`

two minute warning

Happy Taxiversary!

The Fourth of July week marked the one-year anniversary of the day politicians ended the budget impasse with a permanent 32 percent income tax increase. And we’re no better off than we were last year. In fact, our economy is worse, the job market is weaker, and our credit rating hasn’t improved at all.  Pat Hughes says we shouldn't be celebrating in this week's Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

Throw Money At It

In another shocking example of the lack of accountability in government, a Chicago Tribune investigation found Chicago Public Schools employees sexually abused hundreds of students over the last ten years. In this week's Two Minute Warning, Pat Hughes warns that just like they do with every problem, politicians will throw money at Chicago Public Schools, but they won’t do anything to fix the real problems.

RELATED CONTENT

I Won't Resign

There are four stages to classic attempts to discredit the victims of bullying, harassment and abuse: Deny their claims are true, isolate the victim, attack their credibility, and dismiss them. At this point, there is no way to deny the culture of harassment in state government. As more
women come forward, there’s no longer a way to isolate them or claim their accounts are false.
Therefore, the only thing left for Speaker Madigan to do is dismiss them. Pat Hughes explains in this week's Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

Ruling Class Retaliation

Democrat Representative Kelly Cassidy claims she was bullied and intimidated by Speaker Madigan's allies. It's another example of the despicable culture in Springfield, where the political elites believe the rules don’t apply to them, victims of harassment are ignored, and any dissenting voices are shut down. In the face of multiple scandals, most House and Senate Democrats have remained silent, protecting their leader and the status quo.

In this week's Two Minute Warning Pat Hughes warns that we must end the cycle of threats and intimidation. We must dismantle the Madigan machine politicians and elect new, independent legislators to represent us.

RELATED CONTENT

Choose Your Candidates Carefully

Both Paul Jacobs and Dan Caulkins are small business owners who understand what it takes to create jobs, create value, and grow the economy. Both men are also veterans who bravely served our country. In this week's Two Minute Warning, Pat Hughes cautions that when you’re deciding who to vote for on March 20th, remember which candidates really have your best interests at heart.

RELATED CONTENT

Meier Has Failed To Deliver

There are two Republicans competing for state representative in the 108th district. They were both raised in the Metro East, and they have both worked as farmers. They might appear to be similar at first glance, but in terms of policy, there are clear differences between these two candidates. Pat Hughes lays out why Don Moore is the right choice in this week's Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

Who will stay and fight for Illinois?

A Gallup poll that is circulating online shows Illinois' bleak reality: Nearly a quarter of the state's population believes they live in the “worst possible state.” Despite that, Ken Idstein is committed to turning the tide in Illinois. As a candidate for state representative in District 62, Ken is running on a fiscally conservative platform, with plans to get property taxes and other state taxes back under control. Pat Hughes introduces Ken Idstein in this week's Two Minute Warning

RELATED CONTENT

2017 Recap

They say history repeats itself, and here in Illinois it seems like we’re on a continual loop of tax increases, bad policies, and even worse politicians. 2017 wasn’t a great year for families and taxpayers. It was simply more of the same. Will, 2018 be better? Pat Hughes answers in this week's Two Minutes Warning

RELATED CONTENT

The Rigged System

Cook County’s deeply corrupt property tax system, and its deeply corrupt Assessor Joe Berrios, made national news this week. The wealthy and politically-connected can buy property tax relief by hiring the right lawyer to appeal their tax bill. In fact, Assessor Joe Berrios encourages property owners to seek appeals. Pat Hughes explains in this week's Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

Peddling A Con

Just when we thought that Chicago Democrats couldn't be any more hostile to businesses, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proves us wrong.  Pat Hughes takes on Preckwinkle in this week's Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

Change Is Coming

Governor Rauner has replaced key leaders in his administration with executives who understand state policy, Springfield’s political environment, and – importantly – the “Turnaround” vision. It was this vision that originally convinced Illinois voters to give Bruce Rauner, a political outsider, a chance. Pat Hughes explains why the political ruling class should be worried in this week's Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

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.

RELATED CONTENT

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.

