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Holding My Nose for Term Limits: They’re Lazy and Misguided, but They Would Also Solve a Real Problem PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 04 September 2014 09:39

Bruce Rauner changed my mind on term limits. Probably not in the way he intended, but given my longstanding dislike of them, it’s still quite an accomplishment.

The Republican nominee for Illinois governor has a television ad promoting term limits in which he pings his November opponent, Governor Pat Quinn. “A half-million people signed petitions to put term limits on the [November 2014] ballot,” Rauner says. “Illinois voters overwhelmingly support term limits: Democrats, Republicans, and independents. But Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan, and the Springfield crowd don’t care what you think. They’ll say or do anything to keep power. They let term limits get kicked off the ballot, but come November, it’s our turn to kick them out of office.”

It’s a smart play to emphasize support for an ever-popular reform – and also disingenuous beyond the vague claim of “let[ting] term limits get kicked off the ballot.” Quinn has been a proponent of term limits for decades. And the June court ruling – which higher courts have let stand – removing the referendum from the ballot cited an Illinois Supreme Court decision from 1994, which dealt with a similar term-limit initiative by ... Pat Quinn.

But it was the Madigan reference in Rauner’s ad that got me thinking – and got me re-thinking term limits.

 
Rauner’s Promises Are Budgetary Fantasies PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Sunday, 31 August 2014 19:28

“We should have billions of dollars every year as part of our budget process ... [to] maintain and expand our infrastructure,” Bruce Rauner said last week, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Rauner has been doing his best to woo the road builders all year, and he was speaking to the Illinois Farm Bureau, which has lots of members who rely on roads and bridges to get their goods to market. So I understand the practical politics of his bold promise.

But this stuff costs money. Lots and lots and lots of money. And infrastructure is only his second priority. His top priority is education funding; he wants to spend even more money on schools.

Yet Rauner says he wants to slash the state’s income-tax rate. Can he really do all that with lower revenues?

 
Quinn’s Best Shot Lies with Minimum-Wage Efforts PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 24 August 2014 05:36

Some recent Chicago Tribune poll results appear to indicate that support for raising the minimum wage in the state’s largest city may be enough to increase voter turnout for a non-binding November ballot referendum.

The poll found that 84 percent of registered Chicago voters support a city-task-force recommendation to increase the minimum wage to $13 per hour over the next three years. According to the poll, 78 percent of whites and 92 percent of African Americans and even 71 percent of Chicagoans making more than $100,000 a year back the plan.

Democrats have been hoping to use the referendum – which asks about raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour – as a tool to help spur turnout in what is rapidly developing into a big Republican year. And with the Tribune’s numbers backing a much higher minimum wage, it does seem likely that the issue can be effective, particularly among African Americans. Support above 70 to 80 percent is generally seen as having a ballot impact. Get above 90 and it’s sure to drive votes. Then again, the comparatively “stingy” state-ballot proposal, when compared to the Chicago proposal, might garner less enthusiasm.

 
Edgar Gives Rauner an Unexpected State-Fair Boost PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 17 August 2014 10:30

I’m not sure why, but the surprise appearance by former Governor Jim Edgar at the Illinois State Fair’s Republican Day last week didn’t generate much media coverage.

Despite the fact that Edgar is a Republican, this was not an easy “get” for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner. I’m told it took weeks of careful wooing and negotiations through one of Edgar’s cronies. Edgar backed state Senator Kirk Dillard in the GOP primary against Rauner, and he has also expressed public and private concerns about how Rauner is portraying himself on the stump and about how that confrontational attitude could manifest itself if he’s elected governor.

Another reason why I’m perplexed by the lack of coverage is that Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has repeatedly gone out of his way to praise Edgar since Dillard’s Republican-primary loss. Quinn consulted with Edgar before his post-primary budget address, seeking his advice on keeping the income tax at current levels and providing some property-tax relief. Quinn then mentioned Edgar by name during his actual address, saying the former governor was right to keep a tax hike in place.

 
Backtracking Was the Right Move in Ford Prosecution PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 August 2014 17:27

As you might know by now, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago has agreed to drop all felony charges against Illinois state Representative LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) and has charged him instead with a simple misdemeanor.

The original 17 federal counts of bank fraud and submitting false information to a bank each carried a potential sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1-million fine – meaning that Ford was essentially looking at spending the rest of his natural life behind bars for allegedly obtaining a credit line greater than his eligibility and using part of the proceeds for things unrelated to the loan’s stated purpose.

The new charge of delivering a false tax return to the IRS is calculated in the plea agreement to be a term of zero to six months.

What the heck happened here?

 
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