Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. Hoping tonight’s VP debate also offers some views of the mountains through all that Plexiglass.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Playbook will not publish Monday, Oct. 12. After the brief hiatus, we’ll return to our normal schedule Tuesday, Oct. 13.
President Donald Trump’s huge gamble to walk away from a Covid relief bill before the general election puts the city of Chicago and, to a lesser degree, the state as a whole, in a precarious financial position.
“By shutting down negotiations that could have brought desperately needed funds to cities and towns all across America, again today, Donald Trump provided further evidence of his failure to lead. ‘You’re on your own’ is how he has governed since day one. We can and must do better,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted.
To reporters, she said: “We have to fix this ourselves, and we will fix it.”
City budget director Susie Park was equally matter of fact.
“While we continue to advocate for much needed revenue replacement from the federal government, we will work toward building a balanced budget under the conditions we are currently facing,” she said in a statement to Playbook.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, meanwhile, called on Trump to reengage with congressional lawmakers. “The failure of revenue due to the pandemic is not a blue state vs. red state issue, it’s a challenge that every single state across this nation is grappling with.” Illinois’ fiscal year doesn’t start until July 1, so Pritzker has some wiggle room before he presents his next budget. In the meantime, he has warned that layoffs, service reductions, and budget cuts are possible without federal relief.
The city’s fiscal year begins Jan. 1 and the mayor must turn in the budget by Dec. 31. She’s already working with organized labor to come up with $200 million in spending cuts as the city tries to dig out of a $1.2 billion shortfall. That could mean layoffs, furloughs or vacancy cuts — which can impact services — from tree-trimming to garbage pick-up.
Lightfoot and labor leaders are also working together to come up with ideas for non-personnel cuts.
There was hope that Congress would offer support for cities and states that have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as businesses and families. The city of Elgin, for example, also faces an end-of-year budget deadline.
Thing to watch out for: If Joe Biden wins and the Senate flips Democrat, there could be a scenario where Lightfoot presents a budget based on Biden’s plans for a stimulus package once he’s in office. But those are big ifs.
Another option: The city of Chicago could borrow money. The state has already made a similar move, getting approval to borrow from a Federal Reserve fund designed to help municipalities under financial stress. Borrowing isn’t the cure because the bill eventually comes due — with interest.
We’ll know more later this month on how Lightfoot will slice and dice the budget. She had planned to give her budget address next week but instead delayed until Oct. 21 (she was hopeful Congress would come through by then).
By rejecting any plan for financial relief until after the election as Republicans and Democrats remain hundreds of billions of dollars apart in their stimulus proposals, Trump risks leaving the country in an economic slump. Laying off employees of a metropolitan city like Chicago, an economic driver of the state, could exacerbate the recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the president’s beloved economic indicator — however tenuously linked the stock market is to the success of the average American — plummeted 600 points after his tweets about the stalled negotiations.
“Refusing to negotiate in good faith is refusing to take action to heal a country in pain,” Rep. Cheri Bustos said in a statement.
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza called Trump’s move “selfish” and said it would “further hurt Americans and states that are struggling financially.” Mendoza also accused Trump of “holding Americans hostage and attempting to bribe them for votes.”
Covid-19 and the November election loom large over the General Assembly, which is scheduled to return to Springfield in six weeks. The calendar has them returning three days in mid-November and three days after Thanksgiving.
Barring any increased concerns about the coronavirus, the session remains on schedule, according to the offices of House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Don Harmon.
Some lawmakers have said they’d prefer to meet once for five days to avoid the increased possibility of contracting Covid — especially so close to the Thanksgiving holiday. And the question about allowing the public in also remains a factor.
The Senate has already approved virtual voting, and though the House narrowly defeated it last time around, watch for it to come up again.
On the agenda: After the election, money from Washington seems like a possibility again. Similarly, Democrats hope the graduated income tax ballot measure passes. That would potentially bring in $1 billion to ease the state’s budget gap. Without it, lawmakers will have to zero in on alternatives. Regarding policy: “Social justice initiatives and meaningful ethics reform are atop the Senate president’s ‘to-do’ list and hopefully everyone else’s,” John Patterson, Harmon’s spokesman, told Playbook.
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Will preside over a virtual City Council meeting at 10 a.m.
