It seems both sides of the Wisconsin budget debate are being a little loose with the truth. Check the validity of some claims here.
Month: February 2011
One hundred and four million dollars — that’s how much money the Chicago Sun-Times reports sat in the 3,507 campaign funds controlled by state and local politicians and political-action committees at the end of 2010, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records. To see the 50 richest state campaign funds and PACs in Illinois (the list doesn’t include federal campaigns or PACs, which are overseen by the Federal Election Commission), click here.
Anyone who thinks presidential ambition is an incurable condition hasn’t spent much time lately with Mike Huckabee. As Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post reports, the man who came in second in the 2008 GOP primary isn’t exactly ruling out another run in 2012. But he doesn’t sound all that eager to jump right back into the fray, either. Click here for the story.
John Bresnahan and Jonathan Allen of Politico report that the sometimes chaotic debates last week in the U.S House were an example of Speaker John Boehner living up to his promise to decentralize power in that chamber, to shift it from the speaker’s office and leadership after decades of creeping control of the chamber in fewer hands. Click here for the story.
Unlike his predecessors, Democrat and Republican alike, Boehner has vowed not to run the House with a tight fist. Bresnahan and Allen note that even some veteran Democrats praised what was the most open and sprawling floor fight the House had seen in years. James Madison, after all, envisioned the House being a chamber “of the people,” elected directly by the people of the United States and representing public opinion.
Illinoisans don’t have to look far to see what happens when so much power is concentrated in the hands of so few.
The first scheduled Republican debate is in 174 days. The first symbolic test of the GOP race, the Iowa Straw Poll, follows two days later. The Iowa caucuses are less than one year off. But we still don’t know who will be in the race. David Paul Kuhn, chief political correspondent for RealClearPolitics, takes a look at why candidates are slower to declare this time around.
The departure of longtime Palin aides Jason Recher and Doug McMarlin is the latest indicator of the turmoil that has for years dogged former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s constantly evolving inner circle as she struggles to mount a stable political operation to set the groundwork for a potential presidential campaign. Click here for the story.
Former Bush adviser Karl Rove is calling on GOP politicians to avoid falling into the “birther” movement trap and to stop fueling rumors that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Obama’s budget released this week needs to be viewed against the backdrop of the 2012 election. The key question is: Can it shore up those states that Obama needs to win reelection?
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will deliver his budget address at noon Wednesday, or an hour after the deadline passes for the Cardinals and Albert Pujols to reach an agreement on a new contract. (SI.com is reporting St. Louis has offered more than $200 million over eight years, while Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says Pujols walks, it will be a business decision.)
From Illinois Statehouse News on the Quinn budget:
Republicans at the Illinois Capitol spent the day before Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget address complaining that they have not heard much about the spending plan. And what they have heard is not acceptable.
But statehouse Democrats say the state’s problems haven’t changed, and neither have the solutions.
The governor’s office stayed tight-lipped about specifics of the new state spending plan. An off-the-record briefing to lawmakers and reporters Tuesday evening left as many questions as it did provide answers.
Illinois is still facing a multi-billion dollar deficit and is projected to once again not have enough money to pay for a full year of state services. Quinn has proposed a combination of billions in borrowing and millions in cuts to remedy the situation.
“It think it’s a lean budget,” said Quinn spokesman Mica Matsoff. “(The budget) focuses the burden across all areas of state government.”
Democrats still control the statehouse, but lost just enough races last fall to give Republicans a seat at the table when it comes time to borrow. And Senate GOP boss, Christine Radogno, has said already they won’t support it.
“I’ve told (Gov. Quinn) multiple times since January that if he submits a budget that assumes borrowing (will be part of the mix), he will not get any Republican support,” she said.
State Sen. Pam Althoff, R-Crystal Lake, said they’ve heard these same cries for years that if lawmakers will only give just a little more, then everything will be OK.
“We need to say no. We need to go back to the board and find out where we’re going to make cuts,” Althoff said. “We need to be responsible with the money we’re going to obtain from this new income tax increase.”
State lawmakers last month raised the personal income tax increase by nearly 67 percent, from 3 percent to 5 percent, which is expected to garner close to $7 billion annually.
But as GOP lawmakers talked tough about turning their backs on borrowing, the Quinn administration quietly circulated lists that tallied the billions owed to state vendors. Each lawmaker got a list that showed which of their local businesses are still waiting for checks from Springfield.
Quinn has said in the past he’d like to borrow as much as $8.75 billion to erase close to $6.6 billion in unpaid bills.
When lawmakers approved the income tax increase last month, they did not act on the borrowing proposal.
State Rep Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, said there will be new money coming into Springfield from the tax hike, but not nearly enough to pay those past-due bills.
“The tax hike alone is helpful, but it is not nearly enough,” said Mautino “There is going to have to be additional borrowing to cover the state’s bills.”
Mautino said he does expect lawmakers to agree on some kind of borrowing plan, but he said the price tag and time line will have to be worked out.
The broad strokes of Quinn’s budget — borrowing, cuts, efficiencies — have been known for months. It still remains to be seen how those broad themes will impact local communities or social service providers.
And even though Quinn will unveil his budget at noon on Wednesday, it could be months or more before the local impact begins to be felt.
Albert Pujols apparently has rejected a contract offer from the Cardinals, meaning the two sides have until Tuesday to work out a deal or negotiations will be called off until after the season, when the first baseman becomes a free agent. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the sides are still far apart and that the players’ union is pushing Pujols to get the richest contract ever. Jeff Gordon notes that “Albertageddon” is upon Cardinal Nation.
So do the Cardinals pony up $30 million a year for 10 years for the 31-year-old slugger? Or do they wait until after the season to see if any other teams get into the bidding? The Yankees already are paying Mark Teixeira big bucks and the Red Sox just traded for Adrian Gonzalez, which would seem to eliminate the two teams with the deepest pockets.
Author John Avlon, the chief speechwriter for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, writes that radio ratings for hyper-partisan hosts like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have been declining or flat-lining between 2009 and 2010 despite the intensity of the election year.
Writes Avlon: There’s a demand for something different—smart, un-predictable, non-partisan news is gaining market share because it stands out from the pack. And leading industry analysts say there is a market for more independent voices.
Does that mean right-wing talk radio is fading? Avlon, author of the book “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America,” believes it does, although some on the far left or far right may question his conclusions. However, there certainly seems to be no shortage of those talk shows in the Quincy market, so the popularity here apparently is not waning. Click here for the story.
Meanwhile, The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol has taken Beck to task for his stance on Egypt. Some say it’s a sign that the Right is fed up with one of Fox News’ most vivid personalities. Click here for the story.
U.S. Rep. Chris Lee of New York resigned this week, hours after a photo showing him baring his biceps on Craigslist trolling for a date appeared on the Internet. Notes the Washington Post:
In going from revelation to resignation in just under 31/2 hours, Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) might have set a new indoor speed record for the life cycle of a Washington sex scandal. But the nature of his indiscretion and the way in which it played out confirm that the Internet and the modern media culture have rewritten at least some of the rules surrounding this most time-honored of Capitol rituals.
So what makes the difference between a politician surviving a sex scandal and being crushed by one? To find out and to see a Political Hall of Shame slideshow, click here.
The Daily Beast, meanwhile, crunches the numbers to determine whether Democrats or Republicans have a bigger problem with hanky-panky, taking a look at 60 scandals during the past 20 years. Click here to see the scorecard.