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Arduin takes the stage

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Tribune has a profile today on Donna Arduin, Gov. Rauner’s $30,000 a month CFO. Here are a couple of excerpts about her time in New York and California

While Arduin was working for Pataki, the state enacted tax cuts, reduced the number of employees and had a run of budget surpluses. But those successes came at a time when tax revenues were booming from a bull market. Pataki was criticized for not preparing for tougher times ahead, and after a recession hit in 2001, Albany again faced major budget problems. […]

Schwarzenegger used voter-approved borrowing to finance the state deficit and won a one-year, $2 billion cut from education. The rest of the budget was balanced by shifting local property tax revenue and transportation funds, and raising some taxes and fees.

Arduin lasted just 11 months in Sacramento. Some said she had never intended to stay more than a year, but others questioned whether the political environment drove her away.

“Maybe it was difficult because it was a Democratic legislature facing a Republican governor, but it’s also possible that a governor and a finance director with a different approach might have made some headway,” said Graves, the budget advocate. “A lot of it has to do with personal relationships. It seems pretty clear that Donna Arduin did not put much stock in developing personal relationships with members of the legislature.”

Go read the whole thing.

* A group called the United Working Families has been pushing stories on Arduin for the past few days. Here’s the latest…

Cutting Medicaid for the sake of cutting, then hoping “for the best”

Before she became more polished in selling her massive cuts to Medicaid, Arduin experienced a rare moment of candor, explaining massive cuts to Medicaid acknowledging that there was nothing to support an argument that it produced efficiency.

In 1995, as a deputy budget director for New York Gov. George Pataki, she told the New York Times: “The first thing you can do is hope that the cut will force industries to create efficiencies. We can only hope for the best there.”
(“In New York The Dying Days of Expansive Government” The New York Times, May 8, 1995)

Replacing more effective drugs with down-brand, generic alternatives

Arduin proposed a cost-cutting plan for then-Florida Gov. “Jeb” Bush to replace effective drugs for Medicaid recipients with down-brand, less-effective generic alternatives. “If they started switching people from the new drugs to the old drugs, it would turn the clock back years,” one critic told the St. Petersburg Times in 1999.
(“Plans Push Cheaper Medicines” St. Petersburg Times, February 28, 1999)

Political appointees limit drugs to Medicaid patients

Arduin’s radical plan for Jeb Bush included installing a politically-appointed panel that “would describe which drugs require authorization,” according to the St. Petersburg Times.
(“Medicaid Cost-Cutters looking to lose Viagra” St. Petersburg Times, April 19, 1999)

Getting “compassionate conservative” rhetoric down, Arduin begins to claim that limiting Medicaid drugs was to benefit other social programs

Where before Arduin provided no “compassionate conservative” justification, in 2000, she justified a draconian program to limit Medicaid drugs by claiming (falsely) that it was being done to expand other social spending. She told the Ledger that, “We’re trying to manage our funds better so we can use the funds for other needs like developmental disabilities and improving student achievement.”
(“Bush Aims to Cut Medicaid Drug Costs” The Ledger [Lakeland, Fla] February 21, 2000)

Arduin’s “efficiency” rhetoric is a sham

As Arduin continued to work for Republican governors seeking to cut Medicaid and social services, her game plan was clear. A Florida lobbyist described it thusly in 2003: “There have been a lot of serious cuts proposed…It was always done in the name of efficiency and streamlining, and the rhetoric always followed that it was not going to hurt the delivery of servides, which in fact never was true.”
(“Budget auditor may target social services” Sacramento Bee [California] October 19, 2003)

Cuts to therapy for the disabled and AIDS programs and reduced payment rates for Medicaid

As part of her controversial 2003 proposal of cuts to California’s Medicaid program, Arduin targeted disabled children and immigrants with AIDS. As well, she sought lower payments to doctors and hospitals for Medicaid patients.(“Schwarzenegger Aide Offers First List of Proposed Budget Cuts” The New York Times November 26, 2003)

Would put tens of thousands of children on a waiting list for Medicaid

Arduin proposed placing tends of thousands of California children on a waiting list for Medicaid benefits as part of her 2003 proposal.
(“Schwarzenegger proposal alarms children health advocates” Associated Press December 1, 2003)

“Donna Arduin is (Gov. Schwarznegger’s) John Ashcroft.”

As she proposed massive cuts to California’s Medicaid program, Arduin was compared in 2004 to the ideologically pure member of George W. Bush’s cabinet. “Her history has been one of slashing and burning on social programs,” one legislator said.
(“Governor’s Hard-Nosed Budget Boss; Arduin Known for Tough Fiscal Views” San Jose Mercury News March 8, 2004)

Draconian proposals included ending access protections for developmentally disabled

Arduin’s massive cuts to Medicaid and social programs were rejected in budget talks in California in 2004, but not before she proposed ending legislation guaranteeing access to programs for the developmentally disabled, care for homebound family members and a string of Medicaid caps.
(“Revised budget backs off cuts; $103 billion plan mostly spares health services” Sacramento Bee [California] May 14, 2004)

Rejects legislative oversight and storms out of hearing

During Schwarznegger’s first week in office, according to the Los Angeles Times, Arduin stormed out of a committee hearing during a question. She left the position in California after 11 months and in controversy.
(“Audit to Leave Finance Position” Los Angeles Times October 14, 2004)

Sought to end $10 million program for strays and more quickly euthanize cats and dogs

As part of her round of cuts in California, Arduin proposed ending $10 million in aid to shelters which would have “shortened the length of time dogs and cats are kept alive at shelters.”
(”A Florida Transplant, Arduin was on Job for Less than a Year” San Francisco Chronicle October 14, 2004)

Anti-ObamaCare, free-market Medicaid voucher program a failure

Arduin has been a critic of ObamaCare and has proposed vouchers as a replacement. A pilot plan in Florida she supported was a total failure. “Hardly any of the 300,000 Medicaid patients enrolled in the pilot project…” the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported.
(“Skimming Through the GOP Gubernatorial Job Plans” Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale, Florida] July 29, 2010)

The clips are compiled here.


