Friday, April 13, 2018

Ill. budget “brawl” likely to get ugly

I remember back when I was still in college, trying to gain some experience that might make me a reporter-type person someday when an editor told me the very definition of “news” is wherever there is conflict. People in agreement about things just aren’t very newsworthy.
Madigan seems determined to continue ...

If that’s the case, we’re in for a significant scrap in coming months – because I can see massive conflict occurring within state government.

GOV. BRUCE RAUNER met Thursday with the General Assembly’s leadership, and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, made it clear he’s not about to meekly cower in the governor’s presence just to get a budget put together.

With regard to the Illinois government budget being put together for the state’s 2019 fiscal year (which begins July 1), Rauner earlier this week made a point of talking of the need for the state to have a balanced budget, while also implying that the problem was the Democratic majorities that run the General Assembly.

They’re not doing what Rauner wants of them. They are to blame for any inability of state officials to put together a budget before the state Legislature’s scheduled adjournment come the end of May.

Which led to Madigan issuing his own statement following the Thursday morning session – one in which he attempted to shift back blame to the governor.

AS THE ESTEEMED (some sarcasm intended) “Mr. Speaker” said, “If the governor’s agenda is to push more of his extreme cuts to health care, senior services and resources for our most at-risk residents, or if he again intends to move the goalposts and create chaos, he should stay on the sidelines and allow serious leaders to continue working cooperatively to address the challenges facing our state.”

Because I don’t expect Rauner to put himself on the sidelines during budget negotiations that are taking place in coming weeks between the Democratic and Republican leadership of the Illinois House of Representatives and the state Senate.

For one thing, Republican leadership wouldn’t allow it.
... the political brawl Rauner brought on

They’re not going to meekly go along with whatever kind of orders Rauner tries to bark out at them.

RAUNER’S OWN POPULARITY ratings have dwindled (26 percent approval, and 60 percent disapproval – the worst of any governor seeking re-election this year, according to the Morning Consult group’s latest study) to the point where I suspect many GOP legislators don’t want the governor taking them down to defeat along with him come the Nov. 6 elections.

While many Democratic officials counting on the Donald Trump unpopularity factor aren’t about to do anything to appear to be caving in to Rauner on anything.

Budget talks are going to be downright ugly – and likely to accomplish little of anything significant. Because both sides seem to be more interested in one-upping each other.

If you think about it, Madigan’s comment about, “if the governor is finally ready to accept responsibility for the management of this state and be an honest partner in trying to pass a budget, we welcome him to this process” is about as snide and sarcastic as Rauner earlier this week saying he was fighting against, “a corrupt machine of self-dealing, unethical behavior … that benefit a few against the people.”

WHICH MAKES IT ironic that Rauner wants us all to think his four-year term as governor has been about “reform.”

When the reality is Rauner has behaved in as an obstructionist a manner as any other official within Illinois government has ever done. Meaning that obstructionism in the name of partisan politics is very much a part of the “Way things are done” in Illinois.
Is Pritzker our 'savior' by default?

Although going for so much of the four years of his term without a balanced budget in place will leave the Rauner Years with quite a legacy – particularly if he insists on finishing out his time in office without a budget in place for fiscal 2019.

It will be enough to make all of us eager for Election Day so we can pick a replacement to live and work in the (newly-renamed) Governor’s Mansion.


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