LATEST NEWS

Expect More than Fireworks this July

July will bring us more than just fireworks and freedom this year. July 1st signals higher taxes in Illinois and increased pressure on already burdened small businesses. As if the past few months were not enough to cause distress and financial panic for many Illinois families and small businesses, Governor Pritzker will take more of your hard-earned money. When you go to fill up your gas tank before driving to that fireworks display, you may be disappointed to see that it costs more than usual. The gas tax increases again on July 1st, after being doubled last year, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. On ...
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Expect More than Fireworks this July

July will bring us more than just fireworks and freedom this year. July 1st signals higher taxes in Illinois and increased pressure on already burdened small businesses. As if the past few months were not enough to cause distress and financial panic for many Illinois families and small businesses, Governor Pritzker will take more of your hard-earned money. When you go to fill up your gas tank before driving to that fireworks display, you may be disappointed to see that it costs more than usual. The gas tax increases again on July 1st, after being doubled last year, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. On ...
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Defund CTU

For decades, Chicago Teachers Union members have failed to educate Chicago’s youth, while simultaneously demanding higher pay and better benefits. This past fall, they went on strike for 11 days, costing classroom time for students and burdening parents. Now Chicago Public Schools have been out of school for months and will be for the foreseeable future because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking back, the lack of classroom instruction due to the strike and the closures, may cause irreparable damage to students’ educational futures. CTU is known for its radical agenda that boasts about the leadership of dictators like Nicholas Maduro on a trip members took to the poverty-stricken, socialist country, ...
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Cooking Up An Illinois Budget Disaster

When I was the comptroller, I used an analogy called “the kitchen table”. Think of it as your good ol’ fashioned Midwestern middle-class family going through the finances late one weeknight, planning for how to pay the month’s bills. The kids are in bed, the news is on the TV in the background, it’s finally quiet. You have the groceries from the new supermarket in town (they have a wine bar!). You have money to pay the kid down the street who mows the lawn every Saturday (when he’s not grounded). The car payment is almost done, but it’s due for an oil change. You know they’ll ask if you ...
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A Threat or Not? Gov. Pritzker Can’t Make Up His Mind on Anything

Governor Pritzker income tax illinois
By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Governor J.B. Pritzker cannot seem to make up his mind: Is the coronavirus still a massive threat to Illinois? You've all seen the memes on social media. "You can do this, but you can't do that." Some examples: I can go protest, but my kids can't graduate? I can go to Walmart, but I can't go into a shop on Main Street? I can stand by while criminals destroy my business because Pritzker didn't call in the National Guard quick enough, but I can't open my business or I'll go to jail? We have to stay at home, but Pritzker's family can go to ...
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Small Businesses Destroyed by Violent Protests, Looting, and Incompetent Leadership

Governor Pritzker and President Trump do not get along, but that is old news. Back in March, the President called Gov. Pritzker out for his subpar leadership. He did the same thing on a call with all the governors on Monday. This trend is unlikely to end any time soon, especially since the Governor continues focusing on Twitter fights and cable news appearances while ignoring the violent demonstrations happening in his own state. On Thursday, President Trump tweeted in response to the death of George Floyd. It was met with anger from many, including Twitter headquarters, who put a warning on the tweet claiming it was “glorifying violence.” But Twitter ...
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Pritzker is No Leader. He’s a Failure.

By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications The term leadership has been thrown around a lot lately. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the skills of those in power from coast to coast. From Governors to county board members, we turn to them for guidance through this unprecedented time. A true leader, maybe we should all take a step and figure out what that really means. The Harvard Business Review says that good leaders need to demonstrate expertise and judgment. "People are more likely to trust you if they believe you have technical know-how and the experience to make good decisions." Is that happening in Illinois? Let's take a look at the ...
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Pritzker’s Progressive Tax Will Make The American Dream Impossible To Achieve

Springfield politicians finalized the ballot language for the progressive tax and outlined how they intend to spin and sell this tax hike to you. Pritzker's Progressive Tax would make the American Dream impossible to achieve. It will raise taxes on 100,000 small businesses and a typical family of four could easily see a $3,500 tax increase. Rather than being honest about this tax's impact, the Springfield politicians are continuing their false advertising campaign. Gary Rabine, an entrepreneur and small business owner, explains what this tax hike will do to local employers and employees ...
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Wisconsin to Illinois: “We’re not cleaning up your mess.”

By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Many of us have noticed during the COVID shutdown one thing about life at home. If you're a parent, you've certainly figured out the one tough thing. If you're trying to work from home and keep your kids on track with online learning, it just feels impossible. Your house is a mess. It's a disaster in every room. Clothes on the floor. Toys everywhere. You haven't done the dishes. Who knows when you did laundry last. Forget the yard work and maybe that smell that you've been wondering about is the takeout food in the fridge you promised yourself you'd get to. That was ...
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SAVE SMALL BUSINESSES AND WORKING FAMILIES: REMOVE THE GRADUATED INCOME TAX

Moments ago the Republicans in the Illinois House and Senate unanimously acted to remove Pritzker’s progressive tax hike from the ballot. Now the General Assembly must take up this resolution. With families and small businesses hurting during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, now is the worst time to raise taxes. That is why we applaud the members who are fighting to save small businesses and working families from this tax hike. We call on all members to commit to restabilizing our economy and restoring jobs by removing the graduated income tax. Proponents of the tax are asking you to trust them when they say they will not hike your ...
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Pritzker’s Progressive Tax

The politicians are hoping you will trust them. Don't. The truth is: The progressive tax will likely result in a tax hike of $3,500 on the typical Illinois family. This will not fix Illinois’ problems just like all the other tax increases we’ve had did not fix Illinois’ problems. The progressive tax would raise taxes on over 110,000 small businesses taxes in the middle of the economic recession caused by COVID-19. This is the last thing small businesses can afford. State lawmakers are asking voters to trust them not to raise taxes on the middle class, but they just broke the same promise as recently as 2017, when they made ...
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IOP Statement On Resolution To Remove the Graduated Income Tax

Moments ago, the Republicans in the Illinois House and Senate unanimously acted to remove Pritzker’s progressive tax hike from the ballot. Now the General Assembly must take up this resolution. With families and small businesses hurting during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, now is the worst time to raise taxes. That is why we applaud the members who are fighting to save small businesses and working families from this tax hike. We call on all members to commit to restabilizing our economy and restoring jobs by removing the graduated income tax. Proponents of the tax are asking you to trust them when they say they will not hike your ...
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Not Now, Not Ever