  1. - MrJM - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    “The first thing you can do is hope that the [Medicaid] cut will force industries to create efficiencies. We can only hope for the best there.”

    We hoped just as hard as we could, but the other hand filled up waaaaaay faster.

    – MrJM

  2. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    She clearly doesn’t believe in social programs and apparently has a real disdain for Medicaid. That “get a job” comment from the article posted here a few weeks ago tells me pretty much all I need to know about her views on those in need. She’s cold.

  3. - Cassiopeia - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    Perhaps the draconian cuts are to force poor people to move out of Illinois.

    This is not an entirely snark comment, either. Just a dark observation.

  4. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    “Are there no workhouses?” may be seem on par with some of these draconian proposed cuts. Arduin would have fit in nicely in the 19th century!!

  5. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    Don’t fall for the good cop/bad cop gag.

    She’s the hired help. She has no power. The buck stops with Rauner.

  6. - walker - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    A grab bag of criticisms.

    Did anything Arduin proposed actually work as advertised?

    Perhaps she should just say: “We’re going to cut here, and some will certainly be hurt. I’m not even going to try to justify it as anything but a spending cut.”

  7. - Emily Booth - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    She’s successful not because of evidence based performance but because she says what the governor wants to hear. The governor who has his eye on a national platform.

  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    $30k a month just to say but everything except P-12 education.

    Heck, I could have done that for less.

  9. - Roamin' Numeral - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    ==Sought to end $10 million program for strays and more quickly euthanize cats and dogs==

    Must have been channeling her inner Bill Brady.

  10. - Jorge - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    I thought she was the best budget mind in America. That must be the power of her poofy shirt.

  11. - Dr X - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    This has nothing to do with being efficient or budget wise or compassionate. These guys hate govt and want it smaller. Period. Every story about Rauner last year should have had that in the first and last paragraphs. Today’s budget address offers no surprises to anyone that paid attention.

  12. - siriusly - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 11:35 am:

    The legislators who hope to save spending on vital programs are going to have to educate the Governor.

    I think he’s a good person who just doesn’t really know much about how social services work. If he sees that there is more to it than “bloated government” maybe he will be easier to work with. But until then - she and he will be budgeting via anti-government bullet points.

  13. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    Haven’t heard anything about her having a companion; maybe now we know why. She sounds like a TERRIBLE woman…

  14. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 11:59 am:

    ===Perhaps the draconian cuts are to force poor people to move out of Illinois.

    ===This is not an entirely snark comment, either. Just a dark observation.

    Hasn’t worked in the South. Mississippi is still the developing world. Not that empirical evidence seems to play much of a role for Arduin.

  15. - 340 East - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 12:36 pm:

    Rich, did she not spend time in Kansas? How are they doing?

  16. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    ===Haven’t heard anything about her having a companion===

    See Black Widow re spouse disposal.

  17. - Anonin' - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 2:27 pm:

    We think we all know the key difference between these tragic disgraces in other states and IL is BVR the man who has never failed.
    Surprised Capt Fax or the Tribbies did not figure this out sooner.

  18. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 3:20 pm:

    You do know that united Working Families is pretty much the mouthpiece for the CTU and has leadership who wasted over $50 million trying to get Guv Walker, right? They have ZERO credibility as any kind of analyst or honest commentator on policy. Why would you quote them here?

  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 3:53 pm:

    - Why would you quote them here? -

    They’re compiling quotes and facts from news articles, which they cite. I know it’s probably hard for you, but try reading more carefully.

  20. - Amalia - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 3:54 pm:

    Arduinous. Tornado season is here cause we’re in Kansas now.

  21. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 4:58 pm:

    @ anonynoous

    =They’re compiling quotes and facts from news articles, which they cite.=

    Actually, taking sentences out of context without giving positive clips from it is hardly citing “facts” anon.

    I read the thing. Just a hatchet job. If they cited SOME positive things about her, as we’ve read on CF before. it might have some credibility.

    She’s tough and smart (as well as being well paid).

    She a Rauner laid the gauntlet for MJM and Pinky to start negotiations. She’s got ‘em nervous because for the first time in their political lives they’ll have to actually either abdicate power and approve Rauner’s budget or do what they think is necessary, raise taxes AND cut spending and justify it to the people. They’re use to criticizing others and dodging the hard decisions. I don’t think they’ll get away with it this time.

  22. - lovecraft - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 7:25 pm:

    She sounds like a real piece of work. Tilda Swinton should play her in the movie.

  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 8:03 pm:

    - She’s got ‘em nervous -

    Yeah, they sounded awfully nervous after the speech.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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