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AFSCME

The Logic Of The Anti-Choice Left

 

Many on the political left - who claim to support a woman's right to choose - are outraged over the recent SCOTUS decision in Janus v. AFSCME. The ruling gave women (and men) who work for the state the right to choose whether or not they associate with a labor union. So, what's the problem? Do Chicagoans Follow the Left's Logic? 

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The Supreme Court Rules For Worker Freedom

In a landmark decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Illinois state worker Mark Janus, protecting his free speech and the free speech of public sector workers across the country. What will the impact be for workers and taxpayers alike? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski discuss the Court’s decision with Janus’ lead attorney Jacob Huebert of the Liberty Justice Center. Proft and Dabrowski also talk about the economic impact the decision might have. And beyond the Janus case, they discuss the outrageous payments and benefits disgraced members of Mike Madigan’s inner circle are receiving despite sexual harassment allegations levied against them.

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Victory For Mark Janus

Have the historical implications of the Janus decision sunk in yet for state worker, Mark Janus? What led him to take up this fight in the first place? How can the unions claim to stand up for the middle class while advocating for tax increases? Mark Janus, the state worker who sued AFSCME over forced union dues and won his Supreme Court case yesterday, joins Dan and Amy with reaction to the SCOTUS decision.

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The Impact Of Janus Vs. AFSCME

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week on a case that could end the forced payment of union dues throughout the country. Now that arguments have been made both for worker freedom and for union bosses, how might the court rule? On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft, Pat Hughes and the Liberty Justice Center's Jacob Huebert explain the potential impact of Janus vs. AFSCME. Proft and Hughes also talk to filmmaker Eli Steele about his new film "How Jack Became Black" on race and identity politics.

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Janus Update After First Day Of Oral Arguments

Why is Gorsuch the only justice who hasn’t asked a single question? Did Justice Kennedy hit the nail on the head when he asked if unions will lose political power if Janus prevails in the case and the attorney representing the union answered “yes?” Rauner was in attendance, but why didn’t he file an amicus brief like other Republican governors? Staff attorney and labor expert for the Illinois Policy Institute, Mailee Smith joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

