, the broadcast ends. […]
Little made news earlier this year, when he and other staffers sued then-gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, alleging racial discrimination and intimidation within that campaign.
He is also a staffer for mayoral candidate Lashawn Ford.
* Little initially claimed it was a hit…
Police said a masked gunman had come out of a gangway and fired the shots. No one was in custody.
Little posted a Facebook message from his hospital bed saying, “This was no random shooting. Someone wanted me dead.”
Community activist Jedidiah Brown has just parked his car to help campaign with 15th ward candidate Joseph Williams. There were about a dozen people around including Williams’ two young children.
* A friend of his and the police thought otherwise…
Chantal Grant, a friend of Little’s, said she didn’t believe the shooting was targeting Williams’ campaign or Little, specifically. […]
Chicago police were canvassing the neighborhood, looking at video footage from doorbell cameras and home security systems to establish a timeline surrounding the incident. Police do not believe at this point that Williams was specifically targeted, instead suggesting this was a case of mistaken identity.
* Little’s boss also more than just implied that the incumbent alderman may have been involved. But…
An aldermanic candidate in for Chicago’s 15th Ward is backtracking further from remarks he made Monday, suggesting that incumbent Ald. Raymond Lopez might have been responsible for the weekend shooting of a campaign worker in the city’s Englewood neighborhood. […]
Speaking Monday, Williams said, “I don’t put anything past the incumbent,” when asked who he felt might be responsible. […]
“It is disgusting, it is outrageous,” Lopez said. “And it takes away from the real violence that we are facing in our communities.”
But Williams released a statement overnight, seeking to distance himself from the controversy.
“As it is with so many of us who have experienced gun violence, I am still trying to make sense of Maxwell’s shooting and my children’s exposure to it, so my emotions may have been running high,” he said.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* The Chicago Tribune has editorialized three times on public pensions in the past several days…
* Goodbye to Illinois’ $130 billion pension hole. Now it’s $133 billion. And getting deeper.
* Even pension loopholes are protected? Then amend the Illinois Constitution.
* What Emanuel should say: Amend the Illinois Constitution
Two of those editorials were calls to amend the Illinois Constitution so the state could cut pension benefits of current employees/retirees going forward…
Reworking that amendment and giving elected officials the ability to adjust pension benefits going forward is the only transformative solution for Illinois. It is the most pro-growth, pro-taxpayer, pro-jobs pathway the state’s leaders could embrace. But it will require them to stand up to public employee unions.
* Gov.-elect Pritzker’s response…
“What’s most important to me is the principle that people who’ve been promised a pension should get the pension they’ve been promised,” Pritzker said. “That’s the principle we’re going to go by. But there’s no doubt that we’ve got to address the challenge in the budget of the increasing share of the budgeting going into pensions.”
Pritzker supports putting more tax dollars into pensions in earlier years of a pension ramp to lessen how much needs to go toward the funds in later years. One idea is to sell bonds to make those payments in earlier years. Pritzker said everything is on the table.
The Tribsters and others can scream “But Arizona!” until they’re blue in the face. The incoming governor is dead-set against the idea and I doubt there’s even a super-strong majority of legislative Republicans who would be for it and they’re in the super-minority anyway.
In other words, the anti-pension chattering class needs to come up with another idea. Right now, they’re simply shouting into the wind. They may prefer that role, but it doesn’t move anything forward.
Also, the gubernatorial candidate who hated public unions received 38.8 percent of the vote last month. His position was thoroughly rejected.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Shia Kapos…
The Cook County Board is considering hiking a tax that it established two months ago on apps like SpotHero and ParkWhiz, which allow drivers to find parking spots.
In October, then-Commissioner John Fritchey proposed creating a baseline 1.75 percent tax rate for parking-reservation apps, which is in line with the sales tax. The measure was approved by a 12-4 vote and would take effect Jan. 1. Chicago-based SpotHero and other apps supported that measure, saying a 1.75 tax rate was fair given they don’t operate the parking lots—whose owners pay a 6 percent tax rate. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle opposed it.
