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Inside: the pension reform plan to put Illinois back on track Illinois Policy Institute | spring 2013 John Tillman Changing hearts comes before changing minds Joseph Lehman The battle for Right to Work is a marathon, not a sprint

Competition fuels the entrepreneur: Corri McFadden is betting on Illinois


4 6 8 9 10 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 22 24 26 27 John Tillman: changing hearts comes before changing minds Membership: the real multiplier effect
Member investments allow the Illinois Policy Institute to effect real change in Springfield and elsewhere throughout Illinois. Only by becoming part of the cultural dialogue can we make the ecosystem ripe for free enterprise policies to take root.


Liberty gone digital: embracing social media in 2012 and beyond
Check out these great tweets from our community.

Latest news

The pension reform plan to put Illinois back on track.

Betting on Illinois

Illinois is not a lost cause - if Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin can do it, a complete turnaround of Illinois could be one or two election cycles away.

Competition fuels the entrepreneur: Corri McFadden is betting on Illinois
Couture consignment guru Corri McFadden is invested in Chicago.

Legislative updates

State government has a firm hold on our daily lives. Here’s the inside scoop on what’s happening in Springfield.

From dropout to the top of the class School choice changes lives Member spotlight

Former CPS dropout Matthew Rainey gets a second chance at an innovative Chicago charter school.

Illinois needs to create an education system that increases student achievement, spurs innovation and allows parents to choose the best learning environment for their children.

A master cellist and an Illinois family business co-owner share why they support the Illinois Policy Institute.

The battle for Right to Work is a marathon, not a sprint
Find out how Illinois can win the battle for worker freedom.

Mackinac Center for Public Policy President Joseph Lehman outlines what it takes to win the fight for Right to Work.

The Michigan playbook and how to make Right to Work a reality in Illinois Guarding against a backdoor bailout Policy and litigation center updates Events
As Illinois’ fiscal crisis deepens, the environment is becoming ripe for either bailouts or true pension reform.

Find out what our policy and litigation centers have been working on.

Check out these great photos from our Gifts of the Free Market holiday party and more.

Becoming a member of the Illinois Policy Institute is an investment in freedom Expert spotlight: Jonathan Ingram

Jonathan Ingram is the director of health policy and pension reform at the Illinois Policy Institute

About us The Illinois Policy Institute inspires changes in hearts, minds and laws through its mission to promote personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois and America. As a leading independent, 501(c)(3) research and education organization, the Institute generates positive and sustainable policy solutions for citizens and lawmakers that help unleash talent and entrepreneurial ability.
190 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1630, Chicago, IL 60603 312.346.5700 | 802 S. 2nd St., Springfield, IL 62704 217.528.8800

Betting on Illinois

Editor’s note

Daniel Anthony | Editor-in-Chief

People often ask us if Illinois is a lost cause. And while we regularly have to deliver bad news when it comes to Illinois’ negative economic outlook, we certainly don’t think the state is hopeless. In fact, we think now is the time to bet on Illinois. We see other states around Illinois that have faced similar challenges and won, and we see entrepreneurs in Illinois competing to make the state great again. This edition of Compass looks at these examples and some of the real people who are betting on Illinois. Here are some of the highlights from this issue and our upcoming work:

B etting on Illinois
“One of the Illinois Policy Institute’s most important responsibilities is connecting the dots in the political climate, culture and policy developments. As the dust settled from the 2012 election, it became painfully clear that progressives and conservatarians have taken two divergent strategic paths – and that progressives are winning.” John Tillman – “Changing hearts comes before changing minds.” PAGE: 4 “There’s no arguing that reformers in Illinois face an uphill battle. But it’s winnable – especially when one considers that states such as Wisconsin and Michigan not long ago were in similar situations. Policy victories will not come easy, but reformers should take heart in knowing major reform and economic revival for Illinois could be just around the corner. Now could be the time to start betting on Illinois.” Diana Rickert – “Betting on Illinois” PAGE: 10 The Illinois News Network is a new project of the Illinois Policy Institute that showcases major investigations of waste, fraud and abuse throughout state government. Some of our latest work includes: Uncovering state disability pension abuse: Record numbers of police officers and firefighters with minor injuries are retiring early with full disability pensions. The Illinois News Network investigates the law that allows this to take place, how courts have misinterpreted it and what this means for taxpayers across Illinois. Saying no to pensions: Increasing numbers of lawmakers are refusing to take pensions for themselves, a statement of self-sacrifice in the midst of Illinois’ fiscal crisis. In February, INN told readers which lawmakers said “no” to pensions and which didn’t.

An Illinois Policy Institute publication
Editor-in-Chief Daniel Anthony Creative & Art Director Teresa O’Leary Managing Editor Hilary Gowins Production Director Teresa O’Leary Events Editor Chris Andriesen



illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 3

Changing hearts comes before changing minds
John Tillman | CEO
One of the Illinois Policy Institute’s most important responsibilities is connecting the dots in the political climate, culture and policy developments. As the dust settled from the 2012 election, it became painfully clear that progressives and conservatarians have taken two divergent strategic paths – and that progressives are winning. On one side of the spectrum, the Progressive Movement has long been deeply, broadly and relentlessly engaged in changing culture as a predicate to changing laws. Through this strategy, the political process becomes ripe for the culture progressives wish to codify into law. On the other side of the spectrum is the Conservatarian Movement. The term conservatarian refers to the sometimes uneasy alliance between conservatives and libertarians, also known as classical liberals. This movement has long used the political process to codify into law the culture it thinks should exist. Conservatarians too often try to impose solutions on culture through law. Thus, the political process is often not ripe and conservatarian candidates and policies underperform relative to the opportunity available. Progressives are winning the fight because they use disinformation campaigns to create the culture that best fits their policy agenda. Without an understanding of this strategy, some of the positions President Barack Obama and his allies take may not make sense at first. Some of the progressives’ most successful cultural campaigns include language such as: “You didn’t build that,” and the accompanying idea that no one person owns their own success but rather is part of collective success. “Millionaires and billionaires need to pay their fair share,” and all of the attendant class warfare arguments. “We don’t have a spending problem,” as President Obama said to House Speaker John Boehner during the 2012 fiscal cliff negotiations. Our side delighted in the “you didn’t build that” comment, seeing it as a misstep and a chink in Obama’s armor. But the president and his allies are making a case, not just for the 2012 election cycle, but for a long-term fight. Their case is simple – individual success is built on the work of society as a whole. Progressives believe that public investments in education, infrastructure, government venture funding and more all create the societal conditions necessary for individual success.

