The ‘anti-immigrant’ label – typically used by liberal media outlets to tar those who either speak uncomfortable truths about illegal immigration or who simply support the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws – reared its ugly head again on Univision and Telemundo, this time as a result of Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner speaking about the downside of illegal immigration in the city of Chicago.
A Sunday morning report by Associated Press political writer John O'Connor acts as if the the sordid history of fiscal irresponsibility in the State of Illinois is a new development brought on by a stubborn Republican governor in just the past seven months.
What hogwash. The state has had a large backlog of delinquent unpaid bills for a decade, if not longer. Five years ago, a Democratic governor and a Democrat-dominated legislature enacted steep income and property tax increases, promising that the additional taxes raised would enable the state to whittle down the unpaid backlog, solve the state's horrific unfunded pension liabilities problem, and generally right the fiscal ship. Naturally, they did no such thing. O'Connor also didn't find any of the tax or bill-delinquency history worth recounting in his 800-word report.
It would be easy to conclude, based on its treatment of a story about Illinois lottery winners suing to force the state to disburse their payouts, that the Associated Press really doesn't want readers and its subscribing outlets to learn about it.
This "keep them in the dark" approach is consistent with a previous AP story on the state's failure to pay lottery winners. Let's start with that story's headline. Noted by yours truly on August 31 before the lawsuits were filed — "Lottery Winners Don't Get Largesse, But Get Left Out" — it was in my opinion deliberately vague and incoherent. The AP's headline at this evening's unbylined story, given the existence of the lawsuit, is even worse: "Amid budget debate, Illinois Lottery stops some payouts." Those who only get headlines in their newsfeeds on their phones, tablets and computers and don't click to read the story will have no idea that any legal action exists.
Silly me. I really thought that every state's lottery operation was walled off from the rest of its finances. They collect bets, pay out winnings and administrative costs, and turn over the profits to general fund. End of discussion. No muss, no fuss. Right?
In Illinois, based on recent developments, we know that's obviously not the case — leading me to wonder how many other states potentially have the same problem the Land of Lincoln currently has. You see, the state is about to move into the third month of a budget standoff between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and its Democrat-controlled state legislature. As a result, because the lottery's operations are at least in a legal sense commingled with the rest of the state's finances, its comptroller has been forced to cancel payouts of lottery winnings greater than $25,000. It appears that very few media outlets outside of Illinois are interested in covering this obviously important story. Why?
A search at the Associated Press's national site on the last name of Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn and "Jews" at 7:30 this evening returned nothing.
That's pretty amazing, considering that Quinn's campaign enthusiastically retweeted its support for an outrageous April 17 column by Neil Steinberg at the Chicago Sun-Times. For all practical purposes, Steinberg equated African-Americans who might support Republican Bruce Rauner in November's gubernatorial election against Quinn to "Jews (who) collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go." Quinn's people quietly deleted the tweets, according to the Washington Free Beacon's Adam Kredo, "after local Jewish community officials quietly communicated their outrage to the governor." Given that the time between the tweets and the deletes was apparently a few days, and that the sort-of apologies came almost a week after Steinberg's column, I'm not detecting a lot of sincerity here. Coverage from CNN's Political Ticker follows the jump (bolds are mine; links are in original):
I would say "Only in Illinois," but I suspect that other states have similar problems and would propose "solutions" just as nutty as the Democratic state Speaker Michael Madigan and his party have chosen.
The state has an unpaid bills backlog of $5.8 billion, meaning that vendors are going months before they get paid. We're supposed to be thrilled that this total is down from $8.8 billion several years ago. So when I read that Madigan wants to impose a "millionaire" income tax of 3 percent over and above the steep tax increases on income-earning Illinois residents across the board three years ago, I figured that he would at least plan on using the money to further whittle down those past-due amounts. Silly me. Unfortunately, reporters Ray Long, Monique Garcia and Maura Zurick at the Chicago Tribune didn't even bring the topic of old bills up in covering Madigan's ill-advised plan, which seems to have more to do with swaying the November election results — especially the race for the governor's mansion — than anything substantive: