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My two cents: Overtime, budget, TV blitz, reform

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* From a May 21st SJ-R op-ed by Gov. Bruce Rauner

If legislators are willing to reform how we do business, they will find me an eager partner. If they are not, then they should expect a very long extra session because I will keep fighting for major reforms that will grow jobs and help properly fund services by shrinking waste inside government.

* From today’s SJ-R

Rauner said he will not call the legislature back into special session because it will add needless costs to the state.

Now, maybe you think he flip-flopped. But I don’t believe that he ever intended to keep legislators in session all summer.

History teaches us that legislators milling about Springfield during the summer with nothing to do often find themselves wandering over to the press box and bad-mouthing the governor. It happened all the time during the Blagojevich overtimes.

What RRB never understood was that when the General Assembly leaves town the governor has the statewide stage all to himself.

* Meanwhile

Democrats’ $36 billion budget have now been approved by the General Assembly. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to the governor - at least not yet. […]

As with all legislation, Democrats get 30 days to send the budget bills to Rauner - which is right about when that spending plan should take effect; the new fiscal year begins July 1.

A veto from Rauner then could send affected programs and agencies that depend on that state money into a tailspin.

There’s no telling when Democrats will forward the budget bills to the governor for him to take action; however Sen. President John Cullerton has put a parliamentary hold known as a motion to reconsider on the nine budget measures the Senate took final action on today. His spokeswoman says that’s because some pieces of the budget haven’t been acted on yet, and the plan is to put it all together.

Until there’s a deal, the Democrats have no reason to send him that budget. And the Dems can hold onto it indefinitely with a motion to reconsider. The 30-day clock doesn’t start until after the motion is removed.

But it seems unlikely that the Democrats will hold the budget beyond the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st.

* Pearson on the coming Rauner advertising blitz

Armed with a campaign war chest of more than $34 million including some from his allies, Rauner has at the ready a summer TV and mail campaign he can deploy to attempt to win over public opinion and lay blame for Illinois’ financial problems and poor job growth at the feet of Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and the legislature’s Democratic majority. […]

During closed-door meetings with House and Senate Republicans, Rauner displays the results of polling he’s conducted that contends Madigan has become one of Illinois’ most unpopular politicians and is ripe to be taken out. District maps were drawn by Democrats, however, and that makes the task of unseating the current Democratic supermajorities in the House and Senate a yearslong task. […]

That’s where the Rauner TV ad campaign comes in, though there are questions about its effectiveness in stirring public opinion in summer, when many viewers are focused on the outdoors rather than televisions showing political advertising.

Democratic Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan said the ads may come, but he believes voters are unhappy with any politician, regardless of their partisanship.

“What works is people want to see you, both sides, Democrats and Republicans, governors and legislators, sitting at a table and getting done what’s of a benefit to the state of Illinois. They’re going to be as upset at Republicans as they are at Democrats. It’s everybody that’s bad. There’s no good guy out of the deal,” Link said.

I don’t think the Democrats even partially appreciate the consequences of what’s about to hit them. Subscribe to learn more, but it’s gonna get exponentially uglier than anything we’ve ever seen around these parts.

And the polling shows that Madigan is the most unpopular politician in the nation, by the way. At least, that’s what the Rauner folks are saying.

…Adding… Every governor going back to I think Dan Walker has been ripped for this at one time or another. In that context, it’s really not a huge deal...

One of the representatives sitting at the testimony table was Jennifer Hammer, who was described by her colleague as ”the governor’s senior policy adviser.”

It’s an interesting title given that Hammer isn’t being paid by the governor’s office.

Instead, records show, her $115,000 salary is being drawn from the cash-strapped Illinois Department of Human Services, which provides funding for some of the neediest populations in Illinois.

However, Rauner clearly wants to slash the Human Services budget and that makes this particular move noteworthy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mouthy - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:25 am:

    I’ll know it’s a serious PR nightmare for the Democrats when FOX New’s Bret Baier sets up his All Star Panel in the rotunda..

  2. - Grandson of Man - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    “If legislators are willing to reform how we do business, they will find me an eager partner. If they are not, then they should expect a very long extra session because I will keep fighting for major reforms that will grow jobs and help properly fund services by shrinking waste inside government.”

    What about reforms that Democrats want, like a millionaire surcharge? Should Democrats also threaten to sink the budget because they’re not getting their way? Should they tell Rauner they want Republican votes for the millionaire surchage in exchange for something?

