Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How does Illinois move forward this year when we’re still stuck in last year?

I must confess, I don’t have a clue what will come out of the mouth of Gov. Bruce Rauner when he gives his “State of the State” address come Wednesday.

RAUNER: What will he say?
I don’t doubt that when the noon hour arrives, Rauner will speak – and probably make attempts at eloquent rhetoric (or at least something he thinks is eloquent) about how we, the people of Illinois, will be much better off if only our political structure would just shut up and do what he tells them to!

BUT AS FOR any specific policies or changes or anything that he might try putting forward as the reason for government to exist at all in 2016? I doubt there will be much of any substance.

In fact, I have to admit to being glad I won’t be at the Statehouse in Springfield to actually hear the address, and certainly don’t think there will be a need to try to watch a broadcast of the speech on one of those public access television programs that nobody but government geeks pays any attention to anyway.

It will all be partisan trash-talk, as will be the official responses that the General Assembly’s leaders will feel compelled to make once the governor is through talking.

So the “State of the State” of Illinois for 2016? It’s the same as in 2015 – total chaos caused by the fact we have delved into the type of partisan politics that has long dominated our federal government scene.

ALTHOUGH FOR THOSE who try to make some sort of comparison by claiming that Rauner is going through the same level of partisan attacks that Barack Obama gets from the Republican-run Congress, I’d have to say “nonsense.”

The activity taking place here these days ...
To paraphrase the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Rauner, you are no Barack Obama.

If anything, our governor is trying to give the same partisan tactics used in Congress some level of credibility within Illinois state government. Although that actually isn’t 100 percent correct either.

The ideologues in Congress are about trying to give dominance to a certain segment of society based off select interpretations of moralistic issues. Rauner is about trying to give his business buddies a government that will coddle their concerns over all else in our society – so as to benefit their bottom line.

... bears too much resemblance to Capitol Hill activity
I SUPPOSE IT’S like the old Reaganomics theory of “trickle down,” that if the most wealthy are doing well, somehow we all will benefit from their wealth. Although it’s been my own observation that when the wealthy are doing well, they take on measures meant to ensure that they keep as much as possible – and that nothing trickles down.

Perhaps this is the kind of talk we’ll hear from the governor on Wednesday.

It’s going to be a speech that tries to justify the past year – one in which we’re now seven months through the current fiscal year without being anywhere close to having a balanced budget in place.

And where the only reason certain government agencies continue to run is because the federal courts have ordered they do so.

WHICH IS A mess because the state never took the actions necessary to ensure there’d be enough funds to get through Fiscal 2016. Either by some sort of revenue enhancement/tax increase or some sort of major cut to keep the state within the level of cash it actually will have on hand.

And yes, government has obligations that must be met. So I don’t want to hear the cheap rhetoric about “living within one’s means.”

MADIGAN: Is it his fault?
So we’re at the point now where we’re getting ready to hear in coming weeks about a budget proposal for Fiscal 2017 (which begins July 1), even though we still don’t have the budget in place for ’16 – and probably never will get one. It would be nice if Rauner could use the “State of the State” to try to explain himself and his past year’s actions. But I don’t expect we’ll get that.

Unless you take seriously a speech that basically boils down to the theme of “It’s Mike Madigan’s fault!”


No comments: