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Thoughts on next week’s session

Thursday, Jun 16, 2011

* First of all, despite what you may be reading, the session beginning next Wednesday will not cost taxpayers $50,000 a day

The median family income for a Freeport family is around $47,000 a year according to the 2010 U.S. Census. That compares to the U.S. median for a family of four at $50,006.

One day of special session for the Illinois General Assembly would cost Illinois’ beleaguered taxpayers $50,000.

Nonetheless, Gov. Pat Quinn this past week said he will call a special session this summer to address Illinois’ $31 billion statewide construction plan.

The governor will not actually be calling a “special session,” which would require that members receive their per diem checks. Per diem can’t be disbursed for regular session days after the end of May, and that’s what next week’s session will be. The two chamber leaders are calling their members back to town, so the taxpayers won’t be on the hook for that extra cost.

* Speaking of money, as I told you on Monday, the General Assembly has not yet passed a legislative furlough plan

The Senate introduced a 12-day furlough plan, but never passed it. The House passed an identical proposal, but it’s still sitting in the Senate awaiting action.

Because this won’t be a special session, the General Assembly won’t be limited to what it can and cannot do. Members could take up that furlough plan, but there is opposition in the Senate. The media has completely ignored this failure to approve another furlough plan, so legislators may just ignore it.

* Now, onto the budget. The Senate Democrats were clearly hoping that Quinn would ally with them over their additional budgetary spending tacked onto the capital/road bill. As subscribers knew, the SDems also unveiled a plan a few days ago to extend the capital/road plan for just six months, so that the budget could be renegotiated in January. But Quinn wouldn’t go along with either plan

“In his meeting with the legislative leaders, the governor was clear [in] his push for a 12-month capital budget with no conditions,” Matsoff said. “He also said that the leaders should come back in the fall when they could have discussions about reallocating some elements of the budget based on the Senate Democrats’ priorities — staying within the $33.2 billion” budget.

Yesterday’s meeting was a huge blow to the Senate Dems. They’re teleconferencing today to decide what to do. If they refuse to give in, we’re in for a nasty summer session.

* After some initial hesitation, the Republicans have decided that Quinn is right and that the state can’t fund construction projects after the end of the fiscal year and will have to start shutting down projects on Monday

Cross says lawmakers are now on the fast-track to reach an agreement to keep the projects, which provide some 52,000 jobs, alive. He’s hesitantly setting aside his reservations about the governor’s claim that he can’t authorize spending beyond the end of the month to keep the projects running.

“The governor has a lot of authority in this arena and he’s taken the position he doesn’t have the authority, and I’ll take him at his word,” Cross said.

Agreeing with the governor simply puts more pressure on the recalcitrant Senate Democrats.

* Related…

* VIDEO: HGOP Leader Cross on capital, budget, etc.

* VIDEO: SGOP Leader Radogno on capital, budget, etc.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - circularfiringsquad - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 10:47 am:

    we are counting on you to pirate the call in # and pipe the audio onto the blog. good work

  2. - Dirt Digger - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 10:53 am:

    Ugh. If newspapers want to dredge up some outrage about legislative compensation they could just repeat that legislative salaries are also over $40,000. Some indication of why this is correlated with/relevant to the median income in Freemont might help too.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 10:54 am:

    The Senate Dems would be wise to fold their cards. After a huge tax increase plus billions still in unpaid old bills, you’re going to throw people out of work in a still-shaky economy as leverage for more spending?

    You play that card, you get what you deserve, hopefully.

  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 10:59 am:

    circularfiringsquad, I thought about it, but decided it would be wrong. lol

  5. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 11:08 am:

    “No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

    - Mark Twain

  6. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 11:10 am:

    I thought that was Ron Sandack. Are you telling me his tweets aren’t authentic?!!!!

  7. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 11:12 am:

    Hard to attribute a quote in 140 characters, I guess.

  8. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 11:49 am:

    Why can’t they ever get anything done in the allotted amount of time?

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 11:52 am:

    ===Why can’t they ever get anything done in the allotted amount of time? ===

    I’ve been doing this for 21 years, and have covered six, I think, overtime sessions. Stuff happens.

  10. - slow down - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    Gotta love Cross’ “I take him at his word” comment. The Gov. doesn’t have authority under the law to spend on these projects in the new fiscal year. You don’t need the Gov’s word to recognize that unambiguous fact.

  11. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 11:58 am:

    - Why can’t they ever get anything done in the allotted amount of time? -

    Ummm, I’m pretty young, but this seemed to be a fairly busy session in which a lot of things got done.

  12. - phocion - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 12:13 pm:

    @ slow down
    Tell it to Cullerton and Madigan. They’re the ones who still don’t agree with the “unambiguous fact” about lapse spending authority.

  13. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 12:21 pm:


    Yes, a lot did get done. But a Constitutional requirement f the GA did not at the expense of many other pieces of legislation which, arguably, could have been put on the back burner.

  14. - slow down - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 1:02 pm:

    phocion, you’re exactly right. The political posturing has been silly on all sides. Bottom line, the Gov needs approp authority to spend in the new fiscal year.

  15. - Bigtwich - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 1:07 pm:

    “No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

    I heard that attributed to a former Mayor of Springfield. Not sure if he was talking about the passage of laws or happenings on the streets of Springfield.

  16. - Secret Square - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 4:03 pm:

    “No man’s life, liberty or property (are) safe while the legislature is in session.”

    Actually, the first known use of this quote in print was by a Judge Gideon Tucker in 1866, in comments concerning a probate case. He referred to it as an “old saying” so it had been around for some time before that.

  17. - Old Milwaukee - Thursday, Jun 16, 11 @ 5:25 pm:

    Finally, the spenders lose one. Finally.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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