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Quinn flip-flops again

Wednesday, Apr 7, 2010

* This is why it’s so difficult to believe Gov. Pat Quinn whenever he threatens a budget cut. He always finds a way to back down

Gov. Quinn met with Mayor Daley on Tuesday and came out determined to avoid State Police cutbacks so draconian they would require Chicago Police to assume primary responsibility for patrolling 53 miles of Chicago area expressways. […]

On Tuesday, Quinn emerged from an hour-long meeting in the mayor’s office predicting that the crisis would be resolved to the mayor’s satisfaction.

“It’s premature to have any alarm,” the governor said. “The state budget is in process. Once we get to the final days, I think we’ll have everybody singing out of the same hymn book, pretty happy. We’ll have a good conclusion for both the city and the state.”

Everybody will be happy? Is that money just gonna drop down from Heaven or something?

People really don’t seem to get it. There is no money and there won’t be for a very long time. Quinn’s tax hike proposal barely even makes a dent in the deficit. His proposed cuts also barely make a dent, yet everyone is screaming bloody murder about them. Daley wants Quinn to make cuts before the state raises taxes, yet hizzoner throws a gigantic hissy fit when a few cuts are eventually revealed.

Quinn, Daley and everyone else are simply living in a fantasy world, including the Republicans.

* And then there’s this

Area municipalities shouldn’t fear losing their local portion of the state’s income tax revenue, according to a top state official.

Senate President John Cullerton knocked Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to cut the share of income tax municipalities typically receive to 7 percent from the 10 percent.

“I told the governor I didn’t think it was a good idea to not give money to local governments. If we’re going to have to beg, borrow and steal, we can borrow another $300 million instead of not giving it to local government,” Cullerton told the Journal Star editorial board on Tuesday.

“I suggest in this year’s budget, we not underfund local government distributions.”

I get that the state shouldn’t be pushing its budget problems down the food chain, but if there are no other solutions, then that’s one of the few options it has.

* This is almost comical in its duplicity

State Rep. Keith Farnham faced the music for the state’s budget disaster Tuesday night during a town-hall meeting, vowing to fight future attempts to cut pensions of current teachers and pushing for the state to contract its spending instead of relying on tax increases to make ends meet.

Read that again and tell me it’s intellectually honest.

* And the newspapers aren’t being much of a help, either. Balance that budget, state and locals, but don’t eat into our gravy train

At a time when public officials should be championing greater openness in government, a bill is pending in Springfield that would do away with requirements that Illinois fire protection districts print public notices in general circulation newspapers.

Instead, appropriation and penalty ordinances could be posted on a Web site.

The state ought to just open a website for all public notices in Illinois and charge everyone a fraction of what newspapers do. But that would eat too much into their cash flow, so it’ll never happen.

* Meanwhile, the state’s credit with vendors is so bad it can’t even buy bullets

The Illinois Department of Corrections was forced to make an emergency purchase of ammunition last month because of the state’s inability to pay its bills.

The purchase happened after one of the state’s ammunition vendors, Shore Galleries Inc., refused to ship bullets unless the company was paid up front. The state owes the Lincolnwood firm $6,000.

The department was able to quickly find a new vendor in Indiana and ordered 761,000 rounds for nearly $200,000.

Great. We stiffed an Illinois vendor so much that we have to go out of state to find a willing sucker. Indiana gets the business, Illinois gets the shaft. Wonderful news.

* Progress Illinois has a hugely long list of layoffs and budget cut announcements at local schools just in the past few days. Here is a very tiny taste

- Peoria School District 150 laid off 290 employees and may terminate another 200-400 staff members before the fall. (Illinois Statehouse News, April 6) […]

- Sixty-one first-year teachers are scheduled to receive dismissal notices from the Oswego school district. (ABC 7, April 1)

- Triad schools pink slipped 34 non-tenured teachers, five part-time certified staff members, and two part-time support staff. (Belleville News-Democrat, April 1)

- Central Illinois districts are bleeding teachers and programs. To date, Danville cut 85 employees, the Urbana School District laid off 139 teachers and support staff in February, and the Champaign school board approved $2.3 million in cuts for next year, reducing or eliminating summer enrichment programs, new textbooks, special education programs, and more. (Champaign News-Gazzette, March 31).

