TGIF, Illinois. Thanks for hanging in there this week. It’s been a doozy.
With less than 10 days before the legislative session wraps up, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Comptroller Susana Mendoza and leaders of the General Assembly announced they are moving ahead with a budget that doesn’t rely on money from the American Rescue Plan Act to pay off the remaining $2 billion of a $3.2 billion borrowing bill.
The Democratic leaders who control state government say Illinois can find enough revenue from April and May to pay off the debt early and save an interest payment.
The state was on pace to bring in nearly $1.5 billion more than expected in the current year and another $842 million in additional revenue in the fiscal year that begins July 1, according to the Tribune.
“Repaying the federal government is an important step in our efforts to ensure the state remains on sound fiscal footing,” Pritzker said in a statement.
The news comes after months of hoping a portion of the $8.1 billion coming to Illinois from ARPA would be used to pay off the debt that occurred when the state borrowed money to shore up recent budget holes.
Senate President Don Harmon said the loan was “a lifeline to keep our state and our economy afloat” while the pandemic ravaged state finances. But the U.S. Treasury’s strict rules do not allow the money to be used to pay off debt — even if it’s debt to the U.S. Treasury. Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi are both working behind the scenes in Washington to get clarification on that.
Lawmakers must forge ahead without ARPA help (for now). With state funds paying off the debt, Pritzker and Democratic leaders say it’s essential to close corporate tax loopholes to find $1.3 billion that avoid budget cuts in education, higher-education and human services. “It’s a very bad scenario,” House Majority Leader Greg Harris warned in a news briefing Thursday.
It’s a big sticking point for Republicans. Programs labeled by Pritzker as tax loopholes are meant to help small businesses and families, Rep. Tom Demmer told WSPYNews.com
Meanwhile, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said the General Assembly “will continue to work on a spending plan” to use ARPA funds to help communities recover by establishing affordable housing, community-based mental health and substance abuse services, and upgrades to area hospitals in disproportionately impacted areas throughout the state.
The TRiiBe, the online media company that covers the Black community through creative writing and photography, is out with its one-on-one interview with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to mark her two-year anniversary.
Lightfoot announced earlier this week that she would only sit down with Black or brown reporters for the anniversary interviews, an effort she said would call attention to the lack of diversity in big newsrooms. And oh, it got attention alright.
TRiiBe’s interview shows up as an engaging column written by Bella BAHHS (Black Ancestors Here Healing Society).
BAHHS presses Lightfoot to talk about important issues in the Black community, including whether to eliminate qualified immunity (Lightfoot opposes the idea).
In another interesting exchange BAHHS tries to pin down Lightfoot on the businesses she frequents on the South and West sides.
And there’s news: Lightfoot is commissioning a working group to address ways the city can better support residents coming out of incarceration.
BAHHS wraps up the piece, saying, “Having a mayor who isn’t afraid to have a pro-Black journalist day is nice, but having one who implements pro-Black policies that we could benefit from every day would be better.”
It could have ended there just fine, but BAHHS went on to encourage young people to join TRiiBe in marking Lightfoot’s two-year anniversary by protesting in front of her home. Hundreds showed up, according to the Sun-Times. The Tribune says it was “dozens.”
You have to wonder if the mayor might have preferred being grilled by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman instead.
‘Extraordinary series of ebbs and flows’ is how Tribune’s Gregory Pratt describes Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s two years in office. It’s “hard to gauge her standing now and how she’s poised for the future.” The story also lists names of potential candidates who might make a run for the mayor’s job: Ald. Brian Hopkins, a former chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner John Daley; Ald. Gilbert Villegas, the mayor’s former floor leader; Ald. Roderick Sawyer, whose father was mayor in the 1980s; Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer; former Chicago Public schools CEO Arne Duncan, who also headed President Barack Obama’s Department of Education and now works as an anti-violence advocate; and Chicago Teachers Union VP Stacy Davis Gates and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who could get CTU’s support if they were to run.
SIDENOTE: The Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted his support for Lightfoot’s decision to do one-on-one interviews for a day with reporters of color: “Mayor Lightfoot is right to be concerned about accurate & fair press coverage & the mayor’s proposal of including people of color in one-on-one interviews is morally justified. She is making a strong & righteous case for inclusion & diversity in the press & its coverage.”
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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported 42 additional deaths and 1,542 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 22,536 fatalities and 24,051,654 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from May 13 through 19 is 2.2 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 3.2 percent.
— TRIBUNE ANALYSIS: When shots were scarce, 60 percent of Chicago’s vaccine supply went to suburbanites and low-risk neighborhoods: “[I]n Glencoe’s predominant ZIP code, roughly 1 in every 6 residents was given their first dose from Chicago’s vaccine supply during the rollout’s earliest phases. Residents of other affluent suburbs also had luck finding shots in the city between December 2020 and mid-April, a period when eligibility rules were still in play, people were desperate to find appointments and city officials were promising to steer doses to the hardest-hit neighborhoods,” by Tribune’s Joe Mahr, Stacy St. Clair and Lisa Schencker.
— Cubs president Jed Hoyer is upset his team hasn’t hit 85% vaccine mark: “A real competitive advantage we’re going to miss,” by Tribune’s Paul Sullivan.
— Mr. T is back urging residents to get the vax: “From Chicago to Cairo, I’m asking everybody to get fully vaccinated. I pity the fool who don’t get fully vaccinated,” says the Illinois native who last year made a similar plea to get residents tested for Covid-19.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, headlines a fundraiser Monday for Rep. Adam Kinzinger. It’s a decisive move against ex-President Donald Trump, who has set his sights on Republicans who voted to impeach him. Kinzinger is one of 10 Republicans who joined Democrats to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The Illinois Republican has continued to carry the anti-Trump mantle and it’s no surprise that Ryan would back Kinzinger. Ryan, who’s had a long-running feud with Trump, criticized Republicans who wouldn’t certify the Electoral College results that validated Joe Biden’s election as president.
On Tuesday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger headlines a virtual discussion with national Playbook co-authors Rachael Bade and Eugene Daniels. Topics: Donald Trump and the internal GOP war about the future of the party, the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership, and the struggle to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia has hired Allison Schraub as campaign manager for her run for Illinois Secretary of State. Schraub most recently worked as a policy director at Airbnb and volunteers as the political chair for Sierra Club Illinois. The DuPage County native has worked on numerous campaigns in the collar counties, including for Sen. Dick Durbin in 2014.
— The Democratic National Committee launched a six-figure ad buy in Illinois to honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The campaign, a combination of digital and print ads, is targeting key areas across the country, especially in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities ahead of the 2022 midterms. It’s a strategy directed by DNC Chair Jaime Harrison after the recent Democratic victories for Senate in Georgia and an interest in attracting diverse candidates to public office.
— REMAP: Records show House Republicans outspending Dems in early redistricting efforts: “Look, we’re going to be prepared,” GOP Rep. Tim Butler said. “We’re preparing for, hopefully, you know, getting real data and having the tools in place to help the public draw maps,” by WCIA’s Mark Maxwell.
— Illinois nuke jobs already disappearing as Exelon pushes for $500M bailout: “The company’s six nuclear plants in the state employ nearly 600 fewer than they did just three years ago as an auditor says the risk of further job loss is far lower than lawmakers feared,” by Crain’s Steve Daniels.
— State’s top fiscal watchdog misspent nearly $250K in campaign funds, high court finds: “Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino should not have spent nearly a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for fuel and repairs to personal vehicles when he was a state lawmaker, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday….[But] there was no evidence Mautino’s campaign committee paid more than fair market value for goods and services bought with campaign dollars,” reports NPR’s Hannah Meisel.
— In wake of Covid’s impact, lawmakers to consider nursing home funding plan aimed at increasing staffing, improving care: “The effort is also aimed at reducing disparities by which the Covid-19 pandemic hit Black and Latino Medicaid patients disproportionately among nursing home residents, who overall made up more than 40 percent of all Covid-19-related deaths,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
— After spirited debate, House passes bill expanding access to tampons in schools: “Under the bill, tampons would need to be accessible in male bathrooms as well, raising questions from Republicans. ‘[Democrats] the party of science, but the science says those products are inapplicable in a male bathroom,’ said state Rep. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport. ‘As a male, they shouldn’t be in our bathrooms,’” by State Journal-Register’s Ben Szalinski.
— Block parties — minus bounce houses — to return to Chicago starting July 5: “The Chicago Department of Transportation will start accepting applications to close up to two blocks of streets starting June 6, according to a letter sent to aldermen Thursday morning by Commissioner Gia Biagi,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Chicago shootings: 108 children shot, 16 dead so far this year, police say: “With summer around the corner, community advocates worry about what is to come. On the West Side, Greater St. John Bible Church is among those that offer programming for those in the neighborhood. The pandemic, however, is limiting how many children they can take in,” by ABC/7’s Michelle Gallardo.
