With Topinka Gone, How Will Illinois Replace its Comptroller?

-By Warner Todd Huston

With the passing of Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the state is faced with a bit of a dilemma. How should she be replaced?

After a lifetime of service to the state, Topinka passed away at the age of 70 from the effects of a stroke suffered last week. She was serving her second term as state comptroller to which she was just re-elected this year.

But her passing comes at an inconvenient time for state government as the current governor has only a month to go in his final term and the next governor is from the opposing party.

Some initially feared that Democrat Governor Pat Quinn could appoint a replacement that the new governor would be stuck with. That, though, seems not to be the case.

According to Ann M. Lousin, a law professor at The John Marshall Law School, Quinn can only appoint someone to fill the role until January 12, 2015 and then the new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, can then install his own choice for his own gubernatorial term and until the next election for comptroller.

There was also some talk of a special election but there is no special election called for under the state constitution or state statutes.

However, Lousin notes that this situation is without precedent. No office holder has passed away right at the end of a governor’s term before, so there may be some maneuvering that could be done. There is no 100 percent, clear-cut procedure, here.

As for Rauner, he said today he wants short-time Governor Quinn to give Topinka’s job to Topinka’s Chief of Staff Nancy Kimme to “serve right now.”

Quinn has not responded to the request but noted today that the constitution and any court cases would guide anything he would do–a trite answer since there are no court cases nor does the constitution clearly address this situation.

Finally, there is still talk of a special election to replace the late Topinka. There isn’t any called for in the constitution of statutes, however, that does not mean that one won’t be called.

Regardless, Topinka has been ill for several years, certainly. She should never have run for a second term in the comptroller’s office.

One last thing, though, many talked about eliminating the Comptroller’s office. Topinka herself ran on that goal in 2010. This would be the ideal time to do that!

Posted in Bruce Rauner, Constitution, GOP, Government-State, Judy Baar Topinka, Pat Quinn, Republicans | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Illinois Defeating Government Transparency, Making it Harder for Citizens to Get Public Records

-By Warner Todd Huston

Transparency, shmansparency. Once again we see a government doing its level best to keep you, the people, from being able to find out what it is that government is doing to you. This time it is in failing Illinois where lawmakers are trying to make it much, much harder to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Yes, your representatives in the Illinois legislature–Republican and Democrat alike–don’t want you to be able to find out what they are doing in Springfield. Imagine that.

The bill (HB 3796) would make it extremely costly to file for an FOI request allowing the government to charge up to $100 per request and would also give the government even more time to fulfill requests for information.

As the Better Government Association points out, the $100 per request fee “effectively prices low income people out of the public records market.”

The bill passed both the Democrat controlled House and Senate earlier this year, but interestingly, our most liberal governor already vetoed this bill once sending it back to the House. But don’t just blame Democrats. A lot of Republicans voted to hide their work from you, too. (See the roll call for the initial vote here)

The BGA also reported that the bill got little debate and is little understood by lawmakers. “[HB 3796] sailed through both legislative chambers in just six days, which is not enough time for a thorough vetting of its content, objectives and potential consequences,” the government watchdog group wrote on November 17.

As far as sponsors go, along with 2 House Democrats and three Senate Dems, the Republican Senator co-sponsoring HB 3796 is Pam Althoff, the former mayor of McHenry, Illinois. Althoff was elected to the state senate in 2004 and served an appointment to an empty seat for a year before that. The Republican sponsor in the House of Reps is liberal Ed Sullivan, Jr of the 51st District (Mundeline) who is also known for being the first Republican to support same-sex marriage in Illinois.

Althoff is also notorious for making worse a fiat tax (Senate Bill 1555) that allows cities to create “Special Service Areas” to soak property owners with higher taxes. These SSAs allow cities to summarily impose confiscatory property taxes on property owners who municipalities want to fund infrastructure projects (roads and repairs, sewers, etc.).

