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VIDEO: FreePac Speech of John Tillman, Illinois Policy Institute

October 28, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, Chicago, Democrats/Leftists, Elections, Ethics, Freedom Works, FreedomWorks, GOP, Government, Illinois Policy Institute, Liberals, Progressives, Republicans, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

On Friday, October 26, I attended Freepac, Chicago held at the Schaumburg Convention Center. The event, sponsored by Freedomworks, had many fine speakers including Judge Andrew Napolitano, former President of Poland Lech Walesa, John Fund, CL Bryant, Deneen Borelli, John Tillman, Congressman Joe Walsh, and Adam Andrzejewski, hosted by Freedmworks CEO Matt Kibbe.

Here is the video I took of John Tillman, President of the Illinois Policy Institute.

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CPAC Chicago, Part 4: Joe Walsh, Randy Hultgren, Straw Poll Results

June 10, 2012 | Filed Under Barack Obama, Bobby Jindal, Budget, Business, Capitalism, ChampionNews.net, Chicago, Chris Christie, Christianity, Communism, Congress, Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Elections, Ethics, GOP, Government, Heritage Foundation, Herman Cain, House of Representatives, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Islam, Islamofascism, Jihad, Jobs, Joe Walsh, Koran, Liberals, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Nanny State, Obamacare, Peter Roskam, President, Randy Hultgren, Redistricting, Regulation, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Senate, Socialism, Taxes, Terrorism, The Heartland Institute, The Heritage Foundation, Unions, United Republican Fund, Warner Todd Huston, Wisconsin | 2 Comments

-By Warner Todd Huston

Finally, in part four we’ll hear from two solid Illinois Congressmen, the 8th District’s Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren of the 14th. We’ll also hear the, perhaps not startling results of the straw poll, the most important question from which was who Romney should pick for his vice presidential candidate (hint, the top picks weren’t any of his one-time rivals for the nomination).

Congressman Joe Walsh


Rep. Joe Walsh gins up the crowd

Joe Walsh of the Illinois 8th District is the one Congressman that the left wants to eliminate more than any other Republican Congressman. This is because Joe has carved out from among his fellows an outsized voice for conservatism. He appears regularly on TV and radio to tout the conservative message. But he’s become a major target of Democrat redistricting and now faces a tough challenge to be reelected in his newly reconfigured 8th District. Me, I think he can easily beat the know-nothing candidate the Democrats have put up against him, but Joe is taking nothing for granted.

One thing is sure, though, Joe Walsh knows how to get a conservative audience in motion.
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CPAC Chicago, Part 3: Bobby Jindal, Peter Roskam, Michele Bachman

June 10, 2012 | Filed Under Barack Obama, Bobby Jindal, Budget, Business, Capitalism, ChampionNews.net, Chicago, Chris Christie, Christianity, Communism, Congress, Conservatives, Constitution, Democracy, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Elections, Ethics, GOP, Government, Heritage Foundation, Herman Cain, House of Representatives, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Islam, Islamofascism, Jihad, Joe Walsh, Koran, Liberals, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Nanny State, Obamacare, Peter Roskam, President, Randy Hultgren, Redistricting, Regulation, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Senate, Socialism, Taxes, Terrorism, The Heartland Institute, Unions, United Republican Fund, Warner Todd Huston, Wisconsin | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

In part three of our series we’ll take a look at the speeches of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam, and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Bachmann’s speech was quite interesting for its singular focus on a particular jihad-supporting Muslim group that is operating in America today. Bachmann was vehement that Obama ban this group.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal


Gov. Bobby Jindal on the main stage

Jindal is another favorite of the greater conservative movement. He has a very compelling story of immigrant parents that came to America to become part of this great nation to finally see their little son become the most powerful man in their adopted state. It’s the perfect American story, for sure.

Speaking of stories, Jindal has a lot of them especially where it concerns his involvement in the BP Oil spill from 2010. I’ve seen Jindal relate this tale several times and it is always a good one. His description of how the federal government was more interested in observing its silly OSHA than deal quickly with the emergency before them was telling and hilarious — though ultimately sad and infuriating. Since this is standard stump speech stuff of Jindal’s, though, I did not Tweet that segment.

