Saturday, August 26, 2017

Is our long Ill. nightmare finally over?

The word came out Thursday, first from Republican leaders of the Illinois General Assembly, then from the Democrats who hold the majority power – we have an agreement on the way the state will fund public education.
RAUNER: Has he lost?

That issue has been tied up for nearly the past two months – ever since state government passed a budget for the current fiscal year despite Gov. Rauner’s objections. Rauner, feeling the need for a political victory over urban Democratic interests, continued to fight on with this issue – even though it created a potential situation where schools might not have the money on hand to open on time.

PERSONALLY, WHEN I first heard the Republican legislative talk, my suspicion is that this was some sort of political talk by which GOP interests claimed a deal that didn’t really exist – then would try to blame Democrats for failure when nothing wound up happening.

You might think I’m being politically paranoid, but I’m not alone in being suspicious.

Several education administrators I have spoken to have said they’re equally suspicious – saying they’re not going to believe a deal is in place until they actually see the governor sign something into law.

One school board president I know went so far as to say that while he was convinced Republican and Democratic legislators were in agreement, there still is the issue of Bruce Rauner.

“WE’LL SEE IF his people (Republican legislators) can talk him into going along with this,” that official said.

For the record, legislators aren’t really willing to say what their deal is – other than that much of the funding that was to be provided to Chicago Public Schools to cover pensions for retired teachers will be restored. That despite Rauner’s efforts to use his amendatory veto powers to remove it from the education funding bill that was passed by the Legislature back during the spring.

For what it’s worth, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he is pleased with the deal, as it provides the city school system with what it desired. “That, and more,” he told reporter-type people.
MADIGAN: Can he complete deal this weekend?

Whereas Rauner said in his prepared statement he “applauds” legislators for working together. Although the Chicago Sun-Times wrote in its report that the legislative agreement did not include any of the collective bargaining changes that are supposedly the reason why the governor has been so ridiculously stubborn with regards to the budget and education funding.

SO IS IT possible that Rauner, who has never made a secret of the fact that he desires changes in state government structure to undermine the influence of labor unions, really will wind up coming out the big loser – with legislators feeling the need to keep state government functioning and the public schools open more than they need the financial support he’ll be providing to GOP officials in next year’s election cycle.

The key will be to see what happens on Sunday. For while legislators have met just about every day this week to discuss the issue, we’re now at the point where their staffers (the government geeks who actually know how to write legislation) are taking the grand concepts of the agreement and turning them into the legal language of a bill.

Things could still fall apart between now and then. But officials say that if a bill is crafted without anyone feeling like the other side is trying to pull a last-minute, double-cross (that’s really the way political people think!), then a vote could come Monday.

Our long state nightmare could finally be over. Or maybe?

BECAUSE WE’LL STILL have to go through the upcoming 15 months before the 2018 general election, and I don’t doubt that at this point, Rauner is desperately searching for a publicity team to replace the ideologue twits he recently fired to help him figure out the proper spin for his actions.
Nixon 'nightmare' over, is Ill. budget one too?

Rauner is likely to go into a re-election campaign being unable to say he accomplished much of anything, and was actually the cause of much of the “state nightmare” that may well be an Illinois equivalent of the “long national nightmare” that then-President Gerald Ford alluded to upon the resignation of Richard Nixon.

We’re likely to see a governor who overplays the regionalism card (urban vs. rural voters) and who banks his re-election chances on one gamble.

That the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidates wind up bungling their efforts so badly that they hand a second term at the Statehouse to Rauner, all gift-wrapped. Which isn’t completely out of the question, if you want to be honest.


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