    I’m wary of what Rauner is doing, because there are reforms that I want that if they were in bill form, most if not all Republicans would not vote for them.

    I may not be overly upset if Rauner gets a little of what he wants, from a political standpoint, such as workers compensation reform. I do not support a statewide property tax freeze.

    “And the polling shows that Madigan is the most unpopular politician in the nation.”

    Yawn. The U.S. Congress is and has been abysmally unpopular, yet Republicans had a wave election and won’t pass popular legislation, like a minimum wage increase and immigration reform. They won’t do a one-sentence fix for the Obamacare law, as it relates to the upcoming SCOTUS decision. We can see how various issues poll, and how Republicans are on the unpopular side of issues and yet won’t vote for them.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:46 am:

    Great stuff here. Thanks for this Post.

    To that,

    Rauner has a 3/5 shot of being wildly successful in the media campaign. The impact will be effective, but will it get to devastating levels? I’m not betting against it.

    Thinking out loud, I would go about it like I stated earlier;

    Labor must start the “Friends of Labor” narrative, like yesterday, and as an undercurrent, remind rank and file, and families about the Rauner Cuts, his disregard to working people in Illinois and try (yeah, ok…) to blunt the Rauner media blitz by making it about Rauner.

    “When you see the Governor, remember RTW, remember collective bargaining is at risk, and Bruce Rauner says you make too much money.”

    That undercurrent might make those images of Rauner or listening to his message less biting(?).

    Rauner owns the GOP, if Raunerites can be in Dem seats, ala Blago’s Plan, it will devastate both parties.

    Rauner has theoney to make it so. Don’t be fooled… Again.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:46 am:


  5. - Out Here In The Middle - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:49 am:

    “polling he’s conducted that contends Madigan has become one of Illinois’ most unpopular politicians”

    So he’s unpopular with 300 million people who will never see his name on their ballot?

  6. - Liberty - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:54 am:

    Yeah, Republicans do great shutting down government.

  7. - Tom K. - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    Oswego@11:46, I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that you are not a fan of the governor or his plans. What alternative(s) do you suggest or support? Because if Illinois stays on the path of status quo (keep raising taxes to pay for bloated budgets and government personnel), what do you really think is going to happen? Or do you not care, and plan to be out of the state by the time the hammer drops? Or do you deny the Exodus that has been taking place for the past ten years? The people and the businesses that are leaving are the ones with the money, who can afford to do so. That is the real elephant in the room - short of taking a cue from North Korea and shooting people trying to leave, what’s your plan?

  8. - RNUG - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    Maybe we won’t still be working on this in October.

    Looks like the makings of a deal (I’m not sure it qualifies as a compromise) is coming together:

    Madigan gets his separate agency for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum & Library but Historic Preservation will continue as it’s own agency and even get a slight bit of expansion; Rauner loses on outsourcing DCEO

    MJM: 1, Rauner: 0

    Rauner will get a partial Work Comp reform, but it may hit the insurance companies harder than the doctors, so it’s hard to count this as a complete Rauner win although I expect it to be spun as one

    MJM: 1.25, Rauner: 0.75

    Rauner will get a partial / short term property tax freeze … but if a normal cost pension shift is included, a percentage of that increase may not be included in the cap, so count this as a partial Rauner win

    MJM: 1.5, Rauner: 1.5

    The Democrat budget is what lands on Rauner’s desk after all the details get hashed out and he will be expected to sign it as delivered. Rauner can juggle it a bit but he’ll be expected to live up to the spirit of the budget, Not sure where the extra revenue to plug the hole is going to come from yet (probably why the budget bills are being held until that gets settled), so it’s hard to say who actually wins this one. Both sides will try to spin it as a win

    MJM: 2, Rauner: 2

    All of this requires a bit of trust on both sides. If it falls apart after it is passed, expect thermonuclear actions.Even if it holds, the ad campaign will be a battle royal, but with mostly conventional weapons.

  9. - Langhorne - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:05 pm:

    Rauners attack blitz can dirty the dems, and drive up their negatives. Meanwhile, the repubs look irrelevant. Will anyone actually look at the merits of any of the proposals? Term limits poll great, but are a bad idea. Prop tax freeze polls great, but will strangle schools and local govts. And so on

    Btw, what is the first lady doing with her chief of staff to justify that salary? Or is it a free employee for her foundation?

  10. - RNUG - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    As far as the Governor’s employees being paid out of various agency budgets, I agree it’s a big yawn. Like Rich, I know it’s happened under Thompson forward; I can’t speak to the Ogilvie and Walker administrations because I was just a peon in those days.