By: Katie Clancy, Marketing Communications Manager We keep hearing the phrase, “now more than ever” in advertisements, PSAs, and everyday conversation. People need support now more than ever, doctors and nurses need PPE now more than ever, we need to reach out to our elderly neighbors and family now more than ever, and the unsung heroes such as grocery store workers, delivery and truck drivers should be praised and thanked now more than ever. Gov. Pritzker has also adopted the phrase for his political purposes as he doubles down on his ill-advised tax hike campaign. When asked about removing the graduated income tax from the ballot, Pritzker responded, “I would ...
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Thanking Local Heroes

By: Matthew Besler The COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything that we've ever experienced before. Billion-dollar sports leagues came to a screeching halt, businesses and schools shut down, graduations canceled, weddings postponed, and a record number of more than 17 million people filed for unemployment in a matter of weeks. We want to thank the doctors and nurses that are risking their own health to save lives and care for their patients. The first responders that are on the frontlines every day no matter the current crisis to serve and protect our neighborhoods. The unsung heroes like the grocery store clerks and merchants that are staying open risking their health so ...
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Support Small Business

In light of the coronavirus crisis shutting down the economy and wreaking havoc on the small business community, the Illinois Opportunity Project stands with the Illinois Business Alliance in calling on Gov. Pritzker and the General Assembly to remove the graduated income tax from the ballot in November. The country is in uncertain times and experts are still unsure of a timeline when life can go back to normal. Small businesses have been forced to shut down, lay off employees, and fear they won’t be able to survive this downturn. The federal government is doing everything in their power to keep the small business community from collapsing. The last thing ...
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Say NO to the Graduated Income Tax

Had enough of politicians forcing families to flee in search of jobs and opportunities? Had enough of terrible public policy destroying our economy and communities? Had enough of corrupt politicians getting rich while you get stuck with the bill? Had Enough? Sign the petition today to defeat the graduated income tax and say enough is enough! ...
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Gov. Pritzker Wants “More of the Same”

By: Katie Clancy, Marketing Communications Manager This week, Gov. Pritzker presented his annual State of the State, in which he wants to see “more of the same” in the upcoming legislative session. The cornerstone of Gov. Pritzker’s first year in office was the 19 tax and fee hikes he rammed through the legislature. The cornerstone of his second year in office is more of the same: a campaign to give legislators like Mike Madigan a blank check to raise our taxes. We’ve entrusted politicians with power and in return, we have former Governors in prison, weekly FBI raids, and the most corrupt big city in one of the most corrupt ...
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They Are Who We Thought They Were

As 2019 comes to a close, Gov. Pritzker, Speaker Madigan, and the Democrats who control every level of state government have demonstrated who they are and who they care about. The year began full of hope and optimism. Newly elected Governor J.B. Pritzker promised to help make Illinois the “fastest growing big state economy in the nation.” The swearing in of the supermajority of Democrats in the House and Senate was heralded as “a new era”. And even Speaker Madigan, despite being in office for over 40 years, got in on the act, running TV ads claiming A New Day had arrived.  But voters quickly learned what all that optimistic ...
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Endless Plans and No Results

By: Katie Clancy, Marketing Communications Manager Democrat candidate for President, Sen. Elizabeth Warren notoriously created her own tagline “I got a plan for that.” When asked how she’s going to pay for her overreaching, trillion-dollar government takeovers of college education, healthcare, childcare, and everything else she believes would be better handled by the government: Don’t worry, “I’ve got a plan for that.” Democrats in Springfield have long advocated their own version of Warren’s “I got a plan for that” with, “I got a task force for that.” The two most glaring issues in Illinois right now are high property taxes and rampant corruption. Illinois has the second highest property taxes ...
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Chicagoans Prefer Bankruptcy Over Higher Taxes As City Debt Piles Up

Chicago teachers vote this week on a new $1.5 billion contract, the most expensive teachers contract in city history. But as Chicago teachers head to the ballot box, Chicago residents appear to be getting antsy about the city's mounting bills. A new poll released today by the Illinois Opportunity Project finds that many Chicago residents are supportive of bankruptcy rather than hiking more taxes to help the city navigate its beleaguered finances. In addition to paying the $1.5 billion price tag on the new teachers union contract, the city also faces an unfunded pension liability of $150 billion; that's nearly $150,000 per Chicago household. "Chicago is not alone. Illinois has ...
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The Illinois Opportunity Project Applauds New Jersey Judge’s Decision To Uphold First Amendment Rights

Chicago, IL (Oct. 24, 2019)- The Illinois Opportunity Project applauds U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti for siding with the Constitution and halting a New Jersey law that requires issue advocacy organizations to report their donors to the government and announce their sponsorship on all issue advocacy materials. “Freedom of speech has been a core value of our democracy since our country’s inception. We applaud the Judge’s decision to stop enforcement of this law and protect Americans’ First Amendment right to support causes they believe in without fear of retribution,” said IOP President Matthew Besler. The Illinois Opportunity Project filed a lawsuit against the state of New Jersey to protect current ...
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CTU Strike Reinforces Need For School Choice

As the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is set to strike next week, it should serve as a further reminder of why families deserve more choice when it comes to their child’s education. As a result of the strike, 360,000 children will be out of school forcing families into a bind to find childcare and lose out on classroom instruction time.  After the vote to strike, CTU laid out their reasons on “why we'll strike to win what we need for our students,” including:   A 15% pay hike across the board during the next three yearsReduced health insurance paymentsHiring over 4,000 new support staff55 additional community schools If the end goal ...
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Join The Policy Revolution

Tired of paying more at the pump? Tired of seeing corrupt politicians get rich while our families are forced to pay for it? Tired of Mike Madigan running the state? Are you ready to do something about it? That’s why the Illinois Opportunity Project exists. We work every day to help get anti-machine, pro-taxpayer candidates into office to fight for you. Fill out this form to join the policy revolution ...
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Regional Field Organizer

The Illinois Opportunity Project (IOP) supports free-market policies to improve quality of life for Illinoisans. IOP is hiring individuals to fulfill Regional Field Organizer positions throughout Illinois to run issue advocacy campaigns and support Republican candidates for office. Role: The primary role of the Regional Field Organizer is to recruit, manage, and train teams of volunteers to meet voter contact metrics to win elections. Additionally, the RFO serves as the day-to-day contact for multiple candidates in their region and helps as they execute their field, fundraising, and communications plans. Responsibilities: Regular outreach to active volunteers, and continually working to identify new volunteersRecruit, train, and manage a team of volunteers to ...
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Dismantling Madigan’s Capitol

“Fair Maps Illinois immediately returns political power to you, the voter, and breaks the hold of the corrupt machine that’s gripped our state for decades.” That is the message, former State Representative and constitutional attorney, Peter Breen is trying to spread at the grassroots level to put a Fair Maps referendum on the 2020 ballot in Illinois. In a March poll, voters gave Mike Madigan an 18% approval rating. Many voters around the state ask themselves, how is he able to stay in power despite his overwhelming unpopularity?  Since Madigan took office decades ago, he has had the power to draw legislative maps. He gets to choose who represents you, ...
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Footing The Bill For The Inside Game

