LATEST NEWS

Pritzker’s Assault on Your Child’s Education

April 8, 2021 By: Katie Clancy Last week, Gov. Pritzker announced his $7 billion plan to get kids back in school. Pritzker says the direct payments are intended to help schools catch up on the academic and social costs of remote learning. There are students in Illinois who have not set foot in a classroom in over a year. As Gov. Pritzker lays out his “lofty” plan to get kids back in school, he is simultaneously supporting policies that will do the exact opposite and hoping you won’t notice. He recently signed legislation that gives the Chicago Teachers Union even MORE reasons to strike. The Chicago Teachers Union has come ...
Read Full Article

Pritzker’s Assault on Your Child’s Education

April 8, 2021 By: Katie Clancy Last week, Gov. Pritzker announced his $7 billion plan to get kids back in school. Pritzker says the direct payments are intended to help schools catch up on the academic and social costs of remote learning. There are students in Illinois who have not set foot in a classroom in over a year. As Gov. Pritzker lays out his “lofty” plan to get kids back in school, he is simultaneously supporting policies that will do the exact opposite and hoping you won’t notice. He recently signed legislation that gives the Chicago Teachers Union even MORE reasons to strike. The Chicago Teachers Union has come ...
Read Full Article

Your Tax Bill on the Ballot

March 31, 2021 By: Dylan Sharkey On April 6th, many voters across Illinois will directly vote on their tax bill in their municipal elections. Back in November, voters made their voices abundantly clear: no new taxes. They rejected Governor Pritzker’s Tax Hike amendment handing him his biggest political loss and demanding reform. Now, only 5 months later, taxes are back on the ballot, this time at the local level. Getting involved in your local elections and supporting anti-tax hiking candidates can help serve as a check on Gov. Pritzker and the Springfield Democrats who are constantly pushing for higher taxes. Typically, consolidated elections see the lowest turnout of any cycle, ...
Read Full Article

Behind the Scenes in Springfield: IDES Disaster

March 26, 2021 By: Katie Clancy As we pass the one year mark of the COVID-19 shutdowns, Governor Pritzker’s failures at the Department of Employment Services (IDES) remain in the news. Every week there seems to be a new story on a case of ridiculous fraud or ineptitude from the department. This week a debit card was sent to a woman’s home who has been dead for more than five years after fraudsters managed to claim she was recently laid off. Another woman who was a victim of an unemployment scam was sent a letter claiming her state tax refund was being withheld because she had been overpaid. Yet, she ...
Read Full Article

Behind the Scenes in Springfield: Consequences

March 19, 2021 By: Katie Clancy Gov. Pritzker’s 2019 budget included 19 tax hikes and fees. The most egregious, the doubling of the gas tax, keeps getting worse for Chicago and suburban residents.  Pritzker's gas tax hike opened the door for local government tax hikes that we are still paying the price for today. Counties continue to hike taxes because of the power and encouragement Pritzker gave them. Lake County raised its gas tax last week. Will, DuPage, and Chicago have also increased their gas taxes. As gas prices and taxes continue to rise, Illinoisans pay the 9th highest in the country at the pump right now. As if the ...
Read Full Article

The 2022 Opportunity

March 19, 2021 There is an unprecedented opportunity to shift the power in the state so that families and businesses can thrive here.  I share your hope for an Illinois that welcomes jobs and families instead of pushing them out. A responsible government that serves the people, not the special interests. And leaders who step up in times of crisis rather than shift the blame on their political opponents. The only way to change our state and improve lives is by changing our neighborhoods and driving action at the grassroots level. Change will come from leaders like you who care about your community. Not from the politicians in Springfield. Join ...
Read Full Article

Pritzker’s Declining Political Capital

March 16, 2021 By: Katie Clancy Local families are suffering while Gov. Pritzker is flailing and losing support on all fronts. We have been documenting Gov. Pritzker’s failures since May of 2020 including his mishandling of the COVID response, push for ever-higher taxes, and his complicity in the state’s corruption. It’s now clear that average families in Illinois are catching on. Gov. Pritzker’s approval ratings were 63% in April 2020 and have been declining ever since. Today, he stands about even with 40.6% favorables and 41% unfavorables in the latest polls with 18% having no opinion. A significant drop as voters review his record. His unfavorable ratings shouldn’t come as ...
Read Full Article

