Rauner tours QC, promoting his agenda

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A pox on both of your caucuses.

WASHINGTON — An extraordinary letter landed at the Supreme Court last month. Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield.CHICAGO — Illinois, notorious for its debt and dysfunction, is poised to begin its fifth month without a state budget, the consequence of a long-simmering ideological and political dispute between Gov. Bruce Rauner’s sagging poll numbers as a reason he ought to set aside, for now, the union-weakening portions of his agenda and just negotiate a budget with the Democrats. The accusation was but one salvo in the white-hot war over the fate of public unions, which hangs in the balance in a case to be argued early next year.

Thursday, another poll came out from Ogden & Fry showing a slight uptick in Rauner’s job approval rating — to 34.4 percent from 32.3 percent — but far worse approval ratings for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan — 19.9 percent — and the entire Illinois General Assembly — 9.8 percent. It gave the court a taste of Illinois’s bruising politics and a sense of how closely the state’s officials, workers and unions are watching the case.

Illinois is spending more money than it is taking in, said Leslie Munger, the state comptroller, who cautioned that the state would have about $8.5 billion in unpaid bills by the end of the year, partly because of the expiration of a temporary increase in income tax. The poll, commissioned by an arm of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, shows a plurality of respondents saying they would have an unfavorable view of politicians who cut services or who raised taxes to balance the budget. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, said his state’s public unions “have negotiated wages and benefits that have unrealistically kept going up while the state economy has kept going down.” The state’s attorney general, Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, was not happy to see the governor’s brief. Rauner has tied passage of the budget to changes in workers’ compensation and collective bargaining rights for unionized public employees, measures that he says will help revive the Illinois economy and bring in much-needed revenue.

Her top appellate lawyer wrote to the justices to alert them to “an unauthorized filing, purportedly on behalf of Bruce Rauner, governor of Illinois.” “Neither the governor nor his attorneys have the authority, as a matter of state law, to represent the state or its officials in any court or to determine the state’s litigation positions,” the lawyer, Solicitor General Carolyn Shapiro, wrote. The City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Transit Authority budgets combined rely on $800 million in financial relief from state government that has yet to materialize. The Union League Club offered its downtown location as a venue, and a date was set for Nov. 18. “As you know, leaders meetings are held and conducted by the governor’s office,” Rauner wrote. “As such, while we appreciate the advocacy groups desire to be involved, we will pick up the organization of the meeting from here.” Rauner’s offer: A meeting in the governor’s office, in Springfield or Chicago, on the same date and time — Nov. 18, 9:30 a.m. The Illinois Supreme Court has said the state attorney general “is the chief legal officer of the state and the state government’s only legal representative in the courts.” The governor’s general counsel, Jason Barclay, did not really contest the point in his own letter in response. Democrats oppose Rauner’s plan and argue it shouldn’t be tied to a new budget. (Kim Geiger) *Obama’s Chicago fundraisers: President Barack Obama, who hits Chicago on Tuesday for a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, also will host a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a White House aide said.

Every community should be able to get what it needs from the point of view of bargaining, bidding and contracting.” Rauner had previously said he is in talks with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the city’s finances and other issues. Indeed, he said, the brief “makes very clear that it is filed only in his individual capacity.” The assertion in any event presented its own problems, Ms. The fundraiser is a 3 p.m. “intimate discussion” with an ask of “a minimum $10,000” to benefit the DSCC, according to an invitation obtained by the Tribune. Rauner defended himself: “I don’t spend any time criticizing my fellow Republicans,” he said. “I do not spend any time criticizing decisions made in the past that created the mess that we’re dealing with.” A. The event — dubbed a “special round-table discussion” — will be limited to 20 guests, according to the invite, which says the top annual contribution to the DSCC is $33,400 a year.

Obama also is to attend a Tuesday fundraising dinner hosted by Robbie Robinson, managing director of BDT & Co., and his wife, D’Rita, founder and CEO of Chatty Guest. Some nonprofits have not received money from the state since July 1 and say they have been forced to deplete their cash reserves and scale back services. Mark Mathews, the executive director of the Child Abuse Council in Moline, which provides counseling and visits homes of troubled families, said he had eliminated two staff positions and reduced one program’s caseload by 40 percent. “It’s definitely damaging the not-for-profit agencies,” he said. “We haven’t been serving as many families. Earlier this year the State’s high court ruled Illinois’ 2013 pension reform law for state employees was an unconstitutional diminishment of benefits. The City Council Finance Committee meeting today provides the last chance for aldermen to tweak Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed $7.8 billion 2016 spending plan before the final vote at Wednesday’s meeting.

