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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday accused Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration of 'walking away from the children of the city of Chicago' by making it harder for low-income families to qualify for inexpensive child care, while announcing he had set aside $9 million to keep the service in place for some of the kids," the Tribune reports.

"Rauner aides put in place new rules this summer that mean many families that used to be eligible for the state-subsidized Child Care Assistance Program no longer are. It was one of numerous cuts the Rauner administration said it made given the lack of a state budget amid the Springfield stalemate.

"Emanuel estimated the change affects about 9,000 children in Chicago, roughly 90 percent of those who used to qualify. The mayor said his administration had 'scraped together' $9 million to keep child care programs running for 5,000 kids who lost their eligibility, but called on Rauner to reconsider the new standards."

Grown men playing games with children.

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The problem with Rauner is obvious: He hates unions more than he loves the children of the state he governs. The cause of the budget stalemate isn't an inability to put together a budget with the Democrats who control the General Assembly, but his insistence that the budget include his raft of non-budget anti-labor measures. He refuses to disengage the two. Children suffer.

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The problem with Rahm, in this case, is a little less obvious: How did he manage to "scrape together" $9 million? I'm glad he did, but that's three times the amount of purported savings he supposedly achieved from closing half the city's mental health clinics. There is also the obvious point that Rauner is acting no differently than Rahm when it comes to budget priorities that hurt the most vulnerable first instead of last. You kind of want to say to Rahm, "Now you know how it feels." Except he doesn't, because all he feels is a political problem. His kids, like Rauner's, are safe.

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"The $9 million will be incorporated in Emanuel's 2016 city budget, which he will present Sept. 22."

Which, by the way, is likely already written if it is to be presented in 20 days, illustrating yet again why this week's public budget hearings are nothing but a PR exercise.

But still, the $9 million has to come from somewhere.

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"Early in his first term, Emanuel made a three-year $36 million investment in early learning programming through the city budget," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

"The city had planned to scale back its funding commitment to $6.6 million next year, which it had expected to accomplish without reducing services because of new funding sources, including some federal grants it has received."

So the $9 million comes from cuts the city was going to make in lieu of federal grants it hadn't before received, as well as "new funding sources?" I'm glad for that, but I'd sure like to see the legerdemain. And, certainly, the city could do better.

"Emanuel proposes to keep funding for prekindergarten programming at $15 million, directing the difference to providers in high-need areas that might be in danger of closing because of the state cuts. I'm glad there's somebody out there who recognizes this is important."

Knowing what I know about Emanuel, his track record and what people tell me privately, I don't believe for a second he's "somebody out there who recognizes this is important." It doesn't square. What he does recognize, though, is that he'll take the blame for anything disastrous that happens to kids who would otherwise be in child care because he's the mayor. I have been assured numerous times from people in a position to know that Rahm sees everything through a political prism. I know it's hard for some people to believe that, but the man's heart is cold as a meat locker.

"When I asked him whether he thought Rauner was aware of the ramifications of his changes before he put them in place, Emanuel said he didn't know whether it was intentional on the governor's part or the work of his advisers," writes Brown, who was granted a telephone interview with the mayor.

But he quickly added: "He owns it. That's what I do know."

The same never seems to be true when it comes to Rahm and his cuts.

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"Statewide, the program serves about 90,000 families," Bonnie Miller Rubin wrote for the Tribune last month.

"Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration said the overhaul was necessary because there simply is not enough money to pay the bills. Since the revisions went into effect, 885 children have been rejected for subsidies, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services, which administers the program.

Given the current fiscal crisis, the state faces tough choices, Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said. "The governor's turnaround agenda would create more jobs and free up resources inside government so more can be spent on the most vulnerable."

So the idea is to pay workers less and use that savings to increase subsidies to their children's child care?

Catherine Kelly, you are August 5th's Worst Person In Illinois.

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"Rauner asked for cuts to the child care program when he submitted his budget proposal in February. Democrats instead sent him a spending plan without the cuts. Rauner vetoed it, and his administration has pushed the cuts through on its own."

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"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has ousted the head of Illinois' child care program less than a week after the veteran administrator said publicly that the new governor's cuts to child care assistance would be 'devastating' to working families and hurt the economy," the Tribune reported about two weeks after Miller Rubin's article.