Another day, another indicted politician. Senator Tom Cullerton was arraigned last week on federal embezzlement charges. If you remember, Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), the cousin of Senate President John Cullerton, was indicted on federal charges a few weeks ago for embezzlement after receiving a salary and pension benefits with the Teamsters union for doing little to no work. After calls for him to resign from Republican Party officials, how did members of his own party react? They swapped his chairman appointment from the Labor committee to the Veterans Affairs’ committee so he can keep his chairman stipend that is upward of $10,000 while making it look like they are ...
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Follow The Money

Corruption, harassment, and criminal investigations are swirling around Speaker Madigan and those associated with him. Three of his closest political confidants’ homes were recently raided by the FBI and he has spent the last year firing his top staff over harassment allegations.  Yet, Speaker Madigan’s grip on power remains strong because local state representatives continue to overlook the constant controversies that surround him and continue to back him. These state representatives claim to be independent, yet, all it takes is a little fact checking to see the truth. A warrant was executed at the home of Kevin Quinn, one of Madigan’s 13th Ward political operatives and brother of Chicago alderman, ...
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Leading The Conservative Reform Movement

Have you given up on Illinois? Over the weekend, 45 leading activists, interns, volunteers, and future candidates joined the Illinois Opportunity Project to offer a resounding “no!” Rather than throwing up their hands, there is a growing movement of activists across the state who are excited and determined to save our state through economic reforms. IOP hosted 45 of these individuals for a campaign management workshop to help develop and execute their own successful advocacy campaigns all over the state. Our trainers took attendees through a series of training sessions leading with how to build a campaign strategy by laying out first principles, goals, and plans to get there. With ...
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Pritzker’s “Fair Tax”: Another Chicago Bailout

The Chicago Democrats are coming for more of your money. And they are doing it with the help of suburban legislators Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) and Anne Stava-Murray (D-Naperville) and downstate legislator Monica Bristow (D-Godfrey). Every Democrat present voted in favor of the graduated income tax amendment or as Gov. Pritzker likes to call it, the “Fair Tax,” in order to have more control over your wallet and raise income taxes depending on how much they decide to spend that year.  But where will the money go? As with the record breaking 2017 income tax hike, the “Fair Tax” is supposed to solve the state’s financial crisis that Illinois perpetually ...
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The Forgotten Ones

There were a lot of winners and losers this session as a result of the decisions made by the political class in Springfield. Winners like the teacher’s unions who got back their end of career salary spiking to boost their pensions and more power over charter schools. AFSCME, the union representing many state workers was another big winner securing automatic pay raises even though they are already the second highest paid state workers in the country. But what about groups that don’t have the cash to bankroll campaigns and lack the clout to be part of negotiations? What about people like Little City resident, David, who is 67, has developmental ...
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Thanks for Nothing Rep. Walker

Join us in thanking Rep. Walker for hiking your gas tax by 19 cents. Sign here to say thanks for nothing and every time you pay more to fill up your car, think of Rep. Walker ...
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Pritzker and Teacher’s Union Gift Exchange

The teacher’s union has a friend in the governor’s mansion once again. And he delivered. After securing the union’s endorsement and receiving over $100,00  to fund their members on his campaign staff, Gov. Pritzker quickly became, teacher’s pet, as coined by the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.  After this last session, the teacher’s union was able to reinstate the 6% end of career salary spiking into the state budget. This increases pension costs and shifts the burden to pay for it all from their local school district to families statewide forcing middle-income families in suburban and rural districts to bailout the wealthy districts like Wilmette and the $6 million dollar pension ...
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Another Session, Same High Property Taxes

Remember when suburban legislators like Diane Pappas (D-Itasca), Anne Stava-Murray (D-Naperville), and Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) all promised to make lowering property taxes a priority? Rep. Stava-Murray called the property taxes in Illinois “absurdly high.” Property taxes are one of the: “most frequent issues raised as I speak with homeowners in my community” according to Rep. Pappas and Rep. Villa said rising property taxes would be one of her “first and foremost priorities.” Yet, these legislators, as well as the majority of Democrats, voted for bills that drive property taxes higher. The $15 minimum wage and the minimum teacher salary will increase local governments’ costs by millions forcing them to ...
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Consequences

Gov. Pritzker and the Democrats are taking a victory lap after what Gov. Pritzker calls, “One of the most ambitious and consequential legislative sessions in this state’s history.” And what Madigan calls “an extraordinarily productive session of the General Assembly. Simply historic.” This session was one of the most consequential sessions in history. The negative consequences will be far reaching and long lasting. Pritzker, Madigan, the rest of the Democrats, and many in the media define a ‘productive session’ as one where many bills are passed. Whether those bills help or hurt families, or reform government makes no difference in this definition. Thus, passing a constitutional amendment to give politicians ...
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Pritzker’s Continued Assault On The Middle Class

Gov. Pritzker introduced a capital plan that doubles the gas tax which would make Illinois’ gas tax the second highest in the nation, raises vehicle registration fees, and requires tax hikes on ridesharing services, streaming services, alcohol, and parking garages. Gov. Pritzker also introduced what he calls: “A historic Fair Tax plan to address the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget deficit and protect the middle class by asking only the top 3% to pay more.” Multiple studies have shown how Gov. Pritzker’s “Fair Tax” plan will hurt middle-class families. But, even if we take him at his word, all these other tax hikes hit middle-class families. So which is it, Gov. Pritzker? ...
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Springfield Has Not Earned Your Trust

Governor Pritzker campaigned on a graduated income tax and needs it politically to avoid failure in his first year as governor. Pritzker also claims he needs the tax hike to fund all his newly proposed spending plans. In other words, it’s another tax hike with no reforms. Sound familiar? (One year later: 2017 tax hike failed) In order for Pritzker to get his graduated income tax, he needs to change the Constitution, ending the state’s flat tax structure. If he can get two-thirds of the House and Senate to support SJRCA1, voters will then decide if they want to make it easier for Gov. Pritzker to hike taxes. But that ...
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Cutting Student Loan Debt With Your Money

There has been much discussion in the news lately surrounding higher education. Whether it’s celebrities writing big checks so their children can attend prestigious universities, student mobs deciding who gets the right to free speech on campus, and of course the ridiculously high tuition costs and expanding student loan debt that has now reached $1.5 trillion. Left leaning politicians for years have been pandering to millennials promising free college and blaming everyone but themselves for their high student loan payments. Most recently, presidential contender and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a policy initiative that would provide free college and eliminate at least some student debt for 95% of borrowers. What ...
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Anti Graduated Income Tax Rally with Reps. Skillicorn and Ugaste

