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Barrington Village President Karen Darch

Barrington Village President Karen Darch, three incumbent village trustees and Village Clerk Tony Ciganek will run for reelection in the spring as part of a slate they’re calling “Barrington Forward.”

Darch, who is seeking her fifth term as the village’s top elected official, said in an announcement of the slate Tuesday that the group provides “strong, steady, and proven leadership” as Barrington continues to deal with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re working proactively to support community efforts, help our local businesses survive, and maintain the village’s fiscal stability by remaining fiscally responsible,” she said. “Meanwhile, we’re keeping an eye on the future. Barrington was thriving before this pandemic, and the Barrington Forward team will ensure we continue this positive momentum.”

The slate’s trustee candidates are Todd Sholeen, who’s served on the board since 2015; Jennifer Wondrasek, who was elected in 2017 and is seeking a second term on the panel; and Mike Moran, who was appointed to the board last year when former Trustee Jeff Janssen resigned because he was moving out of state.

Ciganek will be seeking his second term as village clerk.

Read on here.

Related: Barrington trustees agree to sales tax incentives for two high-end vehicle dealerships, bringing ‘economic rewards over time’

Barrington launching ‘Curious Questions with Karen Darch’ podcast

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Effective Tuesday, all driver’s license offices in the state will be closed through December 6th.

Illinois’ drivers services facilities will close for in-person business for three weeks starting Tuesday because of the statewide surge in COVID-19 cases.

Secretary of State Jesse White’s office announced the statewide closures of the state’s Driver Services facilities on Friday and urged the public to take advantage of online services.

The closures for in-person business will begin Tuesday, with the locations set to reopen December 7th in an effort to help protect staff amid the ongoing increase in coronavirus cases.

For more info visit CyberDriveIllinois.

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That brought the total cost to build and run the short-lived facility to about $81.1 million, including construction costs. The emergency facility will not reopen, state officials say.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (from left), Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, touring the $65.9 million emergency coronavirus hospital at McCormick Place on April 17 — the day Pritzker announced the first five patients had been transferred there. Only 33 more would follow, as a feared COVID-19 crush at hospitals eased.
(Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times)

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raced to build a $66 million emergency COVID-19 field hospital inside McCormick Place last spring, state and city officials scrambled to find the staff, equipment and supplies to run it.

The tab for all of that was another $20.3 million, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show, though state officials say two vendors returned a total of $5.2 million of “unspent funds.”

That brought the total cost of building and staffing the short-lived, makeshift coronavirus hospital to about $81.1 million.

State and city officials say they expect most of the costs for the McCormick Place hospital to be covered by the federal government.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency spent $19 million to staff and operate the hospital. City Hall put in another $1.3 million for materials and supplies.

The McCormick Place field hospital, built by Walsh Construction, one of Chicago’s most politically well-connected contractors, opened in mid-April. It was shut down only weeks later, on May 8, as the demand for hospital beds for coronavirus patients eased, and it was deemed by state and city officials to no longer be needed.

Read more of the Sun*Times Watchdog report here.

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

When Illinois voters rejected Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s request for permission to alter income taxes, they twice defied the wealthy governor, embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan and the dominant Democratic majority in Springfield.

They voted No on a constitutional amendment to switch from a flat tax to a graduated tax. In doing so, they said No to the defining characteristic of this state’s Democratic problem-solving, which tends to be: throw more money at it. Streamline government? Consolidate taxing bodies? Allow voters to enact term limits? No, just raise taxes or create new ones.

From such moments of voter frustration, political rebellions can be born. There is no question in our minds that Madigan has overstayed his tenure as speaker and represents an obstacle, rather than the agent of change, for Illinois, which must fix its broken finances. Adding pressure: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Wednesday and Pritzker on Thursday joined us in saying, time for Madigan to step down as party chairman.

Election Day provided several more signs that Illinoisans are willing to challenge the ossified, self-centered and damaging fiscal policies of Madigan and the Dems. Madigan, who is linked to an unfolding federal corruption investigation, saw Republicans appear to take two House seats from his supermajority. Not a big change, but every loss means something, even given the Democrats’ overwhelming position.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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Supporters of a plan to create a graduated income tax rate system in Illinois are conceding the race.

“We are undoubtedly disappointed with this result but are proud of the millions of Illinoisans who cast their ballots in support of tax fairness in this election,” said Quentin Fulks, who led the Vote Yes for Fairness campaign. “Now lawmakers must address a multibillion dollar budget gap without the ability to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share.”

The amendment required either 60% of those voting on the amendment to vote yes, or a simple majority of all ballots cast in the election must favor it. The most recent figures show the proposal to change the state’s constitutional requirement of a flat income tax rate lost outright by hundreds of thousands of votes.

With about 97% of the state’s precincts reporting, unofficial results show 55% of voters were against the proposal.

“It is clear that Illinoisans do not trust this legislature and this administration to spend more of their precious tax dollars without restraint,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch.

Read on here.

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Barrington Village President Karen Darch

Barrington is offering a longtime car dealership an economic incentive so it can expand and stay in the village.

Motor Werks of Barrington and the village reached an agreement, approved by trustees at the Oct. 26 Village Board meeting that allows the dealership to share a percentage of sales tax over a 10-year term. The incentive establishes a base sales tax amount of $2.7 million, a figure derived from an average of sales taxes over several previous years, according to village documents.

Under the agreement, Motor Werks would receive 65% of all sales tax revenues above the base as incentive payments and the village would get 35%, officials said.