View full transcript


Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. We're coming to you live from Mueller CPA's in Elgin...Mueller, not Muller. Jacobson: Mueller, yes, Mueller. Like Bueller. Mueller. Proft: Yes. No relation to the Special Counsel, let me make that clear. Mueller CPAs is part of our AM850/Signature Bank Business Tour... Jacobson: At 7:37 we're going to have the managing partner! Proft: Yeah, Dave Nissen, we're gonna talk to. And uh...man, they put out a nice spread for us. Jacobson: I mean, really...I don't want to go home. Because we could have breakfast... Proft: This is how ya live. This is how civilized people live. Jacobson: You could have breakfast, lunch, and dinner here, really. And then you could have dinner drinks, because they have a Bloody Mary bar... Proft: Yeah! Jacobson: ...for you. Proft: This, I mean...CPAs know how to live. Jacobson: They do! And they know how to entertain. This whole conference is great, this whole thing is perfect. Proft: I bet. Yeah, it's all very nice, and then we'll go back to our miserable lives, at 9 o'clock. So yesterday, we talked to Pat Hughes from Liberty Justice Center, oral arguments underway shortly after our show, 10am Central Time, before the Supreme Court, all nine Justices, Janus v AFSCME. This is a followup to the Friedrichs case, that was deadlocked 4-4 after Justice Scalia's untimely passing. And this would, if the court rules in favor of Mark Janus, who is an Illinois state worker, works with the Department of Human Services, would end "Fair Share", would arguably...from one perspective...provide worker freedom, and would really decimate the political power and financial wherewithal of public sector unions. So it's a big case, and that's why you've seen all the national coverage, and it's really a case that germinated in Chicago, with the Illinois Policy Institute and the Liberty Justice Center, Pat Hughes the president of that, that we spoke to yesterday. Today, right now we speak with Mailee Smith, who is a staff attorney and labor expert for the aforesaid Illinois Policy Institute. Mailee, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Smith: Hi, thanks for having me! Proft: So, with respect to the oral arguments yesterday, you know it's always a dangerous business trying to read the questions and the facial expressions of Supreme Court Justices...but it was interesting to note that the gentleman that replaced Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, didn't ask a single question. He was the only Justice who said nothing throughout the duration of oral arguments. What did you make of that? Smith: Right. You know, I haven't had the opportunity yet to watch him in session, so I wasn't sure what to expect from him. But you know, I think probably staying silent was a good move because no one can latch on to what he said...if he didn't say it! They can't latch on and one side say "Oh, we're going to win!" and the other side say "Oh, they're going to lose!", or whatever the case may be. So I think it was probably just playing it safe and by staying silent, there isn't some kind of crazy media storm, guessing what he intended. Jacobson: Well, what were some of the questions asked by the other Justices? Smith: You know, the rest of the questions really went along the lines that we would have expected, and I thought that Kennedy was definitely one of the most interesting questioners...he pointed out several times the political nature of Union speech. He brought up the fact that, you know, they're advocating for a greater work force, for higher wages, for massive government. And he asked point-blank, "If you don't prevail in this case," to the Union's attorney, "If you don't prevail in this case, are the unions going to have less political influence?" And the attorney answered "Yes." And he says "Isn't that the end of this case? Meaning you just admitted that this is all about political power and you want that money for your political agenda" Proft: And so, they didn't advance the case, they...well, the argument that's often made in the context of political discussions, not so sure legal ones, but the idea that the people that want to opt out of the Union and "Fair Share" are still deriving benefits from the deal that the Union negotiated and so that's not fair. Smith: Umm, that was...that, that subject was discussed. I think the phrase "freerider" might have only come up one time, two times, but really I would say that a good part of the focus was that collective bargaining itself is inherently political. because you're talking about increased wages, higher taxes...all of that is a public concern, and that therefore makes it political. Umm...so the "freerider" argument did come up, but Justice Roberts also brought up the fact that the argument on the other side is the need to attract voluntary payment will make the unions more responsive. It will make them more efficient, more effective, more attractive to a broader group of people, and he said "What's wrong with that?" Umm, so, you know, the typical argument from those who appear to support the Union were made, but there was definitely pushback both ways. Proft: Well, yeah, and it's...so here's another thing too, and this is sort of like you being an Olympic commentator, you're trying to look for things to talk about in addition to the actual substantive legal arguments that we pored over...but one thing that was interesting since you brought Roberts up. His guest, yesterday? Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Smith: Right, yes I met her, right. Proft: And I don't know, you know, and again here we're trying to do the silly work of pundits and interpret something in that. But is there anything to the selection of guests and does that maybe portend where Roberts is coming from? I mean, Betsy DeVos is obviously a free marketeer when it comes to Education reform, and so ostensibly a K-12 education would be very different in a world with no "Fair Share" for the Teacher's Unions. Smith: Yeah, it was interesting...it was interesting to see her there, but I wouldn't venture to guess why she was picked. It could be that this was the day that worked out for her schedule, she was going to come someday, this day worked. You know, I don't think I would guess what...why she was there at that particular day. Jacobson: Well, speaking of guests, Governor Rauner was there, and according to the Sun-Times he launched this case, the Janus v. AFSCME. Is there any truth to that, or is that fake news? Smith: Well, Would he...he is the one who, you know...he had an executive order about this issue, he did file a case, but he was dismissed from the case very early on. Mark Janus was brought into the case by LJC, Liberty Justice Center, and they were...he was LJC's client, and they are the ones who have carried this case along with National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. So the Governor has been absent from this case pretty much from the very beginning. Proft: And he had an opportunity to participate with an amicus brief, other states did, he chose not to. Smith: That's right, right. And on the other hand, Lisa Madigan DID file a brief. Proft: Yes...for AFSCME, not for Janus! Smith: Right! Exactly. Jacobson: What side is Governor Rauner on? Because you never know. Proft: You never know. Here's the thing...well...speak to us a little bit about Mark Janus, i mean you know he has gotten a little bit of profile certainly in DC this week, but just as...he's a State of Illinois worker, a Human Services caseworker, I think from what I've seen of him, he has performed really admirably! He's performed very well under this kind of national press scrutiny on this case. Smith: Definitely! Right, definitely a lot of pressure. Mr. Janus, he's a Child Support Specialist with the State of Illinois, and you know, he loves his job. But he doesn't want to see...he doesn't want the unions to force him to support causes that he doesn't agree with. And that's really what the crux of this case is all about, it's about fairness and First Amendment freedoms. But for 40 years, government workers like Janus have been forced to make this decision; you either pay fees to the union or you lose your job. And it doesn't matter if they agree with the politics or the policies of the Union...they may not agree with the way that the Union is representing them, but they're still forced to pay these fees. And you're right, Mr. Janus has been an excellent face for this case, he's...he has definitely proven to be respected under pressure, and we look forward to seeing what this case does for him. Proft: All right, she is Mailee Smith, she is a staff attorney and labor policy expert for the Illinois Policy Institute. Mailee, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Smith: Thanks so much!

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Gov. Rauner Says He Is Optimistic Dems Will Revolt to Do a Budget Deal

"We’ve been in a cycle of financial mismanagement for decades. It has to stop."

Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Dan & Amy this morning to discuss the possibility of a state budget before time runs out in the legislative session and to discuss the possibility of agreeing on a new contract with AFSCME before his patience runs out.

