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“Governor Road Kill”

Monday, Oct 31, 2011

* Illinois Statehouse News compiled a list of defeats by Gov. Pat Quinn last week

Smart Grid

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. […]

Facility closures

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. […]

Roadkill recovery

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.

* Oof

“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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    The road kill thing reminds me a bit of when he vetoed the diabetes care act because it didn’t deal with allergies and other medical issues.

    In Quinn world sometimes if a solution isn’t grand enough or does not deal with everything he expects and/or wants it to deal with it is not worth doing at all..


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 8:42 am:

    –There’s Chicago/Cook County and then there’s Downstate.–

    That’s silly. Are the corporate corridors in Lake and DuPage part of Downstate? Highland Park and Hinsdale?

    The interests of Cook and the Collars intersect more often than not.

    After Cook, Quinn’s biggest vote totals were in the Collars. You know why? That’s where the people are.

    The 98 county stuff is beyond lazy — it’s just stupid.


  3. - Sue - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 8:49 am:

    Quinn made the no-layoff promises in exchange for endorsements and campaign contributions;- let him find the money he needs even if he needs to use those same campaign dollars-


  4. - Aldyth - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:08 am:

    When those facilities are closed, it’s good to know that their employees will have a means to put food on the table.


  5. - Ha! - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:15 am:

    Quinn is unfocused but his staff is just as bad. They cannot even do the clerical stuff right.

    Poor execution. Awful advice. He needs better advisors.


  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:16 am:

    ===He needs better advisors. ===

    It ain’t the advisors.


  7. - Sue - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 9:42 am:

    Maybe Ron Suskind can do his next book looking at the inner workings of the Quin administration- some people don’t belong as Executives- Quinn totally lacks the instincts and discipline to be Governor- this is something else we can blame on Blago- leaving us with Quinn


  8. - Springfield Skeptic - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:19 am:

    Is it too soon to speculate on whether he will try for another term. If Lisa (or someone equally qualified) declares, he won’t survive the primary.


  9. - walkinfool - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    It’s too easy to assume it’s all about a few top personalities. Strong staff can compensate for leaders’ flaws in all organizations. And better processes can almost always overcome people shortcomings.

    Why weren’t these issues brought near to resolution between key executive staff and agency directors, dealing with key legislators and staff, well before veto session? Were there project plans, with assigned tasks, to resolve the top few issues? Is it that the leaders don’t encourage this to happen? Is it that we have gotten so bound by “open-meeting” expectations that nobody ever works off-line to resolve differences anymore? Is it because each side lacks respect for the proper role of the other? Do we spend too much time on partisan differences, and too little on the effective functioning of government?


  10. - soccermom - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    Here’s a question: If there were an equal number of people in each Illinois county, how many counties would Quinn have carried? And although I’m a downstate girl myself, I think it makes sense to close facilities that don’t serve many people. This is about efficiency and the cost to taxpayers per person served. I’m sorry, but I think Quinn’s right on this one.


  11. - Ha! - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 11:29 am:

    Don’t completely absolve his advisors.

    If Quinn ignores everything they say, why are still working for him?


  12. - Ha! - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    And if those trusted advisors are telling you that they told Quinn not to do something but he did it anyway, then they are saving themselves while throwing Quinn under the bus.

    Yeah, really valuable advisors!


  13. - M O'Malley - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 12:39 pm:

    Just wondering, anybody know IDOT’s position on the roadkill bill? Was there ANY reason given for the veto?


  14. - Wickedred - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 1:11 pm:

    About those facility closures, Soccermom. It makes sense to keep the smaller ones open, and close the larger ones. Especially if, as in the case of the centers for the developmentally disabled, you’re talking about the difference in one center having over 500 people in it and another having 90. The smallest and newest shouldn’t be the one closing, especially when the placement rate is so high there.
    Go visit the eight centers and make your decision after that. You will have a whole different view on what needs to be closed and what should stay open.
    But, truth be told, there are 21,000 people in the community waiting for services. What makes anyone think that people living in state ops are going to be placed above any of these individuals? There are no openings and there is no money.


  15. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 1:53 pm:

    What I don’t understand is how Quinn believes his actions are appreciated by the voting public.


  16. - Dave - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 2:00 pm:

    **the people elected sens. and reps. the house and senate passed sb744, to me that means the people have spoken, but one man is going to kill the bill? **

    Yup… That is how our system of government works. The people also elected the Governor. Remember that?


  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    Dave, thanks for pointing out that comment. I didn’t see it, but it’s now gone.


  18. - VanillaMan - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 3:21 pm:

    Quinn is not governing. He is decreeing. He is pontificating. He spouts to entertain himself.

    You contact a legislator whose bill you intend to veto. You press upon citizens the need to uphold those vetoes.

    Quinn earned his failures.


  19. - Cal Skinner - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 5:30 pm:

    Too bad people’s memories don’t go back to the veto override sessions of Gov. Walker’s days.

    That’s what they were called “veto override sessions.”


  20. - jdub - Monday, Oct 31, 11 @ 7:14 pm:

    dave, valid point, you are right but having said that if you read sb 744 it puts people to work, and that is my point, and so far i haven’t seen a better jobs bill.


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