Essentially, Althoff gave cities the power to simply declare these “Special Service Areas” and immediately begin to soak property owners with higher taxes. The bill allows cities to impose these SSAs with no hearings, no ballot measures, and no notice to residents. The bill then puts the onus on the citizens to petition the government to cancel the SSA designation to stop the taxes already levied (but won’t force government to refund any higher taxes already charged and paid).

So, as you can see, Senator Althoff is a lover of a big, all-powerful government that treats citizens as vassals and a lower form of life.

Posted in Corruption, Democrats, General Assembly, GOP, House of Representatives, Liberals, McHenry County, Property Taxes, Regulations, Republicans, Senate, Springfield, Taxes | Comments Off

Ill. Sen. Dave Syverson is an Example of Why the Ill. GOP is a Miserable Failure

-By Warner Todd Huston

Only days after the 2014 election that gave Illinois a new business-minded, tax-cutting Republican as its new Governor, Illinois State Senator and nominal Republican Dave Syverson gave us all a perfect example of why the Illinois GOP is such a crashing failure when he chirped up that he’d love to make the “temporary” state income tax hike permanent, BEFORE the new Governor even gets a chance to take office.

The 2014 midterm elections were a sharp rebuke to a nation of big spending, big government Democrats that have destroyed state budgets, the American healthcare industry, and engorged government in every corner of the nation. This wave election even affected deep blue Illinois as an insurgent first-time Republican candidate beat a thoroughly entrenched Democrat incumbent.

One of the reasons that new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner beat Democrat Pat Quinn is because Rauner ran on his outsider status, his business acumen, and his promises to cut taxes and get the state back from the brink of collapse. Rauner promised to change the absolute fact that Illinois is the worst state in the country in every single measure of what makes a successful state.

Now, normally one might think that an opposition party like the Republicans are in Illinois (the Democrats completely control both houses of the state government) would look at Rauner’s win and think that they should wait for him to take office so that they can help him transform the Land of Lincoln from the worst state in the union and into a better place to live.

But if you would have thought this was a logical move for a political party that is out of power but on the verge of having one of its own as chief executive, you don’t know the monumental failures that are Illinois Republicans.

As proof of this sad state of affairs, another one of the reasons that Rauner won election is the controversy over the state income tax hike.

In 2011 the state legislature hiked the state income tax a whopping 67 percent with the provision that it was only temporary. The law that hiked the tax is supposed to sunset on Jan. 1, 2015. As the new year begins, the income tax is supposed to fall from its “temporary” 5 percent down to 3.75 percent. Then, by 2025, it is supposed to fall further to 3.25 percent.

Naturally, the Democrats and Quinn wanted to ignore the sunset provision and make the 5 percent rate permanent. Rauner ran against that notion.

As I noted, we have a new governor riding a wave of nation-wide Republican sentiment who wants to come into Springfield and make sure that the state income tax follows the law and is lowered on schedule.

So, what does Rockford’s “Republican” Senator Dave Syverson do? He pushes to make the tax hike permanent before our new Governor has any chance at all to do anything about it.

This is everything that is wrong with Illinois Republicans all wrapped up in one issue.

We have a so-called Republican doing the following:

  • Going against the GOP’s usual stance against tax hikes
  • Trying to act fast enough to defeat his own party
  • Refusing to work with a low tax governor
  • Siding with Democrats
  • Working as hard as he can to hurt the people of Illinois

Let’s hope that the Illinois GOP will work to defeat Syverson’s destructive actions. Let’s hope the state party finds a way to destroy its own left-wingers (like Syverson). Let’s hope the party punishes Syverson and isolates him and takes away his perks (like a good party would by such a betrayal). And let’s hope the state party looks for ways to work with their own new governor as he looks to begin the difficult task of brining Illinois out of its last place standings.

Don’t be surprised if the Illinois Republican Party fails to do any of this. But we can all hope, can’t we?

Regardless, acting like this will never, ever help the Illinois GOP break out of its minority status and become a useful party of leaders again. The Illinois GOP is moribund and so lost that it can’t even see the conservative tidal wave sweeping the rest of the nation.

