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Group aims to pressure Rauner, Madigan on budget with LOL site

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Topspin

The name of the group is LOL Illinois, but organizers say the state’s sorry financial state is no laughing matter.

Created by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, LOL Illinois is a new campaign designed to build public pressure on lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner to reach a deal to end the state’s historic budget impasse. It features billboards and ads in train stations directing people to LOLIllinois.com, where visitors can send letters to their lawmakers and share stories about how they’ve been impacted by the stalemate.

Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee, said the effort isn’t designed to assign blame to the Republican governor or Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan. Rather, the idea is to fan public outrage in the hope both sides will move past the political talking points at the heart of the standoff.

“The whole thing is designed to make it sufficiently uncomfortable for people in elected to office at all levels who are failing to do their job,” said Fahner, a Republican and former Illinois attorney general.

Fahner said Republicans and Democrats alike share responsibility for the state’s money problems, and as such must move past differences to find a solution.

That’s proving to be easier said than done. Rauner and Democrats resumed budget negotiations last week, but both sides remain entrenched. Rauner says he won’t sign off on another stopgap spending plan unless Democrats sign off on portions of his economic agenda, while Democrats contend his ideas will hurt working families and have nothing to do with the budget-making process.

Meanwhile, the state is projected to hit a record $13.5 billion in unpaid bills if a deal isn’t reached by July. (Monique Garcia)

 

What’s on tap

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s public schedule was not available.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner’s public schedule was not available.

*A short Thanksgiving week at City Hall and the Capitol. Which means things could be slow, but also beware the long holiday weekend news dumps.

 

What we’re writing

*Emanuel’s Cupich delegation to Rome filled with campaign donors.

*Todd Ricketts meets with Donald Trump.

*Politically connected mayor of Chinatown Hu gets one-year sentence.

*Anxiety over Trump election galvanizes immigration advocacy in Chicago.

*Long-running parade of NW Indiana corruption charges continues.

 

What we’re reading

*Cupich’s influence grows with promotion to cardinal.

*Obama reckons with a Trump presidency (in the New Yorker).

*5-8-8, pri-vate equity, Empire?

*Quite the musical coup for Trump inaugural … if it were 1987.

 

From the notebook

*The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political writer Rick Pearson’s guests were Rebecca Shi, executive director of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition; Democratic political consultant Tom Bowen; and former Republican state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine. The "Sunday Spin" airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN 720-AM. Listen to the full show here.

 

Follow the money 

*The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform looks at how votes have shifted in the state since 2008.

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

 

Beyond Chicago

*Trump turns Cabinet selection process into spectacle.

*Obama declines to rule out launching political attacks on Trump.

*Melania Trump and son Barron to initially remain in New York after inauguration.

*Trump University lawsuits settled for $25 million.

 
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