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GOP establishment: Moore victory, Bannon megaphone don’t threaten our power

GOP establishment: Moore victory, Bannon megaphone don’t threaten our power

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A recently surfaced memo from the GOP establishment’s Senate Leadership Fund reveals Republican insiders believe Judge Roy Moore’s defeat of Washington-approved Sen. Luther Strange in  Alabama’s Senate primary runoff last month shouldn’t worry incumbent lawmakers ahead of 2018. Reading between the lines, it almost seems as though the party establishment is open to sabotaging Moore as he faces off against Democrat Doug Jones.

A memo from the PAC obtained by The New York Times just after Strange’s defeat expressed concern that Republican voters have begun directing anger previously reserved for President Barack Obama to members of Congress, regardless of their political affiliation.

Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, wrote: “The Republican Congress has replaced President Obama as the bogeyman for conservative G.O.P. primary voters. This narrative is driven by Trump himself, and it resonates with primary voters who believe the Republican Congress ‘isn’t doing enough’ (as we frequently heard in focus groups) to advance the president’s agenda.”

And after Moore won the runoff, there was plenty of chatter about what could happen if Bannon and outside conservative groups double down on pushing primary challenges in other upcoming races.

Still, members of the GOP establishment don’t appear all that concerned because of the circumstances surrounding the Moore/Strange contest.

Again from Law’s memo: “The massive resources that independent groups can deploy in races tend to obscure the paramount importance of candidate quality.

“Moore is a folk hero with rural religious voters who admire Moore’s intransigent stands on displaying the Ten Commandments and bucking the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage. … Most critically, Strange was dogged by his appointment to the Senate by disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley.”

Law also advised incumbents against putting too much stock in Bannon’s influence over the Alabama race, writing that the Breitbart head doesn’t offer the “kind of sustained political engagement that moves voters in the long slog of regular elections.”

There’s no doubt that much of Moore’s support came from religious voters pleased with the stands he made on the Ten Commandments and against gay marriage. But on the ground in Alabama, it was also easy to discern that support for the judge in his race against Strange was about more than predictable Bible Belt voter behavior. It had plenty to do with the optics of the respective candidates’ relationships with government power.

Moore’s relationship with government power has been undeniably rocky over the years– he’s been thrown out of office twice. Strange, meanwhile, has had all the trappings of establishment golden boy– a career long dedication to serving political insiders culminated in his appointment to the vacant Senate seat by a governor Strange’s own Attorney General’s office was slated to investigate.

Voters noticed. And despite Trump’s endorsement, Alabama Republicans couldn’t help but realize a vote for Strange was a vote against everything they’d voted for Trump to accomplish.

Draining the swamp is high on that list of priorities.

That’s troublesome for a GOP establishment largely comprised of swamp creatures who’ve taken the form of lifelong Washington politicians. So troublesome, in fact, that shortly after Trump’s election the GOP’s congressional leaders asked the president to drop the swamp talk altogether.

If Moore makes it to Washington, he’ll only shed more light on the GOP’s swampiest elected officials. When I spoke to Moore at a rally earlier this year, I asked him if he was comfortable being an obstructionist. Given his history in government, it was probably a stupid question– but the answer was yes. His litmus test for approval of any legislation, Moore said, would hinge on absolute constitutionality.

That’s bad news for the GOP establishment because it means more power for a harshly conservative block of the party– think Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Ted Cruz and Mike Crapo– it’s been trying to silence for years. A Moore victory would also embolden any other conservative outsiders thinking about mounting primary challenges to incumbents in coming races.

There is an alternative in Alabama that would help the establishment hold on to its power– but it would require the unthinkable to occur.

A Jones victory doesn’t seem very likely in a state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1992– but that creates even more incentive for the Washington GOP establishment to quietly make sure Alabamians do this year.

If the deeply red state ends up throwing a victory to Jones in December, the establishment will emerge with a ripe “told you so” to ward off later outsider challenges.

The GOP, of course, isn’t going to actively campaign against Moore. But it probably doesn’t have to, as Hot Air pointed out today:

This makes two polls of the state in five days that have Moore ahead of Democrat Doug Jones by less than 10 points. Decision Desk HQ’s survey published last Friday had the race Moore 50, Jones 44. Today’s new one from JMC Analytics has it Moore 48, Jones 40, well in line with the earlier poll. It’s Moore’s race to lose and losing would be hard in Alabama, but for the moment this is no walkover for the GOP. And that makes a tough call for Democrats even tougher: Do they spend money earmarked for other races on this longshot or do they stay out of Alabama and then wonder What Might Have Been if Jones loses narrowly?

