Tuesday, December 27, 2016

We’re back in the mess again! That short-term budget deal ends Saturday

Remember how our state’s public officials came up with a temporary solution to their inability for a year to pass anything resembling an operating budget for state government?
The mood of the Statehouse turns as black as this Turn of the Century postcard come Sunday

Temporary because it only provided a budget for the first half of the state’s fiscal year. Come the second half, we’d be right back in the same mess of a situation that we’ve been in since the arrival of Bruce Rauner as governor who seems more concerned with messing with organized labor rather than actually governing the state.

WELL, THE MESS has arrived. Because the half-year for which there was a spending plan in place ends as of Saturday.

Sunday is not only the beginning of a new calendar year, it is the end of the time period for which that short-term budget covered.

And because that short-term budget didn’t make anything resembling significant cuts (it pretty much kept everything at a status-quo level even though it was clear to everybody that somebody was going to have to take a hit financially), we’re even deeper into the mess now than we were back in May or June.

In fact, I’d argue we’re so far deep I wonder if it is possible for us to dig our way out.

BECAUSE THE LATEST circumstances is we have our officials refusing to even meet to consider negotiations toward a spending plan that would keep state government operating.
Can't we just say both Rauner ...

In fact, the only real movement on the issue is as the various factions try to orchestrate circumstances and spew rhetoric meant to imply it’s the other guy’s fault.

We’re into placing blame. Pointing fingers. Trying to spin things so as to avoid having to take blame for the mess that our state confronts these days.

There is no “winning” this situation. At least not in any way that doesn’t wind up imposing greater harm on the Illinois electorate – who in theory are the very people for whom the government officials are supposed to be working.
... and Madigan are stubborn?

THERE’S A REASON that government is semi-jokingly referred to by its practitioners as “doing the people’s business.” It’s supposed to be about us, not them.

Now I’m going to concede that for something to happen, everybody is going to have to give something up to a degree that everybody will feel like they lost. Years from now when they see how little things have changed, they’re going to look back and wonder why anyone thought the chaos we’re seeing today was ever worth it!

Although for those people who want to play partisan politics and claim it’s all Mike Madigan’s fault, keep in mind that he is representing the interests of a significant segment of Illinois society.

You really want to know how to get rid of Mike Madigan as Illinois House speaker? Just have him make the concessions that Rauner has been demanding of him and you’ll see how quickly people turn on him. There are those who are fully convinced he IS sticking up for their interests.

AS FOR RAUNER, I always thought his “turnaround” agenda was a lot of bunk – particularly because it went so counter to the mood of the state as a whole. There was no way he should ever have expected the General Assembly to go along with his desires.

Or at least the Legislature as it has been constructed in recent years.

So when Rauner spends time (and money) trying to work toward electing more sympathetic legislators come 2018, that I get. That I comprehend. I don’t agree with it, but it is a responsible reaction – maybe he’ll get lucky and be able to impose his changes in an altered partisan political situation

Until then, his stubbornly putting a hold on the ability of government to operate does nothing more than create chaos – and could wind up backfiring if it turns out that the only person people in Illinois despise more than the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives is none other than Rauner himself.


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