Like the others Jindal started praising the Walker win in Wisconsin. One of his funniest lines was that all the news people were proclaiming that the vote would be so close that it would be a long night for Wisconsin as they tallied the votes. But reality proved that the whole thing was over in a matter of hours with Walker’s landslide. Instead of it being a long night for Wisconsin, Jindal joked that it was instead a “long night at Obama headquarters in Chicago!”
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CPAC Chicago, Part 2: Richard Mourdock, Chris Christie, Herman Cain

June 10, 2012 | Filed Under Barack Obama, Budget, Business, Capitalism, Chicago, Chris Christie, Communism, Congress, Conservatives, Democrats/Leftists, Elections, Ethics, GOP, Heritage Foundation, Herman Cain, House of Representatives, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Islam, Islamofascism, Jihad, Jobs, Joe Walsh, Koran, Liberals, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Peter Roskam, President, Randy Hultgren, Redistricting, Religion, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Senate, Socialism, Taxes, Terrorism, The Heartland Institute, The Heritage Foundation, United Republican Fund, Warner Todd Huston | 2 Comments

-By Warner Todd Huston

In part two of my coverage of CPACs first Midwestern conference event, we will see some of the high spots of the floor speeches of Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – always a crowd favorite – and the redoubtable Herman Cain. Cain also visited the media room and I have video of that below the fold.

Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock

Richard Mourdock is the current Indiana State treasurer but he also just defeated long-time incumbent Senator Richard Lugar for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate from Indiana. He’ll face the Democrat come November. Mourdock has been widely touted as the insurgent Tea Party candidate that beat Lugar, the old line, establishment man.

“No one expected a lowly state treasurer could take out a 36-year Senator! But we DID,” Mourdock said triumphantly.

Mourdock also noted that Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has called him the “Hoosier headache.” Mourdock was rather proud of that appellation.
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Dana Loesch Replies to the Illinois Policy Institute’s Disinvite

January 16, 2012 | Filed Under Andrew Breitbart, Conservatives, Entertainment, GOP, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Media, Republicans, Talk Radio, Warner Todd Huston | 2 Comments

-By Warner Todd Huston

Today on her radio show, Dana Loesch told her audience about being disinvited to an event hosted by the Illinois Policy Institute over the weekend.

I detailed this story here: Appearance by Andrew Breitbart Employee Canceled By Illinois Policy Institute


Appearance by Andrew Breitbart Employee Canceled By Illinois Policy Institute

January 16, 2012 | Filed Under Afghanistan, Andrew Breitbart, Anti-Americanism, Conservatives, Democrats/Leftists, GOP, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Marines, Media, Military, Policy, Talk Radio, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

Last Friday, The Illinois Policy Institute disinvited Dana Loesch, the editor of Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism site, from a breakfast event that was to be held over the weekend on Saturday.

The Illinois Policy Institute was holding the event in conjunction with the Independent Women’s Forum and Smart Girl Politics and was to be a “discussion on women, liberty, and America’s future.”

Loesch was disinvited due to a small controversy over what she said Friday on her Saint Louis-based radio show on KFTK 97.1 FM. Loesch took umbrage over those criticizing U.S. Marines that were filmed urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Loesch was incensed at those complaining about the conduct of our soldiers and went into one of her patented rants about how she didn’t care if our solders urinated on the corpses of our enemies. “I’d drop trou and do it too,” she said of the incident.

Loesch went on to say, “Do I have a problem with that as a citizen of the United States? No I don’t.”

During the rest of that Friday many progressive sites (like Politico) went after Loesch for her comments.

Loesch herself has said that the left’s attack on her is all unfair. “There is a difference in advocating for the Marines to break the law, which I didn’t do, and defending them from overly-dramatic hysteria,” she said.

Sadly, this faux controversy gave the Illinois Policy Institute cold feet for the weekend breakfast meeting and they told her she was no longer welcome at the event. Worse, the group never even made a public comment on the disinvitation. They just, in the dead of night, disinvited her.
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Ill. Policy Institute CEO Tillman Is Just Plain Wrong About ‘Occupy’

October 28, 2011 | Filed Under Anti-Americanism, Banks, Budget, Business, Capitalism, Chicago, Communism, Conservatives, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, GOP, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Jobs, Liberals, Regulation, Republicans, Socialism, Stimulus, Taxes, Tea Party, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, penned an op ed in the Chicago Tribune touting what he claims is the common ground between conservatives and the Occupy Wall Street leftists who have trickled into the streets across the country. I hate to say it, but his op ed was puzzling and its base concept — that conservatives and these Occupy nuts should work together — is incredibly off base.

