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I just don’t see it

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

* Things are not always as simple as they initially appear. For instance

The lack of inertia to get a budget in place after three months of gridlock has some lawmakers itching to jump-start talks.

“I think we need an outcry from the rank-and-file lawmakers to the leaders to sit down and figure this out,” state Rep. Sue Scherer, a Decatur Democrat, said Tuesday.

But

At issue is the Republican governor’s insistence that Democrats approve a number of pro-business, anti-union proposals before he signs off on a tax increase designed to balance the budget.

Democrats have balked at the changes sought by Rauner, saying they would hurt the middle class.

“We can’t give that up,” Scherer said.

The bottom line is that while all rank and file Democrats want a solution, the vast majority of them (pretty much all, really) aren’t willing to decimate unions in the process (OK, maybe one guy is).

In other words, they’re not being held back by their leaders. There is no yoke on them, no golden handcuffs. When you see assertions to the contrary, you should always check to see if they’re being written by somebody who is regularly in Springfield

Rise up, mushroom lawmakers in Springfield.

Leave the musty darkness of your cellars. Unshackle yourselves from your leaders. Stifle your re-election fears.

Grow a spine.

There are few in the General Assembly willing to do any of that.

Again, where is the evidence that large numbers of Democratic lawmakers are impatiently itching to vote to whack unions, if only their party bosses would let them?

This protracted war is not about the budget or even taxes. The governor has said repeatedly that he is willing to raise taxes, but only if his anti-union preconditions are met.

* From Rep. Jack Franks

I can’t fault Democrats for opposing severe cuts to services, and I stand alongside many of my Republican colleagues in opposing higher taxes; like the people I represent, I believe that with hard work and compromise, we can find a more balanced approach. What troubles me is that instead of seeking this middle ground, both sides have come to agree on a destructive shared delusion that it’s OK for taxpayers to suffer as long as the other side of the aisle takes the blame.

It’s clear that breaking the budget stalemate will require a new way forward.

The governor campaigned on closing corporate tax loopholes as a means of generating revenue and closing the state’s budget deficit. This is a common-sense approach that Republicans and Democrats alike should agree on, but unfortunately the governor has yet to introduce legislation to make it happen. Illinois can’t wait any longer. Last week I introduced a bill that will generate new revenue without raising taxes by closing billions of dollars in corporate loopholes and rewriting outmoded elements of our state tax code.

We’ve talked about the Franks proposal before. But, again, nothing matters if the governor continues to make impractical demands about his Turnaround Agenda. Democrats just ain’t gonna go for it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

97 Comments
  1. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:00 am:

    The Governor has put his proposal forward, what is the Democrats counter? I don’t think the Governor deserves all the blame here because I haven’t seen much problem solving from the Democratic leadership. I don’t expect it from the rank-n-file, they were brought there to be lead and to protect their butts back in their districts.


  2. - illinoised - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:02 am:

    Is every Republican legislator totally in agreement with the Governor’s stance?


  3. - illinoised - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:04 am:

    And is every Democratic legislator totally in agreement with their leadership stance?


  4. - Morningstar - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:04 am:

    “The lack of inertia to get a budget in place …”
    From what I can tell, there is no lack of inertia.


  5. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:07 am:

    Ahoy! The Governor has put his proposal forward and said take-it-or-leave-it. The Dems have put several proposals forward, including a (admittedly out of balance) budget that the Governor vetoed. They’ve also passed property tax cuts and worker’s comp legislation. And what else has the Gov done?

    I also have to chuckle…since keeping the tax rate the same (5%) was “raising taxes”, how is closing a loophole not raising taxes? Don’t hurt yourself contorting for an explanation, I don’t need one.


  6. - Crazy enough to work? - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:09 am:

    How about the leaders agree to some of Rauner’s anti-union stuff and a map proposal that they can live with. Rauner agrees to the tax increase and we get a balanced budget. I assume the anti-union stuff would only get a simple majority so it isn’t effective until June 1, 2016 but everything else is effective immediately. Once the tax is in place, the dems file a bill to undo the union changes. Maybe one of their members doesn’t vote for it, but it will put a lot of pressure on the union friendly republicans in the House. Once the tax is in place, it will be easier to pass future budgets. Nothing else gets done during Rauner’s term as there is no trust, but its been 9 months and nothing has been done to date really. If the anti-union stuff isn’t rolled back immediately, it gives dems something to whack republicans with come November.


