Illinois Budget on hold
February 28, 2016 6:33 PM   Subscribe

The state of the Illinois Budget. The current Illinois Budget Crisis started almost 8 months ago. While talks continue services are slowly falling part without funding.

Impacts vary. Chicago State University sent out layoff notices to 900 staff this weekend. Other Universities are not far behind. Public schools have also been impacted.

Social Impacts are far and wide.

Social Services
have remained unpaid. There is no end in sight.
posted by AlexiaSky (99 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
This frustrates me every day. As an Illinois resident it feels like all the elected leaders holding up the budget must have no souls. I know that cutting programs and spending is their goal, and in that sense they are getting exactly what they want. But still the callousness of it blows my mind.

Some friends of mine had a series of protests called "Moral Mondays" where religious and community leaders protested Rauner and the lack of the budget. Some even got arrested. Still it seems there is surprisingly little media attention paid to this sitaution.
posted by mai at 6:37 PM on February 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Right now I'm having lots of trouble referring people to social services because I can't keep track of what is open, impending closure, and already closed.

This impacts so so many people every single day.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:43 PM on February 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I work at an Illinois mental health non-profit. We have already had to scuttle a transitional living center project part way through, and we are looking rather uncomfortably at each other as we speak, wondering if there are axes in our futures.
posted by Samizdata at 6:45 PM on February 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Would you like to know if I have opinions? I HAVE A LOT OF OPINIONS.

Actually I'm kind-of rage-choking on them. The basic situation is, the governor has now passed TWO constitutionally-mandated budget deadlines without bothering to present a budget for the legislature to vote on (which he is required to do). He will not present one until the Democratic supermajority legislature agrees to bust unions statewide. That won't ever happen. Some commentators think we could just go four solid years with no budget.

It is dire. Several companies have already informed the state they won't relocate here or open facilities here. Some downstate power co-ops have cut off the state for non-payment of bills, so there are rural traffic lights that are just TURNED OFF.

The absolutely killer thing is, the last governor PASSED AN INCOME TAX HIKE THAT CLOSED OUR BUDGET HOLE and would slowly dig us out of our catastrophic pension crisis (which comes from 30 years of legislators and governors from both parties kicking the can down the road and not paying into the pension fund; there's plenty of blame to go around but something like SIX lawsuits that have gone to the state supreme court have all come back as "no, you seriously still have to pay it"). The new Republican governor demanded the tax hike be allowed to expire -- the Democratic legislature let it expire -- and now we're in almost-Puerto-Rico levels of debt and it's getting worse every day.

And the TOTAL IGNORANCE of this governor's administration is AMAZING. Like, he did not know -- and apparently no one on his staff knew either (a lot of his people are imports from Indiana) -- that it's unconstitutional in Illinois to present multi-topic bills. One topic per bill. So the first thing he did was present illegal bills attempting to bundle union busting with other things. They are forfeiting federal funds and federal matching funds because either they think it "looks bad" if we can keep funding things that federal money is paying for and they'd rather shut it down to increase the pain, or they don't realize that there's a federal match. Millions of dollars here, millions of dollars there, down the drain. The Illinois State Museum was closed for the first time in history IT REMAINED OPEN THROUGH MULTIPLE FUCKING WARS, and CLOSING IT COST MORE MONEY THAN OPERATING IT COST. (Because it turns out it is a federal crime to fail to properly maintain custody of Native American artifacts, among other expensive issues that came with closure, but his people didn't know that either because they have no idea about anything but GOP talking points and do not operate in a fact-based reality.) Didn't matter, was a gesture for the governor about the wastefulness of government spending in running museums. The real numbers mean nothing to him or his people as long as he gets to make his grandstanding points.

Now he's trying to bankrupt and/or take over Chicago Public Schools, for no real apparent reason, certainly not one that benefits the state at large in any way.

Autism diagnosis waiting lists are 24 months in most downstate counties now. That is TWO YEARS of therapy time you are losing waiting for your child to be able to see a developmental pediatrician. Once you've got the diagnosis, waiting lists for immediately-necessary therapies are more than 8 weeks just about everywhere, and getting longer. He cut autism funding to zero on World Autism Day. (It was later partially restored.)

Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities have not been paid and run the vast bulk of the state's foster care and elder care programs and are in danger of having to start shutting those down. The governor's answer was that religious people should just donate more to avoid having to shut the down, not that the state should pay the $16 and $25 fucking million it owes them, respectively.

My city is not plowing or salting 90% of city roads this winter because -- I am not even kidding -- state funding for roads is so spotty they have to save cash for spring pothole repairs so the roads can be fucking used as ROADS. If it's less than two inches of snow they're just not sending out plows or salting trucks, and when it's more they're only doing the biggest arterials. IT IS MADNESS.

PLEASE RAISE MY STATE INCOME TAX BACK TO 5% KTHX.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:55 PM on February 28, 2016 [186 favorites]


Jesus Christ. This is a recipe for civil unrest. Do they not realize that they are playing with fire?
posted by schmod at 6:58 PM on February 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


Related: Illinois revenue up due to late registrations. Does not include the added revenue to the court systems and municipalities for tickets written.
posted by lester at 7:01 PM on February 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


If this is the platform he ran on to get elected, then....well. Ya gotta get your people out to vote.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:02 PM on February 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


He ran on "I'm a big-shot businessman, I can make the state work," not "I'm gonna take my ball and go home if anyone crosses me, whole state be damned."
posted by notsnot at 7:13 PM on February 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


You US Americans really have comprehensively broken the underlying fundamental principles of society that allow it to function haven't you? It's just bizarre, all these stories of grand incompetence and mendacious politicking that come at the State and Federal level. Your political class are awful, your media are awful, there are major structural issues with your governments, no one seems to care enough or have the power to fix these issues. No other supposedly first world country is having these issues.

Generalisations of course...
posted by wilful at 7:14 PM on February 28, 2016 [56 favorites]


Rauner has never wanted to govern. What we're seeing is governorship as business move. All the policy positions he is a̶d̶v̶o̶c̶a̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ insisting upon would directly benefit his business interests.