Before I get into Tillman’s points, though, let me say that I generally support the good works of the Illinois Policy Institute. I’ve covered many of its events in the past, I’ve worked closely with some of its members, and I’ve met Mr. Tillman many times at many events. I repost the Institute’s email blasts on my sites, as well.

I will continue with my support of the Illinois Policy Institute (don’t call them IPI because some other organization has that trademarked and they get mad) despite this disagreement with Mr. Tillman. They often do very good work.

OK, now that that’s out of the way… Tillman, my friend, you are soooo wrong!
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Ill. Policy Institute: A Direct Encounter with Occupy Wall Street Protesters‏

October 21, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Business, Capitalism, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Jobs, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

I had a direct encounter with the Occupy Wall Street protesters as I was on my way home the other night. The Illinois Policy Institute’s office is a block north of their Chicago base at Jackson Boulevard and LaSalle Street, so I’ve been walking through the crowd almost daily as I go about my business. But I recently stopped and had a real discussion.

It was delightful.

I asked what it is they were upset with and why were they vilifying corporations, noting that their umbrellas, cardboard signs and the ink used to write their anti-corporation messages all were made by corporations.

Like others, I’ve seen the news reports about their supposed demands: a $20 minimum wage, forgiveness of all debt and a socialist-style health care system. As the leader of a free market think tank, it will come as no surprise that I do not support those solutions; they are not economically sound.
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Ill. Policy Institute: Nearly 1/2 of IL teachers contribute nothing toward pensions‏

October 16, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

Did you know that when it comes to public school teachers in Illinois, paying their own way to retirement isn’t the norm? We took on the task to find out just how much taxpayers can save if all teachers were to pay their required share into the state pension system.

An investigation by the Illinois Policy Institute found that as the state grapples with a public pension shortfall in excess of $86 billion, teachers in nearly half of the state’s 867 public school districts contributed nothing from their weekly paychecks to their pensions. Instead, school districts – and by extension, taxpayers – paid the entire 9.4 percent employee contribution toward these teachers’ pensions, as well as the required employer contribution.

During the 2009-2010 school year alone, taxpayers across Illinois could have saved more than $400 million if teachers had paid their legally required share. Taxpayers deserve to have this $400 million back in their pockets. If you agree, go to our facebook page and like our latest post and leave a comment too. Click here and it will take you there.
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Ill. Policy Institute: 9 of the Top 10 are Charter Schools‏

October 8, 2011 | Filed Under Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

Chicago high schools have long held a tragic reputation. Now, a new group of schools is telling a different story: Students citywide can compete academically when given the chance and a choice.

The Institute’s newest report on education shows that when it comes to ACT scores, nine out of 10 of the top-scoring, open enrollment high schools in Chicago are charter schools. Many of these schools are posting ACT scores previously unheard of for high poverty high schools in Chicago.

And there’s reason to be even more optimistic about these encouraging trends. That’s because this July, Gov. Quinn signed a piece of legislation that will open the door to numerous additional charter schools in Chicago, as well as downstate.

This shows once again that charter schools – by giving parents and students more options in their education – improve the quality of education for everyone in the state of Illinois.
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Ill. Policy Institute: IL has the most people in poverty since 1992‏

September 18, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Economy/Finances, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

Poverty is on the rise in Illinois. In 2010, almost 2 million Illinoisans lived in poverty – the highest number since 1992. What have politicians proposed to reduce poverty and put Illinois back to work? Unfortunately, only increased spending and higher taxes.

You and your family are affected everyday by failed,
government-centric policies handed down by Washington to Springfield.

But after the pain of the recession and the absence of a real recovery, we all know there’s no way more government spending will turn the economy around. In fact, higher taxes are only going to hurt struggling families.

If you’re tired of footing the bill for politicians’ reckless ways, check out my latest blog about Obama’s most recent effort to employ the same tax, spend and borrow policies that have sunk the state’s economy for years.
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Illinois Policy Institute: That is SO Illinoying!‏

September 4, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Chicago, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

Many of you are familiar with FOIA requests: they allow engaged citizens to request public documents. State requirements ensure governments provide these documents in a timely manner.

But on Friday, Gov. Quinn signed a bill that weakened these rules. Now, governments will be allowed to characterize citizens as “recurrent requesters.” If a citizen requests more than 15 documents in a month or 50 in a year, government entities no longer need to respond promptly.