Giving a virtual Covid-19 update at noon. Watch live
In Robbins at 9:30 a.m. to announce an initiative to provide laptops for school-age residents who are still in need of e-learning devices for the 2020-21 school year. Then at the Cook County Health Professional Building at 12:30 p.m. to talk about the Affordable Care Act with Reps. Danny Davis, Jan Schakowsky, Robin Kelly, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Sean Casten in attendance. Watch live
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 32 additional confirmed deaths and 1,617 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday. That’s a total of 8,836 deaths and 305,011 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Sept. 29 through Oct. 5 is 3.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.3 percent.
— White House lifts block on FDA’s stricter vaccine requirements: “The agency’s decision to hold vaccine developers to the stricter criteria will likely push any vaccine authorization beyond Election Day,” by POLITICO’s Zachary Brennan.
— Fauci: There could be 300,000 to 400,000 Covid deaths unless precautions taken: “He added that a vaccine likely won’t be widely available until next summer or fall,” by POLITICO’s Matthew Choi.
— Top Trump aide Stephen Miller tests positive for Covid: “At least 34 people connected to the president have tested positive in recent days,” by POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman… The list of people with the coronavirus in Trump’s circle is up to 34.
— Chicagoans ‘strongly advised’ to avoid Indiana, which may make next week’s quarantine travel list: “Chicago adds a state to its quarantine list if it averages more than 15 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period. People who have spent more than 24 hours in the high-risk states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering Chicago,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Complaints fly after Park Ridge Republican organization’s event photos show unmasked attendees near each other, by Pioneer Press’ Daniel I. Dorfman
— How Kamala Harris has stacked up as Biden’s No. 2: “The California senator has been largely kept under wraps, to the frustration of her supporters. Will that change tonight against Mike Pence?” by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago.
— Crain’s Greg Hinz says: “The latest polling made available to me by a reliable source shows the [graduated income tax’s] fate is now very uncertain.” That news comes as funding has ratcheted up for each side. The National Education Association just donated $100,000 in favor of the ballot measure, and Guarantee Trust Life Insurance gave $100,000 opposing it.
… Meanwhile, state treasurer Michael Frerichs canceled a news conference to address remarks on taxing retirement income, by Tribune’s Rick Pearson
… And the Wall Street Journal editorialized, saying the graduated income tax “would speed the state’s economic decline.”
— Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride’s retention campaign received $100,000 from Stephen Tillery’s Korein Tillery law firm and $50,000 from Steven Jambois Law.
— Pat O’Brien is out with his first TV ad in the Cook County State’s Attorney race. The 30-second spot calls incumbent Kim Foxx a “crime lover” and says she should be fired.
— Candidates for state legislature discuss campaign finance, by Effingham Daily News’ Andrew Adams
— Judicial guide: Injustice Watch is out with a guide on how to vote for judges.
— Lightfoot announces $8M in mental health grants largely focused on city’s South and West sides: “Nearly all the projects will expand mental health services for young adults, children and adolescents, city officials said. Some of the grant recipients will receive $240,000 while others will receive $350,000 every year through 2020, Lightfoot said,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Lightfoot’s air pollution ordinance stuck in City Council committee: “After nearly an hour of complaints from both sides, Zoning Committee Chairman Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) ordered the mayor’s ordinance held in committee for a major rewrite,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman and Brett Chase.
— Hundreds of affordable housing units on the South Side are sold at auction: “In a move that some see as hopeful and others fear could contribute to the slow march of gentrification through the city, hundreds of affordable housing units on Chicago’s South Side were auctioned off Friday to two for-profit investment firms,” by WBEZ’s Linda Lutton.
— Black homeowner, 2 appraisals, $62,000 difference: “The owner thinks her lower home appraisal was skewed by her race and her neighborhood — and a recent study says those factors play more of a role in appraisals now than in 1980,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.
— Famed Second City comedy theater is now fully up for sale: “I do think the plan to sell the whole company presents the opportunity for Second City to continue to succeed well into the future, ensuring financial stability,” co-owner Andrew Alexander told the Tribune’s Chris Jones.
— ‘Windy City Rehab’s’ Alison Victoria says she lost sleep, all her personal income after partnership fizzled: “On Tuesday’s episode of the HGTV hit, Victoria proclaims, “This is the beginning of the end” of her beleaguered partnership with contractor Donovan Eckhardt,” by Selena Fragassi for the Sun-Times.