John Tillman | CEO

4 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

They believe these public investments are a predicate to your success. This public, collective investment means that the public has a right to share in your income and wealth. After all, you did not build that – we all built it together, and thus we all have a claim to the value created. This concept, to put it directly, is the basis upon which a government destroys the very idea of the founding principles. Core to the founding of this country is the idea that the individual is sovereign over their government. Core to the progressive idea above is that there is shared sovereignty and the state has a moral claim to the fruits of your labor beyond routine taxation as we have long understood it. Understanding these concepts is critical to recognizing the progressive

case and their vision for sweeping cultural and political shifts. As you observe culture and political discourse these days, listen for these dangerous themes to connect the dots between what progressives say and how this leads to their desired political outcome: • • • “Capitalism and the founding principles as originally envisioned worked well for a very long time, but in a modern economy and culture they are now outdated and must be adjusted.” “Only the government can be the fair arbiter of allocating opportunity and capital. We cannot leave it to the invisible hand that is failing the poor and creating such terrible income disparity.” “We are a rich country with all of the money we need to solve our great problems, but the rich have had an unfair advantage and must share their wealth by investing in the public good for all people.”

Our great challenge in Illinois is to find the arguments and stories that counter this disinformation campaign by the progressives. We have much to do. Your support is crucial because the political establishment is completely unprepared – in fact, unaware – of what is really at stake. The Illinois Policy Institute is working hard every day to position conservatarians to ultimately win this fight. Only by becoming part of the cultural dialogue can we make the ecosystem ripe for our free enterprise policies to take root.

Conservatarian noun
[kuh n-sur-vuh-tair-ee-uh n}

1. a: Conservatarians are part of the CenterRight Movement and push for free enterprise, fiscally conservative policy with the goal of creating limited government. b: Refers to the sometimes uneasy alliance between conservatives and libertarians, also known as classical liberals.

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 5

Membership: the real multiplier effect
Kristina Rasmussen | Executive Vice President
Whether the issue is government employee compensation or corporate welfare, the Illinois Policy Institute has a reputation for advancing a principled public policy agenda. In fact, one political observer recently called us “an equal-opportunity slayer of sacred cows.” I wear that as a badge of honor. We can speak truth to power in both Springfield and Chicago because we’re not dependent on government funding, union handouts or political favors for our financial continuance. The Illinois Policy Institute exists because individuals like you share the founding principles of free enterprise and personal responsibility. Your investment allows our policy and outreach teams to aggressively advance those ideas. How? By multiplying the many channels through which we can 6 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org promote our message. Thanks to you, we’re reaching more people in person, through traditional media and online than ever before. • • • Your support allows us to invest in a top-notch outreach team at the Statehouse that demands that lawmakers do the right thing. Your support makes possible an amazing media team that ensures the liberty voice is increasingly heard via TV, radio and print. Your support makes available a cutting-edge digital strategy initiative to reach and activate people through social media.

Together, these investments allow us to effect real change in Springfield and elsewhere throughout Illinois. You can multiply our impact by becoming a member of the Institute. You’ll be joining individuals such as Wyatt McIntyre of Woodridge and Bob Podlasek of Springfield who are passionate about turning Illinois around through policies that promote freedom and economic prosperity. Wyatt McIntyre connected with the Institute via Twitter @illinoispolicy and decided to become a member. “I believe that we’re at an economic turning point, and we’re being surpassed by other states that have less to offer than Illinois. We need to do our part to turn that tide back toward us,” Wyatt said. “With everything that is going on,

You know you can trust the Illinois Policy Institute to tell it like it is.
it seemed like a good time to join as a member. I was very impressed with the Institute’s work.” Bob Podlasek has supported the Illinois Policy Institute previously and decided to upgrade his level of support. “When you see Forbes magazine list Illinois as one of 11 states in a ‘death spiral,’ you know it is serious. We need to do something,” Bob said. “The Institute is an invaluable asset to the state of Illinois and to citizens looking to make a difference.” I hope you’ll join Wyatt and Bob in showing your support by becoming a member. Our growing donor base has allowed us to increase our talent capacity, which in turn allows us to take on new, bigger projects with the end goal of changing vastly more minds, hearts and laws. Stopping fake pension reform, holding off ObamaCare’s implementation, introducing hundreds of municipalities to improved online transparency, shedding light on government unions’ political power – you make all of this possible. Continued growth will only strengthen our impact. Are you ready to change Illinois? We are.

Help us move forward by becoming a member today.
Enjoy reading the Compass? We’ll soon be converting our quarterly magazine to a subscription basis as part of our membership initiative. Members who join at the basic level of $25 will continue to receive the Compass. Stay up to date with the latest developments in the liberty movement – become a member at illinoispolicy.org/donate.

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Inside: The pension reform plan to put Illinois back on track IllInoIs PolICy InsTITuTe | sPRIng 2013 John Tillman Changing hearts comes before changing minds Joseph Lehman The battle for Right to Work is a marathon, not a sprint

Competition fuels the entrepreneur: Corri McFadden is betting on Illinois

BeTTIng on

Kristina Rasmussen | Executive Vice President

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 7

Liberty gone digital: embracing social media in 2012 and beyond
James Madison once wrote, “The right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon ... has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.”  As citizens, we often become frustrated because we feel like lawmakers are not listening. Twitter gives us the ability to make our voices heard. Members of our community ask questions, share their ideas, tell stories and apply pressure to lawmakers in Springfield on a daily – and often hourly – basis.  Twitter has allowed the Illinois Policy Institute to engage with our community like never before. At the end of 2012, we averaged nearly 20,000 interactions with more than 10,000 unique users. To date, @illinoispolicy has a community of nearly 20,000 followers. 

