Posts tagged "Pat Quinn"


Pat Quinn's Pension Problem

Pat Quinn’s pension reform is unpopular with everyone, whether on the right or the left. And so it should be, since it was the product of intentional neglect and underpayment by Republicans, pressure by bond rating agencies who shouldn’t be allowed to participate in this debate, and a budget that was already sliced to the bone.

So Quinn put pensions on the table, sliced the cost of living increases for some public employees, raised the retirement age for workers under age 45, and gave some workers a 401k option. To ease the pain of the cuts, he also cut workers’ contributions to the plan by 1 percent.

In the private sector, any changes to defined benefit pension plans must include a provision that earned benefits cannot be reduced. Consequently, unions are suing over these reforms, on the basis that cuts to cost-of-living increases and changes in retirement ages are benefit cuts, which they are.

Chuck Todd completely missed the boat in this conversation with one of the dumbest questions ever asked in a conversation: “Will we even have pensions — even for public workers — in 20 years?” The right question is “Why are public workers’ pensions being slashed to compensate Wall Street?”

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Pat Quinn/Paul Vallas or Bruce Rauner/Evelyn Sanguinetti?  

Rauner is out of touch for Illinois, vote Quinn!!!

Mitt Romney/Scott Walker/Nikki Haley-wannabe Bruce Rauner is going to lose big time to Quinn in November. 

h/t: Huffington Post





Madison County Sheriff:  



The race for the GOP nomination for governor is likely to be a contentious one. Wealthy businessman Bruce Rauner, Sen. Kirk Dillard, Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Sen. Bill Brady will face off in the Illinois General Primary Election March 18. Here are some of the main issues touted in their campaigns and why you should know them.

The Issue: Charter schools

Here’s Why: It’s no surprise that education reform is at the top of the agendas for Illinoisans running for public office. Amidst school closings around Chicago, publicly funded private charter schools have become a point of controversy as their effectiveness has yet to be proven. Rauner has made his support for charter schools a centerpiece of his campaign, while the other candidates have all expressed support in some form or another.

The Issue: Corporate tax breaks

Here’s Why: In recent years, corporate tax breaks have become a big issue in Illinois as the state struggles to retain large companies that bring in lots of jobs. Corporate tax breaks for those companies are incentives for them to stay, but opponents cry injustice for the everyday taxpayer and small business. All four GOP candidates are focused on job creation and making Illinois a more competitive state for business, but their views on corporate tax breaks are not yet clear. 

The Issue: Minimum wage

Here’s Why: Concerning minimum wage, the four GOP candidates stand in staunch opposition to Gov. Quinn, who made raising the minimum wage the principle issue of his own campaign. The current minimum wage is $8.25 per hour, a full dollar above the national rate. Rauner has previously advocated for lowering the Illinois rate to match the national minimum wage, but all four candidates currently support keeping it the same.

The Issue: Pensions

Here’s Why: Pension reform has been a hallmark of Gov. Quinn’s time in office. The controversial bill he signed last year was the climax of the crisis. The four GOP candidates held varying views on the bill. Rauner doesn’t believe the measures go far enough. Rutherford and Dillard have questioned its constitutionality. And Brady expressed that it was the best that could be done under the circumstances.

The Issue: Progressive taxation

Here’s Why: The temporary 5 percent income tax hike is set to expire in 2015, making taxation a big issue in the governor’s race. The question isn’t just whether the current tax rate should be renewed, but also whether Illinois should make the bigger change of converting to a progressive tax system. Gov. Quinn has said he would support this change, but all four GOP candidates stand behind the current flat-rate system, which they say makes Illinois a more business-friendly state.

The Issue: Term limits

Here’s Why: Illinois is one of 30 states without constitutional term limits for its legislators. But there has been a lot of talk surrounding whether to change that, possibly limiting terms to eight years. Rauner has been one of the biggest proponents for term limits and has made it one of the main features of his campaign. The other GOP candidates support term limits as well. Gov. Quinn, however, seems less decided about the issue.

The Issue: Campaign finance

Here’s Why: In 2009, Gov. Quinn enacted a bill that calls for more campaign finance transparency and places stricter limits on campaign contributions. This has become an issue with Rauner, who caused a minor scandal when he used the third-party firm Paylocity to pay his employees, making it unclear who was getting paid and how much. Billionaire Rauner leads the GOP campaign financial race by a long shot, while the other three contenders have struggled to stay in the race.