  7. - Bluefish - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:11 am:

    Again, where is the evidence that large numbers of REPUBLICAN lawmakers are impatiently itching to vote to whack unions, if only their party bosses would let them?


  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:12 am:

    Oh Carol Marin…

    Either report what’s actually happening, editorialize what you think IS happening, but don’t write about what you pretend is happening.

    You’re NOT helping. Honest.

    Thanks.


  9. - walker - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:12 am:

    Please read and understand Rich’s post before commenting with preconceived positions.


  10. - chad - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:12 am:

    Rauner has put a card on the table (taxes) and the Speaker is waiting to make his first real play. I presume he is waiting for better advantage, including that he might not have to play anything at all. Will Rauner play against himself? Doubt it.


  11. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:12 am:

    “Once the tax is in place, the dems file a bill to undo the union changes.” That’s a pretty stiff gamble that they’ll be able to muster a veto override.


  12. - From the 'Dale to HP - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:12 am:

    Since the Dems are going to budge, if they haven’t in 3 months they won’t in three more, what’s Plan B for Rauner and company? Plan A, smoke out the Dems, has failed. Probably time to move on to Plan B.

    But Rauner’s put himself, and the GOP in the General Assembly, in a bad position. There may be a face saving agreement… but it’s hard to see what it is. Workers comp reform and maybe a little tort reform in exchange for higher taxes is not face saving. That’s a major loss at this point because of the rhetoric that’s come out of the Rauner camp.

    So this ain’t ending unless:
    1) A terrible tragedy.
    2) A member of the House GOP breaks ranks, and if one breaks, a few more will join. This may happen if polls are showing that someone is in trouble in the primary.
    3) Voters vote a bunch of people out in March.
    4) State runs out of money.


  13. - otherwise - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:14 am:

    I think Representative Franks’ proposal for closing corporate loopholes is excellent. Let’s make this the centerpiece as I think there is a lot of support from voters for this. After all, Governor Rauner also supports this according to his campaigning. Win for all and let Representative Dunkin be the co-sponsor.


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:17 am:

    ===And is every Democratic legislator totally in agreement with their leadership stance? ===

    Of course not, but show me more than one who is eager to bash unions on the House and Senate floors.


  15. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:17 am:

    I think Ahoy! is on to something. While the Governor and the GOP leaders need to work on stepping back from “take it or leave it!” demands, everything from the Dem side is akin to leaving a careening boat on autopilot even when it’s on track to slam into the harbor. Senator Kotowksi - who’s a likable guy - always called himself a budget hawk, yet he never really introduced any cuts. The only time the Senate Dems introduced cuts was after Governor Rauner demanded them. The budget was on autopilot for years and now we’re screwed.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    ===How about the leaders agree to some of Rauner’s anti-union stuff and a map proposal that they can live with.===

    Ugh. There will be zero agreeing to any anti-Union (Collective Bargaining and Prevailing Wage).

    There is NOT the votes for it to pass. Not enough votes. It’s not up for discussion. I can count, thanks. There’s not 60, 71, not 36, not even 30. K?

    ===Once the tax is in place, the dems file a bill to undo the union changes. Maybe one of their members doesn’t vote for it, but it will put a lot of pressure on the union friendly republicans in the House.===

    This isn’t a Dorm Room.

    Trust is an ongoing thing, not a parsed commodity. You can’t promote a double-cross based on trust. Do you have a clue how government, even dysfunction government works?


  17. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:19 am:

    Rauner prefers huge defeats vs small victories. This will go nowhere fast.


  18. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:19 am:

    Sue Scherer is the mushroomiest of all the mushrooms. In two sentences, she completely contradicted herself and showed the spineless attitude that causes voters to loath all legislatures.


  19. - Union Man - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    How about the Legislators poke their heads up and let the Gov play Whack-A-Mole?


  20. - SAP - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:21 am:

    ==What troubles me is that instead of seeking this middle ground, both sides have come to agree on a destructive shared delusion that it’s OK for taxpayers to suffer as long as the other side of the aisle takes the blame.== First time I ever agreed with Jack Franks.


