PRITZKER TO MEET WITH BIDEN — COOK COUNTY’s TAX PROBLEM — TERRI BRYANT’s TRUMP TALK
Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. Let’s celebrate Chicago Park District bringing back the only-in-Chicago coed adult 16-inch softball tournament. h/t Tribune’s Zach Harris
BREAKING THIS MORNING: Pritzker headed to White House for meeting with Biden on bipartisan infrastructure plan: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker is one of three governors and five mayors who will join President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday for a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure,” reports Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart.
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin is concerned that an expected delay in property tax bills being sent out could cause cash-flow problems for the 455-plus taxing bodies in the county.
The problem came to light when Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi acknowledged in the Sun-Times last month that mistakes were made in determining the value of the senior assessment freeze for nearly 145,000 homeowners who are supposed to receive a tax break. Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough says her office can’t start the three-week process to calculate property tax rates based on numbers that are or may be inaccurate. Even one miscalculation can throw off all of the calculations, her office says. And that means Treasurer Maria Pappas’ office can’t send out property tax bills until Yarbourgh’s team is finished.
A source close to the issue says Yarbrough and Pappas are “proceeding with caution” because of the potential for legal action. They want verification on the methodology for the 144,904 senior citizen freeze properties that Kaegi says he’s analyzed.
It’s a complicated process that “can’t just be fixed with the push of a button,” says Suffredin, who has been encouraging the three offices to find a resolution so property taxes can be paid.
There are 1.8 million parcels of Cook County real estate — an astronomical number. So it’s not surprising that mistakes can happen in coming up with valuations. All those parcels are part of districts that are taxed differently, adding to the complication. The town of Skokie has five different elementary school districts, for example.
Suffredin says some districts “could have to borrow money to meet their cash flow” if they don’t see property taxes come through. “A school district could say we have to cut band for the first semester because we don’t have enough cash flow to pay for it, or basketball or football,” he said.
“It’s a real problem,” added the commissioner, who along with juggling the property tax mess also helped negotiate a settlement of the strike between SEIU 73 workers and the county. “It’s the day in the life of a commissioner,” said Suffredin, who recently announced he’ll retire when his term is up in 2022.
Next on Suffredin’s plate: Working with fellow Commissioner Bridget Degnen on an amendment to a proposal for spending the $1 billion in federal Covid relief money coming to the county. “We want to make sure the county board has the final say in how it’s spent.” The measure will be taken up at the next commission meeting July 29.
State Sen. Terri Bryant took a page out of former President Donald Trump’s playbook Tuesday by tying immigration to violence in Chicago, without offering any statistics or information to back it up.
In an interview with Newsradio WJPF’s Tom Miller, Bryant, a Republican from Murphysboro in southern Illinois, first suggested undocumented immigrants get Medicaid ahead of Illinois citizens, and then she pivoted with a non sequitur. “It goes to the violence we’re seeing in Chicago right now,” she said (beginning at the 4:30 mark).
“People say ‘What can be done about the violence in Chicago?’ Let’s remember that they have the strictest gun laws in the United States — and that’s not working. They are a sanctuary city — that clearly is not working. They not only do not cooperate with ICE when trying to deport those individuals who have violated the law, but they keep everybody else from doing it [too],” Bryant said.
“You know what’s going on with violence in Chicago? How about we end all this nonsense that involves undocumented immigrants and the continued attack on law-abiding gun-owning citizens,” she continued.
Bryant didn’t immediately return a request for further comment.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office pushed back, saying the senator’s comments show “a blatant ignorance” on immigration policy and public safety.
“Data shows that welcoming city policies, like Chicago’s, create safer communities because residents feel more comfortable engaging with police and other city government officials when they do not fear their immigration status will become a factor. These policies also protect everyone’s due process,” the mayor’s office said in a statement to Playbook.
Lightfoot’s office criticized the use of “xenophobic tropes” and said, “Bryant should focus on working with us and her Senate colleagues to learn about and tackle the actual root causes of violence in our state.”
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
Headed to D.C.
No official public events scheduled.
No official public events scheduled.
— Biden’s Covid vaccine campaign is sputtering. Juvenile thinks he can help: “The ’90s rap star was vaccine hesitant, too. But he changed his mind and remixed his classic tune in hopes of convincing others, too,” by POLITICO’s Eugene Daniels.
— University of Chicago Medicine mandating vaccines for workers: “The requirement will apply to employees, volunteers and contractors at University of Chicago Medical Center sites, though the mandate may be subject to discussion with various unions representing employees, system leaders said in a memo to students, faculty and staff Tuesday,” by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.
— Summer camps are being hit with Covid-19 outbreaks — Are schools next? The Associated Press reports
Congressional Dems’ House hopes hang on Illinois and New York: “The Democrats’ ‘only chance of keeping the House’ next year is if they redraw congressional lines to their advantage in New York and Illinois, Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman tells Axios’ Stef Kight,” via Axios.