The dealership, which sells high-end brands like Porsche and BMW, has been dealing with inadequate parking for its inventory, traffic congestion around the service and wash bays, and an inability to relocate its Cadillac dealership onsite, village officials said. It plans to purchase the Barrington Woods office complex, at 18 E. Dundee Ave., for redevelopment. The dealership will add a parking structure, vehicle recondition center and move the Cadillac brand.

Village Manager Scott Anderson said Motor Werks has been an important business in the community, and it is in the village’s best interest to partner with them to provide economic support.

Read more here.

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The opening of the Longmeadow Parkway toll bridge inched forward Tuesday as a Kane County Board committee gave preliminary approval to a multimillion-dollar contract that locks in two discount programs for frequent users.

Even with the discounts, board representatives from the area where the tollway will be located are still not pleased with the project.

The board’s transportation committee voted to give a $7.8 million contract to Texas-based Electronic Transactions Consultants Corp. The company, whose primary owners are based in Italy, would oversee the discount program and manage customer accounts and communication.

The contract is a six-year deal with possible extensions that could see it last up to 10 years. The $7.8 million reflects the full 10-year cost of the pending agreement.

Tolls for most cars will be 95 cents per trip on the bridge over the Fox River. It’s the only bridge over the river in the county that would charge a toll.

Frequent users of the Longmeadow Parkway toll bridge can take advantage of one of two discount programs, depending on where they live.

Read more here.

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On September 26th, The League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Palatine Area, lwvpalatinearea.org, conducted a virtual non-partisan candidate forum for three candidates running for the 52nd District of the Illinois House of Representatives; Martin McLaughlinAlia Sarfraz and Marci Suelzer. The YouTube recording of the meeting can be viewed here.

We listened intently to the recording and felt we would be remiss if we did not share at least one excerpt we believe is critical for voters to hear or read. The LWV asked candidates to,

“Think of a person that is, or has served in Springfield, that’s made an impact for the better in our state.”

Marci Suelzer’s response to this simple question was,

Marci Suelzer

I’m somewhat at a disadvantage in this question in that I did not grow up in Illinois. But I do think that Governor Pritzker has made an impact in saving lives in Illinois.

I wish that I had a better base of historical knowledge to go back two decades or whatever, but I simply don’t.”

The question and her response can be heard here.

Though she admittedly lacks experience, that has not stopped significant contributions to Suelzer’s campaign which only began less than three months ago. Her campaign committee has amassed upwards of $400,000, primarily from Democratic Party of Illinois ($129k), Democratic Majority ($94k), LIUNA Chicago Laborers ($58k), Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC ($58k) and Friends to Elect Kathleen Willis ($45k).

Clearly with this overabundance of political funding, Marci Suelzer does not need to worry about her lack of experience, since if she is elected, her well-financed handlers will tell her how to vote.

Martin McLaughlin has been running for the 52nd District for nearly a year with funding of about 20% of that of his opponent. What matters most when considering which candidate to vote for in an election;

  • (a) one who has been successfully leading a Village for eight years or
  • (b) one who, although inexperienced, has substantial financial backing from the current State leadership?

You decide!

Campaign finance references: Marci Suelzer Campaign Committee, Martin McLaughlin For State Representative

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The contest ahead of a Nov. 3 vote on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution remains close. There are many interesting paths forward depending on the eventual outcome of this vote.

The fight over the graduated income tax—or the “Fair Tax,” as Gov. J.B. Pritzker branded it—has rightly been called a battle of the billionaires.

But it’s not just billionaires like Pritzker and his chief opponent on the tax, Citadel founder Ken Griffin, who have big stakes in the tax vote. All of us do.

The contest ahead of a Nov. 3 vote on Pritzker’s proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution remains close. A source familiar with daily polling data from the pro-amendment side told me the projected outcome is within the margin of error of the polls, too close to call.

Other facts support this. Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton recently warned about a possible 20 percent tax hike on everyone if the amendment fails. The threat would not be needed if the vote were secure.

Griffin late last month poured another $26.8 million into the campaign to stop the amendment. He wouldn’t have doubled his initial outlay if the outcome weren’t still in play.

It’s astounding the contest is close. The “fair tax” is a soak-the-rich appeal to raise taxes on the top 3 percent of earners. The remaining 97 percent are told their taxes will drop or stay the same. The 6 million taxpayers expecting lower or level tax bills should overwhelm the 190,000 in the top 3 percent who would face a tax hike.

Of course, politics is more than math. It requires understanding the hopes and fears of people, their sense of whom to trust and what to believe. Those concerns help explain why Pritzker’s proposal is not faring better.

Read more from the Better Government Association here.

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Martin McLaughlin, the village president of Barrington Hills since 2013, is an advocate for reducing spending and cutting taxes.

He is running in the state’s 52nd House District against Marci Suelzer, a Democrat from Island Lake, and Alia Sarfraz, a Green Party candidate from South Barrington.

The three are seeking to replace longtime state Rep. David McSweeney, who isn’t seeking reelection.

McLaughlin criticized the state for passing a budget this past spring that included a projected $6 billion deficit.

He said that in Barrington Hills, village officials started having conversations in the spring about what the pandemic’s economic impact would look like and what that would mean for village revenues.

“I just want the state to recognize the revenue will not be there and to be proactive about that, whatever that takes as far as reductions in spending or cuts or an overall look,” he said in a group interview with the editorial boards of the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald.

Read the full Northwest Herald endorsement here.

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