"Linda Saterfield, the state's child care administrator since 1998 who has worked for Republican and Democratic governors, was removed from her role as associate director for the Office of Early Childhood and reassigned to oversee a different office within the Department of Human Services, according to a memo she sent to co-workers Monday.

"Department spokeswoman Veronica Vera said Wednesday that the decision to reassign Saterfield came from Human Services Secretary James Dimas, who 'transferred Linda for internal personnel reasons.' Vera denied the move was because of Saterfield's remarks about Rauner's cuts."

Nobody believes that, and I'm not aware of the Rauner administration asking for corrections from every media outlet that put two and two together.

Last week, Saterfield appeared on behalf of the Rauner administration at a hearing on the governor's cuts to the child care program.

While the state is operating without a budget, the administration has used its authority to raise copays and set tougher income requirements for new applicants to save money. Advocates for child care providers and applicants tried to have the new rules overturned by a committee of lawmakers, who summoned Saterfield to be quizzed about the impact of the cuts.

Saterfield said Rauner's new rules had led to the denial of more than 1,100 applicants who had tried to join the subsidized child care program. Asked if her office had studied the impact of those denials on families or the economy, Saterfield replied: "Yes, devastating."

Saterfield said it's possible that some people who were rejected would have to quit their jobs as a result. When asked what impact the denials would have on the state's economy, Saterfield said: "For every dollar that we invest, we save seven. So I think the economic impact is pretty significant."

That sounds like a better deal than what Rauner is offering.

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"The bipartisan committee failed to reach the three-fifths vote needed to overturn Rauner's rules.

"Days after her testimony, Saterfield was reassigned to the Department of Human Services' Office of Adult Services and Basic Support, where she will be associate director, the same title she held at the early childhood office. The move is not a demotion, and Saterfield's salary will remain the same, Vera said.

"In her memo to co-workers, Saterfield said she had been notified that the department is 'taking a new direction with leadership for child care.'"

Saterfield ended up retiring instead of accepting her new assignment.

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You know who Rauner hasn't had reassigned? His wife.

"Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking heat from all over for his budget proposal - including from his wife," Shia Kapos reported for Crain's back in February, when the issue first surfaced.

The Ounce of Prevention Fund, an early-childhood nonprofit headed by first lady of Illinois Diana Rauner, issued statements to the media and supporters this week criticizing cuts proposed by the governor that target the state's Child Care Assistance Program and Early Intervention programs.

A statement to the media reads, "We are opposed to the many proposed cuts in health, social service and education programs that would directly impact vulnerable children and families and their communities. We will oppose any changes to the Child Care Assistance Program that would adversely affect low-income families."

Maybe to keep the peace at home, the letter also offers a warm fuzzy, saying, "We were pleased to hear the governor and General Assembly are close to resolving the FY2015 budget deficit for the Child Care Assistance Program." And it reiterates, "Care for children will be severely compromised without immediate action."

Last week, after the Ounce issued a new "alert" about the cuts, Mary Mitchell wrote for the Sun-Times:

But don't think this is a real Rauner vs. Rauner showdown.

As president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, part of Diana Rauner's job is to keep the organization focused on its mission of supporting early learning programs for at-risk children.

Right now, that mission is being threatened by her husband's budget ax, but you don't see Diana Rauner out front on this issue.

I'm not so sure about that - here's Diana discussing the cuts with Bruce last week over beers:

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Neo's Last Dance
A look back - and ahead.

Fantasy Fix
Snap Up The Backup.

The Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival
Sheep shows, shearing demos and fibers arts.

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BeachBook

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She grew up in suburban Chicago.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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The world is a propaganda battlefield.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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Rachel Maddow is the biggest $7 million a year poser going. As Jon Stewart would say, stop hurting America.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Seemingly related:

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And equally close to Milwaukee.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Play offense.



Permalink

Posted on September 2, 2015


MUSIC - Blues Fest 2017.
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POLITICS - Psychopath CEOs Destroy Value.
SPORTS - Why Todd Frazier Should Lead Off.

BOOKS - The Fresh Air Fund's Complicated Racial Record.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Great Lakes Have Tsunamis.


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