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The [Monday] Papers

* WBEZ called the session "epic," reporting that "The conveyor belt of wins rolled along at a dizzying pace over the weekend, after some of the governor's key priorities appeared to be in doubt Friday."

I would add that the session wasn't just a political win for the governor - it was a win for just about everybody. Even the state's "pro-business" groups - and in-the-minority Republicans - left happy:

* The Sun-Times called the session "historic" and "stunning."

* The Springfield State Journal-Register called it "a session to remember."

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With all due credit to JB Pritzker, being the successor to Bruce Rauner certainly helped his cause.

"Despite being forced into overtime this weekend after failing to meet its scheduled May 31 adjournment date, the size and scope of Pritzker's achievements less than six months into office - often with Republican support - represented the release of a pent-up desire among lawmakers to show accomplishments after four years of governmental dysfunction and gridlock due to the ideological battles between former one-term GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature," the Tribune writes.

(We also see here, like in the WBEZ post, the tendency of media to see everything through the political lens of the governor/mayor. While understandable to some degree, to another degree it helps contribute to the bossism of Illinois politics by conferring even more power on those at the top, and relegates those affected by policy to the sidelines as afterthoughts to the, gulp, I'm gonna say it, Game of Thrones-like culture.)

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"The collegial atmosphere of Senate Democrats and Republicans on Sunday belied the partisan tensions that existed for the previous four years under Rauner. Republicans joined with Democrats for easy passage of a host of motorist-related fees and the gambling expansion to pay for the state's first major public works program in a decade - a $45 billion multiyear package of transportation and building improvements - with the opportunity for rank-and-file lawmakers to engage in ribbon-cuttings to show their constituents a substantive return for their tax dollars."

You know, you don't have to cover those ribbon-cuttings. Meanwhile, citizens actually get better roads and bridges.

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"Senate Republican leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, who voted for the measure, called the infrastructure program 'monumental.'"

Reminder: Brady is on the conservative side.

"Despite having only 19 Republicans in the Senate, the parties found common ground on key issues such as infrastructure, Brady said.

"Senate Republicans came to the table," Brady said. "We didn't seek to turn it over."

Is there a lesson in that?

(Yes, and it's not just about coming to the table, but about being invited to the table by the majority.)

"Brady stood alongside Pritzker at his news conference following the Senate adjournment."

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"The public works plan, which won plaudits of traditional Republican-oriented business groups, would be paid for through a variety of sources, including a doubling of the current 19-cent-per-gallon state motor fuel tax, last raised in 1990, and it would be indexed to future increases in inflation."

At this juncture, I will note that Pritzker is being compared in some quarters to former dealmaker governors Jim Thompson and George Ryan. I can't vouch for all the ins and outs of Springfield at the moment, and I'm not here to defend Pritzker (what others see as praise I see as criticism), but I don't sense he operated anything like Thompson or Ryan this session. Those guys truly ran, in the language of Illinois politicis, a Combine of Democrats and Republican who smelled the meat a-cookin' and larded up Christmas tree honeypot troughs to slurp from. (Did I get enough cliches in there?) The dealmaking of Thompson and Ryan, no matter how lauded in some corners because it "got things done," was nasty, sleazy, stenchy stuff. All right in front of us. I'm sure some unseemly things just went down in the GA, but what Pritzker & Co. really delivered were things people seemed to want: legal pot, legal sports betting, a shot at a graduated income tax that will make the super-rich pay more, and an large infrastructure initiative. This is also a pro-choice state, and that was codified.

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And yes, Pritzker's party had both chambers. Still, we've seen that that doesn't always portend success.

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The fails?

* An elected school board for Chicago. The will is there, but the bill put forth by Robert Martwick was badly flawed, and apparently the GA didn't have the bandwidth to fix it, especially with Lori Lightfoot on the scene and a fresh review of the structural options needed.

