PRESSING THE HOT BUTTONS A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll shows
that wealthy Chicago venture capitalist Bruce Rauner's focus on opposition to
public-sector unions and term limits may give him a boost with the Republican
voters he's seeking in the March 2014 primary. Capitol Fax publisher Rich
Miller explains in his column this week
that 80 percent of respondents to last week's poll of likely Republican primary
voters said they'd be less likely to vote for a candidate who had received
campaign contributions from public employee unions and 76 percent said they'd
be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports term limits. All of
Rauner's opponents in the primary have received donations from the unions, and
two are longtime senators whose terms would have ended years ago under a term
limit amendment, Miller notes. (Rauner has formed a ballot initiative committee
to raise money to get a term limit amendment onto the November 2014 ballot. Find out more here.)
Rauner's personal wealth and strong fundraising guarantees that he'll be able
to promote these themes as much as he pleases. Miller's column is more evidence that we're in for the
most hard-fought primary battles ever in both parties between now and March.
FAIR AND INDEPENDENT There probably would be little demand for term limits if Illinois voters got a fair shake in every election. But when political parties get to create the districts their members will represent, you end up with "safe" districts where incumbents are all but guaranteed reelection. Often they have no competition because the opposing party knows it has little chance of success in a district created as a stronghold for the opposition. That's why incumbents are reelected 97 percent of the time in the Illinois General Assembly. We want to change that and let an independent commission draw district maps that are fair to voters and not drawn to keep an incumbent safe and party power intact. This will require a minimum of 300,000 signatures from registered voters to get a fair maps amendment onto the November 2014 ballot. We hope you'll help with this effort by adding your signature and collecting others. Click to find out how!
WWAFSCMED Over the weekend an
outline emerged of some possible contents of a pension reform bill now being
hammered out by a special conference committee of Illinois lawmakers (see item
No. 1 in our news summary below). Chicago Tribune cartoonist Scott Stantis
believes it can be summed up on a plastic bracelet. Click to see what it means.
NEW ERA FOR OLD-SCHOOL PATRONAGE The 1990 U.S. Supreme
Court decision in Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois was supposed to end
patronage in routine personnel matters in state government. But the Better
Government Association believes that hasn't been the case at the Illinois
Department of Transportation. "The Better Government Association found the
Illinois Department of Transportation – a large agency under the governor's
control – has been manipulating the wording in job descriptions to get around
restrictions on political hiring," writes BGA President Andy Shaw.
One way IDOT has twisted the rules is by using "spokesperson" as a
catch-all job category. Writes Shaw: "How's this for irony: Many have
'spokesperson' duties, but won't talk to us about their jobs." The
inspector general also is investigating. It's all in Shaw's column this week. Also,
check out the BGA's initial investigation findings here.
WHY ILLINOIS IS GREAT When you focus
on reversing a long trend toward bad government, as Reboot Illinois does, you
tend to dredge up a lot of negative things. But we don't want to lose sight of
why we're trying to make things better, which is because we believe Illinois is
a great state that deserves better. Exactly what makes Illinois great is in the
eye of the beholder, and that's the basis of our "Why Illinois Is
Great" photo contest. From the Chicago skyline to the Shawnee National
Forest, Illinois is full of natural and man-made wonders that make it unique.
What makes you most proud to call Illinois home? Photograph it and send it in.
You could win one of three Visa gift cards. Find out how to enter and check out
the entries so far here.
TOP 7 Here are links to 7 key Illinois news and opinion items you should check out today. You'll find links to and summaries to more in the Daily Tip-Off section of our website.
- 7. Opinion: Gov. Quinn’s veto
of a bill reducing museum free days is very “Blagojevichy.” (Chicago Tribune)
6. Quinn is trying to regain footing as the lead executive in the state by switching to campaign mode. (Chicago Tribune)
5. The pension reform conference committee is focusing on cost of living allowances (COLAs). (Reuters)
4. Opinion: Chicago Public Schools got at least one thing right this summer: rewarding principals who produced results with bonuses. (Chicago Tribune)
3. Opinion: The Safe Passage routes and how schools will handle new students are the two main issues people will worry about at the start of the school year, but the underlying problem for Chicago Public Schools still remains the pension issue. (Chicago Sun-Times)
2. Opinion: If the GOP primary race comes down to Dan Rutherford and Bruce Rauner, voters will have to decide between comfort and style. (Crain’s Business Chicago)
1. Opinion: The results produced by the pension reform conference committee are disappointing and raise some red flags. (Chicago Tribune)