Saturday, December 3, 2016

Will Rauner be eaten by Chicago “bear” now sleeping in Illinois “woods?”

A large part of the reason why I downplay the rhetoric about the Republicans’ great Election Day victories in Illinois (they took a half dozen seats in the Legislature last month in rural parts of the state formerly occupied by Democrats) is because I don’t see how it impacts the way things get done.
RAUNER: Taking on the bear sleeping in woods

Or don’t get done, within the context of Illinois state government operations.

GOP POLITICAL OPERATIVES argue that the 60 percent Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers have been broken, and that when Gov. Bruce Rauner hands down a veto, now it will be able to stand (unless he manages to offend Republican officials as well).

But as anyone who watched this week’s legislative nonsense with regards to state financial assistance for the Chicago Public Schools realizes, Rauner already had that power. What has he gained?

For those not paying attention, Rauner this week issued a veto to a bill approved back in the summer that would have provided some $215 million in assistance to cover pensions for the Chicago Public Schools – money that District 299 was desperately relying on to balance out their budget for the year.

The Illinois Senate immediately took up the veto override, and gave their support to rejecting Rauner’s rejection – to having the state make the payment.

YET OVER IN the Illinois House, where Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, supposedly (if you listen to Rauner) rules like a warlord of old and deliberately disregards the needs of the public, nothing happened.
MADIGAN: Inaction because he knew he couldn't?

The General Assembly adjourned its fall session on Thursday with no plans to return until their final day in January – which will be followed up by the swearing-in of the newly-elected Legislature.

The one that has six more Republican members and no longer has the illusion of Madigan having a “veto-proof” majority.

There is speculation that legislators could be called into session for a special day of activity to take up the issue. But that’s presuming they could actually get their members all coordinated for such an event.

IF IT WERE possible, I suspect the Illinois House would have acted like the state Senate did – and voted right away to dump all over Rauner’s veto. I'm sure Madigan wishes he could make it so. I suspect his offer to meet Saturday and Sunday with the governor were less than sincere.
LEWIS: Union never expected gov to keep word

Meaning it is most likely that Rauner’s rejection of the school funding measure for Chicago schools stands, and the financial help promise is deader than the Chicago Bears’ dreams of playing in the upcoming Super Bowl! Which is the way things would have wound up before, and will turn out after, the transition on Jan. 11.

As for who is to blame, it’s the usual partisan political rhetoric. Both sides are blaming each other (Rauner didn’t approve the school funding like he promised he would, while Democrats leading the Legislature never came up with a companion bill providing pension funding relief).

It is dreadfully obvious that Rauner intends to use the whole issue to politick in his ongoing effort to use the 2018 election cycle to further decrease the number of Democrats representing rural parts of the state. Chicago Teachers Union officials say they believe Rauner never intended to give the schools anything, and that he was always looking for an excuse to back out of the deal. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Rauner, by supporting a utility company bailout, chose big business over children.

IT IS A move that I could see coming back to bite him in the fanny, for all it means is that he’ll have solid control over the one-third of Illinois’ population that lives outside of the Chicago area.

Because the rhetoric he and political operatives are spewing certainly isn’t going to have a mass appeal to Illinoisans at-large. It’s too Chicago-focused, and may well get Chicago voters all riled up. Think of us as the Chicago “bear” sleeping in the woods who, upon being awoken, will be angered and wind up devouring him.
TRUMP: Did Rauner learn wrong lesson?

Perhaps Rauner spent too much time watching the recently-completed presidential election cycle and thinks he can make the label of “Chicagoans” sound as demonic as the label “Mexicans” was used by President-elect Donald Trump?

Trump may have been able to win the presidency with a minority of voters through the quirks of the Electoral College, but those wouldn’t apply to a statewide election. Rauner could wind up blowing his personal fortune trying to buy up every single rural Illinois vote in existence – only to learn that in singling out Chicago, he was attacking the very place where the overwhelming majority of our state’s residents live and work.


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