Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Photo of Carolyn Grisko

BY Carolyn Grisko

November 20, 2020

Public Affairs

As we wait for the current resident of the White House to understand that he’s lost his lease, let’s turn to local politics, where it’s much easier for voters to have some influence. Many words have been written about why 55% of Illinois voters said no to an income tax amendment designed to increase taxes on the wealthiest 3% of Illinois residents. The opposition’s argument came down to: do you trust your elected representatives with more money? While I supported the amendment, one can hardly blame the folks who said NO.

I don’t know whether putting a sharp focus on ethics and transparency would have made a difference for those who voted against it, but it was certainly worth a shot – and it’s what Illinois residents deserve in any event. But Governor Pritzker didn’t do that. The legislature’s Joint Commission on Ethics & Lobbying Reform has yet to release a report that was due in March. Meanwhile lawmakers are worrying about drawing new legislative districts to take full advantage of packing the voters who support them into their districts when the new lines are drawn. With new census data at hand, this is the last chance in a decade for Illinois voters to pick their elected officials rather than the other way around but there’s no sign of that happening so far.

Grisko LLC is 25 years old this month. I remember when we first started working with lobbyists from other states, who casually informed us that in their view Illinois was always in the top 3 states for corruption, jockeying for position with Louisiana and New Jersey. Since then we’ve sent two governors to prison, so you tell me if things have improved.

The thing is, and I know it’s hard to envision, but it doesn’t have to be this way. CHANGE Illinois is fighting for fair maps, meaningful and enforceable ethical standards and transparency. I’m treasurer of their Action Fund. Please check out their website or hit me up to make a donation or get involved.

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Photo of Carolyn Grisko

BY Carolyn Grisko

November 20, 2020

Public Affairs