— More money, more problems: Kinzinger, Cheney feel the Trump effect: “It’s also given them a new route onto the national stage. The Wyoming and Illinois Republican allies may end up losing their seats next fall to primary challengers who are hugging the Trump machine. But the campaign war chests they’ve amassed could help launch the duo’s political careers outside of the House, or even Congress,” report POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers and Ally Mutnick.
— Pritzker’s governorship among least vulnerable to political change in ‘22: “[Pritzker] received good marks for his handling of the pandemic and has enacted budgets that have kept the state’s fiscal situation more stable than it has been in recent years. He’s also kept his progressive flank happy by enacting a minimum wage hike to $15; a law that would continue allowing abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade; a law to strengthen guardianship protections for immigrant children; and a marijuana legalization measure. … All in all, Pritzker should be able to secure a second term if he wants it,” via U.S. News.
— Elizabeth M. Rochford, a sitting judge in Lake County’s 19th Judicial District, is announcing her candidacy for the newly redrawn Supreme Court seat that encompasses the counties of DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake and McHenry. Judge Rochford has been an associate judge in Lake County since her appointment in 2012, hearing civil and criminal matters, with a significant focus in family law. She is currently sitting in probate court. Rochford is a former assistant state’s attorney and solo practitioner. She has served on the Illinois Judges Association board of directors since 2015 and is secretary, in addition to chairing literacy and access to justice initiatives.
— CNBC’s annual study ranks Illinois 15th among top states for business — up from 30th: States were scored on “selling point in economic development marketing materials.”
— Pritzker announces $8M expansion of Apprenticeship Illinois program: “Through the expansion, the State aims to serve an additional 750 apprentices across key industries, with plans to reach underserved populations as well as industries heavily impacted by Covid-19,” by WSILTV’s Kenzie Dillow.
— Landlords, renters await word on end of pandemic eviction moratorium: “Late Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said a gradual lift of the moratorium will begin at the end of this month. And the eviction ban will be over at the end of August,” CBS/2’s Jim Williams reports.
— Illinois is expelling fewer preschoolers. But programs still exclude young children: “A new report from the University of Illinois at Chicago also shows that boys, Black children, and youngsters with disabilities continue to be overrepresented among children who are formally expelled from programs in Illinois, as they are in national data,” by Chalkbeat’s Cassie Walker Burke.
— Bonus pay for essential workers varied widely across states: “Illinois lawmakers used federal money for dozens of initiatives in the budget that took effect July 1. Nothing was earmarked for extra pandemic pay,” by The Associated Press’ David A. Lieb.
— ANALYSIS: The U.S. economy is still finding its footing. But states are doing pretty well: Therese McGuire, a strategy professor at Kellogg, explains that Illinois is doing a “reasonable job” using one-time money to manage the state budget — but that structural problems remain. She also offers advice at the federal level for shoring up state finances before the next crisis.
— Mental health clinicians will start answering some 911 calls in Chicago — instead of cops: “The ‘alternative response’ programs are being launched amid continuing debate over the role of police after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer,” by Sun-Times’ David Struett and Tom Schuba.
— Chicago’s top cop touts ‘significant and substantive’ meeting with Biden on violence prevention: “We discussed both short-term and long-term solutions,” he said Tuesday during a news conference in Chicago. “There will be significant follow-up. This wasn’t a one-off meeting.” WTTW’s Matt Masterson reports
— City employees still don’t get regular performance evaluations, watchdog says: “Departing Inspector General Joe Ferguson warned last fall the city’s failure to conduct regular evaluations for nearly half of its 33,000 employees left personnel decisions ‘vulnerable to appearances and suspicions of favoritism,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Inspector general wants to strip aldermen of power to pick their ward superintendents: “In an explosive audit, retiring Inspector General Joe Ferguson concludes ward superintendents ‘should be subject to the standards and procedures … generally applicable under the city’s hiring plan’ — and therefore, politics should not be a factor in deciding who gets the job,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— City adds 2 states to travel advisory after weeks without restrictions: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic is not over’: “Missouri and Arkansas will be the only two states where unvaccinated travelers returning to Chicago will be asked to abide by quarantine or COVID-19 test requirements, according to a Tuesday news release from the Chicago Department of Public Health. The list is updated every two weeks and travel guidance on new states goes into effect on Friday,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— How Sox, Cubs players performed in the All-Star Game, including an eventful save for Liam Hendriks: “Big situations seemed to find Bryant. In both of his All-Star at-bats, he came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded,” by Tribune’s LaMond Pope and Meghan Montemurro.
— Too Good To Go app launches in Chicago; helps people buy food that’s too good to waste: “The app already has 1 million U.S. users. Its goal is to reduce food waste by selling ‘mystery bags’ from restaurants, bakeries, and other stores that have food left over at the end of each day,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Heller.
