* Speaker Madigan sat down for yet another interview this morning, This time with WSIU TV’s Jak Tichenor. It’s now online thanks to BlueRoomStream.com. Have a look…
* Jak asked Madigan if he thought Rauner’s current non-budget demands were “unachievable.” Here’s his response…
Number one, whenever you reduce the benefit level on workers’ compensation, you’re reducing the standar of living for middle class families. You’re forcing injured workers to go to the welfare programs or to the emergency room. And, so I’ve explained to the governor that when he talks in terms of reducing the benefit level on workers compensation, reducing the standard of living for middle class families, he’s running up against core beliefs by both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly. People are elected to come here not to hurt middle class families, they’re sent here to help middle class families.
On the property tax freeze, a bill was called in the House to freeze property taxes. 37 people voted for the bill, all Democrats, no Republicans. Had every Republican voted for the bill, the bill would be over in the Senate…
My concern… is that he’s functioning in the extreme. He’s not acting in moderation. He’s functioning in the extreme. Let me repeat, both Democrats and Republicans have core beliefs that we shouldn’t reduce the standard of living for middle class families in Illinois.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno talked to Statehouse reporters today. Watch it via BlueRoomStream…
* She started out by making clear how much she likes and respects Senate President John Cullerton. And then…
What I heard is a lot of noise and distraction from what is really going on here…. All the Democrats want is another tax increase. All the chatter about bills filed, or not filed, again, distraction.
We are ranking near the bottom in absolutely everything… And yet the only thing the Democrats want to talk about is another tax increase.
Middle-class families want relief from the enormous taxes we have in this state.
The only ads I’m aware of occurred last week from the Democrat Party of Illinois into Republican districts.
If they’re so proud of what’s going on in this state, why aren’t they running ads?
[Rauner] is ready to take this thing to the people directly.
The Democrats have walked away from the table… Their demand is, we want a tax increase… That’s not going to happen without reform.
I think the governor has made it clear that he’s willing to compromise…. We come back on the last day of session to hear, ‘Hey, Republican governor just ought to raise taxes.”
I do think there is a realistic bipartisan path forward… But reform has to be real… [Illinoisans are] talking about being crushed under property taxes. They’re talking about jobs leaving this state.
It’s a different dynamic now. I think what we’re seeing is [the Democrats are] trying to behave in the same old way.
I don’t think there’s much point hanging around past this afternoon.
I think we all go home, take a break, regroup and talk again [about compromise].
[Cullerton has] always been more willing to compromise on issues [than Madigan].
[About working group failures] What the Democrat leaders didn’t do is send people who were authorized to negotiate.
- Posted by Rich Miller
|An afternoon thought
Sunday, May 31, 2015
* After seeing the governor crank up the anti-Madigan spin again today, followed by Senate President Cullerton’s harsh press conference and then Speaker Madigan’s comments comparing Rauner to Blagojevich on Rick Pearson’s show, I can only think of this line from The Godfather…
Michael: How bad do you think it’s gonna be?
Clemenza: Pretty [g-d] bad. Probably all the other Families will line up against us. That’s all right. These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten years since the last one. You know, you gotta stop them at the beginning.
They’re going to the mattresses and it ain’t gonna be pretty.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* As I told you earlier, House Speaker Michael Madigan appeared on Rick Pearson’s Sunday Spin show. Have a listen…
* Some quotes…
If you want to have a broad-based approach [on workers’ comp reform] it should include whether the insurance companies are being fair about this and whether they should reduce their premiums.
The number one problem afflicting the government of the State of Illinois is the budget deficit and the accumulated debt. That’s why the focus should be on the elimination of the deficit. Eliminating the deficit is going to happen in moderation. It’s not going to happen in the extreme. People will want to bring non-budget issues to this debate. They’ll be able to do it to the extent that they do it on the extreme, which I think Gov. Rauner is doing, they’re not solving the problems. The solution to the budget deficit problem will be in moderation.
* To the governror’s plans on advertising, again, to the extent that the advertising takes this debate and this discussion to the extreme, it doesn’t help to eliminate the budget deficit, which is the number one problem facing the State of Illinois. The solution to the budget deficit will be in moderation. Everybody being reasonable. To the extent that you take this to the extreme, you get into name-calling, all unrelated to the budget deficit, you hurt the solution, you don’t help the solution.
[The governor’s pending advertising is] a new element of consideration. We’ve thought about it, we’ve planned for it. We’re not going to move away from our belief that the governor’s non-budget issues will hurt the middle-class families of Illinois.
Every member of the General Assembly was elected based upon a campaign in their districts. For the Democrats, they were elected by middle-class families of Illinois and they’re not prepared to walk away from those middle-class families.
