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Rauner’s Plan Polls Well – but Only in Broad Strokes PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 20 July 2014 05:51

“This morning,” 1,063 respondents were told the evening of July 17 during a Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll, “Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner released an economic plan for Illinois.

“That plan calls for a freeze on property taxes and rolling back the 2010 tax increase. It also implements a new tax on services, such as advertising, legal services, and mini-storage centers. We’d like to know whether this type of plan would make you more likely or less likely to vote for him.”

Rauner had certainly tested his service-tax proposal backward and forward before presenting it to the public last week, so I figured it had to poll fairly well. It did.

The poll found that 53 percent said they’d be more likely to vote for Rauner, while just 32 percent said they’d be less likely to vote for him and 15 percent said it made no difference.

 
Rauner’s Lead Looks Safe from Tax Controversies PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 13 July 2014 05:27

A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll found Republican Bruce Rauner leading Democratic Governor Pat Quinn 51 to 39 percent. That’s pretty much the same margin the pollster found for another client a month ago.

The poll of 940 likely voters was taken July 8 and has a margin of error of 3.2 percent. Thirty percent of the calls were made to mobile phones.

Quinn has repeatedly blasted Rauner for using complicated loopholes to avoid some taxes. I wanted to test the issue.

“Republican Bruce Rauner’s tax returns for 2010 and 2011 show that despite making around $55 million, he was not required to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes,” respondents were told.

Sixty percent said that made them less likely to vote for Rauner, 20 percent said it made no difference, and another 20 percent said it made them more likely to vote for the candidate.

 
Medical Marijuana in Iowa Is Long Overdue PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 08:30

On Monday, July 7, before the jury was brought in for his trial, Benton Mackenzie collapsed in the courtroom and was taken to Trinity Medical Center in Bettendorf. On Tuesday, however, the Long Grove, Iowa, resident accused of manufacturing marijuana had reportedly been released from the hospital and testified in his own defense.

For those new to this matter before the Seventh Judicial Court District in Scott County – presided over by Judge Henry Latham (appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in March 2013) – Benton and his wife Loretta were arrested a year ago and charged with growing marijuana, while their son Cody was arrested and charged with possession of less than a gram of marijuana because ... well, just because.

Benton stated, in media reports last year, that he was growing marijuana for the singular purpose of extracting the cannabidiol oil contained in the marijuana plant to treat his angiosarcoma cancer, purportedly in a terminal phase. According to Benton, nothing else but the cannabidiol oil relieves the extreme suffering he is experiencing from horrific lesions that manifest on his posterior. Unfortunately, cannabidiol is extremely expensive. It can be purchased on Amazon.com, among many places, for medicinal purposes because it does not contain THC, and therefore it is not illegal in the U.S. For most people, however, the cost is prohibitive, especially as an ongoing treatment.

So painful and prolific are his symptoms that he was released from the Scott County jail days after his initial incarceration, allegedly because the county did not want the responsibility for or expense of his health care, nor was the facility equipped to handle his extreme case.

The office of County Attorney Mike Walton, however, has aggressively expended tax dollars in prosecuting this invalid, his family, and his friends, but only if Benton is not allowed the common-law defense of growing marijuana for medical purposes. The prosecution submitted a motion in limine that was approved by Judge Latham to disallow any mention of his production or use of marijuana for medical purposes.

 
Illinois Supreme Court Sinks Pension-Reform Law PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 06 July 2014 05:30

In a 6-1 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court last week struck down an attempt to force government retirees to pay more for their subsidized state health insurance. And while nothing is ever certain when it comes to the judiciary, the court made it pretty darned clear that Illinois’ new pension-reform law is going to have real trouble passing constitutional review.

The court, led by Justice Charles Freeman, did not specifically rule on the pension-reform law, but declared “it is clear” that all pension benefits – including health insurance – are untouchable.

“We may not rewrite the pension-protection clause to include restrictions and limitations that the drafters did not express and the citizens of Illinois did not approve,” the court ruled.

If that isn’t a direct-enough message to lawmakers, the governor, and everybody else, I don’t know what is. Pension benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired,” the Constitution says, and the court said those words have a “plain and ordinary” meaning that does not allow them to be cut.

 
Poll Shows How Rauner Risks Being Trump-ed by Quinn PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 29 June 2014 10:03

It occurred to me when I was recently in Chicago that the media furor about Donald Trump’s insistence that he be allowed to hang 20-foot-high letters spelling out his name on his new skyscraper is pretty much the mindset behind Governor Pat Quinn’s campaign to tag “Billionaire Bruce Rauner” as a rich, out-of-touch, right-wing white guy.

So I commissioned a poll. While a majority actually agree that Trump had the right to hang his letters, he’s not popular here and voters don’t think that people like him can understand regular folks.

 
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