Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Does Joe Walsh Think Now? Mark Kirk To Stand With Jim Oberweis According to IR

We're thinking that Joe Walsh can come down off the ledge.  (You'll recall that Joe Walsh proclaimed that Senator Mark Kirk 'announced' that he was no longer a Republican' a few weeks back).

Why?  Well...because according to the Illinois Review, Senator Mark Kirk is saying that he's supporting the full Republican ticket.  That seems to jive with what Jim Oberweis has been saying all along.

Much ado about nothing, right?

Here's how IR covers it.  Notice the use of 'belatedly':
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has belatedly agreed to support fellow Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Oberweis. 
In a brief statement on Tuesday, Kirk told Michael Calhoun of the Illinois Radio Network “I will be campaigning for Jim Oberweis.”

A month ago Kirk said he would not campaign for Oberweis, in order to protect his working relationship with Durbin. The announcement angered many Republicans and alienated conservatives who have been suspicious of Kirk's close relationship with Durbin.
To us there's a difference between supporting/campaigning 'for' someone vs. 'against' someone else.  We're expecting that you'll see Senator Mark Kirk supporting the entire ticket, but not going out there and blasting Senator Durbin.  Which...if I were Jim Oberweis, I'd be happy with.  Mark Kirk isn't the attack dog needed in this case, in our eyes.  

Back to Walsh...we're hoping that between his NYC gig and this news, he'll back off going after Kirk here.  Mark Kirk - and now Bruce Rauner - are leading the ILGOP.  They're the path forward.

David McSweeney and Darrin LaHood: Get Rid of the Lt. Governor NOW

In an opinion piece, State Representative David McSweeney and State Senator Darrin LaHood are out this morning calling on the Illinois Senate leadership (ahem...Senate President Cullerton) to put their proposed constitutional amendment up for a vote in the Senate.

From the piece:
To say that the state's No. 2 office is not exactly essential is an understatement. 
Last year, the Illinois House approved our proposed constitutional amendment to give voters the opportunity to eliminate the office of lieutenant governor. To get the amendment on the November ballot, the Senate has to pass the proposal by May 4. 
Voters will have the option in November to consider constitutional amendments dealing with victims' rights and voters' rights. Illinois law allows the legislature to place up to three constitutional amendments covering different sections of the Illinois Constitution on the ballot in each general election. Two amendments are already on the ballot. We urge our colleagues in the Senate to make our proposal to eliminate the office of lieutenant governor the third. 
Talk about a luxury we can no longer afford: Eliminating this unnecessary position in Illinois government could save the state approximately $2 million a year. 
The fact that a former occupant of the office left the position early because he was bored and another quit — on his second try — is a clear reminder that the office is not exactly a hotbed of activity. Other than being involved in the Rural Bond Bank of Illinois, the Illinois River Coordinating Council and the Illinois Main Street program, there is little the lieutenant governor has the authority to do. 
The time has come for the Senate leadership to put the proposed amendment up for a vote. Give voters a chance to dump the office on Nov. 4.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Illinois State Taxpayers Funding Rich Miller's Capitol Fax?

Over on the Illinois Mirror (and shared broadly on the Illinois Review), Eric Kohn uncovers a nice little nugget about how much the State of Illinois is paying each year to Rich Miller and his Capitol Fax publication.

In a piece titled "Here's some government spending we can cut, Rich Miller", Kohn writes about how Miller doesn't think cuts are the answer to our problem in Illinois.
So, Rich Miller can’t find any government spending to cut, eh? I think I might have found a place to start: 

In FY2013, Rich Miller’s Ahead of Our Time Publishing received $44,000 (UPDATE/CORRECTION: $19,900 in FY2012, $41,000 in FY2013, $34,000 so far in FY2014) in taxpayer money for subscriptions to Capitol Fax. 
That’s right, your money is paying for politicos and government functionaries to read his political gossip. 
For some context, Illinois per capita income is $29,519, and the media household income is $56,853. 
Now, of course, cutting $41k in spending isn’t going to balance the budget or fix our pension crisis. But just remember that when you hear Rich Miller saying that we can’t cut spending without doing great harm, he’s talking — at least in part — about the harm that would come to his bank account.

Listen...this seems like a tempest in a teapot.  AKA:  cost of doing business in state government.  We need our government officials (elected and staff) to be informed, don't we?  That costs $40K?  So be it.

What about other media consumption?  What do the numbers look like for things like Crain's Chicago Business and the Chicago Tribune or....even Comcast cable?  Bet there are a lot of cable bills being paid by the State of Illinois from various offices.  The whole Comcast Newsmakers program is a built off the vanity of elected officials.  But...we still pay them, don't we?

Sheila Simon Crows About Something Or The Other...

Over on her website, Illinois State Comptroller candidate Sheila Simon is prattling on about how she's joining with fellow do-nothings Lt. Governor's from the Midwest to battle Asian Carp and encourage students to get to college.