Hey America! Check out Illinois before you vote this fall. There's as much difference between one billionaire and the next as there is between a left and right Twix.
posted by blairsyprofane at 7:16 PM on February 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


And while all this is happening the Chicago Police seem to be engaging in an undeclared job action (police stops are down 80 something percent in the wake of an ACLU suit compromise that requires them to document stops - so either they are working to rule now or the great majority of their previous years stop were unconstitutional). It's possible the Mayor and/or the chief of police have lost control...

and we are now on pace for double the shootings of last year.

There is a huge shit storm coming when the weather gets warm and things get worse. Then there will be whatever happens with the Laquan investigation and trial....
posted by srboisvert at 7:17 PM on February 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


For a peak into the governor's mindset take a gander at the powerpoint his budget consultant put together. GENIUS!
posted by srboisvert at 7:23 PM on February 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Rauner has never wanted to govern. What we're seeing is governorship as business move. All the policy positions he is a̶d̶v̶o̶c̶a̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ insisting upon would directly benefit his business interests. "

Yeah, a lot of long-time political observers are calling his office "the permanent campaign" because neither he nor his staff have any interest in governing or even learning HOW to govern. Like they don't know HOW to accomplish simple, routine tasks, and they show no interest in learning. All they do is spout talking points. They even were sending out campaign mailers in the middle of last summer when nobody was running for anything! They've got a great campaign shop, and they don't know how to do anything else.

If you'd like to read about the UGLIEST campaign I've ever seen, involving words that full-grown adults have no business using in public, read up on Ken Dunkin (democrat of Chicago) who skipped a vote at the behest of the Republican governor, denying the Democrats by HIS ONE SINGLE VOTE the supermajority override of the governor's veto of a labor relations bill (and later of social services and child care funding), by surprise vacationing out of state without telling anyone where he was, and then he took a half-million dollar campaign donation from the governor -- one of his colleagues with terminal cancer LITERALLY GOT OUT OF HER DEATH BED TO MAKE THE VOTE, and he didn't have the courtesy to call and say he was skipping the vote. He hasn't changed parties or been de-caucused by the Democrats yet, but he is being primaried REALLY HARD and being called pretty much the ugliest things you can think of to be called in American politics ("Uncle Tom" is probably the most printable); he, in turn, accused the Democratic party leaders of being "slaveowners" in his campaign advertising.

"If this is the platform he ran on to get elected, then....well."

This is not the platform he ran on. He ran on a platform of NOT ANSWERING QUESTIONS in general (his "budget" policy was a single page with six or seven bullet points that LITERALLY NOBODY thought added up). But he did explicitly run on a platform of "having no social agenda" -- he was just fiscally conservative and would clean up the budget, he was not going to involve himself in social issues. He's nothing but social issues!

But I mean, his private equity fund literally killed old people for profit, and is on trial for fraud, and he jacked the price on life-saving medications for children 1300%, Shrekli-style, so it's not like the alert among us thought he was a GOOD person.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:28 PM on February 28, 2016 [66 favorites]


Ugh I am literally shaking with rage just from typing about this.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:31 PM on February 28, 2016 [18 favorites]


"his "budget" policy was a single page with six or seven bullet points that LITERALLY NOBODY thought added up"

Well somebody literally voted for him based on his campaign.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:33 PM on February 28, 2016


Why are you Midwest/Great Lakes states afflicted by these antigovernment zealots masquerading as businesspeople? Snyder, Kasich, Rauner, Pence, fishhead up in Wisconsin...
posted by Existential Dread at 7:33 PM on February 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


The midwest is cheap enough for the Koch brothers to buy.
posted by benzenedream at 7:38 PM on February 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


You US Americans really have comprehensively broken the underlying fundamental principles of society that allow it to function haven't you? It's just bizarre, all these stories of grand incompetence and mendacious politicking that come at the State and Federal level. Your political class are awful, your media are awful, there are major structural issues with your governments, no one seems to care enough or have the power to fix these issues. No other supposedly first world country is having these issues.

America is what the UK would be like if the Daily Mail had won the war.
posted by delfin at 7:45 PM on February 28, 2016 [11 favorites]


This is actually Republican governance in action. Cut everything. Starve everything. Government can't do anything (because reasons, mostly based on tax avoidance) therefore it shouldn't try to do anything at all, ever.

What? You can't afford your own private helicopter to fly over unplowed snowy roads to your own private hospital?

Then fuck you.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:45 PM on February 28, 2016 [26 favorites]


Why are you Midwest/Great Lakes states afflicted by these antigovernment zealots

OTOH, Mark Dayton managed to turn Minnesota around through a combination of tax increases and smart spending. It would be nice if we could borrow him in Illinois for a couple years.
posted by Iridic at 7:46 PM on February 28, 2016 [14 favorites]


"Well somebody literally voted for him based on his campaign."

I mean, you can read extensive campaign post-mortems, but the bullet-point version is, people weren't voting FOR Bruce Rauner; they were voting AGAINST Pat Quinn, who was unpopular partly because he was actually addressing the budget problems instead of pretending they'd just go away if we all waited long enough and did nothing. The fact that the state returned a Democratic supermajority in the legislature (in a year where Democratic turnout was depressed due to the timing of the election, the unpopularity of the governor, and some inside-baseball public union contract issues) should point up the fact that Rauner's not exactly walking around with a mandate.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:46 PM on February 28, 2016 [20 favorites]


More precisely, America is a consequence of several things:

1) A two-party system etched in stone.
2) Electoral consequences allowing the conservative party to seize nigh-invulnerable control of the popular house and override the needs and wishes of the urban majorities.
3) Forty years of an increasingly loud multimedia machine broadcasting nonstop anger and populist appeals -- this nation belongs to YOU and ONLY YOU and THEY are seizing the power/money/control/tax money/religious mandate that are rightfully yours so just vote for us and we'll fix everything by smashing government.
4) These same people strongly influencing the American public education system.
5) Corporate interests buying out most of the liberal party.
6) A coalition of religious nuts, billionaires, Ayn Rand fans and card-carrying dingbats clambering onto one bandwagon and wrestling for the controls.
7) A reluctance by mainstream media to paint dingbattery as dingbattery rather than painting everything as The Truth Is In The Middle And Both Sides Are Always At Fault.
8) Send us Charlie Brooker. We need him.
posted by delfin at 7:53 PM on February 28, 2016 [26 favorites]


