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Justifying the war

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2015

* From comments

Rauner won on the basis that he will do something different and sorely needed to turn things around in this state. Now that he’s holding to his word, everyone keeps dangling the needy out there as incentive to break him from his position.

Well, that has apparently worked with everyone in the past, which is why nothing substantial has been accomplished to start digging us out of the mess we’re in. If Rauner gives in too, what has been gained? Are we really advocating for keeping the status quo??

That pretty accurately sums up the governor’s position. Not his public position, of course. Gov. Rauner would never be so explicit about having such a complete disregard for the “needy” during this war. Indeed, the governor and the Chicago Tribune editorial board say they’re really on the side of the needy for the long term. Just as soon as the governor wins, those folks will have jobs and bright futures.

Nevermind that the promised land of Indiana has a higher poverty rate than Illinois. Nevermind that all of the “pro-business” reforms he’s pushing would lower wages for working people and/or deny quite a few of them compensation if they’ve been injured. That’s not a bug, by the way, it’s a feature.

* I am for reasonable pro-business reforms and I’ve outlined them in the past. For instance, here are three doable yet significant ideas from one of my Crain’s Chicago Business columns way back in July

* On workers’ comp, the Democrats have moved a tiny bit on requiring “causation,” a connection between the workplace and the injury. But they won’t budge further. Workers who may be half at fault for their injuries should not wind up “on welfare,” as House Speaker Michael Madigan repeatedly has said.

What about rolling back some of the “reforms” that former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law in 2005? Those changes forced employer costs way up. Nobody would wind up on welfare if those were rolled back, and employers would save money.

* I don’t know anyone who disputes that local property taxes are too high. Rauner wants a two-year freeze on school property taxes. The Democrats are willing to give him that as long as the least-well-off districts are helped.

But Rauner also wants to all but eliminate collective bargaining rights for local unions. That will never fly with Democrats.

How about temporarily limiting the growth of employee wages and benefits for, say, five years? Once the two-year tax freeze expires, the caps on wages would free up revenue. Local school districts could use that money—plus property taxes—to gradually start paying for the pensions of its employees. Illinois now covers those costs, unlike just about every other state in the country.

* ”Prevailing wage” is a hot-button issue for the far economic right, and this Republican governor is most certainly in that camp.

If local governments could pay construction workers less than union rates, Rauner says, those governments could do more projects. Union leaders disagree, saying their workers are better trained so they’re less costly in the long run. Plus, God forbid a roofer should be able to afford community college tuition for his kids.

In reality, though, almost nobody ever uses union labor to build their own home. The cost is prohibitively high.

Why not somehow tie the prevailing wage requirement to median prices for local new homes? Locally funded projects that cost less than a set amount wouldn’t have to pay prevailing wages. Cities and villages do more small projects than you might think.

Accepting those reforms wouldn’t require a “surrender” by Gov. Rauner, as the brain-dead zombies on the Tribune editorial board would have you believe. The workers’ comp idea (involving rolling back 2005’s 7.5 percent raise for permanent partial disability) would likely save more than “causation,” according to research by the governor’s own staff.

* On the one hand, you’ve got a governor who’s hellbent on destroying unions, and on the other hand you have a pro-union Democratic Party which is hellbent on destroying the governor.

Eventually, this war has to end. Let’s hope that end date isn’t in January of 2019… or 2023. We simply can’t make it that far.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

88 Comments
  1. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    “Are we really advocating for keeping the status quo??”

    No.

    – MrJM


  2. - Stones - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:50 am:

    Is it possible that we may go an entire fiscal year without a budget? I would have said that was preposterous a few months ago but as we sit today I’m not so sure.


  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    ===Is it possible that we may go an entire fiscal year without a budget? ===

    It’s more than possible.

    What’s “possible” now is four years without a budget.


  4. - UIC Guy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    Funny how quickly wars can go from popular to unpopular, once the body bags start making the news.


  5. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    =* On the one hand, you’ve got a governor who’s hellbent on destroying unions, and on the other hand you have a pro-union Democratic Party which is hellbent on destroying the governor.=

    That’s all that needs to be said


  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    ===Are we really advocating for keeping the status quo??===

    If you don’t read here regularly, you wouldn’t know what any of us advocate.

