* 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.