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Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013

* All four legislative leaders were reelected yesterday. No surprise there. Yesterday, I asked you to give Gov. Pat Quinn some advice, so…

* The Question: What advice would you give each of the four legislative leaders?

Try to avoid snark. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ready To Get Out - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    Try something new, working together to find solutions.

  2. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    Don’t let a single sticking point or favored detail blow the deal. This concerns any bill. Compromise and get things done without putting future election concerns first.

    I know; I’m asking for the near impossible.

  3. - Anonymour - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    Start a four-step process:
    1. The Two Tops meet to work out a plan.
    2. They convene the Four Tops to discuss it, and count votes.
    3. They invite union reps and other stakeholders in to tweak it and get buy-in.
    4. They present it to the Governor and ask for his support before announcing it.

    Suggestions for the plan:
    - Bonding authority to take advantage of low interest rates.
    - Payment of oustanding debts to social service agencies and contractors on a timely basis.
    - Extending the temporary income tax for x years (5? 10? 20?), with funds earmarked for an extended pension ramp.
    - A partial cost-shift to limit pension games by local boards.
    - Reduced pension benefits and/or a health care choice with a severability clause.
    - Sweeteners for the unions and others as necessary to get the votes.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:28 am:


    I am going to need a moment!

  5. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    Reserve a booth at Saputo’s every Thursday at lunch from now until the pension mess is dealt with.

  6. - DoubleD - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:34 am:

    Please open up the process…actually show us what an “open” meeting and transparency are in the process. Take a long hard look at every line in that budget and seek the input from the people of this state.

  7. - danlinn - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    End cannabis prohibition, tax and regulate the adult market and this will help some of the fiscal mess.

  8. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    For Madigan — think about your legacy and not about power. When history is written about Illinois, you are going to get a chapter. You are one of the most significant leaders in our state’s history.

    What sort of legacy will that be? Will it be “He held power for a long time”? “He built majorities”? Or will it be “He got things done.”

    It is time to get things done. That means sitting down with Cullerton, reaching an agreement that you can both support, and then using your power to push through a plan on pension reform. You are the guy with the power. Time to use it. Shape it as you see fit and then do it.

    For Cross:

    Realize that they don’t need you. They have the votes. To be relevant, you need to work on the margins and you need to get some on your side to vote for the plan presented by the other side. If you do so, you can have influence. If you want to whine and just be the opposition, you will give up that influence.

    I would give similar advice to the Senate leaders.

  9. - shore - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    I think you mean FOUR not FOR. I’d go with resigning. None of them inspire anything in anyone outside of their families. I’ve been really embarrassed by the Republicans who offer nothing.

  10. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    Cullerton and Madigan: You have the muscle, use it. Seek the support of and compromise with reasonable Republicans. But don’t hold back.

    Cross and Radogno: What do you have to lose? Present reasonable and substantive proposals. Seek to build coalitions. Don’t just whine about Democrats and Chicago to please the “base.” Pleasing “the base” is the biggest reason as to why you are where you are.

  11. - Joe M. - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    Don’t ignore the Illinois Constitution. Legislation that doesn’t pass constitutional muster will get shot down in court.

  12. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    For the two dems…. Honestly seek GOP support for budget and pensions. Without bipartisanship on those issues your supermajorities are going to be a political target.

    For the two GOPs…. Honestly work with the dems and don’t throw up smoke screens as reasons for why you can’t support reform. Sitting on the sidelines didn’t help you in congress and nor will it in the statehouse.

  13. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    I simply cannot imagine a day when the GOP ever has even close to a majority in either body of the General Assembly (given the weakness of the Party structure, failure to recruit quality candidates, fundraising impotence, and demographics.)

    That being said, I address my commments to the majority leaders, particularly the Speaker. Please stop thinking about maintaining majorities and chipping away every possible seat in the suburbs, and LEAD. Think about the betterment of the State, rather than your caucus numbers. If that’s not enough, think about your legacy. Will it be enough to be judged by tne number of elections won, historic majorities, or years of service as leader?

  14. - Dazed & Confused - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    With great power comes great responsibility. While you may be feeling particularly emboldened by the recent election gains, remember that while Illinois is a blue state, the supermajorities occurred primarily because you drew new political maps.

    You have the thrones. Remember how it felt when you were in the minority and how you were treated.