    If you do read, and even comment, here regularly, you know the answer. The answer is a resounding “No”, with many, starting with Rich Miller and going down the long list, giving as many “outs” out of this dilemma as is possible to see.

    Not understanding, well, that I can only say, please keep up, and hope Rauner and Madigan, Cullerton and the GOP GA leadership… hope they all understand that an end game is in the near future.


  7. - Bill White - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    I believe that if the Governor would stand down from trying to destroy the unions, General Assembly Democrats would stand down from trying to destroy the Governor.

    FWIW and IMHO


  8. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    Wait a minute — who’s “dangling the needy?”

    As we’ve been reminded in recent days by both Illinois Public Radio and Bernie, Rauner publicly outlined his plan to “wedge” Democrats by making them choose between social services and unions.

    He went on and on and on about it.

    Taking social services, among others, as hostages are the calculated “wedge” strategy to force union-busting that the governor cannot obtain through public or legislative support.

    To suggest that anyone but the governor is “dangling the needy” is through The Looking Glass.

    Those supporting the governor’s strategy might be ashamed of that, and rightly so. But it is his strategy.


  9. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    ==Are we really advocating for keeping the status quo??==

    There’s that argument again. If you don’t support Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” then you are for the status quo. It’s a childish stance. Just because somebody may not be for doing it your way doesn’t mean they aren’t for doing it some other way.


  10. - Union Man - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    I see nothing wrong with religious organizations paying property taxes on their structures. Some are downright campuses.


  11. - A guy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    It could be as simple an equation as:

    Someone’s gotta give in.
    or
    Everyone’s gonna have to give some.

    First person to instigate #2 is the winner.


  12. - My New Handle - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    I have not read anything to suggest that the Democratic Party is “hellbent” on destroying the Governor. Where does that hyperbole come from?
    What the Democratic Party seems hellbent on is a sustainable budget and not caving to Rauner’s anti-labor agenda.


  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    ===I have not read anything to suggest===

    Then you haven’t been reading my stuff.


  14. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    The State’s finances are in the deep red and this war is about who pays.

    Rauner and his fellow super-rich want to weaken labor laws so they can make more money by paying people less. On this front he demands unconditional surrender before he will even begin to talk about any other topic. Once his demands are met he’s willing to allow an income tax increase, Illinois’ flat tax is regressive and that burden will disproportionately fall on the lower economic scales.

    Rauner and his fellow super-rich will still come out ahead, even though they’ll have to pay more in taxes they’ll more than make up for that by squeezing more money out of the labor costs they would otherwise have to pay their workers. The working class, on the other hand, will get soaked twice: once with lower wages and again with higher taxes.

    The State’s financial mess is a huge hole that can be put off no longer, the day of reckoning is upon us. Rauner is dug in on his plan to ensure that his income bracket doesn’t have to pay for any of it.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:03 am:

    … and - Wordslinger - bringing it back to the Genesis of what is being done, and why it’s being done to whom and to what end.

    Thanks for that.

    At some point, enough is enough with leveraging.


  16. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    ==I have not read anything to suggest that the Democratic Party is “hellbent” on destroying the Governor. ==

    This isn’t your normal political disagreement. This is a war. And when you are at war the objective is most certainly the destruction of the other side.


  17. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    The best historical reference for this is trench warfare in World War 1. It was damaging to all sides involved and nothing was really gained from the tactic.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:10 am:

    - Team Sleep -

    Yep. Rich made the case, and it still rings true because, in trench warfare, movement is in inches…

    https://capitolfax.com/2015/10/06/behind-the-impasse/


  19. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    “Status quo” is defined as “existing state of affairs.” So that would be today, October 28, 2015.

    The “status quo” includes:

    – runaway, historic FY16 deficit.

    – abandonment of social services.

    – squeezing of universities to the point of possible closing.

    – stiffing Illinois businesses that contract with the state, resulting in layoffs, drawdowns of cash reserves and addition of debt.

    – starving municipalities of dedicated revenues.