Here are some more of Illinois worst hits that are thanks to left-wing politicians like Syverson:

Posted in Bruce Rauner, Budget, Conservatives, Corruption, Democrats, Economy, Elections, General Assembly, GOP, Government, Jobs, Joliet, Liberals, Regulations, Republicans, Senate, Taxes | Comments Off

Even in Blue Illinois the GOP Wave of 2014 Had an Impact, But The State is STILL A Major Failure

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Republicans bumped up their gains in the Senate and the House of Representatives and also gained in Governor’s mansions across the nation and even deep, deep blue Illinois was affected by this GOP wave. But even with these few bright spots, Illinois is the worst state in the union on every level.

But, yes, last night there were some bright spots. First of all, two Democrats lost their seats in the House of Representatives.

In the 10th District over in Lake County, Robert Dold re-took the seat he lost in 2012 when Democrat Brad Schneider knocked him out. Schneider rode Obama’s coat tails into the House in the big 2012 Democrat sweep.

Dold endured a vicious campaign full of lies launched by Schneider and the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee. The Democrats claimed Dold was a “Tea Party” extremist and a major anti-abortion activist and neither are true.

But the shocker was the 12th District race where State Rep, Mike Bost just slammed Democrat incumbent Bill Enyart by a wide margin. I don’t think anyone had this major upset on their radar here in Illinois. Enyart only got one term and was ushered into office in 2012 along with the 10th District’s Schneider.

But the biggest upset is the race for Governor in the Land of Lincoln.

Businessman and first time candidate Bruce Rauner beat incumbent lifer politician Pat Quinn for governor and with a five percent win, it was by a margin that is quite a bit larger than anyone expected.

Rauner has been down in the polls almost from the beginning but often only by 1 or 2 percent. Many figured if Rauner won it would only be by 2 points if he were lucky.

This was another race that was utterly vicious with team Quinn launching one scurrilous attack after another in its ad campaign.

It wasn’t all good for the GOP though. The state Party was again useless. Unfortunately, the GOP didn’t pick up the single seat in the state house it needed to break the Democrats’ 71-seat super majority in Springfield. But at least the Democrats didn’t gain even more.

The only good thing for the state Party is that Republicans kept their hold on the State Comptroller’s office and also kept the Treasurer’s office with a sparse win for Tom Cross who now takes over from retiring fellow Republican Dan Rutherford. (As of the publishing of this, Cross had a small lead but the race still had not been called.)

So, while Illinois Republicans didn’t win as big in the Land Of Lincoln as elsewhere in the nation, the Grand Old Party did make some gains and is able to share in the 2014 GOP wave.

Regardless, Illinois is in the worst shape ever and is perennially in last or second to last place in every single metric that measures a successful state.

The Democrat Party has driven Illinois to this lowly status and yet, it still holds sway over the state’s political landscape. This shows how apathetic and uninformed the voters of Illinois really are and proves that the state will have to fall even further before it will be fixed.

Thanks to the corrupt Democrat Party led by the feckless Pat Quinn and the corrupt Mike Madigan and the useless Illinois GOP that can find but few successful candidates to challenge them. Illinois is an abject failure.

Here are some more of Illinois worst hits:

Posted in Barack Obama, Bob Dold, Bruce Rauner, Budget, Congress, Corruption, Democrats, Elections, General Assembly, GOP, Government, Illinois House Republican Organization, John Cullerton, Judy Baar Topinka, Liberals, Michael Madigan, Pat Quinn, Politicians, Republicans, Taxes, Treasurer | Comments Off

Michelle Obama Out Right Lies About Illinois ‘Leading’ in Job Creation, Media Silent

-By Warner Todd Huston

A few days ago, First Lady Michelle Obama was in Southern Illinois and during her speech she noted that Illinois leads the nation in job creation. This is a flat out lie. Not just political spin, but based solely on statistics, a straight out lie. And where was the media? Practically silent.