    Reach out. Build consensus. Negotiate. Problem solve.

    Don’t push measures through simply because you have the votes. It’s about good policy and moving the state forward.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    Speaker Madigan.

    Speaker, congratulations, you have kept your majority.

    Now, the bi-product is a Veto-Proof majority.

    Rich and others have pointed out that the worst sessions you have had as a leader was when you were the Minority Leader and when you had a Super-Majority. That day has come again. Super-Majority pains are about to begin.

    My advice would be to use your great skill at focusing on 3-5 real agenda-type issues and just use those to “herd your cats”. Being as large of a majority as the HDems have, you can use that to either slam through any and every thing you want, or keep your Targets safe.

    Work with Tom Cross, add a few on the GOP where it might make sense in their districts and move legislation along. Maybe quietly encourage a “Moderate Republican / Conservatve Democrat” …caucus … ONLY under your watchful eye … and get some things passed you never thought the 71 Dems could do, given the diversity of your Caucus.

    You have an 11 seat cushion, You can take that Majority for a drive, mix and match 60 votes, try and corral those going off the reservation, or you could encourage those “model” Dem state Reps. you have, that match their districts, and move many more agenda items by working the Moderate Repubs and Conservative Dems. You will need willing partners, but what choice does the Minority have?

    You are a master of the Process, and of the Chamber, use that knowledge instead of working the 71 into 1. Use the diversity and the Rules of the House to your advantage, while looking bi-partisan when the numbers clears show you have no need to be.

    Nothing gets past you, Speaker, so be ahead of the 71 individuals that make your Caucus and see them as you recruited them; as 71 diverse members willing to work, and shape them to vote for the betterment of Illinois.

    Illinois will be watching …

  16. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    –I simply cannot imagine a day when the GOP ever has even close to a majority in either body of the General Assembly–

    Wasn’t that long ago that Pate ruled the Senate, and he gave Rock fits as minority leader.

    Lee Daniels had a two-year majority once, and was closer for a while.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    ===I simply cannot imagine a day when the GOP ever has even close to a majority in either body of the General Assembly===

    We all have to get past the fact that it CAN’T be done! Defeatists are a much of the problem as the “RINOS” and the “Right Wing Whackos”. The only thing those to groups will agree on is that “Woe is us.”

    If you want to change it, start in your Precinct. There are GOP votes there, but are they VOTING?

    Sorry, Rich, to digress. Apologies

  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:31 pm:

    Leader Cross.

    My Oswego friend, my advice to you is to be the best Minority Leader you can. Tighten up your press (The misstep of what Derrick Smith was charged with is my example of getting thisngs tighter!), and tighten up your responses to legislation and proposed legislation, so that whatever the Majority is doing, it’s not the same “We oppose that” response.

    Be very thoughtful in HOW you respond, as others will try to call you the Leader of “No” in the House.

    Also, look at ALL the Legislation very honestly, and if some members feel it can help to vote for it, encourage that. Being Bi-Parisan means linking up with the Democrats, not just saying that.

    Understand that the Far Right of your Party and the Moderate Left have helped you, and hurt you, so neither can say they OWN you, or your Caucus.

    Propose bills. Honest to goodness Bills. Not just bills for the sake of the Press Pop, but an answer to “What does the HGOP think is the answer then?” Be prepared to have Bills to retort. You are Veto-Proofed, you have the time to formulate an agenda, without the burden of having to be the heavy-lifter.

    Use this time to work within your Caucus to encourage the Moderates, the Conservative, Upstate, Downstate, Rural, Urban, to find common ground within your Caucus to help everyone be more accepting to those recruited next Cycle. You ahve got to get the 46 to pull as one, and be as diverse as the districts require. Tough “ask”, but you need to see things as “adding” not “dividing” and “proposing” not “the ‘No’ votes party”.

    Lastly, make sure Madigan knows you are a willing partner, not a petulant child. If the Speaker brigs you in on some things, accept and listen to what the Speaker says and find an avenue of agreement when you can, so some of those Bills YOUR Caucus has put together to see a committee hearing or a floor vote.

    Your Caucus is in this Minority position, so take what you can get to be Bi-Partisan.

    Illinois will be watching.