This law punishes citizens who pay close attention. Instead of creating new obstacles for the very people who are most engaged in holding our government accountable, we should be celebrating their efforts.
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Illinois Activist, Writer, Ralf Seiffe, RIP‏

September 3, 2011 | Filed Under Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

I met Mr. Seiffe many times, though I never interacted much with him. Still, he was a staple around Republican politics for years here in the Chicagoland area. Mr. Seiffe passed away this week from a heart attack.

John Tillman worte a great little memorial of Seiffe, so instead of me fumbling my way through an accounting of his great work, I’ll Joh Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute speak to the matter…

The liberty movement lost a great friend when Ralf Seiffe died unexpectedly yesterday morning. Ralf was truly of one life’s unique characters that come along all too rarely. Ralf was a joyful lover of life, people, history, culture and, of course, liberty. Ralf was a fountain of creativity. He always had a breadth and depth of knowledge on his many brainstorms, but what was so amazing to me was that he always knew more pertinent and interesting information about my crazy ideas than I did. Not only that, he could add value to the idea of the guy on the bar stool sitting next to us on a Friday afternoon at Hackneys.

One day, Ralf’s business partner, Richard Lorenc, a friend of mine and former colleague, came to me and said, “I was thinking of starting a business that would bring people of modest means together who love liberty and help them aggregate their giving power to create an impact on the liberty movement.”
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Ill. Policy Institute: John Tillman Wins the Roe Award‏

August 28, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Chicago, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Government, Government, Ill. County, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

Last week in Seattle, I had the pleasure of watching John Tillman accept the Roe Award at the State Policy Networks’s annual meeting. The Roe Award pays tribute to those in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free market philosophy.

The activities and impact recognized by the Roe Award were truly a team effort. That team is made up not only of our top-notch staff but also the donors who underwrite our work and the liberty leaders who champion the changes that will lead to a better Illinois.

That team includes you. Thank you for helping the Institute’s work take flight by reading our research, forwarding innovative ideas to friends and family and demanding that elected leaders embrace policies built upon liberty and respect for the individual.

Together, we can keep changing hearts, minds and laws.
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Ill. Policy Institute: 100%

August 20, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Business, Capitalism, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, GOP, Government, Government, Ill. County, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Jobs, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

In order to hold our government accountable – and ensure they are spending our tax dollars wisely – citizens must have access to public information.

Unfortunately, too many local government agencies across Illinois have viewed proactive online transparency as a privilege rather than a right. Many elected officials have lost sight of the fact that, as citizens, taxpayers and voters, “we the people” are the bosses of government, not the other way around. But, with the work of the staff of the Illinois Policy Institute, our volunteers and forward thinking government officials, things are beginning to change in Illinois.

Last week the village of Orland Park became the first Illinois local government agency to score a perfect 100% on our Ten-Point Transparency Checklist, Orland Park is setting an example for other communities to follow and building momentum for statewide local government transparency standards like the Local Government Transparency Act. See what the Southtown Star wrote about Orland Park’s accomplishment here.

You can help make our government more transparent and accountable to the taxpayers by volunteering your time or sponsoring a Local Transparency Project in your home area. Contact me at bcostin@illinoispolicy.org to participate in the Local Transparency Project in your community.

Brian Costin
Director of Outreach
Illinois Policy Institute
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Ill. Policy Institute: $85 Billion in the Red‏

August 12, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

My name is Ted Dabrowski, and I’m the Institute’s new Vice President of Policy.

During my first two months here I’ve rapidly engaged in the many challenges Illinois faces. I’m excited to work with all of you to implement policies that help Illinois return to prosperity.

But the path won’t be easy. Last week’s Standard & Poors downgrade of U.S. debt heaped additional scrutiny on the credit rating of states that are fiscally irresponsible. A credit rating consolidates a state’s policies, its financial health and overall outlook into a single rating. Unfortunately, Illinois shares the worst credit rating in the nation with the state of California.

But the situation will worsen. Recently, Moody’s Investors Service (the other major credit rating agency) began implementing a major change in how they calculate a state’s credit rating. Moody’s will now take into account how much each state owes to its retirement funds. Our newest policy report highlights this issue specifically. Read that report here.

For those of you who don’t know how much much Illinois has shortchanged its pension system over the past decades, it now exceeds $85 billion. That number alone dwarfs the rest of Illinois’s other debt.