From her site:
Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (D) is backing a package of resolutions with the lieutenant governors of Indiana and Wisconsin aimed at combating the spread of nuisance species in Midwest waterways and encouraging the completion of college. 
The bipartisan resolutions backed by Simon, Sue Ellspermann (R-Ind.) and Rebecca Kleefisch (R-Wis.) was to be taken up at the National Lieutenant Governors Association’s Federal-State Relations Meeting in Washington, D.C. 
“We may be lieutenant governors from different states, but education and protecting our waterways are important to us all,” said Simon. “Good things happen when we work together. Through our continued partnerships, I believe we can make significant progress toward improving college completion and fighting the Asian carp problem.”
We have some news for you, Ms. Simon:

Do You Know This Quinnocchio Bully?

Lance Trover over on Twitter is asking if anyone knows this guy who (allegedly) tore up the anti-Pat Quinn sign.

Let the witch hunt commence!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jack Franks Is Crazy Like A Fox. A Senior Citizen Vote-Hunting Fox

Democrat State Representative Jack Franks moved a piece of legislation that on it's face seems nice:  lower the cost of hunting/fishing licenses for senior citizens.  

There are details to who can participate and who this impacts, but the most important thing to know is this: people over the age of 75 always get out and vote.

A guy who is a Democrat running in a known Republican district with lots of outdoors areas?  We'd guess that plenty of those cranky old Republicans are gun guys.  What's a good way to get on their side - while still being true to the Democrat principles of gun control measures?

Give them a break on their licenses!  Brilliant!  Seems like a tailor-made vote-getting-opportunity.

Well played, Jack Franks.  Well played.

From the Associated Press:
A proposal that would lower the cost of fishing and hunting licenses for seniors is moving through the Illinois Legislature. 
The House passed a measure on Friday that would lower the cost of licenses by $1 for those 75 and older. Those hoping to save a little money must also be enrolled in the Benefits Access Program with the Illinois Department on Aging. 
The proposal also eliminates the fee to receive pheasant, furbearer, and habitat or migratory fowl stamps for hunters. For fishermen, the fees for inland trout and salmon stamps are eliminated. 
Marengo Democratic Rep. Jack Franks is sponsoring the legislation that he says will ensure seniors can enjoy the state's outdoors.

Big Debbie's House Gets New Look

As a fledgling member of the Illinois political blog community, we here at the Illinois Truth Team like to keep up with our fellow brothers and sisters in arms on the beat.

Looks like one of them - Big Debbie's House - the Democrat hangout in Champaign-Urbana - is getting a little bit of a facelift.  Nice work, Big Debbie.  Looks like she's moving to a responsive theme - and tailoring the experience for mobile users a bit.

Good luck, Big Debbie.  We'll be - as always - keeping up with your stuff.

In honor of the changes, we wanted to give Big Debbie her own special meme.  (we know she likes them a tiny bit...)

WJBC: Tom Cross - @JoinTomCross - Fighting Income Tax Increase

We've covered Illinois State Treasurer candidate Tom Cross and his petition to roll back the 67% income tax increase before here on the Truth Team.  

Now, WJBC out of Bloomington covers how Cross is now asking McLean County residents to join the fight.
State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) is asking residents of McLean County to sign an online petition aimed at stopping the proposal for a permanent tax hike. Cross said Illinois families are the losers if the increase is made indefinite. 
"We want the citizens to have input on whether or not they feel it's appropriate to raise taxes," he said. "I think as we look at the track record, there's not only an issue of credibility and broken promises but we're going in the wrong direction of what the original purpose was." 
According to Cross, people continue to ask him what can be done to combat the proposal. Cross pins his opponent, State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign), to the tax hike.

"With the 67 percent hike we saw three years ago, we were told it would be temporary and there would be more money for education, we were going to pay down our bills, and things would get better," Cross said. "In fact, our bills have gone up, unemployment has gone up, and education funding has been cut."

If you haven't yet, head over to to join the fight.  

When Would They Be Able To Push Through Terrible Legislation?!?

State Senator Chapin Rose had a capital idea:  let's get rid of the lame duck sessions in the Illinois Legislature.  You know...that time in Springfield every other year right after the November elections when we, as voters, get all sorts of awfulness sent our way like the income tax hike they billed as 'temporary'.

Well...the Chicago Democrats have said: not so fast, my friend.  They don't want anyone touching their little 'playground'.

From the Illinois Review:
Republican State Sen. Chapin Rose's bill to eliminate lame duck sessions was shot down in a General Assembly committee on Thursday.
The legislation would have moved up the swear-in date to the first week of December after the General Election and would ban the Assembly from meeting until new lawmakers were in office.
Rose said the bill, which failed along party lines, was not surprising because the same people who voted for a 67 percent income tax hike during the lame duck session of 2011 would not want a change.
"I think everybody remembers that the largest tax increase in state history was brought to us by lame duck legislators after spending their whole careers telling us they were anti-tax," Rose said. "I think it's a real problem because lame ducks cause mischief, chaos, and damage at the end of the day to the taxpayers of this state."

Judy Baar Topinka Visits Southern Illinois, Goes Contrarian With Her Metropolis Pose

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has been moving around the State of Illinois to support her bid for re-election as the Illinois State Comptroller.  As posted on her Facebook Wall, she recently stopped in Metropolis, Illinois. at the Truth Team, we applaud her.  She didn't pose - as every other politician does - with the Superman Statue.  No.  Judy went with the billboard.  Nice.  
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