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A day late and billions of dollars short

Friday, Mar 4, 2016

* Subscribers know more about the “why,” but on its face this is just plain goofy

The Illinois House passed two new bills Thursday that would authorize approximately $3 billion in spending for state services including higher education and human services.

This came a day after the Democrat-controlled House’s failure to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of another bill that would have provided $721 million for MAP grants, community colleges and adult-education programs.

Both bills passed Thursday were sponsored by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago. The first, in an effort to pay for the spending, eliminates the state’s obligation to reimburse money “swept” from special state accounts from the previous fiscal year, which would save about $454 million

$3 billion in spending with $454 million in kinda sorta funding?


The governor’s statement

“Instead of leaving town for a month, the House should continue to meet and focus on the real bipartisan solutions that have been introduced as fully funded bills, instead of voting on sham bills and continuing a crisis for political gain,” Rauner said.

* OK, setting aside that ridiculousness for a second, remember on Wednesday when Democratic Rep. Scott Drury voted against the MAP grant veto override?…

* Drury said the body is “delusional” because it keeps passing piecemeal budget bills without paying for them. He’s been arguing for months that this approach was doing more harm than good by putting off a real budget agreement

Drury, the lone Democrat not to support the override motion, said members from both parties need to stop taking votes to make themselves feel good or to include in their campaign literature.

He argued rank-and-file lawmakers must look for a true solution to the budget deficit and the impasse or admit to themselves they are only allowing their respective party leaders to keep the stalemate going for their own purposes.

“As long as there is no pressure … they are empowered to keep this impasse going. And they have done that since June,” he said.

“The answer is to stop empowering this leadership that keeps thrusting this upon us, because if we don’t give them an out, we can get a solution,” Drury said.

“We have to be accountable,” Drury said. “We have to do our jobs, we have to have courage, (and) we have stop being wimps.”

* And this is what Drury told his constituents after Wednesday’s vote…

For months, I have been outspoken about the problem with the piecemeal approach. By prolonging the impasse, victims are continually victimized. Even the victims who think they have received help often don’t realize that the “help” is illusory because no funding is actually provided.

Emphasis added.

* Well, Drury voted for that $3 billion appropriations bill yesterday. He then voted against the only funding (however inadequate) for the bill.

Drury said during debate yesterday that the $3 billion approp bill was a more comprehensive solution.


$3 billion in appropriations without revenues to back it up is comprehensive? And he also voted against the funding?

Gimme a break.

* Another legislator who voted against the MAP grant override this week was GOP Rep. Reggie Phillips, who represents EIU and has said since the bill was introduced that it was a phony piece of legislation

From his MAP grant legislation comments in the above video

“How did that bill get funded? How are you going to fund that bill?… I’m not gonna go vote for a bill that isn’t gonna be funded… I’m not gonna vote for a shell bill that’s not gonna be funded! Do you understand that? This is politics as usual!”

But, guess what? Rep. Phillips, like Rep. Drury, voted for the $3 billion appropriation yesterday. He also voted against the funding portion.

* If Drury and Phillips had both voted for the override Wednesday, it would’ve passed. The impasse dynamic could’ve actually changed for a couple of reasons: 1) Rauner would’ve lost a House veto override motion for the first time since his inauguration; and 2) The governor would then have been put in a very tight spot to come up with money to fund the grants for impoverished college students.

Instead, nothing.

Worse than nothing, actually.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    This is a great post, Rich. I always enjoy it when you point out inconsistencies from our elected officials on the blog that they or their staff read daily.

    ===He argued rank-and-file lawmakers must look for a true solution to the budget deficit and the impasse or admit to themselves they are only allowing their respective party leaders to keep the stalemate going for their own purposes.===

    Those are empty words. He just wants folks to “look for a true solution” without saying what it is.

    We all know what the solution is — it’s either revenue or cutting services. When making platitudes like that I wish we could force them to say whether he’s looking to raise taxes or looking to ruin lives.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    Charleston and EIU do not have a friend in Reggie Phillips(?)

    “Vote Accordingly”, and remember that last paragraph in Rich’s post, and especially this …

    ===Worse than nothing, actually.===

    March 15th.

  3. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    This is why Drury is so popular within his caucus. Did you know he’s a former federal prosecutor?

    He is very lucky Arroyo was absent on Tuesday.

  4. - Cable Line Beer Gardener - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    Someone should install a jar in the Capitol and charge every Illinois politician that drops a G, or over uses the words: status quo, sham, delusional, and the rest of the typical buzz words $1.00.

  5. - sal-says - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Delusional? Apparently only when Mr.Phillips and Mr. Drury look themselves in the mirror.

    Clueless comes to mind as well.

    A chance to pressure a solution and both fail. The old saying: If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of ….’

    Another disgrace.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    My party has Ives… the Dems have Drury.