Follow us
John Tillman

@johnmtillman Kristina Rasmussen

Executive Vice President

@kmrasmussen Brian Costin


Director of Government Reform

Here are four examples of great tweets from our community:
Illinois lawmakers were studying politics and debate when they shoulda studied math and economics

Matthew Paprocki
Senior Director of Government Affairs


Daniel Anthony @danielanthonyIL
Vice President of Marketing & Communication

Jacob H. Huebert
Associate Counsel, Liberty Justice Center


Well, the Thors are taking their bread & butter to a state that welcomes golden geese, not tries to choke ‘em

Diana Rickert
Director of Media Relations


Jonathan Ingram
Director of Health Policy & Pension Reform


I’m embarrassed by the “not a pension problem” statement. Give me my worker-controlled, defined-contribution plan

Ted Dabrowski
Vice President of Policy


Jonathan Greenberg
Vice President of External Relations


Our state needs leaders who can create an environment that encourages job growth. #IL drives away economic opportunity

Josh Dwyer @joshuajdwyer Paul Kersey @paulkerseyIL
Director of Labor Policy Director of Education Reform

Benjamin VanMetre

Be sure to follow @illinoispolicy and make your voice heard.
8 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

Senior Budget & Tax Policy Analyst


LAtest news

The pension reform plan to put Illinois back on track
Ted Dabrowski | Vice President of Policy
For years, Illinois lawmakers have been unable to solve the state’s pension crisis and pay down its backlog of unpaid bills. On Thursday, Feb. 28, the Illinois Policy Institute showed Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly the way. At press conferences in Springfield and Chicago, the Illinois Policy Institute released its 10-point plan to solve the pension crisis, pay down the state’s $9.3 billion backlog of bills and repeal the 2011 income tax hike. State Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, joined the Illinois Policy Institute in its effort to reform pensions, sponsoring House Bill 3303, the legislation corresponding to the pension reform plan.

Here are the plan’s major outcomes:
1. Reduces fiscal year 2014 unfunded liability by $46 billion. This 46 percent reduction brings the unfunded liability down to $55 billion from $101 billion, the government’s fiscal year 2014 projection. 2. Reduces fiscal year 2014 state contributions to $4.7 billion, a nearly 30 percent drop from $6.7 billion under current law. 3. Protects constitutionally guaranteed benefits already earned by retirees and current workers. 4. Empowers current workers to control their retirement savings going forward with 401(k)-style plans modeled after the existing State Universities Retirement System’s 401(a) plan. 5. Reduces the state’s annual pension contribution by more than $2 billion in the first year and eliminates the state’s unfunded liability by 2045. Ends the irresponsible repayment ramp and instead moves to level annual payments. 6. Freezes cost-of-living adjustments until retirement systems return to healthy funding levels. 7. Aligns the retirement age with Social Security’s retirement age while still protecting workers who are nearing retirement under current law. 8. Promotes accountability and fiscal responsibility by requiring local governments to pay the employer share of their employees’ retirement savings plans. 9. Makes government workers’ retirement savings plans portable, giving workers more flexibility and freedom to move their plan from job to job.

The problem: Illinois has the worst-funded pension systems in the nation. The

unfunded liability currently stands at more than $96 billion according to official government numbers, and that number grows by $21 million every day lawmakers fail to enact reform. The problem at the root of Illinois’ pension crisis is the unmanageable, unsustainable defined benefit system.

Our solution: The only way to end Illinois’ pension crisis is to empower government workers by transitioning benefits for all future work to a defined contribution system. The Illinois Policy Institute’s solution cuts unfunded pension debt in half and includes a defined contribution plan as the main pillar of its reforms while protecting already-earned benefits for government workers. Why this works: This is the only proposal that ultimately solves Illinois’ pension crisis. This plan also modernizes the state’s retirement system by eliminating political control and giving government workers the secure retirement they deserve. Ultimately, these reforms restore fiscal order to the state by eliminating unsustainable pensions and unfunded liabilities. This paves the way for the economy to flourish, fostering an environment where businesses can thrive and create the jobs Illinoisans need.
Illinois Policy Institute reforms cut state pension contributions by 61% during next 32 years Contributions to TRS, SURS and SERS under current law and with reform (in billions of dollars)

With reform Current law















To learn more about the Institute’s pension reform plan, visit illinoispolicy.org/pensionreform

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 9

Betting on Illinois

Diana Rickert Director of Media Relations

Illinois once was a great state. Home to a vibrant economy, the country’s top businesses and a thriving metropolis. It was a magnate for entrepreneurs and immigrants alike.

Flash forward nearly two decades and Illinois is a state in crisis. While the state grapples with a $200 billion pension shortfall, other states are experiencing policy victories: Wisconsin is projected to have a budget surplus these next two years. Meanwhile, Michigan just passed a Right-to-Work law and Indiana has made no excuses for stealing businesses from over the border. There’s no arguing that reformers in Illinois face an uphill battle. But it’s winnable – especially when one considers that states such as Wisconsin and Michigan not long ago were in similar situations. Policy victories will not come easy, but reformers should take heart in knowing major reform and economic revival for Illinois could be just around the corner. Now is the time to start betting on Illinois.

10 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

Before Walker, high taxes and big government prevailed in Wisconsin
Many people are familiar with Act 10, the legislation that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed in 2011 requiring government workers to chip in for their health care and retirement benefits, while giving them the choice of whether to support a union. Walker’s actions made national news – and now two years later, are paying dividends. Walker announced in his Jan. 15 State of the State address that property taxes are down and the Badger State is projecting a multimillion-dollar budget surplus. What is lesser known are the policies that were enacted in the decade before Walker took office – the ones that lead to the $3.6 billion budget shortfall that Walker inherited. Walker’s predecessor was Jim Doyle, a Democrat who promised on the campaign trail not to raise taxes but did the opposite once he got to office. “The left in Wisconsin got everything they wanted: increased taxes on the rich, massive new spending programs and [they] mortgaged our children’s future to pay for present day programs,” said Brett Healy, president of the McIver Institute, a free market think tank based in Wisconsin. Beyond Doyle, Wisconsin also was home to a “dream team” lineup of leftists in elected office. Tom Barrett was mayor of Milwaukee, the largest city in the state. A pair of progressive state senators – Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl – represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.  But while the left appeared to be winning legislative victories in Madison, groundwork was being laid for the liberty movement in the Badger State; organizations including the McIver Institute, Media Trackers and the Franklin Center’s Wisconsin Reporter all were established. Day in and day out, they made the case that government spending was out of control and more taxes was not the answer. “It was clear what wasn’t working, and that the status quo was broken,” said Steve Baas, vice president of government affairs at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. “The growing dissatisfaction with the federal government – during both the Bush and Obama years – combined with the eight ‘lost years’ of largely rudderless malaise on the state level … left the state ripe for an energetic conservative alternative to rise to prominence.” The scene was similar a couple hundred miles east in Michigan.

