This week began with the good news that the Illinois legislature had finally reached a (somewhat) bipartisan moment, putting the people of Illinois ahead of the Springfield power games that have been going on for two long years.
The state senate's veto-proof passage of a budget appears to have saved Illinois from the calamity of being downgraded to junk bond status by S&P and Moody's credit rating services. According to Moody's, the downgrade was only days away - and I haven't heard any credible argument that this prediction wasn't true. Such a downgrade would have meant disastrously high interest rates for any future borrowing by our already debt-ravaged state. Something resembling bankruptcy would have become a much more likely possibility for Illinois. Time had run out.
Almost every observer knows, in honesty, that the two-year struggle to reach a budget agreement was continually sabotaged by ideological differences, personal politics and fragile egos. But, attempting to place 100% of the blame for the mess we're now in on any individual or party is at this point not only unproductive, but inaccurate. - Although, I would say that the clearly personal agenda of Governor Rauner to enhance his national Republican credentials at the expense of Illinois' most vulnerable citizens is reprehensible.
However, this didn't start with Rauner. For instance, at the beginning of 2015, our Democratic controlled legislature allowed the state's much-needed temporary 5% income tax rate to expire. Because of the years (actually decades) of mismanagement of the state's retirement funds, we were already in a big budgeting hole. By not extending the 5% rate, overnight the personal income tax revenues projected for budget planning dropped by 25%! The legislative leaders knew this would harm people. So did the newly enthroned Governor Rauner. He could have put the state's solvency first by immediately extending the 5% rate while initiating bipartisan budget discussions. - Instead our state has spent the past two years moving backwards, away from the potential gains that could have been.
But long before 2015, our present financial mess was underway with growing state employee pension funding shortfalls caused by bad decisions of political leaders from both parties. And here's a piece of history affecting us today that I didn't know about until last week when I read the July 4 Sun Times. A Sun Times columnist, Phil Kadner, revisited events that occurred in Springfield in 1997. The state's governor was Republican Jim Edgar. By today's standards I guess he'd be considered a moderate. If for no other reason than on occasion he was willing to work in a bipartisan way for the good of the state. What a concept!
Anyway, the Governor won his office in 1994 by defeating Dawn Clark Netsch - an exceptionally smart, energetic, principled state legislator who would have been a terrific governor. I knocked on doors for her. As she campaigned, she spoke out about her strong belief that Illinois' constitution declared the state had the "primary responsibility" for funding public education -- but it wasn't doing its job, and never had. She said Illinois needed to increase income taxes, both individual and corporate, so we could increase school funding. This would in turn allow us to lower property taxes. I remember how Governor Edgar belittled her campaign proposal. Then, after he defeated Dawn, he quickly adopted the position she had established.
Edgar proposed reforming our school funding and property tax system and pushed hard to line up votes on both sides of the aisle. As columnist Kadner remembers it, Governor Edgar had the assurances of Republican Senate President Pate Phillip that the votes were all lined up. Then, surprise! A freshman state senator, Christine Radogno (ironic eh?), voted against it and Jim Edgar's bid to reform our state's school funding and the property tax system died. Kadner stated his skepticism than no freshman legislator would vote against a powerful, old-school politician like Phillip unless he told her to. -- I'm skeptical too.
So why am I rehashing the history behind Illinois' continuing financial problems. Because, as you can see, none of the problems we're now facing were inevitable or are now unsolvable. Our state has been blessed with unique geographic advantages, deep and diverse human resources and is home to highly successful business and educational institutions.
I have no doubt that Illinois can regain its footing and reach new heights of success. The crisis of operating without a state budget has been averted. Now I'm hoping that this "near death experience" will wake up all the players involved and they will begin working together in a sincere search for what's best for the millions of us living in every part of Illinois. We can't let things get so far out of control ever again.
NTDO member since 1973
Future discussions and proposal can't just be about new revenue. How our taxes are spent must also be discussed publicly, seriously and continuously. For example, there definitely are wasteful situations among the 7000+ government units in Illinois ripe for reform. Our legislators have tried to address this with committee hearings but each attempt has been met with NIMBY reactions. At this point, I believe the Governor should be urged to appoint a committee of respected and independent leaders and organizational experts from every corner of the state. This committee should take a hard, unbiased look at which of those 7000 units might be combined or eliminated. If we continue to avoid facing difficult realities we will never come close to reaching our potential.
To renew your NTD membership or to become an official member of the New Trier Dems for the first time
. You'll see information on all you membership options.
There is an education bill in the Illinois Senate, SB1,
that uses an evidence-based model to make funding fair for those that have been left behind, while making sure no school district loses money. This responsible solution enjoys support from nearly 150 superintendents and school districts across the state. To learn more about this worthwhile legislation click here.
The Winnetka Sidewalk Sale is this weekend!
Friday July 14 and Saturday July 15
Stop by the NTD table and say hello.
The Wilmette Sidewalk Sale is
Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23
We still need a few volunteers
for our Wilmette NTD table.
Can you help?
This is a pleasant way for a dedicated liberal to spend two hours on a nice summer day. There's a straw poll to attract passersby (Trump's name is mentioned) and a table laden with useful information for residents. You'll have interesting conversations with table visitors and there may by a few declared candidates stopping by too. Each summer our NTD table underscores the active presence of Democrats on the North Shore. This is important. Come be a part of it.
these time slots need one or two volunteers:
Saturday, July 22 -- 11am to1pm, 1pm to 3pm, 3pm to 5pm
Sunday, July 23 -- 9am to 11am, 3pm to 5pm
To volunteer for a time slot(s), contact Judy Mandel here.