And racism, don't forget the racism. Maybe mostly racism, come to think of it.
posted by Frowner at 8:03 PM on February 28, 2016 [44 favorites]


populist appeals

I think the word you really want here is "racist." A substantial portion of white America has no capacity to survive, economically OR psychologically, except off gleanings from the looting of minorities. (Not to say that the rest of us are morally superior; just some of us have a less tenuous financial existence.) Seeing that process slowed down even slightly has thrown them into an existential panic that would stir pity if it weren't based on such fundamental ugliness.
posted by praemunire at 8:06 PM on February 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


I mean, when people say "the nation belongs to YOU", what they mean is "the nation belongs to you WHITE people, but only the conservative ones who support patriarchy and are not queer".

Basically, what is happening is like the aftermath of a civil war - we had the late fifties through the early seventies where there were some victories won by people of color, women, gays and the poor, and what has been happening ever since is revanchism - revenge against those few years of partial victory.

Honestly, human beings are no good, and I do not exempt Europe, either. Insane hatred of anyone weaker than you, that's the ticket for humans.
posted by Frowner at 8:06 PM on February 28, 2016 [20 favorites]


Thanks @eyebrows for all of the great documentation. I was a 13 year administrator at a state agency in IL. I was responsible for state reporting on the items that evolved into the Budgeting for Results initiative that is in the powerpoint. I started looking for employment two years ago, and one year ago I left the state after 20 years in the public sector.

Another dimension of the situation is this: not only are people fleeing, but they cannot be replaced. There are several positions at my old agency (including my old position) that they cannot fill because of the uncertainty. Cynically this is all they need to do, bleed out experienced personnel and accelerate the catastrophe. My Program Assistant was a brilliant entry-level hire who served me for two years and has a great future -- and I am told that she now sits in my seat at agency cabinet meetings because she is the only person in the department.

I know that the sentiment is against public employees in a lot of places, but these are people who all produced a social benefit for the state and so many of my friends and colleagues are suffering. If we are a society that cannot sustain talented individuals in careers building experience in public service, then God help us all.
posted by cgk at 8:18 PM on February 28, 2016 [25 favorites]


My mother works in the Illinois public school system. There is so much fuckery going on right now, especially in a small, poor town like hers, but one example I keep coming back to is that they took out the floors one summer a while back to replace them, and never did because they couldn't afford to finish the job
For two or three years the kids just walked around on the subfloor, which is still covered in glue from the previous flooring. It's a little thing, but something I could never have imagined happening back when I was attending those schools a couple decades ago.
posted by possibilityleft at 8:39 PM on February 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


Cynically this is all they need to do, bleed out experienced personnel and accelerate the catastrophe.

This is really the biggest problem. Once enough people that know how things are supposed to work are forced to flee, it can't be put back together and made to work again. It's like a less bloody Cultural Revolution.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:05 PM on February 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Honestly, human beings are no good, and I do not exempt Europe, either. Insane hatred of anyone weaker than you, that's the ticket for humans.

If you think these decisions are part of some elaborate civil rights revenge trip, I don't know what to tell you. That thinking is probably part of the problem. Racism, sexism, whatever, it's all good for business. The kind of socio-political extortion at work here isn't about hurting the poor and the powerless, that's the leverage. It's about dismantling government for the sake of corporate interests. It's about subverting a political power base rising up from the disintegrating middle class.

Grover Norquist said this thing once, you probably heard it: I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.

That's this. That quote is from 2001. And it's got so little to do with paying handicapped minority women less per hour you wouldn't believe it. I'm not saying that problems of race and gender and everything else don't exist. They do, definitely. But when you identify greed as hate, you let greed hide. Greed grows best in the dark. And greed isn't about taking more than you need, it's about taking more than you'll ever need. And it isn't about who you're taking it from, it's about the taking.

I mean, have you tried to park in the city of Chicago lately? It's definitely about the taking.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 9:08 PM on February 28, 2016 [19 favorites]


Mark Dayton managed to turn Minnesota around

I'm terrified for the state though. Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan have very similar dynamics, and have all fallen victim to pandering right-wing politicians. These old progressive states seem to have no problem switching gears and becoming tea party bastions as their populations age and get increasingly out of touch with progressive politics.

The only reason the Republicans haven't taken over yet in MN is that they completely imploded due to an influx of totally nuts unelectable libertarians, which is a neat trick but will only last a few election cycles.
posted by miyabo at 9:13 PM on February 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


For the politicians and business interests, it's about the taking. For the voters who keep electing the corrupt politicians, it's about revenge or whatever issues the politicians can use to mobilize turnout. The whole system runs on greed and social resentment, and the popular culture plays a huge role in enabling that.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:15 PM on February 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


So how are they managing to pay for anything if there is no budget in place? IOUs to employees deemed essential service?
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 PM on February 28, 2016


The whole system runs on greed and social resentment

A lot of it is fear. Many people who are middle class or rich know exactly how terrible it is to be poor in this country, and are utterly terrified they they will be poor too. Which I honestly can't blame them for. If everyone had basic economic security in this country, then there would be less support for nutbars because the fear of losing wouldn't be so great.
posted by miyabo at 9:20 PM on February 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


If you think these decisions are part of some elaborate civil rights revenge trip, I don't know what to tell you. That thinking is probably part of the problem. Racism, sexism, whatever, it's all good for business.

I'm going to suggest to you that a model of politics which does not allow for different motivations for different blocs of voters is insufficiently nuanced. Do you think working-class voters are literally too stupid to notice their livelihoods dwindling away under conservative leaders, are actually incapable of grasping that they need and use the services provided by the welfare state now being destroyed? Or might something else be going on?
posted by praemunire at 9:22 PM on February 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wow, like, I knew people were trying, but I had no idea anyone was actually outdoing Brownback. Although, at least by voter approval, Rauner seems to have substantial support, compared with Brownback's majority dissatisfaction.
posted by pwnguin at 9:25 PM on February 28, 2016


"So how are they managing to pay for anything if there is no budget in place? IOUs to employees deemed essential service?"