Michigan: from record unemployment to Right to Work
In December, Michigan became the latest state to join the wave of labor reform. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a Right-to-Work law, giving all workers the freedom to choose whether they want to support a union at their workplace.  But a decade ago, such legislation might have been considered impossible. Michigan, home to the auto industry, had long been considered a union stronghold – even in the private sector. The state had a dominant Democratic party and progressives were in control of all levels of government.  And as for the conservative movement in Michigan?  “Moribund,” said Paul Kersey, a Michigan native and longtime labor reformer at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.  In time, the results of government-centric policies began to manifest. As the country grappled with the Great Recession, Michigan was hit especially hard. By August 2009, the unemployment rate in the state had climbed to 14.2 percent – the highest in more than 20 years. The situation got so bad that in early 2012, Michigan Congressman Hansen Clarke asked President Barack Obama for a federal bailout of Detroit. But reformers didn’t give up, said Kersey, who now heads the labor policy department at the Illinois Policy Institute. They spent years building a base of grass-roots conservatives and limited government supporters. They found and developed activists who were savvy and engaged, and who understood where the pressure points were. Most importantly, Michigan reformers energized a movement of activists who refused to settle for anything less than what the state needed and deserved. “The conservative, limited government tradition revived there, [so] it can happen here,” Kersey said. “If we can do that [in Michigan], folks will be amazed at the opportunities that will open up here in illinois.”

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 11

For liberty to win in Illinois, taxpayers must demand change
In states that have enacted liberty-based public policy, a key point of difference has been activation of taxpayers.
Arizona, for example, recently passed the Health Care Freedom amendment to the state constitution. This amendment protects the rights of Arizonans to choose the health care that best suits their needs. This policy victory was the result of taxpayers staying alert and persistent, said Diane Cohen, general counsel at the Liberty Justice Center, the Illinois Policy Institute’s public interest litigation center. Cohen joined the Illinois Policy Institute in 2012 after a long career as a trial attorney,and serving as the Arizona based Goldwater Institute’s senior attorney. “Arizona is freer in large part because its citizens are vigilant – they covet freedom,” Cohen said. “An ‘R’ next to someone’s name is no assurance that he or she will stand for limited government and individual liberty.” Illinois is building a similar infrastructure for a successful liberty movement. Mobilizing and activating taxpayers is an active part of that effort. To that end, organizations such as the Illinois Opportunity Project are reaching out to taxpayers all across the state to make the case for a robust free market in Illinois. “Illinois is not a blue state, especially on issues related to individual liberty, economic freedom and expanding the role of government in our daily lives,” said Pat Hughes, a spokesperson with the IOP and former candidate for U.S. Senate. “[But] reform in Illinois will come when enough pressure is put on officeholders, electorally or otherwise, to do what is right for the constituents instead of what is expedient for themselves.”

Small victories can pave the way for bigger wins in the future
A complete turnaround of Illinois could still be one, maybe two election cycles away. But the liberty movement has winnable battles in the foreseeable future – thanks to the left. The Chicago Teachers Union, or CTU, strike in September 2012 shined a bright light on the need for school choice not just in Chicago, but across the state and nationwide. While Chicago teachers walked the picket lines, emblazoned on TV screens across the country was the Chicago Public School’s 40 percent dropout rate, and the startlingly high number of kids caught in failing public schools. “The strike of the CTU exposed the wages and the monopoly that teachers have in the state … [So] the state is moving closer to education reform,” said Matt Paprocki, senior director of government affairs at the Institute. “Charter schools in Illinois are growing. There is an opportunity for additional growth and charter funding equity. Alternative, online learning avenues are another area for growth, and the state of Illinois is very close on opportunity scholarships.”

On the elections side, Illinois has another opportunity to mirror Wisconsin.
“The ‘Walker Class’ of conservative political leaders began their rise to political power and relevance in the mid-1990s,” Baas said. “From Walker to Scott Jensen, Paul Ryan, Mike Huebsch and Reince Priebus to Robin Vos … these are folks who grew up in Ronald Reagan’s America and came of age and cut their political teeth in Tommy Thompson’s Wisconsin.” In Illinois, liberty-driven state lawmakers are slowly but surely emerging from the ranks: state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, was just elected in November, and State Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, just won his second term. These are just a few of the principled lawmakers who could potentially help lead the charge in Illinois for more liberty-based policy. By making the case for free market policy day in and day out, continuously seeking opportunities and activating taxpayers, Illinois can join the ranks of states rolling back government and restoring freedom. “Anti-liberty forces appear strong as indicated by the most recent election results. However, if you look below the surface … the opportunity to make Illinois a centerright state, especially economically, is there,” Hughes said. “It will be difficult, no doubt, but if we marshal resources and messaging and leadership around our core beliefs, it is eminently doable.”

Diana Rickert | Director of Media Relations

12 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

Competition fuels the entrepreneur: Corri McFadden is betting on Illinois
Hilary Gowins | Managing Editor

Betting on Illinois

“Betting on Illinois” is a series that chronicles the stories of the entrepreneurs who are making Illinois great again. The series will highlight the passion that Illinois entrepreneurs possess, the importance of competition and the tension between burdensome government regulations and entrepreneurial growth.
Our first Betting on Illinois story comes from Corri McFadden, founder and owner of eDrop-Off, a luxury consignment drop-off and resale service specializing in selling designer clothing, handbags, jewelry and accessories on eBay. When McFadden started her business eight years ago, all she had was $37 and a thirst for competition and success. Today, her small business has become a national couture consignment powerhouse and McFadden starred in the 2012 VH1 show “House of Consignment.” McFadden’s motto, “competition keeps me in condition,” fuels constant innovation. “Starting your own business is a hard hustle,” she said. “It’s not easy. But I do what I love and that’s how I can do it. I’m extremely disciplined and motivated. This combination makes it easy to get up every single day to make the business successful.” Unfortunately, not everyone in Illinois shares McFadden’s thirst for competition. Often, would-be entrepreneurs have a difficult time getting off the ground because of the state of Illinois’ business philosophy, which embraces special handouts for a select few and a toxic, anti-competition attitude that keeps new businesses at bay. But McFadden still sees competition as the fuel that kick-starts greatness. “Competition is healthy,” she said. “I think a lot of people get discouraged and think, ‘Oh, someone is doing the same thing.’ But with me, that’s what stimulates me.” eDrop-Off is now selling about 2,500 unique items a week on eBay, and McFadden hired 20 new employees last year, bringing her up to a staff of 47. In all, the former one-woman show has grown more than 2,000 percent since the business’ creation and is now one of the largest resellers in the United States. Moving forward, McFadden plans to continue growing her business. And when she thinks about the future, it always includes Illinois.

“I made a commitment to Chicago when I started this business because I’m Midwest,” she said. “I am invested in Chicago. I’m not going anywhere no matter what comes about. I want to work to make other businesses see this as the best place to be.”
Watch: Corri McFadden opens up about what fuels her success.

