Wednesday, June 06, 2018

My Desire To Ensure We Create A Culture....

I have stated my commitment to eliminating harassment of any kind in the Capitol, as well as all political committees, and my desire to ensure we create a culture where individuals feel secure in making a complaint. I intend to appoint an individual with extensive experience conducting investigations to review all operations of the House of Representatives, including but not limited to the Clerk’s Office where Ms. Garrett works.

Read the longer release over at CapFax

But, you have been Speaker Of The House longer than anyone has been a Speaker of any statehouse in the history of the United States.  As the commemorative clock reminds us.

How does the Speaker not 'own' the culture in the State House at this point?  I would say the Speaker is responsible to a large degree for the culture as it now exists in the House.  So if he did not create the culture where individuals feel secure in making a complaint, he certainly helped perpetuate it.  I know people in Springfield and I think I know them well enough to know they don't want this culture and it isn't something they decided a month ago.

Is it the silence of good people who let this go on the problem, is the nature of how the legislature works and is structured that if these people decided to stand they were going to be crushed?  Is the fear so strong that the Democratic nominee for Governor doesn't seem to want to say the Speakers name out loud?

Come on, if Republicans were running the House and this stuff was coming out, would JB be silent?

Regardless of how this all plays out, at some point, there is going to be a new Speaker, and I would like to think that the legislature would have the good sense not to let one person have as much power as the Speaker does now.  Be it power over the party purse-strings or over legislation or over the campaign apparatus concentrated political power over time will become a problem.

The Speaker and those who supported him at the least facilitated this culture of fear and intimidation and it's time it ended.  You have to own some of it. This culture doesn't do the people of Illinois any favors and it doesn't do democracy any favors.

The easiest form of leadership is using power to bully and intimidate, it is also the weakest and the most pathetic.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

So the Fox Metro Water Reclamation Board is Going to be Elected, How About Doing the Same For the CPS School Board.

The bill is here, it is headed to the governor.

I guess I missed the huge community outcry for an elected water reclamation board in the Aurora area.  I am also confident that there are a much larger number of people wanting the CPS School Board to be elected. 

It seems if GA can take the time to ensure that people in my neck of the woods have the right to vote for people of the Fox Metro board, they can find time to give the people of Chicago the right to vote for their school board.

It seems that if electing the folks who help decide how to run the outfit that deals with waste water (an important task) it only seems fair that electing the folks who decide how the largest school system in the state is run is a good idea as well.

After all as one state rep put it..

At least the no votes and the yes votes had the chance to vote on it, which is more than it seems the GA is willing to due for those parents and 'people' of Chicago. 

Then again I am sure it is just sitting in the rules committee for a good reason, not because some sort of secret reason why the members of the GA don't get to vote on it (it has something like 56 co-sponsors in the house).

It makes you think that politics is being put ahead of people.  The fine members of the GA wouldn't do that, would they?

Monday, March 19, 2018

I Think Ives Might Pull It Off

If she does, I think Rauner can look in the mirror and blame himself for the campaign that he ran. Also an Ives win will not bode well for the entire party in November.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sports Betting In Illinois

The Supreme Court heard the Christie v NCAA case that seeks to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.  If successful, this would likely make it legal for states to allow and regulate sports betting.  

So let's say it is successful, it seems to me that it would make sense for Illinois to allow such gambling and try to generate revenues from it.  Here are some ways I could see it happening.

The Illinois Lottery:

The lottery would perhaps be the easiest way to bring this to the state relatively quickly. 

The lottery could develop a parlay game.That is you have to get multiple bets correct in order to win and then do it either as a para-mutual game (where the winners split the pot) or just underwrite the game extensively. 

So, for example, you had a parlay card where you predicted the winners of 5 football games.  Let's say this game generated $1,000,000 in bets in a given week. The state could take 10% off the top for taxes, and let's say the operator took 10% of what was left for operating fees and vendor rewards.  That would leave $810,000 in the prize pool.  Those who got 5 out of 5 would split 90% of the pot and those who got 4 out of 5 would split the remaining 10%.  

Streight up betting on events:

I think this might be harder to implement this for the lottery because it would create basically a large set of products (one for each sporting event as it were). It would also increase the lottery's risk in case a bet didn't go its way.  It could eliminate that risk by making each individual event a para-mutual type bet but depending on the event the pool would be too small to be interesting for a bettor.

