Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Central IL Says 'No Thanks' to Wal-Mart

Yesterday, I wrote on Capitol Fax Blog that people are starting to wake-up to the fact that Wal-Mart has become an economic parasite on America.

Add the people of Lincoln, Illinois to the list of folks catching on, says the State Journal Register.

In a surprise vote Tuesday, the Lincoln City Council rejected a $600,000 taxpayer subsidy to build a proposed Super Wal-Mart Center by a vote of 5-4. The Super Wal-Mart would have directly competed with local grocers.

The new Super Wal-Mart would have been cited right next to an existing Wal-Mart which, of course, would be vacated.

Clueless City Council member Alderman O.V. "Buzz" Busby defended Wal-Mart's gift package:
As for the effect on two existing grocery stores, Lincoln IGA and Kroger, Busby said, "I believe in the free enterprise system. Let the best man win."
Earth to Buzz: It's not "free" enterprise when Wal-Mart gets a $600,000 leg-up on the competition.

Expect Wal-Mart to try to muscle through a re-vote in the coming months, but Lincoln stands tall today.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Not bad for a "Hellhole"

Site Selection Magazine has once again named Illinois one of the top states in the country to do business, contradicting efforts by the U.S. Chamber to portray the state as a "hellhole."

The annual survey by one of the nation's premiere business guides ranked Illinois 13th in its 2005 Top State Business Climates.

The survey did indicate that the U.S. Chamber's sustained campaign to malign Illinois' reputation might be hurting Illinois' economy. Despite no significant changes in Illinois law between 2004 and 2005, Illinois fell from 14th to 22nd in an opinion poll of corporate real estate executives. Still, not bad for a "hellhole."

The poll rankings:

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Return of the Jedi?

The (Chicago) Reader's Ben Joravsky provides an in-depth analysis of the Illinois Senate vote to defeat Marty Cohen as ICC Chair.

When Cohen's appointment was announced, reformers felt that same rush audiences felt when Luke Skywalker was bearing down on the Death Star.

Then, they were left speechless when the Empire struck back, hacking his nomination to pieces.

Now, according to Joravsky, the rebels may be organizing a counter-offensive, led by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, who had this to say about Cohen's likely replacement:

“I don’t know if the senate’s going to muster up the votes to do again what they did to Marty,” says Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn. “It’s a real shame what happened to Marty. I believe he would have made an outstanding chairman. But this is only the opening round.”

It appears there will be political fall-out as well:
Madeline Talbott, executive director of the community group Illinois ACORN, say her organization is spreading word of the Cohen vote in voter registration drives in Hendon’s district.
Illinois ACORN is closely aligned with SEIU, which has roughly 100,000 members in Cook County - 4 out of 5 are African American.

Republicans' Plan to Cut Medicare Funding Squeezes Doctors

It appears that Illinois doctors might need to take their attention off of Springfield and spend a little more time worrying about Washington.

While doctors were busy marching on Springfield, the Bush administration was busy drafting plans to cut Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors by 4.4%, according to the NY Times:
The Bush administration is headed for a clash with the nation's doctors over a federal plan to cut their Medicare fees by 4.4 percent next year, even as the government tries to measure the quality of care they provide...
...Medicare's trustees said the formula would produce cuts totaling roughly 25 percent from 2006 to 2011, while doctors' costs are expected to rise 15 percent."
But the Administration says not to worry, the cuts will encourage doctors to practice not defensive medicine, but offensive medicine, performing procedures they wouldn't normally perform so they can bill Medicare more:
"Moreover, they (the Administration) said, doctors often respond to such cuts by performing more services, so their income does not necessarily fall."
Meanwhile, the AP reports that one doctor in rural North Dakota is being paid in jelly. I'm not kidding.

So, someone remind me again what's wrong with Dr. Quentin Young's plan to provide coverage for every man, woman and child in America for a fraction of what we are paying now?