A combination of court orders and continuing resolutions. (I want to say almost 85% of the theoretcial budget is currently under court order or is mandatory entitlements, but I would have to look it up.) That's why infrastructure and schools and universities are being hit so hard: They're neither mandatory federal pass-through spending nor under court orders (like a lot of foster care type stuff the courts mandated the state HAD to pay).

State employees are still working normally and being paid ... for now. Some of this is very dubiously legal, as it's spending without there having been appropriations. But ... most states don't operate for over a year with no budget, so it's kinda uncharted waters.

(Rauner's approval is only as high as it is because state employees haven't been furloughed yet. And he knows it, which is why they haven't been. We'll see what happens as the pain starts spreading to the suburbs when colleges start making drastic cuts at the end of this semester; right now the pain is highly concentrated on the margins: the impoverished elderly, single mothers who use child care subsidies, the disabled, special ed children, the autistic, people in group homes, etc. Not even the DMV is shut down yet so so far it's mostly just an inconvenience for most people, not a crisis.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:33 PM on February 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


What's it going to take for people to wake up and start taking action? How much of this country needs to be ruined by these cruel sociopaths before people stop voting against their own self-interests -- or even just turn up to vote? How many schools have to be shuttered, universities destroyed, jobs lost, factories closed, water poisoned? How many mental health facilities need to be closed, homeless left on the street, pensions destroyed before Americans do something? How many years of drought, how many oil spills, how many lives ruined?

Illinois is just another state quickly transforming itself into Pottersville, where it's every man and woman and child for himself. The 'fiscally responsible' conservative is killing the state, closing schools, and literally kicking the mentally ill out into the street. What a heartless bastard.

You know, Blago is in prison for trying to sell a Senate seat. But I never felt that he would actively try to hurt anyone. But Rauner is aggressively destructive -- apparently totally confident that if he completely bankrupts the state, turns Chicago into Detroit, destroys unions that are the last defense for so many working families, that this will somehow attract new business, and somehow make citizens better off. I just don't get it: It 's not working, and it's just getting worse!

When, when, when will people wake up? Come on. It doesn't have to be this way.
posted by silkyd at 9:50 PM on February 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


Do the brown people get it worse? Because if the answer is yes, then never.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:30 PM on February 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rauner's latest ultimatum to the legislature: "Compromise" on his reforms, or give him the authority to cut spending as he pleases. I think he needs to go back to 8th grade and study up on the state constitution, because that's not how it works.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:45 PM on February 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Illinoisan born and raised. I came for a righteous rant from Eyebrows. I feel a bit better now.

Come on Dems. You have to show up to vote in non-presidential years.
posted by persona au gratin at 11:17 PM on February 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


And the layoffs at Chicago State are heartbreaking. Of course it's Chicago State and not College of DuPage or wherever.
posted by persona au gratin at 11:24 PM on February 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


persona au gratin: Illinoisan born and raised. ... Come on Dems. You have to show up to vote in non-presidential years.

Careful, persona, I've been crucified on Metafilter for daring to point out that Texas Democrats need to get motivated, too, otherwise we're going to keep getting handed these crushing defeats (gerrymandering or no).

But that's the point, innt? Why don't Democratic voters come out in off-years? And why can't Democrats seem to win even statewide races in fewer states these days? Great that the President has a (D) under the "Party" column but the rest of those offices are also pretty danged important.
posted by fireoyster at 11:37 PM on February 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


When the history of the collapse of the United States of America is written, Grover Norquist will be pilloried like no one since Judas Iscariot, I hope.
posted by mephron at 11:48 PM on February 28, 2016 [10 favorites]


Wilful, this is a dramatic situation.

No other supposedly first world country is having these issues

But here in London you'd find people who think that these things ARE happening in other first world countries. The Tories have ran a swath through the NHS, schools, and social housing, and the fallout is coming in at a slower burn rate but will still massive. Its probably underreported as well.
posted by C.A.S. at 1:09 AM on February 29, 2016


Other than the insanity of even considering a Trump oligarchy, this is only a small part of what I fear from a Trump win.
posted by mightshould at 3:27 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


See also: Pennsylvania, currently also without a budget for the past 8 months. Recently elected Democratic governor, Republican controlled state House. I work for a public university and the chancellor finally released COLA raises it if General funds because without a state budget, the school has no finalized budget. It's complete insanity. They've started to work on next year's budget without ever having passed this year's.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:34 AM on February 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee for Governor.
posted by schmod at 4:35 AM on February 29, 2016 [15 favorites]


Why was Pat Quinn even running for reelection, why wasn't he primaried? If the nominee had been Lisa Madigan (who, at least from a distance, seems less corrupt than her old man) Rauner wouldn't have gotten into the same area code as Springfield.
posted by Octaviuz at 5:03 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


A significant part of the problem is that the corruption on the Democratic side is rather egregious. Things like Madigan's real-estate assessment scan are pretty disgusting. If the state Democratic party had done a better job of policing itself there would never have been a chance for Rauner to try and burn the state to the ground.
posted by srboisvert at 5:29 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well we here in Illinois are in a 100 billion dollar pension hole. Pretty much since it's inception in the 50's Illinois has never really paid the matching funds it was supposed to while workers did. Then suddenly our elected leaders noticed the big pile of money that was the pension fund and started borrowing against it. For decades. Never paying back into it, of course.

And here we are now.

another often overlooked problem is the proliferation of tiny local governments. Hundreds of small unincorporated ares with one stop light ans one school suddenly become "towns" or "villages" with all the bureaucratic baggage that comes with it. Hundreds of one school town with superintendents demanding six figure pay because they're superintendents of one school towns. Not to mention town councils etc. Instead of say county wide governance you get micro fiefdoms.

There is no way out of this with out serious reform statewide but people are clinging to their fiefdoms with a death grip. And the clown Rauner thinks busting up unions will solve everything.
posted by Max Power at 5:30 AM on February 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm in the Chicagoland infrastructure industry, and its been brutal this year. The only thing keeping my office slightly afloat is that the Tollway has an independent budget, and that we're a multinational firm with offices in other states.

