CN Aug 10 2017


Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto of the education funding bill may bite the dust in the next few days.  At least that’s what two of Chicago’s most connected reporters are thinking, and they share their insights with Chicago Newsroom this week.

But, say the Tribune’s John Byrne and Politico/Illinois Playbook’s Natasha Korecki, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the bill will be free and clear and the money will start rolling to the schools.

At this moment, it appears that the Senate will vote on Sunday, and they will easily override the Governor’s veto. The story’s different in the House, though, where the margins are narrower.

“What I think is gonna happen is they’re going to take the governor’s plan and put it in a separate bill. And say, OK, let’s vote on the Governor’s plan. And see how much support he has. And he’ll get probably ten votes for it and it’ll go down in flames,”  Korecki predicts. “Then, if Madigan feels he has the votes for a full override, maybe he does that…but he needs a super-majority to do that.  It doesn’t look like he has that as of yet, but who knows?”

“There’s been some talk of maybe a ‘trailer bill’ that would help fix some of the things in the original bill that Republicans don’t like,” she continues. “and get a few more Republicans over to get their votes.”

So it’s still very much up in the air. But Korecki says there’s a signal hidden in Speaker Madigan’s decision to hold the vote next Wednesday. That just happens to be “Governor’s Day” at the State Fair, so maybe that’ll be the day when Madigan’s House delivers the fatal blow to the Rauner veto. It’s politics, Illinois style.

“People really don’t like this pop tax.”

That’s John Byrne’s succinct summary of Toni Preckwinkle’s “sweetened beverage tax.” But how does he know? Has there been any polling?

“The only recent polling I’ve seen is the 87% hating the pop tax. And also the “Twitter straw poll,” where my Twitter feed is nothing but people holding up receipts, with the pop tax circled.”

“She’s even managed to tick off the LaCroix voters,” he adds. “If Toni’s lost the LaCroix voters, she’s in trouble, I’ll tell you.”

President Preckwinkle feels strongly about the tax, though, not just because she insists the County needs the revenue, but because she feels it will encourage increased health outcomes county-wide. Korecki’s not buying it. “It’s just affecting everyone,” she asserts.  “I don’t think people are gonna change heir habits. They’re gonna change their habits where they shop, but you’re not gonna stop drinking something because of the tax increase.”

“It’s visceral,” adds Byrne. “I hesitate to compare it, but in the visceral-ness of it, it’s like the parking meter thing was in the City. People are angry about it. And people are angry about these other taxes too, but but this pop tax, man it’s right in your face all the time and people understand it and they’re angry about it.”

Republicans are going to introduce a repeal ordinance, Byrne reports. But Preckwinkle still appears to have the votes to prevail, although only if she casts the tie-breaking vote for the second time. That makes her the symbolic owner of this unpopular tax.

And that could lead to a challenger for her post in 2018. One, freshman Board member Richard Boykin, has already held a press event to attack the soda tax.

“He was much broader in his attack on the president, reports Byrne. “Her leadership style, she’s a monarch. He said if I do choose to run against her – this isn’t a campaign speech – but if I do choose to run against her this will only be one part of the ammunition I will have against her, and then ticked off these other things he said she’s screwed up, and how she’s dictatorial.”

Mayor Emanuel’s been on TV a lot lately, but not on the local channels. He’s been taking his message of resistance to Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions on Sanctuary Cities directly to the national audience.

“He can go on CNN or wherever and they are happy to interview him as an elder statesman of the Democratic Party, because they’re looking for someone to hammer on Trump and he’s a very colorful interview,”  explains Byrne. “And then he gets to make his pitch for the city while he’s on there and they don’t have the background or the context – or the desire – to tick him off by fighting with him over violent crime when he’s on there talking about how Chicago’s gonna be at the forefront of fighting Trump’s immigration policies. This is clearly a pivot he’s decided to make and it’s working for him pretty well.”

But as both Fran Spielman and Mark Brown pointed out in yesterday’s Sun-Times, the Mayor’s record doesn’t always match his actions and his past statements on immigration.

You can listen to this show as a radio program on SoundCloud HERE.


About Ken

Ken's the host of Chicago Newsroom. A former news director, reporter and radio program host, he's also a past Vice President of the Chicago Headline Club.
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