Trail Mix: Midterm referendums tackle two big issues
👋 Hi, Justin here with my weekly political column, Trail Mix.
The midterm ballot has two big questions this year: one on workers rights and another on increasing Cook County Forest Preserve funding.
Why it matters: These ballot measures could change the way Cook County — and Illinois — works, lives and plays.
Forest Preserve Referendum: The measure proposes increasing property taxes .025% to protect, expand and maintain Cook County Forest Preserves.
- Currently less than 1% of the property tax revenue goes to the preserves.
What they're saying: A coalition of supporters says the tax increase would amount to "less than $1.66/month for the vast majority of homeowners."
- The measure would also add 3,000 acres of preserve and help the Forest Preserve pension obligations.
The other side: Although few welcome higher property taxes, this proposal has met little opposition.
Workers rights amendment: Another aims to make permanent the right to collective bargaining as part of the Illinois Constitution.
What they're saying: Advocates include the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which says the amendment would "guarantee the right of workers to bargain for safe working conditions, fair pay, and benefits.
"The other side: The Illinois Policy Institute argues that the ballot question should be about reforming pensions, not raising taxes.
- They also argue that giving unions permanent bargaining rights would result in higher property taxes to pay public workers.
More election nuggets
Blurred lines: Former ABC-7 political reporter Charles Thomas was once a trusted voice on the local news. Now he's getting paid to say he trusts Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey.
- In television ads called "Real Talk with Charles Thomas," he talks off-camera about how much he trusts Bailey because he's a farmer.
- What's even blurrier is that the ad is airing right before the ABC-7 10pm news.
- But after the site did some math, they found just 5.5% of registered voters in the local media market watched.
Endorsement time: The Tribune endorsed Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker over Bailey, even though Pritzker didn't appear before the editorial board after claiming its prior coverage had been unfair to him.
- The historically conservative Tribune picked another Democrat, Alexi Giannoulias, for secretary of state.
Between the lines: There was a concern that when the Sun-Times announced it would stop endorsing candidates, the Tribune would endorse only conservative candidates.
- But that hasn't materialized.
Of note: This is the Tribune's final gubernatorial endorsement as its parent company announced it will stop the practice after this election.
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