I'm working on a permanent transfer now. Here's hoping the Chicago real estate market holds up for one more summer.
posted by hwyengr at 6:04 AM on February 29, 2016


And racism, don't forget the racism. Maybe mostly racism, come to think of it.

There is a ton of racism involved in it but it's certainly not all racism. Homosexuals are not a race. Transgenders are not a race. Women in need of reproductive care, people in need of affordable health care, supporters of gun control, climate scientists, most scientists and public schools in general, goverment benefit recipients, environmentalists, liberals, intellectuals, city dwellers, Muslims, Jews, atheists, Hollywood, none of these are races.

Tribalism is a more accurate way to label it. The conservative movement is a coalition of several forces: the rich who want every regulation against economic and environmental predation destroyed, the bible-thumpers who want their morality enforced for everyone, the unrepentant racists who want the country rebooted to when minorities and deviants knew their place, the grifters and power brokers who know what media buttons to push to spread waves of raw anger. They are tribes forming a conservative nation with millions of grunts following the leaders, carefully programmed as to whom The Enemy are.

It's also a mistake to write it off as simple vileness and stupidity on the grunts' part. Because...

Come on Dems. You have to show up to vote in non-presidential years.

People vote when what's at stake directly affects them. In decreasing order of importance, "them" refers to their wallet, their family, their job, their health, their friends, their neighbors, their principles. The conservative think tanks have spent decades howling through the wires that THIS AFFECTS YOU: if a gay man has a life partner, if someone has an unauthorized orgasm, if a needy person receives assistance, if a nation overseas has something we want or makes a convenient enemy, if people who are not White Christians want representation too, if an abortion clinic exists anywhere THIS AFFECTS YOU AND YOUR LIFE AND MUST NOT STAND. Moderate liberals simply do not have that sense of urgency unless they or someone very close to them are personally affected.

Social taboos fade slowly over time because people get to know friends, neighbors, family who represent them and find that there's nothing to fear. The lesbian couple down the block isn't harming anyone, why should I get all worked up about it? It's a slow drift but, generationally, it happens. But economic realities are a lot harder to teach, especially when news networks' paychecks benefit from them not being understood.
posted by delfin at 6:14 AM on February 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


I totally get that this was a supportive comment and I only bring it up in the interests of clarity - "trans people" rather than "transgenders"; a lot of the people who say "transgenders" are hostile to trans people and it will probably confuse anyone you talk to about it.
posted by Frowner at 6:23 AM on February 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


Fair enough. I am an old man and my terminology has been known to be behind the times, but my intentions are good.
posted by delfin at 6:25 AM on February 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


miyabo: Many people who are middle class or rich know exactly how terrible it is to be poor in this country, and are utterly terrified they they will be poor too. Which I honestly can't blame them for.

*raises hand* I am middle class, and certainly I am terrified of losing what I've got. Why wouldn't I be? Being poor sucks, self-evidently, and I don't want to fail my kids.

There's an article published in the Australian magazine The Monthly stating quite baldly that the Boomers have hosed us all. Now, I don't mention this to ignite an old, tired fight, but only to point out that even this group now says out loud, "Generation Y may be the first generation in memory to be less wealthy than that of their parents." No shit! My mom and I talked about it last weekend, after she talked about it with my oldest brother (age 50), and I have been hearing this for years and years.

It's not an inter-generational fight, though: it really is shaping up into a class-based thing (i.e., the 99.9% versus the 0.1% and their paid minions). And I have probably never written or spoken those words before, so excuse me if I seem a little disordered and need a moment to collect myself.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:39 AM on February 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Max Power: Another often overlooked problem is the proliferation of tiny local governments. ... Hundreds of one school town with superintendents demanding six figure pay because they're superintendents of one school towns. Not to mention town councils etc. Instead of say county wide governance you get micro fiefdoms.

Rhode Island has one million people statewide, and the stock phrase is "39 cities and towns." That's 39 police contracts, 39 teacher contracts, 39 school superintendents (many with just a handful of schools), 39 municipal purchase lists, and on and on and goddamn on. 39 cities and towns, all with pension liabilities, all with hyper-local dysfunction, all with hair-tearing cronyism. And almost all with some dufus on the town council saying that just walking away from students and pension plans and road maintenance in the name of keeping taxes low is Fine And Dandy.

I feel you, brother; at least you have the Shedd Aquarium and Alligator Records and UIUC; we have a local sausage called a "gagger" and the Farelley Brothers.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:50 AM on February 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


That may possibly be the worst name for a sausage I've yet run across in polite company.
posted by aramaic at 6:51 AM on February 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler exists in some form in all dimensions.
posted by delfin at 6:52 AM on February 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


These old progressive states seem to have no problem switching gears and becoming tea party bastions as their populations age and get increasingly out of touch with progressive politics.

I wish people would stop calling the state that voted for Barack Obama twice, with large margins, and which will in January have a Senatorial delegation of Tammy Baldwin and Russ Feingold a "Tea Party bastion." Is Maryland a Tea Party bastion because of Larry Hogan? No -- neither is Wisconsin, neither is Illinois.
posted by escabeche at 7:04 AM on February 29, 2016


"Rhode Island has one million people statewide, and the stock phrase is "39 cities and towns." That's 39 police contracts, 39 teacher contracts, 39 school superintendents (many with just a handful of schools), 39 municipal purchase lists, and on and on and goddamn on. "

Illinois has 6,963 units of local government for just under 13 million people. That's AFTER consolidation and elimination of the worst ones. I can't actually tell you how many entities I pay property taxes to, and you know that's the kind of thing I usually nerd out about -- there's the city, the county, the school district, the community college district, the park district, the water board, the sewer district -- and they each have their own little elected oversight board, and many have paid employees. Um ... also a township. And I feel like there are at least three more that I can't even think of.

Okay, I looked it up. I also pay to the airport authority, the metro transit district, and the library district. (In addition to city, county, township, park district, school district, CC district, and water district, and a special sewer assessment.) The amounts they levied against me ranged from 10 cents (water board) to $1,762.05 (school district). I am officially kind-of annoyed by how much I'm paying the local transit authority given how appalling their service is; I'm definitely annoyed by how much I'm paying the "township" which is not even a real thing that has any reason to exist.