* Related…

* Illinois Offers Help for Trapped Miners

* Mautino: Illinois educators can expect state budget woes to continue

* County eyes state budget woes

* Danville displays lower, balanced budget: The city council unanimously approved a resolution urging Gov. Pat Quinn to reconsider the income tax funding cut to municipalities and appealing to the General Assembly to not support it. The city could lose about $850,000, which could account for 20-25 employee cuts.

* Lawmakers review session, look to second half

* Rep. Watson speaks at town hall meeting

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - cassandra - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 10:32 am:

    So, what hymn book would that be we’ll all be singing out of.

    The raise income taxes on the middle class one?

    The oops, we found some money one?

    The let’s borrow and hope the economy gets better one?

    The I’m as delusional as Blago one? (Remember how we all used to criticize Blago for similarly off-the-wall statements about fiscal matters? Gotta be fair here.)


  2. - One of the 35 - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 10:32 am:

    Rich: Another example of Gov. Quinn flip flop. In early February Quinnn told Metro Mayors conf that he would not touch the local government share of state income tax in the LGDF. Approximately 4 weeks later he anounced his plan to reduce LGDF funding to local government by 30%.


  3. - shore - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 10:33 am:

    Eric Zorn had a good column awhile ago that politicians who say “we need to look at” instead of actually saying here’s what we should do, need to be held accountable since it’s a cop out.

    I’d also like to see the line “at a time when” taken out of the vocabulary.

    If these newspapers are that unhappy with state government they should start calling out their local state reps. No matter how long these people have served in their communities, how nice they are, they are lawmakers and if the laws they pass or dont pass don’t do it, and they are not, these newspapers need to wield the power of the ink barrell and call them out and start backing their challengers. Enough is enough.

    Jeff Schoenberg, karen may, susan garrett, these cats have been in there a long long time, and there’s no accountability for them whatsoever. It’s hypocrisy especially considered the decade they’ve spent trashing mark kirk for his work in d.c.


  4. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    Well, if we are to believe Loop Lady, once PQ is elected he will solve all these pesky problems. What I wonder is why he has to wait until Nov anyway. If he has the solutions let’s see ‘em - now.

    The reality is that any solution will be so painful to someone. Good hearted PQ (no snark) doesn’t want to cause that pain so he backs down from even the most mild proposals so as to remain the good guy. He has done so repeatedly. This is incompetence. Nice guy is not what we need. Hard nosed is what we need. PQ ain’t got what it takes. TIme to find a new job, Mr Quinn.


  5. - Pat Robertson - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    == I get that the state shouldn’t be pushing its budget problems down the food chain ==

    I think this is an area that needs major rethinking. There are a lot of good reasons for the state to provide money to locals or federal government providing funds to state and local governments(equalizing education, for the biggest example), but there are a lot of negatives, too.

    This is an example of one of them — daddy can decide for whatever reason he can’t or won’t support junior in the manner he’s become accustomed to, and suddenly junior is left trying to support himself.

    Other problems are that this revenue sharing lets the lower levels of government spend more without having to raise their own taxes, possibly even bragging about keeping taxes down while complaining about those big spenders in Springfield or DC with their oppressive taxes. Politicians are always subject to the temptation to spend more, and tax less, and disconnecting the spending and taxing function invites them to overspend.

    Also, the feds have a history of tying strings to their revenues -(remember 55 mph speed limits? This undermines state or local autonomy, and who has the courage to refuse the money even if they agree there’s a danger?


  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    –The department was able to quickly find a new vendor in Indiana and ordered 761,000 rounds for nearly $200,000.–

    761,000 rounds for IDOC? I know weapons training is very important, but doesn’t that seem rather excessive for one order, given current finances?


  7. - Bill - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    It’s Ok Word. The state won’t pay their bill, anyway.


  8. - Lobo - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:14 am:

    Lemme see, downstate we’ve already had 60+ teachers and aides laid-off. My town just laid-off three cops. It seems to me that the Illinois way is to keep them stupid and at risk of any type of crime. Glad I’m moving out of this state.


  9. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:16 am:

    Du Page Dan: If you’re so confident that these “pesky” problems can be easily solved, let’s hear your solutions…or if you care as much as you protest to on the blog, send Pat your
    ideas ASAP so we can build your monument to government sainthood post haste…it’s easy to criticize when yo’re not responsible aint it? Now please go away and leave us less judgemental folks alone…


  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:20 am:

    LL and DD, I’m getting bored with your little back and forths. Stick to your own opinions from now on or you’ll both find yourselves in an extended timeout.


  11. - Bluefish - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:22 am:

    Pat - the Local Government Distributive Fund (i.e. the 10% share of the income tax) exists because local governments do not have the authority to impose their own local income taxes. In many other states they do have this authority and impose the local tax.

    Don’t forget that most local governments saw the direction the economy was heading and started making significant cuts to their budget several years ago. Now after making the hard choices of cutting services, laying off staff, instituting salary freezes and furlough day, deferring capital improvements and simply doing more with less, the state wants to come in and take another major chunk out of their budgets (and let’s not forget the state has done NONE of the above cost cutting moves). Sorry Pat your argument fall flat.


  12. - Bluefish - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    I meant “falls flat”.


  13. - OneMan - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:36 am:

    As for the Bullets, the article said it takes 600 rounds to train a cadet and that is what they need the amunition for. Using their numbers they will have enough for over 1,000 cadets. Are we planning to open about 4 or 5 new jails?

    Also it would be interesting to see if the new supplier demanded cash in advance.


  14. - RJW - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:41 am:

    For once I agree with Cassandra. I have been at that “as bad as Blago” phase for a long time now.

    As for the purchase of the bullets, don’t make it an issue. I’m sure some of those bullets will be filling the guns of the thousands of correctional officers around the state. The issue, as Rich stated, is that our vendor cut us off, not that we purchased bullets.


  15. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 11:44 am:

    Leader of the Sack - Ellie Greenwich, George Morton, and Jeff Barry, enhanced by Vanillaman

    Is she really still with him?
    Well, there she is. Let’s ask her.
    Betsy, is that Quinn’s initials you’re wearing?
    Mm-hmm
    Gee, it must be boring hanging with him
    Did you see those voter’s polls today?
    Uh-uh
    By the way, why are ya still by his side?

    He bought me at a Kresge’s store
    That was some forty years ago
    Been together ever since (yes, we know)
    I’ll always be the briefcase on Quinn’s back

    Recent polls are down as of late (late, late)
    Voters say he’s done nothing for this state
    (whatcha mean when ya say that he’s done nothing for this state?)
    I’m with him whenever he flip-flopped
    When yesterday’s chili inside me drip-slopped
    Forty years of hell as Quinn’s lunch sack

    His staffers say, “Hey, get one that’s new”
    And I thought that at last we were through
    (whatcha mean when they say that his briefcase should be new?)
    He looked at me and and started to cry
    He said that he’d rather die
    I told him it’d be great if he’d just unpack

    [Spoken:]
    He sort of smiled and kissed me again
    He said, “Ole Betsy, you’re my best friend”
    As he drove away to a fund-raiser
    I insulted him, said he needed to use a razor
    So he left me in with an aide for the weekend

    Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!

