043033 UC Ingalls Mental Health Awareness Month Ad Reoirter
Rich Miller

Rich Miller

Enjoy fiscal bliss while it lasts

By Rich Miller

I think by now you can see why Gov. JB Pritzker’s campaign spent so much money over the past month or so on TV and digital ads touting the state’s improved fiscal position.

Illinoisans have been (accurately) fed fiscal horror stories about their state for decades. I don’t have to tell you that Illinois is infamous for its fiscal ineptitude on a grand scale. I wrote years ago that, collectively, we suck at governing here. Huge pension debts, constantly on the verge of a junk bond rating from New York, a narrow tax base that doesn’t tap into services and upper incomes, and governors who either don’t care about the consequences of their decisions or are too inept to fix or ameliorate the problems they know exist.

So, those ads, I believe, were aired in order to prepare the ground for the governor’s budget proposal he submitted last week.

RichMiller

Rich Miller

“For the first time in more than 20 years,” a television news anchor says in one of the ads, “a bond ratings agency upgraded Illinois’ credit rating.”

“This upgrade means lower costs for taxpayers,” another anchor explains.

“JB’s straightening out the state’s finances, passing balanced budgets and getting bills paid on time,” a guy named Bill Hincks claims in another ad.

Team Pritzker could see the spending and revenue numbers as they came in for the past few months and they knew that the state had at least temporarily turned the corner.

But they also likely knew they needed to get the word out there before the governor laid out his new budget, which will pay down debt and temporarily cut taxes so people would be more likely to buy into it.

“For years in Illinois, they left bills unpaid, ruined our credit, and racked up over a billion dollars in interest penalties,” Pritzker said in an ad that started running in early January. “As Governor, I was determined to help fix the financial mess. Now, Illinois is keeping its promises by passing real balanced budgets. We’re cutting costs, paying bills on time and paying down our debt––saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. And our credit rating has been upgraded for the first time in 20 years.”

The Illinois Republican Party responded to that spot by claiming the governor was “launching a new political ad that laughably tries to convince Illinois families ‘we’re on the right track.’” Everyone pretty much believes the state is messed up, so it’s not a difficult pitch to make.

But then came last week’s budget address.

Pritzker proposed a billion-dollar, one-year tax cut that was widely derided by Republicans, who didn’t mention that two top House Republicans had proposed an eerily similar temporary tax cut a couple of months ago. One of those two Republicans is now Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin’s running mate. Irvin has called the tax cut a “gimmick,” and an attempt to “buy off” voters. I haven’t yet had a chance to ask him about his running mate’s plan.

The governor also wants to direct an extra half a billion dollars into the state’s pension systems to pay down debt, which he says will save taxpayers $1.8 billion in the long run.

The College Illinois savings program was deeply in debt, so Pritzker wants to wipe it out with $230 million, which will save taxpayers even more money down the road.

Almost $900 million will go to pay off a health insurance debt that the state has had for longer than I can remember. And $800 million will be deposited into the state’s empty rainy-day fund.

The Republicans objected, saying it was all an illusion. The budget coffers are over-flowing with money because of federal stimulus programs. They’re not wrong, but those things I mentioned were all one-time expenditures.

Hey, we’ll see how long this fiscal bliss lasts. One of the reasons these tax cuts and other budgetary moves are one-year plans is because things could go south in a hurry if the federal stimulus programs really do end and state and local governments are again left to fend for themselves. If we slide into recession, then Illinois could wind up right back where it started: in a very deep hole.

But if it all eventually goes to heck in a handbasket again, I can at least look back with a smile on this relatively brief window of financial pleasantness when I’m old and decrepit. It’s really quite nice. I hope we can keep it this way. But this is Illinois, after all.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Local News

Auxiliary Treasurer Samantha Kwit (from left), 1st Vice President Suzanne Stocking Coclanes, Colette Frantz, and Secretary Doreen O'Brien.