— Maker of famed Chicago flag mask pivots back to marching band uniforms as demand for masks plummets: “Sales of masks at PrideMasks.com, the retail site set up by R&S Marching Arts, had been declining since a few months into the Covid-19 pandemic, President Alan Spaeth said. Mask-making was a crowded field by the middle of last summer, and sales were down by the time vaccinations began in January, which in turn depressed demand significantly, he said,” by Tribune’s Jocelyn Allison.
— Chicago man jumps into Lake Michigan every day, comes out better: “Nearly a year ago, before he became the Great Lake Jumper, Dan O’Conor was just a guy with a hangover and a need to clear his mind, like a lot of us then, really,” writes Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.
— 9 stereotypes about Chicago that are no longer true: “We don’t drink Old Style, eat that deep dish, slaughter hogs, or battle the wind like the rest of the world thinks,” writes Edward McClelland in Chicago magazine.
— DuSable Museum of African American History announces Juneteenth reopening, by Tribune’s Hannah Herrera Greenspan
— Strawberry Hampton, who sued over transgender prison rights, is moved to female housing in DuPage County Jail: “Up until Tuesday evening, Hampton was locked up with male detainees. That’s despite her requests to be housed with other women, and despite a jail policy on transgender detainees stating that housing ‘should not be determined solely based on the inmates’ birth sex … or physical anatomy,’ and that the person’s ‘own views with respect to his or her own safety shall be given serious consideration,’” by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
Lobbyist in ComEd case says evidence against him is lacking: “Jay Doherty, who stepped down as leader of the City Club of Chicago during the scandal, argued charges against him should be dismissed related to the ComEd scheme to funnel money and do-nothing jobs to Madigan loyalists in exchange for the speaker’s help in Springfield,” by Tribune’s Ray Long and Jason Meisner.
Duckworth, Durbin on hand when Biden signs anti-Asian hate crimes legislation: “The newly enacted law would establish a position within the Justice Department centered on anti-Asian hate crimes and allocate resources to enhance state and local reporting,” by POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek.
— Biden’s bank shot to win GOP support for his infrastructure bill, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki
— Filibuster brawl amps up with GOP opposition to Jan. 6 panel, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— How the ‘culture war’ could break democracy, by POLITICO’s Zack Stanton
— How Democrats learned to love activist athletes, via POLITICO magazine
Cassie Leonard, director of congressional affairs at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, and Jimmy Ballard, legislative director for Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), got married Saturday in a small ceremony at the Carlyle House Historic Park in Alexandria, Va. The two met five years ago for a night of dinner and drinks in D.C. and now live with dog Emmett in Virginia. Pic, via Sarah Botta Photography
Everyone on 71st Street watched out for William Crawl. Now they’re mourning his loss after he was caught in crossfire: “For William Crawl, 71st Street served as an anchor and safe haven in a life fraught by mental illness. But he was killed there Wednesday night when he was caught in the middle of a gun fight,” Mitch Dudek.
— Saturday at 10 a.m.: Congresswoman Lauren Underwood keynotes the virtual Candidate Bootcamp sponsored by the Democratic Training Committee and Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association. The daylong training is geared for candidates, campaign staffers, political leaders and volunteers looking to develop skills for the next election.
— Tuesday at 10 a.m.: POLITICO Nightly newsletter author Renu Rayasam moderates virtual discussion on “Fixing America’s Maternal Health Crisis,” a case study about Illinois, Covid-19, and maternal and infant mortality. Among confirmed guests: Rep. Robin Kelly, Illinois Department of Public Health’s Dr. Ngozi Ezike, University of Chicago OBGYN Section Chief Sarosh Rana, and Alliance Chicago’s Lisa Masinter.
THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to entrepreneur Ashvin Lad and attorney Graham Grady for correctly answering that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot placed her hand on the Bible she received at her high school graduation in Massillon, Ohio, when she was sworn in two years ago.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Whose novel influenced Theodore Roosevelt to create the Food and Drug Administration and what was the story about? (I’ll take the 10th person to get this right.) Email to [email protected]
Today: Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th), architecture writer Ed Keegan, spokesman and strategic adviser to the state Senate president John Patterson.
Saturday: Sidley Austin partner and former Inspector General David Hoffman, former state Sen. Edward Maloney, former magazine publisher Linda Johnson Rice, attorney Shay T. Allen, Bunker Labs CEO Todd Connor, and Rev. Michael Pfleger.
Sunday: Chicago Buildings Department Commissioner Matthew Beaudet, Barrington Hills Plan Commissioner Kelly Mazeski, and former Congressman Tom Corcoran.
And shoutout to Christina Rivero, legislative liaison for the Cook County Board president, who celebrated Thursday.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
May 21, 2021 at 07:19AM