Behind the Scenes in Springfield: Less Power, More Oversight

March 4, 2021 By: Katie Clancy And the winner is...Congresswoman Robin Kelly. After 23 years of Madigan’s reign, Illinois Democrats voted on a new Party Chair this week. The Pritzker-Madigan backed candidate, Chicago Alderman Michelle Harris, fell short. This chalks up another political loss for both Madigan and Pritzker. It has not been a good run so far for this less-than-dynamic duo. Pritzker suffered the defeat of his cornerstone campaign promise - the Tax Hike Amendment and Madigan’s handpicked State Rep. successor resigned after just two days on the job. What else doesn’t look good: the indictments of three more Madigan allies that stem from the ComEd bribery scandal investigation ...
Read Full Article

Rep. Stuart’s Misguided Political Priorities

March 3, 2021 By: Katie Clancy In a letter to the editor last week, Rep. Katie Stuart defended her support of the controversial new teaching standards unilaterally imposed by Gov. Pritzker’s State Board of Education. In a challenging year for students, families, and teachers, Representative Stuart is focused on the wrong things. Two-thirds of Illinois students are failing to meet expectations in the basic subjects of math and English. Some students haven’t had in-person learning in almost a year. And the state is facing a teacher shortage of more than 2,000 vacancies. Rep. Stuart sponsored legislation that eliminated the passage of a test of basic skills for teachers, but ironically ...
Read Full Article

Behind the Scenes in Springfield: The Good and the Bad

February 25, 2021 By: Katie Clancy On Chicago’s southwest side, the week started with a new successor to Madigan’s House District seat and then ended with yet another new successor. Rep. Edward Kodatt was on the job for just about two days before Mike Madigan and 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn called on him to resign after learning of Kodatt’s “alleged misconduct.” It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time someone from the Madigan camp was forced to resign for their bad behavior. One in particular, Kevin Quinn, the brother of Alderman Marty Quinn, ended in a $900,000 lawsuit. On Thursday, Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar who received the second most votes ...
Read Full Article

IOP Statement on Speaker Welch Floating Another Graduated Income Tax Hike

February 24, 2021 Last week, Governor Pritzker proposed balancing the budget with billions of dollars in tax hikes on community businesses and blue collar workers. This week, Speaker Welch advocated for Pritzker's failed Tax Hike Amendment after voters soundly rejected it in November. This is what we get from the political class in Springfield. No solutions to the state's fiscal problems. Just brazen attempts to take more money from you. Tax hikers Pritzker and Welch refuse to consider the reforms Illinoisans demanded and repeatedly expose how out of touch they are with the average small business owner or Illinois family. They will always turn to the failed policies of more ...
Read Full Article

Gov. Pritzker Turns His Back on Law and Order

February 24, 2021 By: Katie Clancy Mike Madigan is officially out as Speaker of the House, State Representative for the 22nd District in Chicago, and after nominating his handpicked successor over the weekend, he stepped down as the powerful Chairman of the State Democratic Party. In a shocking turn, Madigan's handpicked successor has already resigned "after learning of alleged questionable conduct by Mr. Kodatt." Kodatt was on the job for less than 72 hours. Even with Madigan's bad judge of character and awful policy record, he remained in power for so long because of the support from his Democrat colleagues.  In January, the majority of House Democrats (51) still voted ...
Read Full Article

Behind the Scenes in Springfield: Exposing the Pritzker Playbook

February 19, 2021 By: Katie Clancy Even though there was no session this week, it was a big news week for Illinois politics!  First off, thank you again to all the volunteers who took the time to call members of the Joint Committee on Legislative Rules. A special thanks to those who went above and beyond and called voters urging them to contact their legislator. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the outcome we worked for. Still, it was inspiring to see how quickly Illinoisans from across the state mobilized and made their voices heard against this policy to put politics in the classroom. On Wednesday, Gov. Pritzker gave his combined, pre-recorded ...
Read Full Article

IOP Statement on Gov. Pritzker’s Partisan Budget Address

February 17, 2021 “Today, Governor Pritzker carried on his tradition of spending more than families can afford and punishing community businesses with tax hikes disguised as “closing corporate loopholes.” “After two years of unbalanced budgets, record spending during a damaging global pandemic, and a structural deficit, Gov. Pritzker proposed a status-quo budget that does nothing to improve Illinois' underlying fiscal mess and will continue to drive families out of the State. “Illinoisans have come to expect this from Gov. Pritzker. But, when families desperately need innovative, solution-oriented leadership, Pritzker’s partisan speech was filled with cheap political attacks and blatant attempts to blame everyone else for the state’s budget disaster. Pritzker ...
Read Full Article