    – running a fraudulent state lottery scheme.

    I’m sure I’ve missed some.

    But no, the “status quo” is not acceptable.

    Neither is the willful political strategy that caused it, all in the service of an agenda in which no data-driven fiscal or economic benefits have ever been articulated.


  20. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:13 am:

    I forgot about that. Willy - thanks. Rich - sorry. See what happens when something is referenced 2-3 weeks ago?! :)


  21. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    === How about temporarily limiting the growth of employee wages and benefits for, say, five years? ===

    Rich, the reason property taxes are high in some parts of the state is because state funding for public schools is abyssmal. Moreover, limiting growth is a bad idea. an outright Cap is a better idea. That way, you aren’t punishing the lowest paid workers.

    “After we calculate the state aid to which you are entitled, we are going to deduct 50% of the salaries you pay over $100K. Next year, it will be 75%. In year three, it will be 100%”

    === Why not somehow tie the prevailing wage requirement to median prices for local new homes? ===

    Other than the law says you can’t have a patchwork of prevailing wages?

    1) Have you seen how lousy the quality of most new construction is??

    You do not want these guys building your bridges and schools.

    2) Personally, if units of local government want to opt out of prevailing wage, I say let them, but anyone who does should no longer be eligible for state funding.


  22. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    Rich, please explain how repealing current prevailing wage laws would somehow lower the taxpayers cost of a project.

    Prevailing wage laws have been repealed in other States, yet several independent academic studies finds no taxpayer savings.

    The studies did find however that workers were paid less.

    Are you perpetuating a myth that paying workers less automatically creates savings for the taxpayers?

    By the way Rich, my home was built using union labor and it didn’t cost me a dime more.


  23. - Put the Fun in unfunded - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    Juvenal: Sounds like a building code issue. Prevailing wage says nothing about how a building is designed, engineered, or built, just how much one has to pay those who are building it. Just like raising the minimum wage won’t change the quality of McDonald’s hamburgers.

    1) Have you seen how lousy the quality of most new construction is?? You do not want these guys building your bridges and schools.


  24. - thunderspirit - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    == I have not read anything to suggest that the Democratic Party is “hellbent” on destroying the Governor. Where does that hyperbole come from?

    What the Democratic Party seems hellbent on is a sustainable budget and not caving to Rauner’s anti-labor agenda. ==

    Viewed with the rosiest glasses imaginable, the Democrat strategy is to make Governor Rauner appear weak and incompetent. (That the Governor has, at times, seemed complicit with the strategy is more or less non-germane.)

    And the notion that the Democrats want a sustainable budget would be more believable had they, in fact, passed one instead of the -$4B one they passed. They have no credibility claiming that as a result. (To be fair, they don’t appear to be trying to take that road.) Neither side is clean here.


  25. - Snucka - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    The governor is a sick man, and I worry for those who will be hurt over the next few years. Sadly, the voters have only themselves to blame. Perhaps they didn’t want to believe that Rauner would really blow up the government in order to push his own ideology. As it happens, that was his stated plan all along and his band of vipers is now in control of government here our beloved state.

    I truly believe that we are in for four years with no budget. Our only hope is that Democrats keep the supermajorities in 2016 and then maybe have a little more success running the government without Rauner (overriding vetoes, etc.). Woe to the people of this state if they re-elect him in 2018.


  26. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    -Those supporting the governor’s strategy might be ashamed of that, and rightly so.-

    Word- there it right there. There is a tremendous amount of psychological projection going on with the right. They know destroying the poor, elderly and disabled is wrong but they are backed in a corner and the only way to “win” is to hack there way out of it by hacking through the social services. They met Rauner at the crossroads and the deal was done. They regret it and the projection is a reflection of it.


  27. - Birdseed - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    === - My New Handle - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    What the Democratic Party seems hellbent on is a sustainable budget ===

    Since when? They’ve had lots of chances, you know.


  28. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:25 am:

    Sorry about the mistakes in that last post. Yikes


  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    - Team Sleep -

    I was only highlighting Rich fine work on that, not calling you out by any means. Much respect.