  11. - Team Sleep - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    Rich - on the bright side, this will allow you to crank out 3-4 editions per week during the summer!

  12. - RNUG - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    == Prop tax freeze polls great, but will strangle schools and local govts. ==

    That’s why any property tax deal will be a short term temporary deal, say only 2 to 4 years at most.

  13. - Amused - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    Democrats had 6 years with Quinn + supermajorities. If they cared in the slightest about the millionaire surcharge or raising the minimum wage it would of happened long ago.

    Hopefully Rauner will wise up and drop the right to work stuff and focus on more doable reforms.

  14. - Grandson of Man - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:12 pm:

    I hope something gets done this weekend, and I don’t mind Democrats giving up a little to get a deal. I don’t want them to budge on a statewide property tax freeze. They held tight on right to work, which was great to me. That leaves workers comp reform and tort reform. Perhaps here somewhere there is room for a deal.

    This weekend should be very exciting. I am watching for the union bill, the Emanuel pension plan and of course, the 2016 budget.

  15. - Team Sleep - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    RNUG - my apologies for taking so long to say this, but thank you for being an even-keeled commenter/observer on this site. I truly enjoy your posts/comments. You rock.

  16. - Austin Blvd - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    Dreading the start of these ads and when everyday working stiffs believe what they hear and start moaning, and then the uninformed radio personalitities and uninformed editorial writers start running the barrage of coordinated IPI tripe.
    At sometime in the future, we will look back at Madigan as being the true grownup in the room.
    We will rue the day that a billionaire and his billionaire cronies were able to co-opt the GOP and the minds of everyday people.
    Hopefully, what JFK said is true: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

  17. - Cassandra - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:15 pm:

    Now that the millionaire’s tax has “failed,” it seems that both parties are moving on to the middle class as a source of cash. The millionaires are safe-again–and the restoration of Quinn and the Democrats’ income tax increase by Rauner and the Dems will be barely felt by the privileged class, a class which includes many Democratic, as well as Republican, legislators, I’m sure.

  18. - RNUG - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    == Dreading the start of these ads ==

    I’m not planning on watching any TV this summer. And I use an Ad blocker program on my PC’s.

  19. - Amused - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:22 pm:

    You are spot on Cassandra. Madigan and Cullerton have kept Illinois with one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation which of course republicans are all too happy to play aling with. When revenue is needed you can bet it will be with another regressive flat increase

  20. - Wordslinger - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:25 pm:

    Yesterday, the governor specifically singled out from his agenda workers comp and a property tax freeze.

    There are the makings for a compromise on workers comp. And a property tax freeze is such an amorphous concept that you could cobble together just about anything and declare victory.

    Really no way to compromise on right to work or prevailing wage. Those are all-or-nothing issues.

    No mention of “pension reform” yesterday. If that means the governor isn’t going to chase that rabbit he’s going to need a lot more money in FY16 or he’ll have to burn K-12.

    That ain’t going to happen. The Supremes are ready made to wear the jacket for the coming tax increase, which was the purpose of SB1 in the first place.

  21. - Anonin' - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:26 pm:

    Wow Capt Fax has really climbed in the tank with GovPeace to portray the awesomeness of his upcoming effort.
    We tremble just reading. We assume much of the money will be spent on his version of the SEIU armies — plaid tee shirts — to stage marches and demand the non budget issues
    “What Do We Want”
    “West Indiana”
    “When Do We Want It”
    “Right After Denny Pleads”

  22. - Mr. B.A. - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:32 pm:

    Austin… I believe that Lincoln said that quote, not JFK.

  23. - Anonymous - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:38 pm:

    Repeat a lie long enough and it becomes true..Reagan ?

  24. - Pelonski - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:42 pm:

    I have a hard time seeing how a media blitz makes much difference. Even if he can drive down the popularity of the Democrats, the election is over a year and a half away. Americans have very short memories when it comes to politics.

    Additionally, most of the issues involved aren’t exactly hot button issues for the voters in the middle of the political spectrum who decide elections. Term limits and redistricting are probably the only two. It is hard to see how Rauner connects those to the budget.

    Finally, the fact that Madigan or any other politician is unpopular statewide is irrelevant unless they are running for a statewide office. The only thing that matters is how they are viewed in their district and within their caucus.

  25. - Norseman - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:43 pm:

    Anonin’, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a sycophant to imagine the scope of a multi-million $ PR campaign.

