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An ever-widening war

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Greg Hinz

As Springfield battles over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pro-business “turnaround” agenda, you’d think he’d want the top business group in the state’s economic center at his side. And you’d think that group would be fully engaged.

In fact, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is being snubbed by the governor after it appeared to snub him—frozen out of key negotiations over business-oriented legislation put before the General Assembly.

Though both sides are trying to play down any dispute, there’s bad blood between the GOP governor and the state’s largest business group. And the topic of why the chamber is being dissed is sparking all kinds of chatter among other business groups. It certainly reveals a few things about how power works in Chicago and Illinois, as well as the obstacles Rauner faces in getting approval for his ideas on workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance reform, limits on unions, an end to the prevailing wage and other changes. […]

“They’re the largest business organization in the state, and they have to get updates from others because they’re not at the table,” another source said. “It comes directly from the governor’s office. No question about it.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:20 am:

    Before the Gov champions himself as a leader, he should look behind him to see if he has any followers

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:22 am:

    Just one more fire set in Rome (er Illinois) and Nero (er Rauner). This administration must not believe in the old adage of keeping your friends close (Rauner has few) and your enemies closer (he’s making many).

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:23 am:

    They pay their money, they take their chances.

    I bet they won’t make the same mistake twice.

  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:23 am:

    Keep trying, Rich. History indeed will not look kindly on you and those you are defending.

  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:25 am:

    ===those you are defending. ===


    Who would that be?

  6. - walker - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:25 am:

    Perhaps it is because Rauner has been focused on a narrower slice of the business community than they represent. And because the Chicagoland Chamber can be counted on to be a rambunctious and outspoken “partner.” Rauner’s more a Commercial Club kind of guy.

  7. - Anon - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    I believe that the governor is on a path to isolate every possible ally in the state. His PAC organizations have ensured that no democrat will ever align with him. His actions with right to work have unnecessarily exposed republican members of the legislature who are sympathetic with labor. His budget cuts have disproportinately hurt african americans, hispanics, and middle to lower income Illinoisans. His actions towards to the Chicago chamber of commerce is the start of isolating business groups that aren’t fully on board with his agenda. He’s declared war on lobbyists with his order that agency directors not talk to lobbyists. He’s taken an aggressive position against the Mayor of Chicago. Who is left? Is it just Rauner and his money? Honestly, and I’m not suggesting criminal behavior here, but how is Governor Rauner different than Governor Blagojevich? How many republican legislators will go along with this insanity once it becomes clear that this governor doesn’t really have their backs? Its going to be a long 4 years.

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:28 am:

    Its because the Chicagoland Chamber is in the Rahm camp.

  9. - Ahoy! - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is mainly seen as an extension of Rahm’s administration and not as much as a business group and might be why there is a disconnect.

  10. - Wordslinger - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    Anon 10:23, do us all a favor and give up the car keys today, kapeesh? Because you’re seeing some strange things.

  11. - Wordslinger - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    To the post, another entry on the Enemies List?

    Maybe for brevity’s sake, the list should be of those who is not an enemy.

  12. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    I feel that Rauner is trying to run things the way that he perceives Madigan runs things. Unfortunately for him, he has completely misread Madigan. Madigan operates with loyalty, trust and positive reinforcement to his allies that he has their back. Rauner has no loyalty, cannot be trusted and tries to use threats to get his way. Madigan hasnt been around for so long because his strategy doesn’t. We will have to wait and see about Rauner.

  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    ***strategy doesn’t work

  14. - PolPal56 - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    Rauner for Rauner (and the .01%).

    The largest business organization in the state would be much too economically diverse and inclusive for his taste. Too much listening involved. Too much understanding involved. Too much compromise.

  15. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:45 am:

    Bruce Rauner can travel between Springfield and Chicago during the darkest of nights, simply by following the light given off by all the bridges he has set ablaze.

    This is the worst start to any administration I have ever witnessed.

  16. - CharlieKratos - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:54 am:

    I keep picturing Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) in “The Jerk”:

    “I don’t need you! I don’t need anything. Except this. And that’s the only thing I need is this! I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray… and this paddle game.”

    Replace “ashtray” with “money” and “paddle game” with “love of the Koch brothers” and it’s pretty accurate.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    Sonny Corleone.

    Fought the other Families, business suffered, mayhem, ensued, the natural order crumbled, and Sonny “lost”.

    It isn’t that Sonny has bad consiglieres, it’s Sonny IS a bad Don.

  18. - MrJM - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    “I must be very brave and important — just look at all my enemies!” — Bruce Rauner (attributed)

    – MrJM

  19. - Anon - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    Generally I read comments posted here, content to follow the debate without really wading in. But this session has me thinking.