View full transcript


Dan Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy, and so the governor and the General Assembly are on the clock. The possibility of getting a budget deal done before… Amy Jacobson: May 31st. Dan Proft: Yeah, before the end of the month, and the General Assembly adjourns. Boy, even liberals like Mark Brown – did you read Mark Brown in the Sun Times today? Listen to this: “As much as I disagree with major elements of Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, if there is a Democratic plan to restore Illinois’ economy, I have not heard it articulated clearly enough to communicate to others”. That is a profound statement, coming from someone as left as Mark Brown, and the reason he hasn’t heard it articulated is because there isn’t one. Governor Rauner issued basically a statement to say, “There’s still time, let’s get a deal done, we can come to terms”. Here’s what he had to say yesterday. Gov. Bruce Rauner: The question is will the democrats stand up and do the right thing together for reforms? Most of them are unwilling to say much publicly because they don’t want to get retribution. Dan Proft: Well, last week Madigan was unwilling to say some things publicly at a rally of 8000 public sector union members. Mike Madigan took to the podium, did his Tommy Smith John Carlos impersonation from the 68th Olympics, and said this: Mike Madigan: Tell me how you feel! Governor Rauners wants to change workers’ compensation. How do you feel? Governor Rauner wants to change collective bargaining. How do you feel? Governor Rauner wants to change the prevailing wage. How do you feel? Dan Proft: And it went on like that for another 30 seconds or so and then Madigan had to go have the apples that Steve Brown had cut up for him. But you get the point. It doesn’t seem that Madigan is particularly interested in trying to figure out a way forward and making a deal on the budget. For more on that we’re happy to be joined by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner now. Governor Rauner, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Good morning, Dan, good morning, Amy. How are you guys doing? Dan Proft: Good morning. So, I know that you are holding out the torch and you’re optimistic about the prospect of a deal yet before the end of the month, but when you hear what Speaker Madigan had to say last week at that rally, how does that impact your optimism? Gov. Bruce Rauner: The reason I’m cautiously optimistic is, while the Speaker may say things publicly that are contrary to getting a grand bargain and actually growing our economy and protecting taxpayers, members of his caucus, some democrats in the House are privately saying they’re sick of the status quo, they know we need reforms, they know we need to grow our economy, they know our property taxes are too high, they agree that the reforms that were recommended actually make sense and are reasonable, and they’re getting up the courage – they haven’t done it yet – but they’re getting up the courage to do the right thing and get a grand compromise and get a reform. So we’ve got a week to go. Amy Jacobson: But if they join together they should be so afraid of retribution from the party boss, Mike Madigan, right? Gov. Bruce Rauner: That’s right. It’s hard for only one or two to break away and do the right thing. That’s too easy for them to get attacked, but if they group, a meaningful sized enough group stands together – and I’ve heard some reports back that the group is becoming pretty sizeable – then the fear of retribution goes way down, and there’s a chance for a grand compromise that actually helps the people of Illinois. Dan Proft: Yeah, but wouldn’t this be the time for them to do it, because it’s not like Madigan is going to flip on them and support republican candidates in the state legislative districts. And many of these legislators don’t even have republican opponents in places like the city of Chicago, so what’s to fear? Gov. Bruce Rauner: There’s a lot of truth to that, Dan, that’s right. They were afraid that they could be hurt in their primaries, the way the Speaker took out Ted Dunkin who stood up and did the right thing on one single issue; he voted to protect taxpayers on one single issue and he was taken out in his primaries. But that risk is now gone. The primaries are over, so hopefully some of the folks are willing to stand up and do the right thing for the people of the state. I’m optimistic; we’ve got one week left, and if we focus and don’t get distracted with other issues, and we focus on a grand compromise, a bi-partisan reform, I think we can get some good things done. Dan Proft: One of the other issues, regardless of whether a grand bargaining gets done or not is the ASME contract – the state’s largest public sector union representing some 37,000 state employees – and it’s kind of a curious thing. The public sector unions have painted you as someone who is very anti public sector union, anti public sector worker, and yet you’ve successfully negotiated 17 collective bargaining agreements with different public sector unions, or unions representing different cohorts of public sector workers where they’ve recognized the state’s fiscal peril and haven’t even taken wage freezes and made other concessions. So if you can do it with all of those collective bargaining units, what’s the problem with ASME? Gov. Bruce Rauner: Well, that’s right. We’ve been able to negotiate it, and now it’s up to 18. We just signed another deal with another union. We have made a fair proposal. Some of the union leaders are just used to getting 100% their way; they’ve been able to do that in Illinois for decades and it’s been a big problem. You know what, the state employees, they know that the proposal that we make for them is reasonable. I believe if the union leaders allowed the work to be workers, the employers of the state to actually vote on a contract proposal, I think it would pass. It’s very reasonable, it does freeze wages for the next 4 years, because we can’t afford just these seniority increases when we’ve got such a brutal economy of jobs leaving as taxes are rising. But I’ve said, I’ll pay bonuses based upon taxpayers’ savings. We’ll give a percentage of every dollar we saved taxpayers to employees in a bonus. The employees love that idea. The union leaders don’t like it, but their rank and file members do, and it would be a win-win for everybody in the state. Amy Jacobson: Now part of your turnaround agenda is to reduce property tax release by giving local government more control on how and when to deal with unions. Could you explain that a little bit? Gov. Bruce Rauner: I’m a big believer that the government belongs to the people. It doesn’t belong to any special interest group, it doesn’t belong to some higher authority, to the federal government or the Springfield government; a city in Illinois, a village, a town, a county, it belongs to the people