Pritzker’s Push To Put Politics in Classrooms Clears Legislative Hurdle

February 17, 2021 Despite thousands of phone calls and emails from concerned advocates like you, the Democrat members of JCAR blessed the highly-controversial “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” rule change. Two-thirds of Illinois students are failing to meet expectations in Math and English. Thousands of kids face catastrophic consequences as schools have been unable to find safe ways to open. Facing these two crises, Gov. Pritzker and his State Board of Education, with the support of their Democratic allies in the House and Senate, prioritized their own political agendas to force politics into classrooms (remote or in-person). But it did not go unnoticed. This issue went from a backstage ...
Read Full Article

Behind the Scenes in Springfield

February 12, 2021 By: Katie Clancy Last week, the House gathered for the first and only day of Session this month to vote on the House rules. While there were some highlights such as enacting term limits for leadership positions, there’s still too much power wielded by the House Speaker and a lack of transparency and public notice of bills that affect all Illinoisans. The House rules vote broke down along party lines with Democrats voting yes and Republicans voting no. But the larger issue is that the party that continues to hold power, no matter the rules, is the party of higher taxes, unwillingness to act on ethics reforms, ...
Read Full Article

TAKE ACTION: Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards

Thank you for joining the fight to stand up for students and their education! JCAR (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) is scheduled to have a vote on the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards on February 16. In order for the rule to be defeated, eight of the twelve members must vote to object to the rule. We need your help to defeat this rule because two-thirds of Illinois students are already failing to meet expectations in Mathematics and English and Language Arts. Our schools should be focused on teaching these basic subjects, rather than injecting a political ideology. How can you help defeat this rule? 1. Call and email ...
Read Full Article

Be The Change: Oppose Teacher Training Requirements

January 29, 2021 The Illinois State Board of Education has proposed a new rule which would put political ideology at the forefront of classroom instruction in both private and publicly run schools throughout the state. The “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” would serve as a guide in preparing new teachers and then be carried over into their lesson plans and curriculum. In 2019, 61% of Illinois students failed to meet expectations in English Language Arts and 68% in Mathematics. As students are falling behind, the State Board of Education is more interested in virtue signaling and pushing their politics than educating children. The focus of the State Board should ...
Read Full Article

Make The Invest In Kids Act Permanent

January 26, 2021 By: Katie Clancy It’s a bit ironic that at the beginning of National School Choice Week, the Chicago Teachers’ Union is threatening a strike and voted not to report to their classrooms in preparation for the return of K-8 students on February 1. The Liberty Justice Center believes the strike is illegal, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the union continues to stand up for the adults in the system and not the children they are supposed to serve. Chicago Public School students are approaching the one year mark without any in classroom instruction. Throughout the negotiations and bickering between politicians and union bosses, ...
Read Full Article

The Dishonesty of a “New Day” in Illinois

January 21, 2021 By: Katie Clancy House Democrats and some members of the media are attempting to declare a “New Day” in Illinois state government. In reality, the selection of State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside) to  replace Mike Madigan as Speaker of the House will result in very little systemic change. Up until the last moments before the coveted vote for Speaker, Madigan still enjoyed support from newly elected State Representatives Maura Hirschuer (D-Batavia) and Janet Yang-Rohr (D-Naperville) and old allies like Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville), Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa), and Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island), and even Welch. When it became clear that Madigan would not get the votes, they turned to ...
Read Full Article

Madigan’s Legacy

January 14, 2021 Speaker Madigan, the longest serving Speaker in American history is done. But, Democrats won’t be able to wipe out his decades long legacy of high taxes, pay to play politics, and financial destruction of Illinois.  What else will they be unable to undo? Their complicity. Cycle after cycle, House Democrats reaped the benefits of Mike Madigan’s political power and trove of campaign dollars. Exchanging campaign contributions for loyalty, favorable remaps, or even jobs for their friends and family turned out to be enough for the Speaker to hold power for four decades with the overwhelming support from his caucus. Public sector unions, other various special interest groups, ...
Read Full Article

Lessons Learned in 2020

December 28, 2020 It has been a tough year for many families and small businesses, but there was also much to be celebrated.  We have seen small businesses step up and serve their communities like never before. Providing meals for healthcare workers and first responders battling on the frontlines, switching production to create sanitizers and other essential personal protective equipment, and adapting to the everchanging barriers and restrictions dictated by Governor Pritzker. Families across the state did their part and made masks, organized food and blood drives, purchased gift cards, and checked in on elderly neighbors who were in most need of help. It was ordinary citizens across the state ...
Read Full Article

