May 16, 2014. Springfield. The Chicago Democrats that control Illinois government were caught pulling a fast one on the state’s taxpayers. Actually, they were caught pulling a few fast ones. The most outrageous is a secret, back door pay raise for Illinois elected officials in the State House and State Senate. Along with bestowing exemptions from furlough days, they also filed lawsuits so they could stay in office for eternity.
House Speaker Madigan & Senate President Cullerton. Image courtesy of UICAPAC Blog.
Over the course of just a couple days, Illinois Democrats introduced measures in the legislature and the courts that would set the state back decades, insure corrupt leadership and worst of all, give these very same men and women a pay raise.
Legislator pay raise, furlough exemption
With Illinois on the bullet train to bankruptcy, state lawmakers mandated that all state government employees be forced to take 12 unpaid vacation days per year, also known as ‘furloughs’. But as detailed by Reboot Illinois yesterday, State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) is accusing his Democratic counterparts of sneaking a yearly pay raise and 12 additional days of pay per year into the unbalanced budget just submitted by Democratic leaders.
Kay released a statement reading, “First, Democrats broke their promise by going back on their pledge to let the income tax hike expire. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re rushing through a budget bill to spend more than the bipartisan revenue number we agreed to earlier this spring - to the tune of $2 billion and climbing. Now, on top of that, they’re using an unprecedented series of politically-motivated budget maneuvers to slip in a pay raise for themselves before they go home for the summer. As usual, their priorities are in the wrong place. It’s beyond reckless and irresponsible.”
What State Rep. Kay is eluding to is the state’s budget for 2015, written and controlled by the state’s Democratic Party. Lawmakers slipped in the elimination of furlough days for themselves. Plus, they added a cost of living pay raise of roughly 4.6%, just for themselves of course. The Republican Dwight Kay has introduced his own legislation to head-off the Democrats’ plan that would void both parts of the budget for next year. It’s not expected to be voted on, much less pass.
Term Limits and Gerrymandering
With an Illinois Supreme Court Justice married to one of the most notorious and longest-serving Machine Democrats in Chicago, it’s no surprise that the courts continuously allow incumbent Machine politicians to redraw election districts in a way that violates every ounce of the spirit of the law prohibiting such election fraud. What it has done, as evidence in Illinois more than anywhere else, is created a political monarchy where the party and the government are one and the same. And generation after generation, the same handful of families rule over the people without the ability to challenge them.
Two ballot initiatives that would go a long way in ending the corruption in Illinois were filed with the state Board of Elections two weeks ago. One would ask voters to approve term limits in the state. And the other would take the job of redrawing election maps every ten years out of the hands of the elected officials who have to run for re-election based on the map and give the job to an independent committee.
The Term Limits ballot initiative is sponsored by Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. His supporters and campaign workers delivered 590,000 petition signatures to the Board of Elections to have the measure put on the November ballot. The anti-gerrymandering ballot initiative is sponsored by the Yes For Independent Maps coalition and they turned in 530,000 petition signatures.
It only took a couple days for House Speaker Michael Madigan to enlist a small army of his political puppets to sue the state of Illinois, demanding the Board of Elections throw out the two ballot initiatives. The suits were filed by Madigan’s political lawyer, the same lawyer that represents Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and it named a who’s who of local political cronies as the suits’ plaintiffs.
The lawsuit aiming to keep Illinois voters from having a chance to voice their opinion on redistricting and term limits was filed by, ‘Frank Clark, President and Chairman of the Board of the Business Leadership Council; the Business Leadership Council, Karen Riley, its Executive Director, and its members, Leon Finney, Elzie Higginbottom, and John Hooker; the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and its President, Raymond Chin, the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, and its President, Julio Rodriguez, and its Executive Director, Jaime Di Paulo; Fernando Grillo; Ivan Solis; Craig Chico; Donald R. Jackson; Ernestine Jackson; Helen King; Jackie Petty; and Anthony Martinez.’
When asked about all the political maneuvering just to keep the reform measures out of the hands of voters, the Illinois House Speaker broke with tradition and actually commented to the media for a change. He said the more than one million petition signatures by Illinois voters was nothing more than a Republican dirty trick because they’re completely shut out of power.
“Over the last fifty years, five maps,” he told the press, “Republicans have done one out of five. They’re angry. And this is part of their Republican politics. That’s all there is.” Not surprisingly, a recent poll showed Speaker Madigan’s voter approval rating at just 20%. Not that it matters. Voters don’t elect government officials in Illinois. The party does.
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