The governor apparently is spending time on fundraising and dispersing funds. I’m not doing that.
It’s incredible that there hasn’t been more reporting on something like this. A governor of a state files a budget, the budget presumes spending $2 billion in savings from a pension proposal and he never filed the bill.
I know you’re going to be surprised that the end game is in moderation.
I’m rejecting that linkage [to the governor’s Turnaround Agenda items] when it’s in the extreme.
* [Do you agree with one of your members that Rauner reminds him of Rod Blagojevich?] Well, I would be concerned if Mr. Rauner does start to act like Blagojevich. The governor one or two days ago said he was not going to call a special session because that would be like Blagojevich. It is true that there have been certain actions taken by Gov. Rauner which clearly look like the things that were done by Rod Blagojevich when he was in office. And I just don’t think Illinois needs Rod Blagojevich.
[What type of things?] Um, negotiating positions, and, uh, statements in these working groups that were set up by the governor. There, there was a, a clear resemblance to the Blagojevich tactics. And I know that Gov. Rauner was concerned about that. He has said he doesn’t want to be viewed as another Blagojevich.
* [Why aren’t you voting that much on bills this year?] If you would review my voting record over the entire session, you’ll find that I’m a very active voter on the bills, and you can check the last few days. Sometimes I don’t vote on a bill simply because I don’t feel comfortable that I have enough knowledge about the bill to vote on a bill.
[You’re the Speaker of the House, you’re the only guy in this building who reads every bill.] Yeah, but I’m busy talking to people like you.
* Madigan also appeared on Craig Dellimore’s program…
While Governor Rauner castigates House Speaker Michael Madigan for rejecting most elements of his turnaround agenda, Madigan says it’s the governor whose staked out positions on non-budget items like term limits and workers compensation.
“What we need is for everybody to be reasonable,” Madigan said. “I’ve been through these disputes in the legislature in the past. I know from my experience that you don’t solve these problems by working in the extreme. You solve these problems by working in moderation. That’s what happened in the past when I worked successfully with Governor Edgar, Governor Thompson, Governor Ryan. When people are functioning in the extreme, they are not working toward a solution.”
He says he’s told the governor that Democrats are willing to make cuts in Medicaid, for example, but not lower the standard of living for the middle class.
“Illinois has severe budget problem,” Madigan said. “You cannot cut your way out of the problem. You need cuts such as the Medicaid program cuts and you need new revenue. On new revenue, you need reasonable people to come together, look at each other, commit to be reasonable and not functioning on the extreme.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Senate President John Cullerton held a news conference today. Whew…
* Cullerton’s complete statement…
When I became Senate President 6 years ago, my top priority was ending the political rancor that had paralyzed this state. After of years of stalemates and political fights, I was committed to changing the tone in Springfield.
It was a goal that I was able to largely accomplish thanks to Republican Leader Christine Radogno. As many of you recall, she and I were elected to the leadership posts in large part because of our personal commitment to working together.
No, it hasn’t always been easy, but we have tackled huge issues and, up until this session, we’d almost always done it together.
Capital bill. McCormick Place reforms. Education reform. Marriage equality. Immigrant drivers licenses. Medicaid reforms. Workers Compensation reforms.
Nothing has been more important to me than working together in a civil, respective manner.
I make it a point to go to dinner over the course of the session with every Republican member. And every year I ask the entire senate, including the Republican caucus to a bipartisan dinner.
I do it because we need to work together. I do it because I respect the Republican members. I do it because we are all elected to come here and solve problems.
Today, I’m disappointed.
The road we started down together six years ago I fear has been abandoned by many Republicans, lured away by the siren song of Bruce Rauner’s campaign cash.
And once again we find ourselves trying to work with a governor who continues to run campaigns rather than run the state that elected him. Rather than roll up his sleeves and work on solutions, he dictates demands and threatens those who defy him.
As you know, a few days ago I attended an end of session leaders meeting.
When I emerged from that meeting I restated my commitment to work with the governor on compromises that will move this state forward. Because I am committed to compromise.
But there was something that I left out of my comments – and that is my disappointment in the direction that this state is about to take under Governor Rauner’s leadership.
The governor made it clear that in the next few days, he will launch a multimillion dollar negative ad campaign designed to demonize those who are standing up for the middle class.
Nothing could be more damaging to the prospects of compromise than deploying Washington style campaign tactics rather than working on bipartisan solutions for this state.
* A few quotes and paraphrases from the Q&A…
Gov. Rauner has chosen to hold the budget hostage
Instead of working on his budget, he’s sitting down with his ad writers
When did Giv. Rauner start filming ads…while we were here working on the budget?