  21. - Trouble Understanding - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:21 am:

    Why must the left and media continually refer to Gov. Rauner’s agenda as “anti-union” and “anti middle class?” Honestly a little healthy competition between unions and government for the loyalty of the government worker might be just what we need in this state. Think about it, if right to work were passed for government workers specifically doesn’t that incentivize both sides (union and government) to attempt to woo the worker? Isn’t that better for the worker? Specifically, if right to work is passed, a worker isn’t automatically a member of the union but rather makes the choice. The union has an incentive to try to bring him into the union and the government has an incentive to try to keep him out of the union. Isn’t that in the best interest of the worker? Won’t he get the best result for him personally by requiring both sides to work for him? Right now, if there is no union, the government has no interest in protecting or working for the worker and with mandatory union membership, the union boss has no incentive to work for the worker as the dues are a foregone conclusion. Which is really better for the worker? I don’t pretend to know all about this process and am as fed up with both sides but does the harsh rhetoric of anti this and that really apply?


  22. - old pol - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:21 am:

    Why would Rauner agree to more revenues whether from new taxes or from closing loopholes without meaningful spending reform? PS - you cant get meaning spending cuts without significant union concessions.


  23. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:23 am:

    Trouble - that is something I have noticed while scanning suburban papers. They are really going out of their way to highlight the budget struggles and publish articles that seem to advocate in a certain way. I understand that the budget quagmire has really hurt some entities and NFPs/NGOs, but the bent on the reporting is certainly, ahem, bent in one direction.


  24. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    The reporting on the fictional “budget impasse” in some circles has been bizarre. Not being in Springield isnt an excuse; they’re just not paying attention.

    The governor has engineered the fiscal calamity as leverage to further his anti-union agenda. He has been public and clear about that strategy.

    “Otherwise, how does it get done?”

    Furnthermore, the governor has not made any case, whatsoever, as to what the fiscal or economic benefits would be for passing his political agenda.

    What is the ROI for this willful sabotage of core governmental functions? Because the price is high, and gets high every day.

    Crickets.


  25. - RNUG - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    This ain’t ending until

    a) citizens with pitchforks descend on all the legislators’ homes

    b) Rauner realizes he’s in over his head and sells the State to Evelyn

    c) one side wins a extremely decisive victory in 2016


  26. - Dan Johnson - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    It’s more accurate to say the Governor is willing to “reverse his tax cut” than “raise taxes” since he campaigned on not extending the 5% tax rate. The revenue loss and the budget deficit is a direct consequence of his election. That should be the central narrative in every story about the budget.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:27 am:

    ===Why must the left and media continually refer to Gov. Rauner’s agenda as “anti-union”..===

    Dismantling Collective Bargaining and ending Prevailing Wage is… what… “Union-Friendly”?

    Are ya paying attention?

    ===Think about it, if right to work were passed for government workers specifically doesn’t that incentivize both sides (union and government) to attempt to woo the worker? Isn’t that better for the worker? Specifically, if right to work is passed, a worker isn’t automatically a member of the union but rather makes the choice.===

    You also realize Rauner wants workers to earn less, right?

    It’s not hyperbole or speculation, Rauner himself has slides touting that workers need to earn less. Again, are you paying attention, or is your excited mouth-breathing to get to type “Left” getting in the way to actually learning what’s going on?


  28. - Bemused - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    Once again Rich has stated the simple facts of the situation.

    The Rauner crew seems to be under the impression that if Mike Madigan lines his caucus up in front of the guillotine and says stick your head in there a large number will in fact do it. I don’t think so but lets try this.

    The Gov can have someone in his caucus put all his wishes and the new revenues or funding cuts in bill form and put it out there for a vote. You know that balanced budget thingy.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    ===b) Rauner realizes he’s in over his head and sells the State to Evelyn===

    You went THERE, didn’t ya, - RNUG -…

    It’s like you’re taunting. lol


  30. - Shoedoctor - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    Apparently Illinois is one of only 7 states with no restrictions to prevailing wage. Reforming the is not so radical and even Senator Fullerton said they could work around the edges on this.

