Friday, June 2, 2017

No budget? No surprise! Election Day 2018 can’t arrive soon enough

The Illinois General Assembly managed to wrap up its springtime activity this week. Well, sort of.
At times it seems like the Illinois Legislature paid more attention and time to developing the Chicago White Sox' current ballpark, compared to their efforts the last two years to get a budget for state government
The Wednesday night adjournment date came and went without much of even a token effort to appear to be passing a budget for state government’s upcoming fiscal year.

THEORETICALLY, OUR GOVERNMENT officials could concoct something within the next month and a budget could be in place when the Illinois Fiscal Year 2018 begins on July 1. But it’s not likely. We’re going into Year Three without a balanced budget on the books for Illinois government operations.

It was fairly early in the day on Wednesday when Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s minions let it be known there would be no vote, and no last-minute efforts to try to concoct a deal. This wasn’t going to be like the end of 1988 when the potential loss of the Chicago White Sox to St. Petersburg, Fla., motivated our officials into approving a stadium deal that didn’t get enacted until the final seconds of the final day.

We learned there will be hearings throughout the month of June at locations across the state – beginning with Thursday at the Thompson Center state government building.

Gov. Bruce Rauner was quick to dismiss the idea of budget hearings as a sham, saying that if there was a real chance of getting a budget, such hearings would have been held throughout the spring.
RAUNER: Retaliatory vetoes on unrelated issues?

YOU KNOW, HE’S right.

I have no doubt that the Illinois House hearings to be held this month will turn into sessions where the name of Rauner is taken in vain. They won’t put us any closer to having a deal that details just how much money can be spent on the operations of various government programs.

But then again, I’m realistic enough to know that so long as Rauner is insisting on dragging various unrelated issues into the budget process for politically-partisan reasons, nothing is going to happen.
MADIGAN: Leading the Rauner bashing?

I suppose Madigan and House Democrats (who still have a solid majority and full control of that chamber) could have gone the Illinois Senate route and passed some measure that claimed to be a budget – even though they knew no one else was ready to sign off on it.

YEAH, DOING SUCH a thing could have placed full blame for the lack of a state budget on the governor. But then again, there already are enough reasons for people to blame Bruce Rauner for the chaos that has become of our state.

Looking for ways to add to the juvenile behavior doesn’t put us any closer to having a budget deal. And I doubt it really sways the public’s view of the situation.

The people willing to “Blame Madigan!!!” for the situation aren’t going to be swayed by fact. The scenario whose focus is the 2018 election cycle is set, and the real solution to our fiscal situation most likely is to wish that we could somehow hold that Election Day more quickly than the 17 months we’re going to have to wait.

So perhaps it was best that our legislators spent the final official days of their session tending to other issues – such as the TRUST Act meant to impose the immigration reform ideals of a “sanctuary city” on communities across Illinois and an increase to $15 per hour for a statewide minimum wage.

IT KEPT OUR legislators’ minds occupied with something that might have some positive benefits for the people of Illinois. Although I wonder if the hostility created by the lack of a budget is now going to be enough to start killing off other ideas.
Gloom and doom continues to linger over Illinois Statehouse
Including the popular-amongst-labor-groups idea of raising the minimum wage. Since when has Rauner cared about doing anything to benefit their interests?

And as for TRUST? I can easily see a beleaguered Rauner not wanting to even think about immigration policy.

So what are we likely to see Thursday when our legislators resume their government activity? Probably not much of anything; we’d probably be better off focusing our attention on the White Sox’ game that night against Tampa Bay.


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