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Illinois Rising

Illinois' Lesser Known Bill Backlog

There is no question Illinois' crippling pension debt is the state's biggest hinderance. But Illinois' broken pension systems aren't the only debts weighing the state down. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski discuss Illinois' other unpaid bill backlog: state retiree health insurance benefits. They also talk to an incoming state lawmaker about why he is rejecting his legislative pension, and they discuss Chicago Mayoral candidate Bill Daley's plan for a city commuter tax.

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Chicago's Closed Network

Illinois' political and business leaders rarely change. How does that affect the state – and in particularly the city of Chicago – from a national perspective? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Illinois Policy Marketing Manager Eric Kohn discuss the political and policy implications from the state being closed off to new leaders, new ideas and innovation. Proft and Kohn get analysis from angel investor Jeff Carter, and Wirepoints' Mark Glennon to discuss the state's several municipal pension crises. Proft and Kohn also discuss the death threats one Illinois lawmaker made against another's family on the statehouse floor – to not enough outrage.

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Is The Mob Mentality Coming To Local Politics?

Whether it was protests outside Tucker Carlson's home or accosting Ted Cruz and his wife inside a restaurant, stories about mob-like behavior have dominated national headlines. Are those tactics and rhetoric unfortunately coming to local politics too? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Joe Kaiser talk to a Hinsdale activist who – after winning his fight for lower property taxes – has been met with charged, personal attacks. Proft and Kaiser also discuss recent developments in the Chicago mayoral race and leadership in Springfield.

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Recapping the 2018 Election

Republicans fell back into the superminority in the Illinois Statehouse after the Nov. 6 elections. Mike Madigan now has more control. J.B. Pritzker has the governor's mansion. What went wrong? And what can taxpayers do to pushback? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Brian Timpone discuss what Illinois Republicans missed this election season, and what they must do differently moving forward. State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, and state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, offer their insights as well.

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Statehouse Closing Arguments

Time is ticking to the Nov. 6 elections. Madigan's Democrats are depending on smear campaigns and character assassinations to try to win House seats. But conservative reformers have a different argument: Lower property taxes to save your home. On this edition of Illinois Rising, hear closing arguments from three reform-minded candidates for state representative in suburban Chicago, and their campaigns to clean up Springfield and rescue Illinoisans from confiscatory property taxes. Dan Proft also gives his final thoughts on the election and what it will mean for Illinois going forward.

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Math Is Not An Opinion

Illinois municipalities are seeing the results of broken pension funds in real time. And it's not just struggling cities either – even North Shore communities like Evanston are feeling the pinch. When will politicians wake up to the realities in front of them? On this installment of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Illinois Policy Marketing Manager Eric Kohn discuss the financial realities Illinois politicians refuse to confront and the prospects that might only get worse after the election. They also discuss the Illinois Republican Party's refusal to compete in what could be competitive elections across the state.

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The Madigan Machine vs. Conservative Reformers

Madigan-financed smears against reform lawmakers are hitting mailboxes and airwaves. But even though they lack truth and substance, will they influence voters with just a few weeks to go before election day? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Brian Timpone discuss how these attacks are being funded, what their aim is and how conservative reformers can fight back. Proft and Timpone also discuss the new discrimination allegations against gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker.

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Escaping Illinois' Property Taxes

Illinois' high property taxes are crushing middle and lower income earners. But the problem is even creeping into affluent areas, too, and more and more homeowners are looking for an exit and seeing their home values destroyed – like, say, NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints' President Ted Dabrowski discuss how the state's high property taxes are affecting all homeowners – rich, poor, middle class, famous and not. And they discuss the political status quo that wants to keep it this way.

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Buying The Illinois House

Political rhetoric nationally is heated, divisive and becoming personal. But it's happening locally, too – from the vandalism of a Republican Party office in Rockford to a state senator accosting a constituent in the north shore. Why is it getting to that point? On this installment of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Illinois Policy writer Joe Kaiser discuss intensifying political rhetoric and how it doesn't get to the core of policy issues. They also discuss the continued distorted political attacks from House Speaker Mike Madigan's political operation, lying about conservative reform candidates' records.

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Following The Money In Illinois Politics

AFSCME, Illinois' largest public sector union, just donated $767,000 to House Speaker Mike Madigan – money that Madigan will be ready to disperse to Democratic legislative candidates across the state. And in turn, if elected, those candidates will vote for him as Speaker. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes break down how that special interest money has made Democrat lawmakers obey Madigan's every word. They also discuss the results of a new statewide poll showing that more than half of current Illinoisans are considering leaving the state, and that Gov. Bruce Rauner's re-election chances are slim to none.

