Tag: Michael Madigan

Proviso Area Lawmakers Laud State’s Passage of Stopgap Budget

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton walk into Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office on June 28. | Seth Perlman/AP via nwi.com

Friday, June 1, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews ||@village_free 

Illinois state lawmakers reached a compromise, albeit limited, on the nearly year-long budget drama that, while conducted in Springfield, has played out in suffering across the state.

Faced with the prospect of shuttered schools in the fall, and greater uncertainty for social service organizations and businesses, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers, under the leadership of House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, hammered out an agreement on a stopgap budget Thursday that would fund state operations for another six months.

“We have seen with previous successful budget efforts that we can come together, achieve compromise and pass a budget when the governor’s demands relative to his personal agenda that hurts families are dropped,” Madigan told reporters after the bill passed the House. “That happened again today.”

“This is not a budget. This is not a balanced budget,” Rauner said. “This is not a solution to our long-term challenges. This is a bridge to reform. That’s what this is.”

State lawmakers representing areas within Proviso Township greeted the news with a sigh of relief, but also with caveats.

“While this is a step in the right direction, we still have a lot of work ahead of us as we negotiate a full budget,” said Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th) in a statement. “I’m glad to say that our efforts to compromise have delivered some relief to the most vulnerable populations throughout our state.”

“This is not a complete budget nor a solution to Illinois’ ongoing fiscal challenges,” said state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch in a statement.

“It addresses only the most basic needs of the State and only takes us through the end of this year,” he said. “Though not a cause for celebration, I believe it is an important step forward for Illinois and an example of the compromise that has been in short supply in Springfield over the past year.”

Below is a summary, issued by Rep. Welch’s office, of things the stopgap budget covers:

P-12 Budget

SB2047 includes a full year of funding for P-12 education, and contains an increase in education funding of over $361M overall as well as an additional $250M equity grant for low income school districts. CPS will receive approximately $200M in additional funding in this bill, a significant improvement from the $75M cut to CPS in the Governor’s proposed P-12 budget.

Human Services

SB2047 will also provide $667M from a dedicated fund for human services to fund human services programs not currently covered under court order or consent decree. Examples include autism services, programs for people with disabilities, addiction treatment, programs for homeless youth, rape crisis centers, etc.

Higher Education

In addition to the stopgap higher education funding that was passed in April, SB2047 will provide an additional $1 billion in funding for community colleges, universities, and Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grant recipients. This is critical to keep our universities functioning and allowing  low-income and first generation students to continue to pursue their educational goals.

Capital Projects

The bill includes funding for limited capital projects including road improvements and repairs and other infrastructure projects, and will ensure they are not interrupted and our state’s roads can be appropriately maintained.

It is clear that compromise is necessary and that neither party can address these problems alone. I commend the Governor for dropping his demand that we adopt his political agenda before participating in these stop gap budget talks. Instead, we were able to come together to prevent the devastating impact of a continued impasse on our students and most vulnerable citizens.

Again, it is imperative that we work towards a comprehensive budget that addresses our structural fiscal challenges and move us away from the crisis driven budgeting that has become the new normal.  However, passage of SB2047 marks a small step forward. VFP

Vision of Restoration to Host Resource Fair July 22

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vision of Restoration Inc., Maywood Illinois Annual Community Resource Fair Friday, July 22, 2016; 10:00am – 3:00pm CST

Who: Vision of Restoration, Inc. (VOR) in partnership with the Maywood Park District

What: Presents its Annual Community Resource Fair- “Restoring Peace”

When: Friday, July 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m.  to 3:00 p.m.

Where: Madison Street from 9th to 13th, Maywood.

Vision of Restoration, in partnership with the Maywood Park District, is presenting our Annual Community Resource Fair to support youth, seniors and families residing in Maywood and the surrounding western suburbs of Cook County.

This event is for the entire Proviso Township and will consist of a plethora of resources stemming from health care, local and state government, Village of Maywood resources, Greater Chicago Food Depository, employment, re-entry, veterans, youth Peace Ambassadors, education, entrepreneurial platforms, and a series of workshops and informational offerings that will cater to residents of all ages.

Last year’s fair was a tremendous success for the community. Mayor Edwenna Perkins stated, “I want to take the time to thank Vision of Restoration for a job well done on the 2015 resource fair! I look forward to working with them in the years to come!”

There were over 1,000 attendees and 60 vendors and organizations that lined 13th.

