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ADM the Latest Hostage of Pension Reform PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - 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.

Governor Tries to Reassert His Power with Appeal PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - 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
Commentary/Politics - 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.

Proposal from Pension-Reform Committee Faces Major Obstacles PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 15 September 2013 05:45

Several members of the Illinois General Assembly’s special pension-reform committee told me last week that they believed a final proposal would emerge within the next week to 10 days.

The conference committee has been working on a solution to the state’s pension problems since June, after urgings by Governor Pat Quinn to find a way around the spring legislative session’s pension-reform gridlock. For the past several weeks, the committee – made up of three Democrats and two Republicans from each chamber – has been working on “tweaks” to ideas they’ve discussed behind closed doors.

As I write this, there was no word on what the final proposal will look like, but there is real concern among Democrats I spoke with that the Republicans might decide not to go along. While the Republicans appointed to the committee have strongly indicated they were committed to finding a solution, three of the four are running for higher office: Senator Bill Brady (governor), Representative Jil Tracy (lieutenant governor), and Representative Darlene Senger (U.S. House).

Leadership Vote Bodes Well for House GOP PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Monday, 09 September 2013 12:35

After the Illinois House Republicans met late last month in Springfield to elect a new caucus leader, several members gathered at a local watering hole to toast their top dog, Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).

Notably, several members who backed the candidacy of Representative Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) showed up as well and heartily shared in the festivities.

And so a leadership battle that for a while looked to be heading down a bitterly negative path ended with smiles all around. Durkin managed to pull off the impossible.

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