* House Bill 3717 was introduced yesterday by Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights). The measure would cut the governor’s office budget by a million dollars…
Reduces a Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation from the General Revenue Fund to the Office of the Governor for operational expenses from $5,521,100 to $4,521,000. Effective January 1, 2014.
This is almost undoubtedly a ploy to get some media attention rather than an actual legislative threat.
Harris talked to WUIS about his bill…
“It’s my contention [Gov. Quinn] and his staff haven’t done their job, because it’s a cooperative venture here in the state, between the legislature and the chief executive,” Harris says. “We passed 600 bills in the spring session. Six hundred bills. Because we didn’t pass one single bill he claims we haven’t done our job.” […]
In response, a spokesman for the governor sent a summary of task forces, deadlines and public pronouncements Quinn has made to help resolve the pension issue, and says the governor isn’t taking a paycheck until that’s done.
That isn’t enough for Harris, who says Quinn has job perks most legislators do not.
“I’m not driven around by state troopers, I have to buy my gas myself, kay? I have to put food on my table and it doesn’t come from the state coffers at the executive mansion. So there’s a little bit of a difference here,” he says.
Harris also notes that, unlike he did for legislators’ pay, Quinn did not veto his own salary; he is just making a temporary choice to not take a paycheck.
OK, but Harris is now getting paid. And Quinn didn’t use his veto to touch staff salaries. Harris’ bill is focused on staff. That’s a bit much.
* And speaking of no respect for Quinn…
The chairman of a legislative panel considering a pack-age of tax breaks for Archer Daniels Midland signaled Tuesday the General Assembly may move forward with a plan despite the threat of a veto from Gov. Pat Quinn.
Earlier this month Quinn said he would oppose any legislation offering tax incentives to the Decatur-based agribusiness giant to keep its world head-quarters in Illinois unless the House and Senate sign off on a plan to overhaul the state’s massively underfunded pension systems.
State Rep. John Bradley, a Democrat from Marion, brushed off the governor’s demands following a Tuesday hearing on a separate set of possible tax breaks aimed at helping Illinois beat out Florida as the headquarters of newly merged OfficeMax and Office Depot.
“We’re used to rhetoric like that coming out of the governor’s office,” Bradley told reporters after chairing a meeting of the House Revenue and Finance Committee.
Maybe so, but there’s no great love for this bill in the GA right now.
* And this is incredibly misleading…
llinois Gov. Pat Quinn says publicly that public-pension reform is “a paramount issue right now,” but that’s not stopping him from asking for more than $100 million to hike the pay of unionized public employees.
“In terms of fiscal issues, there’s a paramount issue right now, and that is pension reform,” Quinn told reporters on Tuesday. “We must not step back from it, we must step forward.”
At the same time, however, Quinn is asking lawmakers for $200 million in new spending, more than half of which will go to pay promised pay raises for the state’s public employees.
And that’s not sitting will with some lawmakers.
“Our unpaid bills have gone from $4 billion to $7 billion, this guy is a reckless ship when it comes to financial management,” state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington said. “Yes, we need to live up to pour obligations, but (Quinn) needs to learn to live within our means.”
OK, first of all, that proposed approp is actually about paying off an old, unpaid bill. It’s for pay raises going back to 2011 which weren’t funded by the Legislature. A court has ordered the raises have to be paid. And the raises weren’t negotiated by Quinn but by Rod Blagojevich. And then there’s this…
Quinn’s staff is urging lawmakers to pay them sooner, so less interest is piled on. Some agencies have already been able to find the money for back pay in their budgets.
So despite the lede of that first story, paying the raises is basically the same argument that Quinn is making on pension reform. Deal with it now or the costs will increase with every day of delay.
You can make the argument that Quinn ought to find the money to pay the raises from within his existing budget, but then you might be asked where he ought to make his agency cuts. And just about every time he lays off workers or closes a state facility, a large group of GOP lawmakers screams bloody murder.
Also, revenues are coming in about $360 million higher than original estimates. So if you treat the back pay as a past-due bill like all the others, then there’s a very logical argument to make that the supplemental appropriation should be approved.
* For his part, Gov. Quinn refused to directly criticize Senate President John Cullerton over the whole “is the pension debt a crisis or not” argument despite this story’s spin…
Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday reiterated that the state’s pension problems are an “extreme emergency” that demand lawmakers’ attention now.
Speaking at a Statehouse news conference, Quinn dismissed a statement from Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, over the weekend that the pension problem does not rise to the level of a crisis.
“I think it is a matter of extreme emergency, it is urgent,” Quinn said when asked about Cullerton’s comments. “Whatever word you want to use, when taxpayers are paying $5 million a day more in pension liability, to me that’s a matter of grave importance. We have to resolve the issue right now.”