With Fritchey no longer on the board, Preckwinkle has moved to ramp up the tax to 6 percent—or, as Preckwinkle sees it, the board would return it to 6 percent. She says SpotHero should have been paying that all along. “Despite the administration’s objections, the board approved an amendment to the existing tax that passed with the help of a number of outgoing members of the County Board,” Preckwinkle’s team said in a statement. […]
How the current tax works: Say a driver reserved a spot costing $20 total with one of the apps. The parking spot owner typically pays a 6 percent tax to the county. The apps pay 1.75 percent on the portion of the transaction it receives for its services—it’s less because they don’t control the parking facility.
SpotHero opposes the new measure, saying it “incorrectly and unfairly” characterizes apps as parking garage owners.
* Meanwhile, from the Sun-Times…
Toni Preckwinkle just added $1 million to her mayoral campaign treasure chest.
The cash infusion Monday came from the Service Employees International Union state council.
In 2015, the group — the political arm of SEIU in Illinois, comprised of SEIU Local 1, SEIU Local 73, and Healthcare Illinois Indiana — backed Jesus “Chuy” Garcia with $3 million mainly in the form of direct contributions, in kind contributions and television ads in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
* NBC 5…
As the crowded race for Chicago mayor heats up – and with 21 candidates who hope to be on the ballot – those campaigns are hiring field staff for the work ahead. A political consultant firm working with Toni Preckwinkle’s campaign is recommending the current Cook County Board president hire workers from out of town.
An internal email was forwarded to NBC 5 from Democracy Partners Recruiting Services. It provides advice for interviewing field staff including going over job requirements, the possible seven-day workload and recommends:
“It will be so much better for the campaign if we can get out-of-towners instead of Locals, who have distractions, family, friends. If we need to fire someone for being trump-y with the ladies, or missing numbers, it’d be far better if they leave town than hang around to try to make trouble.”
A spokesman for the Preckwinkle campaign says “this is not our position, the majority of our staff is from right here; this does not represent our position.”
One of the firm’s partners is Bob Creamer, the husband of Jan Schakowsky, who has endorsed Preckwinkle.
* Press release…
Renowned Chicago broadcast journalist, Charles Thomas, whose stellar career has spanned four decades, is joining Amara Enyia’s mayoral campaign as a senior advisor. He started his career as a Midwest Correspondent for ABC News and then spent more than 25 years at ABC Eyewitness News in Chicago. In a new video being released today onwww.amaraenyia.com and on social media, Thomas talks about why he is endorsing Amara Enyia, what he loves most about Chicago, and what Chicago needs in a future Mayor.
“I remember my first interview with Amara. I was impressed at how she listened to the questions. Because a lot of politicians – you ask them questions - and they immediately go to their talking points. Amara didn’t do that, said Thomas. “She is a good listener. And she will listen to all sections of the city: the downtown businesses and the neighborhoods too. But she will listen to everyone,” he added.
In the video, Thomas underscored the fact that this is the first time that he has publicly endorsed any political candidate adding that “Amara is the future of Chicago”. He went on to acknowledge that Amara is a bright and dynamic generational bridge builder. Since she announced her run for Mayor, Enyia has been running a people-powered campaign with the slogan: All People. All Voices. One City. Thomas acknowledges her platform in the video saying “Amara has based her whole campaign around people, and her goal is to return control of the city government to the people. No other candidate is doing that”.
During his career in journalism, Thomas has interviewed everyone from Mayors to Governors to Senators and even Presidents. His impressive and dynamic career began in 1973. After working at various stations across the country, he eventually landed a job in 2009 as a political reporter at ABC Eyewitness News in Chicago. Looking back at this transition in his career, his main recollection is that his first full day on the job happened to coincide with President Obama’s first full day in the Oval Office.
“As a trained journalist, it is such an honor to receive the support of Charles Thomas – someone I’ve always admired in the profession, said Enyia. “He is proof that it is possible to reach all people across all generations and have a message that resonates and energizes people of all ages. Charles Thomas’ endorsement means a lot to me, and I appreciate and fully embrace his support as we move forward on to the next phase of our campaign.”
The video is here.
Furious about Willie Wilson’s attempt to knock him off the ballot, Ja’Mal Green is fighting back—by attacking Wilson as a Republican and tying Wilson to outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner and President Donald Trump.
On Monday, Green released an attack ad that will be posted on YouTube and other social media sites.
It opens with the words, “Willie Wilson, a Republican for mayor?” That’s followed by a clip of Wilson at a podium declaring that he voted for Rauner, who was overwhelmingly defeated by Democrat J.B. Pritzker.
As the background music plays the song “Thank You For Being a Friend,” the ad shows two still photos of Rauner and Wilson yukking it up.
The video is here.
* Other stuff…
* Hearings on ballot petition challenges for mayoral candidates to begin Tuesday: The first challenge to be reviewed was filed by mayoral candidate Paul Vallas against Bill Daley. It’s up at 9:30 a.m. Reviewing Preckwinkle’s challenge to Mendoza begins at 1 p.m. Early voting is scheduled to begin next month, January 17th. But election officials warn it’s possible the ballot won’t be finalized until early February.
* Wilson has a long way to go to win LGBTQA vote
* Former Obama adviser, political reporter David Axelrod handicaps race for mayor
- Posted by Rich Miller
* I’ve already told subscribers about this, but every year about this time, I’m asked if there are any tickets left for my annual “Christmas with Rich Miller” event with the City Club of Chicago. And every year I have to either turn people down or send them to the City Club people to see if they can squeeze another one in.
We decided to do something a little different this year. The City Club held back ten tickets so we could auction them off to benefit Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. The annual event is this coming Monday at Maggiano’s in Chicago and the auction has begun.
The bidding starts at $35, which is the normal price of a ticket. Six tickets are being sold individually, and four are being sold in pairs of two. I don’t think we’ll get a hot bidding war on every ticket sold, but I would like to see all of the tickets purchased for at least the base price - and LSSI does great work and was pummeled hard by the impasse.
* Click here to bid. You’ll be asked to create an account. Then they’ll send you a verification e-mail and you click a link and enter your bid. The whole thing takes about a minute.
And if you’ve already purchased a ticket, please don’t forget to bring a toy to the event for LSSI’s child care program.
*** UPDATE *** Somebody just paid the “buy now” price of $500 for a ticket. Thanks!!!
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Rachel Otwell at NPR Illinois…
A new report says Illinois lacks comprehensive guidelines when it comes to dealing with sexual misconduct cases in elementary and high schools.
Wendy Pollack heads the Women’s Law and Policy Initiative of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. She authored the report, based on a series of interviews with students and service providers across the state.
Pollack says the lack of guidance leads too often to problems like school employees mishandling survivors’ confidentiality, and survivors being revictimized by having to explain the abuse repeatedly. Pollack says when situations are mishandled it can even lead to bullying, and some students interviewed dropped out of school as a result.
In the midst of the #MeToo movement, there are more conversations about the existence of problems resulting from sexual violence. But Pollack says not enough of those conversations involve young survivors.
* From the report…
This report provides a snapshot of Illinois K-12 schools’ responses to student survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The report’s findings are based on four focus groups and 31 in-person and phone interviews conducted in 2015 and 2016; a total of 59 students (middle school and high school students) and service providers participated. The participants were diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and LGBTQ status; in addition, the participant service providers served diverse student populations. Geographically, participants were from all over the state, including Chicago and surrounding suburbs, and smaller cities and rural areas in northern, central, and southern Illinois. The schools varied in size, the availability of resources, and their response to and support of students and their experiences of domestic and sexual violence.
Although since 2007 Illinois law requires K-12 schools to conduct trainings by experts in domestic and sexual violence once every two years for all school personnel who work with students, including teachers, administrators, counselors, and nurses, the lack of comprehensive school policies creates barriers to student survivors’ success in school. Focus groups uncovered issues due to the lack of survivor-centered, trauma-informed policies in the following areas:
• Protocol and Training — Protocols that are sensitive to survivors and their needs were too often either absent or not followed by school personnel.
