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Mendoza and Manar introduce “Truth in Hiring Act”

Thomas Clatterbuck



How big is the governor’s staff? That question is more complicated than you might think. Officially, the governor has 44 staffers and a budget of $4.9 million. However, according to Comptroller Susana Mendoza (D), the real number is much higher. A new info graphic put out by her office states the real size of the office is more than twice that size with 102 staffers and a budget of over $10 million.

The discrepancy is due to a practice called “offshoring.” Many people who work for the governor are paid through other offices. Because they are paid by other agencies, the governor’s staff looks smaller than it actually is. Not only does this hide how large the governor’s office is, it also distorts how much money the other agencies actually have. Mendoza made it clear that this is not a new practice. In her press release she said, “It was wrong when Governor Quinn did it. It was wrong when Governor Blagojevich did it. It was wrong when Governor Ryan did it. And it’s still wrong when Governor Rauner does it.”

In response, a bipartisan group of legislators, including Sen. Andy Manar (D-48) have proposed bills in the House and Senate to address this issue. The bills would prohibit paying employees of the Governor’s office out of any funds except those established for that purpose. This does not fire any of the employees who are currently offshored, but it would require paying them through the appropriate office. Often, employees are not even aware they have been offshored.

To learn more about the Acts, you can check out Mendoza’s press release. The two bills are HB5121 and SB3233.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.


Illinois’ bicentennial beer now on shelves



Images from Hand of Fate Brewing Company Facebook Page

The latest birthday gift to the people of Illinois comes in a 12-ounce can – the state’s bicentennial beer is now on store shelves.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and members of the state’s Bicentennial Commission cracked the first cans of the 1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale on Wednesday in Springfield.

The governor said not only is the beer good, it shows what can still be made in the state.

“This year, we celebrate our 200th birthday,” the governor said. “We’ll celebrate our bicentennial by celebrating everything that is born, built and grown in the great state of Illinois.”

The beer is brewed by the Hand of Fate Brewing Co. out of Petersburg.

It won a competition at last year’s Illinois State Fair to become Illinois’ official 200th birthday beer.

Hand of Fate owner Mike Allison said he’s happy to have his relatively new success story be part of Illinois’ long legacy.

“It’s overwhelming, and a little bit mind blowing, to think that two years ago we were just opening a small brewery,” Allison said.

Allison said 1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale uses Illinois crops including corn, wheat and oats.

Reviews say the beer has some aromatic nose bursts with bubblegum, clove and white peppercorn.

Article by Benjamin Yount. For more Illinois News Network content, visit 

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Rauner supporting proposals to shift state’s teacher pension costs to local schools



Gov. Bruce Rauner calls his plan to shift public retiree costs to local schools and colleges good governance, but the majority of state House members say otherwise in their pledge not to support it.

Rauner spoke to a group of business owners about his budget proposal Monday afternoon at Konen Insurance in Aurora. Part of the governor’s plan is to gradually shift the state’s pension costs to local schools and universities. He said it would give schools an incentive to insist on sustainable benefits for employees.

“You want to put responsibility for paying pensions in line with the folks who determine who gets the pension benefits and at what level, so it’s actually good policy to do that,” Rauner said. “Democrats and Republicans have both agreed that it’s the right policy to do.”

The plan did bring both parties together – but not as Rauner had hoped. State Rep. David McSweeney’s resolution opposing Rauner’s plan has 66 cosponsors.

“It would result in a massive property tax increase,” the Barrington Hills Republican said. “The only thing the governor’s doing is shifting the liabilities to local governments and they’ll be forced to raise property taxes.”

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, calls the plan bad policy.

“Shifting billions of dollars of additional costs to our school districts would, in effect, be a property tax increase and an unfunded mandate,” she said.

Rauner said he’s proposing $350 million in additional school funding for fiscal 2019 and that would cover the higher costs. The money he’s referring to is tied to the school funding reform legislation he signed into law last year.

Higher education officials panned the plan last week, saying it would lead to tuition hikes.

House Speaker Michael Madigan proposed a similar plan to shift pension costs to local schools in 2012, leading to one memorable outburst.

Article by Cole Lauterbach. For more Illinois News Network content, visit 

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Illinois Govt

Lawmakers: Not much will get done in Springfield this month



Don’t look for much action from the Illinois Capitol this month. In fact, don’t look for much of anything, lawmakers from both parties said, because the General Assembly is pretty much taking the month of March off.

Both the Illinois House and Senate are scheduled for just four days of sessions this month, and they could cancel some of them.

State Rep. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, said Illinois lawmakers haven’t done much all year.

“If you look at the calendar, in January we were here just a few days. In February it was about the same. In March we’re in four days, that’s it for the House,” Bennett said.

State Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, said while lawmakers haven’t done much so far, he noted that the real action always comes in late April and May.

“I would say that we’re off to a slow start,” Davis said. “But nevertheless, we have a budget that we ultimately have to pass by the end of the year. So there are some things yet to be done.”

No one seems to know though, whether that will be a full state budget, a six-month state budget, or if there will be a budget at all.

On key issues – such as property tax reform, pension reform and workers compensation reform – there’s no expectation that lawmakers will do much of anything about them.


Article by Benjamin Yount. For more Illinois News Network content, visit 

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