who live there. That government should respond to them, it should work for them. And the people in each community should decide for themselves. How do they do contracting in their city government or in their school district? How do they do competitive bidding when they’re constructing a new school or a town building? How do they handle collective bargaining? Do they want to bargain everything with a government union leader? If they do, fine. I’m not taking away anybody to do that, I’m not taking away anybody’s quest to bargaining rights, but what I’m saying is, each community should be controlled by its own residents, each members in each community should decide for themselves how they want to handle these issues. It’s fair, it’s reasonable, and democrats and republicans, both sides of the aisle, support local control. And if we get more local control, fewer dictates from Springfield, we could bring down our property tax burden and our cost in government over time, so our property taxes are not killing our home owners like they’ve been. Dan Proft: We’re talking to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, and Governor Rauner, previously you have said – just going back to the budget issue and the pending or lingering impasse – previously you said, look, if you don’t want to act leaders of the General Assembly to House Speaker Madigan / Senator President John Cullerton, then just empower me to act and I’ll craft a budget and present something for passage. Essentially I’ll do the heavy lifting that you aren’t willing to do. Is that still an offer that stands? Gov. Bruce Rauner: It is. It’s an offer I’ve made since day one. I’ve made that offer for a year and a half. But the democratic caucus has not been willing to make some of the cuts in spending that are needed to get a balanced budget. They don’t want to do it themselves and they don’t want to let me do it. They just don’t want some of the spending reductions that would be necessary. So I’ve said to them, okay, if that’s how you feel, I’ll live with that. That means we’re going to need to get a new revenue, in order to have a balanced budget. What we can’t do is this constant deficit spending, we’re going to end up looking like Detroit, or we’re going to end up in bankruptcy and more employees are going to leave and incomes will fall. We have to stop the deficit. I’ll look at some new revenues; I don’t want to, but I will. That should only be done, we should only talk about the revenues in the context of taxpayer protection and more efficient effective government, so that our taxpayers actually get value for their dollar, so that money isn’t wasted; and we also grow our economy, because frankly, if we don’t grow more jobs and get rising family income, nothing else matters. We’ll never fix our problems. What matter is growing economy, more jobs, higher incomes, and that can lead to long run balanced budgets for the state. Dan Proft: And to your point, yesterday the Truth in Accounting non-partisan think tank released numbers on Illinois’ fiscal picture. $45,000/taxpayer is the debt/taxpayer in Illinois. Compare that to New York State, which is not exactly a state with reputation for great governance; it’s $20,000 in New York; so kind of 2.25 the times of New York in terms of the debt/Illinois taxpayers. These are big numbers and it kind of speaks to what you’re saying about the need for structural reform. This is not strictly a revenue problem, as some will have you believe. Gov. Bruce Rauner: No, that’s exactly right. We have been deficit spending, spending too much and then borrowing to cover it, and then eventually raising taxes to help pay some of the debts. That cycle of financial mismanagement has been going on for decades, and we’ve got to stop it. We’re going to end up going the same way as Detroit with the job losses, the tax hikes, the devastation for the government and the economy. We’re going to end up just like Detroit. Look at the nations around the world that have done the deficit spending for decades. Puerto Rico is virtually bankrupt. Greece is virtually bankrupt. Financial mismanagement in Illinois has been going on. Stopping it is hard – that’s why this battle, these negotiations have been so difficult for the last years, but we’ve got to stop it; we need financial discipline, we need the deficits to end, balanced budgets, we need spending reductions, and we can have some new revenue. I’ll live with that – I don’t like it, but I’ll live with it. But we’ve got to become pro-growth, pro-job creation, pro-taxpayer protection, we’ve got to get a handle on our property taxes – they’re too darn high; we’ve got to bring our property taxes down. If we can do that without reforms, then we can get balanced budgets. Amy Jacobson: Yeah, but you’re being painted as an out of touch republican who doesn’t care about education and the children because a lot of our administrations on our school – we’re going to have 1.3 million cut, and now I’ve just received an email, Lane Tech’s going to be out 8.5 million dollars. I feel like our administration, their hands are tied, but they need money. They need money released to the Chicago public schools. Dan Proft: Yeah, because CPS has been so well run. Amy Jacobson: I know, but it’s going to affect the kids. They say we’re not going to have enough textbooks; we’re not going to have AP courses. How can you address that? Gov. Bruce Rauner: Oh boy, it’s very straightforward. If democrats have cut school funding four times in the last 10 years from the state, I am fighting to increase school funding. Increased it the last year, I’m increasing it again this year. Our kids in our schools should come first. The democrats have said, “We want a different formula and we want a bailout for Chicago so we may not even allow schools to open. We may hold up all school funding this year.” These threats, these posturings on their part, it’s just the wrong thing. What we need to do is get a balanced budget, increase state’s support for schools, and get reforms to grow our economy and protect our taxpayers. We can do this. It’s scary for some folks, for the changes in status-quo, and there are folks who love the status-quo in Illinois; they like the way we’ve been going. The reality is we’ve been devastating working people, we’ve been devastating the middle class. We’ve got the highest property taxes in America. We’ve got jobs leaving the state. The status-quo is failing. We’re going to change it, and I’m optimistic. We’ve got one week to go, we’ve got some good bills on the table, and we’ve got democrats and republicans working in good faith right now as we speak to get reforms to protect taxpayers and grow economy. That’s what I’m excited about. I think we can get this done. Dan Proft: Alright, good luck. He is Governor Bruce Rauner. Governor Rauner, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Thanks Dan, thanks Amy, take care. Amy Jacobson: Thank you.

