Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Will lack of license renewal notices irritate public about lack of Ill. budget?

It shouldn’t make any difference that the state of Illinois will not be able to send out written notices via mail reminding people that their driver’s licenses are on the verge of expiring.

It includes an expiration date!
After all, the date of expiration is printed on every single license. It is spelled out for you right on the card. And it falls on your birthdate every four years!

THE ONLY REAL trick is to remember whether this year is the year you have to make the trip to a secretary of state facility to do the renewal, and whether this year is one of those where you have to submit to a written or actual driving test to show the state that you’re still qualified to be capable of operating an automobile.

But I can already imagine the complaints we’re going to hear from the public; or at least those who won’t receive a notice of renewal in coming weeks – all on account of the fact that the state is running low on cash it has authorization to spend.

It’s that dreaded lack of a budget for state government – something that is required by the state Constitution for the government to operate at full services.

Both the Chicago Tribune and State Journal-Register newspaper of Springfield reported that the secretary of state’s office will have to stop sending out the notices because the cost of postage is too much.

THE STATE HAS been sending out notices the past three months because there was some money left over from the past fiscal year (the one that ended June 30).

RAUNER: You'd think he'd be ashamed by now
The bit that still remains will now be used by the state to mail out license renewal stickers, along with license plates themselves. Although if the politically partisan-motivated stalemate between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, continues much longer, even those services may have to be cut.

Personally, I feel lucky. My license expired at the end of August – meaning I got my notice back in June. Aside from complaining that my new driver’s license photograph makes me look old (then again, I did just turn 50), I can’t complain.

Could Cullerton and Ragodno ...
Just as my brother is due to renew the license plates on his automobile by Wednesday.

I GUESS THIS means we beat the rush. By the time we have to deal with these duties again, I’d hope our state would be in a position to have an actual budget.

At which time, things would resume the way they’re supposed to within state government.

... resolve budget crisis themselves?
Personally, I find little details such as this to be laughable because they show just how ridiculous the financial status of Illinois has become; so precarious that something as basic as one’s driver’s license can be threatened by the inability of public officials to fulfill one of their most basic duties.

Considering that the conservative ideologues of our society believe that state government ought to pass its budget, and do as little else as becomes necessary, it makes me think that the Republican caucus is the ultimate failure in this situation by putting their desire to bash organized labor ahead of their official duty.

THEY’RE NOT EVEN fulfilling their basic responsibility. Which makes me wonder if they’re more derelict in their duties than that rural Kentucky clerk who wants to thwart a basic duty of her own office (marriage licenses) to make an ideological point about the legitimacy of gay marriage.

DAVIS: Who's more embarrassing; her or gov?
Now I’m fully aware that Madigan is just as capable of being stubborn, although I get the sense he’s at least interested in moving forward on the budgetary issue.

Which also makes me note the interviews that Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and Minority Leader Cristine Radogno, R-Lemont, gave to WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight” program earlier this week – saying that if it were just the two of them, they’d be able to approve a budget that would allow the state to move forward.

It makes me wonder if we need to dump all our leadership – and if it will be something as petty as driver’s license notification that will ultimately irritate the public enough to put the pressure on political people to get them to actually do something.


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