Anyway, that's 11. I pay to 11 separate taxing bodies and vote for their elected officials in every election and they all maintain separate infrastructures and back offices. And I live in a pretty uncomplicated place; there are people in Naperville who end up paying to three separate water authorities on one piece of property.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:08 AM on February 29, 2016 [16 favorites]


I grew up in a Chicago suburb within earshot of ORD, but haven't lived in Illinois for 20 years. I know people back there who consider themselves to be Democrats, but voted for both Rauner and Mark Kirk. Their attitude has been if you don't like them, try the new flavor of the day. Unfortunately, Illinois politics can't be distilled into a few points. There is nuance that has to include family dynasties, political corruption on both sides of the aisle, and population movement both in and out of the state. And outside of that little chunk of land on the northeast corner of the state, agriculture is big. Really big.

Back before manufacturing went offshore, those jobs in Illinois helped to build a strong middle class where the unions had a big, mostly positive effect. And blue collar jobs helped to promote both blue and white collar jobs in support of those industries. Think auto and machinery manufacturing, food processing (remember the stock yards?), steel mills and railroads. Once manufacturing left the state, there were still enough clean jobs to keep the middle class engine going, for a while. Then the corporate climate became hungry for short term growth. Couple that with the failure of major retail to keep up with the times and a "I have mine, fuck you" attitude towards taxation and spending and that's just the tip of the iceburg in explaining why the state is in the shape it's in today.

another often overlooked problem is the proliferation of tiny local governments. Hundreds of small unincorporated ares with one stop light ans one school suddenly become "towns" or "villages" with all the bureaucratic baggage that comes with it.


Don't even get me started on the concept of "park districts" and townships .

There's an article published in the Australian magazine The Monthly stating quite baldly that the Boomers have hosed us all.

I think we were hosed before many of the boomers were of voting age. A big part of that has to do with where federal taxes have come from over time. There is a cost to having a relatively safe and peaceful society, and squeezing the middle to the benefit of the wealthy is just ass backwards.
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:17 AM on February 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


and the library district

And as inefficient as the proliferation of local government agencies can be, consolidating them is not always going to be a win. For example, a library district with independent taxing authority is better able to resist a town mayor — or a governor — who doesn't see the point of stocking books that go against his "morals".
posted by metaquarry at 7:47 AM on February 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you would like to know what this budget bullshit is doing to real people, hear ye:

Our childcare is provided by a single mother of two teen boys who works VERY HARD to run her home daycare. She is licensed for up to 8 kids. She is a super awesome loving provider who can wrangle toddlers in a way that I can only dream of. The epitome of small business owners. For a long time she didn't take kids with state funding, because it was really hard to handle the bureaucracy.

A family attended, then left for awhile, then one day the father showed up on her doorstep shell-shocked and in tears. Mom had died in childbirth with a third baby and he had nowhere for his kids to go. DCP couldn't bring herself to turn them away, and she took the three kids in, now with state funding.

THE STATE WILL NOT FUCKING PAY HER FOR THESE KIDS. It's been months and months and months. Because they're just... not paying. The dad is overwhelmed, nobody in our area is taking three state-funded kids because see: state not paying, and DCP can't bring herself to turn them out because she's basically their surrogate mom now and if dad loses his childcare he will lose his job and they will *literally* be on the street. Things are tight for her on a good day, but you just can't have nearly forty percent of your income not show up, not to mention that she still has to pay for their food and the supplies they use and work to take care of them. She's cut every expense she can think of out of her personal life, she is constantly worried about money and yet she just can't bring herself to put these kids on the street. She did have to ask another kid to leave recently when he switched from private pay to state funding, because she really, seriously cannot afford that.

It is ENRAGING. These motherfuckers talk about small business owners, but look at the path they're sending people hurtling down: If they don't pay their obligations and the daycare closes, that's DCP and her kids with no income; without childcare, dad of three loses his job, he and his kids lose their housing, so that's four of them homeless and with no income and now you've fucked over seven people, at least some of whom are now on full public assistance, you've closed a tax-paying business, ALL BECAUSE YOU COULDN'T BE BOTHERED TO PAY YOUR GODDAMN BILLS.

It's bad for daycare subsidies to not exist in the first place. But promising them and then just not paying is super extra evil.

Stupid dumbshit goddamn motherfuckers.

p.s. this is not a one-off situation. small daycares all over the region are suffering similar fates.
posted by telepanda at 7:51 AM on February 29, 2016 [35 favorites]


Ands they just simply are not paying a large portion of health care expenses and mental health expenses because "eh".
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:58 AM on February 29, 2016


What's nuts to me is, even still, when those of us on the ground in states like Florida, Illinois, and etc., etc., can see the evidence all around us that things really aren't working like they should be and that things have gone seriously wrong in the American political system and economy, politicians on both sides still feel obligated to pander to voters who can't face that reality by insisting that America's still fundamentally strong and greater than every other nation on earth in every way. There's such a fundamental spirit of dishonesty baked into our culture at this point. Not sure how anyone could really cut through it and even start getting traction working on the more fundamental problems that have cropped up in our system. We've always been a nation with lots of credulous, willing believers and lots of manipulative hucksters, cult leaders, and behind the scenes industrial machinations, but it seems like we've passed some kind of tipping point now where there's so much bullshit and gameplaying, it's not sustainable anymore.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:07 AM on February 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think what I'm trying to say is that nobody should have to wake up and decide each morning whether to feed their own teens or ruin the lives of someone else's babies, possibly irreparably.

Certainly not solely because of some posturing assholes.
posted by telepanda at 8:24 AM on February 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


A family member of mine was a nursing director for a county health department in Illinois until recently; they'd already been chronically understaffed and underfunded for years, and the first thing she did after the election was set her retirement date because she knew what was coming. Trying to adequately serve a population across a rural county is difficult enough when your government isn't actively working against you.
posted by percolatrix at 8:35 AM on February 29, 2016


I don't think the Metafilter crowd will like MISH's take on it.