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Dan Proft & Lauren Cohn

Governor Rauner delivered his Budget Address to a state with no budget. Gallup finds that not only is Illinois losing one resident every five minutes, but nearly half the people still in the state want to leave. Illinois’ budget impasse has left a lot of people suffering, but state legislators, who have secured funding for their own salaries, are not among them. Lauren Cohn, a former reporter in both Philadelphia and Chicago, shares her impressions of Mayor Emanuel’s decision to hire Charles Ramsey, retired Philadelphia Police Department commissioner, to advise the embattled Chicago Police Department on civil rights issues. It’s baaaack: Even though SB 1229, which would have stripped Gov. Rauner of his negotiating ability with AFSCME, failed in September, Democrats are proposing identical legislation again.

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Gov. Rauner on Democrat Legislative Leaders, "These guys don't want to do anything..."

Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Dan & Amy on Friday to discuss the reaction of legislative leaders to his State Budget Address including to his school funding proposal. Rauner also spoke about pending negotiations with AFSCME, the possibility of a state worker strike, merit pay for state workers and the elimination of unfunded mandates on local units of government.  

View full transcript


Dan Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. Amy, this is an important guest for you. Amy Jacobson: Yes, I know. Dan Proft: Not just as an Illinois resident, but as a Swede and as a finalist for your Swedish reality TV show. Amy Jacobson: Yeah. The TV show is called Allt för Sverige. Dan Proft: Of course. Amy Jacobson: You don't even say it right. Dan Proft: Yeah. Of course, of course. Everybody watches that. Amy Jacobson: And it's the #1 show in Sweden and it's all about–the premise of the show is bringing Americans and some Canadians to Sweden for the first time and then they have to go through challenges and obstacles and eat herring and lutfisk. And whoever survives then gets to meet their living relatives that they've never met before in Sweden. Dan Proft: Maybe, and maybe you could have a certain Illinois governor. The Swedish roots write you a little bit of a letter of recommendation to help put you ahead you ahead of the pack in the competition. Amy Jacobson: Yeah, it's a fierce competition. There's 2,000 people applied, they'd choose only 5. Dan Proft: Well, why don't we bring Gov. Bruce Rauner on to ask him the important questions–will you help Amy get on a Swedish reality TV show? Gov. Rauner, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Good morning, Dan, good morning, Amy. How are you doing? Dan Proft: Good. Gov. Bruce Rauner: I love the sound of that show, that sounds pretty cool. Amy, are you trying to get on it? Amy Jacobson: Oh, yeah. I've made it past the first round, but we're going to be filling out a questionnaire later. Dan's going to help me on the air. Dan Proft: Yeah. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Well, I tell you, if you get through it, it's fantastic. I took my Swedish grandfather back for his 90th birthday. I have never been to Sweden. He he been writing to his relatives his whole life from Wisconsin, and he'd never been. And since he was like two-years-old, and I took him over and we spent a week, I cried every day, he was hugging these people. The average age was like, 102. And we saw the cabin where his family came from. It was fantastic. It was really fun. Dan Proft: Maybe Rauner and Jacobson on that reality TV show. What do you think? Amy Jacobson: Who's going to finish first, though? Because it is a competition and I am just a tad bit aggressive. Dan Proft: I understand, I understand. Well, governor, you gave your budget address on Wednesday in Springfield and you made Democrat legislative leaders an offer. If you want to work with me in structural reform, then great, let's get to it. If you don't, then thus with me the authority to bring the state budget into balance, and I'll do the dirty work that you don't want to do. You have any takers on that yet? Gov. Bruce Rauner: We've had a lot of silence that was mixed with criticism. These guys don’t want to do anything. Basically what they want to do is authorize more spending than we have in revenue again just like they did for the last couple of years. Well, actually, frankly, for 20 years. And then they don't want to vote for tax hike unless Republicans support the tax hike. So it's a ridiculous position that they’re. Amy Jacobson: How do you stomach this job that you're doing, and working with the man who's just so stubborn and so power-hungry? How do you sleep at night? Gov. Bruce Rauner: You know what? This is a labor of love. I love Illinois and I'm a volunteer and it's a big deal. It's a privilege for me to do it. It’s hard. It's really hard. But any important change in direction is hard. I mean, I knew it's going to be difficult. People keep saying, "Oh, it's about the budget. Stop fighting about the budget just work it out." It's not about the budget, it's about the future direction of Illinois. Are we going to stay on the track we're on with massive tax hike, deficits, unfunded pensions, job losses, lower incomes, defunding schools, or are we going to go on a different, more positive direction? That's what this fight's about. Madigan has controlled the General Assembly for decades. He likes the status quo, he doesn't want to change anything, and that's what this battle's about. Dan Proft: It seems to me that one of the things that's happening concurrent with this budget impasse is that a lot of people who maybe thought that they were protected by the power structure in its current formation and its previous formation before you were elected, that they're insulated from the pain. And that everything can burn down but they're going to be okay, and they're finding out that nobody is insulated from the pain when you have state on the trajectory you were describing. Gov. Bruce Rauner: No, that's a very messy tragedy. The people of Illinois have been not served by our government under Speaker Madigan. We've been going down a bad road for decades and it's all coming home to roost now. We have fewer jobs and we have lower family incomes than we had 17 years ago in Illinois. We have been going the wrong way. Speaker Madigan has controlled it and we've got to change that direction. If I could just negotiate with Pres. Cullerton or the mayor in Chicago, we'd fight, but we'd have it worked out. But everything I work out some sort of compromise with either one of them, Speaker Madigan comes in and says, "Nope! Don't like it, no changes." Slaps them back and we're back to square one. Amy Jacobson: You know, a lot of my lefty lady friends say that you're trying to break the unions. I try to explain to them that you're really trying to make them take concessions. Is that correct? Gov. Bruce Rauner: That's correct. Look, the unions are not going away, they're part of culture. In fact, they’ve done many good things in our society over the last 100 years. But we've got to have a balance of power. And what other states have done is where it's needed inside government taken certain things out of collective bargaining in order to protect tax payers when it was necessary. And Chicago and the Democrats in Chicago have done that for years. I'm not proposing something that's some sort of radical new extreme idea. This has already happened. We just need to do a bit more of it to get our state going in the right direction. Dan Proft: Well, Chicago Democrats have tried to take something out of collective bargaining. You out of collective bargaining. Gov. Bruce Rauner: That's true. Dan Proft: And so what's the difference? Can you give us a sense of the dynamic? We've made this point on the show. So you've negotiated contract with other labor units like the teamsters that represent smaller group of state employees than does AFSCME the largest public sector union representing state workers. You've negotiated deals with them, what's