The Illinois Opportunity Project is hosting an Anti Graduated Income Tax Rally with State Reps. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) and Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) along with policy expert and President of Wirepoints Ted Dabrowski. "Governor Pritzker and the Chicago Democrats are at it again: A rain tax hike, property tax hike, gas tax hike, new plastic bag tax, and now a graduated income tax hike. Their only plan is to make you pay more,” said Rep. Skillicorn. Governor Pritzker and his team have presented a false narrative that this bill will protect the middle class. The middle class has gotten hit with two income tax hikes in the past eight years ...
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Springfield Spring Break

Legislators are home this week for a “legislative spring break.” They are encouraged to host town halls and meet with constituents to give an update on what has been happening at the Statehouse and what is to be expected for the rest of session. Unfortunately, most legislators don’t have much good news: No tax relief, no improvement in services, no balanced budget. So far this legislative body has passed: A mandated $15 minimum wage hike that will hurt small business and the low income workers it’s intended to help, as well as raise our already second highest property taxes in the nation.College tuition aid for undocumented citizens.Abolishing the charter school ...
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Providing For The Most Needy

Jake Chalkey, a 21-year-old from Streator, IL, was diagnosed with a brain malformation that only 17 other people in the world have. Thanks to life-saving medication to control his seizures, Jake has defied the odds and become the oldest living person with the disorder. The Chalkey’s helped cover the costs of their son’s medication through Medicaid, but then unexpectedly had their coverage dropped in 2012 due to budget cuts that were made to keep the state’s Medicaid program from going bankrupt. The Chalkey’s maxed out all their credit cards to pay for their son’s life-saving medication. Christine Chalkey, Jake’s mom, eventually resolved the issue with the state and got her ...
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Pump The Brakes On The Gas Tax

Why is it Chicago Democrats’ first instinct to tax us more rather than eliminating wasteful spending and using existing funds more responsibly? Is it that they don’t respect us? Is it that they don’t care? Whatever the reason, we see it again with a new Senate proposal to double the gas tax forcing us to pay the second highest gas taxes in the nation. We pay the highest state and local tax burden in the country, and now politicians are going to make it even worse. This is on the heels of the discussion of the “Clean Energy And Jobs Act” that would undercut the state’s economy, hike energy costs ...
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Illinois Adopts AOC’s Green New Deal

Are the politicians in Springfield working on lowering the highest property taxes in the nation that are uprooting families from their homes? Are they looking for ways to cut spending and alleviate the highest state and local tax burden in the country? Are they working on an equitable education system that provides children with the best options possible no matter the family’s income or zip code? No, they are making all those things worse. And they are advocating for a disastrous, detached from reality version of Illinois’ own “Green New Deal.” A bill so painful for the middle class and so preposterous, only New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could get ...
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Who’s Fighting For Your Home?

How much does your home mean to you? Your biggest lifetime investment. The place where you raised your family. The community that shaped you. The place you want to continue to live. How important is that to you? Then ask yourself, why are politicians using your home as a piggy bank and forcing you out to pay for someone else’s pension? Why is it that Gov. Pritzker and his team are giddy about amending the constitution to raise taxes but refuse to consider an amendment to renegotiate pension agreements to lower your property taxes and save your home? It’s because your home means nothing to them. The place you raised ...
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Crickets On CPS Sex Abuse Scandal

1,000 cases of sexual abuse in Chicago Public Schools. 1,000 Where is the outrage? Where are the Lifetime movies and HBO documentaries? Where are the protests, walkouts, media scrutiny? The Chicago Board of Education is paying Dentons LLP a quarter of a million dollars to review 1,000 cases of sexual abuse in CPS and barely anyone is talking about it. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, “they could identify trends and past failures. The review could also uncover people who might still threaten student safety or victims who need support.” So there are children who everyday go to schools that may still employ their abuser? Not to diminish ...
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Putting Children First

With only a couple of weeks away from graduation and securing 12 college acceptance letters, Deonte Howard was tragically shot and killed in the South Deering neighborhood on Chicago’s southside. His dream of attending Michigan State and playing basketball was taken away. Howard was a student at Urban Prep Academy. The charter school network has three schools in Chicago and according to a report from the Chicago Tribune, “about 85% of Urban Prep's 1,100 students qualify for free or reduced lunch.” Many of the students live in neighborhoods rife with gang conflict and violence and most also “start school reading at least two grade levels behind.” Despite the odds stacked ...
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Exclusive Candidate Report

Ahead of the Chicago elections, the Illinois Opportunity Project is releasing a detailed look at each of the 180 candidates for elected office. The report includes individual voting records, campaign contributions and donations, and property taxes paid for candidates for Chicago Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer, and Alderman of the 50 Wards. In Chicago, candidates for City office shed their political labels and affiliations and identify themselves as non-partisan in their races. Though candidates don’t technically run as Republicans or Democrats, they bring their affiliations, policy preferences, and political alliances to their campaigns and eventually to government. Candidates often receive support from political parties and partisans in the forms of money, volunteers ...
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History Repeating Itself

Marijuana. Gambling. And more taxes. That’s how Governor Pritzker expects to put Illinois on the road to fiscal solvency. Pritzker’s proposed “fixes” to Illinois’ financial problems are based on the premise that the state doesn’t have a spending problem, but a revenue problem. How does a state that has passed two record high income tax hikes in the last eight years and continues to burden homeowners with some of the highest property taxes in the nation still have a revenue problem? The answer is simple. Politicians have made spending promises they know they can’t keep and passed unbalanced budgets until they need to turn to taxpayers to bail them out ...
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Bracing For Tax Hikes

Governor J.B. Pritzker will be giving his first budget address this week on the heels of the passage of two controversial bills that will lead to state spending increases, all the while our current state budget is running at a deficit of $3.2 billion. With Pritzker’s big spending priorities and the state’s backlog of unpaid bills and unfunded pension liabilities, families are bracing for more tax hikes. Pritzker’s inevitable announcement of new tax hikes to raise revenues may include a retirement tax, a rise in the gas tax, a graduated income tax hike, a tax on streaming services, and taxes on vaping and e-cigarettes. He may also introduce his plan ...
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Fairness For All Illinoisans

In a 2016 poll conducted by the Paul Simon Institute, 72% of Illinois voters supported an independent commission responsible for drawing fair legislative maps. With that much support from Illinoisans, why hasn’t there been any movement on the issue? Then-candidate J.B. Pritzker campaigned on the need for fair legislative maps and having an  “independent method of drawing the districts.” He argued that voters may feel disenfranchised from the voting process and that the current system discourages competition. With the upcoming census in 2020, the House Republican caucus has taken the lead on the issue and introduced a plan for an independent drawing of legislative maps. HJRCA 10, a constitutional amendment, ...
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Say NO To A Minimum Wage Hike