  26. - Austin Blvd - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    Thank you, Mr. B.A.
    Here is some additional research on the quote.
    My bad.

  27. - walker - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:50 pm:

    35 hours to go, or we’ve lost her.

    Miller’s on watch with his glass aloft.

    The fog is on the horizon and creepin’ in fast. Get close and don’t let the ugly beast out of your sights.

  28. - Wordslinger - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    Regarding the coming summer media campaign, I suspect it’s way too late to flip any Dem votes in the current session.

    It’s curious that Rauner’s peeps didn’t have something going weeks ago. They have money to burn and plenty more where that came from.

    With all that cash, an anti-Dem branding campaign was inevitable. I’m not sold on the effectiveness of a summer campaign, but with a bottomless barrel of money, why not, as long as you don’t get too annoying.

    I’m more curious on how the ILGO front is going to spend their money. If I had that cash, I’d have Rev. Meeks lining up primary opponents for incumbents he doesn’t like.

  29. - Rich Miller - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:52 pm:

    ===Wow Capt Fax has really climbed in the tank with GovPeace===


    Would you please reach out and tell deleted commenter “Grape Ape” what you just wrote?


  30. - Oswego Willy - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    ===I’m more curious on how the ILGO front is going to spend their money. If I had that cash, I’d have Rev. Meeks lining up primary opponents for incumbents he doesn’t like.===


    It’s the recruitment of Dems, ILGO, and Rauner actually making the Dem Primary a battleground.

    Ripe for Meeks to influence…

  31. - the Other Anonymous - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:57 pm:

    This certainly is uncharted territory. But the point that caving in to the threats will just lead to bigger and bigger demands is actually a good one.

    If you game it all the way out, there may never be an agreement on increased revenue. By the time the Governor is up for re-election, we’ll see exactly what steep cuts mean. I’m not sure that’s a good campaign environment for him.

    And because the only strength behind these conservative policies is the Governor’s personal wealth, you have to wonder what happens to the Turnaround Agenda when Rauner is gone in four or eight years. (Noting that a lot of damage will be done in that time.)

  32. - Anonin' - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:57 pm:

    Hey Speeakin’ of Denny pleadin’ what the latest on Mike Stoke

  33. - Analyst - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    It’s so shortsighted to paint the Speaker and Senate President as the evil antagonist. Few critics have speculated about the possible alternatives — which would clearly diminish the Legislative balance of power. Current leaders are the only real reason we have not caved to a Corporate CEO who who’s turnaround agenda is wrong for Illinois

  34. - Anonin' - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:03 pm:

    Don’t knowin’ Mr/Ms Grape Ape.
    The truth can be funny so glad we brought some humor to your life of worry and frettin’ over the coming onslaught.
    BTW does tossin’ the insurance director for another out of towner count as a positive or negative? I think the Correction Dept. gettin’ tossed was a negative

  35. - walker - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:05 pm:

    Seriously: The biggest impact of such a media campaign, if it happens, might be to drive Illinois’ public image even lower than realistic or necessary. Constant badmouthing is not a basis for growth.

    I hope they mix in a lot of legitimate, believable positives, unlike in the gubernatorial campaign.

  36. - RNUG - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:06 pm:

    == When revenue is needed you can bet it will be with another regressive flat increase ==

    If you want to affect FY16, that’s the quickest / easiest course; increase the income tax. If you are smart, you impose a service tax also and phase down the income tax as the service tax phases in.

    Millionaire’s surcharge or graduated tax will require an amendment and can’t be done, at earliest, until the middle of the FY17 budget.

  37. - Team Sleep - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:07 pm:

    Word - I’m wondering that as well. Then again, we all questioned why he didn’t run ads immediately after last year’s primary, too, so maybe he’s following that kind of plan. I’m guessing here, but I’m thinking that maybe Team Rauner’s thought process is that the standard end-of-session flurry, the upcoming AFSCME negotiations and the eventual back-to-school concerns are all happening within a two month window. The other thing I’m thinking is that maybe Governor Rauner had an inkling that no actual budget agreement would ever happen, so why “waste” the cash during March & April when overtime was/is/will be inevitable?!

  38. - Amused - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    RNUG- a graduated income tax is not coming as long as Madigan and Cullerton are around especially with Rauner as governor. All 3 have shown fierce opposition to anything but the flat regressive structure in place.