The Issue: Abortion

Here’s Why: The four GOP candidates run the gamut on views of abortion. Rauner takes the most liberal stance saying he supports the woman’s right to choose, but abortion should be very rare. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Brady, who has previously advocated for a complete ban on abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Although they describe themselves as pro-life, Dillard and Rutherford are somewhere in the middle.

Next Tuesday in Illinois, there will be a primary for ‪‎IL-Gov‬ on the GOP side for the right to face off against Pat Quinn in November. 
Bruce Rauner is the favorite to win the primary next Tueday. 
All four are GOP candidates bad for Illinois, especially Brady and Rauner.

h/t: Colleen Connolly at

h/t: Dave McKinney at the Chicago Sun-Times

* Bruce Rauner may, depending on the day, want to lower the minimum wage by a dollar an hour, but Sen. Kirk Dillard says he wants the “marketplace” to decide what the minimum wage should be. To me, at least, that sounds like he wants no statutory minimum wage at all.

The quote, in case you can’t listen to audio files at work…

“I am a, what I guess is known as a Jeffersonian free market principle guy. And I believe that the marketplace ought to set everything, including the minimum wage.”

Dillard also said he was against raising the minimum wage because it would cost jobs. Then he added this…

“The people who push for it in Springfield generally are Chicago legislators, minority legislators. But it really hurts the minority community because they’ll have fewer jobs for those in the minority community that those who try to push these things through the legislature are really trying to help.”

* By the way, John at IRN also shared the full Bruce Rauner audio where the candidate said unequivocally that he wanted to roll back the minimum wage by a dollar an hour.

Rauner’s quote…

“I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage. I think we’ve got to be competitive here in Illinois. It’s critical we’re competitive. We’re hurting our economy by having the minimum wage above the national. We’ve got to move back to the national.”

Seems clear to me.

*** UPDATE *** From a press release…

Senator Bill Brady, Republican candidate for Governor, today said proposals by two gubernatorial candidates to change Illinois’ minimum wage rates are counter-productive for Illinois job growth and working families.

“We have Governor Quinn proposing to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour, and Bruce Rauner talking about lowering it by $1. They are both out-of-touch with the needs of Illinois families and Illinois business,” Brady said.

“If we raise the rate, we discourage job growth. If we cut it, we impact hard-working Illinois families who depend on a minimum wage as better jobs continue to leave Illinois,” Brady said.

“I believe the state and minimum wage rates need to be paired and support a moratorium on increases in the Illinois minimum wage until the federal rate has caught up with ours,” he said.

Illinois’ minimum wage rate of $8.25 an hour is the fourth highest in the country and $1 higher than the federal rate.

“I understand the need for a reasonable minimum wage, as Illinois and the nation have lost higher-paying manufacturing jobs to service industry employment,” Brady said. “My focus will be on restoring more of those higher-paying jobs to Illinois, giving more of our families larger paychecks.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** From a press release…

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford does not support lowering the state’s minimum wage, nor does he support increasing it at this time.
“Lowering the minimum wage in Illinois is a bad idea. Doing so would place an unfair burden on workers. I will never be a fan of taking money from peoples’ wallets, and that’s what lowering the minimum wage would do.”

“I believe every American should be able to make as much money as possible, legally and ethically. State government should not put an artificial cost of doing business increase on a business, church or local unit of government by increasing the minimum wage.”

Kirk Dillard, Bruce Rauner, Bill Brady, and Dan Rutherford = the four-headed GOP hydra of evil are unfit to be the next Governor of Illinois. Re-elect Quinn in November! 


H/T: Kevin McDermott at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Chicago, IL — Many LGBT Illinoisans will likely remember 2013 mainly as the year marriage equality became a reality for our state. While we have to wait until June for marriage to officially wed, the marriage struggle this year gave our community numerous moments of joy, not to mention a few moments of disappointment. Here are some of’s highlights from the past year.

