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33 minutes | Jul 25, 2018
Madigan: What is the deal with this guy?
Since I launched this podcast, I’ve gotten questions that cover a pretty broad range of topics in Illinois government. But there’s one topic—one particularly notorious individual—that folks are really curious about. I heard from 6 people who all asked more or less the same question about House Speaker Mike Madigan: How did he get so much power? And how does he keep it? To answer this question, we’ll take a history lesson in machine politics, we’ll learn a little something about partisan gerrymandering, and we’ll follow the money in campaign finance. Finally, we’ll consider what Madigan’s legacy might be, whenever he leaves office. Homework: We didn’t want to bore you with too much money talk in this episode. But if you’re curious to learn more about Madigan’s campaign finances and his financial supporters, you should spend some time poking around illinoissunshine.org. Here’s where you’ll find information about each of the four finance committees he controls: Democratic Party of Illinois Illinois House Democratic Majority Political Fund Friends of Michael J Madigan 13th Ward Recommended Viewing: Madigan in conversation with Mike Lawrence in 2004: Part one and part two. Madigan: Power. Privilege. Politics. A thorough and interesting documentary by the conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute. Keep in mind that IPI is fiercely anti-Madigan. Recommended Reading: The Reader’s Steve Bogira on Madigan and redistricting in 1981 The Chicago Magazine’s 2013 profile: Mike Madigan is the King of Illinois Illinois Policy Institute looks at how the House rules give Madigan more power. (They fail to mention that these rules were actually adopted by Republican leadership in the 90s, not by Madigan. But it's still important info.) Credits: Question Askers: Hilary Clifford, Eliana Sigel-Epstein, Christine Schmidt, Ben Taylor, Theo Anderson, and Bob Kibble Host and Producer: Ellen Mayer Associate Producer: Samantha Smylie Theme music: Jacob Chaparro from the Broken Nose Collective Logo art: Kayla Ginsburg from the Radical Stitchery Additional music: Jig of Slurs. Dublin Reel. by Slainte from the Free Music Archive Democratic Circus by Talking Heads Luck Be A Lady (Karaoke Version) by Frank Loesser Washington On Your Side by Lin-Manuel Miranda C.R.E.A.M. instrumental by Wu Tang Clan
34 minutes | Apr 30, 2018
The taxes are too damn high
I know, I know you just got done thinking about taxes for the year. But bare with me! When you’re slogging through tax forms, it’s hard to take a step back and consider, why do my taxes work the the way they do? And who decided that? Lindsay Welbers has been thinking about all these things, and she’s wondering if maybe there’s a better way. She sent us this great question: Is it a pipe dream to have a progressive tax in Illinois? Lindsay already knows a thing or two about tax policy, but if you have no clue what we’re talking about, don’t worry! I will break it all down. We’ll discuss how our tax system works now, how it could change, and whether any of that would result in you getting a tax break. Plus we’ll learn a thing or two about the Illinois Constitution! Guests: Daniel Kay Hertz from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability Professor Ann Lousin from John Marshall Law School FURTHER READING: Our guest Daniel Kay Hertz mentioned a few polls and studies to back up his argument. You can find them all below: Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Opinion Poll: 66.5% of Illinoisans favor a progressive tax COUNTERPOINT: the conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute also recently did a poll with very different results. I will leave it to the public policy wonks among you to figure out which poll has more reliable methods. CTBA’s report on the “Millionaire Migration Myth” CTBA’s brand new report laying out their argument for a graduated income tax as well as their suggested rates for different income brackets. TLDR: Crain’s Chicago has an article summarizing the report The Center for American Prosperity’s Keep Illinois Flat Advertisement Credits: Host and producer: Ellen Mayer Question asker: Lindsay Welbers Original theme music: Jacob Chaparro of the Broken Nose Collective Logo illustration: Kayla Ginsburg of the Radical Stitchery Production support: Daniel Kisslinger of AirGo Radio
23 minutes | Mar 27, 2018
Who's got the power?
This podcast is usually about state government and how it works. But there are lots of other kinds of government in Illinois. There's cities, counties, school boards, and more! Today we're looking into what each of those governments do, what power they hold, and how they interact with each other. Our question asker, Kayla Ginsburg, told me that she's really interested in understanding how government can impact public schools in Chicago. So we used education as a lens to map out the powers of different levels of government. This episode covers a lot of information and we only just scratched the surface. Think of it as a kind of survey course! So if you want to know more about anything we discussed today, send me your question here. Kayla told me that she's a visual learner so what she really wanted was some kind of flowchart or diagram to illustrate the hierarchy of local governments in Illinois. I'm not a visual person, though. Kayla is an artist (she actually designed the IlliNoise logo) so I asked her if she'd be willing to create an illustration of the material we covered today. You can find her amazing drawings on our Facebook. A note This episode ended up with a very strong focus on Chicago. That was partially do to Kayla's perspective as a Chicagoan but mostly due to the fact that the power map of local governments can look very different depending on where you live in Illinois, and there was simply no way to account for all of those differences in the span of this episode. Going forward I plan to focus on topics that are universal and relevant to people throughout Illinois. Further Reading / Listening WBEZ's Curious City: Rubber Stamp Aldermen: Why Does Chicago City Council Always Vote For What The Mayor Wants? WTTW: Illinois House Once Again Backs Elected Chicago School Board
21 minutes | Feb 26, 2018
Illinois' Attorney General — What's That Job?
This is the very first episode of IlliNoise! Moving forward this show is going to be built entirely around your questions about our state government. But this week and this week only, I’m digging into a question of my own: What exactly does the Illinois Attorney General do? I’ve been wondering about this because back in September our current attorney general Lisa Madigan announced that she wouldn’t be seeking reelection this year. Our state’s primaries are coming up in March. So that means Illinois voters need to decide who they want to be our next attorney general really soon. But I don’t think I can decide who is most qualified for the job until I know what the job is. So I asked Law360 reporter Hannah Meisel to help me out. Do you have a question about how our state government works? Submit it here. Today's Homework Your homework for today is to prep for the March primaries in two ways: 1. Research the candidates for Attorney General Head over to ballotready.org. They've got basic information about each of the 10 candidates including their professional experience, education, stances, and endorsements. Once you've looked that over, pick one or two candidates that you're interested in and search their name in a local news outlet of your choosing. Ballot Ready is great but most of their information comes from the candidates' websites, which means it's only the information that the candidates want you to see. Digging further into a news article or two will help you get a fuller picture. 2. If you're planning to vote, make sure you're registered or know how to register Did you know that you can register to vote at the polling place on election day???? It's true. Don't get stressed thinking that you've missed a deadline. When you go to your polling place just bring proof of residence and you'll be registered right on the spot. To get more information about where to vote and how to register, go to: https://chicagoelections.com/en/register-to-vote-change-of-address.html If you live in Chicago that website will also help you find your polling place!
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