Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield. Subscribe here.
The pain of new taxes in Chicago is not over, a Wall Street debt rating agency predicted this week.
Still, a Kroll Bond Rating Agency report says Chicago is making progress in fixing its financial woes and can weather the continuing storm.
By 2023, the city will have to come up with up to $1.3 billion in new revenue and spending reductions to meet scheduled contributions to the city’s four pension funds and make rising debt payments, the agency estimated. On top of that, Chicago Public Schools and other local taxing bodies could need nearly $339 million more to meet those costs.
New taxes, coupled with any spending reductions at the city, CPS, Cook County and other governments could come to as much as $1.66 billion by 2023, Kroll concluded. Of course, those dynamics could change over time, depending on the economy, whether CPS gets the extra money it seeks from state government and Chicago’s overall finances.
That comes on top of $1.4 billion in new annual revenue — by the Tribune’s count — the city already has approved since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011. The mayor inherited a city budget balanced precariously with one-time revenues, floundering city worker pension systems and generous union contracts.
Most of the new money — $823 million — comes in the form of higher property taxes, a new water service tax and an increased 911 telephone fee all dedicated to increased pension contributions. The bulk of the rest is in the form of higher water service fees being used to upgrade the city’s aging water system.
CPS, meanwhile, has increased property taxes by more than $477 million to cover education costs, construction and pension contributions since 2011.
Kroll gives Chicago a higher bond rating than other agencies and believes the city is in a position to work its way out of its troubles. Moody’s, for example, warned earlier this month of another debt downgrade.
The Kroll report, though, stated Emanuel’s plans to increase pension contributions, approved this month by the state, are “sustainable and a positive step forward.
The agency “believes that Chicago’s businesses, households and visitors — the city’s wealth base — can afford the city’s debt and pension obligations — even if it will be somewhat painful,” the report added.
It goes on to note the “depth and diversity” of the city’s economy, “effective management, improved financial controls and ample reserves. … City leaders have demonstrated the political will necessary to execute their plans despite numerous obstacles.” (Hal Dardick)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to announce with the Department of Streets and Sanitation that more miles of street have been swept this year than last.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner has no public events scheduled.
*The Illinois House and Senate will be in special session.
*There’s a hearing in the Cook County soda pop tax lawsuit. According to the plaintiffs, it’s a potential ruling on the county’s motion to dismiss.
*Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will appear at a forest preserve in Thornton for a morning graduation ceremony for young people who participated in a summer jobs program.
From the notebook
A new debate leader for the GOP: Illinois House Republicans have named Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard to serve as floor leader, a high profile position in which he will serve as the lead debater for his caucus.
Breen replaces Rep. Steve Andersson, who was removed from the leadership position after he split with Gov. Bruce Rauner and joined Democrats to approve a budget and income tax hike.
Breen is a constitutional attorney known for his conservative stances on fiscal and social issues.
“I look forward to voicing our caucus’ priorities and goals as we continue with reform efforts to move our state from the brink of collapse to substantial recovery,” Breen said in a statement. “The leadership team is dedicated to restoring people’s confidence in the state of Illinois and I am pleased to be taking a larger role in sharing our message.” (Monique Garcia)
*When is a news conference not a news conference?: Gov. Rauner was scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday following the quick in-and-out of the special session. First, it was pushed back. Then, an aide said the governor wouldn’t be taking questions. Which means it wasn’t really a news conference.
*Pritzker gets painters’ union backing: Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker is continuing to pick up endorsements from organized labor, now getting the backing of Illinois Painters District Councils covering workers in Chicago, Cook and Lake counties, areas bordering Iowa and southern Illinois.
Pritzker’s campaign said the labor councils, as members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, represent 36 different craft trades collectively across Illinois.
“As governor, working families and the labor movement will always have a seat at the table as we work together to protect collective bargaining rights, oppose right to work and enforce prevailing wage laws,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Pritzker already has received the backing of the Illinois AFL-CIO and 17 unions across the state.
The Pritzker campaign also released a new one-minute digital video showing broadcast media coverage of some of the problems that surfaced following the big shake-up in Republican Gov. Rauner’s governmental and political operation. It also features Rauner lauding his staff as the “best team in America.” (Rick Pearson)
*EMILY’s List puts Roskam, Davis “On Notice”: The Democrat-supporting advocacy group for women, EMILY’s List, has put Illinois Republican Reps. Peter Roskam of Wheaton and Rodney Davis of Taylorville on its “On Notice” targeting list over their votes in support of House GOP plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Stephanie Schriock, the group’s president, issued identically worded statements — swapping out the names of Roskam and Davis — in which she contended they “failed to protect the Illinoisans” they were elected to represent and vowing the group is committed to flipping their seats to Democrats.
Roskam represents the 6th District, which is centered in DuPage County, while Davis has the 13th District, which includes part of central Illinois.
EMILY’s List is calling its “On Notice” program the largest in its 32-year history and targeting 50 Republicans on the federal level over their voting records on women’s issues. (Rick Pearson)
*The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests are Lauren Chooljian, who is moving on after covering city politics for WBEZ-FM 91.5; Democratic state Rep. Rob Martwick of Chicago and 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale. The “Sunday Spin” airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720.
What we’re writing
*Illinois budget backlog gives headache to health care providers, patients.
*Republicans send mixed signals on immediate Rauner veto of school funding bill.
*City Hall denies permit to install golden, pig-shaped balloons to block TRUMP in titular tower.
*36th Ward Ald. Villegas wants to deputize Chicagoans to free dogs from hot cars.
*Naperville City Council member latest to announce Democratic bid for right to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-6).
*Former speechwriter for Daley II, Sen. Dixon dies at 70.
*Bullet hits Chicago firetruck responding to scene.
What we’re reading (Friday Summer Fun Edition)
*Lettuce Entertain You returns to the Pump Room.
*Illinois suspends operation of a dozen rides after Ohio accident with fatalities.
*West Coast brewery coming to Fulton Market (we recommend trying Sculpin).
Follow the money
*Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago kicked in $10,000 to the 48th Ward Democrats.
*Democratic state Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie collected $33,000, led by $11,000 from the Casino Law Group.
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.
*U.S. Senate still working on ‘skinny repeal’ of Obamacare.
*Scaramucci has a conversation with the New Yorker, from which expletives are not deleted.
*Sessions tells AP he’ll serve as AG as long as Trump wants him to.