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President Cullerton: Quinn flip-flopped and killed the pension note bill

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2009

* 8:45 pm - As we told you below, the pension note bill failed on its second try in the Senate. President Cullerton blamed the lack of support on Governor Quinn.

After speaking in favor of the pension note bill during his address to the joint session of the GA, Quinn apparently contacted a handful of senators and asked them to vote against the bill. The pension bill actually received less yes votes the second time around. Roll call was 32-21-4-2.

President Cullerton discusses the bill’s failure…

The Senate has adjourned to the call of the Chair.

*** UPDATE *** Sen. James Meeks, who helped organize opposition to the pension note bill, talks about what happens next, Speaker Madigan’s role in the process, and what he wants to happen now that the bill has failed. Good stuff, and that vote tonight shows he has some big leverage now…

- Posted by Mike Murray        

  1. - Lefty - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 8:53 pm:

    I can see Blago smiling now. He was a BIG problem but only a symptom of the real sickness that saturates Illinois politics.

  2. - Apples & Oranges - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:04 pm:

    Blago was the Problem of the Blago Era.

    The Problem of the Quinn Era is that state revenues are down billions of dollars.

    Can you imagine what state we’d be in with Rod in charge? Gasp.

    As Madigan put it (and I’m paraphrasing):

    “We can pass new revenue when 71 members of the House and 36 members of the Senate come to the judgment that the state has a responsibility to provide vital services.”

    Unfortunately, as of now about 64 members of the Illinois House either 1) Haven’t come to that judgment, or 2) Still hold onto the belief that there’s a third option besides raising taxes or cutting vital services, or 3) Realize that we need to raise taxes, but still expect someone else to shoulder the responsibility.

  3. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:04 pm:

    That, if true, is a very ugly, dishonorable, and duplicitous move on Quinn’s part. I am disgusted with all of them and their process. Somehow I think the looming Meltdown will put them all in perspective, and it isn.t a favorable reputation to have.

  4. - Just the facts - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:04 pm:

    What’s the bill #?

  5. - Give A Break - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:09 pm:

    Should be SB 415.

  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:16 pm:

    Quinn’s running the Senate now? He says a few words and Senators change their minds? I doubt it.

    I think a number of Senators are saying MJM doesn’t run it, either. Cullerton needs to tread carefully with his caucus.

  7. - Randolph - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:17 pm:

    We’re seeing the Limbaugh-ification of politics trickling down now. It’s the politics of my way or the highway. It’s the politics of “if we keep yelling louder, we’ll get what we want.” (Yeah, I’m looking at you, everyone who’s made a stink about the need to raise taxes.)

    It’s really sad. Quinn won’t negotiate because he’s averse to “cutting a deal.” And now no deal looks likely because Quinn won’t negotiate.

    Pat Quinn is really just another Rod Blagojevich minus the corruption - same policies, same take it or leave it approach. It’s detrimental to the state and eventually it’s going to be detrimental to him electorally. I know, I know. He means well. Great. That and a buck-fifty might get you some coffee.

    Cullerton’s “geniuses” comment should be the quote of the day…

  8. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:20 pm:

    It’s time the Illinois Taxpayers have a new voice in this - we need a New Program - “I’m a governor, senator, representative, Get Me Outta Here!” And we can run our voting every other day until the problem is solved or they are all gone. It should be fun, populism in action.

  9. - Old Elephant - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:22 pm:

    I wonder if the Governor has any idea what he did. He undercut the guy who actually passed a tax increase and made a political disagreement very personal.

    This is classic Blagojevich.

    What incentive does Cullerton have now to help out Quinn?

  10. - Oh Well - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:25 pm:

    Today comptroller was paying bills from Feb 5. We have a budget problem when we are 5 months behind in paying bills. 71 + 36 + 1 can add revenues but if we can’t figure out our deficit to the nearest $1,000,000,000.00 we are in for more than just a long summer.

  11. - Apples & Oranges - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:28 pm:

    === Quinn won’t negotiate because he’s averse to “cutting a deal.” And now no deal looks likely because Quinn won’t negotiate. ===

    Quinn won’t negotiate because he believes the state has a moral responsibility to victims of elder abuse and child abuse, rape and domestic violence, frail seniors, the developmentally disabled, and disabled Illinois vets. Just to name a few.

    Whom, exactly, would you like him to throw under the bus? Because Republicans have yet to offer a budget that funds the vital services that the aforementioned state citizens depend on.

