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Quinn pulls a Rod

Monday, Mar 23, 2009

* I wondered when he’d get around to doing this

Gov. Pat Quinn said today that lawmakers should not take their scheduled two-week Spring break unless they’ve passed parts of his construction plan to get people back to work.

Quinn stopped short of saying he would call lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session if they did not approve at least some portions of his plan, a tactic predecessor Rod Blagojevich employed several times during previous budget disputes.

“I don’t think the legislature should go home with people out of work in Illinois,” Quinn said in Chicago today. “We need our friends in labor, friends in business, friends everywhere to let our legislature know that you can’t just sit outside and sniff rosebuds while people are out of work.”

And he’s at it again on another issue

Governor Pat Quinn says it would be a show of good faith if state lawmakers would cut their pay.

* Meanwhile, Senate President John Cullerton spoke to the SJ-R editorial board today. The paper has lots of highlights online…

“There is no public support for the unions to have the pensions that they have so far. Everybody in the private sector is getting hit,” Cullerton said.

That’s about as blunt as blunt can be.

* Translation: John Filan…

[Cullerton] says House Speaker Michael Madigan, whose fights with Blagojevich over the budget and other issues dominated the legislature for several years, is “very wary of the continued influence of certain policy folks” who worked for Blagojevich and now work for Quinn. He did not name any names.

* By the way, Cullerton and others have suggested that the General Assembly pass a temporary income tax, but Quinn wants no part of it

Quinn also said he would not support a temporary income tax hike, saying it doesn’t solve “permanent problems.”

* In other news, the Tribune leaves unchallenged Gov. Quinn’s assertions that newly resigned State Police Director Larry Trent was not forced out of his job

The governor disputed suggestions that former state police Director Larry Trent, who resigned Friday, had been ousted from the post. Trent

But Trent tells the Alton Telegraph that he no longer felt the love

One issue that surfaced this month followed an investigation by the Chicago Reporter, a monthly investigative publication. The Chicago Reporter reported that the State Police had refused to enforce about 1,800 of 21,000 expungement and sealing orders mandated by state judges. An expungement order calls for authorities to expunge, or remove, criminal convictions from a defendant’s record.

Earlier this week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan demanded the State Police conduct an audit immediately to determine the exact number of expungement and sealing orders at issue. Madigan also said the ISP should comply with court orders and devise a strategy to reach those people affected by the issue. Madigan said she intended to meet Friday with Quinn about the matter.

“I felt there were some issues that may have concerned the governor,” Trent said. “I didn’t feel the support I needed was there. Certainly, I didn’t need the job, so I felt this was the right time to leave and explore some other opportunities.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


28 Comments
  1. - Concerned Voter - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 12:56 pm:

    So, the legislators want to cut into the pay, benefits, and retirement programs of the rank and file state employees.

    Fine, how about they start doing the same to their pay, benefits, and sweet retirement program. Yeah, we know, it wouldn’t make a lot of difference in the budget compared to what they can do when they hhit the state employees, but at least they would be takiing the hit with us. After all, they are just elected state employees, many of them having other major sources of income besides their state job.

    So, show us rank and file some love, step up and take the cuts like the rest of us. Take the same 1.67% per year of service for retirement like most state employees do.

    Yeah, I wont hold my breath.


  2. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 12:59 pm:

    ===After all, they are just elected state employees===

    They are not state employees. Gawd, I hate that stupid refrain. You ever heard of an election?


  3. - Legaleagle - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:07 pm:

    The many good legislators I know are woefully underpaid for what for them is a full time job. The good legislators work even harder when they are not in Springfield - rather, in their districts. They are not idle during these “breaks”. So leave ‘em alone. Just vote out the bad ones and the double-dippers (but the voters won’t do that!).


  4. - A Citizen - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    “…Gawd, I hate that stupid refrain…”
    Rich, that is getting pretty close to your patented “Bite Me” commentary. Just say’n.


  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:16 pm:

    Boy, it didn’t take long for Quinn to morph from Good Manager to Populist Preacher, did it?

    I said it to the former governor, and I’ll say it to this one:

    Be careful what you wish for.

    And instead of issuing ultimatums to the press,as our former governor did, you MIGHT want to pick up the phone and call the Speaker and Senate President and find out what timetable THEY’D like, and why.