    When session started, both chambers opened with really great, heartfelt tributes to Judy Baar Topinka, and I am discouraged to see how dramatically that bipartisan rhetoric has changed. I can’t help but wonder how session would be going if Judy was here. Could she have worked behind the scenes to help cooler heads - on both sides - prevail? I don’t know, but maybe it’s time our leaders try a little harder to embody the woman they all pledged to never forget.

  20. - ivote - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    It all goes back to one thing. Bruce Rauner is a billionaire. He is used to BUYING whatever he wants. He bought the Governorship, and now is trying to buy a legislature, and buy some allies (not friends–he sees no reason to have friends). Hopefully, soon, he will figure out that EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING can’t be bought. (Along the way he will spend a lot of money, and find out that a lot of folks CAN be bought! This is, after all, Illinois!) But in the end, he will find he has made some very bad investments!

  21. - Juvenal - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Chicago Federation of Labor agree on 80-85% of the issues, because what is good for one (more school funding, a Chicago casino) tends to be good for the other, and they realized a long time ago they can spend all of their time fighting and achieve nothing or work together and achieve wonders for their members (think capital bill).

    I suspect the governor is an emerging area of strong accord.

  22. - Juvenal - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    I also imagine that many of the Chamber’s members are not very happy about the governor’s proposed service taxes.

  23. - A guy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    They’ve been so great at the table heretofore. Shock?…not.

  24. - DuPage - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    @11:31 =not very happy about the governor’s proposed service taxes.=

    That’s for sure. I know several small contractors (Republicans) that are against it. They point out to me that as it is now, if they make money on a job, the state makes money. If they lose money on a job, the state does not make money either.
    Under Rauner’s proposed services act, the state makes money even if the contractor loses money. Plus the contractor has more recordkeeping and reporting to do. They feel they would rather go back to the 5% income tax and not have a services tax.

  25. - Cheswick - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:29 pm:

    Everyone on billionaire’s row be like, “should we recall Bruce?”

  26. - Norseman - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    Rauner is using his own Schlieffen Plan for the war. God help the people of the State of Illinois.

  27. - zonz - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 1:31 pm:

    I wrote this yesterday but never pushed SAY IT:

    Say whatever kind words you wish about former Kirk people now working for Rauner, especially Rauner’s chief of staff Mike Zolnierowicz (HINZ: “…tell me he’s a good guy, knowledgeable, with the ability to tell the boss no if need be.”)
    . . . this shows Rauner’s people to be petty, shortsighted, and downright craycray:

    Why is Rauner dissing the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce?

    Perhaps that explains why Rauner did something that raised lots of eyebrows among other business organizations: He left the chamber off of working groups in Springfield that were tasked with designing a reform package that could get through the Legislature.

    In previous years, the chamber always had a seat at the table when House Speaker Michael Madigan took on issues such as workers’ comp and unemployment insurance through a series of high-level negotiations known as the agreed-bill process. But Rauner didn’t include the chamber this time.

    The slight was noticed immediately.

    “I made pitches that they needed to be there,” one insider said. “I was told they’d take it under advisement. But since then, it’s been radioactive silence.”

    Rauner did agree to add the Associated General Contractors of Illinois to the talks. That meant that five of the six groups that were invited to similar talks by Madigan a year ago were involved. But not the chamber, the sixth group.

    “They’re the largest business organization in the state, and they have get-up (fill-in) dates from others because they’re not at the table,” another source said. “It comes directly from the governor’s office. No question about it.”

  28. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 2:55 pm:

    ==- zonz - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 1:31 pm:==

    So the beef began when Governor Moneybags didn’t get a big enough check from the Moneybags Association. Shake Up Springfield!

  29. - Chicago Businessman - Friday, May 29, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    Rauner has a big mess to fix. The previous administration left the state in a position where we cannot imagine, where the hole is almost too large to climb out of. I will support the governor and his efforts to prevail. The Chamber now has an ex-Rahm official in charge. Maybe that is the reason? Why give Rahm a seat at the table? The governor may just know what he is doing.

  30. - zonz - Friday, May 29, 15 @ 3:00 pm:

    @ Chicago Businessman
    Yes sir, the Chicagoland Chamber went from having a seat at the big-folks table pre-Rauner to persona non grata
    . . . because Rahm’s former COS is now CHIEF EXEC of the Chamber. (Her hubby BTW is Michael Toolis, the CEO and chairman of architecture firm VOA Associates.)

    Sir, you best re-up the Kool-Aide order cuz you’re drinking it in mass quantities.

    - Chicago Businessman - Friday, May 29, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    Rauner has a big mess to fix. The previous administration left the state in a position where we cannot imagine, where the hole is almost too large to climb out of. I will support the governor and his efforts to prevail. The Chamber now has an ex-Rahm official in charge. Maybe that is the reason? Why give Rahm a seat at the table? The governor may just know what he is doing.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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