Don’t expect to see a decrease in the number of specialty license plates on Illinois’ roads even though a measure signed by the Governor late last week is meant to stop the creation of new ones. Some aldermen are expected to try to require ride-sharing service drivers, whom Emanuel wants to give pickup privileges at O’Hare and Midway airports and McCormick Place, to jump through more hoops and pay more fees to get those rights. The mayor’s changes also include a 15 percent fare hike for taxis as part of an overall plan to generate nearly $49 million more in taxes and fees from both industries. Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt says the effective date is July 1 of next year with 109 current specialty plates being grandfathered in. “What this new law requires is that all specialty plates, or charitable organizations working with the General Assembly to create a specialty plate, are required to have at least 2,000 individuals that are purchasing the plate and that will put down a down payment toward the plate.” After the effective date universal plates will have a spot for a specialty sticker from the charitable organization. Other amendments offered up by members of the Progressive Reform Caucus aim to extend the city’s 9 percent amusement tax to tickets purchased for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Indeed, she may have piqued the justices’ interest in it. “Perhaps the A.G. wants to signal to home state constituents that the governor is lawless and is seeking political advantage by embarrassing him,” said Professor Devins, an author, with Saikrishna Prakash, of a recent article in The Yale Law Journal on the obligations of state attorneys general. Still intact and expected to pass Wednesday: the record-setting $543 million property tax hike to increase police and fire pension fund contributions and a $9.50-per-month fee for city trash hauling at single-family homes, duplexes and four-flats. (Hal Dardick) *More backing: Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, D-Chicago, who flirted with the idea of running for state’s attorney next year, is endorsing lawyer Donna More in that race. More, a former state and federal prosecutor, plans to run against Anita Alvarez, who is seeking a third term, and former state prosecutor Kimberly Foxx, who is backed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I am convinced that she is the only candidate in the race who has the vision, competence and independence to restore justice to the criminal justice system and to restore the public’s faith in the state’s attorney’s office,” Fritchey said.

California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, is whether public workers who choose not to join unions may be required to pay “fair share fees” to pay for collective bargaining. “Forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers,” Mr. Rauner said not long after he assumed office in January. “An employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree. He opposed her successful effort to increase the county sales tax by a penny-on-the-dollar starting Jan. 1. (Hal Dardick) *The Sunday Spin: Topics this week included the opposition to the Indepedent Maps push, a look at the city budget situation and a political strategist who wrote a book on Congress. We’re gonna give them as much wiggle room as they need or as much as we can afford to give them before we start screaming and yelling that we need the money.” Greg Bishop is a Radio Reporter for the Illinois News Network.

The majority invited a fresh challenge, which arrived almost immediately, in the form of the Friedrichs case. “Illinois is a poster child for why Abood should be overruled and all public-sector employees’ First Amendment rights restored,” Mr. Money has continued to flow to much of the state’s most vital services, largely through appropriations and court orders: Public education spending of nearly $7 billion has already been approved, state workers are being paid, Department of Motor Vehicles offices and state parks are open and running. Financial experts say it will cost the state more money because of higher interest rates on borrowing, and makes its economic position more precarious.

Scodro, a lawyer with Jenner & Block who served as Illinois’s solicitor general from 2007 to 2014. “Clarity on legal positions is essential for the state,” he said, “and the Illinois Constitution asks the state to speak with one voice in courts.” On Thursday, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded $26.8 billion in the state’s general obligation bonds, saying that Illinois’s financial obligations leave the state “more vulnerable to the next economic downturn.” A few days earlier, Fitch Ratings had downgraded Illinois’s credit rating for the first time since Mr.

Rauner says that he is “very unhappy” that Illinois remains without a budget, and has publicly criticized Democrats for rejecting his proposals for term limits, redistricting overhauls and lower property taxes. Jim Edgar, a moderate Republican who served throughout most of the 1990s, said this month that the stalemate has been “destabilizing for state government,” and he accused Mr.

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