RELATED CONTENT

A Death Warrant With A Temporary Stay Of The Execution

You pay the highest property taxes in the nation, but politicians want to temporarily freeze them at their unsustainably high rate. We know property taxes will spike again as soon as the freeze expires. For homeowners, it is a death warrant with a temporary stay of the execution. Pat Hughes explains in this week's Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

Businesses Will Be Punished

In Chicago, if you start a business, work hard, stay disciplined, plan wisely---and do well as a result---you will be punished.

Right now, a group of Chicago aldermen, led by Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, are attempting to revive the employer’s expense tax to bail out Chicago Public Schools. Under Ramirez-Rosa’s plan, businesses that employ over fifty people would have to pay a thirty-three dollar “head tax” for each employee. On top of every other tax---property, income, whatever.

Pat Hughes dissects the Chicago political classes' newest tax on this edition of Two Minute Warning.

RELATED CONTENT

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.

RELATED CONTENT

Defending Bacon

State Reps, like Michelle Mussman and Barb Wheeler, are voting to defend and recognize bacon as a breakfast meat. Deb Conroy, Scott Drury, Carol Sente and Marty Moylan are resolving hot-button issues like making cycling the official state exercise. And over in the Senate, Julie Morrison and Sam McCann worked to ban elephants from being part of traveling circuses. With all the problems Illinois faces, Pat Hughes dissects their misplaced priorities in this edition of "Two Minute Warning."

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

Talk to anyone about Illinois – anyone. Democrat or Republican. They understand how serious the state’s problems are. So, you would think that most of our legislators have a sense of urgency about solving those problems… but, you would be wrong. There is a reason Illinois is… well, Illinois.

In Springfield, State Reps, like Michelle Mussman and Barb Wheeler, are voting to defend and recognize bacon as a breakfast meat. Deb Conroy, Scott Drury, Carol Sente and Marty Moylan are resolving hot-button issues… like making cycling the official state exercise. And over in the Senate, Julie Morrison and Sam McCann worked to ban elephants from being part of traveling circuses.

Bacon, bikers and Dumbo. Sounds like my seventeen year old daughter’s legislative agenda…when she was nine.

Are these people serious? We haven’t had a balanced budget in two years!

Taken all together, it is tempting to characterize the Illinois General Assembly as a “Do-Nothing” legislature, but that’s not the real story.

In reality, Illinois government is working exactly as intended.  Winning elections isn’t a chance to advance a set of principles. Winning elections is a way to distribute favors to friends and political allies.

Legislators are protecting a political machine that was carefully constructed by politicians and powerful special interests. The machine doesn’t reform itself. The machine grows itself by distracting voters with idiotic bills in public, so it can continue handing out favors in private.  

State legislators don’t care that you are being taxed out of your homes, or are struggling with unemployment. They have spent 2 years ignoring these problems, passing wildly unbalanced budgets,and refusing to address the need for reform. Oh yeah…and defending bacon.

Change is not going to come from Springfield. It has to come from you: the people who play by the rules and are getting screwed. You – collectively – have the numbers, the resources, and the principles to end this nonsense. Whether or not you do will determine the fate of our once great state.

You’ve been warned.

RELATED CONTENT

Illinoisans Take Their Frustrations To The Voting Booth

If you hold public office and want to continue to do so---work in favor of your constituents---not yourself. Otherwise you’ll be next to go. Pat Hughes explains in this "Two Minute Warning."

This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’

So, as it turns out, Illinois families are tired of funding the lavish lifestyles of politicians.

And in this year’s Municipal Elections, they took their frustrations to the voting booth.

In Algonquin Township, Highway Commissioner Bob Miller is out – ending a fifty- two-year family dynasty, passed down from Miller’s grandfather. The Miller family was pulling in over four hundred thousand dollars a year. Apparently, voters in Algonquin Township take issue with a small township office – paid for by their tax dollars – being used as a family business.

Likewise, voters in Orland Park threw out twenty-four-year incumbent Mayor Dan McLaughlin. Seems to have had something to do with the one-hundred and ten-thousand dollar pay increase he got the Village Board to give him. Voters also took issue with being on the hook for the pension he spiked by eighty-thousand dollars per year. Imagine that.

Miller and McLaughlin aren’t the only two public officials in the state who have abused their positions for personal gain. They aren’t the only ones who have funded their life-styles on the backs of families and businesses and acted with total disregard for the trust placed in them by their constituents. There are other politicians who abuse the moral obligation to act responsibly with other people’s money.  But, Miller and McLaughlin’s political demise demonstrates that voters are not static.