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 13

Legislative updates

Like it or not, state government has a firm hold on our daily lives
Matt Paprocki | Senior Director of Government Affairs

One of the most common misconceptions about politics is that our nation’s capital has the greatest impact on our personal finances and freedom. The frequently unrecognized fact is, contrary to popular belief, that our state capital is the genesis of the legislation that affects our daily lives the most.
Springfield is the policy-making center of the state of Illinois. It is where a vote in the General Assembly, a gubernatorial directive or a new regulation can affect the future of the entire state.

During the past several months, the actions – and at times the inaction – of lawmakers in Springfield have had major consequences for all Illinois residents. Some of the most important legislative highlights include:

The income tax hike fight
During January’s lame duck session, the Illinois Policy Institute put together a successful campaign to make sure that the “temporary” 2011 income tax increase was not made permanent. Allowing the income tax increase to sunset will save the average Illinois family $1,500 a year.

Failed pension reform
The Illinois General Assembly’s failure to enact real pension reform currently costs Illinois $21 million per day.

Proposed minimum wage hike
From left to right: Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President; Matt Paprocki, Senior Director of Government Affairs; Jane McEnaney, Policy Outreach Manager

While there is no denying that federal politics play an important role in the defense and safety of our nation as a whole, the decisions made in Springfield and state Capitols around the country will have the most resounding impact on the everyday lives of American families. That’s why the Illinois Policy Institute’s Government Affairs team is constantly monitoring the Statehouse – to protect your freedom and finances. We advocate on one simple platform: If a policy increases the freedom of individuals and businesses to pursue prosperity unencumbered by government, we will support it. If a policy increases government power over individuals and their free enterprise efforts, we will oppose it.

During the last veto session, the Illinois Policy Institute opposed another increase to the state minimum wage. Illinois already has the fourth-highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Increasing the minimum wage will only make Illinois a more hostile environment for businesses.

Retiree health care reform
By failing to implement reforms to retiree health care premiums, Gov. Pat Quinn has already wasted nearly $200 million. Quinn refuses to exercise his responsibility under the law, and every day he fails to act he wastes another $1.2 million.

14 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

From dropout to the top of the class
Daniel Anthony | Editor-in-Chief

Several years ago, Matthew Rainey dropped out of high school, becoming one of the many casualties of Chicago Public Schools, or CPS — a system in which four out of 10 kids never graduate.
But Matthew longed for a second chance. He received that chance after hearing an ad for a free market-based charter school called Youth Connection Charter School Virtual High School, or YCCS, powered by K12. YCCS is one of Chicago’s oldest charter schools, operating 22 campuses across the city, and is the only charter school authorized by CPS to serve high-risk and at-risk students. YCCS prides itself on accommodating students’ individual needs by matching their educational level upon matriculation with a uniquely tailored, innovative learning environment. This environment suited Matthew, who said he never quite fit the set curriculum CPS offers. “Here you have more of a personal connection,” he said. “At CPS I felt like ID No. 43618884. Here I feel like Matthew Austin Rainey.” Matthew recently graduated from YCCS at the top of his class and was accepted to the University of Illinois, where he plans to pursue a degree in business. He is just one example of how school choice changes lives. Choice should be the cornerstone of any education system. It gives parents the right to decide which educational option is best for their children, whether it be public schools, charter schools, private schools, online learning or homeschooling. In other words, choice means recognizing that, when it comes to education, one size does not fit all. 
WATCH: Learn more about Matthew’s story and how YCCS powered by K12 is changing lives every day.

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 15

School choice changes lives
Josh Dwyer | Director of Education Reform
Illinois is ripe for an education revolution. Citizens across the state are fed up with the status quo. They are desperate for a solution to the problems plaguing the state’s education system.

Despite spending billions of dollars to boost student outcomes, scores are still below average.
30% 23% 15% 8% $12,000.00 $9,000.00 $6,000.00 $3,000.00

MPCP has also generated great results. A 1998 study of the program showed that school choice students scored 6 percentage points higher in reading and 11 percentage points higher in math than students in traditional public schools. A 2009 study showed 82 percent of ninth graders in voucher schools graduated from high school, while just 70 percent of traditional public school students did. To Illinois’ east is Indiana – a state that just recently enacted a voucher program. In 2011, it introduced choice scholarships – $4,000 to $5,000 vouchers given to students in lowincome families. Currently, 9,000 students across the state use them. These vouchers give parents the freedom to send their children to the school that best fits their needs. Parents in Indiana are clamoring to get their children into the voucher program. They realize that where their child goes to school can make all the difference in where they end up later in life. Because of the preliminary success of Indiana’s voucher program, state lawmakers are planning to expand it. There is much to be learned from Wisconsin and Indiana. They both provide great blueprints for implementing school choice in Illinois. Choice is the cornerstone of an effective education system, and is the only way to change the lives of students who have suffered under a failing, onesize-fits-all model for too long.


Per-Pupil Spending

Exceeds on Reading

Exceeds on Math



Exceeds on Science

In fact, the percentage of Illinois students exceeding expectations on the ISAT exam – a sign of college readiness – has stagnated at just below 30 percent during the last decade. In science and writing, the test scores have actually gone down in the last couple of years. Illinois needs to create an education system that increases student achievement, spurs innovation and allows parents to choose the best learning environment for their children. Luckily, our neighbors to the north and east are providing great examples of how to do just that. Wisconsin has a rich school choice history. In fact, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, or MPCP is the nation’s largest and oldest school voucher system. It allows students from poor and middle-class families to receive a voucher worth more than $6,000 that they can use at private schools in the city. Enrollment in the program has grown from 250 students at seven schools in its first year to more than 20,000 students at 102 schools last year. 16 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

Member spotlight

Don Tracy

Nancy Thorner

Family values: life in a family company shows where business and politics meet
Illinois Policy Institute member Don Tracy grew up in his family’s business, known today as Dot Foods Inc. Back then, Don held various jobs, working in the warehouse, driving trucks and working as a salesman. Today, Dot Foods is the nation’s largest food redistributor. Don has served as the company’s attorney since 1976 and is an owner of the company, along with his 11 siblings. Don sees the intersection of business and politics daily, and knows that not all state business climates are equal. For example, Illinois is the most expensive worker’s compensation state in which Tracy’s family operates. “Fortunately we are not dependent just on Illinois,” he said. “We do business in all 50 states and have facilities throughout the country. In the right environment, family businesses can grow and prosper and help others grow and prosper. But when a state is anti-business and losing population, growth in that state is a constant struggle.” Don’s family business employs thousands across the country. Though times are trying here in his home state, he is continuing to support the Illinois Policy Institute because he knows the Institute is fighting hard for free market principles every day. “I’m well-entrenched here, as is our family business,” he said. “We’re all going to do what we can to make Illinois a better place.”