    You might have the bully pulpit, but the legislature is a co-equal branch of government.

    And I have YET to see a governor win a fight with the legislature.

    You only have ONE bully pulpit, but the legislature has a thousand daggers.


  6. - Concerned Voter - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    Rich, I beg to differ. Yes, I have heard of an election. Of course they are elected by the people to represent them in Springfield.

    But, they are paid from state funds, just like “normal” state employees.

    Legaleagle, I’m just saying, if they want to talk about cuts to help, they should feel those cuts just like those that they want to impose them on.


  7. - Anonymous ZZZ - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:18 pm:

    I haven’t been on here much the last few days, so forgive me if this question has already been answered. But with regard to the four unpaid furlough days, does that also apply to state employees whose salaries are paid 100% from federal funds and not GRF? Those savings wouldn’t help plug the budget hole.


  8. - Anon - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:19 pm:

    Sure, the legislators work hard, but so do the rest of us, and we’re all suffering. I am fine with taking a hit, and even though it would only be symbolic, I think the legislators should take a pay cut as well.


  9. - Reality Check - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:23 pm:

    Cullerton: “There is no public support for the unions to have the pensions that they have so far. Everybody in the private sector is getting hit.

    Where to begin?

    One, elected leaders help shape public opinion by educating their constituents. Editorial pages and columnists do the same by informing their readers. Neither are doing their jobs when blindly aping uninformed opinion.

    “Public support” would look very different if elected officials and opinion leaders had the courage to state the facts:
    - Unions don’t have pensions. Working people do.
    - The average state employee pension benefit is just $18,000 a year.
    - Benefit costs are low and not the cause of the pension debt.
    - Cutting future benefits won’t lower past debts.
    - Continued failure to pay past debts will bankrupt the pension systems.

    Not to mention, as President Obama clearly understands but his former colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly appear to have forgotten, public spending is the best and most stable economic engine in a recession. Cutting public sector pay and benefits because “everybody in the private sector” is doing it only compounds the problem.


  10. - Just a Citizen - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:30 pm:

    If the legislators aren’t willing to share the pain with the state workers by first cutting their own salaries and benefits, then they don’t deserve to be re-elected.


  11. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:33 pm:

    ==they don’t deserve to be re-elected==
    I agree, Just a C, but if they got us into this mess they don’t deserve it either. But they will get re-elected.


  12. - Justice - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:42 pm:

    Absolutely I think the legislators should take a pay cut and I think they should keep working till a way has been found to put citizens back to work. They helped themselves to an undeserved raise in my opinion and many stood by while Rod was screwing us all over. This is a time when we need people to step up, sacrifice, and find solutions, and that means legislators and not just unrepresented state employees. I agree that Quinn should actually talk to the leaders rather than the press. I also agree that the unions need to be dismantled in all public endeavors, including all forms of government and education. For years they have forced money into their pockets while leaving non-union workers bearing the load with no raises. Sure, there are some good union workers but history is proving that it doesn’t work. Oh…..awfully silent these days on indictments. Something tells me there is something big, very big, getting ready to happen. It might involve chartered buses. One can only hope!!


  13. - Abe's Ghost - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:52 pm:

    Good riddance to Trent. He has been pursuing his own agenda contrary to the interests of the State and the public since he started the job. The expungement is just one example. The Callahan & Stiedle case is another.


  14. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 1:56 pm:

    The federal government is in at least as big a financial crunch as the state and on a bigger scale, but I don’t hear a nationwide clamor to change or eliminate the federal pension syastem. Helps when you have the ability to run a deficit budget and print money.


  15. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    Altough Quinn has demonstrated some maturity in recent months, old habits are hard to break.

    Someone needs to remind him every day that he is no longer the hated outsider fighting “The Man,” he is “The Man.”

    That stuff is great for Sunday morning press conferences when you’re in the political wilderness, but it’s cheap and counter-productive populism when you’re in the big chair.

    He needs to keep his eye on the ball. The important victory is the last one, not all the little ones preceding it.


  16. - Cassandra - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    Well, if it takes a high-level manager departure (whether forced or “voluntary”)to get those expungements done according to law then it’s worth it. That’s unlikely to have been the only reason for the ISP change in leadership but perhaps future leaders will take note that they are appointed to follow the law not to make up their own laws and regulations.