    To the Post,

    The “give” on Prevailing Wage that Rich cites could be more than a starting point, and if Rauner sees that as a “victory”, then let’s start looking in the gray areas of these “doable” victories more closely.

    One released linch pin could lead to a whole temporary situation be changed.

    I hope…


  30. - Liberty - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    Politics is dominated by hyperbole from the left and right. I see this as a failure of journalism and the result of the consolidation of the media.


  31. - Gruntled University Employee - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    I’ve got this budget crisis and it’s &%#@ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for &%#@in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.

    Sound familiar?


  32. - Austin Blvd - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    One way to look at the prevailing wage issue might be to have some level of parity between what local governments pay their employees vs. laws requiring prevailing wage for work that is contracted out.
    In other words, if a city crew does a sidewalk replacing job, those city workers are typically paid far less than prevailing wage. Their base pay is not based on a prevailing wage.
    If, however, that sidewalk repaying job is too big for the city to do on its own, they have to put it up for bid and pay prevailing wage.
    There is a huge wage disparity between these two scenarios, both of which are paid with public tax dollars.


  33. - Dead Head - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    As I’ve heard before, the problem is the Governor’s lack of political experience. He is not the CEO of Illinois and has no skill at bargaining. As Mick said, “You can’t always get what you want.” Captain, you hit the nail on the head. This state is long overdue for a graduated income tax.


  34. - D.P.Gumby - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    There is a continuing myth about “the extremes of both parties”. In fact, the extreme of the right and the extreme of Brucie only makes the reasonable and center of the Dems and moderate Reps seem to be the opposite extreme. Rich’s and others suggestions for compromise are like the compromise on the Fed. Budget–but the extreme right calls compromise a failure just like the Tribbies call it “losing”. That is why Brucie cannot face the reality of governing.


  35. - AC - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    All of this presumes Rauner wants a victory, a way out, a compromise. Nothing seen so far indicates that’s the case. Sure, he dropped a few demands that were throw away items, but he hasn’t shown any serious compromise. If he were forced to respond to Rich’s online above, he’d probably describe it as a sham when real reform was needed instead. I wish I were wrong, but I don’t think we’d be approaching the fifth month of this madness if I were. To me, it seems clear that Rauner wants to burn things to the ground, and Illinois will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix in his Randian fantasy.


  36. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    Rich,

    The Dems HAVE NOT moved on causation. Codifying the Sisbro court ruling on causation that established the standard is not “moving.” Rather, they are taking the issue that employers hate the most and putting it into law.


  37. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:37 am:

    I’m not sure the Dems are determined to destroy the governor as much as they’re determined to prevent him from passing legislation antithetical to their constituents, especially with a superminority of votes in each chamber. I don’t think that requires his destruction. If the gov wanted to force some actual reforms and not simply have an ideological crusade, I think he could make that happen.


  38. - Union Man - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    There are some interesting things in our state constitution. Article IV about the legislature, even section 14 is noteworthy.
    http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/conent.htm


  39. - some guy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:42 am:

    At some point the vendors who are not being paid for services and supplies will stop providing them. When there is no fuel for snowplows, no salt, no electricity for signals and lighting, maybe someone will wake up.


  40. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:43 am:

    **I believe that if the Governor would stand down from trying to destroy the unions, General Assembly Democrats would stand down from trying to destroy the Governor.**

    LOL - Rauner has been hellbent on destroying unions long before he became Governor, and long before Democrats were hellbent on destroying him.


  41. - Joe M - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:43 am:

    Status quo? As advisory items on the ballot, Illinoisans voted by a strong majority for a millionaires tax - and a higher minimum wage. Those were not items that stick with the status quo. They are though similar to items that actually were carried out in Minnesota. Last time I checked, Minnesota’ economy and fiscal health are doing much better than Illinois’ There are many ways to change the status quo, other than Rauner’s turnaround agenda.


  42. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    **I’m not sure the Dems are determined to destroy the governor as much as they’re determined to prevent him from passing legislation antithetical to their constituents, especially with a superminority of votes in each chamber. **

    No, they’re hellbent on destroying the Governor, because they can’t have Rauner win in 2018 and risk what could happen with the map. End of story.


