Spotlight Politics: What’s Coming in 2019

Tax returns, petition challenges and a proposal to rename the Dan Ryan Expressway? It’s all part of the fluid world of Chicago politics during this holiday week.

Here to catch you up on what you may have missed – and to look ahead at what’s to come in 2019 – are “Chicago Tonight” political correspondents Paris Schutz and Amanda Vinicky in our weekly roundtable, Spotlight Politics.

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Tax returns

On Friday, “Chicago Tonight” received the partial 2017 tax return for Bill Daley, revealing the candidate paid $789,180 in taxes on a taxable income of just over $2.1 million. Yet missing from those notable figures: any schedules that would clarify how he derived that income.

Ja’Mal Green also provided “Chicago Tonight” with federal tax filing information, which show his taxable income in 2017 was $52,954. Despite contributing what the campaign describes as “countless hours” volunteering and contributing to nonprofits such as TrueStar and Majostee Allstars, the teen financial literacy organization Green created, the campaign said Green chooses not to file charity work as a deduction “because of the tax breaks associated with charitable giving.” Green’s campaign said it will not release the names of companies for which he’s done consulting work out of the “best interest” for his business, at the companies’ request and because none have contracts with the city.

Petition challenges

The final field of mayoral candidates is starting to take shape as the petition challenge period winds on. The pool will be much larger than originally anticipated, as many challenges are fizzling out, and other candidates were unchallenged to begin with. Look for a flurry of fundraising, political ads and candidate forums to greet voters in the new year.

Pension funds

And while this all takes place, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will press forward in the final months of his last term in office, potentially leaving the next mayor with a new $10 billion bond deal to pay off as City Council considers borrowing the money to deposit into the four beleaguered city pension funds. Pensions would almost certainly have to become a big issue in the mayoral campaign, as Emanuel’s successor will eventually have to figure out how to raise at least $1 billion more per year to keep up with actuarial required payments into those funds, or risk them becoming insolvent.

Pritzker in the house

Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner will hand over the keys to the governor’s mansion to J.B. Pritkzer early in 2019.

Pritkzer will have supermajorities of fellow Democrats in the Illinois House and Senate, giving little excuse for failing to get his agenda passed. Pritzker has largely avoided getting into specifics about how he’ll address Illinois’ financial challenges, beginning with a $1 billion shortfall to this year’s budget. However, he’s said legalizing marijuana and passing a broad infrastructure program are priorities.

Follow us on Twitter: @wttw @paschutz | @AmandaVinicky | @CarolMarin

Related stories:

After Short Holiday Break, Mayoral Challenges Resume

Bob Fioretti Focuses on Taxes, Pensions in 2nd Bid for Chicago Mayor

Bill Daley Unveils Partial 2017 Tax Returns

Spotlight Politics: Preckwinkle Drops Petition Challenge

19 New Laws to Know in 2019

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