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springfield illinois

Is Madigan Now In Survival Mode?

Yet another one of House Speaker Mike Madigan's closest allies has been accused of sexual harassment, and it's getting harder and harder to ignore the leading Democrat's complacency on the issue. Will lawmakers call on his resignation? On this installment of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Joe Kaiser discuss the new allegations and get analysis on the issue from state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, one of the leaders fighting to clean up Springfield. Proft and Kaiser also get analysis from state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, on why Republicans continue to capitulate on key issues, including most recently, the budget.

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Up In Smoke: Legalization of Marijuana and Public Safety

The movement to legalize marijuana in Illinois is very popular. But studies have shown that legalization in other states has had a significant impact on public health and safety. Upstream Ideas went to the Capitol Building in Springfield to see if some of the state's most vocal activists could Follow the Logic.  

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Madigan And Cullerton Manufacture A Crisis

Are House Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton trying to manufacture a crisis by not sending the school funding reform bill to the Governor? When the bill gets to his desk, what will be the result of Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto? What does the hold harmless provision do? Will tax credits be included in the school funding reform bill?  Dan and Amy discussed with State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Champaign).

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Democrats' Fake Reform

Lawmakers are trying to rush a budget at the end of special session, so House Democrats finally put forth a plan, which includes a property tax freeze. But the plan offers no real relief for struggling taxpayers. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes break this down with WirePoints.com's Mark Glennon, and discuss what real property tax relief should look like. They also discuss the soon-to-be insolvent Chicago police pension, and waste throughout Chicago Public Schools, as well as financial recklessness at the county level.

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Durkin, What Are You Doing?

A group of Republican lawmakers – led by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin – are falling in line behind a budget that includes a massive income tax increase. Pat Hughes explains in this week’s Upstream Ideas’ Two Minute Warning.

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Another Tax Hike

In the last days of Legislative Session, Illinois Senate Democrats ended all budget negotiations. They just went ahead and passed a five billion-dollar tax increase on Illinois’ families and businesses with marginal reforms and no spending cuts. Pat Hughes breaks down their bad math and bad policies in this week's Two Minute Warning.

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Any Budget Madigan Would Pass Would Be Impossible For Rauner To Sign

State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) joined Dan & Amy to discuss what the lack of a balanced state budget means for Illinois. How did we run up a quarter of a trillion dollars in debt? How do we have the worst funded pension systems in the nation? And what did the General Assembly pass with regard to school funding?

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There Would Be No Reason To Hire A Man

Dan & Amy are joined by Dr. Amy Farmer Derick, owner of Derick Dermatology, to discuss the Illinois General Assembly's most recent mandate on employers. Legislators passed a bill aiming to curb wage discrimination against women by barring employers from asking for wage history. Dr. Derick explains why this is bad for her business and the 150 women she employs. And with mandates like this, is it any wonder Illinois lost 9,000 jobs in March?

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Mussman's Mission

Democrats run Illinois. If they wanted a property tax freeze or property tax reform, they could have it. So why aren’t our property taxes frozen? Pat Hughes explains in this edition of "Two-Minute Warning."

I’m Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas’ Two-Minute Warning.

Representative Michelle Mussman, Mike Madigan’s baby-faced “Mom on a Mission” marionette, is running comprehensive property tax reform! Well, wait a minute… what about the campaign mailers we all got months ago saying Michelle Mussman and other democrats had voted for a property tax freeze. This is Illinois, isn’t it? Democrats run this place. If they wanted a property tax freeze or property tax reform, they could have it.

So why aren’t our property taxes frozen? For the same reason, Michelle Mussman’s bill won’t reform them. Mussman and Madigan don’t want to reform anything. They benefit from the current system. The higher property taxes go, the more property tax appeals there will be for the law firms– including Speaker Madigan’s – that fund democrat campaigns. Campaigns like Rep. Mussman’s that received over $850,000 from Madigan’s political committees.

The thing is they know they’re going to have to answer for the fact that your property taxes are sky-rocketing. They need to have a vote or two to put on a campaign mailer. So, they bring a bill to the floor with no intention of seeing it passed into law.  

In this case, wide-eyed Michelle Mussman trots out “Comprehensive Property Tax Reform.” It is a cynical game that is being played on your time and with your money.

Families are literally being taxed out of their homes. Do they really think you will be so blinded by glossy campaign mailers that you won’t notice that? Yes, and what’s worse: they count on it.

That’s why the real fight in 2018 must be about more than Republicans vs. Democrats, Rich vs. Poor, Men vs. Women, Gay vs. Straight, White vs. Black vs. Hispanic.