  43. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    Rauner won on the basis that he will do something different and sorely needed to turn things around in this state. Now that he’s holding to his word, everyone keeps dangling the needy out there as incentive to break him from his position.

    He is not holding to his word. He lied to us. He told us that he would not do what he is now doing. He did not tell us that he was willing to shut down our state, not pay our bills, not help our needy, destroy our unions, drive down our wages, and make that a priority over daily governing.

    There is no defense against a liar. Rauner showed us what he really meant after being sworn in. He did not tell us anything that would have prevented him from being elected. The things he is doing now is not keeping his word.

    See that man’s pants? Rauner’s pants are on fire!


  44. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:46 am:

    Gov. Rauner will NOT face the “R” or the “I” and I would, personally, work to ensure Bruce Rauner woukd prevail in either.

    No way will anyone meet the criteria(s).

    Gov. Rauner will face the voters in November of 2018 and odds are, he could very well win.

    Elections have consequences. Rauner won. Now we all, actors and non-actors, need to push to get this situation resolved, and all need to understand 60 and 30, and even 71 and 36… and a Governor’s signature.


  45. - Wow - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:47 am:

    Eliminating prevailing wage on public projects means: the hillbilly from Indiana with a pickup truck and some equipment will be the winning bidder to build that new bridge. He will be paying his non union iron workers $10 an hour. Great craftsman!! Who wants to be the first to drive their family over that bridge? Mr Griffin? The Gov in the mini van??


  46. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    Whether it started that way, or just evolved to it: both the Speaker and the Gov have demonized each other to the point that it is beyond personal. I think both underestimated the other, and both overestimated their own power and ability to persevere. This isn’t a personal contest. It’s time to throw some water in your face, take a deep breath, and work through a compromise that serves the public at large. Somewhere under the egos should still be the seeds of being a public servant somewhere.


  47. - AC - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:49 am:

    ==Rauner’s pants are on fire!==

    Theres a solution: CARHARTT FLAME RESISTANT LOOSE-FIT MIDWEIGHT CANVAS JEANS


  48. - Union Man - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:51 am:

    Seems to me this is not “just a partisan issue.” Would any CEO/Admiral allow this to happen, how long would they remain in charge?


  49. - 'Kiddin Me? - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    I don’t get the logic of squeezing the poor, disabled, and needy as a strategy for negotiating with Dems for labor reforms. In addition to being immoral, it is horrible PR for Mr. Venture Capitalist. Anyway is this really going to move the Dems? The needy and the human service organizations that serve them aren’t exactly the land of political power and wealth.


  50. - Neophyte - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    It’s obvious to all that BVR is willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable in our state in an effort to get his TAG. He won’t budge from that until he realizes that MJM is willing to provide the body bags for as long as it takes. MJM is convinced he has the high ground willing to continue the sacrifice for the betterment of the people. It’s a tougher sell for BVR to claim the same.


  51. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    Here is what Eric Zorn found on prevailing wage laws.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/ct-prevailing-wage-debate-zorn-perspec-1028-jm-20151027-column.html

    Zorn found no relationship of repealing prevailing wage laws reducing taxpayer costs.


  52. - Joe M - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:54 am:

    == both the Speaker and the Gov have demonized each other to the point that it is beyond personal.==

    I’m not disputing you, but I must have missed the times Madigan demonized Rauner. Could you cite some examples?


  53. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    - Union Man -

    Rauner is a victim as Captain Phillip Francis Queeg, USN, was a victim…


  54. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    === on the other hand you have a pro-union Democratic Party which is hellbent on destroying the governor. ===

    1. I don’t see any evidence of that. Democrats seem more than willing to pass a budget tomorrow, and give the Governor cover for enacting billions in cuts to popular programs.

    2. A fair observer would say that the governor is doing a fine job of hanging himself out to dry. Yes, Democrats gave him lots of rope, but he demanded the rope after all.

    Also, i wouldn’t describe the Democrats as “pro-union” nor would I say the governor is out to destroy the unions. He hopes to saw the legs out from underneath Democrats by going after organized labor and the trial lawyers.