the difference between negotiating with the teamsters and negotiating with AFSCME? Gov. Bruce Rauner: See, the teamsters have to deal with reality. I mean, they're a union that did works in a lot of different environments. So they work in business. And they know what it takes to be reasonable and to work out compromises when times are tough. They've done it before. AFSCME had the run of state government. They've basically dictated terms and set everything they wanted for decades and Republican governors and Democratic governors have basically given up everything they've ever wanted for 30, 40 years. I'm the first governor who said, "No, I'm sorry folks. We can't afford another $3B in compensation for you the next four years. You're already the highest paid state of police in America.” God bless you, that's fine. But we can't have another $3B more. We've got to have state salaries stay flat for a few years. And only give merit pay increases based on productivity or saving tax payer money. And they said, "Oh no. We always got what we wanted. You're going to give it to us, governor." I said, "No, I'm sorry. I'm not." And then they said, "Well, we might have to strike." And I said, "Well, I hope you don't. Please don't. I don't want you to. But if you do, we will still keep the government running because that's my job and I know how to do that." And they said, "Oh my goodness. No governor has ever said that to us. That's not fair." And I said, "That's totally fair. That's how the law works. I'm just doing my job." And they said, "Uh-oh. You're a little too tough. Most politicians run or screaming from the room when we threaten them. We're going to have to get you out." They went to Speaker Madigan and said, "We want the governor out of the negotiation. He's too tough. He's not giving into us like everybody else always has. We want him out. Bring in a labor-friendly arbitrator to give us what we want." Speaker Madigan passed that law, I vetoed it. And we were able to keep one Democratic legislator off of it, so my veto stood. And now I can stay in the negotiation. And that is going to protect taxpayers from billions of dollars. Dan Proft: Well, if AFSCME is intent on striking if they don't get everything they want when they wanted it has been the case historically, you just described, is there going to be a Reagan and the air traffic controller’s moments, potentially? Gov. Bruce Rauner: No, I don't think so. I certainly hope not. And we will keep the government running. But I'm not trying to replace everybody, that's not my goal. My goal is to protect taxpayers had the government run well, have our state employees paid well–maybe not necessarily the highest-paid in America for the next 20 years. But very well-paid–and I want them to make more based upon–what I've said is, "I'll give you raises. I'll give you 5% of every $1 you save for taxpayers. You can make a lot more money." A lot of the employees go– "Yeah, I love that." Because they've got good ideas. The union leaders say, "No, no, no. We want seniority only. We don't want merit pay or bonuses based upon savings." So we're going to have a philosophical difference. We're going to have to work it out. Amy Jacobson: C.E.O. of CPS Forrest Claypool basically is claiming that you're a hoarding money, that you're not giving the school district what it needs. Can you get on that, please, because we have some teachers who are worried about their future? Dan Proft: Hoarding money. Gov. Bruce Rauner: It's so– Amy Jacobson: Let it go. Gov. Bruce Rauner: You can't make this stuff up. It's so ludicrous. So far as Claypool is criticizing me, that was it. The governor's defending the indefensible. He's hurting low-income children. He is protecting the status quo. The school funding formula was created by Mike Madigan and the Democrats 20 years ago. I didn't make this stuff up. And I want to change it. But what Speaker Madigan said, "It's too hard to change, I don't want to change it." Forrest Claypool should be screaming at Mike Madigan every day. Well, what did he do? He protects Madigan and he criticizes me, and I'm not even–I mean, I just got here. I'd admit I didn't put this system in place, it's a terrible system. Dan Proft: Well, they need Boogeyman to push attention away from exactly what you said, who's been in charge for all those time, who's lorded over CPS, the city of Chicago, for 100 years. And we find ourselves where we find ourselves. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Exactly. That's exactly right. Dan Proft: So on the issue of school funding, though, another important piece of your budget address was $400M more in early education funding, but you made the point a couple of times but General Assembly, you got to send me a clean bill, no games, a clean bill. What did you mean by that? Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yeah. Well, see, here's what's going on. They're trying to place games–what Pres. Cullerton, the Democratic leader of the senate has said, he's Madigan's spokesman most of the time. He basically came out and said, "I won't support funding schools this year." So schools can't open in the fall unless Chicago gets a bail out, Chicago gets a lot more money. They need more money, and I'm going to demand, Chicago gets a lot more. Otherwise, no schools are going to get their funding. And I said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute, guys. That is baloney. That is not happening. No matter what, our kids come first across the state of Illinois. And we're going to have a clean education funding bill with more money from schools than we've ever had." Fully funding the foundation level more than ever in Illinois history. Schools are most important. And we're going to get them open and we're going to get their money no matter what. Dan Proft: All right. Gov. Rauner. He is going to be at Glenbard East High School. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yup. Dan Proft: Today. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yup. Dan Proft: This afternoon at Lombard at Glenbard East. The mascot, Amy? Amy Jacobson: Uh-huh. Dan Proft: The Rams. Amy Jacobson: Oh, excuse me. Dan Proft: The Glenbard East Rams. Come on. Amy Jacobson: The Glenbard West is The Hilltoppers. Dan Proft: That's correct. Amy Jacobson: I knew that. Dan Proft: That's very nice. So you're going to be at Glenbard East today along with State Senator Jason Barickman, State Representative Ron Sandack, to announce support for unfunded mandate legislations sponsored by those two legislators. This goes back to trying to help local units of government. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yeah. I cut cost and school districts save money. Yeah, we're going to be at Glenbard East and Lombard this morning between 9:30 and 10:30. I'm heading out there just in a few minutes. And basically, what we're trying to do is get Springfield off of school districts' backs and let them teach the way they want to teach. We're doing a few things. One, we're getting rid of the restriction on outside contracting for non-instructional services like janitorial or maintenance or others, like transportation services. Chicago has already gotten that special exemption so that they can outside contract. Other school districts haven’t gotten that exception; we are getting that for all school districts in the state. The other thing we're doing is giving school districts more flexibility on how they teach Driver's Ed. and how they handle P.E. so that they can–athletes don't have to skip classes for P.E. they can take the classes as well as do their sports. And Driver's Ed. can be taught by outside commercial services they don't all just have to be taught strictly by the school district itself so we can save money. That's what these mandates are all about. Dan Proft: All right. Well, enjoy Bucolic DuPage County. Gov. Bruce Rauner, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Amy. And [inaudible 00:12:52], go for it. Get over to Sweden. Have fun. Amy Jacobson: [inaudible 00:12:53]. That's for me to know and for you to find out. Dan Proft: Thank you, Gov. Rauner. Thanks. Gov. Bruce Rauner: Yeah.