Policymakers and citizens alike should take notice. Illinois’s credit ratings have been in a downward trajectory for the past few years. We need a new direction from our leaders and we need your engagement.

If you take only one thing away from this news, it should be the following: Reforming the broken pension system of Illinois is pivotal to securing your family’s future and saving the vital services that are so important to your community and Illinois’s future prosperity.

Sincerely,

Ted Dabrowski
Vice President for Policy
Illinois Policy Institute

P.S. I look foward to meeting you in person soon. Feel free to contact me by phone at 312-346-5700 or by email tdabrowski@illinoispolicy.org.

Kinzinger, Durbin Weigh in on Reforming Tax Code | Tillman, Ruder Debate Credit Impact: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

What’s Happening with the Stock Market?
To say the least, the stock market has not reacted kindly to the debt ceiling agreement made in Washington and the subsequent lowering of our nation’s credit rating. Why is this happening and what does this mean going forward? John Tillman appeared on FOX Chicago earlier this week to address these important issues. Watch that video above.

Join Us at the State Fair
On August 17 and 18, we are going to be out in numbers at the State Fair in Springfield gathering signatures for our Repeal the Tax Hike Petition. Come on by to say hi or to help us collect more signatures! More information is available here.

Event: Heartland Institute Author Series
On Tuesday, Aug. 16, join our friends at the Heartland Institute as they host Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch of the Reason Foundation to discuss their new book, “The Declaration of Independents.” The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Jaks Tap (901 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60607). The cost to attend is $25, which includes food and drink. Click here to register.


Ill. Policy Institute: A great, cost-cutting move for Chicago‏

August 7, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Ethics, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

Have you ever been stuck in downtown Chicago traffic and thought that the traffic control aides – the people with the orange vests and whistles – were making snarls worse?

We did and, after digging through government budgets, found that Chicago spent over $10 million on wages for traffic control aides in 2009. Our “Spotlight on Spending” from last October showed how to save money (and frustration) by scaling back the program. We’re pleased to note that this week Mayor Emanuel did just that, for savings of over $2 million.

Have you come across a state or local government program that doesn’t serve its intended purpose? I’d like to talk with you about it. Send me a reply email or call me at 217-528-8800.
Sincerely,

Mark Cavers
Government Reform Policy Analyst
Illinois Policy Institute
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Quinn’s Big Cuts Amount to a Mere $8 Per Citizen

July 8, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Michael Madigan, Pat Quinn, Taxes, Tom Cross, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

Over the past week, there has been a lot of news coverage of the line item vetos Gov. Quinn made before signing the budget. Many have mischaracterized this budget as one that is austere.

As we’ve said before that is not the case and these additional “cuts” the governor made don’t change that assessment.

The cuts are minimal at best. The actual cuts equate to only $8 per person and still are not enough to allow for the scheduled sunset of the tax hikes.

To learn more, check out the latest in our portfolio of budget work.
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A Spending Increase in Springfield‏

June 23, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Business, Capitalism, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Jobs, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

Following the passage of a record tax hike earlier this year, politicians from both parties promised fiscal austerity. As some would tell it, they’ve delivered on that promise by passing a budget containing cuts.

But the truth is they have not delivered on that promise. At least not yet.

Our analysis shows how – contrary to promises and reports of a leaner budget – the plan passed by the General Assembly amounts to a significant spending increase compared to last year. This budget will lead to billions in new deficit spending over the coming decade, while setting the stage for extending the tax increases. It cannot stand. To learn more about this, watch this video of highlights from our press conference yesterday:

Bottom line: Spending is still too high. The credibility of politicians who promised an end to tax-and-spend habits and gimmickry is on the line. Additional reductions must be made, and they must be made now.

Call your state legislator today, and let them know what you think about unchecked spending growth.

Kristina Rasmussen
Executive Vice President
Illinois Policy Institute
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Ill. Budget Cuts: Not Far Enough‏

June 4, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Ethics, GOP, Government, House of Representatives, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Republicans, Senate, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

The General Assembly has adjourned for the summer. A budget was passed that contained real cuts, but it was still too big. Significant school reform sits on the governor’s desk. Illinois government will be more transparent. And yet so much more remains to be done.

Here are the highlights of the spring 2011 legislative session in Illinois. Over the next few weeks, we will roll out a thorough analysis of all the legislative items, large and small, that were on the Institute’s watch list this year. Stay tuned.

