Friday, April 29, 2016

Does Rauner think only rich need apply?

I suppose it is the money that particularly bothers me about Bruce Rauner being our governor.
RAUNER: Money buys legislative results?

The man is engaged in a battle with the General Assembly over putting together a budget for the fiscal year that almost is over, and it is good to hear him this week talk about the need to tie those talks into discussions over a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

IT WOULD BE pretty stupid to approve a budget for the current fiscal year, only to have the same financial problem recur come summer.

But what got to me was Rauner’s talk about how he wasn’t sure that the discussions could be complete by the time the General Assembly adjourns at the end of May for a summer break.

Not to worry says Rauner. He’s prepared to dig into his own wallet to come up with the cash to keep the Legislature in session (per diem living expenses for the full Legislature totals just under $20,000 per day) until talks could be complete. Because he absolutely does not want taxpayers to have to take on the overtime expenses of keeping the General Assembly in place at the Statehouse in Springfield until action could be taken.

Which won’t be until the governor and legislative leaders come to some agreement that the full Legislature can vote for. Our General Assembly truly has been one of the most useless government bodies while this political stalemate has been ongoing.

I WANT OUR government officials to get their acts together and figure out how to put together the budgets for 2015-16 and 2016-17 and not figure out schemes to try to buy themselves even more time.

Besides, it makes me wonder if our governor seriously believes that if he’s paying the tab for a special session, he has the right to demand it’s outcome.

Maybe he thinks he gets a “money back guarantee” if the General Assembly comes up with the “wrong” solution. He can return it and force them to come up with the measure he wants.

Which in Rauner’s case is a whole series of measures whose purpose is meant to undermine the authority of organized labor within state government.

ADMITTEDLY, THE MAN campaigned on that very premise back when he ran for governor in 2014. Nobody should be surprised that this is the way the man feels. He may even have a significant segment of Illinois’ populace willing to give him such a government.

But they wouldn’t be a majority, as evidenced by the fact that the Democratic majorities in the Illinois House and state Senate aren’t exactly facing backlashes for their opposition to Rauner during the past 10 months.

If our governor truly believes he can “buy” the results he wants on government, that truly is despicable. It’s not quite bribery – but it comes across as someone who thinks his wealth entitles him to order people about.

Which may well be what is most irritating about the concept of the Republican presidential campaign of Donald Trump – who acts as though he can bark orders at people and be entitled to meek compliance.

WHICH IS SOMETHING our legislators definitely haven’t given to Rauner.

But we do need a budget in place. It means the labor talks really do need to wait for a future year – particularly if Rauner is capable of such wealth that he could alter the Legislature’s composition to be more favorable to his desires.

Because if Democrats wind up losing influence and Rauner gains, it becomes their own fault. If they really have public support, they’ll keep their influence.

Rauner trying to “buy” a special session would be more frustrating to him than just trying to get more Republicans in the General Assembly.


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