For example, staff generally did not know when and to whom they report. Compounding the problem, the required training of school personnel is generally not conducted, leaving school personnel unequipped to appropriately respond to disclosures of domestic and sexual violence.
• Confidentiality — School personnel often lacked understanding of the need for confidentiality and how to ensure it. Even when processes were in place, they were often unaware of confidential reporting processes. Routinely, confidentiality was either knowingly breached or there was a lack of privacy necessary to maintain confidentiality.
• Accommodations and Support Services — Schools too often did not provide any accommodations in response to student survivors trauma — whether academic-, safety-, or health-related. And if offered, in-school support was often
inadequate, and relationships with external service providers in the community that could offer expert support to student survivors were lacking.
• Revictimization — School personnel often dismissed the experiences of student survivors out of disbelief or through minimization, criticism, or even punishment.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Rachel Droze…
Repairing and replacing the city of Springfield’s sewer system is estimated to cost more than $50 million over the next decade. […]
When averaging the age of Springfield’s oldest in newest pipes, the sewer system is about 60-years-old. The oldest pipes were laid about 150 years ago.
If necessary repairs aren’t made, sinkholes can form. […]
Since most of the city’s major sewage pipes run under roads, cave-ins could cause roads to collapse. […]
[Springfield’s Sewer Engineer John Higginbotham] said the city should be spending roughly $4 million a year on repairs and upgrades, but last year they only spent $1 million.
When people think of infrastructure, they often think only of roads, bridges and transit. But sewer and water systems in this state also need attention. It’s easy to get away with neglecting them because they’re underground. Out of sight, out of mind - until, that is, a sinkhole forms and a main road collapses.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Madeleine Doubek…
One of Illinois’ biggest and most critical assets always has been its transportation network. We’re smack dab in the middle of America, but we lost Amazon’s HQ2 and we could lose more economic opportunity if we don’t tend to that network. That means planes, trains, transit, roads and, especially, bridges, noted Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn.
Three quarters of Illinois’ bridges are in need of repair. We should be rebuilding five major bridges a year, but we’re working on one every five years, he said. “This is a crisis that’s coming,” Blankenhorn said. “This is what keeps me up at night.”
If we want to build our communities, attract new people who can contribute to those communities and fund governments, then we need to invest in transportation, Blankenhorn and others said.
He called for an increase of at least 15 cents in the state gas tax, which hasn’t been increased since 1990.
Once again, Blankenhorn says this stuff about a big gas tax hike after the election even though the governor has been saying for years that no tax hike is needed to pay for a capital bill.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Tribune…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday called for a 20 to 30 cent per gallon increase in the state’s gas tax to fund a major statewide transportation bill.
Emanuel made the push during a City Hall news conference in which he was joined by members of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, an organization that represents the Chicago region’s 275 cities, towns and villages.
“Our state can’t wait any longer,” Emanuel said, noting neighboring states have passed transportation bills with gas tax hikes.
- Posted by Rich Miller
|SOTS or no SOTS?
Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018
Pritzker said he hasn’t decided if he will give separate State of the State and budget messages next year. He said he will give a speech at his inauguration, but beyond that “it depends on how much we need to convey during that one-month period.”
If he gives a State of the State address, people will bemoan the fact that he didn’t talk about the state’s budget problems. If he skips the State of the State, he loses out on some publicity. Some governors have combined the two, some have given both.
The budget address is scheduled for February 20th.
- Posted by Rich Miller
|“It’s a first”
Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018
Pritzker has dispatched invites to Senate President John Cullerton; House Speaker Michael Madigan; House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady — and their wives Pam, Shirley, Celeste and Nancy — to wine and dine at Pritzker’s Astor Street mansion.
“It’s a first,” said one of the invitees, who asked not to be identified. […]
“Certainly, Gov. Bruce Rauner never entertained us this way for dinner,” the source said.
And what do you bring as a party gift?
