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Adventures in budgeting

Monday, May 19, 2014

* Sigh

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

- Posted by Rich Miller        


9 Comments
  1. - LTSW - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    After reading the IHSA article, I think the scrutiny may or should include some questions about the lack of diversity among the organization’s top administrators.


  2. - Commander Norton - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    That tidbit about Rep. Scherer and the state planes not only appeared in Finke’s piece but was the subject of the paper’s editorial today. They’ve never had much love for Sue Scherer, but if she and the “duckling handlers” don’t watch out, they could succeed in making an impact in her race this year.


  3. - Anon - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Who are the “ducklings” in the House? I know some of them, but don’t know the full list. Could we start one or maybe do a QOTD?


  4. - Ghost - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    The last time the State plane came up, as I recall, it turned out it was cheaper then commercial flights.

    As for the chickens, we recieved close to 3 times as much new money for that program. That would be revenue generating. So the GOP is opposed to generatin extra revenue and spending in the economy?


  5. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    See folks?
    Even the prairie chickens are moving out of Illinois.


  6. - Arizona Bob - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    @LTSW
    =After reading the IHSA article, I think the scrutiny may or should include some questions about the lack of diversity among the organization’s top administrators.=

    Whaddya mean, LTSW, they have BOTH Irish and German executives! Just like the 19th Ward organization is extremely diverse; they have members wiht roots from County Cork and virtually every other county in Ireland! How much more diverse can you get?LOL


  7. - fed up - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Ghost,

    The program isnt the problem no matter how silly. Other states also involved drove to get the chickens at a fraction of the cost as Illinois. It silly decisions like flying chickens that show how we ended up Billions in debt and have no plan to get out of debt.


  8. - Ghost - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    fed up, but that makes no sense…. if I get 300,000 for spending 100,000 then I am not in debt, I am ahead of the game.

    it seems to me that decisions to say dont spend 100,000 to generate an additional 300,000 is how we ended up in debt. if we turn donw free money that would be penny wise and pound foolish to the extreme.

    any time we get 3 times the money back, woe is the fool who doesnt spend that money.


  9. - MyTwoCents - Monday, May 19, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    If John Kass isn’t all up in arms about the prairie chickens, how bad can it really be? Personally this seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill.

    http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/538/article/p2p-80227610/


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