“We expect the attendance to increase to over 2,000 based upon the level of interest in this year’s Resource Fair,” stated Larry James, Executive Director at Vision of Restoration.

Mini Cooper is a sponsor for 2016. Terri L. Evans, Area Manager, Central Metro Market, Mini USA, stated, “On behalf of Mini Cooper and its dealers, we are dedicated to playing an important role in improving the communities where we live and do business.”

“Mini Cooper is honored to partner with Vision of Restoration of Maywood for this worthwhile event and look forward to a day of fun, entertainment and providing much needed resources to the families and youth residing in the western suburbs of Chicago.”

This all-around event will be full of resources, music, fun, food, and activities for seniors, youth and their families! Come join us and be apart of the annual celebration!

For more information, please call us at 708.344.3774, or click here. VFP

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Enough: Illinois Budget Standoff Must Be Resolved, Says State-Journal Register

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016 || By State-Journal Register Editorial Board 

Approximately 65 Illinois daily and weekly newspapers are running editorials today through the beginning of July, many on their front pages, on the need for an end to the state budget standoff. The State Journal-Register editorial board shared this editorial and urged other newspapers to weigh in on the need for a resolution to Illinois’ budget crisis.

letter i.jpgllinois’  budget standoff must be resolved, and must be resolved now. Whether or not our leaders manage to pass a stopgap funding measure this week, Illinois still needs the stability of a full budget to restore the health of our state and its economy.

For a year, our state’s elected leaders have engaged in what can only be called political malpractice.

Illinois is the only state in the country that doesn’t have a budget. For a year, because of that failure, it has stiffed small businesses, social service agencies and its higher education system, leaving them trying to operate without money they’re owed. State operations have been cobbled together through a patchwork of court orders, and the state gets deeper in debt by the minute.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said on Monday the state was on the verge of crisis, and that it would be an “outrageous, tragic failure” if schools don’t open on time this fall.

With all due respect, Governor, the state is already in crisis and the budget standoff has already been an “outrageous, tragic failure.” A stopgap may delay imminent emergency and we desperately need that. But it’s still not enough.

As legislators return to Springfield today — for the first time this month — Illinois’  historic, serious problems have been made even worse by the failure to compromise on a balanced, long-term spending plan.

The political war between Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan has been confounding and unconscionable.  Rauner has insisted on passage of the so-called Turnaround Agenda, a series of pro-business measures, as a condition of the budget. Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have seemed focused primarily on thwarting the governor.

Neither the governor nor the legislature has put forth a balanced budget. Decades of delaying action and willfully ignoring issues like the state’s epically ballooning pension obligations have devastated its financial stability. The state must make cuts, and yes, more revenue will be needed to stanch the economic bleeding.

The consequences of having no budget have been harsh and far-reaching.

The state’s colleges and universities, which ought to be linchpins for growth and economic development, instead have been starved. Hundreds have been laid off, programs have been shuttered. High school graduates look at this mess, fear for their future, and enroll in out-of-state colleges. Our best and brightest may not come back after they complete their education elsewhere.

Meanwhile, more than 130,000 low-income students have had financial aid snatched away. Do these students who wish to better themselves and their future job prospects through education have other resources to continue? In most cases, no.

One million of Illinois’ most vulnerable people — the poor, the at-risk kids, the elderly, the mentally ill, the homeless, the victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault — have been directly harmed by the state’s dereliction of duty, as social service agencies cut services.

Hospitals and medical providers are owed hundreds of millions in unpaid state employee medical bills and delayed Medicaid payments.

Countless business owners, large and small, have struggled to survive because they haven’t been paid. Cities and small towns have been left holding the bag for unpaid state bills.

And yet, it could get even worse.

More than $2 billion in active road construction projects might be shut down, leading to as many as 25,000 workers losing their jobs.

The state’s corrections system says it’s on the verge of not being able to feed inmates and operate prisons.

Social services agencies will continue to turn away the ill, the homeless, the elderly.

The state’s schools were spared last year by a separate appropriation. But this year, many districts face the very real possibility of not opening or not being able to stay open.

But what have citizens seen from the Capitol? We have seen political posturing. We have seen a governor who campaigned as a practical business leader dedicated to finding fixes instead act as an ideological purist. We have seen elected representatives apparently unable to stand up to Madigan, Cullerton and Rauner to demand a resolution to the crisis. We have not seen compromise.

