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Rauner Favoring Big Cuts Over Tax Hikes PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 25 January 2015 05:37

Governor Bruce Rauner didn’t completely close the door to higher taxes last week during a speech at the University of Chicago, but he made it clear with what he said and what he did that he wants huge state budget cuts.

“We have every reason to thrive,” Rauner said during the speech. He then laid out his reasoning for why the state is on a “fundamentally unsustainable path,” pointing his finger at the “policies and the politics mostly coming out of Springfield really at the core of the problem. ...

“The politicians want to talk about ‘Well, let’s raise the income tax to fix the debt or the problem,” Rauner said. “Raising taxes will come nowhere near to fixing the problem and in fact will make part of the problem worse and just kick the can down the road. ... This is the critical lesson that we’re seeing. We’re on an unsustainable path, we need fundamental structural change, and raising taxes alone in itself isn’t going to fix the problem and in a lot of ways it’s going to make it worse.”

 
Polls, Money Point to Democrats Being More Reticent PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 18 January 2015 05:34

A solid majority of Illinoisans wants newly inaugurated Governor Bruce Rauner to find common ground with the Democratic legislative majority rather than be confrontational, a new poll finds. However, most aren’t confident that the state’s leaders can avoid gridlock, and a majority believes Democrats will be to blame.

In a January 15 We Ask America poll, 1,026 registered voters were asked: “Do you think Republican Governor Bruce Rauner should try to solve the state’s problems by working to find common ground with the Democrat-controlled legislature, or should he take a more confrontational approach with the Democrats in trying to solve this state’s many problems?”

Sixty-seven percent said they want Rauner to find common ground, while 22 percent said he should take a more confrontational approach. Another 6 percent said he should do both, and 5 percent were unsure.

Eighty-four percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents wanted him to find common ground, while 76 percent of African Americans and 67 percent of whites said the same.

Every demographic favored the common-ground approach, although only a 49-percent plurality of Republicans did so, as opposed to 36 percent who wanted a more confrontational approach from the GOP governor.

 
Democrats Have One Last Hurrah with Comptroller Vote PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 11 January 2015 05:48

We likely received an early lesson last week in how the upcoming state-legislative session will play out with new Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and a Democratic General Assembly.

The Democrats jammed through their plan to limit the term of incoming Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger to two years, with a special election in the presidential year of 2016. Rauner appointed Munger to replace Judy Baar Topinka, who passed away last month.

Rauner remained silent in the days leading up to the special legislative session, but the House and Senate Republicans went ballistic.

 
Nobody Appears Ready to Fill Topinka’s Role with Rauner PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 21 December 2014 05:30

There’s little doubt that the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka would’ve continued her straight-talking ways during the administration of Governor-elect Bruce Rauner.

Topinka was good copy for reporters. When she criticized a budget or a fiscal position, we listened.

Other Statehouse denizens respected her fiscal smarts as well. If she attacked a proposal, legislators and everyone else under the dome took note.

Rauner showed great deference to Topinka after the election, officing in her Statehouse suite and giving her chief of staff the authority to hire most of his new employees. I don’t think there’s any question that he grew to truly admire the quirky redhead.

 
Comptroller Topinka Was a One-of-a-Kind Character PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 14 December 2014 05:41

As you likely already know, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka passed away last week.

Topinka had a stroke the morning of December 9, but that’s not what killed her. In fact, by the afternoon, she announced she was going to walk to the restroom. Her chief of staff, Nancy Kimme, told her not to try because she was paralyzed on her left side. In mocking defiance, Topinka started kicking her no-longer-paralyzed leg.

By early evening, medical staff told Topinka that she’d be out of the hospital in a few days and would then need three weeks of rehabilitation. The indestructible Topinka appeared to have won again, just like she did after she fell and broke her hip and badly injured her back after giving a speech in 2012. The accident slowed her down, but it never stopped her, never silenced her, never broke her spirit, never stopped her from running for re-election.

 
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