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Rauner Offers Magic Money Instead of Promised Savings PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 15 June 2014 15:14

“Today, I laid our more than $1 billion in structural reforms,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner boasted to his supporters via a blast e-mail last week.

Baloney.

Rauner’s press conference to announce a billion dollars in alleged budget savings was an almost total farce.

 
Legislative Session Produced a Few Winners PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 08 June 2014 05:56

There were lots of losers during the state legislative session that ended last month. But there were a few winners, so let’s take a look at them.

First up: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner.

Never before has a political party nominated a gubernatorial candidate who had more impact on a legislative session than Rauner did this year. The gazillionaire’s unlimited supply of money and his constant threats to “shake up Springfield” clearly put legislators of both parties on edge all spring – even before he won the primary.

 
“Kick the Can” Budget Plants a Time Bomb PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 01 June 2014 05:21

On the bright side, you could argue that the budget passed last week by the General Assembly will lead to the largest tax cut in Illinois history come January, when the 2011 income-tax increase partially expires on schedule.

But that’s about the only bright side. And, really, pretty much nobody expects that some sort of tax hike will be avoided after the election, no matter who wins in November.

 
What Happens When You Cross the Speaker PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 25 May 2014 05:10

There’s an old Statehouse saying that House Speaker Michael Madigan cares mostly about two votes each Democratic legislator makes: one to re-elect him speaker, and the other for his chamber’s operating rules.

Some, such as Representative Elaine Nekritz, have gotten away with voting against Madigan’s rules. Nekritz explained to Madigan why she voted against them, and he was impressed with her thoughtfulness. She’s since moved up the ladder to become one of the House’s hardest-working members who also carries some major legislation.

But nobody ever gets away with voting against Madigan for speaker.

 
A Quid Pro Quo on Ride-Share Regulation? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 18 May 2014 05:29

Every year, we get at least one “corporate fight” in Springfield. Two or more corporations or industries will duke it out over some proposed law change or another.

The cable-TV industry, for instance, tried a while back to convince the General Assembly to tax satellite-TV users. When I first started doing this job many moons ago, banks wanted the right to sell insurance to the public, which the insurance agents’ lobby opposed, as did a union that represented some insurance agents. The banks fought for years and eventually won.

This year has been relatively quiet until probably a few weeks ago. Psychologists want the right to dispense prescriptions to their patients, even though they’re not medical doctors. The doctors are opposed, and so are the psychiatrists. Both sides recently hired a bevy of statehouse lobbyists.

But the biggest issue to develop this spring was the fight between taxi-company owners and ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Rather than call a cab company or wave down a taxi on the street, ride-share consumers use smart phone apps to book their rides. It’s become hugely popular in many cities around the world, but taxi-company owners see the industry as an encroachment on their turf.

 
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