Bottom line is that to avoid having Moore become another conservative headache within the party while also gaining a big talking point against later outside challenges, the GOP establishment may only have to do what it does best: nothing.

Source: Will County News

Will County officials want to reduce tax levy by $1M; raise court fees

 

 


Will County officials want to reduce tax levy by $1M; raise court fees
Susan DeMar LaffertyContact Reporter
Daily Southtown

Will County officials may be forced to cut another $1 million out of their proposed budget after the Finance Committee voted Tuesday to reduce its property tax revenues by that amount.

County Executive Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, proposed a levy increase of $3.1 million — $2.1 million in new property and a $1 million increase within the Consumer Price Index.

 

During Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting, members voted 4 to 3 to eliminate that 1 percent CPI increase, which could lower the tax rate a bit more than initially proposed, as well as reduce revenues.

The vote was along party lines, with Republicans choosing not to take the CPI increase. The budget and the tax levy have to be approved by the full county board.

Finance Committee chairman, Mike Fricilone, R-Homer Glen, said he did not believe there were enough votes on the county board to pass levy as initially proposed with the 1 percent CPI increase.

They will now create a budget based on $1 million in less revenue, he said.

By law, the county is allowed to raise its levy by the 2.1 percent CPI increase, which would have equaled $2.5 million in additional property tax revenues, said budget director ReShawn Howard.

Walsh’s budget proposed a 1 percent CPI increase, and with an increase in the county’s equalized assessed valuation, the tax rate could be lowered 1.5 percent, from .614 to .60, Walsh said during his budget presentation.

The increase in property taxes was to offset the loss of $2.4 million in state revenues, and pay for building projects.

“The real question is what are they going to cut,” said Nick Palmer, Walsh’s chief of staff, after the meeting. “We are not fat in our budget.”

Member Ken Harris, D-Bolingbrook, said the county was “shorting” itself by not taking the full 2.1 percent CPI increase allowed.

The county’s taxes are “infinitesimally small” compared to other taxing bodies, like schools, said board member Jackie Traynere, D-Bolingbrook.

“I don’t want to be known as Illinois, who doesn’t levy enough, covers it up and has a big problem. We can keep the rate as is or lower it and still get enough to run county,” she said. “Everyone complains about taxes. That will never change.”

“Any time you raise taxes, it hurts all the people. People are fed up with government raising taxes,” said Steve Balich, R-Homer Township.

Fricilone said Congress may eliminate the State and Local Tax deduction, which now allows taxpayers to deduct those taxes from their federal income taxes.

“We have to think about every dollar we increase,” he said.

Balich also lashed out at the state for “stealing” the county’s money.

In passing its budget, the state is keeping more of the funds it typically distributes to local governments and is charging a 2 percent administrative fee for collecting all the sales tax revenues.

Balich suggested charging the state an “origination fee” for funds that come from the county.

“If we don’t stand up to the state, they will keep cutting us. Next year, they will take it all,” he said. “How do we stop them from stealing from us?”

Member Cory Singer, R-Frankfort, said he wants to know the total impact of all the state’s cuts to local governments over the years, across all departments.

“When you add it all up, it will be a significant number. We have to know what the state has taken from us,” he said. “Because the state is a financial disaster, we have to budget less accordingly.”

In the Judicial Committee meeting, also held Tuesday morning, members recommended increasing fees for users of the county’s court system.

A public hearing will be held at the Oct. 21 county board meeting on upping the judicial facility fee from $25 to $30 and the law library fee from $13 to $20 — the maximum allowed for both.

Roger Holland, court administrator, said the law library fee — levied on those who file civil cases — has not been increased since 2008, and is needed to meet operational expenses in its budget, which is expected to have a deficit of $144,000.

The $7 fee hike would generate $155,000 more per year, he said, adding that library operates solely on revenues from these fees.

“We have less revenue because people have filed less lawsuits,” Holland said. The library is “quite busy,” and he expects more people to use it when the county begins electronic filing of lawsuits, he said.

“You are in a pickle here. You need to cut costs now,” said board Speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort Township, noting that this $20 fee is the maximum revenue the library can generate.