Perhaps the most damaging long-term effect is the toxic cynicism and frustration this crisis has created among its residents, who have to wonder at this point if Rauner, Madigan and Cullerton simply view the toll on Illinois’ people as mere collateral damage. At a recent Better Government Association panel on the impasse’s impact, multiple social service providers said flatly they don’t believe leaders care about their plight.

Many long-term changes are needed to restore Illinois to solid ground. Redistricting reform is a critical piece of restoring true political competitiveness that will lead to legislators facing more accountability to the voters they represent.

But the day has come. Illinois’ people cannot be held hostage for a second year without a budget.

Voters must revolt and demand better.

Enough. VFP

Negative Mailers From Springfield Flood Mailboxes In Dem Primary

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Fliers delivered in the 7th District opposing challenger Chris Harris. | Caption and picture by Jean Lotus/Cook County Chronicle

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 || Originally Published: Cook County Chronicle || 2/29/16 || By Jean Lotus

Staggering amounts of money are being spent in the 2016 Illinois primary election cycle.

In spite of the Internet Age, lots of trees are dying to create slick mailers, newspapers and fliers in Democratic primary races.

Several Cook County challengers for state representative are complaining their constituents’ mailboxes are being stuffed by primitive negative mailer pieces paid for by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s “Democratic Majority” committee.

As many as 10 “opposition mailer” postcards — printed in Springfield — have been sent out in races where incumbent Democrats are facing upstart challengers.

“These pieces are really pounding the negatives and making outright false claims,” said University of Illinois at Chicago Political Science Professor and former Chicago Alderman Dick Simpson. “You don’t know they’re coming and they can’t be answered easily. It takes weeks to prepare a mailing and they’re difficult to refute.”

Simpson and 7th District challenger Chris Harris held a press conference Feb. 23 in front of the Thompson Center decrying negative campaign mailers printed out boilerplate-style on behalf of incumbents.

“Negative campaigning hurts democracy,” Simpson said. “[These mailers] convince voters not to vote in elections at all. They drive down turnout because voters assume all politicians are scum-bags and crooks.”

Who’s making money on this election cycle?

Frye-Williamson Press in Springfield, owned by Richard and Lynn Serena, have been paid more than $49,000 by the Democratic Majority PAC to print mailers for John D’Amico (D-15th) ($18,530); Jaime Andrade (D-40th) ($11,615); Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-7th) ($10,930); Sonia Marie Harper (D-6th) and opposing Katelyn Hotle in Rockford (D-72nd) ($6,471), according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Harris, who is challenging two-term incumbent Emanuel “Chris” Welch called the fliers “lazily prepared” and said “they think voters are stupid.”

Harris himself is benefitting from much more sophisticated localized weekly newspapers delivered to the mailboxes of 7th District registered voters by conservative Liberty Principles Super PAC, which editorialize with an anti-Welch slant.

Meanwhile in the 15th district, 13-year incumbent D’Amico has been blanketing the Northwest Side district with $18,000 worth of fliers and postcards accusing his challenger of being a Tea Party member who plans to cut Medicare and Social Security.

“Politics is hyperbole, but a lie is a lie,” said O’Hare Airport noise activist Jac Charlier. Charlier said campaign mailers also accuse him of being part of “Bruce Rauner’s war on women.”

“That one is particularly troubling,” Charlier said. “I am adopted and I come out of foster care. My mother chose to have me. I’m here today because a woman had the choice and the right to make the decision she wanted to.” He says he is campaigning as a “pro-choice Democrat.”

But D’Amico says he’s just “swinging back.”

“Since my opponent declared he was running for office his campaign has been completely negative,” D’Amico said. “[Charlier] has been tearing down my family the whole time.”

D’Amico, 53, is the nephew of Ald. Marge Laurino. He’s part of a decades-long dynastic Northwest Side family. His grandfather 39th Ward Ald. Anthony Laurino was indicted in 1994 for ghost-payrolling, but died before he could go to trial. D’Amico’s mother and father both served prison terms for ghost-payrolling.

“Most of the people [Charlier’s] attacking made a mistake and paid the ultimate price,” D’Amico said. “Some of them have passed on. And that was stuff from 20 years ago.”

“I walk every day and every night and my reception at doors is going very, very good,” D’Amico added. “I’m feeling pretty confident we’ll get the vote out and win the elections.”

D’Amico has $368,877 cash on hand compared with Charlier’s $22,824.

As well as working as a state rep, D’Amico gets a second salary from the City of Chicago at the Department of Water Management.

To read more, click here. VFP