From musician to citizen activist
In second grade, Nancy Thorner took up piano. She started playing bass violin in high school. She’s also mastered the cello and clarinet. Not only is she a musician herself, but she also instructed others during the eight years she spent as a music teacher in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the 1960s. “I started out making $5,000 a year,” she said. “People lived on that $5,000. Back then you went into this profession knowing you wouldn’t make as much as you could in business – you went into it because you loved children and you cared about the future.” After spending the majority of her life on the east coast – Nancy is a native of Pennsylvania – she and her husband came to Lake Bluff, where she still resides. Now, Nancy is known for her prolific political writing; she eats, drinks and lives politics, spending about six hours a day writing on numerous issues. Her interest in policy and concern about Illinois’ pensions led her to become involved with the Illinois Policy Institute for the past five years. “The Illinois Policy Institute emphasizes free enterprise, and this is the only solution to lift up our nation and bring us back to prosperity.”

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 17

The battle for Right to Work is a marathon, not a sprint
Joseph Lehman | President, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Labor unions have a virtual lock on Illinois politics. Unionized government delivers services ever-less efficiently in rough proportion to its ever-increasing size. It promulgates taxes and regulations that stifle private sector growth. It’s impossible to break the unions’ grip on Illinois’ fiscal health.
Substitute “Michigan” for “Illinois” and one might have said the same thing about the Great Lake State a few years ago. Yet Michigan, the cradle of organized labor and national stronghold of its power, became the 24th state to pass a Right-to-Work law in December 2012. How did this happen, and what does it mean for Illinois? An Olympic champion gets the gold by winning the race just before medals are handed out. But that doesn’t explain everything that put the right runner with the right training in the right race at the right moment. It takes tons of heart, gallons of sweat, hundreds of good decisions and many years. Similarly, Michigan’s story of Right to Work is one of endurance and persistence. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is the Illinois Policy Institute’s Michigan counterpart. Mackinac suggested in 1992 that the state would be better off giving workers, not unions, the choice over whether to pay dues to hold a job. This was the first serious proposal for Right to Work by any organization with a statewide voice. The silence in response was deafening. Three years later, I asked a question in the state’s largest newspaper: “Should workers be compelled to join a labor union to hold their jobs?” The Right-to-Work idea began to make progress as the silence gave way to ridicule and attack. Meanwhile, Mackinac wrote a library of studies and analyses of Right to Work. Its legislative testimony in 1999 raised the profile of Right to Work again. But unions responded with threats and attacks that cost Mackinac’s adjunct economist his executive-level job at a major Michigan institution. Mackinac didn’t give up, but instead rallied others to the cause as its analysts continued studying and promoting Right to Work. Whenever unionists picketed Mackinac events the public got a chance to compare Mackinac’s approach – reason, persuasion and choice – with the unions’ approach – threat, intimidation and compulsion. 18 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

« A Right-to-Work opponent explains his views to Mackinac Center President Joe Lehman.

Illinois isn’t Michigan and it shouldn’t try to replicate Michigan’s every move. But both states have scores of laws that heavily tilt government employment and spending in favor of union interests, and both states find organized labor’s political power to be the chief obstacle to their most promising fiscal reforms. For Right to Work to move from impossible to inevitable in Illinois, reformers should focus first on the idea phase to create the environment for a future political phase. Starting with the political phase guarantees setbacks because lawmakers usually won’t stick their necks out for an idea the people won’t get behind. That’s why the Illinois Policy Institute is so critical. Like Mackinac, it understands the power of developing an idea in order to make it politically possible. Not every impossible idea becomes reality, but strategies exist for transforming impossible ideas into reality. Illinois is becoming surrounded by states that are taking on unions to regain control of their fiscal destinies. Chances are it won’t take as long for the Illinois Policy Institute to make Illinois a Right-to-Work state as it took for Mackinac to win its victory.
Joseph Lehman lived in Illinois for more than 20 years and graduated from the University of Illinois. He was an engineer for Dow Chemical Co. and also served as vice president for communications at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. He is now president of the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Even in the early 2000s, lawmakers were nowhere near ready to pass Right to Work, but Mackinac made the impossible idea impossible to ignore. A 2006 Detroit Free Press poll showed 56 percent of likely voters supported Right to Work, an amazing development resulting from years of Mackinac-led study and outreach. The idea phase continued, but a political phase began as political and business leaders stopped asking Mackinac, “Why won’t you go away?” and quietly started asking each other, “How can we do this, and when?” Serious work began on a Right-to-Work ballot measure strategy in 2007, but it was a false start. Then Republicans gained control of Michigan’s government and major labor reforms passed in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Unions sought to amend Michigan’s Constitution in 2012 to give government union contracts power to trump state law. We knew if the people rejected the unions’ radical amendment soundly, the stage would be set for a legislative Right-to-Work strategy. That’s exactly what happened. Labor reform allies worked furiously to beat the amendment and, behind the scenes, to tee up Right to Work. Then, in the waning days of the legislative session, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder publicly announced that Right to Work was “on his agenda.” Lawmakers introduced bills two days later and the governor signed them five days after that. What had once been impossible had become inevitable. A key political insider said, “Right to Work wouldn’t have been on the table if the Mackinac Center hadn’t put it there.”

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 19

The Michigan playbook and how to make Right to Work a reality in Illinois
Paul Kersey | Director of Labor Policy
Last December the state of Michigan, perhaps the spiritual home of the American labor movement, passed a Right-to-Work law, under which workers cannot be forced to join or financially support a union in order to hold a job. As a labor policy expert at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy I had a hand in laying the groundwork for the eventual passage of a law that might prove to be a tipping point in U.S. labor history, and can offer some observations about the whole episode.

Here’s what we can learn from Michigan’s example: 1. The liberty movement can win the persuadable middle.
This group is repelled by the radicalism of the modern union movement and wants labor reform.

2. Right to Work is attractive – once people understand what it means.
For close to a decade, polls in newspapers such as the Detroit News, as well as data gathered by state GOP staffers, showed that a solid majority of Michigan residents supported the basic idea that workers should not be forced to join or otherwise support a union. Right to Work simply gives workers a choice, and if we can get the persuadable middle to understand that we’re halfway home.