    A crippled Democratic Party would give him the freedom to roll back the tax hike they pass this year, and enact draconian cuts to the budget. It is precisely why the Democrats are not going to agree to cripple themselves in order to pass a tax increase and preserve spending.


  55. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    “What the Democratic Party seems hellbent on is a sustainable budget and not caving to Rauner’s anti-labor agenda.”

    If there were ANY shred of truth to this, we wouldn’t be in this situation, because Rauner wouldn’t likely have ever been elected. It’s precisely the fact that Democrats haven’t been able to produce a “sustainable” budget in ten years of absolute power that they opened the door for a Rauner-type candidate and lost the Governor’s Office.

    To say they are “hellbent” on producing a balanced/sustainable budget is beyond laughable.


  56. - Filmmaker Professor - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    I think the only hope for a budget, ever, is a few Republicans breaking ranks and supporting more revenue. Otherwise, no budget. And as someone in higher ed, I believe there will be $0 for higher ed this year.


  57. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    Rich, mostly I agree with you, but I do have a different take on a few of your ideas. Prevailing wages and certified payroll help insure contractors are playing by common sense work rules. Without these safeguards,employer abuses in the construction world(length of workday) are common. Secondly my home was built 100% union, and not only was it NOT prohibitively high, but was the least expensive of four bids, two of which were clearly non Union. Prevailing wage and minimum wage,in my opinion , have merit in our state, and I for one, hope that the Dems don’t concede on these issues. On any size project involving tax dollars.


  58. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    Not sure if anyone has thought of this before, but the current prevailing wages are based on the county rather than the zip code. This is fine for most of Illinois, but intuitively repealing prevailing wage laws for depressed economic zones would greatly encourage new investment and eventual economic development.


  59. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    =The Democrats are willing to give him that as long as the least-well-off districts are helped=

    That is not what it seems and the district highly dependent on state aide that also have a high level of poverty, like the very property rich suburban districts, are not he ones in the biggest trouble. School funding is arcane at best and most do not have a sound understanding of all of the factors involved in the formula. The “tweener” districts are really getting killed as well as districts with low poverty but decent property values.

    And property taxes are high, not because of salary growth (cue loop of rant from our desert friend) but because the burden of paying the bills has been shifted to local governments as well as an increasing number of required duties. Like skipping pension payments and using the money for other projects, the ILGA kept the tax rate artificially low by passing the buck (very deftly and with little public awareness other than a high tax bill).

    =How about temporarily limiting the growth of employee wages and benefits for, say, five years? Once the two-year tax freeze expires, the caps on wages would free up revenue.=

    Admittedly I do not know what the overall data reflects, but down state wages have not grown much over the last 5 years. Our average salary has declined due to retirements etc. So now you would be talking about slowing growth of salaries for the better part of a decade. Not very good for the economy. And the property tax “savings” would amount to very little, in reality you would only save if you slashed salaries.

    =Local school districts could use that money—plus property taxes—to gradually start paying for the pensions of its employees.=

    Since more than two thirds of districts n the state are deficit spending now, there wouldn’t be much in the way of freed up revenue. The state would have to fully fund schools at the 2009 foundation level (the foundation level has not changed since then) just to get the majority of schools close to healthy. Taking it back through cost shift just puts everyone back in the same jackpot again.

    =Illinois now covers those costs, unlike just about every other state in the country.=

    Interestingly, our neighbor to the north used to cover the entire pension cost at the state level. Scott Walker “forced” teachers to contribute a whopping 5% (snark). Illinois teachers/schools pay 9.4% plus a few extras that put it over 10%. Still, if we take the state out of the business of covering current costs we know that finally payments will be made with consistency.

    Rich, thanks for having the wherewithal to inject a framework for progress into the conversation. There are always many perspectives but at least some can have a productive and civil discussion.


  60. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    As long as Prevailing Wage includes the wealthy. For instance, a stock trader is capped at .000025% of the order. No need to make that much money if others have to suffer. If Bruce is going to pick the winners and losers….then he can join the rest of us at the bottom. And hey he doesn’t have to buy the crapoy van and carhartts.