    I felt so helpless, what could I do?
    Remembering all the things we’d been through
    At meetings they all stop and stare
    I can’t hide the tears, but I don’t care
    I’ll always be the briefcase on Quinn’s back


  16. - Louis Howe - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 12:36 pm:

    Who is watching the store?? The state can’t pay our colleges and universities, local school districts are laying off teachers, and yet, DOC keeps right on spending. Doesn’t anyone understand what emergency expenditures really are….? Cut back on needless training!!!


  17. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 12:37 pm:

    given the state’s fiscal crisis, quinn announced last week more bureacracy in the form of a new “office of new americans.” why?!?

    quinn is tone-deaf and out of touch.

    i still want to know why/how under quinn the budget deficit grew from $9billion to $13billion, as hynes pointed out repeatedly during the primary. it is kinda interesting and rather curious how quinn seems to come thru last minute with “found” money to make people happy.


  18. - The Mad Hatter - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 12:41 pm:

    King Quinn and their Lordships Madigan and Cullerton have no intention whatsoever of cutting state spending. When Quinn announced he was cutting state police offices, I wondered where the corresponding cuts were in state aid offices. Seeing none, I logically deduced that the state police cuts were just another scare tactic designed to rally support for an income tax increase.

    And a little snark? The DOC needs all those rounds of ammo because they couldn’t hit an escaping prisoner with an elephant gun. ;-)


  19. - Tom Joad - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 1:12 pm:

    The use of the State Police to patrol the Chicagoland highways was a trade off in the 1980’s to allow lottery sales at O’Hare. So, what has changed? PQ was poorly advised by his brain trust again. This was an all day deal, not a temporary one.


  20. - Ghost - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    Rich, Rich, Rich…. your missing the big picture….

    We have bullets now, and indianna has money…. the solution to our financial problem just writes itself :)


  21. - nick - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 2:52 pm:

    Every few years the politicians from either side of the aisle used State Police funding as a tool to raise taxes.And it works.Quinn never intended to cut Police,especially considering the loss of troopers would result in a dept of sgts,lts,capts,majors,lt.cols,cols.As it is now there is one supervisor for every 2 troopers.There’ll be no cuts and there’s a good chance there was no intention to cut.


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 2:54 pm:

    @Pat Robertson

    === revenue sharing lets the lower levels of government spend more without having to raise their own taxes, possibly even bragging about keeping taxes down while complaining about those big spenders in Springfield or DC with their oppressive taxes. ===

    This IS the problem.

    And its corollary: people paying sales taxes collected by the state assume all of that money is going toward state programs, and don’t understand why the state needs more.

    Rare is the voter who understands that their “state sales tax” also supports local government services.

    Indiana, BTW, found an ingenious solution. They got rid of most revenue sharing, started using their sales tax to provide direct property tax relief instead, and now allow local governments to institute an income tax surcharge, which makes the funding for local government less regressive.


  23. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 3:24 pm:

    I don’t mind stiffing Indiana. Their governor is smarter than ours and can figure out how to make up the shortfall.

    As a matter of fact, I think we should start making all the smart governors work harder for all the states with dumb governors! After all, isn’t what an unfunded federal mandate is?


  24. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 4:03 pm:

    Regarding Quinn’s reversal(s),

    In snowboarding it’s called a 540. It’s neat maneuver if you can stick the landing. It’s also a great way to break your neck. Quinn may need a body cast before the session ends.


  25. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 7, 10 @ 10:35 pm:

    Inspired…as always, V-Man!

    *holding up lighter*


  26. Pingback McHenry County Blog | More Newspaper Kvetching - Friday, Apr 9, 10 @ 12:04 am:

    […] In response, Rich Miller at his Capitol Fax Blog floated an idea that should shivers of terror down the backs of newspaper owners and managers. Talking about special interests complaining about their government funding being cut, Miller writes: And the newspapers aren’t being much of a help, either. Balance that budget, state and locals, but don’t eat into our gravy train… At a time when public officials should be championing greater openness in government, a bill is pending in Springfield that would do away with requirements that Illinois fire protection districts print public notices in general circulation newspapers. […]


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