* 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.
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.