Tuesday, May 30, 2017

700 days w/o a state budget? Why do we feel no shame at such negligence?

It would take a political miracle at this point for Illinois to avoid hitting a particularly embarrassing timeline – 700 days without our government being able to approve a budget for its official operations.

That’s 700 days (not quite two full years) of inactivity, because officially nothing can happen without our government officials detailing how taxpayer money will be spent with a budget program.

THE ONLY REASON we haven’t had a complete shutdown of Illinois government operations is because there are some programs that the federal courts have deemed too significant to have their fate determined by the politically-partisan quirks of the knuckleheads we have chosen to represent us at the Statehouse in Springfield.

Of course, some of the programs that are not protected are amongst those that serve the greatest need for the public. Or just don’t have strong interests pressuring the courts to force themselves to be included amongst the protected.

Our government during the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years (Fiscal ’18 begins July 1) has been run in a scattershot manner, and even after the time occurs that our Legislature and governor are able to put together an operations budget that gets state government fully running again, it will take years for things to settle down.

Which is why I’m not getting all excited over the fact that our Legislature actually worked on Monday and through the weekend (the Memorial Day holiday weekend) to try to do the people’s business. It’s the least they could do, considering how mucked up things have become in government operations.
Anybody who can't spread political blame ...

BESIDES, WHILE I’M sure many of them would have liked to have returned to their home districts to be seen by local voters at Memorial Day parades, I doubt they were missed. Besides, if you’ve seen one parade, you’ve seen them all. And they’ll get their chance to express pseudo-patriotism come July 4 and the Independence Day parades in their communities.

Seriously, 700 days?!?

How can we possibly think it acceptable to go for so long without a spending plan that ensures our government fulfills its obligations to the people?
... is more delusional than old Cubs fans

How is it we haven’t had a serious voter revolt at the thought of such negligence on the part of the electorate at the fact our government officials think they can go so long without acting on their fiduciary responsibilities?

IT WAS EMBARRASSING enough when the entire first full fiscal year of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s term came and went without a budget, and our state officials managed to piece together merely an interim budget for the first half of the second full fiscal year of The Rauner Years.

But considering that we now are approaching the end of the fiscal year (the spring ’17 legislative session is scheduled to end Wednesday night) without anything being done, it seems we have political people more than content to do nothing.

Rauner clearly wants his ideological games to play out, and is determined enough to want to undermine organized labor’s influence within state government that he will refuse to do anything that provides true funding for the state.

While Democrats led by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, clearly want to use the issue to bludgeon Rauner to a political death – hoping for a massive voter revolt that makes Bruce nothing more than a one-term governor whom we remember as “that stupid mistake we (the voters) made back in ’14.” As for the Senate Democrats, they passed something budget-related and issued a statement Monday saying how it would fully-fund higher education -- but also admitted they don't have Illinois House or Republican support. As though the real point is they want to escape blame when nothing happens by Wednesday night.

IT WAS MADIGAN who issued the statement Monday saying he felt he and Democrats had done enough in passing measures related to the acquisition of goods and services by state government. As though now it’s on Rauner to put up or shut up, so to speak, in backing a budget proposal.

“Today’s agreement is proof that House Democrats are willing to make compromises to move Illinois forward,” Madigan said. Although it comes across as a strong desire to see how much dirt they can force Rauner to eat.
No longer the gold standard of local ineptitude
I used to think the most embarrassing aspect of our local scene were those hard-core Chicago Cubs fans who got all worked up over a ballclub that hadn’t won a World Series in over a century, or even a league championship in excess of seven decades. How can anyone take such a ball club seriously?

Yet now that we’re approaching that 700-day mark, it makes me think we have developed a new standard for ineptitude. Thy name is Illinois government.


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