Daily dose: Local history, county board appointments, income tax increase, Quinn's defense, agency head's DUI, lottery deal
In 1911, Champaign doesn’t want the commission form of government. The proposed change failed by 21 votes. "It was a case of practical politics backed by practical working politicians against theories and inexperienced political workers," said the Champaign Daily Gazette.
In 1961, Democratic House Speaker Paul Powell on Tuesday gave assurances that Sen. Everett Peters, R-St. Joseph, will continue as chairman of the Illinois State Budgetary Commission. Powell has been vice chairman of the budgetary commission, even with a Republican majority. He and Peters have worked closely together for years and have been described as “two of a kind.”
Weibel explains appointments for sanitary district and MTD boards
Champaign County Board Chair C. Pius Weibel had two politically touchy appointments to make to local boards at last night's county board meeting.
For the relatively lucrative Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District board (which pays $6,000 a year), Weibel chose former county board member Jennifer Putman over former county board Chair Barbara Wysocki. A third candidate, Tony Bruno of Champaign, also was in the mix. Bruno came to Tuesday's meeting and told board members that he wants to get involved in local issues.
"This was an extremely difficult decision to make," Weibel said. "We had three good candidates, including Mr. Bruno here. Tony grew up in this area and does have pretty goodexperience but only recently moved back to Champaign-Urbana. I look forward to apponting him to some other appointed position in the future. Both Barb Wysocki and Jenny Putman have long, active and distniguished careers on the Champaign County Board, as well as on other enitities. As you know Barb served for 12 years and Jenny for 30 years (on the county board)."
"Again this was a very difficult choice because both candidates were well qualified and have experience in this type of activity. However I found that Ms. Putman's background had one advantage in that she has a degree in urban planning. I think that fits in very well with ... planning for future growth and working hand in hand withnew developments and things like that. So for that reason I selected her for this position."
Following that appointment, Weibel picked Brad Diel, a Champaign firefighter who once ran for the county board as a Democrat, for a vacancy on the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District board. Diel was chose over Margaret Chaplan of Champaign. The MTD boad post pays a more modest $50 per meeting.
Weibel noted that Chaplan was a long-time bus rider who had served on UI campus transportation commitees. He also noted, however, that she had worked at the Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations Department, from which one other MTD board member (Ron Peters) came.
Diel, Weibel noted, is an engineer with the fire department whose job includes driving fire trucks. "These trucks are similar in size to MTD buses," he said. Weibel also said that Diel had attended bus driver training for a short time at theMTD, although he did not complete training and become a driver. Diel also has a part-time construction job and has worked on MTD projects.
More on the Illinois income tax
From today's N-G column ...
In 1969, Jim Nowlan was a 27-year-old freshman Republican state representative who voted for Illinois’ original income tax.
Today he’s a senior fellow at the University of Illinois’ Institute on Government and Public Affairs and proof that politicians can survive tax increase votes.
“I remember that my uncle wouldn’t speak to me for several weeks,” said
Nowlan, who was one of 69 Republicans to vote for the tax hike. “But I wasn’t even opposed (for re-election) two years later. So it didn’t have quite the recoil that everyone expects this one to have.”
Several legislators who voted for that income tax not only survived but thrived, among them then-state Rep. Stanley Weaver of Urbana, Rep. Ed Madigan (who later served in Congress and was President George H.W. Bush’s agriculture secretary), Rep. Ralph Smith (later appointed a U.S. senator), and Rep. Bernard Epton (who ran for mayor of Chicago). Many others who voted for the income tax continued to serve in the Legislature for years afterward.
Nowlan was chosen Gov. Richard Ogilvie’s lieutenant governor candidate in the 1972 election, which he lost to Democrat Dan Walker. Walker made the income tax part of his campaign against Ogilvie, but used its proceeds once elected and never tried to rescind it.
“The difference between then and now was that Ogilvie said he didn’t know how to spend all the money,” Nowlan recalled. “It was a huge infusion to the state. This time around, based on some back-of-the-envelope calculating, the state — if it spends up to the spending limits imposed — will be back in a deficit position in a year. I’m sure some legislators think there’s money for new programs. But I think the increase in pension requirements and the natural growth in Medicaid will probably eat everything up.”
Nowlan remembered how the 1969 income tax came about. “Soon after we had been seated, there was a House Republican caucus and they asked us who could support an income tax,” he said. “Being young and naive, I threw my hand up; I was one of the very few who did so. And of course that meant I was forgotten and didn’t need to be given anything for my vote.”
Quinn defends tax increase
From the Chicago Tribune ...
While I appreciate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's zeal to debate economic development in the Midwest, no amount of rhetoric changes the fundamental facts: Illinois is the economic engine of the Midwest, and our efforts to stabilize and reform our budget only strengthen our competitiveness in the global economy.
As The New York Times editorialized last weekend, criticism of Illinois' recent tax and budget reforms "… makes great political theater. But businesses and voters in Illinois, and around the country, should take a closer look at the facts and figures, including their own."
Facts are stubborn things, and it's time to set the record straight.
Even with the temporary increase, Illinois' personal and corporate tax rates are lower than Wisconsin's and comparable to other nearby states. For years, we have collected revenues at rates far below those of our neighbors — one of the contributing factors to our current financial instability. Last week's reforms actually bring us in line with our neighbors.
In addition to Illinois' lower or comparable rates, our corporate tax structure is based on the location of a business' customers — not where the business itself is located. At the behest of the business community, Illinois changed the way it collects corporate taxes in recent years; as a result, a company's taxes due to Illinois won't change if it relocates.
Trouble for state agency head
From The State Journal-Register ...
The director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in his personal vehicle last week.
Warren C. Ribley, 53, of Pajim Lane was taken to the Sangamon County Jail following a traffic stop at MacArthur Boulevard and Wabash Avenue.
According to Leland Grove police, an officer saw Ribley make a right turn on a red arrow even though it is posted no turn on red. The officer followed Ribley and paced him going 45 mph in a 35 mph zone. Ribley also allegedly changed lanes without signaling.
The officer pulled over Ribley and could smell alcohol, police said. Ribley refused all field sobriety and breath testing, they said.
Lottery going to private management
From The State Journal-Register ...
The state has rejected two protests over the awarding of a private management contract for the Illinois Lottery, opening the way for the new manager to take control of the lottery this summer.
But the issue may not be resolved yet. Intralot USA, one of the losing bidders, said Tuesday it is still evaluating its options.
“We are looking at this literally as we speak,” said Byron Boothe, Intralot’s vice-president of inter-governmental affairs. “All of our options are open.”
The next step would be to seek a judicial review of the contracting process.
The state said it finalized an agreement Tuesday with Northstar Lottery Group to operate the lottery beginning July 1.