He suggests

Bankruptcies at the municipal level
A new constitution that allows pension cuts at the state level
Right to work laws
End of collective bargaining of government employees
End of prevailing wage laws
Tax reform, especially property tax reform
Workers' compensation reform
Unemployment insurance reform

Don't kill the messenger..
posted by yoyo_nyc at 8:36 AM on February 29, 2016


I grew up in Springfield. My parents both worked in higher education in Illinois, at SIU and at UIS (first when it was Sangamon State University). As state employees, they weren't eligible to pay in to social security (neither am I, as a university employee elsewhere), and they're retired now. So it's Illinois state pensions or nothing.

I was so happy when I visited my folks a year or so ago to be able to take my kids to the Illinois State Museum, where they'd re-done the basement, into a really really nice place for kids to play at the museum. Seriously---if the museum ever opens again, and you're in Springfield, take your kids there. And Dixon mounds is (was???) totally awesome.

What kind of asshole closes a museum just to try to score weirdo points? Especially when it doesn't save money.

Damn Rauner, anyway.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:47 AM on February 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Who is MISH and why should anyone give a damn what he thinks?
posted by qcubed at 8:49 AM on February 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


Honestly, my county job is the only reason I have an actual living wage for the area I live in.

The thought that the few jobs left that are at a level that actually pays decent money should be abolished is rediculous.

It is like people want to go back to indentured servitude because profits.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:51 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


"A new constitution that allows pension cuts at the state level"

The state Supreme Court has been extremely clear that this is an impairment of contract that will not be allowed to stand; if they try to put it into the state constitution, the federal Constitution's Contract Clause will override the state's attempt to invalidate its contractual obligations.

Plus, Illinoisians have to vote every 10 years on whether we want a constitutional convention (or "concon"), and we just voted "no." (And having a concon opens up a can full of other cans full of worms that the GOP definitely doesn't want to do.)

At some point the leadership of both parties -- both of them -- needs to hear the courts when they say, loud and clear, over and over and over, that it is NOT PERMISSIBLE to unilaterally impair a contract or remove earned benefits just because you don't want to pay them. Anyone who is suggesting this as a reform idea is not a serious person and should not be taken seriously -- and I include in that assessment John Cullerton presenting YET ANOTHER ITERATION of that same damn idea in the Senate so it can be litigated and shot down by the courts YET AGAIN. It is a fantasy based on a willful misunderstanding of one of the most fundamental parts of Constitutional law in the United States.

(The rest of his points are largely sloganeering without putting up details. "Reform workers comp!" is a totally easy thing to say; you need to explain what and how. Based on his total failure to understand the pension issue, I rather doubt this guy has any idea.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:58 AM on February 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


I don't think the Metafilter crowd will like MISH's take on it.

You got that right.

From the site:
Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Investment advisor? Therein lies part of the problem. For years we've been told that the government should be run like a business. That's pretty much horseshit. The purpose of government is for the benefit of the people. When you accept this, you're accepting that government is by design not a profit-making entity. That state pensions are in trouble is in no small part due to the bad investments made on the behalf of their beneficiaries. As a result, the fund managers and politicians they bribed did okay, the pensions, not so much.

And if you want to see some real victim blaming, especially when it comes to teachers, read the comments in that article.
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:06 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


We have five "fire districts" in a town of 35,000 (Cumberland, RI). The town next door (Lincoln, RI) also has five…some of which are volunteers only, but with their own separate taxes. And salaried (albeit part-time) tax collector, natch.

Last year they consolidated all five of our fire districts districts, but there's a desire to roll it back. Why? Well, in one district, their rates went up some ridiculous multiple because the last guy had given everyone a huge-ass rebate just before closing up shop, and everyone's memory is only one year long.

Which, when I think about it, is probably the root cause: everyone's memory is only one year long.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:13 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


When, when, when will people wake up? Come on. It doesn't have to be this way.
posted by silkyd


People will wake up when they stop believing that they're one winning lottery ticket away from fixing all that's wrong with their lives. Of course, it helps if the state actually pays out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:08 AM on February 29, 2016


I think this is not widely understood: it's Illinois state pensions or nothing.

To make an analogy, imagine saying that to solve the federal deficit we should get rid of social security entirely (and everyone that has paid in to it should lose all their money).
posted by typecloud at 10:10 AM on February 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


As a native Minnesotan who lived in Chicagoland for a few years, I was struck by all the different political systems in place. Seems like everyone was out to build their own empires, both in government and in commerce.

I think the one thing that ties many of the northern states together is populism, more so then liberal or conservative leanings. People don't vote so much on ideology as much as emotional appeal.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:12 AM on February 29, 2016


Just to reiterate Eyebrows' excellent point about Rauner not being the choice of most voters nor a man elected because people supported his ideas:

Bruce Rauner won with 1,781,052 votes to Pat Quinn’s 1,609,152 (The 3rd Party candidate Chad Grimm got 118,098 votes).

Note, in 2012, there were 7,282,639 registered voters in Illinois--I don’t have 2014 stats but the March primary in 2014 had the lowest recorded primary voter turnout of 19%. In 2014, there were 1,451,593 registered voters in SUBURBAN COOK COUNTY (which EXCLUDES the City of Chicago, including the City brings you up to about 5 million Cook County residents, not voters, our Clerk of the Court won't give you access to that sort of voter info) ALONE--Those voters account for basically one entire candidate. So Rauner barely defeated Pat Quinn and did so without a particular show of support from voters, generally. Looks like half of the eligible voters stayed home. And this is the shit that follows. Governors whom no-one supports, screwing over the most vulnerable. I'd say we should not allow a person who got yes votes from less than half of the registered voters take office, but I'd bet we'd never have another governor.

For information: in 2014, Illinois' population was 12,880,580, up slightly from 2010; but of course not all of a population is eligible to vote--although Illinois allows convicted felons to vote as soon as their sentence is complete (thank god).

Elections in the US--at every single level--are fucked up. Illinois even has really good options for voting by mail or voting early just because you feel like it and people don't bother to vote. We have very easy registration, as well (by mail, in person, Motor-Voter), although you have to be registered 27 days prior to the election (there is a provisional ballot procedure for people who miss the deadline). And still, people don't vote.