January: The new year brought tremendous hope to supporters when, on Jan. 4, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act is voted out of committee and onto the Senate floor. Supporters hope that the vote would take place quickly, but a number of mix-ups mean it has to wait. Rick Garcia of The Civil Rights Agenda tells that the anticipated Senate vote simply fell victim to bad timing, adding, “This means we are one step closer.”

February: The Illinois State Senate grants a Valentine’s Day wish to gay and lesbian constituents seeking legal marriage recognition—the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act passes in the chamber by a vote of 34-21. Senate sponsor Heather Steans says of the legislation, “It’s time we in the General Assembly catch up to our neighbors. We can confidently and proudly vote for this bill today, because voters in the nation and our state understand and endorse this basic tenet of fairness and equality.” Twelve days later, the legislation passes the House Executive Committee in a narrow 6-5 vote.

March: Chief co-sponsor Greg Harris tells Chicago Sun-Times that, “When I call this for a vote, it will pass.”  Throughout the Spring, marriage supporters and organizers line up high-profile help, among them Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as retired Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks and former Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent. President Obama’s Organizing for Action project also notifies its supporters that it will be partnering with Illinois Unites for Marriage, which is a joint project by Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and ACLU Illinois.

Residents of areas with legislators who are on the fence about SB10 report that they’re receiving robo-calls asking them to tell politicians to vote against the legislation.

April: On April 5, a coalition of about a dozen African American pastors speak in the Loop in favor of the legislation. On April 24, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan pens a supportive editorial in the Chicago Tribune. ”Legal arguments aside, this issue at its heart is about one of the most fundamental decisions we can make — with whom to share our lives,” Madigan says. ”In every community in Illinois, same-sex couples have chosen to join together and, in many instances, to raise families of their own. … They deserve the same rights and responsibilities that civil marriage offers straight couples.”

May: Other states achieving marriage equality, including Rhode Island and Minnesota, heighten the anticipation as legislators return to Springfield. Near the end of the month, advocates say that they have the needed number of votes for SB10 to pass the legislation.

"The votes are, indeed, there," Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinoistells ”And I believe the bill is going to pass, but we’ve received no indication yet on when the bill would be called.” 

But on May 31, Harris announces that the vote will not come yet. Fighting back tears, he acknowledges that some colleagues did not have the support of their constituents and asked for more time.

"I have never been sadder to accept such a request," Harris said. He promises that the issue would be re-opened in the veto session in the fall, but adds, "In the meantime, I apologize to the families who were hoping to wake up full and equal citizens."

"I have to say, when you are assured with such certainty that the votes were there for a vote, and then to have one not even take place, was maddening," Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Director James Bennett tells ”[Politicians] should not be able to hide behind not having a vote.” 

In a statement, Gay Liberation Network's Andy Thayer calls the failure “abject betrayal” and lays blame at the feet of House Speaker Michael Madigan. ”Anyone who knows anything about Illinois politics knows that Speaker Mike Madigan owns the House–if he had insisted on a positive vote from his caucus, it would have passed.” 

June: Nearly 100 people turn out in the rain for a protest organized by GLN and TCRA at the corner of Roscoe and Halsted. Members of the coalition promise that the struggle will take a more active role in decision-making.

"The top donor to the Democratic party hired all of these contract lobbyist, straight white men, who don’t know shit," Rick Garcia tells the crowd of about 100 people. 

Following a controversial editorial in Windy City Times, publisher Tracy Baim and Harris issue a joint statement: “We as a community can work together for the common cause of marriage equality, even if we have differences of opinion on strategy and tactics. We both have a respect for the role that each aspect of the community plays, including elected officials, activists, donors and the media. … We must unite fiercely as a community and focus our efforts on carrying the beacon of hope and equality for all families, and against those who wish to defeat the full promise of America for all her peoples.”

In mid-June, Illinois Unites for Marriage says that it is hiring a full-time campaign manager who would oversee and coordinate the statewide advocacy campaign and would gather additional input from supporters during nine community meetings held over the summer.

July: Illinois Unites hires John Kohlhepp, a union organizer with AFSCME, to be their campaign manager. Keron Blair of Midwest Academy is hired as field director, and Rev. Benjamin Reynolds is to be the coalition’s faith director. The coalition also announces a goal of raising $2 million.