Obama was in Illinois to stump for Democrat Congresswoman Cheri Bustos who we hope is beaten by Republican candidate Bobby Schilling in the Illinois 17th District.

According to the Quad City Times, Obama praised Illinois for being a job creator saying, “”And we are here to keep this state in the right direction. And this state is leading the nation in job creation.”

As Ulysses Arn helpfully points out, “According to the Senate Joint Economic Committee Illinois added 18,400 jobs in September… By contrast the great state of Texas created 29,200 jobs in September in the same report.”

But, as I even reported earlier this year, Illinois isn’t even a job creator among Midwestern states much less the whole nation. In July Illinois ranked as the single worst state in the Midwest for job creation as every single surrounding Midwestern state had created more jobs.

Yet, Michelle says this out right lie from the podium and where is the media to slam her for her blatant lie? Nowhere.

This also proves that Democrats don’t care a whit about facts and truth. They simply say whatever they want to, true or not, and no one in the media attacks them for it.

Now, if this were the wife of a Republican President, this lie would have been denounced from coast to coast for days before Election Day, used as a cudgel to hurt Republicans everywhere.

Posted in Barack Obama, Budget, Business, Capitalism, Congress, Democrats, Economy, Elections, Government, House of Representatives, Jobs, Liberals, Moline, Taxes | Comments Off

Where is YOUR Polling Station? Where Can You Vote? Find Out Here…

Posted in Congress, Elections | 1 Comment

How Much Did Illinois Spend on Misspelled No Littering Signs?

-By Warner Todd Huston

Illinois is in such bad shape it can’t even produce no littering signs that are properly spelled, it appears.

Friend to the blog John Ruberry of the wonderful MarathonPundit blog was on a trip through the state when he spotted a no littering sign that read: “Please Don,t Liter.”

Apparently the workers in the sign department in the State of Illinois don’t know the difference between a coma and an apostrophe, nor, apparently, what a contraction is. And spelling? What is with this ‘liter’ business? Are Illinois sign makers saying we should not use the metric system here?

This says an awful lot about Illinois schools, doesn’t it?

Ruberry identifies where he saw the signs in his post and also said he saw more than one of them. He also amusingly noted that we have too much public corruption in Illinois for a few no littering signs to help clean up.

But seriously…. who the hell approved the use of these signs and how much money was wasted on these grammatically problematic warnings?

Want to see some more major failures in Illinois. Check these debacles…

Posted in Budget, Corruption, Democrats, Education, General Assembly, Government, Pat Quinn, Public Schools | Comments Off

Sen. Durbin’s Wife A Lobbyist Who ‘Accidentally’ Got High Dollar Federal Contracts

-By Warner Todd Huston

Illinois Senior Senator, Democrat Dick Durbin was forced to respond to a Chicago Tribune story that revealed that his wife is a lobbyist who received high-dollar federal contracts. Durbin said it was purely coincidental… then offered to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge.

Durbin told the Tribune that his wife only lobbies with the State of Illinois, not the federal government, so the millions she rakes in from federal contracts is just a coincidence. Really. It was… a totally, unseen, completely accidental coincidence… that a Senator who is the third in line of power in the US Senate has a wife who just coincidentally got millions in federal contracts.

The Trib outlined some of this accidental overlap…

Among the areas of overlap in the Durbins’ careers: her firm getting a one-year contract with a housing nonprofit group around the time the senator went to bat for the organization and others like it; a state university receiving funds earmarked by Durbin when his wife was its lobbyist; and Durbin arranging federal money for a public health nonprofit when his wife was seeking state support for the same group.

And, gosh, there was another point to the Trib’s piece. Dick Durbin’s son is also a lobbyist. Imagine that.

Now, this is the same Dick Durbin who in 2006, when my son was deploying to Iraq from the General Jones National Guard Armory on Chicago’s South Side, in his own city, in his own district, instead of attending to see his troops off like so many other local and state politicians did, he was only a few miles away at a press conference. What was so important to talk to the press about?