    How can the Senate vote to freeze property taxes without the mechanism to control expenses?

    How come the property tax freeze bill wasn’t called in the house

    Rauner’s agenda is only anti middle class for the middle class that works in government and it’s related entities.The rest of the middle class will benefit from the lower taxes and increased business activity in the private sector


  31. - old pol - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:31 am:

    Dan Johnson - it’s more accurate to say Rauner did not stop the Dems tax cut. Afterall, it was the Dems that put in the sunset and the Dems who did not extend the tax increase when they controlled both houses and the Gov’s office.


  32. - RNUG - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:31 am:

    -OW-

    I calls em as I sees em …


  33. - MasterPiece - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:34 am:

    old poll - every state employee could work for free for a year and the state would still be about $6 billion in deficit. So you are wrong. “Union concessions” - significant or otherwise - will not balance this budget.


  34. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:34 am:

    Old Pol, what “meaningful spending reform” on tne state level is the goverenor proposing? Was it in his proposed budget? What were the savings?


  35. - worker - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    Old pol. That is not true. Employees make up 6% of the budget. It is all the other giveaways to politicians friends that need to stop. Why would we put a new roof on a Catholic School? Our own buildings are crumbling.


  36. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    Trouble Understanding- one would think that competition would improve outcomes but this isn’t free-market efficiencies we’re talking about. Without union protection public servants will get screwed and their jobs outsourced. Our most recent bargaining bulletin confirmed that is what management is driving full steam ahead for. Right to work is a disaster for public servants and workers in general. Free market principles do not apply. I understand that competition can help but it’s not how it works in real life. It’s hard for folks who are not in that position to see it. I’m not blaming them. I hope they stay economically safe. But for those of us just one incident away from an economic spiral, it’s a whole different world.


  37. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:43 am:

    Master - that’s patently false. I believe the current deficit is $6 billion. According to the Senate Dems, state worker salaries and group health insurance alone are $6 billion.

    Of course, it’s silly to think that would happen. But it’s not as though the number is so minor that’s insignificant.

    Oh - and since we have to show our work:

    http://www.illinoissenatedemocrats.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5072:senate-democrats-update-budget-numbers-stress-need-for-negotiated-agreement-on-finances&catid=42:rokstories&Itemid=449


  38. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:46 am:

    === RM: Of course not, but show me more than one who is eager to bash unions on the House and Senate floors.===

    That would be impossible right now. The voices in their ears are at a fever pitch reminding them to not speak out (even if they wanted to, and it’s very tough to know how many really do)

    This stalemate is now skidding into an election cycle. The only time the citizens voices are louder than the lobbyists or Springfield regulars is during that time. If they drown out the Springfield voices in the home districts (a huge if), we could see a shift.

    These things gain extraordinary momentum fast when election season approaches. I’m not saying that there “will” be a seismic shift, but every day we get closer to the environment for a perfect storm- presidential year or not. Out in the precincts, I’m not hearing about any national or statewide (Senate) races with the exception of comments about Donald Trump. Everything is micro-focused on Springfield out there now. I don’t remember a time where the awareness level was this high. Madigan’s name comes up more often than anyone. He is a very, very unpopular guy out there. And they do know who he is.


  39. - Juice - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:47 am:

    Trouble Understanding, the reason why right to work is called anti-Union is because federal law requires the union to represent all employees, whether they pay dues or not. So the union can’t really recruit these workers, because they get the pay and benefits provided by the union, but now they can get those benefits for free.

    That then leads to a weakening of bargaining position which depresses union wages (hence anti-union), and by weakening union strength, reduces the threat of unionization and relative wages which allows non-union employers to pay their workers less, which is why it is anti-middle class more broadly.


  40. - old pol - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:47 am:

    MP and Word - The taxpayer does not live on your island. His burden includes all public agency spending; local, schools counties etc. Restricting the scope of collective bargaining, prevailing wage rules, minimum wages, pension and health benefits, Workers Comp, etc will have a significant impact on public spending far beyond the 6% of employee payroll. Granting locals,school districts and universities the right to file bankruptcy and relief from a whole host of mandates will also help reduce the burden. These are all things Cost of government) the legislature can impact. Rauner is looking at the whole landscape of public spending and sees the opportunities. Unions and the legislators they influence/control stand in the way.


