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Madigan wants different budget

Thursday, Mar 30, 2006 - Posted by Rich Miller

Capitol Fax had pretty much this same story yesterday.

He co-chairs the governor’s re-election campaign, but House Speaker Michael Madigan isn’t sold on the governor’s budget proposal.

Rather than work with Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s spending blueprint, the speaker has suggested that negotiators start with the existing budget and only add new spending equal to what the state will receive in new revenue.

“It was a suggestion and time will go on,” said Steve Brown, a spokesman for the Chicago Democrat.

The development came as the General Assembly heads toward an early, election-year adjournment, which is scheduled for April 7, but could be extended to April 12.

Republicans said Madigan’s suggestion was another sign that Democrats are troubled by their own party’s governor.


  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 6:17 am:

    At least they finally got started. They have an entire two weeks to discuss the most important thing they do in every year. Two weeks.

    But then, there are only three people who participate in the discussions so how long can it take?

    Blah-Blah put together a veterans assistance proposal in about five minutes. The good thing there is he realizes that tax cuts create jobs.

  2. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 6:34 am:

    Another sign that if this borrow and spend does not stop this state could go belly up and guess who would get the blame.DEMOCRATS.I guess Madigan and them refuse to go down with the sinking ship.

  3. - the Patriot - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 7:33 am:

    This stinks, the republicans best hopes in 4 years are that Madigan and Jones go along for the ride, while the governor continually steers the ship into an iceberg financially. If Madigan is going to show some fiscal restraint and responsibility it is not good for the R’s.

  4. - Cassandra - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 8:17 am:

    How about some cuts in state spending. That could generate money for new programs. Certainly the state bureaucracy could use some trimming. The Dems appear incapable of doing what many households do every year….cut back on something to meet financial goals.

    One wonders if Madigan is trying to back into an income tax increase. Universal preschool….a .25 percent increase in the state income tax, universal health care, .25 percent, affordable housing for illegal immigrants, .25 percent, and so forth. I’m making up the percentages but you get the idea.

    Anyway, looks like JBT might have hit on the right theme when she talked about fiscal irresponsibility. Madigan is nothing if not politically acute. Maybe state taxpayers, the majority of whom don’t have state government’s lush health and pension benefits waiting for them, are going to start acting in their self-interest instead of supporting Blago’s welfare state.

  5. - Ballparking the Budget - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 9:54 am:

    This year’s budget posturing is pretty mild compared to the budget scenario that’s shaping up for next year. Next year the state’s pension bill increases by $1.6 billion, Medicaid will increase by around $500 million (state’s share only), education somewhere around $500 million, and all other state obligations $900 million (this may be low). You’re looking at somewhere around $3.5 billion in growth in state expenditures while revenues, using the most optimistic figures, will grow around $1.2 -$1.5 billion.

    This does not include any education bailout provisions for Cook County, additional CTA money, and the revenue estimates assume the federal government approves Illinois’ plan for a hospital assessment tax for the next three years, which is still pending.

    In an election year, so much of what you read and hear is hyperbole, but Illinois’ current and future fiscal reality is not very encouraging. I would expect that defined state pensions will probably cease, state pick-up of retiree health benefits curtailed, and large state assets, like the tollway system, sold or leased.

    The Governor, whoever it ends up being, faces a huge fiscal crossroads next year, and the decisions now will dictate just how difficult those decisions will be next year.

  6. - Pete Granata - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 10:18 am:

    Amen Amen I say to you, restore the $1.1 billion pension shortchange before you lose the entire AFSCME membership. MM is the only person who can stop this fiscal disaster.

  7. - Ballparking the Budget - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 10:36 am:

    PG, Madigan was the person who proposed this pension deferral - his office went to the Governor last year, just a couple of days prior to the end of session, and said that he’d deliver the votes on a budget that included a two-year pension deferral. This prevented overtime for last year and this year, and allowed the Governor to promote a more progressive agenda during the election year.

    So don’t expect Madigan to reverse course on pensions.

  8. - Reddbyrd - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 11:51 am:

    Looks like AccordianGal and the GOPs are in the dark — again. The general public does not care about pension problems for the payrollers. Actually even the payrollers don’t care about the pension cause they know they will theirs when the time comes.
    GRod blames the GOPs when his new spending do dads go down and he jogs towards the victory circle.,

  9. - Ballparking the Budget - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 12:14 pm:

    I’m not a partisan person, so please don’t read this as a defense of the GOP. But, how can the Governor blame the GOP when, as the minority party, they won’t be putting any votes on the budget. This budget, whether you like what’s in it or don’t like what’s in it, will be exclusively a Democratic budget - just like last year. That’s why Madigan has to try to impose some fiscal responsibility, because the GOP won’t own it.