    If Trent was staying on as a favor to us citizens (he says he didn’t “need” the job) then good riddance.

    As to legislators and the guv taking a pay cut, that’s completely silly. More than that, it’s a red herring. We middle class taxpayers who are already bearing the brunt of this increase in taxes need to keep our eyes on the real ways in which we can get shafted….like if corporations or unions get their part of the tax plan changed or eliminated and somebody (us, who else) has to pick up more of the slack.


  17. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 3:17 pm:

    **They are not state employees. Gawd, I hate that stupid refrain. You ever heard of an election? **

    Rich, that is the problem today. The elected officials forget that they work for the PEOPLE.
    Elected officials put themselves on a pedestal and are out of touch with the problems of people. They vote themselves pay raises when they want other people to sacrifice.
    It has all been a game to them, who has more power, they are too busy trying to figure out ways of getting directorships, or passing the torch to their family members or voting for agendas of groups that pony up lots of cash, how to hose the other person or party. Meanwhile the citizens of the state are the ones that suffer.
    While they are the ones to blame, the voters are the ones who are too blind to see what they are doing and vote them out.

    Rich, THAT is JUST the problem


  18. - Capitol View - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 3:35 pm:

    No one has commented on making the income tax tax hike temporary.

    My preference is to pass a call for a State Constitutional Amendment vote on a graduated income tax this spring. Then, if the voters approve it, the higher flat income tax of this spring is indeed temporary and the tax structure is set at what state government needs to conduct its business and provide essential services.

    If the voters reject the graduated income tax proposal, then the soon to be implemented tax increase becomes permanent, but at the voters’ preference.

    Makes good political sense to me - let the voters have a say in how they get taxed.


  19. - Stooges - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 3:52 pm:

    There are some fat pensions out there, the ones that give highway maintenance workers and state troopers 75% of there salary after 20 or 25 years of service is a joke. Though Legislators are not state employees, their pension benefits are part of the retirement system, and they should take an equal cut if state employees benefits are cut. Throw in the judge retirement benefits for good measure.


  20. - Interesting - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 4:18 pm:

    Comments should not be made about Blago people working for the administration when at least 1 former deputy governor ended up as policy and budget director for the Senate Democrats.


  21. - Been There - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 4:24 pm:

    ===A 29-year-old West Point graduate and former mortgage banker says he was surprised when Gov. Pat Quinn asked him to take over as Illinois State Police director.===
    I believe this was also another Rod move, appointing 29 year olds.


  22. - QuinnQualms - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 4:56 pm:

    Can anyone confirm, Quinn was responding to some sad sack media question about a special session and not advocating? That seems to be way it happened.
    Don’t think he would be that dopey. Especially since Blagoof failed to get anything passed.
    Hope Trent stays in state for the contempt hearings


  23. - Appointment Questioned - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 5:08 pm:

    Did Quinn even search for a professional state police person man/women to be Larry Trent’s replacement. Good luck Director Trent in your retirement, I am sure you deserve it for having served under Blagojevich for six years. Too bad Quinn didn’t select from within the rank!


  24. - 2ConfusedCrew - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 5:49 pm:

    Trent “served” that’s a laugh. Trent came from Cellin’s casino to help Blaggo. Ignored expungement, tried to cover up lab scandals and told the Innocence Project to take a hike. Then there was yanking the security from other officials
    And who knows which one of the Stu Levine & Co. stunts had his help.
    Good to see Trent gone


  25. - downhereforyears - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 6:38 pm:

    Oh, another fun spring.
    The state is in the worst condition that it has ever been. This is no time to start the ultimatums. I had hoped that he wasn’t just an activist but alas I was mistaken.


  26. - iltaxpayer - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 6:59 pm:

    So, Quinn talks about wanting to keep people employed huh?? Maybe he shouldn’t have FIRED several Democrats in his office(by a video-conference). He has contributed to the unemployment rate in Illinois for sure! Some did not deserve to lose their jobs and worked hard to get him elected as Lt. Gov only to be burned by him as Governor.


  27. - krome - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 8:55 pm:

    As bad as the legislature has performed - they ought to work for free until the budget is truely balanced.

    Then they can talk about whacking the poor grunts working for the state.


  28. - Bobs yer - Monday, Mar 23, 09 @ 9:32 pm:

    Sorry for questioning Dem’s who knew him well. Quinn is a total flake.


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