  41. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:48 am:

    ==The Governor has put his proposal forward, what is the Democrats counter?==

    The counter offer was ==NO. NOTHING.==. To which Rauner’s revised offer was ==YES. ALL OF IT.==.

    Like children negotiating over which ice cream flavor to order, when they could just order two different scoops in one cup.


  42. - Sue - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    What those of you arguing for the status quo totally fail to recognize is that given the supreme courts decision, the State is faced with paying off the pension debt while all other services will be roasted. Give Rauner his due he is honestly trying to educate our State that we cannot continue down the same path. Absent his reforms, the state will lag in terms of growth and provision of needed services down the road. Madigan and others got us into this mess so why should we think Madigan has a solution


  43. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:50 am:

    RNUG- ordinarily your option a)pitchforks, even tongue in cheek, would excite me, but I just finished. “The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power”. It’s a great read. I don’t think option a) will happen in the US again.


  44. - Be careful out there - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    So for nine months most commenters here have predicted doom for Rauner’s m.o. He’ll have to cave to Madigan. The state can’t survive spending cuts. Republicans will pay a big price.
    Then we see the first polling (thanks Rich) and we find that, out in Illinois, Rauner is winning and Madigan is losing. Old truths have crumbled. New truths take hold. As the man who comments on everything says, Are ya paying attention?
    If universities and agencies can take these hits and adapt, and the people who were supposed to be angry are siding with the governor and not Madigan-Cullerton, then why do all those approps ever need to return to what they were? This can be the new normal and the sun will still rise over Illinois.


  45. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    Sue:

    What you fail to recognize is that until the Governor realizes that all of his “reforms” aren’t going to pass we will continue with this stalemate.

    I’ve not seen anybody argue for the status quo. Arguing against the Governor’s ideas isn’t arguing for the status quo.

    Come back to reality with the rest of us because until people can live in that reality we’ll continue to live this nightmare. The Gov’s agenda isn’t all going to pass. Accept it.

    Tell me Sue, what is the problem with working on some of his “reforms” that have a chance of passing? Why not get a couple of wins where you can. The anti-union stuff isn’t going anywhere? Why continue to demand something that is impossible to acheive?


  46. - Not quite a majority - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    Thanks Honeybear. You said it succinctly and to the point. Right to work is a a right only for the employer, not the employee. I really wish people who haven’t worked for a state agency would come to understand this.


  47. - RNUG - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    -Honeybear-

    I honestly think the public is too complacent to do anything other than wait for c). And if that is not blow-out decisive, the stalemate will continue.


  48. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    ==What those of you arguing for the status quo totally fail to recognize is that given the supreme courts decision, the State is faced with paying off the pension debt while all other services will be roasted.==

    Not if we raise revenue.

    ==Give Rauner his due he is honestly trying to educate our State that we cannot continue down the same path.==

    No, he’s not. He’s absolutely not. He’s still selling the same “We can get out of our pension debt with just a bit more clever lawyering!” snake oil.

    ==Absent his reforms, the state will lag in terms of growth and provision of needed services down the road.==

    There’s no indication that his anti-union fanfic will fix the state budget; in fact, he often cloaks it in terms of helping state workers get MORE money.

    ==Madigan and others got us into this mess so why should we think Madigan has a solution==

    Recognizing the stone cold fact that Rauner doesn’t have a solution =/ thinking Madigan has all the answers. They can both be wrong.


  49. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    ==This can be the new normal ==

    That’s a scary statement right there. And what’s more scary is that there are apparently people who believe it.


  50. - ZC - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:57 am:

    I’ll second Dan Johnson here: Let’s not forget, Rauner’s pledge all throughout 2013-14 to roll back the 5% income tax rate (-five percent-!! oh no!! the humanity!), and his ridiculous promises that would all be no problem, we’d find the revenue to plug that easily, heck we’d grow right past it and -increase- state spending, etc., remains the centerpiece of his irresponsibility. The Chicago Tribune going all-in on Rauner’s pledge here remains their (recent) original sin. Keep in mind here this way all way past when the courts had made it crystal clear, we weren’t going to be able to cut our way out of the pension obligations.

