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ADM the Latest Hostage of Pension Reform PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 06 October 2013 05:44

Governor Pat Quinn refused to say for several days whether he’d support a $1.2-million-a-year tax break for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) to move 100 jobs out of Decatur and open up a world headquarters and new tech center in Chicago. But last week he made it clear that without pension reform, the ADM proposal would be a nonstarter and he would veto it.

“He won’t even consider the ADM bill much less get on board when pension reform has not been done,” a Quinn spokesperson told me.

“The best way to help jobs in Illinois is to do pension reform,” Quinn himself told the Associated Press. “To distract legislators in any way from this issue of a lifetime is just plain wrong.”

Quinn didn’t say, probably because he wasn’t asked, whether he thought a vote on gay marriage during the upcoming fall veto session would also “distract legislators.” But a spokesperson later explained that pension reform was vital to the state’s economic interests, and gay marriage, while important, was not.

And so the governor has seized yet another political hostage in his quest to ease Illinois’ enormous budget problems by reducing pension benefits for public employees and retirees.

 
Rand Paul’s NSA War and the Invisible Liberals PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Ted Rall   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 09:45

Way back when, Democrats such as George McGovern opposed wars of choice. And Democrats such as Frank Church exposed the CIA. It later led to an executive order – by President Ronald Reagan, of all people – that banned political assassinations.

A Democratic Congress held impeachment hearings against U.S. President Richard Nixon – partly because he tapped the phones of a few hundred Americans and, in so doing, violated their privacy rights. Back then, millions of liberals marched against the Vietnam War without blinking. It didn’t matter a bit that the president at the time was a Democrat.

But look what’s going on now.

As I write, we have a so-called liberal president in the White House. Yet he and his Democratic congressional allies aren’t fighting the good fight. They’re committing the worst crimes of anyone.

 
Governor Tries to Reassert His Power with Appeal PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 29 September 2013 05:35

A bipartisan chorus seemed to rise as one last week to urge Governor Pat Quinn not to appeal a ruling by a Cook County judge. The judge ruled that the governor had violated the state Constitution when he vetoed lawmaker salaries this summer. Quinn said he vetoed the appropriations because he was tired of waiting for legislators to finish a pension-reform plan.

Despite urgings by both Democrats and Republicans to drop the whole thing, Quinn forged ahead, issuing a defiant statement in which he vowed to pursue an appeal of Judge Neil Cohen’s decision voiding the veto and ordering lawmaker paychecks to be processed “immediately.”

 
Brady Leads by Staying to the Right PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 22 September 2013 05:19

For a moment, let’s flash back to a poll I commissioned last month. The August 13 Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll surveyed 1,102 likely Republican-primary voters.

The poll found that 74 percent of Republicans wanted GOP gubernatorial candidates to choose a running mate who was “more conservative” than the candidates themselves. Another 18 percent said ideology made no difference, and a mere 7 percent said they wanted a more liberal running mate.

The poll found that 73 percent of Republican women and 75 percent of men wanted a more conservative running mate. Seventy-nine percent of seniors, who tend to dominate GOP primaries, wanted a more rightward pick. Seventy-seven percent of collar-county Republicans, 73 percent of suburban Cook and Downstate Republicans, and 69 percent of Chicago Republicans wanted the candidates to look to their right when picking their lieutenant-governor candidates.

As you probably already know, Illinois changed its laws on running mates. Before, lieutenant governor candidates ran independently in primaries. Now, candidates for governor are required to choose a running mate before they begin circulating nominating petitions.

Fast-forward to today. So far, anyway, the gubernatorial candidate who has by far heeded this poll result the most is state Senator Bill Brady, who was, socially anyway, the most conservative candidate in the race to begin with.

 
Why Rodney Blackwell Thinks He Has a Play in the Davenport Casino Game PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:28

Local developer Rodney Blackwell clearly got the Davenport City Council’s attention with a $250-million casino-development proposal on September 7. But from the outset it didn’t appear there was any path forward for it.

The Isle of Capri (IOC) has, through October 15, an exclusive negotiating agreement with Dan Kehl’s Scott County Casino company to sell its Rhythm City property. And, as Blackwell readily admits, even if it didn’t, the Isle wouldn’t want to negotiate with him and his partner, the Canadian company Clairvest Group.

So the city council’s 9-1 vote on September 11 to table a development agreement with Kehl appeared to be little more than a delay. Kehl has said he’ll complete the sale by the October 15 deadline. And the Riverboat Development Authority (RDA) – which holds the Rhythm City gaming license – on September 16 approved an operating agreement with Kehl’s company. (All these agreements are steps toward actually building the casino, and beyond them is approval from the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.)

The message of Kehl’s comments and the RDA’s action is that the train has left the station, and Blackwell isn’t on it. As RDA Chair Gary Mohr told the Quad-City Times: “The RDA will keep its commitments. I don’t know if people don’t understand it or they just don’t like it.”

But Blackwell thinks he has a play. He said in an interview last week that he believes the city council can kill the Kehl deal, and that it further has the leverage to force the Isle of Capri to negotiate with him and Clairvest. Alternatively, the city could use its power to push Kehl to make a larger investment than the $110 million he has pledged to spend on a new casino and hotel complex. (Kehl said the three-phase development will total $200 million.)

 
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