    There’s always “one” in each bunch

  7. - eiueiueiU - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    Oswego Willy:

    So Reggie didn’t vote for a bill that would have brought little to no money to EIU, but he votes on one that does have funding for EIU and MAPs and somehow he is no friend of EIU? How does that make sense?

    2990 may still be a long shot but it wasn’t like the MAP vote was going to magically help EIU and Charleston either. Reggie broke with his party and governor and voted for MAPs and for funding for EIU. How is that bad again?

  8. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:06 pm:

    Emily Miller nailed it yesterday.

    Drury also hits close in that ==help== can be illusory when promises are made without the supporting $. But piecemeal bills may be the best that can be done for now, as long as they are funded.

  9. - Harry - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:07 pm:

    As Kissinger said about the Iran-Iraq War: “It’s a pity they can’t both lose.”

    By “both” I mean Rauner and Madigan, not backbenchers like Phillips and Drury.

    We are so deep into the Twilight Zone…

  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    ===How is that bad again? ===

    Apparently, you cannot read.

    Also: “I’m not gonna vote for a shell bill that’s not gonna be funded! Do you understand that? This is politics as usual!”

  11. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    “Did you know he’s a former federal prosecutor?”

    Why am I only now learning about this?!??

    – MrJM

  12. - East Central Illinois - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    @ eiueiueiU:

    Please go back and read Rich’s article - - ALL OF THE ARTICLE — Reggie is not helping EIU at all.

  13. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:14 pm:

    Reggie Phillips has also voted against EIU funding more than once this session.

  14. - anon - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:14 pm:

    Drury tries to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Politics is the art of the possible, and the MAP bill was possible — had Drury voted for it. A complete solution is currently not politically possible.

  15. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:14 pm:

    ==There’s always “one” in each bunch==

    Trying to think of GOP matches for Dunkin now lol.

  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:19 pm:

    The governor has quite a sense of humor to talk about “bipartisan” “fully-funded bills.”

    You really can’t play the fiscal responsibility card when your actions will likely result in a $12 billion backlog of unpaid bills by June 30.

  17. - Chicago 20 - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:32 pm:

    When will someone submit legislation to allow a progressive income tax in Illinois?

  18. - anon - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    === When will someone submit legislation to allow a progressive income tax in Illinois? ===

    A graduated income tax would require a constitutional amendment. It would take a three-fifths vote in both Houses to put the proposed amendment on the ballot. There would be zero Republicans in favor, and fewer than 71 Democrats. (Franks, Drury, some of the southern IL conservatives). Consequently, it cannot be passed.

  19. - TominChicago - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:38 pm:

    That is good analysis. Drury and Phillips had the luxuary of voting for the appropriation bill because they knew that Rauner would veto it. This enables them to go back to those voters who care and say, “Well I tried.”

  20. - Mama - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:38 pm:

    Rich, are these two Reps in Rauner’s pocket?

  21. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    The video of Phillips is priceless. It is the angry old white guy yelling at a bunch of students…his constituents.

  22. - Pawn - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    Wordslinger, not only that, this Governor has issued contracts without appropriations. He has ordered spending without revenue to cover it, to the tune of about $2 billion — money that is not even in the Comptroller’s official count of the bills backlog.

  23. - MSIX - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    I’m of two minds when it comes to Reggie’s vote here. If I give him credit for some smarts, he knows this bill is going nowhere and he can safely vote for it and crow about the vote before the upcoming primary. If I give him no credit for smarts (my default position), then he simply forgot what he was looking at and voted in error. I’m still waiting anxiously for his take on it. Maybe the The Bruce hasn’t told him yet what he needs to say about it.

  24. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:40 pm:

    The point is well made that there is no funding available for any additional appropriations. However, these entities would have at least a part of any budget if Rauner hadn’t chosen to take hostages.

    (For the purpose of the comment, I’m going to call what we have now the “Court Budget” knowing that we have piecemeal approps and continuing approps in the mix.)

    We are now operating under the Court Budget. A budget that doesn’t address the comprehensive needs of the state. We don’t even have the money to pay for the Court Budget. Rather than blindly bowing to the haphazard priorities resulting from the Court budget, I would suggest that the passage and override of the higher ed human service approp would force a reset by Rauner and the GA to deal with the debt already in existence and exacerbated by the new spending bill. If not, then higher ed and human services are thrown in with the hodgepodge of needs already running up the debt.

    Any other suggestions on forcing a quicker end to this mess? Or do we not care that universities close and human services agencies shut down?

  25. - siriusly - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:41 pm:

    Did Drury vote for the FY ‘15 budget that was out of balance? And the piecemeal FY ‘15 fix that raided all those funds? So in his two terms he’s never voted for something that was a temporary fix?

    It’s hard to stand on your high horse and look good if you’re not wearing any pants.