    If we had that additional 1.25% coming in, the state would still be in trouble, but we wouldn’t be bleeding.

    And Rauner and his backers can’t have it both ways. He’s blaming the Democrats now for ignoring his “mandate” from 2014 - which included rolling back the income tax, which they honored - and now at the same time people are posting here, “Well, yeah, the Democrats should have just totally ignored Rauner back last Nov-Dec.” So are the House Dems supposed to listen to Rauner and his election victory, or are they supposed to ignore it? I’m getting confused.


  51. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:58 am:

    ==The taxpayer does not live on your island.==

    Pretty much any time someone ropes off “taxpayers” as a separate entity from state workers or union members, they’re speaking nonsense.


  52. - MasterPiece - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    Ok, Mr Sleep, you win. If all state employees work for free, the deficit disappears. So to be fair, lets cut their wages and benefits in half. Where do the other cuts come from?


  53. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:01 am:

    ==Then we see the first polling (thanks Rich) and we find that, out in Illinois, Rauner is winning and Madigan is losing.==

    Well, the “first” polling showed Rauner’s approval rating dropping 20 points in his first hundred days, but never let the facts get in the way of a good story, I suppose…


  54. - old pol - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:02 am:

    Given the magnitude of the state’s fiscal problems “a couple of wins” for appearance sake are not enough. Rauner needs to reform public spending at all levels of government. He needs, however, to do a better job of educating the taxpayers about the fact they have enjoyed a level of services not paid for under current levels of taxing, fees and fines. He also needs to better explain how the state legislature has in many cases dictated the cost of government at local levels. Finally, he needs to educate the people about the inherent conflict of interest in the public union collective bargaining process and push for reforms to address each of these problems.


  55. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:03 am:

    ==Rauner is winning and Madigan is losing==

    What does that even mean? Anybody that thinks anyone is winning is full of it.


  56. - The Equalizer - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:03 am:

    Franks sounds like the guy that should be Governor.


  57. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    Old Pol, so you’re the one with the fiscal and economic analysis of the governor’s political agenda!

    Can the rest of us see it?


  58. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:12 am:

    ===Well, the “first” polling showed Rauner’s approval rating dropping 20 points in his first hundred days, but never let the facts get in the way of a good story, I suppose…===

    - Arsenal -

    “Forget it, they’re rolling… “


  59. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    Why, oh why, does Madigan keep propping Sue Scherer up in Dem primaries? What an embarrassment.


  60. - From the 'Dale to HP - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:16 am:

    Be careful out there ====So for nine months most commenters here have predicted doom for Rauner’s m.o. He’ll have to cave to Madigan… Then we see the first polling (thanks Rich) and we find that, out in Illinois, Rauner is winning and Madigan is losing. Old truths have crumbled. New truths take hold.====

    Rahm was winning those first few months of 2011 and even into 2012 too. Winning a battle here or there doesn’t matter if you’re losing the war.


  61. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:16 am:

    -OW-

    I mean, granted, Rauner’s ratings were going to plummet no matter what he did, ’cause the job just sucks that much. But there’s no serious indication that he’s…I don’t know, prevailing, here. Dems aren’t wobbling. They’re not retiring in greater numbers than the Republicans. They don’t seem to be facing serious primary challenges (but I might have missed something, there).

    And the same goes for GA Republicans, too (though, of course, you would expect them to be a much hardier bunch given their limited numbers)! No one has moved the front line yet, and I’m suspicious that they will before 2016.


  62. - old pol - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    Word - I am fortunate to have the best evidence to support Rauner’s agenda is the preferred agenda. He won the popular election against the guy who wanted to raise taxes and maintain the status quo.


  63. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:32 am:

    Lincoln - and what’s even worse is that he could’ve backed Winston Taylor. I actually wish the HGOP would recruit him, but I doubt he’s interested anymore.


  64. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:33 am:

    ===He won the popular election against the guy who wanted to raise taxes and maintain the status quo.===

    When Rauner signs that huge tax increase, than what’s your argument?


  65. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:37 am:

    There is no such thing as “right to work”.

    There is no “Right” being given to anyone. And if anything Rights are being taken away.

    The only reason “cons” call it “right to work” is to confuse.