August: Chicago-based Groupon becomes the latest corporation to come out in support of marriage equality in Illinois, with a YouTube video that announces, “We are Groupon and we are proud of being part of a diverse community of customers, merchants and employees. We work better when everyone, including our LGBT co-workers, can bring their whole selves to work every day. That is why we support marriage equality.”

Pat Brady, the former chairman of the state Republican Party, announces that he is joining the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to lobby for the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois. ”Liberty, freedom and equality under the law are all things that Republicans and conservatives have believed in for a long, long time,” Brady tells WBEZ radio. 

September: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak visits Center on Halsted to unveil a new digital and print campaign designed to draw same-sex couples from Chicago to Minneapolis where they can get legally married. ”The people who built this neighborhood, who have done so much incredible work for this community, you deserve equal rights,” said Ryback. ”Come to Minnesota, a place that already recognizes that you should have those rights.” Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, additionally cites a recent study by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, estimating marriage equality could add $100 million to Illinois’ economy.

October: Thousands of marriage rights advocates and allies brave the cold rain to rally outside the Capitol as part of the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality, an event to mark the first day of the fall veto session.

"This is our hour, this is our moment," Gov. Quinn tells the record-breaking crowd. "We need love to sign a marriage equality law and I’ll sign it as quickly as possible." Other top state officials in the rally include Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Chicago), Lt. Governor Sheila Simon (D), Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka (R).

Throughout the afternoon, in what becomes a three-hour rally, the politicians and speakers share the stage with top LGBT musicians, including Steve Grand, Sami Grisafe and Stephen Leonard.

Equality opponents rallied the following day in Springfield.

November: As equality supporters settle in for a three-day stretch of the veto session—many not expecting a vote until the last possible minute—Harris and colleagues surprise most with a vote that’s one of the first items on the House agenda. They approve the bill on Nov. 5 by a vote of 61-54-2

"At the end of the day, this bill is about love. It’s about family. It’s about commitment," Harris tells colleagues on the floor.

Among those speaking on the legislation’s behalf is House Speaker Madigan, who sat next to former state Rep. (and current alderman) Deb Mell during the debate.

"Who am I to judge that they should be illegal? Who is the government to judge that they should be illegal, and for me, that’s the reason to support this bill," Madigan says.

House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) was one of three Republicans in the House to vote for in favor of the bill. The others were Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) and Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein).

"It should be a proud moment for everyone in our state, but it should be an especially proud moment for thousands of lesbian and gay families across our state, who now know they are on a very short path to achieving equality and all the protections that our law allows," Harris says during a press conference following the vote. 

On Nov. 20, with the stroke of Gov. Pat Quinn’s pen, Illinois becomes the 16th state in the country to allow full marriage equality. SB10 is signed in front of numerous elected officials, advocates and members of the public at the UIC Forum in Chicago.  

"Love never fails and I’m going to sign this bill now," says Quinn, who signs the bill—with multiple pens—on the desk Abraham Lincoln used to write his 1861 inaugural address. 

"There is no straight or gay marriage. From now on there is only marriage in Illinois," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  

For some Illinois couples, the passage is initially a bittersweet victory however. The official start date of gay marriages, thanks to rules applying to the veto session, is June 1. For couples with partners facing serious illnesses, there is no assurance that seven months would afford enough time. But a judge rules that activist Vernita Gray, who is seriously ill, and her partner Patricia Ewert can wed early. The day before Thanksgiving, they become the first same-sex couple to be legally married within Illinois.

December: A federal judge rules that two more couples with terminally ill partners can marry before the June 1 start-date. Additionally, the judge rules that the Cook County Clerk’s Office can set up a streamlined process for couples facing similar circumstances. The ruling initially only applies to Cook County, where issuance of a marriage license is dependent on the completion of a physician’s certification form that can be downloaded on the marriage equality page of the clerk’s website.

"We thank the Court and the clerk’s office for their swift response to ensure that Illinois couples who are struggling with the challenges of a life-threatening illness will have a chance to be married," says Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal. 

H/T: Matt Simonette at

h/t: STL Biz Journals 

h/t: Chicago Sun-Times

h/t: Lindsay Toler at RFT

ALERT: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (SB10) into law, making Illinois the sweet 16th state to pass marriage equality.
The law will take effect on June 1st, 2014 (or sooner).