* The Cook County assessor's bill. Fritz Kaegi's nascent effort to turn his office's inequitable assessments upside down - one of the most urgent matters facing Chicago, as well as the rest of the county - failed by a thousand slings from businesses and property management folk. I can't tell if they torpedoed it out of sheer greed or if the bill was actually poorly considered and written.

* Pensions. I simply do not know if the state's pension problems were adequately addressed in this session. Certainly, there was no grand, overarching solution. (There's a word for this, and I can't think of it this morning.) [Update 6 p.m: Global is the word I was looking for.] Certainly there was some chipping away. I'm still catching up with the coverage.

Of course, I could quibble with some of the details of the pot and gambling (not gaming, for christ sake; that's a propaganda term not a journalism term) bills - and I will! - but no one (including me!) was going to get everything they wanted out of those. Multiple stakeholders hashed it out and compromised to get it done. Of course, this being Illinois, those stakeholders weren't necessarily keeping the best interests of us citizens in mind. But again, at least until I see further analysis, the shenanigans seemed to have been kept to a minimum. Still not a pretty process, but progress.

*

Has "vertical capital" always been a phrase at the capitol? I don't believe I've ever heard it before, and yet it's everywhere. It refers to buildings above-ground, like schools and hospitals, as opposed to "horizontal capital," which is roads and bridges. Maybe I don't recall it because it's been such a long time since we've had a capital bill.

*

Does the success of the session mean state legislators deserve a pay raise? Not if they're going to be dishonest about it.

"Most folks get annual cost-of-living increases in their jobs, or are evaluated for them. It's not an outrageous expectation that more than once in a 10-year period we'd get them," says state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

That line of reasoning presumes every legislator has been there for a decade, which isn't true. A legislator in their first term would presumably get the same pay raise as a veteran. Find another reason.

Then again, don't. At $67,836 a year, state legislators are still doing quite well compared to the average Illinoisan. Stow it.

*

The spending bill the GA has sent to the governor includes an additional $100 million for DCFS. Happy to see it. Then again, the bill also includes $100 million for rural broadband. Not that rural broadband isn't important, but is there a state agency more vital - and more decimated, both in terms of finance and competence - than the Department of Children and Family Services? DCFS's current annual budget is $1.18 billion, so while $100 million can do an awful lot, it's actually not a lot for such a critical operation.

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Flashback Friday.

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Cubs Drub

Woes hitting with runners in scoring position continue.

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At least, unlike the Cardinals, the Cubs get to leave . . .

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New on the Beachwood . . .

A Superseding Weekend At Benny's
From the Beachwood Bucktown Bureau.

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Remembering Roky Erickson
From the Beachwood vault, plus Kot and DeRogatis.

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It's Getting Worse: The IRS Now Audits Poor Americans At About The Same Rate As The Top 1%
Poor taxpayers continue to bear the brunt of the IRS's force. For example, Americans who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the country's largest anti-poverty programs, are audited at a higher rate than all but the richest taxpayers.

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Rethinking Run Differential
When the numbers don't add up. In The White Sox Report.

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Endless War
The event at the Hairpin Arts Center features the My Lai Memorial Exhibit, by Chicago Veterans for Peace, depicting the brutal massacre by U.S soldiers in 1968 of more than 500 Vietnamese in their home village as a lens to confront the horror of war for those civilians caught on the other side of American firepower both in Vietnam and in our endless wars in the past 50 years, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

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ChicagoReddit

Moved into McKinley Park about a week ago for an internship... today a couple dudes came by and set this sign up at the corner of where I'm living. A week ago, I was just some guy from the suburbs of Detroit. Now I am the man who lives at the center of the greatest city in America from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"From Cayenne to Chicago" - Gunzy

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BeachBook

Paper-And-Pencil LSAT Ends Its Run.

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Facebook Flashback.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Take me home.



Permalink

Posted on June 3, 2019


MUSIC - Pitchfork Highlights.
TV - Breaking: Trump Still Racist.
POLITICS - Trump & Hitler.
SPORTS - Cubs, Sox At Pivot Points.

BOOKS - Smokey The Controversial Bear.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Tube Packaging Market On Fire.


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