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“Kick the Can” Budget Plants a Time Bomb PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 01 June 2014 05:21

On the bright side, you could argue that the budget passed last week by the General Assembly will lead to the largest tax cut in Illinois history come January, when the 2011 income-tax increase partially expires on schedule.

But that’s about the only bright side. And, really, pretty much nobody expects that some sort of tax hike will be avoided after the election, no matter who wins in November.

Vote Diane Holst for Scott County Supervisor in June 3 Primary PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:11

Every blue moon the stars align to produce a candidate for public office who is the real deal. Taxpayers are fortunate enough to have just such a candidate for the Scott County Board of Supervisors in Diane Holst.

I have marveled at Diane’s tenacity in staying engaged as a concerned citizen. Over the past four years, she has attended more than 100 meetings where Scott County business has been discussed, heard, and voted on. (Some meetings were held in private for more than four years before she proved that the state’s open-meetings law was being violated.) She is eminently qualified to serve on the Board of Supervisors.

What Happens When You Cross the Speaker PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 25 May 2014 05:10

There’s an old Statehouse saying that House Speaker Michael Madigan cares mostly about two votes each Democratic legislator makes: one to re-elect him speaker, and the other for his chamber’s operating rules.

Some, such as Representative Elaine Nekritz, have gotten away with voting against Madigan’s rules. Nekritz explained to Madigan why she voted against them, and he was impressed with her thoughtfulness. She’s since moved up the ladder to become one of the House’s hardest-working members who also carries some major legislation.

But nobody ever gets away with voting against Madigan for speaker.

A Quid Pro Quo on Ride-Share Regulation? PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 18 May 2014 05:29

Every year, we get at least one “corporate fight” in Springfield. Two or more corporations or industries will duke it out over some proposed law change or another.

The cable-TV industry, for instance, tried a while back to convince the General Assembly to tax satellite-TV users. When I first started doing this job many moons ago, banks wanted the right to sell insurance to the public, which the insurance agents’ lobby opposed, as did a union that represented some insurance agents. The banks fought for years and eventually won.

This year has been relatively quiet until probably a few weeks ago. Psychologists want the right to dispense prescriptions to their patients, even though they’re not medical doctors. The doctors are opposed, and so are the psychiatrists. Both sides recently hired a bevy of statehouse lobbyists.

But the biggest issue to develop this spring was the fight between taxi-company owners and ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Rather than call a cab company or wave down a taxi on the street, ride-share consumers use smart phone apps to book their rides. It’s become hugely popular in many cities around the world, but taxi-company owners see the industry as an encroachment on their turf.

Primaries in Scott County Are – Unfortunately – No Contest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 09:53

The Iowa primaries are Tuesday, June 3. Voter turnout for midterm elections is dismally low, but the turnout for midterm primaries is even worse. Consequently, incumbents are all but guaranteed advancement to the general election. To add an additional layer of protection for incumbents’ re-election, Iowa primaries are closed – meaning that only people registered to vote as Democrats and Republicans can participate in their respective party’s primary.

Check out the listings of the candidates who will be on the ballots on June 3 for Republicans ( and Democrats ( Note that out of 25 seats up for election on the Democratic ticket, only two are contested in the primary. If you don’t live inside state Senate District 45 (where Mark Riley is challenging incumbent Joe Seng) or in state Representative District 97 (where Carol Bohel and Jay Saxon are running to fill an empty seat), there are no races on the Democratic primary ballot in which casting a vote matters. And there is no candidate for county treasurer or District 94 state representative on the Democratic primary ballot.

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