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items tagged with John Cullerton

Legislative Session Produced a Few Winners
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-06-08 11:56:25

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.


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Quinn Lines Up His Ducks for Budget Address
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-03-30 12:27:49

It turns out that Governor Pat Quinn and the two Democratic legislative leaders met privately for at least several days to negotiate details of the governor’s budget address.

The highly unusual move means that most if not all aspects of Quinn’s budget proposals last week have already been agreed to by the Democrats who run the Illinois Statehouse.

House Speaker Michael Madigan tipped his hand after the governor’s address during Jak Tichenor’s invaluable Illinois Lawmakers public-television program when he twice insisted that the governor’s property-tax proposal was actually his idea.

The governor proposed eliminating the state’s property-tax credit, which is currently worth 5 percent of property taxes paid, and replacing it with an automatic $500 tax refund.

That idea was apparently just one of Madigan’s demands in exchange for supporting the governor’s proposal to make the “temporary” income-tax hike permanent, which was the centerpiece of Quinn’s speech.


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Goaded Senate President Punts on Pension Reform
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2013-06-02 23:01:14

I told my newsletter subscribers several weeks ago that, without a doubt, if Senate President John Cullerton caved in to House Speaker Michael Madigan on pension reform, Cullerton’s legacy as Madigan’s junior partner would be forever sealed.

The two men have battled for months over the proper way to proceed. Cullerton has said that the state Constitution requires that public workers and retirees be given a set of options before their pension benefits can be reduced. Madigan has said that idea doesn’t save enough money, and he has looked for the most cost savings possible. With the pension system at $100 billion in unfunded liability and taxpayer costs rising by about a billion dollars a year, this has become the most important state fiscal issue of our time. It has to be resolved.

I ran into Madigan not long after I wrote that stuff about Cullerton’s possible cave. “Rich, you’re not helping,” he said to me.


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Senate President Defends His Actions
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2011-06-26 11:47:11

Senate President John CullertonIllinois Senate President John Cullerton has received a lot of bad press, sharp condemnation from Republicans, and even some quiet criticism from his own members over the past month.

But Cullerton made no apologies during an interview last week for the way his caucus sought to hold the state’s public-works bill hostage by tacking on $430 million in additional budget items. The move was rejected by both parties in the House, by Senate Republicans, and even, in the end, by Governor Pat Quinn, who had pushed for additional spending all year. The General Assembly had to return to town last week so the Senate could officially back down from the spending and send a “clean” bill to the governor’s desk.

The Senate President told me numerous times over the past several months that he believed he could convince House Speaker Michael Madigan – a fellow Democrat – to go along with his budget plans. In the end, however, Madigan stuck to a budget pact he’d made months earlier with House Republican Leader Tom Cross and beat back the Senate Democrats’ plan. So what went wrong?


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