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Complications are many

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This Tribune story makes the claim that the dispute over gaming is standing in the way of a budget deal…

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones blamed House Speaker Michael Madigan on Tuesday for failing to advance a new state budget, but Madigan said there isn’t enough support among his members for the massive gambling expansion that the other two want. […]

Jones and the governor have embraced a broad gambling package that would include casinos in Chicago and three suburbs as well as subsidies for horse racing tracks, Internet betting between boats and bookie-style betting over the telephone.

Trust me on this, it’s not the gaming bill. Yes, the gaming proposal is a problem. A big problem. But there’s a whole lot more going on in this fight than a disagreement over a riverboat bill.

* This is the problem…

Deputy Gov. Sheila Nix took aim at House Democrats — who have rejected many of the governor’s budget priorities — for not providing a plan of their own. “We believe it’s time for them to get their act together,” she said.

Returning fire, Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said House Democrats have offered ideas.

“Maybe it’s Ms. Nix’s inexperience … but we sat in the meeting, and they talked about not making bombastic statements. I don’t know what she hopes to accomplish,” Brown said.

They don’t talk, and when they do talk they don’t listen.

* This is also the problem…

Democrats in both the House and Senate say that an education-funding increase is their top priority. They’ve been lukewarm about Blagojevich’s plan to provide health insurance to everyone in Illinois.

Universal health insurance is seen as a federal priority, not a state priority. The governor just didn’t have enough skill or time to convince legislators to back his ideas.

* And this is another huge problem…

As he exited the Capitol on Tuesday evening, the governor said, “My only regret today is that I didn’t get a chance to go down to Marion and be there for the first pitch for the new single-A baseball team.”

Asked about budget issues, Blagojevich said, “I wish I could have gone to Marion.”

Focus, governor. Focus.

* And now events appear to be rapidly devolving. Sen. Meeks has played the race card yet again…

The South Side’s Sen. James Meeks fears the Chicago Public Schools that are his top priority will not get the big funding increase he says they need.

“We need to call it what it is: racism. We need to return to the marches and protests of the ’50s and ’60s. And say to Springfield, enough is enough,” Meeks said.

Meeks said at a Black Caucus event last night that if the Chicago public school system was all white then Madigan would be a lot more eager to fully fund it.

We’re in for a long summer.


  1. - So Ill - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 9:50 am:


    It’s not affiliated, so it doesn’t have a designation. ‘Independent’ is the correct term.

    Sorry, I know it’s a fine point, and we all wish it was an affiliated team. But it’s not and he should know that.

  2. - Wishful Thinking - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:00 am:

    Since energy is so damm expense, I suggest that state house and senate turn off the air conditioning in their buildings throughout the summer. Live within your means like the rest of us! Rod and Emil could stand some sweating.

  3. - lifer - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:01 am:

    Hey Rich what are they doing about the pension issue. Are they going to bail on that again this year?

  4. - Levois - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:01 am:

    I hate it when black public officials are quick to use the race card.

  5. - Fire Ron Guenther - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:05 am:

    Hopefully Tom Cross, Frank Watson, and the GOP can take advantage of this opportunity to present their view of what the state budget should look like.

  6. - Tom - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:15 am:

    FRG: Agreed. This is a great opportunity for the GOP to make itself relevant again. The IL GOP should take this opportunity to remake itself as a party of ethical and fiscal responsibility. Illinoisans have turned our state over to one-party rule and the Democrats are failing miserably. Illinois has become such a dark-blue state that even the best run IL GOP might not make a difference but it’s worth a shot.

  7. - GettingJonesed - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:38 am:

    Looks like Nix and Meeks are taking double doses of dopey drugs. Maybe they have been sipping the silly sauce too.
    But hangnig with Blagodiot will do that too you.

  8. - He makes Ryan look like a saint - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:40 am:

    Meeks got played by the Gov. Everyone new it, everyone knew you can’t trust anything from Rod or his staff…Everyone but Meeks.

  9. - Cassandra - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:47 am:

    I guess the Rev is feeling a bit defensive for trusting our Blago when he said, in effect, that getting megabillions for Illinois schools would be a slam dunk. Hence the racial posturing. A sign of stress somewhat unworthy of the Rev. And unlikely to have any effect at all on Madigan.

  10. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:59 am:

    Rich - Great coverage of what’s really holding up the budget.

    As for Senator Meeks, he owes Madigan an apology. It was Mike Madigan who championed legislation requiring homicide investigations to be videotaped, not Emil Jones or Rev. Meeks. It was Mike Madigan who championed legislation to crack down on racial profiling, not Emil Jones or Rev. Meeks. It was Mike Madigan who stood up to Pate and opposed cuts to Jesse White’s budget when he took over the SoS office, not Emil Jones or Rev. Meeks. And last but not least, let’s remember that it was Mike Madigan who pushed education funding reform through the House in 1997, only to watch it die in the Senate where Jones was Minority Leader, and Rev. Meeks wasn’t even talking about education funding then.

    If Rev. Meeks is looking for a boogeyman, someone should remind him that Gov. Blagojevich, the man he endorsed for re-election, is the only one standing in the way of comprehensive education reform. Oh yeah, and the Governor sends his daughter to private school.