, July 17
It's the ANNUAL NTDO MEET AND GREET
at AVLI ESTIATORIO
566 Chestnut, Winnetka,
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Delicious Greek nibbles, refreshing drinks
and lots of liberal conversation
with fellow Democrats,
office holders and candidates.
Don't miss this event!
Upcoming events and news items:
Wednesday, July 19 -
The Tenth Dems Candidate Appreciate Event
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, time to be announced.
SAVE THE DATE
Location in Tenth District to be announced
Tenth Dems hosts an event honoring those who put themselves forward to run in the April local elections. Keynote speaker will be Jason Kander who was named one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party by President Obama. He was a U.S. Senate candidate in 2016 after serving as Missouri's Secretary of State, a state legislator, and an Army National Guard intelligence officer.
Details to follow.
Thursday, July 20 at Arlington Park - A "Day at the Races" for
State Sen. Julie Morrison with Special Guest John Cullerton
Thursday, July 20, 2017. Suite opens at 12:30pm, racing begins at 1:25pm
Arlington Park, John Henry Suite, 2200 West Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights
Come out to Arlington Park and enjoy this annual event with State Senator Julie Morrison and Senate President John Cullerton.
For additional information or to RSVP, register online or by email. Or call 312-630-7700.
Have you visited Senator Biss' website "The Road Back" --
click on the link to his video -- then, throughout the summer follow his plan's development on the website.
Daniel explains a lot about how Illinois got where it is today and how we can begin the journey on the road back toward achieving our state's tremendous economic potential.
FYI: The NTDO Events Calendar
for the rest of 2017
June 23-24 GLENCOE SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Glencoe
July 14 -15
WINNETKA SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Winnetka
July 17 ANNUAL MEET AND GREET at AVLI ESTIATORIO
566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
July 22 -23 WILMETTE SIDEWALK SALE
9am-5pm Downtown Wilmette
Sept. 10 NTDO ANNUAL MEETING AND PICNIC
Lake View Room and Beach Pavilion 1 pm - 4 pm
Oct. 8 2017 NTDO ANNUAL DINNER
Maggiano's Old Orchard, Skokie, 5 pm-9 pm
Nov. (Date & Place TBA)
"HEAD START FOR 2018" CONFERENCE
All North Shore Democrats Invited
An excerpt from a Letter sent to Chicago media
by NTD member Jim Griffith:
"....Last month, 15 Republican House members had had enough and voted with the House Democrats for an income tax increase, back, roughly, to the 5% level where it had been three years earlier. Rauner's veto was overridden by both houses with some Senate and 15 House Republicans voting to override.
Both chambers, in early July, passed a budget which was promptly vetoed (again, without use of the governor's line item veto). On July 6, Senate and House overrode that veto including ten principled Republican members of the House.
The budget began a flow of funds to pay the State's overdue bills, to aid the poor, to whittle away at our pension debt, and to snatch several state colleges from the brink of bankruptcy.
A scorecard on the major players:
Senate: high marks to President Cullerton and Minority Leader Radogno and the senators as a group who worked to hammer out a workable compromise, including many of the modifications sought by the Governor. No high marks to Senators Julie Morrison and Tom Cullerton (not to be confused with the Senate President) of the same surname) who failed to vote for the tax increase.
House: Speaker Madigan, who two years ago looked like one of the bad guys, held his cards close to his chest and, along with President Cullerton, succeeded in achieving a viable budget and a long-needed tax increase to fund it. I reluctantly say, "Well done."
Also, high marks go to ten Republican Representatives who put their State ahead of their party: Representatives Andersson, Bryant, Fortner, Hammond, D. Harrris, Hayes, Jiminez, R. Mitchell, Phillips, and Unes.
Governor Rauner who attempted to use budget approval as a cudgel for a number of reforms, some good, some bad. He then utterly refused to compromise with the two Democratic controlled chambers held by the opposing party. His dog-in-the-manger stance was especially apparent when he failed to use the line item veto used by prior governors, Republican and Democrat alike. His is the primary responsibility for our 736 days without a budget.
The guest speaker for the October 8, 2017 NTD Annual Dinner has been confirmed.
It's Congressman Mike Quigley.
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Quigley will bring his perspective on the possible Russian meddling in our 2016 Election and the seriousness of such a threat to our democratic process. (Were any Trump operatives involved?) -- By October, who knows what our guest speaker may have to report?
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
You'll be hearing a lot from these exceptional public servants. --
And they want to be hearing a lot from you.
The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
If you are not already an NTDO member, and enjoy our Newsletter, we hope you consider joining us as a dues-paying member. NTDO is a not-for-profit political action organization. We depend on our membership dues to support our Democratic causes and candidates.
There are two options for dues payments: by check or credit card.
By Check: Make check payable to NTDO and mail to our office:
800 Oak St., Suite 112
Winnetka, IL 60093
By Credit Card: visit our website by clicking here
Click on the "Join/Contribute" button
Find the link for "contribute with ActBlue"
or go directly to ActBlue by clicking here.
|Still not a member of the New Trier Dems? Your participation in grassroots political action will make a difference. -- Come join us.
When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process; participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain free admission to select forums and events throughout the year.
Come be a part of New Trier's grassroots political community.
The New Trier Democratic Organization is made up of hundreds of grassroots volunteers dedicated to advancing progressive ideals through the political process. We welcome your participation.
Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township
We are located at 800 Oak Street, Suite 112, in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
*This Internet communication paid for by the New Trier Democratic Organization and not authorized by any federal or state candidate or campaign committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available for purchase from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.