The Tracks and their OTB facilities as betting facilities:

This might be an easier implementation than the lottery options.  Just let them operate like William Hill, betfair or Bet Fred for example. The state could generate revenues by just taking a slice of every bet and could require the operators to kick some of the revenue to the horse racing industry by increasing purses.  This would likely make the tracks and the racing industry very happy and would make sports betting available, but not everywhere.

Video Poker Locations:

Allow an additional machine that would take sports bets. However instead of the facility taking on the bet risk (which seems a bit too risky to me, yes that is kind of ironic) that there would be underlying operators (the machine owners) who could set odds and payouts.   No single underlying operator could operate more than 25% of the locations in the state that would have the units.  The state could take a cut of the bets or just a cut of the revenues.

Complete Stand Alone Betting Shops:

This would be the longest option to implement, but it would be an option.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Tesla Semi and Other Electric Semi Trucks Are Going to Screw Up Road Budgets.

So the electric semi truck from Tesla and others are coming shortly.  There is a host of advantages to this technology coming out now, obviously, the reduction in pollution, improved safety features, reduction in noise are all going to be advantages.

However what happens to state and local transportation budgets when tax revenues from commercial diesel fuel sales start to decrease?  

Here are just some of the tax/local revenue impacts of this technology
  • Reduced fuel taxes going into the road fund.
  • Reduced fuel sales at local truck stops and gas stations selling commercial diesel
  • Reduced video gaming revenue for local municipalities and the state of Illinois.  The largest revenue video poker locations are almost all truck stops.  
  • Reduced ancillary revenues at truck stops, if you don't have to stop at a truck stop to fuel up you don't go in to buy stuff.
  • Reduced revenues from taxes on ancillary truck supply and maintenance spending.  If it is like the electric cars, they are not going to need to get oil changes.   

You are either going to have to tax these trucks on a per-mile basis or figure out some sort of way to make up for the motor fuel tax losses.  There is some time before these become wide scale, 2022 perhaps, when it happens (and it is going to happen because of the lower project cost per mile) it is going to be a significant change to how good are moved over medium distances in this country.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Post I Think I Need To Repeat

Monday, December 07, 2015

It's Not Me, It's You...

Dear Republican Party.

If a candidate who says we need to keep people of any race, creed, gender or sexuality out of our country is taken seriously as a candidate at the national level I really can't identify with that party in any way shape or form anymore.  I realize there have been local folks who have had these ideas for quite some time, but it isn't that hard to find idiots at the local level in virtually any group, be it political party or organization.

That being said, when you are considering a national leader who think that, you have to count me out. I don't care how popular the idea might, how well it may poll or help someone in the polls.  We all have our limits and you have hit mine.

I know I have commented in the past that politics isn't church and it is about winning not about being 'pure'.

But I can't nor do I want to self identify with any group who has a leader who thinks crap like this is good policy or morally right.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Chris Kennedy On Sunday Spin...

Some thoughts and observations about what Chris Kennedy had to say on Sunday Spin...

The audio is here and it starts at the 38-minute mark...

He starts out by making some good points about remedial education....

Then he says basically the Trump voter comes from our high school education process, where kids are undereducated.  Would like to see some sort of Illinois correlation between bad HS education and voting patterns, not sure you are going to see that in this state.

His next point...
Enormous wealth disparity was created in the 80s, where the rich live near the rich and the poor live near the poor.

Mr. Kennedy, that didn't start in the 80s, that started way before the 80s at least here in Illinois, the North Shore has been significantly wealthier than the south suburbs for a  long time.  You sound a bit silly when you say stuff like that.  Property tax disparity is not something that magically came about during the 80s...

General observation, you can hear him breathing on mic, he needs to work on that.

He goes hard on the property tax system and makes a lot of sense.

Did he move here to deal with the Merchandise Mart, he talks about all of these other reasons he came to Illinois, but not that one.  But later references the Mart.

Nice of Kennedy to help the GOP write some ads about Pritzker.  Interesting using the word 'sick' when talking about Pritzker's conversation with Rod.

You can be a billionaire and have customers and may have worked for others, Mr. Kennedy.

I am a person of means but not a mean person...  Not bad...

Rick asks a very interesting question, is the Kennedy magic generationed out, has too much time passed?

Chris, if you are really worried about workman's comp costs, odds are you not looking to put an office in the Merchandise Mart.