Madigan’s Loyal Stragglers

December 15, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Communications and Marketing Manager The Special Investigative Committee officially put an end to their “investigation” into Mike Madigan’s alleged involvement in the ComEd bribery scandal Monday afternoon. Each Democrat member of the committee headed by State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside) voted to strike down a motion to discipline the Speaker. Republicans on the Committee, Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Westmont) and outgoing Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), slammed the Democrats for putting their loyalty to Madigan above the very real questions that need to be addressed after 4 people, including Madigan’s closest confidant, have been indicted. So far 19 House Democrats have said they will not support ...
Read Full Article

Gov. Pritzker’s Accountability Issue

December 4, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Communications and Marketing Manager Last week, Mike Madigan's closest confidant, Mike McClain, and three others were arraigned for their alleged involvement in the ComEd bribery scandal. All four plead not guilty and are set to appear again in court on February 16, 2021. Mike Madigan’s support is starting to plummet amongst Democrats in the House, including a member of his leadership team, State Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison). They clearly see the writing on the wall and now find it best to show their opposition to the powerful Speaker. Most of the 19 Democratic Legislators calling for his resignation stood silent as scandal after scandal ...
Read Full Article

Reasons To Be Thankful

November 23, 2020 In a world with more lockdowns on the horizon and threats of tax increases from Governor Pritzker, it is hard for many Illinoisans to come up with reasons to be thankful. But hopefully the examples below will make you feel optimistic about the future of our state. In addition to the major defeat of Governor Pritzker’s Tax Hike Amendment that gave struggling small businesses a fighting chance and working families a little protection, there were also conservative reformers who defeated Madigan loyalists throughout the state. Amy Elik (R-Alton) defeated Monica Bristow, David Friess (R-Red Bud) defeated Nathan Reitz, Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich) defeated Mary Edly-Allen, and Seth ...
Read Full Article

The Coalition That Saved Our State

November 6, 2020 By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications In the months-long effort to educate myself and fellow voters on the dangers of the Tax Hike Amendment, there were few moments when I sat down to see the impact of what people were really thinking about the proposal. Even in the chaos of Election Night, I saw numbers, but didn't see people. That changed Wednesday afternoon. My wife and I decided to enjoy the unusually balmy November weather by having lunch in Geneva. Doing so safely outside along Third Street, with masks, socially distant, the whole nine yards. As my wife and I rehashed the political events of the evening ...
Read Full Article

You Did It!

November 6, 2020 Families, small businesses, farmers, and seniors stood up to Governor Pritzker and the political ruling class and said NO MORE TAXES. For decades, Springfield politicians have laid the blame for their own financial mess on anyone but themselves. Their only solution is to look to taxpayers for bailouts. This time, you held the line. You said no more. You said fix it another way. You demand and deserve reform from our leaders, not higher taxes to prop up an unsustainable system that benefits politicians and special interests at the expense of our families. Rejecting the Tax Hike Amendment was the first step in saving our great state ...
Read Full Article

Finally, The Chance to Save Springfield

November 3: The Moment for Illinois is Here October 26, 2020 By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Famous Fake Weatherman Brick Tamland has a brilliant line in the movie 'Anchorman' that sums up the 2020 walkup to the Tax Hike Amendment: "Loud Noises!!" Sometimes, I don't know what we're yelling about either. On one hand, the people who are pitching this Tax Hike Amendment say that it will fix all our problems. We've heard that before. 2011’s version was supposed to be temporary. It wasn't. 2017’s was supposed to pay down pensions. It didn't. Yet, on the other hand, I hear Pritzker’s spokesman Quentin Fulks say, "The notion that this ...
Read Full Article

Forget About Pritzker. This Is About You.

October 22, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Marketing and Communications Manager By this time, with the millions of dollars spent for and against, you have been inundated with advertising on Gov. Pritzker’s so-called “Fair Tax.” Pritzker himself put in $56 million of his own fortune into the “Vote Yes” campaign. A lot of the conversation has been focused on the fact that Illinoisans cannot and do not trust Springfield politicians. Rightfully so. Speaker Mike Madigan, the longest-serving Speaker in American history, is at the center of a federal investigation alleging a bribery scheme with public utility giant ComEd. His already low credibility has been absolutely decimated. In addition to serving as ...
Read Full Article

Save Illinois Small Businesses!