He won the campaign, but now he’s gotta govern.
Middle class workers lose, corporate CEOs win. Slash pay, benefits, protections and make more for CEOs. Have nothing to do w state budget.
We don’t have any bills in front of us that would resolve the conflict that he’s created.
In spite of governor’s stated concerns about a balanced budget, his own budget wasn’t balanced from the start:
That budget we passed is going to be very close to the final budget
It’s unlikely we can get anything done.
- Posted by Rich Miller
|Cranked back up
Sunday, May 31, 2015
* I told subscribers this morning that after Speaker Madigan objected to all the governor’s recent negative press releases about him, the press releases stopped.
Maybe I shoulda kept my mouth shut. This just landed in my inbox…
What They’re Saying about Speaker Madigan’s Refusal to Compromise or Reform
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he needs some indication by Sunday that Democrats are serious about taking up his reform agenda. Rauner last week zeroed in on workers’ compensation reform and property tax relief as two absolute priorities.
The governor said he has taken numerous items from his “turnaround agenda” off the table over the past few weeks during discussions with lawmakers. For example, he did not include creation of local right-to-work zones in a package of five proposals Republican legislative leaders introduced a week ago on his behalf.
Despite that, Rauner said Democrats have been unwilling to engage in serious negotiations about other parts of his agenda.
Peoria Journal Star:
Indeed, if there has been a theme in this session of the Legislature, it is majority Democrats under the leadership of Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton rejecting one plank after another of Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda.”
The Democrats’ disappointment at losing the governor’s office last November as well as 12 straight years of one-party rule is understandable. But the voters’ decision to put Rauner in the chief executive’s post gives him something to say about the affairs of state.
The power in state government is divided now; compromise is required. Instead, there is a standoff while Madigan waits for Rauner to capitulate.
Illinois is at a crossroads. Will it change its fiscally irresponsible ways or cling desperately to a status quo approach that has reduced it to effective bankruptcy.
A big, potentially ugly fight looms, but it’s a fight worth having.
A note to Gov. Bruce Rauner…
Madigan and Cullerton scold you for pitting your demands for tort, worker’s comp and other reforms against their demands for high spending. Their minions keep whining that the budget process is sacrosanct — you shouldn’t use it as a tool. The paradox is that, for decades, they’ve used the budget as their tool for rewarding and punishing and getting their way.But, as of 2015, a budget can’t be leveraged? Is that so.
Many reforms you propose make sense to voters. One example: paying public employees more, but tying their raises to the quality and scope of their performance, not on how long they keep breathing and coming to work. Let Madigan and Cullerton explain why this and your other ideas are cruel and unreasonable…
You may be the last, best chance to protect that future by restoring growth. By restoring Illinois’ prosperous past.
The Madigan-Cullerton strategy here couldn’t be clearer: to obstruct any and all reforms, to vilify you for four years, and to install some malleable flunky in the governor’s office.
Their strategy, though, is also their weakness: They’re always angling for position, always wanting something.
You, Governor, are free to keep calm and stand pat. How liberating to answer only to the voters who sent you.
To want nothing, that is, but to revive the moribund Illinois of Mike Madigan, John Cullerton and … their followers.
Belleville News Democrat:
The people of Illinois know all about broken processes. That’s why they elected Rauner – to fix those processes, not to play along.
- Posted by Rich Miller
A bill that supporters say gives Chicago some “breathing room” in making payments to its police and fire pension funds has advanced in the Illinois legislature.
The Illinois House and a Senate committee approved legislation Saturday to reduce Chicago’s annual mandatory payment for the next five years. The bill now goes to the Senate floor.
Chicago’s payments to the two funds were set to jump from about $300 million this year to roughly $840 million next year. The legislation sets the 2016 payment at about $620 million.
House Republicans opposed the measure, saying putting off pension payments helped create the funding problem in the first place. They questioned the wisdom of relying on money from a Chicago casino that has yet to be approved by lawmakers and is unlikely to pass before lawmakers adjourn on Sunday.
“Talk about putting the cart before the horse,” said Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove. “This is not a panacea, it’s actually a step backwards.”
House Republicans chastised the bill for letting Chicago off the hook for the larger payments the city has been aware of for years and for promising benefits to its workers it could not afford.
* ABC 7…
“So instead of a $600 million increase, we’re talking about a $200 million, $225 million dollar increase,” said state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Hyde Park. “That is sustainable, that is palatable.”
The measure, opposed by most Republicans, also says any city revenue from a yet-to-be-approved Chicago casino must be applied to pension payments. It now goes to the Senate, where one Republican called it another example of Chicago kicking the police and fire pension can down the road.