Thank you,

Collin Hitt
Senior Director of Government Affairs
Illinois Policy Institute

We Don’t Want It; You Can’t Afford It
The Institute’s open letter to Congress implores lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to just say NO to any federal bailouts of spendthrift states. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, Maine, Colorado and elsewhere shouldn’t be forced to pony up for Illinois’s self-made mess.
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Illinois Pension Reform One Step Closer‏

May 27, 2011 | Filed Under Business, Capitalism, Democrats/Leftists, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Pensions, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Unions, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

This week, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford drew a line in the sand. Dismissing shortsighted calls for more borrowing, he pledged to warn would-be lenders against extending more credit to Illinois’s spendthrift state government. I spoke with Rutherford about his stand; listen in.

Much of the state’s borrowing in recent years has been for government employee pensions costs – which are climbing annually. But this pattern of borrowing for pensions could someday halt if a pension reform proposal succeeds in Springfield.

Pension reform language was just posted at the statehouse. Collin Hitt read the bill and offers up his review here. Simply put, a vote for pension reform will brighten this state’s future – a vote against it will push Illinois further into economic decline.
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Ill. Policy Institute: One Week’s Lost Pay for Pensions‏

May 19, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Chicago, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Pensions, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

I returned from maternity leave just in time to take part in the epic debate over public pension reform. Get the teachers’ pension costs will top General State Aid education spending this year unless we act now.

To date the working model for pension reform has been House Bill 149, introduced by House GOP Leader Tom Cross. The language in that legislation is being modified and likely will be placed on Senate Bill 512, a shell bill assigned for hearing in tomorrow’s House Personnel and Pensions Committee.

Given Illinois’s worst-in-the-nation unfunded liability and “blue state” politics, what unfolds over the coming days will be a bellwether for the rest of the country. Has your legislator heard from you? (Click here to find your state legislator)
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Defusing the Illinois Pension Bomb, One Letter at a Time‏

May 13, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Chicago, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Pensions, Public Employees Unions, SEIU, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

How to reform the public employee pension system is the most crucial question facing Illinois today. The state has an $86 billion unfunded pension liability, and a recent study by the Pew Center ranked Illinois’s pensions as the worst funded in the nation. Bold action is needed to balance the state’s pension funds while keeping Illinois from falling deeper into an economic death spiral.

The public employee pension system is unsustainable. It must be fixed. We need your help now.

As you read this, a pension reform bill is being debated Springfield: HB149. This bill would begin to create equity government workers and the taxpayers who fund their salaries. Legislators on both sides of the aisle are coming together, and with your help, we believe we have a chance at passing one of the most important reforms in Illinois history. That’s why I’m asking you to write to your local newspaper in support of reforming the pension system.

Writing a letter to the editor is an easy way to reach thousands of your neighbors on this important issue.
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Ill. Policy Institute: Tax Day Rallies

April 10, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Chicago, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

The Illinois Policy Institute will participate in Tax Day rallies next week in Springfield, Peoria, Geneva and Chicago.

Since 2009, Tax Day rallies have been held across Illinois to raise awareness about out-of-control government spending, high taxes and unbalanced budgets. Now, more than ever, Illinoisans are feeling the pain from bad public policies that have emerged from Springfield.

With the 2012 election on the horizon, participating in a Tax Day rally is one way you can send a message to elected officials that you didn’t – and won’t – forget about the 67 percent tax hike passed this year.
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The Joke is On Illinois Taxpayers‏

April 4, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Elections, Ethics, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

Happy April Fools’ Day, indeed! While last Friday was meant to be a fun day for trickery, sometimes it seems like every day in Illinois politics is April Fools’ Day. Over the past three months, there has been an abundance of foolish policies and every time the joke is on taxpayers: the largest tax hike in state history, $1.7 billion in spending increases and a proposed $8 billion in borrowing. The only way to stop all this foolishness is by taking the message that there is a better way to one person at a time. One conversation, one phone call, one letter, one email: that’s how we will save our state. But we need your help! Our message is appealing and our solutions are real. The people of Illinois are ready to pursue a better path; they just need a little nudge from you!

Help us fight foolishness in Illinois. Forward this info to ten people today!
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Liberty Leader Watchdogs Find Excessive Government Compensation‏

March 25, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Cook County Board, Democrats/Leftists, GOP, Government, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute

Using FOIA to Discover Extreme Executive Compensation
Ever wonder what’s in the compensation packages of the top government administrative officials in your hometown?

