* Governing Magazine looks at the impasse and has pulled out three very notable quotes from some folks…
“We probably have a different approach,” says former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican. “I was a creature of state government. I worked my way up the ranks. I was very concerned about a budget because you have to have that to manage state government. He comes from the private sector where some of these business issues are a high priority to him. He’s entitled to his approach. But if I were governor right now, my priority would be to get a budget. These other things he might have to put off and wait to do another day.”
These “other things” Edgar is referring to are business-friendly measures. This year’s stand-off has stretched on for months because Rauner wants the legislature to pass these measures before he will sign off on the budget, which almost certainly will include some sort of tax increase. His proposals include restrictions on workers’ compensation, curbs on civil lawsuits, a freeze on local property taxes and limits on collective bargaining for government employees. The governor also wants the legislature to send voters a constitutional amendment to impose legislative term limits and another ballot measure to leave redistricting to a citizen panel, rather than keeping it in the hands of lawmakers.
Many of the ideas come straight from the playbook of the business community, which Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, says is no accident. “In my opinion,” Maisch says, “we consider Rauner part of the business community. There is very little daylight, if any, between the governor and us.” Maisch points out that no legislation the group has opposed has become law under Rauner. “The vast majority in the business community,” he says, “believe that, if there was a time for marked departure from the status quo, that time is now. Somebody from the outside is most likely to achieve that change.”
But Democrats have refused to budge. They see little reason to do so: Rauner’s proposals would hurt Democratic legislators and their key constituencies, especially organized labor. “It was almost as if he said, ‘Vote against your core principles, and for your reward, I’ll let you pass a tax increase,’” says Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat. “Democrats like to spend money, but we don’t like to raise taxes any more than Republicans do. So this was dramatically backwards. This idea of holding the budget hostage didn’t work.”