* Illinois Statehouse News compiled a list of defeats by Gov. Pat Quinn last week…
A plan to modernize Illinois’ utility infrastructure through customer rate hikes sailed through the Legislature. Lawmakers overrode Quinn’s veto of legislation that will have Commonwealth Edison Co. customers paying $36 more a year for electricity and Ameren Corp. customers paying $40 more a year for the next decade. […]
The state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, or COGFA, voted against Quinn’s recommendation to close four downstate facilities that serve people with mental and developmental disabilities. […]
The Legislature overrode Quinn’s full veto of a measure that allows residents to collect the carcasses of animals dead on roads.
* That last bill, sponsored by Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) was the subject of Carol Marin’s column and the inspiration for today’s headline…
The governor could use a friend in Hammond’s part of the world. Though he loves to talk about how “The Land of Lincoln” is a big state, it’s really two states. There’s Chicago/Cook County and then there’s Downstate.
In the 2010 election, Quinn carried Cook but lost 98 out of 102 counties.
Quinn, who enraged lawmakers by slamming a veto stamp on the ComEd bill, got slammed right back this past week.
And the same thing will happen in a week when the Senate joins the House in overriding him on Hammond’s bill. What a wasted veto. And a squandered opportunity. And a perfect name for what happened: Roadkill.
* But, wait, there’s more…
In another blow to Gov. Pat Quinn, the Legislature voted this week to pull the Illinois Power Agency from beneath Quinn’s wing and hand it over to the Executive Ethics Commission.
The move was led by House Speaker Michael Madigan who tried through legislation in the spring session to have the IPA removed from Quinn’s oversight. On Wednesday, the General Assembly voted to override Quinn’s veto of that legislation.
The development comes less than a month after Quinn replaced Mark Pruitt, head of the IPA, with a retired 35-year veteran of Commonwealth Edison, a move that raised the ire of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.
Quinn’s appointment of Arlene Juracek stunned political insiders who expect she will have a difficult time gaining the Senate’s confirmation because she helped spearhead an electricity auction in 2006 that caused consumer rates to jump and led to the creation of the power agency.
* The House also voted against Quinn’s solution to his summertime veto of regional superintendents’ pay last week, and some of Quinn’s other budget solutions appear to be in jeopardy…
Covering union pay raises may be a non-starter for budget negotiators. House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, said the four caucuses agreed to consider how they could reallocate at most $250 million. That would not include the $76 million the administration said is needed to cover the pay raises.
“That would avoid immediate closures and stay within the cap of $33.2 million,” Cross said of the $250 million reallocation.
The Quinn administration said enough money is available if lawmakers agree to additional budget cuts the governor made last summer. However, a significant part of those cuts - about $276 million - involve Medicaid payments, which will have to be made at some point.
Another $100 million involves cuts Quinn made to the salaries of regional school superintendents and to school transportation reimbursements. A plan to pay regional superintendents from personal property replacement tax money failed an initial House vote last week. And an increasing number of lawmakers are seeking restoration of some or all of the $89 million in transportation reductions.
* And then there’s this…
The appointments Gov. Pat Quinn made to the Illinois Tollway board Monday were invalid because his office failed to file the correct paperwork — thus negating the actions the would-be directors took at a meeting Thursday, the Tribune has learned.
As a result, the tollway has had to schedule a new meeting of the board for Monday so the properly confirmed appointees can reconduct tollway business, including tentative approval of the agency’s $973 million budget for 2012.
“He needs to quit being ‘Gov. Spin’ and start being ‘Gov. Quinn,’” state Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City
* Inevitably, the comparisons to Rod Blagojevich are beginning in earnest…
Like his predecessor, Quinn often admonishes the legislature publicly. He criticized lawmakers’ support of the original casino bill and accused them of being bribed by campaign contributions on the electricity bill.
Representative Lou Lang, Democrat of Skokie, said the governor’s attacks had backfired. Support that Quinn might have received on a revised casino bill, Lang said, evaporated once he took aim at the Legislature.
“I like the governor,” Lang said. “I just don’t like how he has handled this issue.”
Most of those who were asked about the governor said Quinn’s heart was in the right place. His credentials as an honest person carried him through the 2010 election and still influence lawmakers’ feelings about him.
“I think he really cares about the people of Illinois, about people of limited means and education, and those are values a lot of us share,” said Representative Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat who works with the Quinn administration on Medicaid spending. “But there isn’t a clear, thoughtful path to get from point A to point B, and that lack of a comprehensive plan sometimes makes it difficult for us.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a governor have a worse veto session week than Quinn did last week. It was a total trainwreck. And we haven’t even talked about his over the top antics on the ComEd vote. I’ve saved that for another post.