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From the new $45 billion capital bill, Democratic state senators will get an automatic $6 million and Republican senators just $3 million for their districts. Veterans in municipal finance tell me they’ve seen nothing before like that before in Illinois. Sure, politics have always played a role in where money is spent, but nothing openly admitted and automatic as with this capital bill, by far Illinois’ biggest.

Think about it. I live in a well-off suburban area represented by Democrats who vote as they are told by party leadership. We will automatically get $3 million more than Republican districts, which are mostly poorer and downstate.

What’s the reasoning for that unprecedented, overt discrimination?  I’ve seen no political leadership take a shot at answering until Senate President John Cullterton (D-Chicago) yesterday, as reported by Politico:

Senate President John Cullerton

The disbursement to members was initially planned for $3 million for each lawmaker’s district. But Cullerton told Playbook those numbers were adjusted, given the size of the capital bill — thanks in part to his cigarette tax that was three times more than the 32-cent increase Pritzker proposed. Simply, the cigarette tax was Cullerton’s baby and he wanted Democrats to benefit from it.

Huh? Never mind that some Republicans voted for the tax. There’s no actual answer there; he’s basically just thumbing his nose at a request for an explanation.

Others have defended the notion of punishing people in districts that voted against the capital bill. Imagine the uproar if conservatives prevailed in, say, a tax cut but put it through only in Republican districts.

Stunning, too, is the total silence on this from Republican leadership. Not a peep from House Minority Leader Jim Durkin or Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady.

Then there’s Deputy Governor Dan Hynes’ claim, also in the Politico article, that all spending grants went through a “detailed process.” Many others have said the same.

What nonsense. Let’s compare their process to standard procedure in the private sector.

When an investment fund is raised, commitments for the cash are secured first, whether for a real estate, private equity or venture capital fund. Those funds are often as little as $30 – $50 million dollars. Some are $1 billion or more, but that would be an unusually big fund. The fund’s investment professionals then spend the next five years deploying the money. They reject the vast majority of opportunities they see. When they find something the like, they spend enormous time and effort valuing the opportunity so they don’t overpay. Again, that takes five years to deploy the fund.

But for Illinois’ new capital program, politicians slapped together their list of $45 billion of projects in a few months. No private sector fund on the planet would ever dare anything so reckless.

The real thinking behind Illinois’ vastly oversized capital plan and how it will be spent couldn’t be more clear: They did what they want because thy hold a supermajority in the legislature. That includes punishing political opponents.

If you don’t like it, tough.

Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

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Joanne

I’m a 71 yr old Southern Illinois native (across from St. Louis, MO & no…not from E. St. Louis). I never seriously thought about moving until about 4 yrs ago when I really got disgusted with Chicago and my state (well, the Northern part that is… after all Chicago has ALWAYS run the state & it’s pretty much always been corrupted). Now with Pritzker sitting up there on his little throne our states morals as well as our economic condition will take a MAJOR nose dive. It was bad enough that Rauner made taxpayers pay for abortions for union workers… Read more »

I guess bold is the new “in” thing now

robt neville

“No private sector fund on the planet would ever dare anything so reckless.” Yes, and for 2 reasons: a) no one would ever invest with them again b) they’d be criminally liable Lucky for us Illinois elected officials operate under no such constraints because: a) middle class taxpayers are forced to cough up the loot, immigrate to America or be shot b) our elected criminal class are indemnified against prosecution for their overt fraud, malfeasance and theft Of course in a just world they’d be so far behind bars we’d need to pump the sunshine to them, but Illinois has… Read more »

Downstate_downtrodden

Politically, it’s as though the 1930s never ended here.

Tom Paine's Ghost

I hope that the thieves of AFSCME, SEIU and IFT/CTU remember Cullerton’s bald faced corruption when their paychecks and pension checks stop when Illinois goes bankrupt. Hopefully they will coat him and Madigan with tar and feathers in the street if not the Mussolini-hanging-from-the-lamppost treatment.

Is this democrat vs republican spending district spending even legal? My republican tax dollars are just as green as democrat tax dollars.

Freddy

The total and utter demise of Illinois will fall only on the Democrat’s shoulder’s. No if’s and’s or but’s!! There will be no one else to blame but themselves. Do they care? Nope!! Will they care? Nope! Will they profit handsomely on the way down? Absolutely!!! Do your ever get that feeling deep down in the pit of your stomach that the Captain and crew of the Titanic are running Illinois. I do! Outmigrators are already in the lifeboats (safe in other states glancing back and realizing the horror awaiting those left behind). They are the lucky ones..

debtsor

Hahaha you fool. They don’t want you here. They truly want you to leave. They believe its better to have total power over a smaller fiefdom than to share power in a larger more prosperous state. Petty dictators in the crappiest of nation states are the ones who are who keep political power the longest in the world. North Korea is a dump – but it’s Mr. Un’s dump and he likes it that way. Democrats in high tax blue states think the same way. Especially IL. They take a trifecta with super majorities in both chambers and they immediately… Read more »

Freddy

Did you see Rep Cassidy who sponsored the abortion bill jump for joy after becoming law? How sick has have some politicians become!. Makes me wonder if the Capitol building itself is loaded with mercury/lead/asbestos and every heavy metal you can think of and they are rolling in it. Also I wonder if they want us to leave because hidden deep down under Illinois soils are rare elements worth trillions.

debtsor

Rep Cassidy is the worst. She’s the definition of a feminazi, which is an old word that has found new life with today’s current crop of progressives. Just look at her ugly face – the ugliness on the inside is trying to find a way out. She’s not even from IL – she’s carpet bagging it from FL. She’s literally the worst person in the state, just awful, just an awful person. If I ever run into her somewhere, I’ll just tell her that she’s so screwed up, it’s inevitable that her children will all become good republicans voters, as… Read more »

Sanji

if it’s any consolation Kelly is a very unhappy woman from a family who’s litter of daughters make the Kallikaks look like the Rothschilds

Downstate_downtrodden

I’d be unhappy too if my wife looked like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candace_Gingrich

debtsor

On the other hand, her sons look like the MAGA Covington boys. I’m sure they’ll reject their mothers’ (yes, mothers’) progressiveism and vote Republican. Statistically, as white males, they’re going to vote Republican, and we can all only hope.