Illinois Venture Capital Association Illinois Legislative Report
David Stricklin / Stricklin & Associates
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
COULD HAVE BEEN A STAR – WITNESS
Federal prosecutors are today wrapping up their case against Tim Mapes, the former chief of staff to former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. Mapes was a fixture in the Capitol known for his demonstrated abilities to run the details of the Illinois House and to carry out the instructions of the Speaker and his leadership team. Mapes was fired one day on the spot due to allegations of inappropriate conduct and ended up being called before a federal grant jury, a grant of prosecutorial immunity in hand, to testify as to what he knew about the Speaker and his confidante, Mike McClain.
“And he lied to protect his friend Mike McClain, who had recently been indicted for bribery,” Schwartz said. “Mr. Mapes could have been a star witness for the government, which was conducting a wide-ranging bribery investigation involving Mr. Madigan and Michael McClain.
Closely watched for its legal ramifications and for its window into the proverbial smoke-filled rooms, jurors are expected to get the case for deliberations perhaps today or certainly tomorrow.
STILL NO TIME FOR SMALL PLANS
The biggest challenges for Illinois are lack of entrepreneurship and capital, as well as failure to look ahead. Our research universities are late to the commercialization game, and the residue of an old manufacturing culture that prized safe, careerlong jobs may affect young people’s willingness to fail in pursuit of success.
A good conversation starter is whether people are moving out of Illinois in droves to escape high taxes or if people are moving in to escape the cost of living on the coasts. Or for a dozen other reasons, Illinois finds itself being measured as a place which loses corporate headquarters such as Boeing and Caterpillar, while adding new activity in Electric Vehicles.
Jim Nowlan, a well-known observer of Illinois government and politics took a stab at the question including the following, which plays off the first item mentioned above:
If I were asked to do a marketing campaign for Illinois (and I have done successful political marketing over the decades), I would slather our state and the world with billboards, as follows: “Come to Illinois — we’re getting warmer, we have oodles of water and we’re becoming less corrupt.”
STATE FINANCES PASS AUDIT TEST
The Illinois Auditor General issued a report on the state’s fiscal condition which Democrats will argue demonstrates the progress made under their leadership the last five years:
The GAAP basis financial position of the General Fund improved at June 30, 2022, from June 30, 2021. The fund balance in the State’s General Fund improved by $4.6 billion on a GAAP basis. The June 30, 2022, balance was $1.5 billion. Exhibit 2 reflects the General Fund balance for Fiscal Years 2015 through 2022.
I-80 DEMOCRAT WON’T RUN AGAIN
There are fewer and fewer seats in the Illinois General Assembly which are truly contested in the general election. Primaries decide the candidates in the majority of seats, where the Democrats run to the left and Republicans run to the right to reflect the demographics of their voting base. In the I-80 corridor and extending up to DeKalb, Rep. Lance Yednock has served as what you might call a “Blue Dog Democrat”, a union member, more socially conservative than some of his peers, a bread and butter legislator focused on his district and local issues.
“While not having the exact same challenges as more urban areas, downstate has plenty of needs and arguably less resources by the nature of geography and population,” Yednock said in a statement. “The example of rural health care is but one example that is always at the forefront of my mind. I understand that if I cannot get the legislature to understand how downstate needs resources, then I must admit to myself that a different representative may get a better outcome, and that is far more important to me than a future reelection campaign.” (EMPHASIS ADDED)
REPUBLICANS CHART COURSE
At the State Fair in Springfield Demcrats rallied in relative harmony as Republicans assessed their options on how to deal with former President Trump and how to reach voters on issues such as abortion rights.
Rather than discuss Trump’s impact on efforts to erode the Democratic supermajorities, McCombie and state Senate GOP leader John Curran of Downers Grove each indicated they plan to keep the focus on Illinois issues in local contests rather than see them become nationalized, as they have been in recent years.
“I have concerns anytime we’re not talking Illinois issues with those we represent,” Curran said. “Illinois has been out of balance, and that is really where we want to drive the conversation. So whether it’s Donald Trump or any other national issue, it is really the state issues that we want to drive the message.”
CASH BAIL CHANGES COMING SOON
Illinois’ controversial SAFE-T Act, which will eliminate the use of cash bail, will go into effect in September following the state Supreme Court’s ruling that reversed an earlier decision from a Chicago-area judge.