  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:32 pm:

    I’m having a hard time squaring the following bits of info with each other:

    Cullerton said, in the Trib article posted on this blog at 4:26 p.m., “I don’t think at this point in time he’s (the governor’s) agreeing with that tactic.” The tactic in question is the pension-bonds-and-SB1197 approach that the four legislative leaders broached with him.

    Then, some time later, Quinn reportedly was calling senators to express his opposition to this idea that he’d already told the leaders he opposed - and it’s supposed to be a flip-flop?

    Look, while I respect Quinn’s courage on the income-tax front, I’m as tired of his equivocating on various budget matters as the next guy. And there’s no legi leader I respect more than Cullerton, who’s far more adult in his approach to governing than most of his counterparts.

    But in this case, the Senate president’s criticisms seem out of line.

    Someone please correct this if I’ve got my facts inadvertently twisted.

  13. - RJW - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:32 pm:

    Senator Meeks failed to mention that he wants to deal with the budget deficit AND EDUCATION FUNDING (i.e. tax swap bill). That is his real motivation and that is what he will be pushing for.

  14. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:36 pm:

    Great, now we have Senator Meeks and friends ready to hold us up for an even BIGGER tax increase!

  15. - Randolph - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:40 pm:

    A&O -

    I’m not suggesting that anyone get thrown under the bus, quite frankly, but thank you for misinterpreting my comment. I’m personally for revenue enhancements, including an income tax increase.

    Quinn, to his detriment, does not even negotiate with Democrats on how to get one, though. He throws out his plan and says take it or leave it. The “safety net” providers follow his lead and decide it’s a great idea to bombard legislators with their pre-determined “solution.”

    When members balk, they’re next move is to hold demonstrations at their offices, their fundraisers, even their homes, for crying out loud. THEIR HOMES!!! And all this at a time when it’s very clear from the polling done, that an income tax hike would be very unpopular with the public.

    It’s Limbaugh-esque, plain and simple. Build the drumbeat and build it louder, louder, louder still. It may be good for “ratings,” but it isn’t going to get a deal done. I don’t know about you, but if someone wanted me to take a politically dangerous vote, goading me and trying to shame me into doing it wouldn’t work. You’d better be negotiating with me. Quinn isn’t.

  16. - Ms Port Belly Mushroom - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:45 pm:

    Randolph. I am not the biggest Quinn fan in the world, but I am a little surprised at the animosity out there (or here) toward Quinn.

    I have said all along the guy has everyone and his brother triangulating against him because whether he runs or not no one really believes he’ll be the candidate after February.

    All the Blago people he’s kept in place in the agencies who talk to the legislators are triangulating against him trying to figure out who will be the real players (Lisa, Hynes, Alexi, Meeks?) they should be sucking up to. At the same time he is entrusting them with the management of information and personnel–all of which they can strategically position against him at the right time.

    This is a Democratic blood letting of epic proportions and everyone is trying to survive to fight another day. Is Quinn a waffler? Absolutely. Does Madigan want to help him out of this? No. Cullerton, despite the tax hike vote, appears to have tenuous control of his caucus.

    Having said this, Quinn isn’t even in the same ballpark as Blago. Quinn, at least, has some genuine concern for what is happening. You can disagree with how he is trying to get the things he wants, but there’s no doubt he believes in what he is doing. Lest everyone forget, let Rod remind you of what was important to him: [The] Senate seat will be based on three criteria in the following order of importance: “our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. This decision, like every other one, needs to be based upon on that. Legal. Personal. Political.” HARRIS said, “legal is the hardest one to satisfy.”

    True, Rod and company would have probably added another $5 or $6 mil to their campaign warchest by the time this whole budget debate was over (labor and the building contractors were poised to move heaven and earth for him), but that doesn’t mean he would have fared any better than Quinn.

    Be frustrated. Be angry; but don’t ever be fooled into thinking that RRB was anything other than a self-absorbed self-promoting sociopath.

  17. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:55 pm:

    Blago was the Problem of the Blago Era.

    We who hang here know a lot of the inside baseball and nuances of the situation.

    However, when the citizens outside Mothership CapFax (which is 99.9% of them) keep seeing similar results, they scratch their heads and try to identify the source(s) of the problems and the impediment(s) to solutions. And apart from a few different players this year, the methods and results are looking eerily similar to recent history.

  18. - Ms Port Belly Mushroom - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:04 pm:

    Blago was the problem of the Blago Era

    Seven months and the Blago era is at an end? I see. I don’t care who the captain of the ship is at this point; until the Dem gubernatorial field is clearly defined, I don’t care if Obama himself walked into the State Capitol, I don’t think he could get a deal. That doesn’t mean Obama and Blago are soulmates.

