During last week’s budget debate in the House, Republicans started complaining about the Illinois Department of Transportation budget that includes the state airplanes.
It turns out a rumor they had heard was true. The state planes had been used to fly prairie chickens from Kansas to Illinois as part of a repopulation effort. Most of the costs are covered by the feds, but there’s a few thousand state dollars involved, although to listen to the Republicans it’s enough to wipe out a $2 billion budget deficit. Still, the debate focused attention on the air fleet, which is a favorite whipping boy.
Including to Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, who has several times focused on the state airplanes as a source of waste that could be eliminated to help avoid higher taxes. She’s even advocated getting rid of them altogether.
So when the IDOT budget came up for a vote after the blow-up over the bird flights, how did Scherer vote? Yes, of course.
Looks like one of the duckling handlers messed up.
* Other budget stuff…
* Rauner: Gov, lawmakers ‘playing political games’ with budget: “I think it’s absolutely wrong to do what they’re doing. They’re playing political games and showing a lack of leadership and unfortunately in Springfield, that’s been the status quo. Right now, they’re trying to portray themselves as just doing whatever the voters want. They’re saying voters like more spending so we’re gonna give them more spending. Voters don’t like taxes so we’re just not going to vote on taxes,” Rauner charged. “That’s political gamesmanship. That’s playing political football with our financial health. It’s a huge mistake. It’s a failure of leadership. It’s a failure of the General Assembly and the Governor down there.”
* Quinn to lobby House Democrats on tax hike extension: After the bills passed, Madigan put a hold on them to stop them from being sent to the Senate. Madigan said the action was needed because the House may choose to change the bills later. It also prevents the Senate from making alterations while House lawmakers figure out the revenue side of the budget equation. “If they’re here, they can’t be amended by the Senate,” Madigan said.
* Civic Federation: Property Tax Rebates Inefficient
* IHSA payroll under scrutiny: Altogether, the IHSA’s tab for “salaries, other compensation [and] employee benefits” totaled nearly $3.1 million for the last school year, 2012-2013, up 21 percent over the previous year.
* Republican Wozniak takes shot at Democrat Smiddy over budget votes
* Editorial: Quinn, get off the ropes and sign city pension bill
* Legislator rolls dice that letter will revive gambling bill
* Casino association opposed to slots at racetracks proposal; revenue at riverboats down since 2007