Illinois Issues: Ends and Means

(Excerpt) Illinois faces its worst fiscal crisis in eight decades, a daunting challenge for the state’s purported leaders. So how have they responded? In a word, abysmally…

In fact, only one candidate for governor has a comprehensive plan to solve the state’s budget crisis, one in which the numbers actually work: the Green Party’s Rich Whitney. The Carbondale attorney issued a 21-page platform on the state’s tax structure and economic development, laying out in considerable detail his ideas for fixing the structural budget deficit and building a full employment economy.

For complete article, click here.

By Charles N Wheeler III, University of Illinois Springfield

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Whitney Statement on Scott Lee Cohen Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 3, 2010

Cohen lacks comprehensive vision and plan; good intentions are not enough

Carbondale, IL- Green Party candidate for Governor, Rich Whitney, issued the following statement regarding Scott Lee Cohen’s announcement that he will run as an independent for Governor:

Even assuming that he gets on the ballot, I am not overly concerned by Scott Lee Cohen’s presence in the race. He seems to be positioning himself as some sort of centrist. But being in the “center” between two candidates who each support devastating cuts to education and essential social services, who won’t fix our broken tax system, and who have no original ideas for creating real job opportunities for Illinoisans, is nothing to brag about.

Mr. Cohen won the Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor on the strength of his message and support for unemployed workers seeking work — and I commend him for that. But good will and helping individual job searchers is no substitute for the public policies that can not only create jobs but move us toward a full employment economy. I am the only candidate in this race that has a comprehensive plan for attaining that goal, including:

– a Green Capital Bill designed to promote both short-term and long-term employment opportunities;

– policies to promote local agriculture and a resurgence in good manufacturing jobs in Illinois;

– investment in people, especially a publicly funded universal health care system in Illinois and free higher education, both vocational and college, a powerful source of new business and employment;

– a state bank that can provide low-interest credit to productive small businesses and start-ups, and invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency and re-tooled manufacturing; and

– use of eminent domain to reclaim abandoned factories and facilities and retool them under worker or community ownership.

eliminating spending that exists only to reward political supporters of favored legislators and that does not serve a legitimate public purpose.

If Illinois voters are ready to vote for a candidate outside of the same Democratic and Republican Party leaders who created the mess we are in, they do not need to look to a newly “independent” candidate who comes cut from the same cloth.

They can support the truly independent candidate and party that already fought to get on the ballot four years ago and are already ballot-certified now; the candidate that clearly has the best platform for serving the public good; the candidate that is not beholden to the wealthy and privileged and special interests but to the people of Illinois.

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CONTACT: Brandon Punke, Communications Director, Whitney for Governor

618-434-0046

media@whitneyforgov.org

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Daily Egyptian: Whitney pushes tax reform in Illinois

Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Sheila Simon isn’t the only Carbondale candidate in the thick of the 2010 Illinois gubernatorial race. She is also not the only candidate in the race who graduated from the SIU School of Law and practiced in the city, and she’s not even the only one who met her spouse at a political outing.

All of the above apply to Rich Whitney the 2010 Green Party candidate for governor.

But Whitney said that might be where the similarities between him and the Democratic ticket stop. With the state’s past two governors — one from each the Democrat and Republican parties — in legal limbo, and voter frustration level increasing throughout the state, Whitney said Illinois is ripe for the Green Party’s picking in 2010. Read more.

Article by Nick Johnson

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Thoughts on the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

By Rich Whitney, Green Party candidate for Governor

The 40th Anniversary of Earth Day reminds me of the very first Earth Day, in 1970. I was a high-school Freshman that year and I remember an upper-classman named Billy Barth who recruited some of us to go out to a local stream and pick up litter and trash that had been dumped into it.  The problem was very visible and easily identifiable and the solution was equally clear. We just went out, did some work and solved the problem.

A lot of things haven’t changed much since 1970: The principal cause of the contamination arises from the fact that most industrial activity is conducted by large-scale corporations that, in the absence of regulatory or other controls, naturally find it more profitable to dump contaminants into our air, water, and land, rather than incur the expense of controlling or safely disposing of the contaminants. Giant agribusiness conglomerates find it more profitable to overuse pesticides and herbicides in agriculture, than to use more environmentally friendly practices. And the public policy changes needed to curb such abusive practices are frustratingly slow in coming, with limited victories coming only after years of concerted public pressure. Why? Because the same giant multinational corporations that benefit the most from these practices also bankroll the campaigns of the candidates that the people rely upon to regulate or prohibit environmental contamination.

Read More »

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Western Courier: Campus sees green with Rich Whitney

For Rich Whitney, it all began in high school. With the first Earth Day in 1970, the environmental movement was in full swing. And Whitney, a teenager with an interest in politics, knew he wanted to help people.

Fast forward 40 years. Whitney, with his passion for the environment and serving others, is the 2010 gubernatorial candidate for the Illinois Green Party.