  19. - Left Wing Commie Tax Eater - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:06 pm:

    so what does everyone think about term limits now…how about ONE? do your ‘public service’ / do whatever you think / know to be best for the state..without regard to re-election…since this isn’t one….okay…maybe ONE…but that’s it…then go back to being a dentist is Rockford, and let the next person do it…

  20. - state employee - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:10 pm:

    Yes! Sen. Meeks shows true leadership! How refreshing!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Sen. Meeks.

  21. - sickofthis - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:11 pm:

    i agree with left wing commie tax eater. we wouldn’t have this problem if these politicians weren’t so concerned about getting re-elected and spent more time working for the best interests of the citizens of Illinois. this is despicable.

  22. - state employee also - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:16 pm:

    state employee — meeks is a sham too. he only wants what gets him the $$ support to be reelected. he also wants the power. and this time, it’s tax increase. who knows what will hold next time…

  23. - Chubs Mahoney - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:35 pm:

    go meeks go.

    time to start over, leaders.

  24. - DuPage Dan - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:42 pm:

    I don’t hear anyone in Springfield blaming the GOP anymore. Just the cannibals going at it - eating themselves. Unfortunately, we are getting eaten along with ‘em.

    Hey GOP, you gettin’ this? The field will be wide open come next election. Hey…….anybody out there? Oh well.

  25. - Suzanne - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:50 pm:

    Helluva vote. Props to Sen. Steans.

  26. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 10:54 pm:

    This crisis has more to do with the gubnatorial aspirations of Speaker Madigan’s daughter than it does with finances.

  27. - IDOT'er - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 11:12 pm:

    Just received this letter from PQ-


    Dear State Employees,

    When I took the oath of office as Governor of Illinois on January 29, I vowed to restore your faith in government and work every day to make you proud to be a citizen and employee of our state. At that time, I also said we must be willing to face some tough choices during these difficult times.

    Today in a speech before the General Assembly, I pledged to veto any partial budget that would require our state to make deep and unfair cuts in human services that will hurt our children, seniors, veterans, and most vulnerable citizens.

    Instead of a half-baked budget, I urged our state legislators to pass a full, fair and balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2010 that will protect our citizens, improve the state’s financial health, pay its debts to vendors, preserve jobs, support a strong bond rating and put Illinois back on the road to economic recovery.

    I realize this ongoing budget impasse is especially troubling to state government workers. I urge you to continue to do your jobs during this difficult time. The people of Illinois need us now more than ever, and we will not let them down.

    I expect that we will come to a resolution with the General Assembly, and you will be paid for your work during this time. I also expect that your employee benefits, including health insurance, will remain in place even with this interruption in the state budget.

    I am confident that, by working together, we will meet all challenges to emerge a stronger state.
    Thank you for your support and dedication as we work together on behalf of the people of Illinois.


    Pat Quinn

  28. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Jul 1, 09 @ 12:04 am:

    In the video, Cullerton appears to suggest that the 2.2 Billion will reduce the need for an income tax increase.

    I fail to see how borrowing to pay the bills reduces the need for a tax increase. While that is true for today, it locks in place the need for an even greater increase tomorrow.

    The longer these folks put off the inevitable tax increase, the bigger the debt will be (inc. borrowed money, delayed payments, and deferred maintenance among other items) and the bigger the required tax increase will be. By putting it off, they set themselves up for an even tougher vote.

  29. - Apples & Oranges - Wednesday, Jul 1, 09 @ 12:58 am:

    Quinn, to his detriment, does not even negotiate with Democrats on how to get one, though.


    What makes you think Quinn can, or should, negotiate over tactics?

    More importantly, what makes you think its to Democrats’ advantage or the public’s for Democrats to be in lockstep publicly?

    When you’re part of a team, everybody’s got a different job to do. Everyone’s got a different position to play on the field.

    Right now, Quinn’s playing Bad Cop, Cullerton’s playing Good Cop, and Madigan’s playing Traffic Cop. I don’t know if anyone, except for Madigan, planned it that way. But it is working, however slowly.

    The worst thing right now would be for ALL the Democrats to be playing good cop right now, pandering to GOP claims that we have a simple spending problem.

    OR for Democrats to be lockstep on a tax increase, because Republicans would be claiming that all the Democrats want to do is raise taxes.

    Until - as Madigan put it - House Republicans come to the judgment that the state has a responsibility to provide vital services, there is no sitting down on opposite sides the table and no negotiating with the other side, because there is common ground, no recognized shared values, interests, or responsibilities to form the framework of an agreement.