  61. - Union Man - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    Chicago20 thanks for that read!
    @Chicagonk. I believe your prediction is wishful more than realistic, an assertion not proven. Which communities have been helped across the board with lowered wages?


  62. - Political Animal - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:20 pm:

    I don’t think the main goal of Prevailing Wage reform is freeing up more public money for construction, though that’s an added benefit.

    The main goal is economic growth, which is limited when you have price controls creating distortions. Freeing up labor prices to market forces would allow for better competition among contractors, whether union or non-union.

    Prevailing wage, now, is a tax payer subsidy to union contractors that gives them an unfair advantage in the market. It’s a form of monopolization imposed by the State and it hurts competition in construction even on private projects.


  63. - Norseman - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:29 pm:

    Rich and others have made several reasonable suggestions for compromise. The problem is that decision makers have to be willing to take the time to discuss options. Right now there’s no willingness to do that. Rauner’s ego is such that he wants to win on his key objectives at all cost. Madigan’s ego will not permit Rauner to come out with what others view as a victory. So sad!


  64. - My New Handle - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:32 pm:

    Interesting program on NPR creating a “debate” between Governor Rauner and candidate Rauner. Lots of turning around there. Good grief that guy spins more than Nancy Kerrigan.


  65. - Augie - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:38 pm:

    Lots of union contractors using union carpenters to build and remodel homes in my area. I know of many times were the less expensive price came from the union contractor. Keep in mind its the contractor that gives the labor price to the end user. Many non union contractor charge the same or close to the same as union dose, there empoloyees just don’t get the same benefits.


  66. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    Political animal-respectfully disagree with prevailing wage being a subsidy to unions. Maybe it’s birth originated from Union wishes, but nowhere does it mandate using union workers. I like to think of it as glorified minimum wages.i hope you are as strong in your opinion on farm commodity price and crop insurance subsidies as you are on prevailing wage. Might want to throw in TIF districts,EDGE tax credits,tax abatements in the mix of hurting free market competition in with it.


  67. - Austin Blvd - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    Rauner is doing more to destroy D members of the GA than they could possibly do to destroy him. He has the $20 million and two PACs. His directive is to search out Raunerite opponents to run against Ds. Once the filing period is over, those vulnerable Ds will be targeted as part of Rauner’s negotiation strategy.
    When you have all the money you need, you can do anything.


  68. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    The July column is a good reminder to all of what sanity looks like.


  69. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    ===When you have all the money you need, you can do anything. ===

    Tell that to Blair Hull.


  70. - Capitol View - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:56 pm:

    We’ve forgotten another aspect of the Rauner reforms - term limits and election reform.

    This may be the area where negotiations begin and some results emerge - such as more computer developed state and federal legislative boundaries setting sensitive to local government borders, and six or eight year term limits for all four caucus legislative leaders beginning today with the passage of such a law. Term limits for the executive branch is less necessary, based past history and the involvement of the public in voting. Legislative leaders are selected from within their own ranks.

    I cannot conceive that any of the current leaders intend to continue on for another none or more years in their posts, so the leadership limit would be do-able and look like a significant reform.


  71. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    ===When you have all the money you need, you can do anything to try and influence the outcome. Quantity of resources does not guarantee results. ===

    FTFY


  72. - Snucka - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    ==His directive is to search out Raunerite opponents to run against Ds. Once the filing period is over, those vulnerable Ds will be targeted as part of Rauner’s negotiation strategy.
    When you have all the money you need, you can do anything.==

    Money alone doesn’t win legislative races. Especially in a presidential year, the Democratic organizations are at a decided advantage. Even in 2014, Rauner’s coat tails were mom-existent as Madigan and Cullerton retained their supermajorities. I have a feeling that not too many Raunerite candidates will even get on the ballot in the primaries (see Drew Beres), allowing the party to focus their resources and manpower to the few contested races.


  73. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    - Joe M -
    I guess if you don’t count the MJM operatives, you could say the Speaker has not publicly attacked anyone. But I think we both agree he has caused others to do so.