They have seen the quality of their lives worsen as government grows more costly and inefficient. They’ve seen their home values and school quality decline while their property taxes go up. And, when armed with information about how their public officials have used and abused their trust and their money, they will rebel.  They just did.

So if you hold public office and want to continue to do so---work in favor of your constituents---not yourself. Otherwise you’ll be next to go.

You’ve been warned.

RELATED CONTENT

The Fight Against Predatory School Boards

Across the state from DuPage County to the Metro East Region, local school boards are after more and more of your hard-earned money. And they think their con is bulletproof: “It’s for the children.” Who can argue with that? Pat Hughes does in this "Two Minute Warning."

This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’

Look, I get it standing up to a school board is tough. After all, they claim they’re doing everything “for the children.” Opposing school funding increases means you’re not going to be too popular. You lose friends. Miss out on parties. You get looks of distain in the car line. Standing up to a school board takes guts.

But that’s exactly what we need right now.

Across the state from DuPage to Metro East, local boards are after more and more of your hard-earned money. And they think their con is bulletproof: “It’s for the children.”

Who can argue with that?

I can. And so should you.

School boards who want to increase your taxes are not brave. They are not magnanimous. They are not doing this for children. They are raising your taxes. They are decimating your home’s value. They are wiping out your greatest investment. All so they can continue their spending.

Just look at Edwardsville. Local property tax spending grew thirty-five percent in ten years, while district enrollment grew just seven percent.

The district is ranked among the most debt-ridden school districts in Illinois.

That debt has taken a toll on home values.

But will they stop? No.

The district is asking taxpayers for another six point nine million dollars and threaten to cut sports, band, and more if voters don’t agree to hike taxes.

But is it really “for the children” when – despite constant and generous spending increases – two-thirds of fourth graders in the state don’t read or perform math at grade level? The truth is K-twelve systems have become third-party administrators to bestow salaries and benefits on adults in the system … namely teachers and administrators. 

In the fight against predatory school boards, you are your community’s greatest asset. You are a change agent.

Be relentless. And be prepared. Those who benefit from this failed system are just waiting for us to get tired and get out of their way. You’ve been warned.

RELATED CONTENT

A Standard-Issue Cog In The Chicago Machine

If you’ve watched Chris Welch maneuver his way through Illinois government over the past decade, then you know he’s happy to be part of a system that benefits the politically-connected at your expense. You've been warned.

This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’

If you’ve watched Chris Welch maneuver his way through Illinois government over the past decade, then you know he’s happy to be part of a system that benefits the politically-connected at your expense.

Since 2013, Welch’s contributions to the State of Illinois have been … well, pretty much non-existent. His career is that of a standard, well-oiled cog in the Chicago Democrat Machine. He doesn’t challenge leadership. He bows to party bosses. He votes the way he’s told. And for that, he’s given the funding and manpower he needs to ascend.

His leadership on the Proviso school board led the district to ruin. Instead of educating children, it functioned as a contract warehouse for adults. It got so bad, the state had to step in to oversee the district’s finances. For that, he got "promoted" to the state legislature.

Mike Madigan had clearly found his next puppet.

Welch is very focused on those who keep him in power… and very out-of-touch with his district.

The state owes social service providers in his community hundreds of thousands of dollars. Did Welch go to bat for them? No. Instead, he sued the state to get HIS OWN paycheck.

While the people in his district see businesses flee and struggle with unemployment, Welch made sure his family and friends were given high-paying government jobs.

You can do better. You have to.

Politicians like Chris Welch are failing you. Set on advancing their careers, these shills have ignored the people they represent and put the state on a path to self-destruction. 

Chris Welch should have been fired in 2013, not promoted. But, it’s not too late.

You can vote to fire him and any other political hack who sees the state as a mechanism for personal and financial gain. If you don’t, your community and your state will continue their man-made death-spiral.

You’ve been warned.

Two Minute Warning: Illinois has a leadership problem. To change the state’s destructive policies, we have to change out the policy-makers. During each episode of ‘Two-Minute Warning,’ Illinois Opportunity Project Co-Founder Pat Hughes exposes another government official standing in the way of progress and prosperity.

RELATED CONTENT