Bryant E News – January 11, 2020

Dear Friend,

In the 5 years I have served as your State Representative, I can point to many instances of public corruption that have ‘shocked’ the Springfield system. I’ve seen State Representatives and Senators investigated, raided, indicted, and arrested.

I’ve watched one-man, one-party rule play out to the detriment of Illinois’ taxpayers time and time again. The Illinois public is often kept in the dark until the last minute when large, controversial issues start to move in the House and Senate. That is by design…dark of night, shady procedural moves are the hallmark of Madigan’s reign.

Source: Chicago Tribune

However, some cracks of light are beginning to appear in Madigan’s seemingly impenetrable political forcefield, as shocking new corruption revelations surface in news reports week after week. Good government advocates are famous for saying, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” It appears that Illinois’ major media outlets are starting to adopt that mantra, shining a big investigative light on Madigan’s operation in the wake of an ongoing and expansive federal corruption probe into the highest levels of Illinois government.

A powerful former lobbyist named Mike McClain, a close ally of House Speaker Michael Madigan sent an email to top officials in then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration referring to what appeared to be the cover-up of an incident of sexual assault.

In the 2012 email, then-lobbyist Michael McClain urged two top Quinn administration aides to avoid firing a state worker facing a disciplinary case by arguing that the worker had “kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items.”

WBEZ has reported several times previously that McClain is an important focal point in the ongoing federal investigation into ComEd and the utility’s actions in Springfield. McClain is a former legislator and was one of Illinois’ most influential lobbyists, enjoying a decades-long friendship with and unrivaled access to Speaker Madigan. A federal search warrant issued in the ongoing federal investigation into ComEd sought records pertaining to Madigan. McClain’s home was raided by federal agents last May and the Chicago Tribune has reported that McClain’s telephone conversations were secretly monitored by federal investigators.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has led the Republicans’ calls for a criminal investigation and legislative hearings in response to the disclosure of the email from McClain hinting at a rape cover-up and ghost payrolling in state government. I agree that the proper authorities should begin an immediate investigation into both of these heinous crimes.

“This revelation is shocking and beyond words,” Durkin said in a statement this week. “I am disturbed by the fact that horrific and possible criminal actions may have occurred and government officials, Mike McClain and his enablers chose to remain silent instead of taking action.

“There needs to be an immediate criminal investigation into the content of McClain’s email to the administration, and I encourage anyone with information on this to report it immediately to the proper authorities.” – Jim Durkin, House Republican Leader (Source: House Republican Week in Review 1-10-2020)

Failure of Property Tax Relief Task Force Proves Democrats Aren’t Serious About Relief/Reform

Earlier this week, House Republican members held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the dismal failure of the General Assembly’s “Property Tax Relief Task Force”. The task force was formed in a trade off between Democrat lawmakers and Governor Pritzker and Speaker Madigan. In exchange for a YES vote on the progressive income tax ballot question, the State’s top Democrats allowed the General Assembly to form a task force with the often stated goal of reducing high property taxes in Illinois.

The task force was also supposed to come up with real reforms to provide relief to struggling homeowners. Instead, Democrats on the task force drafted a slapdash report that failed to include dozens of reform ideas offered by Republican members. A breakdown of the task force’s format and subsequent “meetings” will paint a clear picture as to why it failed.

First, the task force was made up of 88 members. House Republicans believe the task force was created in such a way to slow down any progress and stifle ideas from the minority Republicans. The commission’s chairman missed the statutory filing deadline for the first report and the most recently due report and then unilaterally submitted a self-drafted report without the consent or approval of the whole, supposedly, bipartisan task force.

Do you know someone who has left Illinois due to the property tax burden?

Posted by Illinois House Republicans on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Considering the entire task force had only met on a few occasions, all House Republicans on the task force rejected the flawed report after being refused an opportunity for thorough review and revisions holding to the bipartisan intent of the task force. This bungled process proves once again that Illinois Democrats are not serious about implementing substantive property tax reforms.

During the aforementioned press conference, my colleague Rep. Grant Wehrli highlighted numerous previous failed attempts to use task forces or similar groups to address property tax reform, dating back to Senate Joint Resolution 10 in 1975:
• 1982 – the Tax Reform Commission;
• 1995 – the Equity 95 Property Tax Classification Task Force;
• 1997 – the Electric Utility Property Assessment Task Force;
• 1998 – the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Property Taxes;
• 2004 – the Property Tax Task Force under House Resolution 917;
• 2008 – House Resolution 527 – which instructed the House of Representatives Revenue & Finance Committee to conduct an investigation into ways to improve property tax assessment practices across the State;
• 2009 – the Property Tax Reform and Relief Task Force;
• 2018 – the TIF Reform Task Force.

Out migration numbers released at the end of 2019 for the State of Illinois prove once again that high property taxes remain one of the most important issues facing Illinois. Our citizens and businesses are leaving in massive numbers for cheaper places to live and work. As we convene the spring session later this month, I stand ready to negotiate real property tax reforms and provide relief for Illinois families. Our future depends on it.

WJPF Radio Interview – Thursday January 9

You can listen in to my interview with Tom Miller on WJPF on Thursday morning by clicking below.

https://www.wjpf.com/episode/newsradio-wjpf-interview-with-terri-bryant-january-9-2020/

We talked about the failure of the recently established and now defunct property tax relief task force and shocking revelations this week of cover ups of ghost patrolling and a sexual assault from emails obtained by WBEZ dating back to 2012. Thanks for listening!

United States Marks Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

This past Thursday was National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I sincerely urge you any time you have the opportunity to take a moment to express your thanks and appreciation to the men and women of the law enforcement community for their service and sacrifice to protect our communities. Thank you to those that serve us all on the, “Thin, blue, line.”

State Fire Marshal Offers Small Equipment Grants

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal is now accepting applications for the competitive Small Equipment Grant program. The program allows fire departments, fire protection districts and township fire departments, as well as not-for-profit EMS providers to access up to $26,000 in grant funds for specific purposes as outlined in program documents. 

Applications must be postmarked no later than February 29, 2020. A total of $3.5 million is available for this application cycle.

For further details please visit: 
https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/sfm/Iam/FireDepartment/Grants-and-Loans/Pages/default.aspx

Stay Connected!

My office in Murphysboro can be reached at 618-684-1100 and my office in Mt. Vernon can be reached at 618-242-8115. You can email me at bryant@ilhousegop.org or leave feedback on my website’s contact form at http://www.ilhousegop.org/contactbryant

Get the Illinois House Republicans Week in Review emailed directly to your inbox!  Sign up today to get a first-hand look at the continuing legislative and fiscal challenges facing policymakers in Springfield.