    Repeating: there is no such thing as “right to work”.


  66. - walker - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:37 am:

    For commenters on both sides to claim that either side has “refused to budge” is simply wrong.

    Dems have formally proposed significant spending cuts, DCEO reforms, some changes to Workers’ Compensation, and a property tax freeze. Now Frank’s has specified tax reforms of the type Rauner generally discussed.

    Rauner has signaled he is willing to forego some of his Turnaround items for now, and is willing to consider the required tax increases, but has stood firm on the union related ones. Rauner’s own budget proposal is not that far from Madigan’s.

    We are at an impasse, but not because there has been no movement at all. It’s because further movement has been stalled for months now. And it remains a game of political chicken over who will take the bulk of the blame for a tax increase that both sides know for certain will be needed.


  67. - old pol - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:39 am:

    OW - I won’t blame the guy paying a ransom to extortionists.


  68. - Facts are Stubborn Things - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    Seems to me it is the Republican Gov. who is insisting on non budget items first before he will talk about the budget. MJM has said a million times that the budget is the number one problem facing the state of Illinois! It is the Gov. who needs to drop his non budget items and come to the table in moderation to compromise on cuts and revenue to give us a budget.


  69. - Liberty - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    Meanwhile Forbes writes about Illinois not being one of the highest taxed states according to the free market Tax Foundation:

    http://www3.forbes.com/business/the-worst-states-for-taxes/?kwp_0=22248&utm_campaign=Worst-States-Taxes&utm_source=FacebookTest1&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=3&kwp_4=149773&kwp_1=162145


  70. - Sue - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    To demoralized. Other then claiming that they addressed workers comp reform- please enlighten us as to which of Rauners proposed reforms the Dems have stated any willingness to address. We are living in two realities- unfortunately your reality has resulted in the State’s current situation.


  71. - Facts are Stubborn Things - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:43 am:

    Time for a grand bargain and the understanding from this gov. that a call for his “turn around agenda” will need to be taken up again during the 2016 legislative elections.


  72. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:45 am:

    - old pol -,

    Rauner is the extortionist. Please keep up.

    - Arsenal -,

    I look forward to the ILGOP GA to run embracing the state shutdown. Then I’ll know.


  73. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    Walker- The DCEO PPP was a total poison pill for the administration. The three year sunset, the structure of the new corporation was a non starter for them. Rauner would veto it in a heartbeat if it got to his desk. In addition the Franks stuff, especially the elimination of enterprise zones WOULD KILL, and I mean DESTROY, the rural communitees who rely on those for investment. Thus I don’t know if the Dems have done all that much as far as movement. But there again I’ve been known to be totally wrong.


  74. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    Sue:

    Ok Sue. So how’s stomping your feet and telling us all that we have to enact Rauner’s reforms working out for you? That’s what I thought.

    My point, and the point of all sane people around, is that the anti-union stuff isn’t going anywhere. Period. End of story. So I’ll ask you again - why continue to demand it?

    And, I’ll say this again to, nowhere have I said I am for the status quo. You continue to push your nonsense that anybody that doesn’t side with Rauner wants the status quo.

    So Sue, when you want to live in the real world of possibilities rather than your world of whining because nobody will listen then let me know. Me? I’m interested in everyone working on something that can actually be accomplished rather than engaging in the continued hyperpartisan whining that you and others like you engage in.


  75. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 10:58 am:

    old pol:

    Yes, the Governor won. But guess what - the Democrats also won the General Assembly. So, we can play this juvenile game of attempting to say that the “people” are on the Governors side or we can live in the real world and realize that both the Governor and the General Assembly have to deal with each other. Comprende?


  76. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    The potential budget crisis cannot be addressed until the state moves beyond the governors blackmail.


  77. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    ==What troubles me is that instead of seeking this middle ground, both sides have come to agree on a destructive shared delusion that it’s OK for taxpayers to suffer as long as the other side of the aisle takes the blame.==

    All of you on the blame game train read that sentence very slowly. And then read it again. Because the Representative is exactly right.


  78. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:06 am:

    “what is the problem with working on some of his “reforms” that have a chance of passing? Why not get a couple of wins where you can. The anti-union stuff isn’t going anywhere? Why continue to demand something that is impossible to acheive?”