LT sophomore wins American Legion essay contest

By Carol McGowan Each year, the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors an Americanism essay contest. The purpose is to aid the schools of Illinois in the teaching of Americanism and good citizenship. The winner this year, at the Robert E. Coulter Jr. American Legion in LaGrange, was Colette Frantz. She is a sophomore at Lyons Township…

Eight of the nine ACE scholarship winners at the presentation on May 9. (not pictured is Lars Randolph)

ACE awards scholarships to Argo students

By Carol McGowan After taking a year off because of the pandemic, the Argo Coalition for Education has once again handed out scholarships to students at Argo Community High School. The ceremony was held on May 9 in the Portillo Performing Arts Center at the Summit school. The program was assisted by Argo Supt. Dr.…

Peggy Zabicki

The young are often our brightest light

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As summer approaches, we face the discouraging reality of what our neighborhood and our city have become. Carjackings, shootings, dangerous drag racers, assaults and robberies happen every single day. Will things get worse as the weather gets warmer? It is hard to stay positive. Much…

Kathy Headley

Senior linksters headed for Marquette Park

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Registration is now open for the 39th Senior Amateur Golf Championship at Marquette Park. The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Fingers crossed that it does not pour rain on those dates like last…

--Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Mary Stanek

Plants, books blooming at Peck School

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” ― Albert Einstein. Thanks to the parents and teachers of Peck School, the location of the library is at the Peck Panther…

2022 primary-election-1321269_1x

CAMPAIGN 2022: Carr, Justak square off to be GOP leader in Lyons Township

By Steve Metsch The race for Republican Committeeperson in Lyons Township is between the current office holder and a mayor eager to replace her. Incumbent Katie Justak, who is in her first election, was appointed to the position in December by Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison(17th), chairman of the Cook County Republican party. Her challenger…

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio (second from left) congratulates members of the police department who received promotions and were officially sworn in at the village board meeting Tuesday. They are (from left) Cmdr. Edward Clancy, Sgt. Finbarr Haran and Lt. Michael Hudziak. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials praise police after arrest

3 officers promoted at meeting By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn officials applauded the efforts of the village police department after an arrest took place following an alleged road rage incident. The incident took place on May 10 when two drivers got into a verbal altercation while driving southbound near 105th and Cicero, according to police. After…

OLCHS logo - Copy

OLCHS students advance in PTSA Reflections contest

Six Oak Lawn Community High School seniors in Jenn Jepsen’s Creative Writing class advanced for literature in the 2021-2022 PTSA Reflections Contest. More than 900 entries in 47 states met the challenge to submit entries expressing “How I Can Change the World.” Emma Jacob’s piece “How Forgiveness Can Change the World” advanced to the National…

EPCHS Principal Bill Sanderson stands with seniors Marissa Burke and Diana Tracey who had perfect attendance throughout their four years of high school. (Supplied photos)

EPCHS students achieve perfect attendance

2 seniors did it for all 4 years Twenty-one Evergreen Park Community High School students were recognized with an offer of a complimentary breakfast in the EPCHS cafeteria on, May 20, for having achieved perfect attendance for the 2021-2022 school year. Perfect attendance is truly an accomplishment, and we commend the following students and their…

Sharon Vojtek, of Palos Heights, and her dog, Spirit, and Meghan Shanahan, of Chicago, and her dog, Keegan, were part of the Oak Lawn Public Library's Finals Week Puppy Break on May 19. (Photos by Kelly White)

Finals Week Puppy Break at the Oak Lawn Library

By Kelly White Spirit, an 8-year-old Border Collie mix, loves being around people. So much so, that she paid a visit to the Oak Lawn Public Library to help students study for finals. That’s right, a dog in a library; and, she wasn’t the only one. The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., hosted…

Neighbors

AladdinsBanquets WebAd
Auxiliary Treasurer Samantha Kwit (from left), 1st Vice President Suzanne Stocking Coclanes, Colette Frantz, and Secretary Doreen O'Brien.