In the end, passing Right to Work in Michigan involved a combination of creative stubbornness and idealistic opportunism. Motivated by the research and principled arguments put together by the Mackinac Center, Right-to-Work supporters built a network of grassroots and business groups that was ready to move quickly and decisively when the opportunity presented itself. What happened in Michigan can certainly happen in Illinois. The examples of Michigan and Indiana make Right to Work much less radical than it would have been before, and Illinois is actually less unionized than Michigan is. Workers are losing confidence in unions; even with the Obama administration bending the rules in their favor, unions are losing members nationally and in Illinois. We have a playbook for passing Right to Work in a heavily unionized state. Now we have to execute.

3. The liberty movement has friends among the union rank-and-file – we just need to cultivate these relationships.
Among the most valuable groups in the Michigan Right-to-Work battle was Union Conservatives, whose founder, Terry Bowman, was a United Auto Workers member. Bowman and his group were able to personally illustrate how unions often fail those they are supposed to represent, and testify how the often radical union agenda is opposed by many union workers. Once the public realizes that workers do not always benefit from union representation, the case for forcing workers to contribute collapses.

4. Forced dues money gives union officials great power, but radicalism means they are prone to make mistakes.
As Joseph Lehman explains in his article on page 18, Michigan government unions overreacted badly to the reforms made by a moderate Republican governor, creating the opening for Right to Work.

5. Political courage is not a contradiction in terms.
When the opportunity arose, state Rep. Mike Shirkey and state Sen. Patrick Colbeck were able to persuade fellow lawmakers to support Right to Work on its merits. Skepticism about the virtues of elected officials is healthy, but should not harden into cynicism; politicians are people, too, and can be persuaded once they see that there is substantial public support for Right to Work.

20 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

Guarding against a backdoor bailout
The work needed to turn Illinois around is full of tension – and one of the main tensions is the pressure between choosing real pension reform over perpetuating America’s bailout culture.

Ted Dabrowski | Vice President of Policy
retirements by pushing for costly raises and cushy benefits. And because of this, Illinois and California, along with several other states, may eventually feel their only recourse is handouts from the federal government. In the end, the most fiscally responsible states will be the ones to take a hit when the federal government makes a money grab to fix the massive pension shortfall. And many states in fiscal trouble have taken responsible steps toward improvement. Michigan moved all new workers to 401(k)-style plans as far back as 1997. Wisconsin, which recently overhauled collective bargaining, now has a budget surplus. Rhode Island, a Democrat-controlled state, passed the boldest pension reforms in the nation in 2011.

bonds of fiscally troubled states and municipalities. Dubbed QE-Muni, this solution effectively uses the federal printing press to bail out states. Other bailout ideas are there for the taking – especially if your boss provides the cover. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is looking to cut the costs of platinum health care plans for city workers that retire in their 50s and he’s found the perfect outlet - ObamaCare. While it’s good policy to end a perk that no one even in the private sector gets, dumping those costs onto ObamaCare isn’t the solution. It’s just another backdoor bailout.     States like Illinois and California are perpetuating the national crisis by failing to take on the unions that are driving up the costs of government employee

As Illinois’ fiscal crisis deepens, the environment is becoming ripe for either bailouts or true pension reform.
When I appeared on Varney & Co. in January, host Stuart Varney pressed me to reveal milestones in Illinois’ fiscal crisis. In this article, I’ll share what I see on this front. Illinois is the poster child of a state that’s avoiding reforms in the expectation of a bailout. Gov. Pat Quinn has lobbied for more than three years for a federal guarantee of the state’s pension debt while the Illinois Legislature has failed to put any real reforms on the table – even as a fiscal crisis stares politicians in the face. Illinois crossed its next major milestone toward a bailout in late January when the state’s credit was downgraded by S&P Rating Services to the lowest level of all states in the nation. That downgrade forced investors to flee the state’s latest attempt to borrow, prompting the state to cancel its $500 million bond offering. A deeper crisis is nearing and one might hope that, so too, is the potential for reforms. While the Illinois Policy Institute’s No Pension Bailout campaign has brought the potential bailout of state pensions to the forefront of the national media, others are lurking with stealth bailout proposals. Just look at the recent idea floated by three Stanford University professors. They propose using one of the next Federal Reserve’s monetary interventions, called Quantitative Easings, to purchase the

The Illinois Policy Institute’s NoPensionBailout.com website highlights the winners and losers of a federal bailout, and it’s no surprise that those hit the hardest are the states that have practiced the most fiscal discipline. Monitoring the tension between a bailout and real pension reform, and pushing for state lawmakers to make the right decisions is one of the most important ways the Illinois Policy Institute can help turn Illinois around.

To learn more, visit NoPensionBailout.com today.
illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 21

Policy and litigation center updates
The Illinois Policy Institute leads the charge for liberty through its strategic litigation and policy work. Here is an update on what we have been working on lately:

Good government
• Fighting Illinois’ corruption problem by promoting online transparency and accountability through our Local Transparency Project and 102 County Transparency Project. Through these projects, we audit thousands of governing bodies throughout the state.

• Challenging legal privileges held by government unions and working to reduce these where possible. • We supported the management bill, which the Illinois General Assembly ultimately passed. This legislation has the potential to remove up to 1,900 high-ranking state employees from union representation. • Promoting Michigan’s Right-toWork law by compiling information comparing Right-to-Work and nonRight-to-Work states.

Pension reform
• Opposing fake pension reform – such as the Nekritz-Biss bill – that perpetuates the crisis and reframing the discussion to empower government workers with self-managed retirement accounts. • Stopped the idea of a federal bailout of Illinois’ pensions dead in its tracks by exposing the plan, highlighting how destructive it would be and partnering with lawmakers and national experts to block any such attempt.

22 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

Budget and tax
• Defending families, entrepreneurs and job creators against a discriminatory and inefficient progressive income tax, which taxes individuals and businesses at a higher rate the more they earn. • Pressuring lawmakers to keep their promise to return the taxpayers’ hardearned money that was taken in the record income tax hike of 2011. • Highlighting and exposing the growing culture of corporate welfare, cronyism and satisfaction with failed governance in Illinois with the 2012 Illinois Piglet Book.

Health care
• Working with lawmakers to block implementation of key provisions of ObamaCare in Illinois by highlighting how implementing optional provisions hurts taxpayers, the poor and entrepreneurs. • Offering patient-centered reforms to restructure Medicaid and rededicate its resources to those most in need, rather than hiking taxes to pay even more for a broken system.