Gov. Pritzker’s first major legislative initiative is to jam through a highly controversial bill that will result in layoffs and create a billion dollar hole in the budget. The Governor’s plan is to pass it on a partisan basis with little discussion or research on it. The “Fight for 15” , a national movement that has had legislative success in other progressive states such as New York, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington D.C., has made its way to Springfield. Gov. Pritzker’s goal is to placate the political class and virtue signal to his base to fulfill his campaign promise and raise the state’s current minimum wage from $8.25 to ...
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Madigan’s Power

Nearly 5,000 bills died in the Rules Committee last session. And that is not by accident but by calculated design. When bills are introduced in the Illinois House, they must first go through the Rules Committee, controlled by Speaker Madigan. It is where bills the Speaker doesn’t like go to die. If bills are introduced that Speaker Madigan disapproves of, then the bills never see the light of day. If a bill doesn’t receive Madigan’s good graces and he doesn’t instruct his allies in the Rules Committee to move the bill, then it will never be heard. No matter how many legislators support the bill. This is just one of ...
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Your Children

Imagine every child had the opportunity for a great education. Imagine families had the power to send their children to the best schools without worrying about the costs. Last year, Illinois took the first tepid step towards achieving it. On a bipartisan basis, the General Assembly created a scholarship program which empowers a fraction of low-income children with the financial help necessary to attend a great school. About 5,500 kids used this program in its first year. Daisy Chavez, a single mom working paycheck to paycheck on the southwest side of Chicago, is able to send her children to St. Gall with the help of the tax credit scholarship program ...
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What We Want to See from Governor J.B. Pritzker

This week, J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as the 43rd Governor of Illinois. Throughout the campaign, he made a lot of political promises appealing to public sector unions, trial lawyers, and core government interests groups. But, if we are going to save Illinois, serve families, and free people to pursue their dreams and achieve financial security, then we need real structural reform. To do that, we urge Gov. Pritzker to pursue the following policy solutions. Save Our Homes Lowering property taxes is the first reform needed to stem the exodus from our state that is separating families and running out some of our most productive citizens. Purchasing a home is ...
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More of the same: Democrats Re-Elect Madigan as Speaker

In what will go down as the most predictable vote in the General Assembly this year, the Democrat Majority re-elected Michael Madigan to his 17th term as Speaker. Signaling they are happy with the direction of the state by prolonging their leader’s already historical longest reign of a state house speaker in U.S. history. Madigan remains the most unpopular politician in the state because his policies have hurt families and because of the history of harassment under his leadership. Yet, all but one Democrat State Representative elected him as leader. Why? He holds the purse strings for their reelection campaigns. This election cycle, Madigan doled out $21.1 million to ensure ...
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A New Day?

The longest serving state house speaker in U.S. history declares it’s a “new day” in Illinois, but with the same old policies: Highest in the nation property taxes to fund schools that fail to educate two-thirds of children in them, 8th highest overall tax burden in the nation, and a government with a budget out of balance by over $1.5 billion. In a new TV ad Speaker Mike Madigan tries to convince us that he and the Democrats are on “our side.” Really? Whose side was Madigan on when property taxes soared to the highest in the nation, destroying home values while his side gig as a property tax appeals ...
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New Legislators: End Conflicts Of Interest

By: Matthew Besler How can politicians in Springfield be taken seriously about reforming pensions when most of them are taking a pension and receiving other benefits from the state? This is what Tom Morrison asked himself in 2010 when he first ran for state representative. How could he go door to door telling constituents that Illinois is in need of serious reform and then go to Springfield and reap the benefits from a system he spoke so strongly against? Legislators are part-time politicians paid nearly $68,000/year. One of the highest paid general assemblies in the nation. On top of that, they receive one of the most generous pensions in the ...
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Coalition Of Reformers Refuse Taxpayer Funded Pensions If Elected

By: Matthew Besler How do you start reforming the nation’s most over promised and underfunded pension system? The first step taken by State Representative Tom Morrison was to refuse his own pension. Serious, independent reformers like Morrison refuse to partake in a corrupt system and reap its benefits at the expense of Illinois residents who are being driven out of their homes due to overbearing property taxes. Last month, Wirepoints.com unveiled a pension pledge asking candidates to demonstrate leadership and show they are serious about reforming pensions by refusing to accept a legislative pension. Illinois legislators are some of the highest paid in the nation despite only working part-time. The ...
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Janus v. AFSCME: A win for state workers and taxpayers

Congratulations to Mark Janus, The Liberty Justice Center, and all those who won a big victory for worker freedom earlier this week. If there is hope that Illinois will recover from financial disaster, weak job growth, record-high taxes and massive population loss, the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling is a good first step on that path to recovery. The plaintiff in the case, Mark Janus, is a child support specialist who works for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Janus challenged the mandatory “fair share” fees he was forced to pay AFSCME Council 31, as a condition of his employment with the state. The Supreme Court ruled ...
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Taxpayers are on the hook for Tim Mapes’ six-figure pension

By: Pat Hughes Not only are we supposed to accept the fact that our state government is overrun with sexual predators—we are also expected to fund their lavish retirement benefits. The Chicago Tribune reported that Speaker Madigan’s recently ousted Chief of Staff Tim Mapes will collect a pension of more than $135,000 per year. Mapes was forced to resign after Sherri Garrett, a longtime employee in the speaker’s office, accused him of making inappropriate comments to her for years. Mapes also allegedly brushed Garrett off when she reported another instance of sexual harassment by a member of the House Democrat caucus. You are on the hook for Mapes’ six-figure pension ...
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IOP Budget Vote Statement: ‘Go Along To Get Along’ Makes A Comeback

Illinois Opportunity Project Budget Vote Statement ‘Go-Along-To-Get-Along’ Makes a Springfield Comeback After a very quiet closed-door negotiation process, Illinois’ FY2019 Budget (HB 109) flew through the State House and Senate. The media and political class is praising this tidy, bi-partisan deal-making. You should not. Illinois has the worst credit rating in the nation, the worst pension crisis of any state, the highest property taxes in the country, and a crumbling tax base. This is not the time to celebrate the passing of another unbalanced budget with no cuts and no reforms. This is the time to fight for the fiscally conservative reforms middle-income families need and Republicans promise year after ...
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Tone-Deaf Proposal: Increase Illinois Property Taxes To Pay Pension Debt

By: Pat Hughes If you’re a homeowner in Illinois, you’ve probably found yourself wondering, ‘why are my property taxes so high?’ From small business owners to middle-income families, from Chicago and its suburbs to downstate, sticker shock is typical when property tax bills arrive. We pay the second-highest property tax rates in the country, and rates are rising much faster than household incomes. Property taxes are squeezing home budgets tighter and tighter as rates creep higher and higher. Families are being priced out of their homes and seeing their home values destroyed. There has been a mass exodus of people from Illinois in recent years, and many of them cite ...
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Legislators Pat Small Businesses On The Back in District; Stab Them In The Back In Springfield

