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Jack Franks
Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Fri Nov 2, 2012

After The Illinois House Expelled Smith, Lawmakers Have Looked The Other Way During His Campaign

The Illinois state legislature does not hold summer sessions, but this year longtime Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, took the extraordinary step of bringing the Illinois House together for one day.

Madigan’s reason was to vote on expelling Derrick Smith, a West Side Chicago Democrat federally indicted for bribery. House members voted on August 17 100-6 to kick Smith out, the upper chamber’s first expulsion since 1905.

Madigan appeared to send the message that the state now took a zero tolerance approach to corruption, even when the subject in question was not proven guilty.

Today, Smith is favored to win election on Tuesday for the 10th district seat he lost in disgrace. And Madigan, along with some other powerful Land of Lincoln politicos, have done nothing to stop him. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Mon Jul 30, 2012

Motorola Mobility Making Moves And Ruffling Feathers

In a June 2011 article, Gov. Pat Quinn told the Chicago Tribune why the state rewarded a tax credit to Motorola Mobility worth more than $100 million over ten years. “They told us that they were going to maintain 3,000 employees at their site in Libertyville and we believed them,” Quinn said.

To the chagrin of Libertyville, the company announced Thursday those jobs will be shifted to the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago. The Quinn administration confirmed that Motorola Mobility keeps its tax credit.

In Motorola Mobility's defense, the point of the tax credit was to keep the company in Illinois, not Libertyville. But why did Motorola Mobility get a tax deal in the first place? It is not clear how credible their threat ever was to move from Illinois. Also, Motorola Mobility needs taxpayer help less than ever as Google officially purchased the company in May. Talks of a Google acquisition were first publicly announced last August, soon after the tax break started. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Mon Jul 9, 2012

State Tax Credit Program To Become More Transparent

Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Friday legislation that makes Illinois disclose the terms of most of its major corporate tax breaks on a state Web site.

But the law only makes the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, tax credit program more transparent. It does not reform a somewhat convoluted tax credit program one watchdog assailed as “corporate blackmail.” Read more »