If you look, you are likely to find bonuses, sick pay, car stipends, gym memberships, multiple pension plans, housing assistance, and much more.

Liberty Leaders Craig Mijares and Nancy Thorner have been digging up details and are taxpayer heroes for getting information out to the public on excessive executive compensation of public officials in their hometowns. Learn to be a taxpayer watchdog, too, by reading how Craig and Nancy discovered shocking levels of executive compensation in their own backyards. Read more here.
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Criminal Element: Ill. Democrat Was Convicted Felon Before Being Elected

March 17, 2011 | Filed Under Chicago, Cities, Cook County, Crime, Democrats/Leftists, Elections, Ethics, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Lisa Madigan, Michael Madigan, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

-By Warner Todd Huston

It has been revealed that Illinois State Representative Robert Rita was a convicted felon before he ever ran for office for the fist time, a violation of state law. Being a convicted felon should have barred him from even running for office.

Lee Williams of the Illinois Policy Institute tells us that Rita, a Blue Island Democrat and a five-term state rep., has always been ineligible to seek elected office, absent a pardon.

Rita was convicted of DUI and attempted bribery in Nye County, Nevada in 1991. Lee Williams reports that this was confirmed by Jamie Kostiuk, a Nye County records clerk. Hard copies of the files, though, could not be located.

Lee Williams, however, tracked down some other sources of the conviction.
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Join Us: Lessons in Leadership from ‘Governor Veto’ – March 23‏

March 17, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Conservatives, GOP, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Republicans, Taxes, Tea Party, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy institute…

MARCH 23: Lessons in Leadership from “Governor Veto”

He vetoed 750 bills and thousands of line items to reduce wasteful spending, cut taxes 14 times during his two terms, and saw the state GDP increase by almost 30 percent during his tenure. When he left office, New Mexico had a balanced budget and $1 billion surplus. What lessons can Illinois learn from this? Join us as we host Gary Johnson for a cocktail hour discussion. Read More

Is Your Group A RepealTheTaxHike.com Coalition Partner?

On April 15th, at a rally at the Capitol, the Illinois Policy Institute will announce the results of our petition to repeal the historic 67% Illinois income tax hike. So far we have 7,300+ signatures on the petition, and 12 coalition partners.
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Repealing and Eliminating the Tax Hike‏

January 13, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, GOP, Government, House of Representatives, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Pat Quinn, Republicans, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

On the same day the General Assembly abolished the death penalty for capital crimes in Illinois, lawmakers also implemented the death penalty on Illinois’s economy and taxpayers by passing a 67 percent income tax hike in the face of overwhelming public opposition. The good news is that the citizens of Illinois have the power to overturn this effort during the 2012 elections, now just over a year away.

This tax hike tells the working and middle class voters of Illinois where they stand with the Democratically controlled state government – on the outside looking in. At the front of the line are the public employee unions, their leaders and all who benefit from state government spending at the expense of average citizens (who pay for state government with their private sector jobs).

Today’s study on taxpayer migration shows that the negative Illinois environment is not just driving out job creators and workers, but also the income and tax revenue they represent. Between 1991 and 2009, one Illinois citizen left the state every 10 minutes – that’s 1.2 million residents in all. But these folk didn’t just take their friendships with them; they took $163.6 billion in income and $16.9 billion in state and local tax revenue – gone forever.
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Don’t Give Springfield Politicians Any More Money‏

January 9, 2011 | Filed Under Anti-Americanism, Budget, Chicago, Crime, Democrats/Leftists, Government, Illinois, Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois State Government, Liberals, Pat Quinn, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

From the Illinois Policy Institute…

The fix is in. Democratic leaders want you to bail out their spending-and-borrow addiction with a massive tax hike.

The back room deal, announced late last night, would boost the state’s personal income tax by 75 percent − up to 5.25 percent from the current rate of 3 percent. You can find out exactly what this would mean to you with our UPDATED tax hike calculator. We will have that available on IllinoisPolicy.org this afternoon.

Consider this: A firefighter and a preschool teacher with two kids earning a combined $80,000 would pay $1,620 in higher taxes under the Quinn/Madigan/Cullerton agreement. That’s on top of the $2,160 they’re already paying in state income taxes. That’s food off the table, clothes off their backs and savings from college and retirement accounts.

Will you stand up to this injustice?
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