Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Keeping busy in, and out of, the Capitol on everything except a state budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner got his share of criticism Monday for traveling to Iowa, of all places, to partake in an event that critics say cannot go anywhere because of the lack of a balanced budget for state government.

Yes, Rauner attended an event with his gubernatorial counterpart from Iowa – the two of whom were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony for a bridge along Interstate 74 that crosses over the Mississippi River.

WHICH MEANS THAT it is at a point where it connects the two states. Making it relevant for Rauner to be on hand in Bettendorf, Iowa – a part of the Quad Cities metro area that comprises western Illinois cities of Rock Island and Moline.

He’s getting blasted by Democratic political operatives who say it is wrong for the governor himself to not be at the Capitol at a time when the two sides of state government are supposed to be doing whatever is necessary to avoid having the current fiscal year end Friday without a budget.

But much of that rhetoric is inspired by the fact that Rauner himself is going about trashing Dems for not blindly going along with the proposal Republican operatives put forth to settle the budget quandary.

Meaning this trash talk is about as silly and irrelevant as his own trash talk.

A WHOLE LOT of nothingness being spewed in hopes that something sticks – although I suspect that anybody with intelligence will see it all as a whole lot of nonsense.

Because I couldn’t help but be amazed, and somewhat repulsed, by learning of the activity that was taking place at the Capitol, where it seems the Illinois House of Representatives voted to approve a resolution urging Illinois to join 12 other states and Puerto Rico to support the U.S. Climate Alliance.

That would call for Illinois to support goals of the Paris Climate Agreement; a set of standards meant to improve the quality of the air we breathe.

How nice and noble, and perhaps the Sierra Club was well-intentioned in issuing a statement praising the Illinois House for taking their action. Although I can’t help but see it as a distraction from what ought to be the sole purpose of the Legislature being in session this week.

GET THAT DAMNED budget approved so that our state can go back to operating in as normal a manner as possible. Even with a budget in place, it will take time – possibly years – before the state’s finances are back in proper working order.

But so long as we’re in an operating mode in which some agencies and programs can’t do a thing while others are gobbling up the state taxpayer dollars because they have federal court orders requiring them to continue, our spending truly is out-of-whack.

Similar to the person who blows their rent money on a night out on the town, or perhaps on a load of illicit drugs. Then again, perhaps we’d need to be drugged out of our minds to think that the status quo that has developed during the past two years is in any way acceptable.

Or that worrying about the U.S. Climate Alliance in the form of a non-binding resolution is in any way a useful means of spending time. It’s about as silly as Rauner’s Iowa trip – although I suppose it could be argued that getting him out of the way for a day gave legislators of both political parties a chance to do some serious work.

WHICH IT SEEMS they chose not to do.

I have no doubt we’re going to see Friday come and go, and the new state Fiscal year 2018 will begin and we’ll have a third year of governmental inertia with regards to our finances.

All of this is creating a mood of unpleasantness – the Cook Government Report said last week that Rauner is the “most vulnerable” incumbent seeking re-election in 2018 and declared the Illinois governor campaign to be a “toss-up” instead of “leaning Republican.”

Although the real nightmare scenario may well be that we’ll get a campaign season full of rhetorical nonsense, followed in November 2018 with no significant shift, and FOUR MORE YEARS of the same partisan trash!


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