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Governor’s Hard Line Not Supported by His Numbers PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 17 January 2016 06:24

A lot of folks have taken to calling Bruce Rauner “Governor 1 Percent” because of his immense personal wealth. Rauner himself told the Chicago Sun-Times during the 2014 campaign that he was in the top one-tenth of 1 percent of income earners.

But, right now anyway, he ought to be referred to as “Governor 1.4 Percent.”

Stay with me a bit and I’ll explain.

I sat down for an interview last week with Rauner. As he does with just about every reporter, the governor blamed House Speaker Michael Madigan for stifling his beloved Turnaround Agenda. Rauner said he was “frustrated” with Madigan for saying that the anti-union, pro-business reforms were “unrelated to the budget.”

“For example,” Rauner said, “if we can get business regulatory change so I can recruit manufacturers here and more transportation companies here, and more businesses here, we can generate billions of new revenue without raising tax rates. That’s directly tied to the budget.”

“Billions?” I asked.

“Billions,” he replied, while promising to send me a detailed analysis.

The Language of Dogs’ Ears and Eyes PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Jean Regenwether   
Thursday, 14 January 2016 08:34

A dog will move its ears to express what it is feeling. There are so many different shapes and types of ears on our canine friends. And let’s not forget: Man seems to think that ears should be altered for breeds, making it harder to tell what the dog is saying. Here are a few basic ear positions to consider when watching a dog.

Governor Launches New Attacks Against Speaker, Mayor PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 January 2016 05:20

“He has taught us how to deal with him,” explained one top official in Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration when asked why the governor has once again cranked up his public criticism of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

You may already know that the governor blasted both Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during an appearance on Dan Proft’s WIND radio program last week.

After accusing Emanuel of being “afraid” to take on Madigan, Rauner said the reason for this was self-evident: “The speaker has been the most powerful politician in the state of Illinois for decades. It’s the main reason we’re in such big trouble as a state.”

Rauner went on to essentially blame Illinois’ “long-term, slow death spiral” on Madigan and said the majority party “likes the status quo,” claiming the speaker is “not sensitive” to the real-world problems of the middle class. “He’s got a great system; he controls it. And right now they’re unwilling to change. And without change, we’ll never get a true balanced budget."

So what happened here? The governor seemed to mute his criticisms of Madigan in the closing weeks of 2015, even mostly holding his fire when Madigan skipped the last leaders’ meeting just before the holidays.

New year, new attitude, apparently.

Increased Competition on the Ballot Makes Compromise Less Likely PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 20 December 2015 05:31

One of the realities of Illinois legislative politics is that our state’s system tends to discourage competition.

Byzantine ballot-access laws, a highly partisan legislative-district map-drawing process, heavily concentrated populations of partisan voters in Chicago (Democrats) and in the collar counties and Downstate (Republicans), and often-tireless work by incumbents and political parties at the state and local levels to reduce opposition all combine to help tamp down the number of competitive races.

The net result is that Illinois has among the fewest challenged state-legislative races in the country – just 39 percent in 2014, which put us in the bottom fifth of the nation. By contrast, nearby Michigan saw a 100-percent challenge rate in the 2014 general election, and the rates in both California and Minnesota were above 90 percent.

That’s simply unheard of here.

Millennials: Let’s You and Them Fight PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Thomas L. Knapp   
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 13:17

An October/November survey by the Harvard Institute of Politics and covering the midsection (adults between 18 and 29) of the “millennial” demographic found that after the November terror attacks in France (but before the December 2 attack in San Bernardino), that demographic’s support for deployment of U.S. ground troops against the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria jumped from 47 percent to 60 percent.

But when asked a followup question – “If the United States needed additional troops to combat the Islamic State, how likely would you be to serve?" – 85 percent responded “probably won’t join” or “won’t join.”

Assuming that all or nearly all of the 40 percent who oppose a ground war answered “probably not” or “heck no,” it follows that the other 45 percent who answered that way support the idea as long as it doesn’t involve actually putting on uniforms, picking up rifles, and placing their own lives on the line.

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