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Conservative Reformers Push Back Against Madigan

Mike Madigan is once again pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into legislative races in support of Democrats, paying for false attacks on Republican opponents. But this time, a group of conservative reformers – including both sitting stat reps and new candidates – are fighting back. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes hear from state Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard and one of the conservative reform leaders in Springfield, about how he and a coalition of lawmakers and candidates are standing up Madigan's deceitful campaign tactics. Proft and Hughes also tackle some of the most pressing new issues in the city of Chicago, including the disastrous Chicago firefighters' pension fund and the entrance of Bill Daley in the mayoral race.

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Breaking Down The Chicago Mayoral Field

The Chicago mayoral field is taking form. Toni Preckwinkle and Bill Daley are in. Luis Gutierrez is out. And of course, numerous other candidates are still making a push. But does anyone offer a new vision for Chicago? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes ask that question, and break down the field with expert analysis from longtime Chicago political reporter Charles Thomas. Proft and Hughes also take a look at a particular suburban legislative race where Mike Madigan is pouring tons of campaign cash. And they discuss how Illinois' out-of-control property taxes are hurting even the state's biggest companies.

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What Comes After Tiny Dancer?

After a disastrous seven years in office, Rahm Emanuel stunned the Chicago political world when he announced he wasn't going to run for re-election. But looking ahead now, what – and who – is next for the city? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes take a prospective look at the Chicago mayoral race, from both political and policy perspectives. They also reflect on Emanuel's damaging two terms, and how other politicians are reacting to his departure.

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A Challenge To Lawmakers: Reject Your Pension

Generous pensions and salaries encourage Illinois lawmakers to become career politicians at the expense of taxpayers. But a group of conservative reformers are now challenging candidates and lawmakers to set an example and reject their unaffordable pension. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), one of the leaders of the movement, about why it's important more representatives take this step. Proft and Hughes also talk about bad examples lawmakers set, as State Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) somehow avoids paying the extravagant property taxes his constituents pay. And with state and local election season continuing to ramp up, they look at some key fundraising numbers and potential political influencers down the road, including the Jason Van Dyke trial.

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How Madigan's Money Lies To Voters

House Speaker Mike Madigan has already poured more than $1 million dollars into legislative races this year in support of Democratic candidates and lawmakers. That money is being used to spread falsehoods and defend the status quo, but some conservative reformers are fighting back against the lies. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to state Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and state rep candidate Tonia Khouri about how they are fighting the Democrats' false narratives this November and in the future. Proft and Hughes also offer election forecasting for the governor's race and the Chicago mayoral race.

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How Illinois Has Become An Outlier In The Midwest

In recent years, thousands of Illinoisans have fled to the state's midwestern neighbors – states that have implemented the necessary reforms to be competitive. How and why does Illinois lag behind? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft is joined by Hillsdale Journalism Instructor Scot Bertram, a former Illinoisan and current Michigander, to talk about the differences between said two states, and how Illinois is falling behind. Proft and Bertram also discuss the taxpayer boondoggle that is the Obama Center, with commentary from Wirepoints Executive Editor Mark Glennon. And they discuss the widespread issue of pension spiking in Illinois, as well as Chicago's new potential regulations on Uber and Lyft.

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Connecting The Dots Between Pensions And Property Taxes

Illinois homeowners face some of the highest property taxes in the nation. What's driving them to unaffordable levels? An unaffordable pension system. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski discuss the soaring property taxes in the collar counties and the extravagant pension payments behind them. They also discuss the uptick in violence in Chicago and what could be done to curb it.

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Springfield's Bipartisan Void Of Ethics

More and more of Springfield's culture of harassment and indecency are being exposed, most recently with a scandal surrounding a now-former Republican state rep. What steps should be done to clean up the culture? Can they be done? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk about the issue with state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, who has led on the issue of changing the culture in Springfield. They also talk to state rep candidate Dwight Kay on how he plans to provide property tax relief to homeowners in his district and statewide if elected. Proft and Hughes also discuss the very same property tax issue in Kane County, where homeowners are saddled with paying for exorbitant and unsustainable pension promises.

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How Much Are IL Taxpayers On The Hook For This Year?

In 2018, every congressional district in every state across the country will see a tax cut thanks to tax reform at the federal level. But policy choices by state and local politicians could offer an opposite reality for taxpayers in Illinois. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes discuss federal tax reform and Illinois' confiscatory property taxes with analysis from Heritage Foundation Policy Analyst Adam Michel and Illinois state representative candidate Ken Idstein. Proft and Hughes also discuss the busy week in Chicago politics, which included controversy with Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, as well as new plans for another march against gun violence.

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Which Issues Will Drive IL Voters To The Polls?

With just months to go before the 2018 midterm elections – and a Chicago mayoral election shortly thereafter in 2019 – campaign season is in full swing across Illinois. Where do things stand for Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker? For Rahm Emanuel? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Member Kristen McQueary break down how several policy issues could impact the governor's race in November as well as the Chicago mayoral election in February. Chief among them: Rauner's betrayal of social conservatives on publicly-funded abortion, the health of city and state pensions and the ever-increasing property tax burden Illinoisans face.

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