ILLINOIS FAMILY FEUD It's always fun to see how Illinois politics plays on the
national stage, and Washington Post political columnist Dan Balz does a great
job of breaking down what he calls Illinois' Democratic "family feud"
between Gov. Pat Quinn and Bill Daley. He gets great quotes from both as they
take swings at each other -- Quinn says Daley is a big-shot banker who is out
of touch with the real people; Daley says Quinn is a nice guy who can't govern.
And this could get even more interesting if Sen. Kwame Raoul, who holds the
Illinois Senate seat from which Barack Obama launched his political career,
decides to enter the race. It's a great article and
its depiction of the intra-party struggle may surprise non-Illinoisans, who
know Illinois as the state so blue that presidential candidates don't bother
campaigning here. A link to the full article and some
Illinois perspective is here.
ACROSS THE AISLE While The Washington Post looks at the Democrats' situation
heading into primary season, John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute offers a math lesson for
Republicans who might be pessimistic about winning their first
gubernatorial election since 1998. A Republican candidate for governor who can
win 20 percent of the vote in Chicago will win the election, writes Tillman.
That was Bill Brady's weakness in 2010, when his 500,000-vote drubbing in Cook
County gave Pat Quinn the victory by less than 1 percent statewide. If
Republicans can get their message to enough disgruntled Chicagoans and get
voters to the polls in the suburbs and downstate, they'll win in 2014, writes Tillman.
METRA GAINS? The Metra scandal sure has generated plenty of headlines and
chatter this summer. And it provided some pretty ugly insight into an operation
where giving an unwanted CEO a $718,000 severance package on the condition that
he keep it secret is considered standard operating procedure. Oh, and then
there's the state's most powerful politician contacting the soon-to-be-gone CEO
to get a raise for a political supporter on the Metra payroll. But will
anything change for the better after all of this? With former U.S. Attorney
Patrick Fitzgerald now part of the investigation, is there cause for hope? We discuss it in today's editorial.
INTO THE ABYSS At our forum last week in Springfield on the effort to start a
progressive income tax system in Illinois, I asked our two panelists what is
probably the most basic question when discussing the future of Illinois' income
tax: How did Illinois go from having a surplus of more than $1 billion in 1999
-- when the income tax was 3 percent -- to the financial basket case it is
today, in the third year of a 5 percent tax rate. The answers from Ralph
Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and Ted Dabrowski of
the Illinois Policy Institute are as different as they are compelling. Take a look at the video here.
INFORMATION, PLEASE Several bills in the Illinois General Assembly propose
amending the state constitution to allow lawmakers to consider replacing
Illinois' flat-rate income tax with a progressive system in which tax rates go
up with a taxpayer's income. None of these bills have any hint of how such a
system would work -- like what tax rate you'd pay under such a system. A
progressive tax can't happen until voters approve allowing it, and we think
voters should have some idea of what lawmakers have in mind if this amendment
lands on the November 2014 ballot. Do you agree? Sign our petition and help send that
PHOTO CONTEST Have you entered our "Why Illinois Is Great" photo contest? You should. It's fun, easy and a great way to show why you think Illinois deserves better government than it's had in the last 15 years. Plus, three winners will win Visa gift cards. A skyline, a sunrise, your kids' favorite activity... anything that makes you proud of Illinois is eligible. We're taking submissions through Sept. 3, so there's plenty of time. Enter here!
TOP 5 Here are links to 5 key Illinois news and opinion items you should check out today. You'll find links to and summaries of many more in the Daily Tip-Off section of our website.
- 5. The Emanuel administration
knew of questions surrounding Amer Ahmad before hiring him as the city’s
comptroller. (Chicago Tribune)
4. Ahmad, indicted last week in an Ohio kickback scheme, served on all four city pension boards while in Chicago. (Crain’s Business Chicago)
3. Even Chicago Public Schools set to gain students for this year laid off teachers, according to a Sun-Times investigation. (Chicago Sun-Times)
2. Opinion: The latest jobs report shows that Illinois is getting left behind the rest of the nation. (Chicago Tribune)
1. A school finance official in the western suburbs has been charged with allegedly embezzling more than $1.5 million from his taxpayer-funded agency. (Better Government Association)