— SCOOP: A New York hospital exec has been chosen to lead Cook County Health System: “Israel Rocha Jr., CEO of two hospitals in the giant NYC Health + Hospitals system has been chosen to lead Cook County’s Health System. He has to be approved by the county board,” by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
— Maywood couple married 56 years die hours apart after furnace malfunctions, overheats home, by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas
Judge sides with Chicago local in Teamsters union spat, finds Hoffa ally ‘not credible’: “A federal judge ruled Tuesday that James P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, had improperly put a trustee in charge of running a local union last year after ousting its leadership team. U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow sided with Local 786 in its David-versus-Goliath court fight against the international union and Terrence “Terry” Hancock, a powerful local union official and friend of Hoffa’s,” by Tribune’s Todd Lighty.
Madigan hearings delayed until after the election: “Hearings into whether House Speaker Michael Madigan should be disciplined for his connections to a Commonwealth Edison bribery scheme have been put on hold until after the November election. Rep. Emanuel “Chris: Welch, D-Hillside, chair of the House Special Investigating Committee II, said he is delaying the proceedings to prevent the committee from being used ‘as a stage for political theater. Throughout this process, however, we have been made well aware that our Republican colleagues are wearing two hats,’ Welch said in a statement. ‘While sitting on a committee that is charged with conducting an impartial investigation based on the petition filed by Leader Durkin, the Republican members of this committee are also engaged in competitive political campaigns in which they have chosen to campaign almost exclusively against the speaker,’” by State Journal-Register’s Doug Finke.
… Republicans accuse Democrats of protecting speaker at all costs, by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock
Pritzker proposes ending cash bail, no-knock warrants and other criminal justice reforms: “The Democratic governor’s ‘seven guiding principles’ also include licensing police, increasing access to sentence credit and time-limited supervised release and only detaining defendants who are a threat to public safety, a ‘key element’ in creating a state that ‘works for everyone,’” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
THE FIFTY: Governors and mayors have never mattered more to the future of the nation, and The Fifty, a new series from POLITICO, takes you inside the role they’re playing in the pandemic and more. Today’s feature spotlights Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, who’s battling the coronavirus while running for Congress as a Republican. Check it out!
Pot shop applicants call for hearing on Cook Co. Board member’s ties to cannabis industry: “If she wasn’t involved, she should be willing to tell the Sun-Times and others that she had nothing to do with it,” former state Sen. Rickey Hendon said Tuesday while criticizing the process to award 75 new dispensary licenses. By Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
Column: Kifowit relying on Marine experience to take her into political battle against Madigan: “Kifowit credits this recent gutsy decision to those “formative boot camp years” when she had to “face fear head first” while rappelling from a rope 50 feet up or crawling through mud or under barbed wire with simulated bombs going off. Challenging the most powerful politician in the state ‘does not scare me,s’ he said, despite the backlash she knows is coming,” by Aurora Beacon-News’ Denise Crosby.
— Trump’s chickens come home to roost. So do America’s, by POLITICO’s John F. Harris
— Coronavirus looms over Trump’s first day back at work, by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw
— Susan Collins goes for the jugular with her career on the line, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— From the New York Times: “‘We need to take away children,’ no matter how young, Justice Dept. officials said”
— From the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet on Amy Coney Barrett: Why 2 Notre Dame law school classmates oppose her Supreme Court nomination.
Today at 10 a.m.: The Illinois AFL-CIO will dedicate a new statue and sign boards in its Labor History Plaza to the late Reuben Soderstrom at the AFL-CIO in Springfield. Soderstrom served as president of the IL AFL-CIO for 40 years, and is recognized for his defining roles as a prominent labor leader and humanitarian.
TUESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Peter Coffey, associate VP for Community & Government Relations at DePaul University, who correctly answered that then state-Rep. Paul Simon and then-state Rep. Jeanne Hurley married in 1960. And bonus points to former state Sen. Dave Sullivan, now a lobbyist, for noting that former Congresswoman Lynn Martin and retired federal Judge Harry Lienenweber married in 1987 and also both served as Illinois state reps.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Who was the last Illinois governor whose lieutenant governor was from the opposite party? I’ll take the first correct answer. Send to [email protected].
Rep. Bill Foster (11th), state Sen. Craig Wilcox (32nd), state Rep. Jaime Andrade (40th), Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), multimedia producer John Owens, Boies Schiller Flexner’s Michael Rosengart, attorney Warren Silver, and WBEZ government and politics reporter Claudia Morell.
October 7, 2020 at 07:48AM