The $25 judicial facility fee, which the county began collecting in January, 2015, has fallen short of generating the anticipated $1.5 million to $2 million, Holland said, adding that for the first eight months of this year, the fee has brought in $844,000.

The fee is levied on cases that require a court appearance and the funds are used to pay for the new courthouse, which will be under construction next spring.

Holland also said people can seek fee waivers if they cannot afford to pay.

slafferty@tribpub.com

Twitter @SusanLaff

Source: Will County News

Will County Board’s Balich wants to keep the cutting coming

Will County Board’s Balich wants to keep the cutting coming

Will County Board member Steve Balich is running for re-election with the goal of eliminating unnecessary government and saving taxpayer money.

Balich, elected in 2012, is running as a team with fellow board member Mike Fricilone.

 Steve Balich http://www.electbalich.com

“We really represent the best interests of the people,” Balich told Will County Gazette. “We don’t care what the government wants; we’re there for the people.”

The Homer Glen resident says voters have been excited about his re-election campaign and happy with the job he’s done, which has included preventing aerial photos from being used to identify land use violations, passing a resolution allowing taxpayers to get their money back if their car is towed erroneously, and eliminating pensions for county board members.

“Basically, what we’re about is less government, less taxes and less regulations,” Balich said.

Balich has proposed removing maintenance items from the requirement for getting a building permit. The proposal would allow homeowners to do work on their house, such as getting new windows, doors or water tanks, without needing a permit.

Balich and Fricilone’s goal is to reduce property tax for the fourth year in a row. They suspect they can reduce the tax 1.5 percent to 3 percent.

“We do it because we watch how we spend our money,” Balich said. “Unlike the state of Illinois, they just spend. We don’t do that.”

Balich has served a county clerk and was a trustee for eight years.

“I started to run because I wanted to make my community a better place to live for me, my kids and my friends,” Balich said.

A Republican candidate has not challenged Balich in the primary, although Balich said it’s not too late for someone to join the race.

The primary will be held on March 20, 2018.

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C families, community show their Homer Pride at Color Run

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

Oct. 3, 2017

 

Homer 33C families, community show their Homer Pride at Color Run

Raise more than $10,000 for students, staff and schools

 

A rainbow of color filled the air Sunday, Oct. 1 as close to 700 students, parents, teachers and staff came out to celebrate their Homer Pride at the 3rd Annual Color Run.

 

Organized by the Future Ready Student Foundation, the Homer Pride Color Run is an annual fundraiser benefitting all Homer School District 33C students. Proceeds from this year’s event will be used toward teacher grants, enabling them to explore more innovative teaching strategies, and toward creating 21st century school libraries that offer flexible spaces and furniture that encourage exploration, creation and collaboration.

“The Color Run is an amazing way to have some fun while raising money to enhance our students’ education,” said Foundation member Robyn Bates who organized the event with fellow Foundation Board member Angela Adolf.

 

Students, eager to coat their white T-shirts with neon pink, blue and green powder, began gathering nearly an hour before the race. They were joined by Homer 33C teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, bus drivers, mechanics, custodians, secretaries, paraprofessionals and other staff members who showed their Homer Pride by running or walking alongside the students.

After a pre-run warm-up, led by Charter Fitness trainer Brian Langowski, runners sent a collective cloud of color into the air as the clock ticked down to 9:30 a.m.

 

More than 90 volunteers, including Homer 33C staff members and Lockport Township High School students, kept the participants motivated and hydrated, cheering them on as they made their way along the 5K route and handing out cups of water.

 

Others kept the Color Run colorful, tossing out fresh powder as runners and walkers passed by them on the path.

The 5K began and ended at South Founders Crossing and Bell Road in Homer Glen — just behind Charter Fitness, which sponsored the event.

 

T-shirt sponsors included: Center of Personal Empowerment–COPE, MGC Accounting and Tax, Inc., Wings Dance Studio, Front Row, and the Lockport Homer Youth Theater.

 

To make the Color Run a little more interesting, Foundation members offered a trophy to the school that recorded the highest percentage of Color Run participants.

 

Winner of this year’s Homer Pride Trophy is Schilling School, which now enjoys bragging rights until the next Color Run in 2018!

 

At the October Board of Education meeting, the Foundation also plans to recognize the district’s administrative staff, which demonstrated outstanding support with 90 percent participation.

 

 

Source: Will County News