The Ash Borer Weevil.

That’s right. A bug was more important than his troops.

A bug.

But his wife and son can rake in millions from the federal government. And no one will do a thing to stop him.

This is the same Dick Durbin who, like his President, lies with impunity, about nearly everything. The same Durbin who is a facilitator for terrorists. Thinks Americans don’t have Constitutional protections unless he says so. The senator who doesn’t think the people have a vote on what he does.

Durbin is the also the creep who said that our troops are Nazis.

Posted in Budget, Capitalism, Corruption, Democrats, Dick Durbin, Economy, Government, Jobs, Liberals, Senate, Taxes | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Karen Lewis and Chicago’s Illiteracy Problem

-By Larry Sand

After years as a teacher union boss, Karen Lewis is making plans to spread her venom to the rest of the city.

Courtesy of Daniel Greenfield, we are reminded of the ugly fact that almost half of Chicago is illiterate. According to the White House website, 47 percent of Windy City residents cannot read. Additionally, 79 percent of its 8th graders are not proficient in reading and 80 percent are not proficient in math.

There are many reasons for these pathetic numbers. Yes, broken families and the ensuing gang proliferation are factors. But since teachers are the most important factor in student learning and because school is compulsory in Chicago (and everywhere else in the U.S.), one really must look there for the problem. (Just as a side note – before parents were forced to send their kids to public schools, the U.S. had a literacy rate of about 90 percent.)

Because many Chicago public schools (CPS) are so bad, they are being abandoned. Due to declining enrollment, 50 schools closed in 2013 and probably a lot more should have been shuttered.

Enter Karen Lewis. The president of the powerful Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) decided to get busy. Bombastic as always, she came out swinging. Never once does she mention that the unionized schools themselves – with all the attendant anti-child work rules – could be at fault. Nowhere does she acknowledge that her union’s virulent anti-choice position, which forces kids to stay in lousy schools, could be part of the problem. Instead she uses diversionary tactics.

Rich white people are to blame. At the City Club of Chicago in 2013, she blamed the city’s education woes on rich white people. “When will we address the fact that rich, white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African Americans and Latinos—no matter what the parent’s income or education level.”….

Read the rest HERE.

Posted in Budget, Chicago, Chicago City Council, Chicago Teachers Union, Children, Cook County, Corruption, Democrats, Education, Karen Lewis, Public Employees, Public Schools, Taxes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Food Stamp Sign-ups in Obama’s Illinois Larger Than State’s Job Growth

-By Warner Todd Huston

Obama’s home state of Illinois is struggling to break the Great Recession. A perfect example of this is seen in a recent report that shows that applications for food stamps in the Land of Lincoln is greater than its creation of jobs.

Illinois has had the worst recovery from the recession of any state in the country, the Illinois Policy Institute reported this month. “There are nearly 300,000 fewer Illinoisans working today than in January 2008, and 170,000 fewer payroll jobs. ”

“For every post-recession job created in Illinois, nearly two people have enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps,” the Institute wrote. “In the recession era, the number of Illinoisans dependent on food stamps has risen by 745,000.”

While Illinois sits about in the middle of the pack for a percent of the population on SNAP assistance program, this new report is consistent with reports last year that found that Illinois was the only state to see a double-digit increase in SNAP enrollments.

Illinois consistently falls in the lowest ranks of nearly every metric that denotes a successful state. Only last week a new report showed that Illinois had more home foreclosures than any other state. In July it was reported that Illinois had the worst private sector job creation of every state in the great Midwest.

Incumbent Democrat Governor Pat Quinn was undaunted by the news saying, “Illinois’ comeback is going strong and we’ve got more work to do.” Quinn is up for re-election this year.

Here are some more of Illinois worst hits:

Posted in Barack Obama, Budget, Business, Capitalism, Chicago, Corruption, Democrats, Economy, General Assembly, Jobs, Liberals, Michael Madigan, Pat Quinn, Taxes | 2 Comments