Anyway. I yell about voting and elections--not about Rauner and the budget--because the former makes me slightly less likely to vomit in terror than the latter.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:14 AM on February 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


The whole Democratic party's schick is just crocodile tears. They have a veto-proof majority in both houses, they are just punishing all of us in order to make Rauner look bad. People voted for Rauner because they are sick the Democrats here that run a cronyist system.
posted by melissam at 10:18 AM on February 29, 2016


Michael Madigan who is the circus ringleader in all this pretty much exemplifies the problems. Like too many politicians in the first place. Look at his district, most of it is an airport. No wonder he opposes redistricting reform. Also he is doing Chicago-style tactics to stay in power like running two fake candidates against his opponent in the primary.

So he's helming a veto-proof Democratic majority and pretending Rauner is the problem.
posted by melissam at 10:23 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Uh busting state workers union rights IS the problem, I don't see Madigan suggesting that. Ya don't like it? You can try Kansas.
posted by Max Power at 10:30 AM on February 29, 2016


Ya don't like it? You can try Kansas.

Well a lot of people are having the same idea and leaving the state. This isn't really a good thing for the state.
posted by melissam at 10:38 AM on February 29, 2016


As of 2010, Illinois can recall the governor. Seems like it's about time, y'all.
posted by librarylis at 11:02 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]



As of 2010, Illinois can recall the governor. Seems like it's about time, y'all.


As someone that lives in Wisconsin and has to suffer through who knows how many more years of Scott Walker, good luck with that!
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:21 AM on February 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Um, I'm leaving the state BECAUSE of Rauner's half-assed hold-the-budget hostage plan. If I had the same Illinois I was born, raised, and schooled in (ILL!), I'd love to stay.

Madigan or not, Rauner HAS TO submit a budget. He has not because it would make him look miserable to propose what he wants to do without getting the Democrats to go along. Which they'd then hammer on the Democrats for the cuts during the next cycle.
posted by hwyengr at 12:19 PM on February 29, 2016


This thread reminded me - last month I was on a flight out of Chicago with this guy who was talking on and on about how much he'd like to live in California, but the taxes are too high. It was a little bizarre to me how freaked out about taxes he was. He spent most of the flight looking at financial charts. A follower of MISH no doubt.

The greatest good is making money and holding on to it, all else be damned.
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:32 PM on February 29, 2016


And that's the other thing. Of the states that have income taxes, Illinois is damn near the lowest at a flat 3.75%. Even those few years it was 5%, it was one of the lowest. Of course, that's why you have thousands of other taxing authorities and sky-high property taxes, because you're gonna pay for it one way or the other.

Except your airport authority tax dollars can't be redirected into the pension.
posted by hwyengr at 12:41 PM on February 29, 2016


Michael Madigan who is the circus ringleader in all this pretty much exemplifies the problems. Like too many politicians in the first place. Look at his district, most of it is an airport. No wonder he opposes redistricting reform. Also he is doing Chicago-style tactics to stay in power like running two fake candidates against his opponent in the primary.
So he's helming a veto-proof Democratic majority and pretending Rauner is the problem.


Madigan is a problem but the budget is entirely 100% on Rauner until he at the very least proposes something.....anything....Beuller? Beuller? Beuller? ........
posted by srboisvert at 2:59 PM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


The sad thing is that Rauner can sit on this as long as he wants. The people who give a shit about the community are the ones that will eventually need to crack. Rauner can let the state burn. He doesn't even have to give a shit about a second term so long as he gets everything he wants.
posted by Talez at 3:37 PM on February 29, 2016


He suggests

Bankruptcies at the municipal level
A new constitution that allows pension cuts at the state level
Right to work laws
End of collective bargaining of government employees
End of prevailing wage laws
Tax reform, especially property tax reform
Workers' compensation reform
Unemployment insurance reform


This sounds almost exactly like Rauner's plan. Imagine that!
posted by SisterHavana at 4:24 PM on February 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was reading this thread shaking my head in horror and amazement and wondering what kind of awful social and cultural backwater shithole of a wasteland Illinois was until I remembered that's where Chicago is. Holy shit!
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:11 PM on February 29, 2016


Maybe this is all some kind of elaborate fourth-wall-breaking meta-setup for a new Snake Plissken movie? They've done the first two big cities, now finally Chicago gets a look-in!
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:17 PM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why don't they just impeach the governor?
posted by humanfont at 6:06 PM on February 29, 2016


Why don't they just impeach the governor?

Because in Illinois you need 10 Republican state reps and 5 Republican state senators to go along with the whole shitshow before you can even circulate a petition.
posted by Talez at 6:12 PM on February 29, 2016


I was reading this thread shaking my head in horror and amazement and wondering what kind of awful social and cultural backwater shithole of a wasteland Illinois was until I remembered that's where Chicago is. Holy shit!


which has Rahm. Not doing much better at the moment.
posted by lester at 7:59 PM on February 29, 2016


And that's the other thing. Of the states that have income taxes, Illinois is damn near the lowest at a flat 3.75%. Even those few years it was 5%, it was one of the lowest. Of course, that's why you have thousands of other taxing authorities and sky-high property taxes, because you're gonna pay for it one way or the other.

Also the income tax flatness is mandated in the state constitution. Ditto for corporate taxes which are only allowed to be a multiple of personal income taxes.
posted by srboisvert at 4:43 AM on March 1, 2016


In reply to Eyebrows' comment up at the top of the thread: I know politics are the worst thing ever, but would you please just run for president?
posted by eggkeeper at 5:46 PM on March 1, 2016


"Hundreds of one school town with superintendents demanding six figure pay because they're superintendents of one school towns. Not to mention town councils etc. Instead of say county wide governance you get micro fiefdoms."

Do they still have townships? In the 90s the one next to ours had an annual budget of 400k or so. Six elected members with salaries around 35k each, 80k for the chair. They basically bickered about a weedy park...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 3:38 AM on March 2, 2016


Report on the human carnage of the impasse

Read the second link in the article, about what Rauner told a homeless girl, if you want to barf.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:11 AM on March 2, 2016


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