“They need to start facing this problem,” said State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. “They can’t continue to put it off. They’re going to really hurt their police and fireman one day.”
* Another topic mentioned over and over during yesterday’s debate was Chicago’s low property tax rate for homeowners. Several Republicans said the city needed to face up to that fact.
I don’t disagree at all.
However, when Cook County’s pension reform bill was debated last year, Republicans said they couldn’t vote for it because it would lead directly to a property tax hike.
* The reality is that the governor doesn’t want to give Chicago anything until he gets his Turnaround Agenda passed. It’s just another Rauner brick on the road.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* It is so very heartening to see law enforcement groups saying positive things about the police body cam bill, which has now passed both chambers. This appears to be a pretty darned good bill…
Officers who wear body cameras will be required to record any incident with the public. The only time they could cease recording is when interviewing a witness or victim. Personal and strategic conversations also merit turning the camera off. New training is also a cornerstone of the bill. […]
[Sean Smoot, chief legal counsel for the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association] said the training should leave officers better prepared to deal with the mentally ill, addicts and victims of abuse. Procedural training should create a better relationship with the public at large, he said.
“A member of the community should feel a certain level of comfort after interacting with an officer, whether they’re arrested or not,” he said.
Law enforcement groups are also pleased with the idea of having a database of officers who have been fired with cause or who resign during an investigation. The groups see it as a way to weed out bad police.
Most of the language is here. Cleanup is here.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Forget about the stalled budget deal for a second and consider what Kurt Erickson wrote about a possible strike or lockout…
State government is already messed up. A strike or lockout of the 38,000 AFSCME workers would mean major upheaval at facilities that treat the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.
It could mean public health workers wouldn’t be around to fight infectious disease breakouts. Imagine what it would be like for a temporary employee to get hired to run the dispatching operation for the state police. Who will help people sign up for food stamps and unemployment?
Could temp workers suddenly be tasked with overseeing orphans and juvenile offenders?
So far, the governor’s rhetoric has been just that. But, come July 1, it could turn into a reality Illinoisans have not witnessed before.
* And speaking of that topic…
A union-backed bill to prevent strikes or lockouts of state employees during their current contract talks is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
The Senate voted 38-17 to approve the measure, which allows a new contract for state workers under the governor to be determined by an independent arbitrator if either side in the talks thinks negotiations have reached an impasse.
Even supporters of the bill said they expect the Republican governor will veto it. The administration did not directly answer a question about whether the governor will veto the bill.
He’s gonna veto it, for sure.
But check out the House roll call. Two Democrats, Jack Franks and Andre Thapedi, took a walk and didn’t vote.
If those two stay off the legislation on an override, it’s going to be really difficult to pass it. If one of them is forced back on, perhaps Springfield Republican Raymond Poe can be convinced to climb on board because he was the only Republican with the guts to buck Rauner on that “right to work” bill. Poe took a walk on AFSCME’s strike bill.
Several other House Republicans walked as well: Anthony, Bourne, Brown, Bryant, Cabello, Cavaletto, Davidsmeier, Hammond, Hays, McAuliffe, Bill Mitchell, Pritchard, Reis, Stewart and Unes. But Rauner is gonna make this override a point of honor.
Rauner’s brick is gonna be the heaviest thing on the planet.
* Today’s headline was the product of a sort of group think project at dinner last night with a bunch of pals. One of those pals even designed a quickie logo…
We were also wondering if y’all could match Statehouse names to that movie’s characters. Have at it.
* By the way, Senate President John Cullerton filed a motion to reconsider the vote after yesterday’s roll call, so he’s going to hold onto that one for a while.
*** UPDATE *** A quickly done variation of a commenter suggestion…
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From the AP’s John O’Connor...
Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, is brainstorming on mutually acceptable ideas, spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said, “but he disagrees with the idea that we need to stop budgeting and shut down the government while we negotiate with the governor.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan facilitated the day’s agenda from his office but did not hear from Rauner, spokesman Steve Brown said.
Rauner told reporters Friday he would not drag lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session after Sunday’s curtain, but would meet with legislators anywhere to keep the talks going.
House GOP Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs believes a breather would be beneficial, his spokeswoman said.
“The real negotiations, if they haven’t already begun behind the scenes, are going to happen over the next 45 days,” agreed Republican Rep. David Reis of Willow Hill.
Madigan heard from Rauner on Friday. In my opinion, it’s pretty much up to Madigan and Cullerton to tell Rauner now what they would be willing to do after Rauner pared his massive Turnaround Agenda down to just two items.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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