John Cullerton

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John Cullerton
John Cullerton.jpg
Illinois State Senate District 6
Incumbent
In office
1991 - Present
Term ends
January 14, 2015
Years in position 23
PartyDemocratic
Leadership
President of the Senate
Compensation
Base salary$67,836/year
Per diem$111/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected1990
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Illinois House of Representatives
1979 - 1991
Education
Bachelor'sLoyola University (1970)
J.D.Loyola University (1974)
Military service
Service/branchIllinois National Guard
Years of service1970 - 1976
Personal
BirthdayOctober 28, 1948
Place of birthChicago, Illinois
ProfessionPartner, Thompson Coburn LLC
ReligionCatholic
Websites
Office website
Personal website
CandidateVerification
John Cullerton is the Democratic of the Illinois State Senate, representing District 6 and serving as President of the Senate. He was first elected to the chamber in 1990. He previously served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991.

Cullerton earned his Bachelor's and J.D. from Loyola-Chicago in 1970 and 1974, respectively. His professional experience includes working as a Public Defender in Cook County.

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Cullerton served on the following committees:

Illinois Committee Assignments, 2013
Committee of the Whole
Executive

2011-2012

In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Cullerton served on these committees:

2009-2010

In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Cullerton served on these committees:[1]

Issues

Tax hike


Cullerton on tax hike and pension cap

The Illinois State Senate passed a plan for a two point income tax hike, from 3 percent to 5 percent. At the start of the 2011 session, Quinn met with Democratic leaders to speak about passing tax hike legislation in the House. Gov. Pat Quinn is pulling for a hike of at least 1 percent.[2]

Senate President Cullerton said the House is going to have to act first.

"We already passed an income tax out of the Senate," Cullerton said. "So they're talking about getting the vote to pass an income tax out of the House."

House Republicans hesitate to support any tax increase without concessions from Quinn and legislative Democrats.

State Rep Jil Tracy said while there has been talk of Medicaid, workers' comp and education reform, talk isn't going to get many votes.

"I only hope there's been a lot of real reform talked about that's going to be shown in legislation," she said. "I'm not sure."

Tracy said Democrats only want GOP votes as a shield against angry voters.[3]

Budget, 2011

Both Republican and Democrat Senators were concerned that they didn't have enough time to before voting up or down the $1.2 billion in cuts to Gov. Pat Quinn’s introduced $35.4 billion budget.

As the Senate President, Sen. Cullerton sought this vote in a time crunch that made many senators uncomfortable.

“When we make these cuts they are real, and they affect real people,” Sen. Mike Jacobs said. “So we do have to be careful and I do agree with my colleague Senator (William) Delgado that we should go through this list slowly, completely and without an eye on which constituent gets help and what constituent gets hurt, but based on numbers.”

Sen. Matt Murphy said he too was concerned about the small time frame and reiterated his concern that reductions in spending as introduced don’t go far enough.

“I don’t know that that gets us to a point where the tax increase goes away. I think the numbers, the way they run out, will not allow the tax increase to go away if we’re only at 1.2 (billion dollars),” Murphy said.

The state increased the personal and corporate income taxes earlier this year by 67 percent and 45.9 percent, respectively. The tax increases will expire in four years unless the General Assembly votes to extend them.[4]

Expired nominations

Eric Madiar, chief legal counsel to Senate President John Cullerton, sent a letter to Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in early January 2011, pointing out that 38 gubernatorial nominations expired with the closing of the previous General Assembly, and therefore should not be paid a salary or expenses.

Fifteen salaried and 23 unsalaried positions were up in the air in January 2011, including those of interim Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken and interim Illinois Commerce Commission Chair Manuel Flores.

“We in the new Senate cannot take action on that old paperwork. There is no paperwork supporting those individuals to be in office today,” said Madiar.[5]

Pensions

As of October 2013, the Illinois state pension was expected to run out by the end of the decade at less than 40 percent funded, the lowest in the country. This fact did not seem to alarm Senate President John Cullerton.

"People really misunderstand the nature of this whole problem. Quite frankly, I don't think you can use the word 'crisis' to describe it at the state level," said Cullerton.

To fix the state's pension problems, Cullerton and the rest of the state legislature increased the state's flat income tax in 2011. The rate went from three percent to five percent. The corporate rate also went up, from 4.8 percent to seven percent. These tax increases brought in about $6 billion dollars each year for the state pension program. Though they were supposed to go back down in 2015, Cullerton said the state cannot afford to end these increases. He explained that if the tax increases were phased out, huge cuts would have to be made in order to continue funding pensions.[6]

Elections

2012

See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2012

Cullerton won re-election in the 2012 election for Illinois State Senate District 6. He was unopposed in the Democratic Primary on March 20[7][8] and was unopposed in the general election on November 6, 2012.[9]

Illinois State Senate, District 6, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Cullerton Incumbent 100% 76,111
Total Votes 76,111

2008

On November 4, 2008, Democrat John Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate District 6 receiving 73,323 votes, ahead of Republican Jay Valko (21,320 votes).[10]


Illinois State Senate, District 6 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png John Cullerton (D) 73,323
Jay Valko (R) 21,320


Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Cullerton is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Cullerton raised a total of $7,335,830 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 12, 2013.[11]

John Cullerton's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Won $2,737,346
2010 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Not up for election $2,143,179
2008 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Won $1,133,320
2006 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Won $462,025
2004 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Not up for election $263,998
2002 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Won $200,371
2000 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Won $127,288
1998 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Not up for election $131,347
1996 Illinois State Senate, District 6 Won $136,956
Grand Total Raised $7,335,830

2012

Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $2,737,346.
Illinois State Senate 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to John Cullerton's campaign in 2012
Illinois Laborers$100,000
Teamsters$100,000
Service Employees Illinois Council$100,000
Illinois Health Care Association$95,000
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers$76,500
Total Raised in 2012$2,737,346
Source:Follow the Money

2010

Cullerton was not up for election to the Illinois State Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $2,143,179.

2008

Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $1,133,320.

2006

Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2006. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $462,025.

2004

Cullerton was not up for election to the Illinois State Senate in 2004. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $263,998.

2002

Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2002. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $200,371.

2000

Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2000. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $127,288.

1998

Cullerton was not up for election to the Illinois State Senate in 1998. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $131,347.

1996

Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. During that election cycle, Cullerton raised a total of $136,956.

Scorecards

Illinois Opportunity Project

See also: Illinois Opportunity Project's Legislative Vote Card

The Illinois Opportunity Project, "an independent research and public policy enterprise that promotes legislative solutions in advance of free markets and free minds," annually releases its Legislative Vote Card, grading all members in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly on the basis of their support of "pro-growth economic policies that increase personal freedom and reign in expansive government."[12][13]

2012

Cullerton received a score of 37.50 out of 100 in 2012 for a grade of F according to the IOP’s grading scale. His score was tied for the 37th highest among all 59 members of the Illinois State Senate included in the Vote Card.[13]

Personal

John and his wife, Pamela, have five children.

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References

Political offices
Preceded by
'
Illinois Senate District 6
1991–present
Succeeded by
NA