The real battle will be: predatory political insiders vs. people who play by the rules. Decide which side you’re on and get in the fray. Or buckle up as Illinois continues its rocky death spiral.

You’ve been warned.

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A Northern IL Barber's Fight Against Wasteful Government

With a backlog of bills and tax hike proposals at the state level – and nearly 7,000 taxing bodies in the state at the local level – Illinois taxpayers are hit from all over. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to Mark Glennon of Wirepoints.com about which proposals currently in Springfield actually help taxpayers, and which ones hurt. At the local level, they talk to a newly-elected McHenry Township trustee whose goal is to consolidate or eliminate the township entirely – savings taxpayers' money.

They also discuss the state's ongoing impasse with its largest government-worker union, AFSCME, and how a potential U.S. Supreme Court case could relieve fair share payers of the union's political stranglehold. And Proft and Hughes break down wasteful spending in higher education in the state.

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Why Madigan's Democrats Do What They Do

"Now is not the time to play political games. Now is the time for us to summon the courage to let Mike Madigan and House Democrats know that there is a line over which they will not drag us."

For 502 days, the politicians in Springfield have put their interests ahead of the needs of our families and businesses. Last week, they left Springfield without passing a balanced budget. For this, the Illinois General Assembly will be criticized as being a “Do-Nothing” legislature, but it’s not the real story.

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Matthew Besler: Last week in Springfield, politicians ended the legislature session without passing a budget. Many will call them a “Do-Nothing” legislature, but that’s not exactly right. The truth is we saw some dramatic efforts from state democrats, such as the push for a progressive income tax – a policy that hurts middle-income families. Democrats then went on to demand that the governor sign a bill allowing a powerful public sector union to negotiate its own contract. Undeterred, democrats tried to raise your taxes by an additional 47%. Why would they do these things? Because it doesn’t matter to Mike Madigan and his super veto-proof majorities that families are being taxed out of their homes. It doesn’t matter to the democrats that we have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. What does matter to them is keeping the people that put them in power happy! There is no argument over the need for a responsible budget. First, it’s the obligation to avoid an impasse that shuts down social services. But there is only one way to guarantee those services for decades to come. And it’s not surrendering to the will of Michael Madigan. Appeasing Madigan may give us a budget, but the cost will leave us with no choice between solvency and bankruptcy. Illinoisans are hurting. It’s time to summon the courage to draw the line across which Mike Madigan and House democrats will not drag us. It’s time to replace kept politicians with independent thinkers who work for Illinois families and businesses. Not union bosses and trial lawyers. Join us in the fight for a state in which freedom, opportunity, and prosperity can flourish.

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Democrats Propose House Budget $7 Billion Out Of Balance

"Now they are just openly and force rightly passing budgets that are wildly out of balance.” 

On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft & Cole Lauterbach, Illinois Network News Reporter, discuss House Democrats proposed budget that was a whopping $7 billion out of balance, how Illinois Manufactures are fleeing Illinois for better business options, and AFSCME’s failed attempt to strip the Governor from negotiate with them.

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State Rep. Lou Lang Explains How A Graduated State Income Tax is a Tax Cut

State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) visited with Dan & Amy this morning to defend his proposal to move Illinois from a flat state income tax to a graduated one contending that “99.3%” of Illinois families would receive a tax cut under his proposal.

