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Talking past each other

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Oy

The leading state Republican and the spokesman for the leading state Democrat differ on what they’ve compromised on. Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s narrowed down items on his agenda, including taking so-called “right-to-work” off the table. But the Governor insists on other reforms before agreeing to tax increases to shore up the state budget. Rauner said he won’t discuss publicly what his so-called red line is but told the Southern Illinoisan newspaper editorial board earlier this month that local control of prevailing wage and collective bargaining tied to a property tax freeze is important. Rauner also put emphasis on workers compensation reform.

“Workers comp is broken in Illinois. It’s one of the major drivers of businesses leaving the state. It’s a major cost driver inside government.”

Rauner says he’s getting pushback on his requested reforms because of special interests. Steve Brown, spokesperson for Speaker Michael Madigan, said Democrats have compromised on a variety of issues like freezing lawmaker pay and privatizing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, among others.

“So, I think more than halfway is an understatement in terms of what the legislature has done with the Rauner agenda.”

Brown also say the General Assembly passed quote “significant” changes to workers compensation but Republicans criticized the workers comp measure passed earlier this year as not addressing what defines an injury eligible for payouts.


  1. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:20 pm:

    And just think, Stevie, if your boss hadn’t let decriminalization die, you could have pointed to something else.

  2. - phocion - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:24 pm:

    Freezing legislative pay and privatizing DCEO is “meeting more than halfway?”

  3. - Juice - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:37 pm:

    The Democrats have definitely not met the Governor half way, but I’m not sure that they can. To me it appears the Governor is not being driven by outcomes on these issues, but by ideology. The democrats could pass a bill for workers comp, that whacks indemnity payments and the fee schedule and saves real money, but if causation is not in there, the Governor would call it a sham. I think if they passed a bill with causation, but increased costs in a variety of different areas, the Governor would be completely fine with that, because he’s not actually looking at the outcome of what these changes are, but instead focused on his obsession of what he views being the cause of our problems.

    His opposition to SB 1 is case in point. If it was constitutional, would have saved the state money. But because defined contributions weren’t in there, even though that would cost the state more money, it was a “phony” bill.

  4. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:45 pm:

    So, we have three branches of government, one split between two chambers. Rauner controls 1/3rd of the branches, and ILGOP controls 1/3 of another branch.

    So, how does that add up to half?

  5. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    ==compromised on a variety of issues like freezing lawmaker pay==

    ==including taking so-called “right-to-work” off the table==

    Those were a ==compromise== from each side? lol

  6. - nobody's right if everyone's wrong - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:52 pm:

    Long time lurker, first time poster-

    I could be misinterpreting what GA passed but the so called reform does nothing to fix any of the real major problems including “aggravation” standard

    Also, in terms of reforms that Rauner is asking for, I don’t understand why employers having the right to an evidence deposition from employee is not something he is asking for as far as I know. Being able to get an employee on the record with their full story would make it much easier to turn up fraudulent claims. I am sure the argument is that it would slow down process but that isn’t reasonably true given it takes three months for each docket cycle once filed and an employer could schedule one easily within that time period

  7. - AntMan - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:53 pm:

    If that is meeting halfway for Madigan & Co., then there really is no hope of a path forward. How does Brown say that stuff with a straight face?

  8. - Anonin' - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    Thinkin’ the Southern left out the new work comp bill and a zillion votes on prop tax freeze. Both go on the list too along with the fed funs mistake correction.
    When you fail to persuade anyone, except your rentals, that your ideas are N.G. the official book of negotiatin’ sez it don’t count as “compromise”

  9. - the Patriot - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    Still waiting for one journalist to ask the Governor to explain how cutting work comp without forcing insurance companies to reduce premiums to business helps business.

    It is a simple concept. If work comp costs go down 90%, but it costs business the same, you accomplish nothing.

    The other reality is major employers such as factories want stability. This would be the 3rd time in 9 years we made major changes to the work comp Act. No one is building a large factory when the trend is the next Governor is just going to change it again before the factory ever goes on line.

  10. - sideline watccher - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:57 pm:

    If the legislature knew what the end game was, they could craft a package to get there. But no one knows what the Governor will accept. And they know that without whatever it is he will accept, he’ll veto a revenue bill. A vacuum of leadership creates chaos. This is what Rauner wants. If it wasn’t what he wanted, we’d have a solution now. Actions speak much louder than words. You can see a sermon much better than you can hear one.