  11. - Captain America - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    Nothing personal against any one individual. But I say a pox upon all their houses. There’s a reason that illinois ranks so poorly in terms of its funding of education and human services. I guess we all get the government we deserve since we elect these individuals.

    Although I support the governor’s health care initiative, I do have to concede that there isn’t sufficient funding and support at present to impleemnt his vision. There is some validity to the feeleing that health care should be a federal rather than a state responsibility, given the magnitude of the problem.

    Real problesm are not being addressed because of the political bickering and self-serving politics that dominate State governmnet.

    Republicans should be grinnning like Cheshire cats. I agrree we can’t blame them for the current stalemate and political contretemps.

  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    Meeks is a joke and got played by Blago. P.S Rev Chicago does have white schools there called cathollic and private schools and parents spend there own money to send there kids there. Maybe if the africanAmerican community came up with some money instead of asking for more downstate money the schools would be decent and racially balanced It most be racism give us more money

  13. - zatoichi - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 11:45 am:

    Sounds like a bunch of egos that simply do not like not getting what they want. Whip out that race card when you have no other arguement and just whine. There could not possibly be any other underfinanced schools outside of Cook County. Threaten to take your ball/bat and go home if you cannot get massive Healthcare. Talk a big game as long as there is something in it for you. Never mind how screwed up it gets and never think it would be nice to work together in private. Talk about handing the Repubs a sweet softball pitch.

  14. - Just Because - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 11:52 am:

    The Race Card is just wrong. Plus when it isnt true I think it only hurts the one using it. Stop crying and do something positive for a change.

  15. - demgrrl - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 12:11 pm:

    ydd, so the gov sends his daughter to a private school and that somehow reflects his spending priorities? as I recall, it was the gov who fought to increase education funding each of the last four years and had to drag others kicking and screaming to the table. I think a record 3.8 billion education increase and another record increase in preschool enrollments under blagojevich’s watch speaks volumes about his commitment to education.

  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 12:19 pm:

    YDD, let’s keep the guy’s kids out of this, OK? Thanks.

  17. - Fake Bill - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 12:41 pm:

    Throw more money at Public Education, that will fix it. Learning starts at home. From diapers to High School cap and gowns. The parents need to quit expecting the public education system to do all of this. I have spent many night doing homework with my daughters. Didn’t like it all the time, but I did it. Parents (not Legislators) need get a handle on the CPS problems.

    The race card has been played so many times anymore, it means nothing to me. Talk about crying wolf!

  18. - Prince of Illinois - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 12:51 pm:

    Meeks plays race card - so what, Blagojevich has been playing the ignorant card ever since he’s held a political office.

  19. - anon - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:53 pm:

    I agree that education begins at home and as a parent, it is my responsibility to be involved and my kids go to priviate school. Lord knows our family has sacrificed for education but we understand the value. But what about the parents who don’t have the knowledge, tools or ability, who didn’t get a decent education themselves? Unfortunately, it’s a vicious circle.

  20. - i d - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:06 pm:

    The governor, senate and house leaders met today and yadda, yadda, yadda. Wake me up when this incestuous bunch of sleazy pols have returned to whence they came. (Incestuous, meaning improperly interconnected.)

  21. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:18 pm:

    Rich, it is not irrelevant where Blago sends his kids. Don’t you find it ironic that he’s advocating more money for public schools while he sends his daughter to a private school? Red meat issue for school voucher supporters. Kinda like when Keyes actually got under Obama’s skin during their debate.

  22. - Leigh - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 3:42 pm:

    Any truth to the rumor that the house dem’s and rep’s have been caucusing all day and may have an agreement?

  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 5:13 pm:

    demgrrrl - The Governor’s “record” increase in K-12 education funding didn’t even keep pace with inflation, and he diverted money from higher education to pay for it. That’s hardly leadership.

  24. - Decatur Dave - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 6:43 pm:

    demgrrrl- EVERY governor increases state education spending EVERY year. So, Blago is nothing special in that regard. It’s true, he had a big plan for this year’s session, but it has come to nothing. It’s also true that every governor tries to take credit for increasing education spending, even a smidgen of a percent, even if it is less than the rate of inflation (as YDD noted). Blago’s legacy will be “Nice try!”…

  25. - demgrrl - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 6:54 pm:

    au contraire, decatur dave. ryan cut education funding during his watch, plus blagojevich’s education increases during his first term have far exceeded any other gov’s. so yes, he should take credit for putting in more money into education than any other gov.

  26. - anon - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:35 pm:

    As an African American, I am disappointed in Meeks. No way is Mike Madigan a racist if Meeks is truly infering such. I was very impressed with Madigan pushing for homicide investigation tapings which finally did occur. Does John Burge, the torturer ring a bell? Where was the leadership on that one in my community. I believe Rev. Meeks is a good man, but he must be misquoted and has done a lot of good in the community. I think basically he got played by this governor regarding the funding issue. The same thing happened to Jesse White and it was Madigan that helped. Furthermore, where is the leadership on these electric rates. It is in the poorest communities of which many African American neighborhoods are in, that are going to get killed this summer with high bills. I still can’t believe Senator Jones is for these high rates. When it comes to your wallet, or any other important issue, one should never look at color of skin!!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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