    I strongly agree with this, and with 47th Ward’s excellent comment yesterday. Rauner should take what victories he can get today, and if he wants more, he should work for it and try to get it in the future. He can build consensus, win elections, etc.

    I remember hearing Madigan say recently that if Rauner wants more workers comp reform than what the House passed, something could roll through the GA to get it done.


  79. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    Would it be reasonable to address the current fiscal disaster without preconditions?

    One principal would be against that, based on public statements and actions up to now.

    Guess who?


  80. - Joe M - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    ==If universities and agencies can take these hits and adapt==

    Word I’m hearing is that without a state budget and money going to higher ed, a number of the state universities will run out of money by March, and wont’ be able to make payroll. I would not call that adapting.


  81. - Original Rambler - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    It seems to me that if Rauner were to back off the wages and hours, but insist on some reform to the union’s right to bargain over terms and conditions of work he could make some headway. I don’t think public administrators care so much about the wages but hate ceding control over how the work gets done. This would be a big help to local governments.


  82. - concern1 - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    The elections are coming probably before a budget so as voters in this state its time to send a message to all of the stubborn legislators…vote them out and as for the governor act on Amendment 31 now


  83. - Union Man - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    @Team Sleep 9:43. What Portion of the 6$ billion is current salaries? The AMOUNT the pension is underfunded is a fiction based on false assumptions of inflation over the past 20 years.


  84. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    Union - the $4.27 billion appears to be for current salaries because the pension payment is $6.9 billion. I’ll admit to being in the dark when it comes to the $1.7 billion or so in group health.


  85. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    Original Rambler-but insist on some reform to the union’s right to bargain over terms and conditions of work he could make some headway.-

    Nope not at all. AFSCME negotiators would never agree to that. Sorry but that would be used as an excuse to privatize jobs. Not going to happen.


  86. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    ===Would it be reasonable to address the current fiscal disaster without preconditions?===

    This is the exact question every flippin’ reporter should be asking the gov when he makes an appearance. Oy. I don’t understand why some people are giving him a pass for holding the state hostage.


  87. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    IRMA and the IMA don’t like the Franks tax plan.

    http://www.savejobs.info/#!stop-jack-franks/cml1


  88. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 12:34 pm:

    FKA @9:48 AM with the most succinct and sadly funny summary I’ve seen. Great work.

    Could the problem be that neither Rauner nor Madigan want compromise?

    Both think they are winning; Rauner has his favorability polls, while Madigan is confident in winning elections next cycle.


  89. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    Union - as a follow-up to your query, I went back to a good source for that. The SJ-R has a database of employees. At the end of 2014, a hair over 82K employees made nearly $4.8 billion in compensation alone.


  90. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 1:53 pm:

    and the $1.7 B health insurance is all current costs, in fact less than current costs


  91. - Norseman - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    === and the $1.7 B health insurance is all current costs, in fact less than current costs ===

    You’re right, it’s lower than what’s needed.


  92. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 2:03 pm:

    Demoralized:

    Franks is wrong.

    I don’t think Madigan cares who gets the blame.

    I certainly don’t see him working real hard to try to blame either Rauner or House Republicans.

    Republicans are trying to make taxes the number one issue, and for every Democrat who votes against the Rauner tax hike, Madigan doesn’t have to do any work.


  93. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 2:05 pm:

    ===I certainly don’t see him working real hard to try to blame either Rauner or House Republicans.===

    Then you’re not paying attention.


  94. - burbanite - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 3:45 pm:

    Did I miss a Rauner tax hike?


  95. - Daniel Plainview - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 4:12 pm:

    Wait a minute. I understand Rauner telling people the Democrats won’t decimate unions because Madigan won’t let them, but you’re telling me he and the superstars actually believe it?

    Dumb on a whole new level.


  96. - RNUG - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 4:24 pm:

    Since no one wants to move, pretty soon, instead of talking about the Turnaround Plan, we’ll be talking about the Burn It Down Plan.


  97. - illini - Wednesday, Sep 30, 15 @ 4:30 pm:

    Pompous polemics and pedantic pandering will never solve our problems!!!!!!

    Get real.


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