  19. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    Expect nothing from the union —- their “leaders are fearful of member revolt.
    Expect nothing from PQ — mr. helter skelter can’t stand still for 60 seconds
    Expect little from GOPies — their only goal is total disarray.
    Expect nothing from the Wall Street/big bank hustlers.
    Expect the Supremes to accept what you do becuase they know doing nothing leaves pension systems broke.

  20. - Kerfuffle - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    Put the people of the State of Illinois first for a change and forget about partisan politics.

  21. - nobody - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    Admit the real problems facing Illinois. Have an honest discussion of these problems. Have the courage to put a graduated income tax in place. Tax services. Work with actuaries before proposing legislation. Don’t “pull the rug”out from under people who are retired. Don’t use the very small percentage of pension abusers to declare the pension system wrong or bad or unsustainable. Ask for additional contributions from workers for their pensions along with the change in our tax system. Care about Illinois rather than your individual power or party politics. Use your power to do good rather than harm. Be humble. Amen

  22. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    On pension reform, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    The pension systems require more money, some will come from taxpayers, including downstate and suburban property tax payers, some will come from increased employee contributions, and some savings has to be found from retiree healthcare and limits on COLAs.

    Taxpayers will pay more. Retirees will pay more. Employees will pay more. The sooner you can negotiate which group pays how much, the sooner you can amend the ramp and begin to solve the problem. It won’t be fair to everyone, but it ought to be as fair as possible. And all of the systems, including the judges’, should be treated equally.

    There is no perfect solution (at least without a time machine). Stop searching for one and move forward with something “good” instead (good being defined as least bad).

  23. - Crime Fighter - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    Another Oops- please see my 1:06pm post from “Looking Back and Looking Ahead” on today’s blog.

  24. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    For Cullerton: Work with Gov. Quinn, try to get him on your side, backing you plan to start with. Work with him on getting Madigan on board.

    For Madigan: Read what Skeeter wrote at 11:37 am! Well said.

    For Cross and Radogno: Get on board. Cutting public sector pensions does tend to be quite popular among republicans, so work with the other leaders to pass whatever you can.

  25. - RNUG - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    “Politics is the art of the possible.”
    Otto Von Bismarck

    Try doing what is possible in small steps.

  26. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    Work with each other and not against each other.

  27. - thunder - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:09 pm:

    Pay your the pension requirements and stop putting off paying it. Stop trying to go after the state workers benefits as a way to balance your spending. Create new revenue. Such as: Legalize Fireworks in the state of IL. Add a new tax on the sale of fireworks in IL. New businesses will open up and new jobs will open up. Growth in the state of IL. Instead of people crossing state lines to purchase fireworks, they can purchase within there own state. Instead of cities purchasing fireworks from other states, they can purchase within there own state. Nothing but a win, win situation. You can pass safety requirements as well. Illinois is loosing out on this tax revenue as well as jobs.

  28. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    Anonymour, Double D, & thunder….DITTO

  29. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    I second what 47th Ward wrote. Any other of my thoughts veer towards the snarky.

  30. - reformer - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    If Cross wants to be taken seriously, then he has to abandon the “Democrats-are-to-blame” mantra that Ron Stephens used to trumpet most every session day.

    Embrace genuine compromise, as opposed to Tea Party-style purity. Be constructive for the good of the state, as opposed to hoping everything goes to hell in a handbasket so the GOP can reap political benefit some day.

  31. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:28 pm:

    Regardless of which of the Four Tops, my advice to everyone is to think big - expand the number of people to whom you listen to get ideas. There are some awfully good ideas out there - some not as developed as others, but remember it takes a host of nuggets to make a vein of gold.

    It won’t be enough just to nibble around the edges of the truly massive issues you face - those approaches are part and parcel of what got us in the current mess, and the public just won’t buy leaders who offer half-a-loaf “solutions” and call it comprehensive anything (including reform). If you’re going to reform anything do it and do it big.

    Particularly for the minority leaders - you are so marginalized that the best idea for you is to put forth detailed proposals on the big issues. Get them drafted and filed so that you’re not seen as continually whining without offering a substantive counter-proposal. Sure, the majority party has enough of a plurality that even the Governor is now reduced to a non-player, so offer your best ideas right away and make yourself a valuable partner in solving problems.

    And while you’re at it, hang your “loyal opposition” coat in the closet. You won’t need it for the next decade.

  32. - Kevin Highland - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    Stop using shell bills!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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