Spotlight Politics: Mayoral Money Machine Revs Up
Bill Daley gets a major endorsement for mayor while hauling in big bucks. Carol Marin, Paris Schutz and Amanda Vinicky have details on that story and more in this week’s Spotlight Politics roundtable.
Some of Chicago’s business leaders are starting to show their allegiances in the race for Chicago mayor.
On Wednesday, Bill Daley reported a $1 million campaign contribution from Illinois’ wealthiest resident, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin. It prompted some pushback from candidate Susana Mendoza, who called him “Rauner’s mayor” because of Griffin’s fundraising ties to former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Daley has outpaced the field in terms of campaign fundraising; Toni Preckwinkle is in second place with a lot of big checks from public employee unions. Daley on Wednesday also received the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune editorial board.
In state politics, Springfield insiders are starting to speculate on what Gov. J.B. Pritzker will include in his Feb. 20 budget address. Two of his top surrogates, Deputy Governor Dan Hynes and Revenue Director David Harris, have been making the rounds, talking about the gravity of the situation the state faces. (The two appeared on “Chicago Tonight” on Tuesday. Watch our discussion with them here.) The administration estimates a $3.2 billion budget gap (which represents about 10 percent of the total budget) and a backlog of bills that approaches a staggering $15 billion. In addition, the state is required to deposit $9 billion into public employee pension systems, prompting the creation of task forces that will explore consolidating downstate pension funds and putting state-owned assets into the system to soften the blow of the payment.
Also this week, a top fiscal watchdog has called on additional revenue, like a tax on retirement income, to help get the state out of its deep fiscal hole. It marks the second business-friendly group that has acknowledged the need for new taxes. But the Pritzker administration continues to promote the ideas of taxing marijuana and increasing video gaming to generate revenue as a bridge before trying to change the state’s constitution to allow for a progressive income tax.