By Pat Hughes  Small businesses drive the Illinois economy, employing nearly half of the private workforce and creating the majority of new jobs each year. Unfortunately, being a small business owner in Illinois is no walk in the park. High taxes, budgetary gridlock and economic uncertainty have loomed over the state for years, preventing many entrepreneurs from starting new businesses and driving existing businesses out. In the last several years, Illinois has consistently ranked among the worst states in the country for doing business. Expensive workers’ compensation costs, and mountains of bureaucratic red tape contribute to a hostile business environment. Many politicians claim to support the hardworking small business owners ...
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Harvey: Canary In The Collapsing Illinois Coal Mine

By Matthew Besler Your job, your pension, or your home. This is the choice left to several families in Harvey, Illinois. They can’t have all three and some don’t even have the choice of one. The financial disaster in Harvey is a wake-up call to all Illinoisans that have been forced to hand over their hard-earned incomes to a political ruling class that is willing to leverage their homes and waste tax dollars to fulfill their own political agenda instead of serving the people they are supposed to be representing. The City of Harvey cannot afford to pay its bills and their employees so they were forced to cut 40 ...
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The Most Conservative Caucus In A Generation

At IOP one of our goals is remake the House caucus into a majority economically conservative force that can create a distinguishing brand identity superior to the failed establishment GOP brand and present a material alternative to the Madigan Democrats. Our first strategic objective to achieve this goal is to build a movement from the base back to the middle. That means in primaries we look for safe seats that Republicans are highly likely to win in November. We then work to ensure we have a fiscally conservative nominee focused on changing the culture in Springfield and leading the revolution, not another go along, get along Republican. This is similar ...
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Government is Taking Your Home. Will You Take It Back?

Illinois is becoming a home equity desert. The highest property taxes in the nation are stripping families of both their home's value and their ability to get a return on the largest investment most will make in their lifetime. Breaking: Illinois’ property tax system is inequitable, inefficient, and indecipherable. In nearly every other state and municipality, the property tax system is simple:  A tax assessor produces a value for your home (X), which is then multiplied by a standard rate (Y), to give you your annual tax bill. For example: A house valued at (X) $500,000 multiplied by the rate of (Y) 1% gives a homeowner an annual tax bill ...
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Illinois Opportunity Project Condemns Governor Rauner’s Decision To Force Taxpayers To Fund Abortions At Any Time, For Any Reason

This afternoon, Governor Rauner signed HB 40. Through Illinois taxpayer funding, this bill will provide free abortions for state employees and those on Medicaid. Under current law, Medicaid covers abortions in the cases of rape, incest, and when the health or life of the mother is deemed to be at risk. House Bill 40 drastically expands Medicaid coverage for abortions, providing free abortions at any point in the pregnancy and for any reason. Pat Hughes, Co-Founder of the Illinois Opportunity Project, released the following statement in response: “Last April, Governor Rauner publicly promised that he would veto HB40 should it reach his desk. Today, without apology or adequate explanation, he ...
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Besler To Resume Role At Illinois Opportunity Project, Illinois Liberty PAC

August 28, 2017 – The Illinois Opportunity Project announced today that Matthew Besler will resume his work with the Illinois Opportunity Project and Illinois Liberty PAC, leaving his role as Chief Strategic Advisor with Citizens for Rauner, Inc. Besler said the following about his decision: “With Governor Rauner’s re-election team now in place and the teams for the House and Senate GOP caucuses in place, I am returning to my role as President of Illinois Opportunity Project (IOP) and Chairman of Illinois Liberty PAC, a direct expenditure PAC, as these organizations represent critical policy and political infrastructure for advancing economic liberty in Illinois. I wish Mark Harris, Governor Rauner’s general ...
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Statement: Besler Accepts Position of Chief Strategic Advisor, Citizens for Rauner, Inc.

Today, Governor Rauner announced that Matthew Besler will assume the role of Chief Strategic Advisor to Citizens for Rauner, Inc. Besler had been serving as President of the Illinois Opportunity Project (IOP). The Illinois Opportunity Project released the following statement in response to the announcement: We congratulate IOP President Matt Besler on his new position as Chief Strategic Advisor to Citizens for Rauner, Inc. His strong leadership and strategic vision have been critical to the expansion of the liberty movement in Illinois.   "The work we've done on policy and political advocacy over the past three election cycles and the progress we've made in that time must culminate with Governor Rauner's ...
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Statement: Governor Announces IL Policy Executive As New Chief Of Staff

This morning, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced that Kristina Rasmussen replaced Richard Goldberg as the administration’s Chief of Staff. Rasmussen had been serving as President and Chief Operating Officer of Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) and Illinois Policy Action (IPA).  Illinois Opportunity Project President Matthew Besler released the following statement in response to Rasmussen’s appointment: “Since 2009, Kristina has contributed immeasurably to the freedom movement in Illinois. Under her bold leadership, the Illinois Policy Institute has become the largest, most respected state think tank in the country. She is a talented executive and understands the issues.” “The addition of Kristina Rasmussen signals a welcome departure from the approach that has placed partisan ...
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IOP Statement on House Override Vote

On July 6, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of the controversial budget package that includes a permanent 32% income tax rate increase. Illinois Opportunity Project President Matthew Besler released the following statement: "Today, the Illinois House voted to override the Governor’s veto of a budget that inflicts massive tax hikes on Illinois’ families and businesses, yet makes no reforms to state government. The overwhelming majority of Illinoisans oppose this measure. Governor Rauner was elected to enact the reforms that would get the state’s crumbling economy growing. Rather than negotiating a responsible budget that addresses the major drivers of state spending, Democrats rammed through a proposal ...
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Don’t Let Them Get Away With It

By Matt Besler The Democrat-controlled General Assembly left Springfield last week without passing a budget for the third consecutive year. Rather than pass real reforms that protect homeowners and stabilize government services, Democrats attempted to hike taxes. When that approach failed, they did nothing, ignoring the need to pass a budget and instead blaming Governor Rauner. The Illinois Policy Institute, along with Republicans like Senators Dan McConchie and Kyle McCarter and Representative Allen Skillicorn, have put forth plans to protect families and businesses by balancing the state budget and reforming state government. Rather than compromise on these policies, in the last days of Session, Senate Democrats ended all budget negotiations ...
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Tax Hike Bill Illustrates Who Democrats Serve

By Matthew Besler Illinois Democrats are determined to keep their failing system of government running at any cost – a cost that you will be picking up. By now you know that the Illinois Senate passed a $5.4 billion tax increase (Senate Bill 9). Under the plan, your income tax rate will increase to nearly 5% and new taxes will appear on numerous services that have never before been taxed. According to the DuPage Policy Journal, “DuPage County taxpayers would see a total of $557 million in state income tax increases if a tax hike measure passed by the Democrat-controlled Illinois State Senate becomes law. The community in DuPage County ...
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Illinois Opportunity Project Responds to SunTimes Misinformation

