The New York Times is opining on the forceful “balance of power” in Illinois. Bruce Rauner (R) won the 2014 Governor’s race over one-term Democrat Governor Pat Quinn with 50.3 percent of the vote. The problem today is “almost half of Illinois voters favored either tax increases or a combination of increases and spending cuts to fix the budget.” The other problem? Bruce Rauner and those backing him are wealthy –– very wealthy, and at the urging of Kenneth C. Griffin, “the billionaire founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds,” the wealthy began a fundamental transformation of the state of Illinois.
Their wealth has forcefully shifted the state’s balance of power. Last year, the families helped elect as governor Bruce Rauner, a Griffin friend and former private equity executive from the Chicago suburbs, who estimates his own fortune at more than $500 million. Now they are rallying behind Mr. Rauner’s agenda: to cut spending and overhaul the state’s pension system, impose term limits and weaken public employee unions. . . .
The families remaking Illinois are among a small group around the country who have channeled their extraordinary wealth into political power, taking advantage of regulatory, legal and cultural shifts that have carved new paths for infusing money into campaigns. Economic winners in an age of rising inequality, operating largely out of public view, they are reshaping government with fortunes so large as to defy the ordinary financial scale of politics. In the 2016 presidential race, a New York Times analysis found last month, just 158 families had provided nearly half of the early campaign money.
HORROR In Illinois!!!
Most of them lean Republican; some are Democrats. But to a remarkable degree, their philosophies are becoming part of a widely adopted blueprint for public officials around the country: Critical of the power of unions, many are also determined to reduce spending and taxation, and are skeptical of government-led efforts to mitigate the growing gap between the rich and everyone else.. . .
It has gotten much stronger in the last five or six years,” Ms. Lav continued. “There’s the sense of an opening, of a discontent with the old model. It’s about social insurance, the social compact — who’s responsible for whom?”
Illinois was fertile ground for the movement. Four of the state’s last 10 governors have gone to jail. Decades of mismanagement by state officials of both parties have left Illinois with more than $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, among the most of any state.
And tax increases are particularly difficult in Illinois, where other state constitutional provisions ban raising taxes solely on the rich. A temporary income tax boost presided over by the state’s last Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, was resented by many voters.
The big whine! The money from these “wealthy families” are displacing, countering, the dollars from powerful public unions.
Local Republican organizations found themselves flush with cash. Mr. Rauner blanketed the state with ads promising, vaguely, to “shake up Springfield” and slammed Mr. Quinn as an insider beholden to special interests.
A day before the Illinois Senate will discuss whether to override a bill that would allow for labor arbitration, Gov. Bruce Rauner is urging lawmakers to let him do his “job.” …
Rauner vetoed the bill in late July and later called it the “worst bill” he had ever seen. He has also dubbed it an assault on Illinois taxpayers. Rauner argues that the arbitrators to be used are pro-labor and would result in a bad deal for taxpayers.
More HORROR! ) November 29, 2015 –– Rauner has set up a task force to “shrink Illinois government.”
On the campaign trail and in his first weeks in office, Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged to save taxpayers money by eliminating some of Illinois’ nearly 7,000 units of government — a piece of his legislative agenda with rare bipartisan support.
Saving Illinois, and specifically Chicago, from itself won’t be easy.
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