Gov. Pritzker has shut down small businesses for months and expects them to pay even more in taxes. He wants to use this lame duck session to eliminate state-level tax benefits that were created in the CARES Act. Now is the worst time to raise taxes on struggling small businesses. Sign here to save small businesses! ...
Read Full Article

A Devil of a Deal This November with Madigan

The Recent History of Illinois Tax Hikes and Proposals Should Make You Skeptical October 16, 2020 By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Illinois has big problems. It has a Mike Madigan problem. It has a tax problem. Sure the ComEd admission this summer was jarring, but we sit on the brink of yet another tax hike. The theory that the House Speaker made people "pay to play" isn't a new one. But now we're seeing it in plain English on written 30-plus pages of federal court documents and it proves these aren't the little whispers going around Springfield or the southwest side of Chicago anymore. This storyline is especially important ...
Read Full Article

“If you don’t pass this tax hike, we will hike your taxes.”

October 1, 2020 By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Only in Illinois. This is the approach of the people elected to be fiscally responsible in the Land of Lincoln. The empty threat last week lobbed by Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton proves that the folks in Springfield have no interest in tackling the real issues that have dragged the state's finances through the mud for decades. The argument that the Tax Hike Amendment will only involve the rich is fool's gold. If you think Wilmette types will be the only one forking over money, you're dead wrong. People from Alton to Antioch will find out how "rich" they really are. When ...
Read Full Article

Pritzker Pleads for Blue State Bailout

September 23, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Marketing and Communications Manager Gov. Pritzker signed an unbalanced budget this year banking on a blue state bailout from the federal government or now, a potential Joe Biden presidency. While the Governor blames President Trump and Senate Republicans for Illinois’ financial disaster, other state executives across the country have taken steps to reduce state spending due to expected shortfalls in revenue. Respecting taxpayers and seeing the writing on the wall. Back in May, Gov. Abbott (R-Texas) sent a letter to state agency heads asking them to trim 5% of their budgets. Gov. Evers (D-Wisconsin) called for the same cuts back in May and then ...
Read Full Article

The Politics and Power of the Graduated Income Tax Amendment

September 14, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Marketing and Communications Manager Last week the Special House Committee kicked off hearings investigating Mike Madigan for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme with ComEd. Gov. Pritzker wants to have it both ways. He seems to want Madigan in power, but also wants to appear tough on corruption. When asked about the Speaker and the upcoming hearings, Gov. Pritzker offered a bland, “There are questions that need to be answered by the speaker.” Pritzker, the highest-ranking elected official in the state, could do something about it and pressure Madigan to answer the questions or resign. But Pritzker seems content. He refuses to demand ...
Read Full Article

Madigan Isn’t Going Anywhere

September 2, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Marketing and Communications Manager Michael Madigan continues to withstand the test of time and scandal. As the Illinois Democratic Party shifts farther to the left, the southwest side Representative remains King. He remains in charge of four different political campaign war chests, as head of the State’s Democratic Party, and as Speaker of the House. Because in charge, is where rank and file Democrat legislators want him. Despite being named by federal investigators in an alleged bribery scheme, despite over 300 women signing a letter alleging the rampant culture of harassment and toxicity in the statehouse, and despite his failed policies that have resulted ...
Read Full Article

Recent COVID Closures Lead to More Uncertainty for Small Businesses

August 26, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Marketing and Communications Manager Gov. Pritzker is looking to impose more restrictions in different regions throughout the State. He wants stricter guidelines on indoor dining at restaurants and the size of gatherings, on top of the already established mask mandates and fines for businesses that fail to enforce his orders. The Metro East was threatened to get their house in order by September 2 or they will face “mitigation.” This comes after much push back from local leaders who understand the consequences it would have on struggling small businesses. The same goes for folks in Kankakee and Will Counties. Pritzker has ordered the end ...
Read Full Article

Looting Sheds Light on a Huge Chance for Chicago’s Mayor

August 11, 2020 By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Leadership matters in times of crisis. More than 100 arrested, two people shot, 13 officers hurt. After the latest round of unrest, wreaking havoc from Lincoln Park to the Loop, we'll see how long it takes Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor J.B. Pritzker to call the National Guard this time around. It took 72 hours in June. That's a lifetime for businesses struggling in the pandemic and watching their life's work disappear in a heartbeat. A graduated income tax would kick businesses in the Chicago Loop while they’re down. The 4,000 or so organizations that closed up shop since the pandemic ...
Read Full Article