“A bottle of wine … or a plunger,” said the source, jokingly referring to the campaign imbroglio over the controversial removal of toilets at the home, which lowered Pritzker’s property taxes.
That’s a fine way to repay the guy for the invite.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Click here for background if you need it. Here’s Adam Schuster with the Illinois Policy Institute’s response to the Center on Tax and Budget Accountability’s defense of its pension obligation bond proposal…
The CTBA plan does use the POBs to reduce contributions, but in the long-run rather than the short-run/Blago-style. It reduces the contributions by both lowering the funding target and extending the pension ramp, both of which violate Actuarial Standards of Practice from professional actuary associations.
Hertz correctly points out that a recession is increasingly likely, but then comes to the exact opposite conclusion about what this should mean. Just prior to a recession is the worst possible time to play an arbitrage gamble with taxpayer money, which is what this plan does. It would be like going all in on a Black Jack hand knowing the dealer has 21. This will likely make our pension repayment even more expensive than already envisioned by CTBA.
Hertz’s admission that arbitrage benefit “isn’t really the point” tells us what their true motivation is here. Potential arbitrage benefit is the only positive aspect of their plan. But that’s not their goal; their goal is to trade soft debt for hard debt by putting taxpayers on the hook for these bonds, which cannot later be made cheaper through reform like the pension debt can.
Hertz claims to be worried about the service cuts being caused by the rapidly growing pension payments, but the CTBA plan explicitly puts pension payments above those services with its $11 billion cash infusion. That insulates pensions from the risk of economic downturn while also restricting the amount of revenue available for the services Hertz claims to care about, by making them hard debt.
You know what our alternative is, because I’ve seen you write about it. I know you think a federal contracts clause challenge is likely. We’ll have more on that soon, but for now its worth noting that Arizona did not face such a challenge despite a virtually identical situation. They have the same pension clause and their court also struck down a prior round of reforms, claiming they diminished benefits. And yet they’ve successfully amended their constitution twice now.
Arizona hasn’t yet faced a federal court challenge. That doesn’t mean it won’t. Or that it wouldn’t be challenged here.
…Adding… Schuster has a new post up on the topic. Click here.
…Adding… From comments…
Not weighing in on the CTBA proposal itself, but it’s worth pointing out that the IPI response seems to misunderstand (or misrepresent) it in several ways. First, IPI writes that CTBA’s proposal “reduces the contributions”, which isn’t really true. In the short-term CTBA’s proposal would increase contributions above what’s required under current law. Yes the CTBA proposal does not conform to actuarial standards, but making payments that align with actuarial best practices would require dramatically higher pension contributions (both above current law and CTBA’s proposal). Second, IPI is critical of the proposal’s use of POBs because it’s an “arbitrage gamble,” but this is simply not what CTBA is proposing. In CTBA’s proposal the POBs are meant to be a revenue source for making pension payments that are higher than required under current law in the short term. This using POBs for budgetary relief. POBs resolve CTBA’s issue of wanting to increase pension contributions without cutting other aspects of the budget or simply raising taxes. It’s also worth pointing out that Quinn issued two POBs for budgetary relief (in 2010 and 2011). The Blago POB was issued for arbitrage reasons; however, once issued Blago used some of the proceeds for budgetary relief (which was a different use than original proposed). Blago’s use of POB proceeds for budgetary relief is one source of criticism; however, it remains to be seen whether the arbitrage play materializes as the bonds aren’t paid off. As of 2017, investment returns have actually exceed the 2003 POB interest rates. (see p. 121 http://cgfa.ilga.gov/Upload/FinConditionILStateRetirementSysMar2018.pdf)
Last, I think people should realize that CTBA’s proposal actually has several distinct policy components that can be independently debated. 1) switching the amortization method (aka debt repayment schedule) from level % of pay to level dollar. Doing this alone requires higher pension payments; 2) changing the funded ratio target from 90% to 70%; and 3) using POBs to make part of the state’s pension payments.
I know who that commenter is, by the way, and the person knows this topic well.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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