* 1:02 pm - Speaker Madigan says the governor may be delusional…
A reporter asked about talk that lawmakers don’t trust him.
BLAGOJEVICH: You know, I think you hear a lot of rhetoric on both sides from people in the political process. That’s just rhetoric. It’s not at all unusual here in Illinois. You hear people in Washington say that about each other.
But House Speaker Michael Madigan, an opponent of Blagojevich’s, says the governor’s leadership style is a problem.
MADIGAN: Well if he thinks it’s rhetoric, then he ought to talk to the members of the legislature who day in and day out tell him to his face that they don’t trust him. So maybe he is delusional.
Audio from Chicago Public Radio…
[Or click here if the player doesn’t work for you]
* 3:37 pm - John Patterson scored a quick interview with Gov. Blagojevich by staking out the guv’s favorite Statehouse entranceway - the Capitol basement loading dock…
Q: If the General Assembly sends you a budget that’s unbalanced, doesn’t have the revenues to match spending, what are the first things you’re going to look to cut?
Governor: Look, I can’t believe the General assembly would send me a budget that’s not balanced. The General Assembly knows that the constitution requires a balanced budget. I find it hard to believe that they would send me a budget that’s not balanced. So I think it’s kind of a moot question.
I have confidence they’ll do the right thing and send me a budget that’s balanced. I understand last year … I choose to believe that was an aberration when they sent me a budget that was more than a billion dollars in deficit. I have to think, acknowledging that, that they would never do that again. So I’m confident they’ll send me a balanced budget.
Believe it, guv. Last year was no aberration.
* 3:50 pm - I told subscribers that this approp bill would pass today and about some of the other stuff in this brief report…
State lawmakers have started sending pieces of a new state budget to Governor Rod Blagojevich while they’re working on an agreement on the entire spending plan.
The House voted 61-53 Thursday to send the governor a measure already approved by the Senate that would pay for operations in smaller state agencies next year.
Democrats in both chambers say their approval should signal that budget talks are on track to be wrapped up by Saturday. If not, the session goes into overtime.
But lawmakers say some key points still need to be resolved. They include how to pay for as much as $2 billion in extra spending and how much spending to include for human services and education.
*** 4:09 pm *** The Senate just finished voting on the $16 billion pension obligation bond plan. The bill passed with 37 votes. They held their caucus completely together despite several open threats of desertion. Whatever you think of the bill, it looks like the SDems are finally all on one page for the first time in well over a year.
The bill now goes to the House.