  39. - Hawkeye in Illinois - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:16 pm:

    The only popularity Mike Madigan cares about is in his own district and his House Dem caucus so the Rauner poll shows a laughable naïveté. An ad attack campaign focused on Madigan is likely to only further unify the House Dems and despite all his money Rauner has only 4 months.experience at this game compared to Madigans 44 years.

  40. - RNUG - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    - Amused -

    I personally have mixed feelings about a progressive tax versus a flat tax. If the flat tax that had enough of a personal exemption so it didn’t hit the working poor, I would be OK with it. If we can’t do that, then I want a progressive tax because. And in either scenario I would most likely pay more than I do today.

  41. - AlabamaShake - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:34 pm:

    **RNUG- a graduated income tax is not coming as long as Madigan and Cullerton are around especially with Rauner as governor. All 3 have shown fierce opposition to anything but the flat regressive structure in place.**

    Cullerton has long publicly and privately supported a progressive income tax.

  42. - Are Ya Kiddin' Me? - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    Pelonski @ 12:42 and Hawkeye @ 1:16; I agree with where you guys are going with the Rauner Summer Ad campaign.
    First let’s start with a saying most people on here understand…”the map is the map is the map”, you cannot run against the map (unless you are the Speaker in the 90’s.
    So the R’s spend millions in ad money telling people in Ill. that the Speaker and “those he controls” are what is wrong with our State. Now this is a guy the Ruanerites say is polling as the “least popular politician in the nation”. What is their intent/goal, to make him the least popular in North America, the galaxy?
    Back to the map, even if they succeed in whatever it is they are trying to do to MLM, the map is the map….so they might take out Bradley, maybe Franks, maybe 1 or 2 or 3 others, simply map math says that NO WAY Repubs win enough seats to elect Durkin the Speaker. Then add in a Presidential election, with the potential of Hillary on the ballot…hmm, MJM just might pick up a seat or 2?

    And the Senate map is not even worth talking about.

  43. - Short Bus Rider - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    MJM is and has been like the playground bully in the GA for years and I think he has met his match this time, BR is not like the lemur-like super majority party that would jump off a cliff if he told them to. Ask the great speaker how he got funding for a new school in his district last year out of the general fund tacked on to last years budget at the last minute that all the taxpayers of this state are paying for. Appropriating from the rest of the state to bring to his safe district, heck I’d vote for him too.

  44. - cover - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 2:41 pm:

    = the lemur-like super majority party that would jump off a cliff if he told them to =

    Which is why the millionaire’s tax amendment passed the House, right? Oh, wait…

  45. - Austin Blvd - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 3:51 pm:

    Short Bus:
    “Ask the great speaker how he got funding for a new school in his district…”
    Ask any legislator who got funding for a project over the years how they did it…
    Ask Denny Hastert how he got funding for a highway in his district…
    While you’re at it, ask the Gov how he got $100k for an aide for his wife…
    Ask the Gov how he can have his former partners manage his fortune while they are still profiting off of state business..,,
    While you’re at it, why not ask the Gov why his “super cabinet” won’t agree to take public servant wages like those in other Administrations…
    BR may not jump off a cliff, but he expects everyone else in the legislature to do so for his benefit.
    Do you know why he does this?
    His dog could likely answer that question:
    “Because he can.”

  46. - Wordslinger - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 4:28 pm:

    You’d think you could find a less offensive department to hide the salaries of personal aides than Human Services.

  47. - Politix - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 5:48 pm:

    ^^^^^ really! It’s not rocket science.

    And honestly, mailers don’t make a bit of difference. They just make the sender/opposition look bitter. Same with negative ads. And the person who said all MJM needs to worry about is his popularity in his own district was right. Hilarious.

  48. - MyTwoCents - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 6:15 pm:

    Just because former governors hid salaries in other departments doesn’t make it right. Be honest about how much it costs for your staff and if you can’t justify the governor’s office budget maybe you really don’t need an “education secretary” and a “public safety director” and all the other advisors you have or maybe you should cut some of their salaries.

  49. - In the Know - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 7:06 pm:

    There are a lot of rank and file Dem legislators outside the City of Chicago who are afraid to take on Rauner publicly for fear they will get primaried by the Democratic independent expenditure PAC. So that leaves Madigan out there having to do a lot of his own talking. That serves Rauner’s interests too since Madigan is so unpopular.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
* A rough idea of what they're looking at
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Rauner was wrong about "record levels" of unionization
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
* Pritzker's inauguration ball tix will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation
* Rauner claims he's been too busy to reflect on his term
* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* Yesterday's stories

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