On March 17, the Sun-Times published an editorial in support of Democrat Senator Don Harmon’s efforts to infringe on the First Amendment rights of private citizens. Senator Harmon has introduced legislation that would force nonprofits to disclose their donors to rid campaigns of “Dark Money.” To illustrate their point, the Sun-Times stated that the Illinois Opportunity Project (or IOP) used “Dark Money” to support candidates such as Ken Dunkin, a former Democrat State Representative who – because he stood up for working families –  ran afoul of Mike Madigan and lost his seat in a Madigan funded primary race. The Sun-Times opined “When campaign donations are secret, voters don’t know ...
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IOP Statement on 2017 Budget Address

By Matthew Besler The Illinois Opportunity Project released the following statement on Governor Bruce Rauner’s third annual budget address: “At the hands of the Democrat Majority that has run this state for 30 years, Illinois is in an economic death spiral. Today, our families pay the highest property taxes in the nation and the 4th highest overall tax burden in the country. Last year, over 100,000 Illinoisans fled the state. Families and businesses are tired of waiting on politicians for solutions to the state’s budget impasse and major structural problems. With the crisis more acute than ever, the Governor called for growth through structural reform in his third budget address ...
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Behind the Headlines: The ‘Grand Bargain’ Budget Compromise

If you've read the recent headlines, you know there is a "Grand Bargain" budget "compromise" being negotiated by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno. Illinois need a solution to the budget crisis. But is this compromise right for the state's families and businesses? To find out, we have to look behind the headlines at the policy making news, and solutions that should be part of the conversation. We also look at what free-market advocates have to say and the facts that inform their views. IL State Senators Craft Budget Deal, Aim to End Stalemate The Policy The Senate ‘Grand Bargain' Budget Compromise Tax Hikes Now. Reform Later. The policy making headlines is a compromise, negotiated by ...
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It’s Just A Game, State Workers

By Pat Hughes It's bad enough that, after decades of Mike Madigan’s leadership, the state can't pay its bills. But now, his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, wants to take away the ability of state workers to pay their own bills. Throughout the bitter dispute over the state budget, Madigan-Nemesis Governor Bruce Rauner has worked to keep the state government running so that core services are not completely shut down. The Governor has made clear that paying state workers for work that they do, while working to pass a balanced budget, is a top priority. Speaker Madigan and his Democrat Majority have blocked the Governor’s call for reforms like term-limits ...
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2017 State of the State Response

By Matthew Besler “These problems are ours to solve. We can and we must do better.” Governor Rauner delivered his annual State of the State address, re-emphasizing his commitment to growth, opportunity, and empowerment for Illinois families. Leaders come in many forms and often from unexpected places. Some hold seats in the legislature; some run a small business; some volunteer in their community. But there are certain qualities that are common among all leaders. Leaders never relent. Nor do they abandon their principles when faced with a challenge. We need Governor Rauner to lead us now more than ever.  We need him (and those in the legislature that care more ...
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Democrats Re-Elect Madigan House Speaker

By Matthew Besler Yesterday, the 100th Illinois General Assembly was inaugurated. During the ceremony, State Representatives elect the House Speaker, the most powerful position in state government. Families and businesses have been suffering for decades under Michael Madigan, the longest sitting Speaker of the House. This vote was a chance for state legislators to make an immediate change in the direction of Illinois. Instead, they voted to keep things the same and re-elected Michael Madigan as Illinois’ House Speaker for the 17th time. Essentially telling all of us they are completely satisfied with how the state is performing. This vote is in direct contrast to what Illinois voters feel. Voters ...
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Conroy / Bush Receive Failing Grade from Small Business Association

By Matthew Besler Over the past two decades, Illinois has trailed most of the nation in the creation of jobs and opportunities. Since the year 2000, the 50 states combined have created almost 12 million net new jobs. Illinois has created no net new jobs. Illinois has fewer jobs today than we had 17 years ago. Currently, we have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. If we don’t correct that problem, nothing else matters. Before you vote on November 8, your state legislator’s record on issues impacting business and job creation should play a major role in your decision making After over a decade of one-party rule, 40 years ...
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War on Students: Arne Duncan and the Left’s Education Failure

By Patrick Hughes  Arne Duncan spent seven years running the failed Chicago Public Schools. Remarkably, that led to another seven years as U.S. Secretary of Education. During his tenure in Washington, Duncan introduced Common Core, as well as a cadre of new standardized tests. Tom Loveless, an education expert at The Brookings Institute confirmed Duncan’s big government bias, saying, "He definitely expanded the role of the Department of Education. Duncan appeared on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight last week to advocate a theoretical school funding formula that, in practice, would further expand government-run education in Illinois and increase spending. It is important to note that, since the beginning of Duncan’s tenure as ...
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The War on Taxpayers: Electoral Maps

By Patrick Hughes In poll after poll after poll, Illinois voters have supported a process of drawing electoral maps that is impartial and transparent. As evidence, nearly 600,000 people signed petitions calling for a vote on an “Independent Map Amendment” to the State Constitution. The Amendment if passed would take the power of drawing the state's House and Senate districts away from Speaker Madigan and put that power instead in the hands of an impartial authority. Not surprisingly, Madigan and his henchmen sued to make sure that vote wouldn’t happen. By a 4-3 margin, the State's Democrat controlled Supreme Court sided with Madigan and against a good majority of Illinois ...
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War on Taxpayers: Illinois’ Rigged Elections

By Pat Hughes Long before Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz were colluding with MSNBC to tilt the Democratic Presidential Primary to Hillary, the Chicago Machine was manipulating the outcome of election after election after election. Most famously, the first Mayor Daley was widely believed to have rigged the 1960 Presidential Election in favor of John F. Kennedy. It’s the Chicago Way, after all. And, it is still alive and well in Illinois. No longer content to merely buy votes or add the dearly departed to the roll of eligible voters, Democrats recently wielded their super-majority power in Springfield to codify their tradition of election day malfeasance. In 2014, Illinois Democrats, ...
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War on Taxpayers: AFSCME Threatens to Strike

By Pat Hughes Last week, Democrats gathered in Philadelphia for their national convention. Among other things, they extolled the virtues of organized labor and government workers. This week, voters in Illinois are facing a reality check regarding such virtues: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the state’s largest public sector union, is preparing to strike over contract negotiations with the Rauner Administration. According to the State Journal Register, “AFSCME is conducting strike assessments throughout the state...” The negotiations have demonstrated the overwhelming power of AFSCME. At least 18 unions – including Teamsters and Illinois Federation of Teachers – have ratified contracts with the state. Instead of ...
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Politics Tonight Kicks-Off the RNC with IOP’s Pat Hughes