School Choice Now

August 7, 2020 After threats of striking for the second time this year, Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot caved to the Chicago Teachers Union again and are starting the school year out of the classroom and doing remote learning. Since March, the City of Chicago has three recorded Covid-related deaths for children and teenagers aged 0-19. During the same time frame, four died by suicide. Twelve died in accidents. Forty-six died by gun violence. Families need the option to do what is best for their children. CPS teachers and administrators say they are confident in their ability to provide a decent education in a remote environment. However, their ...
Read Full Article

Pritzker’s $7 Million Question

July 28, 2020 During Governor Pritzker’s 2018 campaign, he repeatedly promised that he was independent from House Speaker Mike Madigan. But it was obvious that these two were plotting behind closed doors the whole time. Following his election, Pritzker immediately filled nearly 3 dozen prominent roles in his administration with Madigan’s recommended list of hires. Pritzker’s promise to remain independent from Madigan went down the drain, like most of his other promises. Fair maps and ethics reforms to name a couple. Now, following the bombshell report from the feds alleging Mike Madigan’s involvement in a bribery scheme with ComEd, the Governor is attempting to distance himself from the longest-serving statehouse ...
Read Full Article

Looking Back on Madigan Gives Us a Chance to Look Forward in November

July 21, 2020 By: Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Just the name Michael Madigan brings out the idea of being a hypocrite. I'm not just talking about Madigan's feeble effort last week to transfer Illinois' ethics problems to Donald Trump and Roger Stone. Something the House Speaker did just one day before the explosive court papers that had Public Official A planted front and center in a decade old pay-for-play scheme with ComEd that forced the utility to agree to a record $200 million fine. I'm thinking more about the people who've had their chances to stand up - even now - and have said nothing. It's not like this ...
Read Full Article

July Tax Deadline Approaches as Pritzker’s Progressive Tax Weighs on Taxpayers’ Minds

July 10, 2020 Back in March, many Illinoisans were satisfied with Gov. Pritzker’s decision to move the tax filing deadline to July 15, following suit with the federal government. Delaying the deadline was a move intended to soften the blow that many Americans are facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This was a fair decision on behalf of struggling families and small businesses, but the Pritzker administration should have done more. To Gov. Pritzker, moving the deadline was a facade to pretend that he understands the financial concerns of Illinoisans. He temporarily avoided backlash from leaders in his party and residents alike. Attempting to signal that he cares ...
Read Full Article

50 Million Reasons Why Pritzker Doesn’t Care About You

July 6, 2020 By Matt Rodewald, Director of Communications Governor J.B. Pritzker doesn’t care about you. He cares about himself. Any Illinois resident should be able to see that after this weekend’s late-night dump of $51.5 million into his pet project progressive tax. There are so many issues that Pritzker could care about and put his money where his mouth is, but he doesn’t. $51.5 million. That could go a long way to helping fix some serious problems. Let me count the ways! Pritzker spent $17 million on failed masks that were so flawed they had to be recalled. He spent nearly $2 million just to fly them here from ...
Read Full Article

Expect More than Fireworks this July

June 30, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

Defund CTU

June 22, 2020 By: Katie Clancy, Marketing and Communications Manager 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 ...
Read Full Article

Cooking Up An Illinois Budget Disaster

June 17, 2020 By: Leslie Munger, Former Illinois State Comptroller 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 ...
Read Full Article

A Threat or Not? Gov. Pritzker Can’t Make Up His Mind on Anything

Governor Pritzker income tax illinois
June 12, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

Small Businesses Destroyed by Violent Protests, Looting, and Incompetent Leadership

June 3, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

Wisconsin to Illinois: “We’re not cleaning up your mess.”

May 22, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

SAVE SMALL BUSINESSES AND WORKING FAMILIES: REMOVE THE GRADUATED INCOME TAX

May 22, 2020 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 taxes ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

IOP Statement On Resolution To Remove the Graduated Income Tax

May 18, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

Not Now, Not Ever

April 30, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

Thanking Local Heroes

April 13, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

Support Small Business

March 20, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

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! ...
Read Full Article

Gov. Pritzker Wants “More of the Same”

January 30, 2020 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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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, ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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, ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

The Forgotten Ones

July 15, 2019 By: Katie Clancy, Marketing and Communications Manager 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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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? ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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, ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article

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 ...
Read Full Article