Liberty Justice Center
• LJC filed Illinois Liberty PAC, et al. v. Madigan, et al. in U.S. District Court, which seeks to strike down Illinois’ campaign finance act because it violates Illinois citizens’ rights to free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution. • LJC is currently litigating Crowe v. city of Bloomington, which seeks to strike down city practices and procedures that unconstitutionally barred our client, Julie Crowe, from operating her vehicle-for-hire business in Bloomington. We are also litigating Beavers Donuts v. city of Evanston, which seeks to strike down a city of Evanston ordinance that prohibits anyone from operating a food truck who does not own a brick-andmortar restaurant in the city. Victories in these cases would vindicate our clients’ and all citizens’ rights to earn a living free from irrational and arbitrary government regulation. • LJC is investigating potential cases of unconstitutional state government spending as well as a challenge to the ObamaCare health insurance exchange being established in Illinois.

• Increasing school choice by supporting charter school expansion and funding equity. • Demanding accountability by exposing Illinois’ convoluted and dysfunctional education finance system. • Returning power to parents by supporting school choice laws that allow them to choose the best educational options for their children.

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 23


Gifts of the Free Market

Our Gifts of the Free Market event is how the Illinois Policy Institute celebrates the holiday season. Our focus during this time of the year is on the free enterprise system, and how it is the best mechanism to help the poor and disadvantaged, as well as society in general. This is an annual tradition that allows the Illinois Policy Institute to promote the benefits and gifts that the free market provides to all people. This year, more than 200 guests joined in the festivities, which included a performance by the Pritzker College Prep choir.

24 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org


National School Choice Week

In January, the Illinois Policy Institute celebrated National School Choice Week. The organizers of this annual event chartered a historic railcar for a 14-city, cross-country tour that stopped in Chicago’s Union Station for a rally attended by 2,500 parents, students and teachers. National School Choice Week is an annual event that galvanizes public support for enhanced educational options.

WATCH: Ted Dabrowski’s highlight video from the Chicago stop of the National School Choice Week rally.

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 25

Becoming a member of the Illinois Policy Institute is an investment in freedom.
Your generous investment enables the Illinois Policy Institute to continue our mission to make Illinois No. 1 in economic growth. The best part of joining the Illinois Policy Institute is that our members are also our partners in the liberty movement.
Review our membership options and consider joining us through one of the following levels: Member $25 annual donation • Compass quarterly magazine • Personalized membership card Supporter $100 annual donation • Member-level benefits • Illinois Policy Institute Supporter mug Patriot $250 annual donation • Supporter-level benefits • Four complimentary tickets to Liberty Speakers Series events Sponsor $500 annual donation • Patriot-level benefits • Weekly insight emails from CEO John Tillman Patron $1,000 annual donation • Sponsor-level benefits • Complimentary admission to all Liberty Speaker Series events Benefactor $2,500 annual donation • Patron-level benefits • Complimentary admission to our annual event Friend of Liberty $5,000 annual donation • Benefactor-level benefits • Monthly intelligence conference calls with CEO John Tillman Freedom Leader $10,000 annual donation • Friend of Liberty-level benefits • Membership plaque Liberty Ambassador $25,000 annual donation • Freedom Leader-level benefits • Complimentary print copies of new studies and reports 1818 Club $50,000 annual donation • Liberty Ambassador-level benefits • Invitation to annual strategy session at premier location Leadership Council $100,000 annual donation • 1818 Club-level benefits • Personal tour of Illinois Statehouse with the Illinois Policy Institute’s outreach team President’s Council $500,000 annual donation • Leadership Council-level benefits • Invitations to private gatherings with scholars and policymakers Chairman’s Circle $1,000,000+ annual donation • President’s Council-level benefits • Policy center naming opportunity Young Professional (age 35 or younger) $100+ annual donation • Member-level benefits • Admission to four Liberty Speakers Series events You can also support the Illinois Policy Institute through your estate planning or by making a transfer of stock. Employer matches for tax-deductible gifts are another great avenue of support.

The Illinois Policy Institute is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Contributions in any amount are welcome and tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

26 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

Expert spotlight

Jonathan Ingram

Director of Health Policy and Pension Reform at the Illinois Policy Institute Jonathan Ingram is humble, hardworking and has an unparalleled grasp of Illinois’ health care and government pension landscape.

After graduating from MacMurray College with a bachelor’s degree in English and history at age 20, he earned his Juris Doctor at age 23 from Southern Illinois University. Despite passing the Illinois bar exam, Ingram – a lifelong Illinoisan – decided that instead of practicing law, he wanted to dedicate himself to promoting free market ideals and making Illinois great again. He joined the Institute in August 2011. Q: Why did you decide to pursue policy instead of practicing law? A: In law school I realized I’d rather be doing more policy work, which is why I got involved with the Journal of Legal Medicine, first as a writer and then as

the editor. Looking around I realized there was a huge vacuum of free market ideas in the policy world in Illinois. Q: What’s your vision for your work in the future? A: The vision for health care is to put the dollars and the decisions back in the hands of normal, everyday Illinoisans rather than in the hands of lawmakers in Springfield and Washington. Right now, government bureaucracy controls everything from what health care has to cover to what people can buy. That money and those decisions would be better made by the individual. In the pension realm, it’s really about putting control of retirement savings back in the hands of the workers while providing

relief to taxpayers. Right now, no one can count on the current defined benefit plan being there. Q: What is the biggest challenge in health policy? A: The biggest challenge in health policy is reframing the debate. For too many years, “health reform” has simply meant dumping more people into government programs where costs are high, access is poor and quality is low. We have to make the moral case that it’s not real reform unless it empowers patients with meaningful choices, fosters competition on value and rededicates our safety net resources to those who need them most.

illinoispolicy.org | SPRING 2013 | 27

Supporting the Illinois Policy Institute promotes the free enterprise revolution
Revolutions don’t originate in capital cities. Revolutions in leadership and policy originate among the people, in communities, over coffee, at a potluck dinner and among those who are engaged with, but not captured by, the political ecosystem. The Illinois Policy Institute helps grass-roots activists, average citizens, and people in the ecosystem of policy and politics become better advocates for the policy agenda our state and country needs. Best of all, we help those not part of the establishment learn how the game works, how to talk and sell policy, how to challenge the status quo and learn to connect the dots. That is why so many insiders see our efforts as a threat. We take that as a compliment. None of this is possible without you. Please consider extending your support by becoming a formal member so we can continue to fill the vacuum in leadership left by the folks in capitals all across the country and in Washington, D.C.

John Tillman | CEO

28 | SPRING 2013 | illinoispolicy.org

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