Pat Hughes & Ted Dabrowski

On this edition of “Illinois Rising”, Pat Hughes, Co-Founder, Illinois Opportunity Project, and Ted Dabrowski, VP of Policy, Illinois Policy Institute; discuss Governor Rauner's reform proposal to save CPS, lavish spending at Illinois universities, Illinois largest government sector union AFSCME getting set to strike to enforce their salary hike demands, and Illinois' high tax burden driving families out of our state.

Illinois By The Numbers: 27

A study done last year by the think tank State Budget Solutions found that total compensation for Illinois state employees was on average 27 percent higher than their counterparts in the private sector.

Illinois state employees made nearly $4,000 more in wages and $13,000 more in benefits than the private-sector employees.

More than half of Illinois state workers will retire before age 60 with guaranteed state pensions that average more than $42,000 and compound at 3 percent annually.

Here’s what you already know: The state is in a financial death spiral with ground impact imminent.

All of this is useful to consider against the backdrop of Gov. Bruce Rauner breaking off contract talks with AFSCME, the state’s largest public sector union representing some 36,000 state workers.

AFSCME has been unwilling to give on its demands for annual salary step increases of 3.8 percent in addition to annual general wage increases. The step increases alone represent a raise of more than seven times the rate of inflation in 2015. AFSCME has been unwilling to give on payment of overtime after 37.5 hours of work in a week.

