On his seven-stop flyaround earlier this week, Gov. Pat Quinn tried
to portray GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady as anti-labor. He's got
a lot of ammunition. Brady wants to freeze the state's minimum wage rate and offer new employees 401Ks instead of pensions. The Republican even says that he finds right-to-work laws "intriguing." And during the Tribune's
gubernatorial debate two weeks ago, the state senator actually claimed
that public sector unions are "bankrupting the state." Watch it below (the
full video is available here. Excuse this clip's quality):
exactly, are public sector unions bankrupting Illinois, Mr. Brady? Are
they overpaid? After adjusting for information like education and
show that state employees actually make less than their private sector
counterparts. Are their retirement packages too gaudy? Illinois'
current level of benefits are modest and in line with other states in the region. And just this spring, public sector unions swallowed a "pension reform" package that slashes benefits for future workers.
primary reason the state’s pension system is so out of whack is that
state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle (including Sen. Brady)
have skimped on payments for decades instead of reforming the tax
system to raise adequate revenue. We shouldn't let pols like Brady turn
public sector workers (or their "union bosses") into budget scapegoats.
On the campaign trail in Charleston yesterday, GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady touted an idea that his Republican colleagues in the General Assembly have championed all year: a "forensic audit"
of state government. The catchy-sounding approach to budgeting taps
into the zeitgeist of the times; to root out "waste and fraud," Brady
wants the state's Auditor General to review every state spending bill,
government hire, and government contract approved over the last nine
years. Republicans in both the Illinois House and Senate backed
resolutions along these lines in the spring.
just one problem with the forensic audit. It might cost more money than
it saves. William Holland, the state's auditor general, testified
against the resolutions this spring. He said a such a measure, which
presupposes that every transaction is shady until proven clean, would
force his office to review 135 million transactions and 50,000
contracts. As he told the assembled lawmakers, that would take "an
immense, gigantic, astronomical" amount of money and time to complete.
We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars. On top of that, the workload would cut into the time his office has to conduct its routine annual audits. "Now I would be going down two rails," he said. Listen below:
look on the bright side, though; the forensic audit might force the
state to hire more investigators. Maybe the GOP should sell it as a jobs plan ...
In an effort to attract female and moderate voters, State Sen. Bill Brady has eased up
on his social conservative rhetoric during this year's gubernatorial
campaign. While he did say he would push to implement the state's dormant parental notification law for teenage abortions, Brady went so far as to suggest yesterday that he would not overturn a civil unions bill if it passed during the General Assembly's fall veto session. "The legislature would have spoken," he told the Daily Herald editorial board.
That's all well and good. But the relevant question is whether Brady would veto the bill if it was passed on his watch. Launching a push to reverse the legislation after it has already passed is much different from
blocking it before it becomes law. More broadly, can we assume this
statement means Brady would not veto any bill that passed the General
Assembly, including an income tax increase? After all, if lawmakers
decided to boost revenue, they would have "spoken" on that issue, too.
If elected next month, will GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady look out for low-income borrowers or high-cost lenders?
last week, the Brady campaign filed several A-1 campaign finance
reports, which disclose recent contributions over $500. One of the larger donations,
at $25,000, came from an innocuous sounding organization named the
Consumer Lending Alliance. This group, based in Florida, is a payday
lending industry trade organization that has showered almost $1 million
on lawmakers across the country since 2003. Their primary target is Illinois, where
legislators have taken in roughly $400,000,
according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. House
Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and House Speaker Michael Madigan
(D-Chicago) are their two highest recipients nationwide, each bagging
over $30,000. In 2008, Brady accepted a $2,000 contribution from the
same group. Illinois Strategies LLC does their lobbying under the Capitol Dome.
Although the General Assembly passed a bill almost unanimously this spring that will close a major loophole in the state's 2005 Payday Loan Reform Act, a compromise
with several industry trade groups that Brady ultimately supported,
there's still a lot of work to be done to limit the excesses of payday
lenders and expand access
to responsible loan alternatives in Illinois. While Gov. Pat Quinn has
fought his entire career to safeguard consumers, this donation should
raise some red flags about whose interests Brady will ultimately
Yesterday, Illinois advocates for addressing climate change participated in a "global work party" coordinated by 350.org, a site whose name refers to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, in parts per million, that many scientists say is necessary to keep the earth's climate safe. In Arlington Heights, residents focused on biking and walking over driving cars. Students in Glen Ellyn were scheduled to clean up their school and a surrounding landscape. In Springfield, Gov. Pat Quinn ordered donated solar panels installed at the governor's mansion by union construction workers volunteering their labor.
Environmental concerns have been on the backburner during the governor's campaign, and given Illinois' grave fiscal challenges this isn't very surprising. But it's worth pointing out there are stark differences between Quinn and the GOP gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Bill Brady on the issue.
As regular readers of Progress Illinois may recall, Brady denied the hypothesis that human activities are causing climate change last year, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that confirms that link. Watch this video from a GOP debate last fall:
While a federal climate change bill is stalled in the Senate, many of the actions state leaders could take to address climate change, like a possible Midwestern cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gases, would likely have no chance for implementation in a Brady administration. Brady's jobs plan, meanwhile, offers credits for energy used by manufacturers, a policy that could reduce
the need for factory owners to conserve energy or switch to renewable energy