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After looking at Governor Rauner’s accomplishments yesterday, let’s take a look at Illinois Democrats’ worst moments from this past year.
1. Madigan’s 32% Tax Hike
Mike Madigan forced through a 32% tax hike on Illinois families. Despite decades of irresponsible spending and tax increases, Madigan continues to ask more of hardworking taxpayers with reckless tax increases and no desire for real spending reform.
2. Madigan-Pritzker-Berrios Property Tax Racket
This month, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica published a shocking report on Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios and the corrupt property tax racket he oversees. Mike Madigan’s property tax assessment law firm benefitted from Berrios’ dereliction of duty, making millions while hurting small businesses and hardworking families. Not to mention political insiders like J.B. Pritzker utilizing their Madigan-Berrios connections to secure their own tax breaks.
3. J.B. Pritzker: Incompetent Investor or Avoiding Taxes?
When Hyatt Hotels heir J.B. Pritzker released his tax returns for the past year, he reported only $15 million in income. For someone who inherited well over $1 billion, it begs the question: is he an incompetent investor, or is he avoiding paying his fair share of taxes? Republicans and Democrats agree: J.B. Pritzker has a troubling record of cheating on his taxes.
4. Chris Kennedy’s ‘business prowess’ costs taxpayers millions
Utilizing family connections, Kennedy’s company received a no-bid contract to oversee a nearly half billion-dollar public-private partnership to build a Medical Mart in Cleveland, Ohio, a project which was “plagued by accusations of insider dealings, secrecy and failed promises.” Once Kennedy had made his millions, their company was gone, leaving taxpayers with “an inherited albatross” and the bill.
5. Pritzker’s Embrace of Mike Madigan
It’s taken some time for him to come out of his shell, but J.B. Pritzker is embracing Mike Madigan. It makes sense after all. Whether it’s term limits on elected officials or property tax reform to reduce the corruption in the Cook County Assessor’s Office, Pritzker’s responses are flippant and deferential to the man lining up support behind him: the longest serving state Speaker of the House in U.S. History, Mike Madigan.
6. J.B. Pritzker Pays to Play
The Chicago Tribune published a bombshell report highlighting a $100,000 campaign donation from J.B. Pritzker to incarcerated former governor Rod Blagojevich, which was followed just days later by a $1 million state grant to the Holocaust Museum. That project’s chief fundraiser was none other than J.B. Pritzker. Pritzker was already caught on FBI wiretaps discussing potential appointments, proving just how deep his ties are to the corruption and cronyism that plague Illinois.
7. Cook County Democrats Line Up to Save Their Friend Blago
A number of Cook County Democrats have signed on to an amicus brief requesting the Supreme Court hear disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich’s appeal for a reduced prison sentence. Among those Democrats who have signed on to the amicus brief are Luis Gutierrez, Mike Quigley, and Glenn Poshard, three key endorsers of J.B. Pritzker’s candidacy. Does he stand with his endorsers in calling for the Supreme Court to hear Blagojevich’s appeal?
8. Unfunded Pension Liabilities
Another year and Mike Madigan continues to disregard Illinois’ massive unfunded pension liabilities. Since Madigan joined the General Assembly in 1971, pension liabilities have skyrocketed from $2.5 billion to $151.5 billion dollars. Madigan has been called the “constant in key decisions that created the mess” Illinois finds itself in.
9. Soda Tax Goes Pop
Cook County Board President and Madigan ally Toni Preckwinkle enacted an unpopular and unclear soda tax this year, leading to an overwhelming outcry for tax reduction and spending reform. Preckwinkle defended the tax despite its clear and disproportionate impact on low income communities throughout Cook County. Thankfully, public outrage led to its repeal.
10. Daniel Biss picks Socialist Running Mate, Promptly Replaces Him
State Senator and candidate for governor Daniel Biss took proving his progressive bona fides too far when choosing a self-proclaimed socialist Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate. Biss’ former running mate supports BDS – a total boycott and divestment from Israeli organizations, a stance that Biss has made clear he does not support. After just one week, Biss dropped his running mate and broke the hearts of Illinois’ socialists.