    In fact, if you believed as the Republicans seem to have staked their position that the state has NO absolute responsibility to provide any services, the tax rate in Illinois should be 0%.

    I know that we all WISH that there was a state budget in place, but anyone who thought six months ago that we were going to resolve a budget gap this big by July 1 was delusional.

    Frankly, while I HOPE total meltdown doesn’t have to hit, we’re already seeing some lay-offs and program closures, and it might take more to motivate John Q. Public to motivate their lawmakers.

    Heck, the people most directly impacted by these cuts didn’t even start to believe it until two weeks ago.

    I DO agree with you that protesting outside lawmaker’s houses was a stupid choice. But what’s wrong with protesting outside their offices or fundraising events? The group protesting has been meeting with lawmakers in springfield and that hasn’t had an effect, so they escalated. Should they have kept doing the same thing over-and-over and expected a different result?

    And a tax increase is unpopular — there’s a shocker. When are tax increases ever popular? But that doesn’t stop guys like Sen. Jacobs from taking the tough vote, from going back to his district and explaining to his voters why he thinks the unpopular thing to do was the right thing to do.

    At the end of the day, lawmakers collect a paycheck to do a job. They swear to uphold the Illinois Constitution, who’s preamble states:

    “…in order to provide for the health,
    safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.”

    I know its a tough vote politically. If the votes were easy, we’d elect chimpanzees.

    But even if we and Quinn are asking lawmakers to choose between their own political future and the lives and well-being of hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans, that should be a no-brainer.

    And give Quinn credit for this: He’s not asking anyone to do anything that he’s not willing to do himself. We could use more of that kind of leadership in Illinois.

  30. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Jul 1, 09 @ 6:18 am:

    Apples & Oranges,

    A very insighful post that is chocked full of material to work with, but the question is; where to start? This seems like as good a place as any.

    {I know its a tough vote politically. If the votes were easy, we’d elect chimpanzees.}

    Some might argue that we already have.

    Your post also seems replete with both bias, and conflict, and in the end leaves this reader with what you might be surprised to find as an opinion of un-intended consequences.

    Your premise seems to suggest that was is unfolding here is appropriate and acceptable political posturing and gamesmanship, at the expense of good governance, but in doing so your Madigan Democratic bias slip is showing. The argument you have put forward however is perhaps the greatest commercial endorsement for a strong third political party in Illinois that could have been presented.

    Recent history seems to have demonstrated that it would be in the best interests of Illinois citizens to seize the levers of political power from those currently with their hands firmly grasping the controls on opposite sides from each other in the two-party system.

    The political leadership on both sides seems more interested in posturing their caucuses than they are in doing what they believe is right by actually solving the problems they perceive to exist and overcoming the obstacles they perceive to be standing in the way of the best solutions.The argument that you have attempted to frame it, suggests this is acceptable and right for Democrats, but unacceptable and obstructionist for Republicans. A strong their party would end up forcing each of them to have to negotiate with someone else other than each other.

    Another alternative would be to see independent leadership from within each caucus step forward and begin to negotiate compromise that would bring enough votes to the center, where they could straddle the political aisle with each other. A coalition of disparate caucus members could represent a threat to each of their caucus leaders to the point where it would be these independent minded members that would force their leaderships to compromise, rather than the current circumstances where it is the supposed “leaders” that constrict their caucus members from doing so.

    This is where the Collins government reform commissions efforts to dillute the stranglehold on power of the legislative party caucus leadership comes more clearly into view. The goal of those efforts seems to be to liberate caucus members from their “leadership” and allow the legislature to operate more efficiently by reverting more power back to individual members which would place them in a greater position to be able to work together across the aisle to form compromise, and avoid the chaos that we keep experiencing instead.

    I get the sense that a greater proprotion of the electorate is starting to see the wisdom in some of these Collins Commission proposals with respect to the legislature. The problem however is that he expects those in power now to voluntarily surrender it, and he has no concept of all the blood sweat and tears that they had to go through to amass it in the first place, and no appreciation for the ice age glacial historical time frame in which it took them to do it.

    You can offer all the reform proposals you want, but if you actually expect change to come from the self imposition of checks and balances on the hard fought levers of power, you are hopelessly idealistic.

    If independent compromise minded leadership can’t from from within the caucus due to the threat of power from existing “leadership” then it has to come from an outside source that represents a threat to all of them.

    Somebody has to step forward and create that third alternative for the voters, or unfortunately we are doomed to watching history continue to repeat itself in this legislative and budgeting process as far into the future as the eye can see.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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