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Labor Punishes Democrats – Barely PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Monday, 18 June 2012 09:31

Only a handful of state House Democratic incumbents targeted for defeat by the Republicans were endorsed by the Illinois AFL-CIO last week, but the damage to the Democratic Party’s chances this fall will likely be minimal.

 
Senate President Quietly Steered Spring Session PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 June 2012 05:00

It went almost totally unnoticed at the Statehouse, but Senate President John Cullerton pulled a neat little trick at the end of the spring legislative session, and he may end up getting what he wants this fall.

We’re going to get into some “insider” terminology and a few numbers, but it’s really not all that difficult.

Cullerton refused to advance a measure known as a “budget implementation bill.” The “BIMP” transferred millions of dollars into special state funds. Those transfers are known as “trouts.”

For instance, the legislation transfers $4 million from the state’s General Revenue Fund (which is like the state’s checking account) into the Underground Resources Conservation Fund.

All told, Cullerton wants to fish out about $200 million from the “trouts” and use the cash to satisfy his members’ demand that schools be given more money.

 
Pension Issue Falls to Leaders Instead of Rank-and-File Legislators PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 03 June 2012 05:56

At least for now, it doesn’t appear that rank-and-file legislators will have to spend much time in Springfield this summer, even though they failed to finish their work on public-pension reform last week.

Aides to Governor Pat Quinn claim that they’ve learned from the mistakes of their predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, and won’t drag legislators back to the Statehouse for a grueling overtime session to find a solution to the pension problem, which has already overwhelmed the state budget. Blagojevich convened numerous overtime sessions, and they were all divisive political circuses. Plus, forcing legislators back to Springfield to just sit around and wait for the leaders to come to an agreement means they’ll have plenty of time on their hands to bad-mouth the governor to reporters, who won’t have much to do, either.

 
GOP Leader Supports Cigarette-Tax Increase Despite National Pressure PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 27 May 2012 10:21

As state legislative support for a cigarette-tax hike grew in late May, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and other conservatives stepped into the Illinois fray.

A top House Republican said more than a week ago that the roll call in favor of a dollar-a-pack cigarette-tax hike was in the double digits within his caucus. The tax would raise $700 million, including the federal match, to help close the Medicaid program’s gaping $2.7-billion budget hole.

In return, Republicans won concessions from the Democrats, particularly when it came to sparing doctors from Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed Medicaid-provider rate cuts.

 
Governor Shows a Little Give on Gaming PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 20 May 2012 05:23

An often tense and confrontational meeting over gaming expansion last week ended with Governor Pat Quinn not explicitly saying “no” to adding slot machines at horse-racing tracks. That might be the beginning of a reversal for Quinn, who has adamantly opposed allowing tracks to have more gambling options.

For more than a year, Quinn has opposed allowing slots at tracks as part of a deal to give Chicago, the suburbs, and Downstate new casinos. But with the racetracks out of the picture, the bill just can’t pass. So, there’s been a push on for months to get Quinn to change his mind.

 
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