Illinois Policy Institute
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (October 2012)|
|Key people||John Tillman, CEO|
|Focus(es)||free market principles|
|Method(s)||Media attention, direct-appeal campaigns, Liberty Leader volunteers|
|Revenue||$1.8 million in 2010|
|Motto||Policy Changes Lives|
|Website||Illinois Policy Institute Homepage|
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a think tank whose stated vision is "to make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation and to become a free enterprise leader for the rest of America."
According to the group's website, it seeks to "define the challenges facing Illinois residents, study how public policy can improve the situation and then craft positive, innovative solutions based on free enterprise principles." Its primary focus areas include fiscal policy, educational choice and reform, government transparency, health care reform, as well as commerce and labor policy.
The organization is independent and not affiliated with any political party, as it is a 501(c) organization. They "work with anyone who supports our values on a particular issue, regardless of political or ideological affinity, including Democrats, Republicans and independents", though the goals it focuses on are currently associated with conservative ideology in the United States. The Institute does not endorse candidates or donate to political parties.
The following are the vision, mission and approach of the Illinois Policy Institute, according to their own description: To make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation and become a free enterprise leader for the rest of America. To inspires changes in "hearts, minds and laws" by "promoting personal freedom and prosperity," and generate "positive and sustainable policy solutions" that promote talent and entrepreneurial ability. To transform liberty principles into marketable policies that become law.
The Institute's "ultimate sign of success" is when free market ideas are turned into law and change lives for the better, when "individuals and businesses become more prosperous without the fear of government favoritism or interference, families can choose a high quality education for their kids, and citizens respect their government because it is open and transparent to all."
- John Tillman, CEO. His background is as an entrepreneur in the area of political activism, retailing, e-commerce and internet access. In 2011, he won the Roe Award from the [State Policy Network] for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy.
- Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president. She directs the Institute's operations, legislative outreach, and policy research. Rasmussen specializes on budget and tax issues, health care, and economic competitiveness. Previously, she worked with the National Taxpayers Union.
- Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy. He develops policy suggestions with a focus on Illinois budget and tax policy, health care, pension reform, education policy and job creation.
- Daniel Anthony, vice president of marketing and communications.
Board of Directors
- William (Bill) G. Becker III
- Steve Brown
- Terry T. Campo, Esq.
- Elizabeth Christie
- Richard T. Weiss
- John Tillman
The Institute is known for releasing an annual alternative state budget, a "Piglet Book" detailing what it sees as wasteful government spending, regular reports on charter school achievement as well as a Legislators' Guide to the Issues.
The Illinois Policy Institute is a 501(c) organization. The Institute obtains all of its funding from private donors and foundations. It does not accept government funding of any kind.
Political action committee
The Illinois Policy Institute is not affiliated with a political action committee. According to its FAQs, "The Institute does not endorse candidates or donate to political parties."
The State Journal-Register's Bernard Shoenburg reported on June 18, 2011, that that head of the Illinois Policy Institute, John Tillman, had created a Political Action Committee, Illinois Liberty PAC, that shared the same Chicago mailing address as the Institute.
In the article, Kent Redfield, a professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, stated that "When you’re up there delivering a report on Medicaid reimbursements, but you’re also backing candidates and soliciting campaign contributions for your PAC, people are going to wonder how you are balancing those sorts of things."
Schoenburg later reported on April 12, 2012, that Tillman had cut ties with Illinois Liberty PAC and two other committees. Tillman is a board member of the Illinois Opportunity Project, a 501c4 organization. The project has donated funds to several Republican candidates and to the Illinois Liberty PAC.
Relations with elected officials
According to the group's website, the Institute "work[s] with anyone who supports our values on a particular issue, regardless of political or ideological affinity, including Democrats, Republicans and independents."
On August 13, 2010, the Pantagraph reported that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn referenced the Illinois Policy Institute when opening the 2010 Illinois State Fair. "'There are, you know, pinheads who think that we should cut out the state fair,' Quinn said after cutting the ribbon on the 157th running of the fair. 'I think they're all wet. I think the people of Illinois want a state fair to celebrate our agriculture.'"
- "About Us". Illinois Policy Institute. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- IPI alternative state budget
- IPI Piglet Book
- Legislators' Guide