US Chamber thinks Chicago poverty assistance will suffer because of ozone regulations.

I can’t resist going after the US Chamber of Commerce.  Today, I arrived home from a very trying day to this:  US Chamber’s take on Ozone regulations.

First, since they’re mentioned in the article, let me say that I worked for the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce as a contractor to the Illinois Department of Transportation in 2009-10.  As the business consultant for the Department’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, I met many of the state’s business owners, and among them, many who would supposedly be adversely affected by new 65 ppb standards for ozone compliance.  I also met a great many of the people around the state trying to end poverty around the state, as well as in Chicago.  Oh, and I met the folks at Caterpillar – my favorite USCoC folks, and saw a terrific heavy equipment show at their demonstration center outside Peoria.  As a side note, the family I knew with a Caterpillar employee member now live in Eastern China.  Just sayin…

According to the USCoC;

“Businesses–particularly manufacturers–in these counties would face higher regulatory costs. According (to) a National Association of Manufacturers study, ozone compliance costs under a 65 ppb standard for the entire state of Illinois will be $9 billion annually.”

And then, you read something like this…

IL Governor Rauner Gets $750,000 Tax Break, Proposes Slashing Services to Middle Class and Poor

or this…  10 Things You Should Know About Gov. Rauner’s Pension Reform Proposal

or this…  Can you smell the Illinois bacon?

and it makes you wonder what’s really up in the great State of Illinois.

My experiences there have not been very complimentary.  In 2002-3, under then Governor George Ryan, I was hired as the Project Manager for Illinois Medicaid for HIPAA.  After moving myself and my then 7-year old child to Springfield (on the heels of a 4 month contract in Los Angeles), I discovered in my first Staff Meeting that my substantial $300k contract was being 90% matched by the Federal government.  I also discovered that the former head of Medicaid IT had taken early retirement… and would soon return as a “highly paid consultant” to the project.  It wasn’t long thereafter that the Assistant Director of the Department asked why I “couldn’t just do nothing and collect my paycheck?” I blew the whistle on the way out the door, and got on with my life back in California.

In 2009, I did a huge amount of work all over the State, and got paid 1/10th of my invoice 2.5 years later. These were ARRA contracts being “paid” for by… you guessed it… grants and matching funds from the Obama administration.  As third sub down with expenses incurred, you can probably guess that the Primes got paid and the rest of us got about a penny on the dollar for our time and materials invoices.  Still, I shouldn’t complain.  Two years later the check I finally got allowed me to catch up to my income tax bills that couldn’t be paid because I wasn’t.  Oh, and I think I got to go out to dinner twice at the local bar and grill. By keeping me destitute, I was able to move back in with my ex-husband and 20 year old son.  We were able to re-bond and re-settle our ongoing relationships as parents and child.  Perhaps the investment was worthwhile.  Perhaps infrastructure projects funded by the Feds will be managed minus the malfeasance. Perhaps it was just another part of suffering from a lack of ozone.