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Edgar Gives Rauner an Unexpected State-Fair Boost PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - 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
Commentary/Politics - 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?

Quinn Campaign Spitting in the Wind PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 03 August 2014 10:27

Governor Pat Quinn’s new TV ad is 60 seconds of one positive message after another.

“Pat Quinn sees problems, takes action, and gets the job done,” the ad claims. “Now, Illinois is making a comeback,” it continues.

But the spot is being slammed by longtime campaign insiders in both parties as “spitting in the wind.”

For instance, a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll in June found that a mere 30 percent of Illinoisans thought the state was on the right track, while a 60-percent majority thought Illinois was on the wrong track.

Frerichs’ Treasurer Campaign Beset by Gaffes PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 27 July 2014 05:05

Back in January, state Senator Michael Frerichs formally kicked off his campaign for Illinois state treasurer and posted a video online touting the fact the he’d ended “free, lifetime health care for state legislators.”

Actually, Frerichs had voted against that bill in the General Assembly. Frerichs’ campaign had to pull the video and replace it with a new one, even though he’d been planning his formal launch for at least a year.

In April, Frerichs appeared to flip-flop on his longstanding position that the comptroller’s and treasurer’s offices should be merged.

Frerichs told a WBBM Radio interviewer: “People have said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it just be a lot more efficient if we just had one financial officer?’ And I’ve said yes, we could become very efficient, efficient like the city of Dixon, Illinois, who just had one chief financial officer and she was able, from this small little town, over several years to take something like $52 million away from them.” He was referring to Rita Crundwell, who in 2012 pleaded guilty to embezzling the money. Frerichs was quickly forced to restate his support for the office merger.

Rauner’s Plan Polls Well – but Only in Broad Strokes PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - 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.

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