ONE ISSUE AT A TIME,
PLEASE Senate President John Cullerton
has taken a lot of heat this week for stating in a radio interview that the
state's pensions crisis isn't really a crisis. But lost in the dust-up over the
semantics of the word "crisis" was Cullerton's assertion that the
pension reform effort is all about cutting taxes in 2015. "The
pension reform is about tax reduction. Not about the solvency of the pension
fund or diverting money to spend more money on education,” Cullerton said. I
beg to differ in my blog post today. In 1996, Illinois spent 3.6 percent of its
state-generated, General Fund revenue on pension payments. This year, it's 24.3
percent. And headed upward. That's no way to prioritize government spending. Read it here.
PEER PRESSURE In the same interview, Cullerton said the city of Chicago
without question faces a crisis because of its pension trouble. Mayor Rahm
Emanuel has proposed a host of increases in fines to help stave off property
tax increases and mass cuts to city services. One increase would make Chicago's
cigarette tax the highest in the nation. Here's cartoonist Scott Stantis'
perspective. Click to see the whole cartoon.
CASIMIR, ABE AND BLAGO We love Illinois
and its many quirks. And sometimes you have to have a little fun with all of
this. We've compiled 12 sure-ways to tell that you're an Illinoisan. We urge
you to add your own in the comments! The list is here.
WHITE HOUSE DOESN'T "LIKE" DURBIN
Sen. Dick Durbin is in a bit of hot water over a Facebook comment he posted
about the tense negotiations with Republicans during the government shutdown.
Though Durbin and Obama are extremely close (it was Durbin who encouraged Obama
to run for president), the White House isn't backing him up on this one. We sum it up here.
DO YOU BELONG? A group of researchers
analyzed more than 1 million Americans' personality types to come up with
personalities best matched to regions and individual states. Does your
personality match Illinois? Take the quiz here.
AROUND THE STATE Lots of news about taxes and pension reform today:
- 5. Opinion: Contrary to what
John Cullerton says, the pension crisis is indeed a crisis. (State Journal-Register)
4. Bill Daley chimes in on why Archer Daniels Midland’s subsidy play is bad for business. (Chicago Tribune)
3. Opinion: What has happened to the sense of urgency on the pension problem in Springfield? (Daily Herald)
2. In an appearance before the Crain’s editorial board, Rahm Emanuel indicated he would support Pat Quinn for another term as governor, even if Emanuel’s friend Bruce Rauner wins the Republican nomination. (Crain’s Chicago Business)
1. Mayor Emanuel outlined the proposed 2014 Chicago budget, but warned things could get worse if Springfield doesn’t pass pension reform soon. (Reuters)