Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One week remains until Ill.'s problems multiply; will things get worse?

I’m not the least bit surprised that we’re at this point in time without any progress having been made toward approving a balanced budget to allow Illinois state government to continue to operate a week from now.

We have political people in Illinois who act as though they’re still in college and waiting until the absolute last minute before they start work writing that paper that accounts for 50 percent of their total grade. All because they had to attend that wild party that is now nothing more than a haze in their minds.

SO NOW THAT we’re one week away from the end of the 2015 fiscal year, it seems to me that it is only natural state officials will now start to seriously think about what needs to be done.

In fact, I won’t be surprised that our officials are now just starting to fret about this issue. They spent all the past months “partying” it up too much.

Any serious break in the stalemate probably won’t come until this weekend, and probably won’t be resolved until June 30 proper. Maybe some time around 1 p.m., which will then result in a mad dash during the afternoon and evening hours to try to get the General Assembly to give its approval before 11:59 p.m. becomes Midnight.

Then again, we may wind up finding out this week that our political officials are more interested in prolonging this political fight well into the summer – believing foolishly that the people will be more than eager to blame the other guy!

I’M NOT ABOUT to predict how this situation will turn out, except that I emotionally am prepared for things to go to the worst.

Because we have a state financial situation where we don’t have enough income to pay for all of the obligations our state has.

Whereas Gov. Bruce Rauner seems more interested in pushing for the measures he hinted at during his campaign to try to restrict the power of organized labor than he is in ensuring that state government continues to operate without a hitch.

One can argue that such issues are irrelevant now and that our state officials need to put a budget into place to avert a potential shutdown of government activity – which is the option that hurts us all.

BUT I’M REALISTIC enough to know that isn’t going to happen. I also realize that Democratic leadership in the General Assembly has engaged in their own partisan gamesmanship with the budget. How else to explain the fact that they passed a budget proposal knowing it included a revenue shortfall; thinking they could shame Rauner into giving them what they want.

Except that our governor has no shame when it comes to this issue! Neither do our legislators.

We could very well fall into the situation where government continues to collect its revenue, but is not permitted to spend any of it because there’s no written proposal detailing how it is spent.

There are powerful egos on all sides of this partisan spat. Nobody is going to be willing to be perceived as being the one to “cave in,” particularly since business interests are putting their support behind Rauner and labor is depending on the Mike Madigan/John Cullerton combination to protect themselves from being stomped all over.

BUT OUR POLITICAL people have a knack of being able to pull things off at the last minute. Which is why nobody should be taking it all that serious that nearly a month has gone by since the General Assembly has finished its spring session without imposing its final action – a budget for Fiscal ’16.

It actually makes me reminisce about the days when the legislative session in Illinois continued through to June 30. The idea was that the legislative session ended with the fiscal year, and that the last issue to be voted on would be the budget itself.

Instead, we have state officials who want to think they’re already done – and that the budget is some sort of afterthought.

That is the real problem we face, and it is political people of all partisan persuasions who are to blame.


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