2

Jun

2019

Illinois Senate approves legalizing sports betting, gambling expansion and funding for nearly $45 billion capital construction plan

Author: Editor

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session Sunday and delivered first-term Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “think big” agenda as the Senate voted to raise motorists’ taxes and fees and embark upon a massive statewide gambling expansion that included a Chicago casino and legalized sports betting to pay for new roads, bridges and public buildings.

The new governor took to the floor of the Senate as the chamber concluded its work, with Democratic Senate President John Cullerton saying that lawmakers and the public would have “all summer to thank and pay tribute to him” as he signs into law various portions of his agenda. That included legalizing recreational marijuana, endorsing a sweeping abortion-rights bill and lawmakers putting a measure on the 2020 ballot asking voters to amend the state constitution to allow for a graduated-rate income tax to replace the mandated flat-rate tax. Lawmakers also reached a bipartisan agreement on a $40 billion state spending plan that legislators in both parties said was balanced.

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.

 

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Categories: State Issues

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18

May

2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker set to unveil $41.5 billion ‘Rebuild Illinois’ capital plan that includes $1.8 billion in new and increased taxes

Author: Editor

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to unveil a six-year, $41.5 billion plan to repair Illinois’ crumbling roads, bridges, public schools and university buildings in a massive proposal that calls for nearly $1.8 billion in new taxes and tax increases, according to documents provided to lawmakers at a Friday briefing.

Dubbed Rebuild Illinois, it would be the state’s first large-scale infrastructure improvement program in a decade and would result in higher costs for everything from ride-sharing to cable and streaming services, as well as a significant hike at the gas pump.

The long-awaited proposal, which comes as lawmakers are working to finalize the state budget before their schedule May 31 adjournment, received a lukewarm response from some of the governor’s fellow Democrats and pushback from some Republicans. The preliminary drafts distributed Friday follow behind-the-scenes negotiations with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Changes are expected even before Pritzker makes a formal announcement next week.

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Categories: State Issues

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11

May

2014

The Real Vote Fraud

Author: Editor

Many years ago, as a college Republican, I spent one summer in Austin working for a candidate in a special election for the Texas senate. My hometown was a liberal enclave with many college students -- unwashed, longhaired, pot-smoking students, it seemed to me -- who were predominantly Democrats. The more students who came out to vote the less likely our candidate was to win.

But our campaign strategists came up with a plan. They sent mailings to all the registered voters in precincts near the campus. Many cards came back because the addressee had moved, as college students often do. Voters no longer at the address on file with election authorities were not eligible to vote.

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