LT sophomore wins American Legion essay contest

By Carol McGowan Each year, the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors an Americanism essay contest. The purpose is to aid the schools of Illinois in the teaching of Americanism and good citizenship. The winner this year, at the Robert E. Coulter Jr. American Legion in LaGrange, was Colette Frantz. She is a sophomore at Lyons Township…

Eight of the nine ACE scholarship winners at the presentation on May 9. (not pictured is Lars Randolph)

ACE awards scholarships to Argo students

By Carol McGowan After taking a year off because of the pandemic, the Argo Coalition for Education has once again handed out scholarships to students at Argo Community High School. The ceremony was held on May 9 in the Portillo Performing Arts Center at the Summit school. The program was assisted by Argo Supt. Dr.…

Peggy Zabicki

The young are often our brightest light

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As summer approaches, we face the discouraging reality of what our neighborhood and our city have become. Carjackings, shootings, dangerous drag racers, assaults and robberies happen every single day. Will things get worse as the weather gets warmer? It is hard to stay positive. Much…

Kathy Headley

Senior linksters headed for Marquette Park

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Registration is now open for the 39th Senior Amateur Golf Championship at Marquette Park. The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Fingers crossed that it does not pour rain on those dates like last…

--Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Mary Stanek

Plants, books blooming at Peck School

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” ― Albert Einstein. Thanks to the parents and teachers of Peck School, the location of the library is at the Peck Panther…

2022 primary-election-1321269_1x

CAMPAIGN 2022: Carr, Justak square off to be GOP leader in Lyons Township

By Steve Metsch The race for Republican Committeeperson in Lyons Township is between the current office holder and a mayor eager to replace her. Incumbent Katie Justak, who is in her first election, was appointed to the position in December by Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison(17th), chairman of the Cook County Republican party. Her challenger…

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio (second from left) congratulates members of the police department who received promotions and were officially sworn in at the village board meeting Tuesday. They are (from left) Cmdr. Edward Clancy, Sgt. Finbarr Haran and Lt. Michael Hudziak. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials praise police after arrest

3 officers promoted at meeting By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn officials applauded the efforts of the village police department after an arrest took place following an alleged road rage incident. The incident took place on May 10 when two drivers got into a verbal altercation while driving southbound near 105th and Cicero, according to police. After…

OLCHS logo - Copy

OLCHS students advance in PTSA Reflections contest

Six Oak Lawn Community High School seniors in Jenn Jepsen’s Creative Writing class advanced for literature in the 2021-2022 PTSA Reflections Contest. More than 900 entries in 47 states met the challenge to submit entries expressing “How I Can Change the World.” Emma Jacob’s piece “How Forgiveness Can Change the World” advanced to the National…

EPCHS Principal Bill Sanderson stands with seniors Marissa Burke and Diana Tracey who had perfect attendance throughout their four years of high school. (Supplied photos)

EPCHS students achieve perfect attendance

2 seniors did it for all 4 years Twenty-one Evergreen Park Community High School students were recognized with an offer of a complimentary breakfast in the EPCHS cafeteria on, May 20, for having achieved perfect attendance for the 2021-2022 school year. Perfect attendance is truly an accomplishment, and we commend the following students and their…

Sharon Vojtek, of Palos Heights, and her dog, Spirit, and Meghan Shanahan, of Chicago, and her dog, Keegan, were part of the Oak Lawn Public Library's Finals Week Puppy Break on May 19. (Photos by Kelly White)

Finals Week Puppy Break at the Oak Lawn Library

By Kelly White Spirit, an 8-year-old Border Collie mix, loves being around people. So much so, that she paid a visit to the Oak Lawn Public Library to help students study for finals. That’s right, a dog in a library; and, she wasn’t the only one. The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., hosted…

DVN Complete Auto Service House Ad
CRR NH Niego Real Estate House Ad