Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Will 100th Illinois Legislature behave more responsibly than its predecessor?

The 99th version of the Illinois General Assembly finishes its business on Tuesday, and I suspect the few people who give things such thought will be thinking to themselves, “Good riddance!”
Has the state Senate ...

For these were the legislators who were chosen back in November 2014 along with Bruce Rauner to be governor. Meaning this version of the state Legislature is going to be the one remembered for its inability to work with a governor to do what some consider the primary purpose of state government – putting together the budget that allows government to operate.

OF COURSE, IT’S probably a stretch to place all the blame on the Legislature. For it can also be said that Rauner is the governor who has shown himself incapable of working with a General Assembly to put together that annual budget, without which government cannot operate!
... become the mature legislative chamber?

So as we move into a new version of the Illinois Legislature, the 100th, to be exact, the real question is whether or not anything will be even remotely different than the past two years.

Or are we already preordained to go through four complete fiscal years of state government without anything in the way of a budget – which is important because many government functions cannot take place without a specific spending plan in place detailing how taxpayer monies are to be spent.

The money may be there, but we don’t allow it to be spent unless a budget is in place. It would be reckless to do otherwise.

WHICH IS WHY it was of some significance that the leaders of the state Senate let it be known Monday that they have something resembling a crude outline of a budget.
Will 'Mr. Speaker' care what Cullerton thinks

There’s no way they could get something rushed into approval by Tuesday night, so their plan is to sponsor a bill when the new Legislature takes over. They’re hinting at something that could be approved by Feb. 1 – at least on their end.

For that’s the trick. This is merely something for the state Senate to act upon. There’s no evidence that anything has any additional support.

This could wind up being nothing more than a stunt by which state senators try to create the illusion that they were ready to act, but that everybody else failed. As in we shouldn’t blame them!

IT COULD TURN out that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, will not care much for what state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, thinks. Then again, Rauner may wind up finding it presumptuous of Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, to try to tell him what to do.
Will governor care what anyone else thinks?

So do we have a budget deal? We’re going to see just how much either Madigan or Rauner really want to settle this deal. A part of me suspects that Rauner, in particular, would like this issue to be ongoing so he can try to use it as political rhetoric to attack his opponents.

Then again, there are plenty of people in Illinois who believe the reason we have a stalemate is Rauner. He got elected as governor in large part because he wanted to push an ideological agenda – one that particularly targets organized labor.

It probably would be a blow to his ego to have to act in a way that merely maintains government operations.

BUT THEN AGAIN, there also are those individuals to whom Rauner’s idea of “reform” is truly harmful. There are those who voted for the people they did back in 2014 because they wanted them to stand up to any of the new governor’s partisan rhetoric.
SCOTT: Illinois not alone in partisan hacks

Just as I’m sure on the federal level this year there are people now in Congress who are being counted upon to oppose anything that President-elect Donald J. Trump tries to enact once he becomes the chief executive – even though people such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott have acted in ways indicating they think that day has already come.

It’s going to be an ugliness existing at so many levels of government.

Somewhere, we’re going to have to have a level of maturity that we’re not likely to see from any of the chief executives of government. Whether it will wind up coming from the rank-and-file is the question that remains to be answered.


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