    “I’m not going to support this temporary band aid because then nobody will pay attention to the wound.” In the meantime the patient is still bleeding.

    Believe it or not, as wealthy as his district is even Representative Drury probably has kids on MAP grants from his area. I am not sure they will really view his MAP grant vote as a principled stand.

    But I’m sure the Governor appreciates it.

  26. - Corporate Thug - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    Thank you for calling it out, Rich. Drury rails on the GA all the time for playing politics. Like he’s better & above it all. He’s not. It’d be nice if he were, but stuff like this makes you look worse. Please stop with the scolding floor speeches, Rep. Drury. You’re the same.

  27. - Gordon Willis - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    “I need Don Bruce those politicians you carry around in your pocket like so many nickels and dimes”

  28. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    ===Believe it or not, as wealthy as his district is even Representative Drury probably has kids on MAP grants from his area. I am not sure they will really view his MAP grant vote as a principled stand.===

    Doesn’t he represent Highwood?

  29. - Steve Schnorf - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    Rich, I’m not sure about this “not funded” issue. It seems to me that once appropriated any program or agency is no more “unfunded” than any other part of the budget, today or any year. Once you’re spending more than you’re taking in,unless you designate certain pieces of GR to specific programs, nothing specific is funded or unfunded. Every GR spending appropriation is unfunded. The only way to avoid that is a total budget in line with revenue and one time funding sources.

  30. - hot chocolate - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:55 pm:

    gotta wonder how Reggie’s GOP colleagues will appreciate his sudden shift. sure a few of them would have wanted to go home during this break and tout their vote for such funding items.

  31. - Rhino Slider - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    Rich pointed out that if the veto override occurred Rauner would have to find the funding.

    How would he find the funding? Would he have to cut something else, like pension funding obligations?

  32. - eiueiueiU - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 12:59 pm:

    So Rich just deletes stuff that counter’s his views now? Lol man, solid policy man.

    Reggie may have said that in your video, but 2990 isn’t funded and he voted for it anyway. Maybe your analysis up top isn’t rock solid. But delete away!

  33. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    ===It seems to me that once appropriated any program or agency is no more “unfunded” than any other part of the budget, today or any year.===

    Thanks Steve. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell the HGOPs. It’s all unfunded, so what’s another billion or two?

  34. - East Central Illinois - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 1:09 pm:

    Reggie votes NO on the budget override for MAPS the previous day. Then Reggie votes yes on the HB 2990 for the appropriations piece, but “NV” (did not vote) on HB 648, the funding piece. This seems to go totally against what he is railing about in the video! He needs to go. Period. All this after he pockets $53,000 from Rauner.

  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 1:11 pm:

    ===So Rich just deletes stuff that counter’s his views now?===

    No, I delete stuff from people who are tiresomely stupid.

    He voted against a very real bill that wasn’t funded, because it wasn’t funded, then voted for a phony bill that wasn’t funded the very next day.

    If you can’t understand that, then be gone.

  36. - Ahoy! - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    –$3 billion in spending with $454 million in kinda sorta funding?–

    The state has been passing things like this for years, pensions, employee healthcare, etc.

  37. - Columbo - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    Siriusly — In 2015, Rep. (DYKIWAFP)Drury had 424 MAP recipients, for a total of $1.7 million.

  38. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 1:51 pm:

    Going forward, I’d like to see a law that would force utilities to treat the state like any other customer and shut off service for non-payment.

    Seriously, utilities are subsidizing and enabling this nonsense. Shut off the electric, gas, water at all state properties, including the Capitol and Thompson Center, and maybe good things will happen.

    Why should the state be allowed to get away with it? You try not paying your utility bills for eight months and see what happens.

  39. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    ===utilities are subsidizing and enabling this nonsense.===

    Since Com Ed and Peoples are lobbying entities, isn’t this a violation of the gift ban act?

  40. - NixonHead - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    Probably a better business move for utilities to play nice with the State, Republican or Democratic administration.

  41. - walker - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 2:51 pm:



    The term “unfunded” loses its regular meaning in our current budgetless state.

  42. - Anon - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    Couldn’t help remember this scene:

  43. - studentjourno - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 3:30 pm:

    == The governor would then have been put in a very tight spot to come up with money to fund the grants for impoverished college students.==

    Thank you Rich! That was exactly the question I asked Drury. Aren’t you letting the governor off the hook through your vote? No, he said. I’m glad I’m not the one who saw that perspective.

  44. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 3:41 pm:

    Schnorf nails it. They’re just putting higher Ed and human services in the mix of choices. Rauner’s problem is that he doesn’t want to put in the position of taking the heat for the choices. Perhaps then he’ll decide to negotiate. What would be even better is a decision to negotiate before the bill is passed.

  45. - Chucktownian - Friday, Mar 4, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    Well said, Rich. Well said.

    Now remember what Reggie and Dale have not done for us and vote accordingly.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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