As the Republican National Convention kicked-off, IOP Co-Founder Pat Hughes joined Paul Lisnek on CLTV's Politics Tonight to discuss one of the most contentious candidates and conventions in recent history. Watch here ...
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Why Trump Needs a Conservative Running Mate

"Trump is not a conservative. He's a populist. He needs someone who can bring home the base." Kathleen Murphy of the Illinois Opportunity Project appeared on FOX Chicago Wednesday morning to discuss Trump's V.P. pick and Bernie Sanders' endorsement of Hillary Clinton ...
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How to (really) achieve the ‘important conversation’

This post originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on 7/12/16. “We need to come together as a community to unify so we can have the important conversation required to begin the healing.” Is there anything more vapid than a politician’s patois in the aftermath of an act of evil? Rather than confronting the evil that culminated with the murders of five officers in Dallas, the public discourse is polluted by cable news anchorbots and their pabulum-puking pundits with banal obsessing about the acceptable parameters of the “important conversation” that never actually materializes. Instead of dialogue, let me offer this monologue. I am not a victim because I’m white and some ...
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An Honest Moment in Springfield

By Pat Hughes Illinois Democrats have proven once again that serving you is not their first priority. They are more interested in working the system to serve themselves. Before adjourning for the Independence Day holiday, with $8 billion in unpaid bills to the state’s social services providers and businesses, State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago) stood on the floor of the Illinois Senate and declared, “We’re not vendors… we deserve to get paid.” We’re not them. We’re legislators. Politicians are rarely so honest about their core beliefs. They typically let their actions do the talking. For example: Last month Chicago homeowners saw a 13% increase on property tax bills, while buildings ...
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Why Madigan’s Democrats Do What They Do

By  Matthew Besler For 502 days, the politicians in Springfield have put their interests ahead of the needs of our families and businesses. Last week, they left Springfield without passing a balanced budget. For this, the Illinois General Assembly will be criticized as being a “Do-Nothing” legislature, but it’s not the real story. In reality, we have seen dramatic efforts out of Springfield this session. It’s just that those efforts have focused on protecting political power, instead of on addressing the needs of Illinoisans.   Why? Because Democrats, led by House Speaker Madigan, are protecting a political machine that was carefully constructed by ruling class politicos and the special interests ...
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IOP Statement on the Most Unbalanced Budget in State History

Illinois Opportunity Project issued the following statement in response to Speaker Michael Madigan and House Democrats’ irresponsible budget that is unbalanced by $7.2 billion and forces a $1,000 tax hike on the average Illinois family. “The budget that passed in the Illinois House yesterday is just the latest in Springfield’s long history of playing politics with our lives and livelihoods. Illinois families are hurting. We pay the highest property taxes in the nation. We face the highest unemployment rate in the nation. And every taxpayer is on the hook for $45,000 in state government debt. Rather than finding solutions to our problems, Mike Madigan and his party proposed increasing your taxes ...
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Are You Getting The Picture?

By Pat Hughes Heading into a general election that promises to be political blood sport, State Representatives Kate Cloonen (D-Kankakee) and Mike Smiddy (D-Port Byron) gave Illinoisans a clear understanding of what they have been getting for the past two years and what they will be getting if these two are re-elected in November. In one picture, Cloonen and Smiddy demonstrated to the officeholders and newspapers who endorse them exactly what they'd have to explain and rationalize for another two years. In one picture, they reminded families and businesses that they, in fact, do not share the view that the state is at a crisis point. They don’t feel your ...
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Why Moms Do What They Do

Moms in public life bring unique skills and perspectives to the table. They make many sacrifices to do what they do, and are often subject to scrutiny over their decision to serve and raise a family. In honor of Mother’s Day, we decided to go straight to the source.  The Illinois Opportunity Project asked some of the mothers we work with to send us a video testimonial telling us in their own words “why they do what they do.”  Click Here to Watch. We know there are many other moms working to help turn around Illinois. If you are one of them, let us know! Upload your own video testimonial and tag ...
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Democrats: It’s Time to Evolve!

By Pat Hughes Pop quiz: Which Democrat made the following statements? People know that vast personal incomes come not only through the effort or ability or luck of those who receive them, but also because of the opportunities for advantage which Government itself contributes. Therefore, the duty rests upon the Government to restrict such incomes by very high taxes. The movement toward progressive taxation of wealth and of income has accompanied the growing diversification and interrelation of effort which marks our industrial society. Wealth in the modern world does not come merely from individual effort; it results from a combination of individual effort and of the manifold uses to which ...
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Dan Proft Discusses Hastert Sentencing on Politics Tonight

"It's despicable what he's [‪Hastert‬] done. It's despicable that he was only recommended for a 0-6 month prison term. It's despicable." - Dan Proft ...
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Marques Gaines case is reason to reflect: Are we guilty of ‘bystander effect’?

This post originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on 4/26/2016 A video of the incident can be found here. By: Dan Proft What would you have done early on that February morning had you come upon an unconscious Marques Gaines lying facedown on State Street at a busy Chicago intersection? Would you have come to Gaines’ aid? Be honest. Research suggests that only 1 in 55 of us would have. No one assisted the 32-year-old man after he was punched unconscious and left prone on the street. Surveillance video released in mid-April showed more than a dozen people nearby failing to come to his aid. At least one person, reportedly ...
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Dan Proft on Repub. committeemen purge – FOX Chicago

The Republican purge targets 13 ward committeemen that say they were each elected in last months primary and some are angrily fighting back. Find out what Dan Proft thinks on Fox News Chicago ...
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The Issue With Trump that No One is Talking About

"This speaks to leadership. Leaders set the standards for their organizations and then they hold their organization accountable to those standards.” Kathleen Murphy of the Illinois Opportunity Project appeared on FOX Chicago this morning to discuss the battery charges against Donald Trump’s campaign manager ...
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Dan Proft & Pat Hughes on “Beyond the Beltway”

Dan Proft filled in for radio broadcasting legend, Bruce DuMont, on last nights episode of “Beyond the Beltway”. He was joined by Illinois Opportunity Project co-founder, Pat Hughes and Professors Art Cyr and Khalil Marrar. Watch here ...
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Which Pres. Candidate Has the Strongest Plan to Combat Terrorism?

IOP Director of Communication Kathleen Murphy appeared on FOX Chicago to discuss  the breaking terrorist attacks in Brussels, AIPAC and Donald Trump ...
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What do the results of the Illinois primary mean for the general election?

Dan Proft discussed the results of the Illinois primary on CBS Chicago ...
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Exclusive: Dan and Amy Interview Presidential Candidate John Kasich

Just before winning big in Ohio, Dan Proft & Amy Jacobson interviewed Presidential hopeful, Governor John Kasich. Listen here ...
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