— Remember the Crosstown? Here’s the story of Chicago’s successful 1970s freeway revolt, by longtime transportation writer Mary Wisniewski in StreetsBlog
— After 30 years and four mayors, Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosa Escareno calling it quits: “Escareno, whose widowed mother of six brought her to Chicago from Mexico at age 8, says she is simply ready for the next chapter in her life after the emotional roller-coaster of her final year on the job,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Mark Kelly, the city’s commissioner of cultural affairs and special events, will retire at end of summer: “His achievements include dedicating an entire year of civic attention and promotion to an artistic discipline, such as music or theater, as well as folding his tall frame into neighborhood theater and concert seats throughout the city on an atypically regular basis. He also has been an outspoken supporter of the city’s public art program, talking often about ‘bringing everyone to the table’ and infusing art into ‘the streetscape of the city,’” writes the Tribune’s Chris Jones.
— Cook County workers strike ends, but at cost to union relations with Preckwinkle: “I think unfortunately that there were damaged relationships as a result, and it will take some time to repair those,” Preckwinkle said in a call with reporters. “The contract that they agreed to is basically the same agreement from June 28 that’s been on the table for two weeks. I can’t tell you what their motivations are. I’ll just tell you that I’m disappointed.” Tribune’s Alice Yin reports.
— Gaming Board to vote on another Hard Rock Rockford: “Rockford’s temporary Hard Rock Casino could open soon, as the Illinois Gaming Board is expected to approve another license [today],” via WTVO.
— McHenry County camp sold as Boy Scouts of America undergoes bankruptcy, settlement over child sex abuse claims, by Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat
Both sides to meet with judge today In Jussie Smollett case: “In February 2020, a special Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment accusing Smollett of lying to Chicago Police. Smollett has pleaded not guilty to the new indictment. Hearings have been delayed several times because of Covid-19,” via CBS/2.
— Four-month delay being sought for indicted ex-senator’s money laundering trial: “Sam McCann is seeking a delay of at least four months in his trial on federal charges of money laundering, tax evasion and misuse of campaign funds. In a motion filed July 6 in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Assistant Federal Public Defender Rosana E. Brown said the complexity of the charges and the volume of information turned over in the discovery process requires her to ‘seek a contract for discovery review software capable of organizing the voluminous discovery,’” by the Telegraph’s David C.L. Bauer.
— Pritzker asks appeals court to lift feds’ oversight of state hiring, imposed to block political hiring practices: Gov. J.B. Pritzker “is continuing his fight to remove federal court oversight of state government hiring practices, now taking his case to Chicago’s federal appeals court,” by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
— Former Madison County jailer awarded $250K in wrongful termination claim; more damages may be coming, by the Madison-St. Clair Record’s Steve Korris.
— Katten faces historic malpractice lawsuit: “A ruling issued last week by a California court opens the door for a historic sum if Orange, Calif.-based CashCall prevails in showing that Katten offered unsound legal advice, leading to the company’s demise,” reports Crain’s Elyssa Cherney.
THE FIFTY: It’s Washington vs. Washington in the tech privacy battle. “The friction between state and federal laws isn’t new. But it’s escalating as state-level privacy activity grows in the absence of action from Congress,” writes POLITICO’s Alexandra S. Levine.
Schumer launches long-shot bid for legal weed: “The majority leader backs marijuana legalization, but he still needs to convince his party, Republicans and even the president,” by POLITICO’s Natalie Fertig.
— Manafort banker convicted in bribery scheme: “A federal jury found Chicago bank CEO Stephen Calk guilty of trying to trade $16 million in loans for a Trump administration post,” by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein.
— Democrats unveil $3.5T go-it-alone plan to fulfill Biden’s agenda, by POLITICO’s Caitlin Emma and Jennifer Scholtes
— Mayorkas to Cubans, Haitians: Do not come to the U.S., by POLITICO’s Sabrina Rodriguez
— Chicago’s John Rowe among GOP donors pushing senators on immigration, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers
— When Vida Blue faced Dock Ellis: Fifty years ago, baseball’s All-Star Game showcased an unspoken Black arms race, by Bijan C. Bayne in the Undefeated
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to CW Strategies president Corrine Williams, D.C. attorney Richard Wong and Illinois Production Alliance executive director Chris Dudley for correctly answering that Republican Congressman Ed Madigan from Lincoln nearly defeated Newt Gingrich for House minority whip in 1989 in a razor-thin 87-85 vote.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What former member of Congress, having lost two attempts to be re-elected in Illinois, ran for office in a different state instead? Email to [email protected]
POLITICO’s Tina Sfondeles, educational consultant William Hogan, Descript content marketing director Brandon Copple, Crown Family Philanthropies senior program analyst Rachel Giattino, attorney James Gleffe, Codeverse co-founder Katy Lynch, journalist Phil Rosenthal, and Guardian reporter and POLITICO alum Daniel Strauss… And belated greetings to Michael Stokke, director of congressional and public affairs for the federal Farm Credit Administration, who celebrated the big 6-0 on Tuesday.