    Right now, the GOP wants nothing more than to stay out of the budget process. Then they’ll try to use the new spending initiatives and proposed business tax increases to portray the Governor as fiscally irresponsible and anti-business.

  10. - the Patriot - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 12:44 pm:

    Like him or not, Madigan is no dummy. He knows regardless of who wins in Nov, Lisa is in the bullpen for 2010. He will not set her up to fail. He will push for an actual balanced budget so the state doesn’t get pushed into disaster on her watch. If Blago wins our state will be bankrupt by 2012. You cannot spend more money then ever and not raise taxes it doesn’t work and Madigan knows this.

    PS. I have actually heard people say the budget is balanced per Hot Rod in his budget address. For you Kool aid drinkers, I say play back the tape of the state of the state address those are democrats laughing along with the republicans to that statment.

  11. - Cassandra - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 2:01 pm:

    Don’t forget the new public accounting requirement that the state estimate its retiree health costs and come up with a plan (ha) to pay for them. This is going to make the budget look worse even though the costs have been there all along.

    I don’t know how many state retirees there are or what it would take for them to become politicized.
    But I assume AFSCME speaks for many of them plus, of course, many future state retirees. An assault on retiree health costs might well shake them out of their apathy.

    Hopefully, AFSCME is going to take a look at that bill RSEA reports the Legisl. is considering which would mandate that five percent of pension fund assets be invests in “economic opportunity
    initiatives.” In Illinois, that’s likely saying goodbye to 5% of one’s pension assets, wherever you are in the retirement line.

  12. - Roadrunner - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 4:03 pm:

    Madigan and Jones were all right behind Rod for the primaries; now that we’re facing the general, Rod needs them more than they need Rod, and now you see the wheels, if not coming off the wagon, at least developing a little wobble.

    Madigan and Jones want to stay where they are forever, they are long term thinkers and planners, making chess moves years ahead.

    Rod is a kid with his first credit card, who thinks he will be long gone to Washington before the bills come due and they will be someone else’s problem. Namely the President and the Speaker. Those two gentlemen will not allow the wastrel to do such long-term damage to their own careers. Madigan in particular will be taking the governor to the woodshed (privately of course) soon. Spare the Rod, spoil the state. Jones is probably secretly approving and supporting Meek’s shennanigans inasmuch as the threat of a party split before the general keeps the governor off balance and pliable. The republicans are badly crippled, and Madigan strategizes that they will not be a factor for a while unless Rod hands them the keys thru mis management and more scandals. He is determined not to let that happen. Yeah, they are right behind Rod…. until Rod steps over the cliff. They see it coming.

  13. - Johnny USA - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 4:24 pm:

    Have you all forgotten the elixir that cures all ailments?

    Property Tax Swap… swapping, and keeping the maount collected from the taxpayers constant, the state is looking at $2-3 billion in extra revenue.

  14. - Cassandra - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 4:54 pm:

    Any taxpayer who thinks his/her taxes will decrease or stay constant as a result of a tax swap deserves to end up in the poorhouse.

    Once those property taxes go down, every taxing body is the state is going to try to get them back up. Especially since many districts will lose education money from the swap.

    I guess the tax swap advocates are thinking we’re all idiots…

  15. - Roadrunner - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 9:49 pm:

    With respect, Cassandra, what’s idiotic is the current system that rewards schools that happen to be in affluent areas and punishes schools that are in destitute ones. If we de-couple proprty taxes from school funding, maybe we can finally get to a level playing field. The affluent sectors will fight anything that may bring down their foundation level but you know what, people living in Kenilworth and such can afford to make up the difference. People in Robbins are living like they’re in bangladesh, and the schools… well, a tour would make you weep.

  16. - Cassandra - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 8:39 am:

    The number of people who live in Kenilworth and similar suburbs is minuscule. So is the number who live in Robbins. These are extremes.

    The Illinoisians who will be negatively affected
    by a property tax swap are middle class families who struggle and save to buy homes in districts with good schools. These families will get a double whammy…higher income and property taxes because their districts will lose money in the swap. And they are stretched thin already. No government program should assault the hard working middle class…and a property tax swap would do that.

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