  74. - Austin Blvd - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:36 pm:

    – When you have all the money you need *and you poll better than Madigan and run sgainst him* you can do anything you want–


  75. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    What Illinois needs is a hostage negotiator, some respected non-partisan person from outside the state, with no agenda, to bring the two sides together and make sure they keep talking until they come up with a compromise.


  76. - Buzzie - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    Politicians react to two things—-money and re-election. Both sides have the funding sources to continue a very, very long fight. However, the assurance of re-election can be a potential problem. What history has demonstrated is that when the “everyday” people become engaged they can create an outcome. Until these people move from a passive to an active involvement there will be no budgetary agreement.


  77. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    Can we all just quit beating around the bush already? The war is about one thing and one thing only: Whether or not to strip state employee wages, pensions and health care costs out of collective bargaining for AFSCME members. Everything else is just noise. Rich and all the regulars, state your position on this because it’s all that really matters.


  78. - Political Animal - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    -Blue Dog Dem-,

    I’m against Edge Credits, farm subsidies, oil subsidies, the Ex Im bank, and all other forms of market distortion.

    Market interventions usually have good goals but end up making worse the problem they sought to solve.

    Prevailing Wage is like that. Repealing the law would likely cause some drop in construction wages near term. Long term it would create more construction and more competition between contractors (including competition for good workers through higher wages.)


  79. - blue dog dem - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 2:31 pm:

    P.A.-thanks, I am glad you are not a hypocrite.unlike our governor.if prvailing wage were a union mandate,I would be against it.but it is not.minimum wage,I am for.I used to work in texas,busloads of dayworkers would be.picked up and sent to work throughout thw southwest.wretched working conditions,horrible hours and taxes skipped at every level.this doesnt create economic activity,it just creates demand on infrastructure and services.


  80. - Mama - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 2:43 pm:

    “What’s “possible” now is four years without a budget.”
    Rich, how can IL & it’s people survive four years without a budget?


  81. - Roscoe Tom - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 2:50 pm:

    Any legal thoughts on an Original Act in Mandamus to the Illinois Supreme Court requiring the governor to send a balanced budget to the general assembly?


  82. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 3:34 pm:

    - Political Animal -

    A free market economy is a fantasy.

    There is no such thing as a free market. It is the Governments role to regulate commerce.


  83. - Retiree - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 3:43 pm:

    Rich, I re-read the comments. Hoping someone else is concerned about a 5 year cap on wages and benefits for local school employees. Yet I only found 1 comment that referenced your “solution” regarding local schools. Hope I am not the only person who knows that not all local school employees are over paid. Just like all retirees are not earning 6 figure pensions. Certainly do not think such a top down, one size fits all solution is appropriate. This would only result in increased difficulty filling positions. And the negative view of educators is already discouraging young people from becoming teachers.

    Do agree that local schools (and colleges and universities) will probably need to very gradually pick up the current cost of pensions for their employees. At least we then know that it will be paid.

    But the state needs to give up trying to find ways to get out of paying what is currently owed to the systems.


  84. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 3:54 pm:

    Rich,
    Is there a problem with Eric Zorn’s research or conclusion?


  85. - Political Animal - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 3:59 pm:

    Chicago 20,

    False dichotomy.

    Free markets don’t exist without Government, so you need some “regulation.” But there are different kinds. Regulations which promote free exchange by increasing market information or reducing fraud= good. Regulations which set prices or otherwise interfere with voluntary exchange= bad.


  86. - IL17Progressive - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 4:27 pm:

    Gov. Rauner has repeatedly stated his problem is UNIONS. NO compromise, no negotiation, no enticements are acceptable to Brucie unless unions are significantly harmed. Gov. Bruce can’t stand the idea of some bunch of low level, hourly workers having equivalent say on anything regarding their job.


  87. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 10:00 pm:

    -Political Animal-
    The so-called “free market” is a myth perpetrated by those who have disproportionate influence in determining its rules.
    -Robert Reich


  88. - Yobogoya - Thursday, Oct 29, 15 @ 12:12 am:

    “would lower wages for working people”.

    Rich, you are an excellent writer. Why the lack of specificity here? Why “working people” instead of “government workers”?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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