IVCA Provides Updates for State Legislative Issues - 11.25.2020

Illinois Venture Capital Association Illinois Legislative Report
David Stricklin / Stricklin & Associates
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!
 
ALL EYES ON THE SPEAKER
 
A furious campaign on numerous fronts is taking place as Illinois House Democrats for the first time in history seriously consider a replacement to Speaker Michael J. Madigan. Madigan has been speaker since 1983, except for 1995-96, when voters elevated Republicans to control of the U.S. House, Illinois voters put Republicans in the majority in the Illinois House. The speaker won back enough seats in the 1996 elections to reclaim the gavel and has been re-elected since then with little fanfare.
 
For there now to have 18 confirmed members of the Democratic Caucus on record opposing his re-election is a seismic event. Those members are alphabetically listed:
Jonathan Carroll, Kelly Cassidy, Deb Conroy, Margaret Croke, Eva-Dina Delgado, Dan Didech, Robyn Gabel, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Will Guzzardi, Terra Costa Howard, Stephanie Kifowit, Lindsey LaPointe, Anna Moeller, Bob Morgan, Anne Stava-Murray, Maurice West, Ann Williams, and Sam Yingling. Mostly suburban members but a few from the City of Chicago, mostly newer members but a few who have been in office for some period of time.
 
The reason for this revolt is of course the revelations which produced indictments against a Madigan consigliere and executives from Exelon/ComEd.
https://www.chicagobusiness.com/government/ex-comed-ceo-madigan-associates-indictedThe filing is here:
https://www.scribd.com/document/484891518/indictment#from_embed 
While some observers have declared “checkmate” for Speaker Madigan, for our money it is too early to say definitively that someone else will be elected Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. The speaker has vigorously denied wrongdoing and he himself has not been charged. After the November elections the speaker followed his time-honored tradition of calling individual members asking for their support of his candidacy.
 
“The decision on the next speaker of the Illinois House will be made at a caucus, after a full discussion of the issues facing our state and the qualifications of the candidates,” Madigan said in a statement Friday. “I plan to be a candidate for speaker, and (on Friday) I confirmed that I continue to have support from a significant number of House Democratic caucus members.”
(Chicago Tribune, November 20)
 
War game enthusiasts and game theory experts have plenty of material to work with in this moment in Illinois history. Democrats are expected to seat 73 members in January. There’s no indication yet that the 18 are aligned except for their current opposition to the speaker.
They have not so far pledged to vote together for a specific candidate. And the speaker clearly retains a strong, loyal base going into the election, including the support of organized labor.
 
https://www.wbez.org/stories/madigans-diminished-powers-trigger-illinois-power-vacuum/34572c17-d324-4460-90b7-c357d7d14f30 
Some of the would-be candidates for speaker such as Representatives Will Davis, Greg Harris, Jay Hoffman, and Chris Welch, are themselves in House leadership and so far are aligned with the speaker.
 
With whom will the various caucuses – Black, Latino, Progressives, Women, Suburban – align themselves? House Democrats have become used to, like it or not, to being able to rely on a prolific fundraising and political apparatus which helps protect and re-elect members in tough times. While there are definitely rumblings about doing things a different way, with more autonomy for individual members, less centralized control, there is also a “careful what you wish for” political message for Democrats who are entering a session where legislative maps which control the landscape for the next decade are about to be made.
 
FEDERAL RELIEF ON THE HORIZON?
 
Illinois policy makers continue to evaluate whether direct federal relief from the federal government will be available to fill budget holes in the current fiscal year and in years going forward. The state will soon face a deadline for borrowing from the Municipal Liquidity Facility which was created in the COVID relief package passed by Congress. The state tapped the fund for $1.2B in general obligation certificates earlier in the year and has $5B in further borrowing authorized by state statute. The state must decide by the end of November whether to apply for further funding and the MLF is slated to sunset at the end of 2020.
 
Voters rejected the graduated income tax, which was tentatively marked down for a $1.2B boost to the current fiscal year. Some tax collections have performed above expectation but the overall combination of economic effects from COVID leaves the state with a $4B gap in revenues vs. expenditures for the current fiscal year, FY 2021. The change in presidential administration could offer more direct relief which would not have to be repaid, as the MLF envisions. Governor Pritzker has invited the four legislative leaders and the Legislative Budget Oversight Commission to join him in a process of identifying revenue and budget cuts, and there is a credible discussion taking place about whether a 1% increase in the state income tax could be pushed through in the Lame Duck legislative session in January.
 
COVID UPDATE
 
Illinois is entirely under Tier 3 mitigation as COVID rates have increased and fatalities which were being counted in the teens not long ago are now regularly over 100 a day with a cumulative total of 11,677 as of today.
https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/News of vaccine breakthroughs offer hope and a path beyond the COVID reality. Illinois had hoped to receive about 400,000 doses but announced yesterday that number is now closer to 80,000.
https://capitolnewsillinois.com/NEWS/illinois-initial-vaccine-shipment-may-be-one-fifth-of-what-was-originally-expected