The lowball estimate of the cost of what AFSCME demands is $1.6 billion. That’s $1.6 billion more from Illinois families, who pay the highest property taxes in the nation, who are already on the hook for $8.5 billion in unpaid state bills and $111 billion in unfunded state pension liabilities.

The fiscal reality of the state was not lost on unions that represent smaller groups of state workers. The Teamsters, representing nearly 5,000 state employees, agreed to a four-year general wage freeze, a four-year freeze on step increases and starting overtime compensation after 40 hours of work.

This is not an attack on public sector workers. This is not an attack on public sector unions. The Teamsters, and many rank-and-file AFSCME workers with whom I have spoken, have proved eminently reasonable.

This is a story of the funding arm of the Illinois Political Ruling Class that preaches fairness but enjoys being downright spoiled by those it has bought, paid for and sent to Springfield. AFSCME has always gotten what it has wanted — no matter the price. It likes it that way. And it’s not particularly keen on changing the cozy arrangement it’s had with both parties for generations.

This is Rauner’s moment of truth.

Even more important than a fiscal-year budget is sending the unmistakable message to AFSCME (and its SEIU and teachers’ union cohorts) that the balance of the nearly 13 million residents of Illinois not in their ranks do not exist as spare parts for the machine that spits out compensation packages 27 percent higher than their own.

If that involves a siege on Springfield like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker confronted in Madison, so be it.

If that requires layoffs and outsourcing of state work to contractors, so be it.

If that requires losing an election, so be it.

Rauner ran for governor saying he is not a politician. He said he is a businessman who will make the difficult decisions to turn around the state he loves.

We’re about to find out if that’s true.

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AFSCME impasse: Will Rauner show the Political Ruling Class who's boss?

chicago tribune mast head
chicago tribune mast head

By Dan Proft, Featured in the Chicago Tribune on 1/15/2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 5.43.55 PM
Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 5.43.55 PM

Gov. Bruce Rauner is interviewed at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, about his first full year in office. On Friday, he announced that his administration has asked the Illinois Labor Relations Board to determine whether or not the the state and AFSCME are at an impasse. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)

A study done last year by the think tank State Budget Solutions found that total compensation for Illinois state employees was on average 27 percent higher than their counterparts in the private sector.

Illinois state employees made nearly $4,000 more in wages and $13,000 more in benefits than the private-sector employees.

More than half of Illinois state workers will retire before age 60 with guaranteed state pensions that average more than $42,000 and compound at 3 percent annually.

Here's what you already know: The state is in a financial death spiral with ground impact imminent.

All of this is useful to consider against the backdrop of Gov. Bruce Rauner breaking off contract talks with AFSCME, the state's largest public sector union representing some 36,000 state workers.

AFSCME has been unwilling to give on its demands for annual salary step increases of 3.8 percent in addition to annual general wage increases. The step increases alone represent a raise of more than seven times the rate of inflation in 2015. AFSCME has been unwilling to give on payment of overtime after 37.5 hours of work in a week.

The lowball estimate of the cost of what AFSCME demands is $1.6 billion. That's $1.6 billion more from Illinois families, who pay the highest property taxes in the nation, who are already on the hook for $8.5 billion in unpaid state bills and $111 billion in unfunded state pension liabilities.

The fiscal reality of the state was not lost on unions that represent smaller groups of state workers. The Teamsters, representing nearly 5,000 state employees, agreed to a four-year general wage freeze, a four-year freeze on step increases and starting overtime compensation after 40 hours of work.

This is not an attack on public sector workers. This is not an attack on public sector unions. The Teamsters, and many rank-and-file AFSCME workers with whom I have spoken, have proved eminently reasonable.

This is a story of the funding arm of the Illinois Political Ruling Class that preaches fairness but enjoys being downright spoiled by those it has bought, paid for and sent to Springfield. AFSCME has always gotten what it has wanted — no matter the price. It likes it that way. And it's not particularly keen on changing the cozy arrangement it's had with both parties for generations.

This is Rauner's moment of truth.

Even more important than a fiscal-year budget is sending the unmistakable message to AFSCME (and its SEIU and teachers' union cohorts) that the balance of the nearly 13 million residents of Illinois not in their ranks do not exist as spare parts for the machine that spits out compensation packages 27 percent higher than their own.

If that involves a siege on Springfield like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker confronted in Madison, so be it.

If that requires layoffs and outsourcing of state work to contractors, so be it.

If that requires losing an election, so be it.

Rauner ran for governor saying he is not a politician. He said he is a businessman who will make the difficult decisions to turn around the state he loves.

We're about to find out if that's true.

Dan Proft is a talk show host on WIND-AM 560.

Dan & Amy Interview Mark Janus on his Chicago Tribune Article, "Why I Don't Want To Pay Union Dues"

Mark Janus likes working for the State of Illinois at the Department Healthcare and Family Services. But he doesn't like being forced to be a member of AFSCME. And he's talking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court which will hear oral arguments on the matter next week. He joined Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson on Chicago's Morning Answer for a conversation on topic.

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