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Dan Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy; and money, that’s what they want; in Springfield they want more of it. State Representative Lou Lang has proposed a graduated state income tax, and this is not the first time this issue has been raised, but it’s being reraised, and it would graduate the state’s income tax from rights as low as 3.75%. Amy Jacobson: That doesn’t sound bad. Dan Proft: I’m sorry, as low as 3.5% to as high as 9.75%, for one percenters like Amy Jacobson. Amy Jacobson: Yeah, right. Dan Proft: And is this is a good time to impose more aggressive income taxes on people who are otherwise looking for the exit signs in Illinois? Well, let’s put that question to the sponsor of this legislation. He is State Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie. Representative Lang, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Lou Lang: Good morning, happy to be with you. Dan Proft: So, on this graduated state income tax, you suggest that 99.3% of Illinois tax payers will see a tax cut under your proposal. How’s that? Lou Lang: Well, currently the state income taxes are flat taxes of 3.75%. If you drop the lower level to 3.5, it turns out that if you’re married with a family, you’d have to make more than $764,000 a year net to have to pay more tax under this plan. So everybody under $764,000 that’s married or slightly over $500,000 as single, will be receiving at least some tax cut under this plan. Dan Proft: Back in 2011, before the temporary - that’s how it was sold – temporary increase in the income tax, the income tax was a flat 3% across the board, including for families making less than $750,000 a year, so I thought, are we keeping the promise? It was a temporary tax increase, and now you’re saying that 3.5%, rather than the 3% it was prior to the 2011 tax increase, that constitutes a cut. That actually is an increase that you’re codifying. Lou Lang: Well, it’s certainly an increase from back when our tax was 3% flat, but let’s understand that we call this the fair tax. Under the federal tax code, people who make more money pay a higher percentage of their income. It turns out that in Illinois today, people who make less money are actually paying a much higher percentage based on take-home pay of their income in taxes. And so the goal here was to do two things; first, to create a tax cut for many, many millions of Illinoisans who believed in it and are actually looking for some tax relief; as you said, 99% of Illinoisans under this plan will pay less taxes. There was also an idea that we would raise a little money, and yes, this bill does that, but I want to hasten the ad that many who are looking for more money wanted to file a tax plan that raised as much as 9 billion dollars, which would have provided no tax relief at all; this plan is very measured, it’s very well thought out in my opinion; I’m not just petting myself on the back; I’ve worked with a lot of people on this; we’re going to raise 1.9 billion dollars through this plan, not the wild numbers that some wanted. On the other hand, this is money that we need. So whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, even Bruce Rauner has said publicly that we probably need more revenue, in the state coffers to make ends meet. Part of this is because due to the failure to have an agreement with the governor on what the budget ought to look like, 90+ percent of what would have been the budget is being ordered to be paid by federal courts; unfortunately, when the federal courts made those orders, they based it on revenue at the time that our tax was 5% across the board; as you know, that has been scaled back to 3.75%, but we’re paying out based on 5%, money we don’t even have. Amy Jacobson: So this progressive tax that you have offered, Governor Rauner is on board with this? Because this would have affected him directly; do you mean it’s one of those the only ones that can pay can afford it, but I feel like it’s penalizing the rich, and I fear that they may move out of Illinois, because yet here we go again. Lou Lang: Well first, Bruce Rauner does not support the plan. Second, there’s always this argument that people will leave one state for another over a slight increase in their tax rate. There’s not a lot of evidence of that in other states; all of the rich people didn’t leave the state of California that has a tax rate where the upper end is over 13%. They did not leave from Nevada, that has 0 attacks. People that live in the South did not move to Florida or Texas, because their tax is 0, and Governor Rauner likes to point the states around us as models. Truth is that in the state of Wisconsin, the upper level attaches around close to 9%, I believe, but it starts at $240,000 a year, so everybody making over $240,000 a year in Wisconsin is paying close to 9% in taxes. Let me also add that yes, under our plan, the upper level is 9.75%; it’s only on the increment, so in fact under this plan a millionaire, someone who makes a million dollars a year, their tax is maybe $11,000 higher than it would have been, however it’s still under 5% when you blend the rate together. So that person is not paying 9.75%; they’re paying 4.9% if they’re making a million dollars a year under this plan. Dan Proft: Well, a couple of points of order, just in response to what you said. Number one, you can’t just look at the income tax in isolation and compare to Wisconsin; you have to look at the overall tax per Illinois family face, and we’re fifth highest in the nation in terms of total tax burden according to the tax foundation with the highest property taxes in the nation, and they’re not going down; number two, in terms of people leaving Silicone Valley for Nevada, why don’t we keep it close to home? A study found that Chicago saw the third highest exodus of millionaires last year of any major city in the world behind only Paris and Rome. That’s real, and the exodus from Illinois of families to go all over the place, not just to our neighboring states, that’s also real, otherwise we wouldn’t be losing congressmen every time there is a census. Lou Lang: Dan, I have to tell you that the fastest growing major city in America is San Francisco, California, a state that has some of the highest taxes in the world. Dan Proft: That’s an outlier; what about what’s happening in Illinois Representative Lang. Lou Lang: What’s happening in Illinois is we have some financial difficulties, and I don’t think that someone making a million dollars a year is going to leave the state because their tax burden has gone up by 10-11 thousand dollars. Amy Jacobson: Karen Lewis yesterday liking Governor Rauner to an Isis recruiter? What’s your reaction to that and are you concerned? Lou Lang: I think that was a very poor choice of words, and I think those are fighting words that were inappropriate to the occasion, so I certainly don’t support that. I think we have to have cooler heads to get through our problems here in Illinois, and that certainly didn’t indicate a cool head. Dan Proft: Alright, he is Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie. Representative Lang, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Lou Lang: Have a great day.

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Mission Impossible?

Dan Proft discussed President Obama's upcoming visit to Springfield on CBS Chicago.

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