  11. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 1:01 pm:

    The House has allowed multiple votes on the turnaround agenda, property tax freeze, prevailing wage, and collective bargaining. How many votes has the senate allowed? The House allowed a vote on right to work. The House did pass HB 1287 on work comp reforms. The Governor is supposed to call business and labor together to discuss work comp reforms. That hasn’t happened yet.

  12. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 1:12 pm:

    ==Rauner controls 1/3rd of the branches, and ILGOP controls 1/3 of another branch. So, how does that add up to half?==

    That would add up to 1.33 for the GOP and 1.67 for the Dems, wouldn’t it?

  13. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 1:15 pm:

    @nobody’s right if everyone’s wrong - welcome in from the dark.

  14. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    Just had a thought about our Speaker…. I thought Governor Rauner’s agenda was extreme? If it is so extreme, why have you “met it more than halfway”? You talk a lot about moderation. What is so moderate about meeting an extreme agenda more than halfway?

  15. - - nobody's right if everyone's wrong - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    For the person acting like insurance companies won’t lower premiums, maybe you could explain why premiums went down after the 2011 reform? Whatever collusion you want to imply, there are simply too many WC insurance providers to not compete with each other in the market

    Also, the whole this is the third time in 9 years for reform argument doesn’t really sway me… If a boat has a bunch of holes in it and you patch a couple, are you just going to ignore the other holes? I use this analogy because without putting blame on anyone, the WC Act has always been a broken boat since inception and we need to quit ignoring that.

    Many states including Indiana have appalling benefits/rights for injured workers but I don’t think anyone is really asking for that. IL will always have slightly higher premiums based on higher salary employees as well but the gap in premiums between the median and us should be a pretty indicator there are major problems with WC

    Finally, on the how Rauner can be sure that it will save money if insurance isn’t required to lower premiums, the State of Illinois is self insured so they would directly have savings from the reform

  16. - Honeybear - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    Come on now Brown. The PPP for DCEO was a total poison pill with a sunset. That was not a compromise or meeting half way. For Pete’s sake.

  17. - Ahoy! - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 2:43 pm:

    Steve Brown, spokesperson for Speaker Michael Madigan, said Democrats have compromised on a variety of issues like freezing lawmaker pay and privatizing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, among others.

    Madigan thinks that freezing the pay of some of the highest paid legislators in the country is reform? That guy just doesn’t get it.

  18. - nobody's right if everyone's wrong - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 2:59 pm:

    That legislature pay freeze is a microcosm of IL politics. One side bates an issue that will save next to nothing relative to state budget, media spends a gross amount of time covering the issue, and then other side responds by giving in to avoid bad press even though it isn’t legal to change pay in that manner

    Rauner and the Dems should both be embarrassed that they knowingly passed an unconstitutional law freezing legislatures pay because God knows legislature with encouragement from executive branch hasn’t knowingly passed other unconstitutional bills to sell to the media in the past

  19. - Anon - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    ==“Workers comp is broken in Illinois. It’s one of the major drivers of businesses leaving the state. It’s a major cost driver inside government.”==

    This is somewhat true if you compare Illinois to Indiana. Compared to other surrounding states, the difference is much smaller, I think about 40 or 50 cents per $100 of salary.

    ==The Democrats have definitely not met the Governor half way, but I’m not sure that they can.==

    Democrats support public-sector unions, which causes a dilemma with issues like workers’ comp. In Illinois the typical (median) public employee has gotten a much better deal than the typical private-sector worker over the past 40 years or so. So when Dems start looking at cutting workers’ comp, the obvious question is, What are public employees going to concede? For example, where are they willing to relinquish collective bargaining?

    Dems who go along with the “surrounding states” argument on issues like workers’ comp and tort law are then confronted with the considerable gap between Illinois public-employee salaries, benefits and pensions and those of surrounding states. If the gap between Illinois and surrounding states is to narrow, it’s logical that public employees would lead the way.

    ==If the legislature knew what the end game was, they could craft a package to get there. But no one knows what the Governor will accept.==

    Excellent point, and this applies elsewhere as well. Rauner talks about term limits and redistricting reform. Would he accept the latter without the former? If so, maybe a deal could be had. But Madigan is, one assumes, strongly opposed to term limits. So if Rauner insists on both, then better just to stonewall.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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