“As we move into fall, I think you’ll see some rank-and-file members calling for increased levels of discussions,” said state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington. “There are pressure points everywhere, from child care services to higher education.”
Brady, the ranking Republican on the House committee overseeing the budget for higher education, said the lack of a spending plan for the state’s universities is taking a toll.
Southern Illinois University, for example, recently announced a series of a program cuts designed to ensure the institution can continue operating into the new year.
Eastern Illinois University saved about $10 million through a series of cost-cutting measures enacted in the summer, including employee furloughs, attrition and reductions to athletic programs.
“We know that this cannot go on like this,” Brady said.
I have long been convinced that the real key to solving this impasse will be moderate Republican legislators who have been endorsed by unions. Those folks, like Rep. Brady’s ISU, often have government facilities in their districts. They don’t see unions as inherently evil. They generally prefer compromises.
So, if those moderates make common cause with Democrats who aren’t willing to bash unions, they could make a real difference.
* And then you have a handful of rich folks who don’t care what the governor might do to them…
“The governor needs to show he has the votes,” said [Barrington Republican state Rep. Dave McSweeney], adding, “And he can count me as a ‘yes’ vote.”
But if Rauner’s rabidly anti-union Turnaround Agenda fails to get the necessary 71 votes in the House?
“We still need a budget,” declared McSweeney. “We need to get this over with.”
* Even so, betting on a “mushroom revolt” is always a fool’s wager. As much as I like Rep. McSweeney (and I do), he doesn’t exactly have a huge following in his caucus. And what makes moderates like Rep. Brady so, um, moderate is their general aversion to fights to the death, particularly with their leaders, and particularly when their leaders have taken such a hard line…
Achieving a budget deal before 2016 looks to be a near impossibility. “Highly unlikely,” Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin tells POLITICO. The Illinois House only has two more session days scheduled for the remainder of 2015. Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders haven’t met since May. “At what point do they realize if they want to get through this they have to be willing to negotiate?”
Could be a while.