Sunday, May 31, 2015

Who’s to blame? I’d say it’s the people who are too eager to assess blame

Sunday is the day that our state government officials are supposed to have a budget proposal in place; something that legislators vote on by Midnight and which Gov. Bruce Rauner is supposed to sign off on by June 30.

RAUNER: Gov only 1/3 of state structure
Yet it seems that the Midnight deadline is going to be missed.

OUR DEMOCRAT-RUN GENERAL Assembly is likely to vote to approve something that they claim will be a budget for the state’s upcoming fiscal year.

Of course, the people aligned with Rauner will go out of their way to claim that he budget proposal is a sham, a crock, something completely unworkable and undoable.

Which means whatever activity happens on Sunday really isn’t worth the time it took to have legislators in session.

We’re going to get our state’s governor and General Assembly tied up in knots in coming weeks – or months, if the disagreements between Rauner and Legislature become anything as intense as they were between Rod Blagojevich and the General Assembly back in 2007.

WHAT AMUSES ME about the situation is the degree to which some people are trying to justify the current situation by claiming it’s “the other guy’s fault.”

As in if only Dose Damn Dems would shut up with their whining and go along with Rauner’s desires for reform, the state would be just fine.

MADIGAN: Will have to give if he wants to take
Of course, there’s the reverse argument – if only Rauner would realize his “reforms” are really nothing more than anti-labor measures meant to undermine the interests of unions and organized labor, then we’d have no problems either.

I’ve been hearing the argument tossed about by some in recent days about how Dems need to accept the fact that a Republican got elected governor in last year’s election cycle.

MEANING THERE IS some legitimacy to the idea that a majority of voters are sympathetic to what he wants – even all the anti-labor measures.

After all, about the only thing we really knew about Rauner during his campaign cycle was that he was a business executive who thinks the financial bottom line of people like him is irreparably harmed by the expenses they have to pay for their laborers.

CULLERTON: Can he compromise as well?
Of course, there’s also legitimacy to the notion that Rauner was given a General Assembly with veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Voters didn’t exactly feel the need to repudiate the government structure that has dominated state government for more than a decade – particularly those who voted against former Gov. Pat Quinn, but felt the need to keep everything else the same.

Illinois still has a government that leans primarily toward the Democratic Party. We’re not Indiana by a longshot – even if people like Rauner want to fantasize ta we are.

SO WHAT SHOULD we think about the predicament our state officials now face? There’s going to have to be give-and-take on both sides of the partisan aisle in coming weeks if we’re going to have a state with a functional budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Although it seems that the Rauner rhetoric about being willing to settle for worker compensation reforms and property tax freezes (which really is a local issue) may not be enough "give" for Democrats to accept.

The reality of our state’s financial situation is that there is a significant shortfall in revenue compared to the obligations our government has. Any talk of not figuring out some sort of revenue enhancement (even a dreaded tax) is just irresponsible.
Problems here can't be resolved 'til state gets act together
It probably was irresponsible for the Legislature last year to so stubbornly refuse to even consider the income tax extension that Quinn wanted. Governing responsibly is often about making decisions that people will hate!

Which is what will have to happen amongst Democrats and Republicans in coming days if we’re to avoid being hit with a financial calamity. It’s time to put the political partisanship aside.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one commentary that I'd love to be proven wrong about. Because that would mean the government officials we elected to do the "people's business" were actually able to resolve this problem sometime between the time you read this and Midnight.

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