[The pension reform vote win] comes on the heels of Illinois in November becoming the 16th state to sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage after just months earlier the Illinois House didn’t have the votes to even call the matter for a vote.
There’s no doubt the “ineffective governor” label once slapped on Quinn is starting to peel off.
A victory on pensions — aimed at boosting the state’s dismal fiscal shape — robs Republican rivals of their most powerful ammunition against the Democrat.
Already Tuesday, Madigan, D-Chicago, took a shot at Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner, who has repeatedly called the pension compromise a bad deal for taxpayers.
“I find Bruce Rauner to be particularly disingenuous in his approach to this. My view is he would like to blow it up so he could maintain a campaign issue,” Madigan said from the Statehouse Tuesday. “So the passage of the bill, the anticipated signature by the governor — Rauner has lost one of his campaign issues.”
* The Trib included a different take in its coverage…
Though Quinn is expected to take the credit for the pension measure, lawmakers acknowledged that it was the leaders of the General Assembly who drove the process. Cullerton, the Senate president, said the governor “did just barely enough” to help get the pension bill passed, but thanked Quinn for his support.
Quinn did more than just “barely enough.” He was crucial to the bill’s passage.
Cullerton doesn’t care for Quinn, didn’t want to pass the bill and wasn’t exactly elated with its passage…
“There’s some provisions in the bill that were added by the Republicans that make it less constitutional, there’s no question about that,” said Sen. John Cullerton, Illinois Senate President.
But, credit where credit is due, he worked the bill very hard.
* The pension problem is most certainly a major issue and it’s now off the table. But Illinois still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, an unpopular tax increase set to expire in a little over a year, enormous remaining budget pressures, a continuing problem with past due bills and what looks to regular folks like calcified Democratic leadership.
In other words, Quinn ain’t outta the woods yet, campers.
* And neither is Sen. Kirk Dillard, who voted “No” even though he had voted for every other pension bill opposed by the unions…
Dillard said he locked himself in his law office to read the 300-plus paged bill and believes the vote on the matter was rushed.
“Sometimes it takes a couple of extra laps around the track before the race to begin,” Dillard said.
“I have never, never shied away from a difficult vote in the legislature. I can tell you that I’ve voted for tough pension reform before, I’m ready to do it again,” he said. “I’m ready to make that vote. I reluctantly, reluctantly rise against this.”
The decision comes after weeks of speculation that Dillard planned to vote against pension reform in hopes of maintaining a healthy relationship with organized labor. Dillard denied as much to the Sun-Times in the past.
* Mark Brown…
[Dillard’s] reasoning came across like a guy trying to justify a strategic political decision instead of as the bipartisan statesman he has long held himself out to be. It was especially inexplicable considering that his lieutenant governor running mate, Jill Tracy, supported the measure.
This was a day where you could see who was interested in standing up and being counted as a truly serious legislator.
* And it may not help. You’ll recall this poll I commissioned…
“Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a Republican candidate for governor who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from public employee unions?” 1,614 likely Republican primary voters were asked Aug. 21 in a Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll.
An overwhelming 80 percent said they’d be less likely to back such a candidate, while a mere 8 percent said they’d be more likely to do so.