“I’ve always been interested in independent and progressive politics,” Whitney said. Whitney helped found the Illinois Green Party in 1996, whose philosophy is based on the “Four Pillars” of ecological wisdom, social justice, grass roots democracy and nonviolence.

Read more.

Written by Alyce Thompson.

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WIUM: Whitney: Voters Deserve Choice

MACOMB, IL (WIUM) – Green Party candidate for Illinois Governor Rich Whitney says voters need an alternative to the poverty of choices offered by the Democratic and Republican parties.

“Our state is in trouble, and we need political leadership that reflects the public interest and not the interests of what I call the two corporate-sponsored parties,” says Whitney. He says the Green Party is the real “people’s party.”

Whitney opposes the two-tiered public pension system signed into law this week by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. He says the state deliberately underfunded the pension system over the years, resulting in the largest unfunded pension liability in the US. He blames members of both parties.

Please click here for the rest of the article and to listen to the interview with Rich Eggers of Tri States Public Radio

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Galesburg Register-Mail: Banking on the State

What’s the best way to pull Illinois back from the brink?

There’s no easy answer and we certainly haven’t heard anything remotely sensible from either Democrats or Republicans, except for taking a chain saw to kids’ futures and the safety net for the poor.

But, amazing as it may seem, there are other political parties out there, apart from Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who too often sound much further apart on policy than they actually are. I guess they have to maintain a semblance of difference to avoid us thinking we live in a one-party state.

The Green Party’s Rich Whitney has got some creative ideas that make you realize how slothful the Big Two have grown. One of Whitney’s proposals is to set up a state bank. I’ll let him explain.

“Create a state bank as a repository of all state tax revenues and pension contributions,” he told an ABC News Chicago affiliate recently. “While almost all states are struggling to balance their budgets like Illinois, one exception to the rule is North Dakota — the only state with its own bank.  Read more…

Article by Eric Timmons

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Daily Illini: Green Gubernatorial Candidate Visits UI

(Excerpt) “Students are voters, and I’m the only candidate in this race that actually has a plan to solve this structural budget deficit so that we can increase funding for higher education,” Whitney said. “And I have a plan for changing that.”

Whitney’s plan has 10 steps to fulfill the goal of solving the budget situation. One of his 10 steps, which he said is one of the most important plans for students, is to improve education and provide free higher education for all in-state residents who qualify academically.  Full article here.

Article written by Makoto Miyazaki

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Update: Attack on Pensions Was Indeed Prompted by Wall Street Banksters

Two days ago, in his press statement on the Democratic and Republican attack on public sector pensions that sailed through the General Assembly last Wednesday, March 24 (Senate Bill SB 1946 — see article below), Rich wrote that the “main motive was to appease Wall Street, so that the State could borrow more money for the Capital Bill.” Turns out he hit the nail on the head more than he suspected.

As reporter Rich Miller noted on The Capital Fax Blog on Thursday: “Quinn’s budget director David Vaught said yesterday that it became clear during meetings with New York bond analysts that the state was in danger of a possible “double downgrade” in the run up to a $1 billion bond sale next month. such a downgrade would’ve put the state on a par with California’s miserable credit rating and cost the state big money. New York demanded legislation that would save the state at least $100 billion, and Vaught estimated that the bill approved yesterday would have saved far more than that.”

In short, Wall Street called the shots and the Democrats and Republicans alike heeded the call.

Commenting on this disclosure, Whitney pointed out: “If Illinois had its own state bank, as I propose, we wouldn’t *have* to go begging to Wall Street for more credit. We could generate the credit on our own — and pay our own treasury back when we generate the additional revenue from the healthier economy we had just invested in. But the leaders of the two corporate-sponsored parties don’t want to challenge the dominance of the big banks and institutional lenders. Instead, for the sake of political expedience, they quickly reached a consensus on the need to attack the living standards of working people, in this case, future pensioners.”

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Whitney Blasts Democratic Leadership on Health Care, Public Pensions

Contact: Brandon Punke, Communications Director March 26, 2010

618-434-0046

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHITNEY BLASTS DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP ON HEALTH CARE, PUBLIC PENSIONS

“This was a sneak attack on working people and on middle-class living standards, rammed through to appease Wall Street . . . .”

Green Party Candidate for Governor Rich Whitney issued the following statement today:

Two major events this week strikingly illustrate how the leadership of the Democratic Party makes a pretense of defending the interests of working people – while actually attacking those interests on behalf of their corporate paymasters, including Wall Street.

The first is the signing of the so-called Health Insurance reform bill in Washington – which should properly be named the “Health Insurance Company Enrichment Act of 2010.”

The second is the ramming through of Senate Bill SB 1946 in Springfield, which created a two-tier public pension system in most of our state’s public pensions. This was done in one day – between the time the text of the bill was amended and its passage in both houses of the General Assembly.

Read More »

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