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Madigan warns members about GOP intent

Monday, Apr 25, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Memo to HDems

To: House Democratic Caucus Members
From: Michael J. Madigan
Date: April 25, 2016
Re: Republican Leadership Comments on Higher Education Funding

Mere hours after the House of Representatives passed a small stopgap funding package for higher education last Friday, the Decatur Herald & Review reported the following:

    However, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said the funding approved Friday could end up being all that universities receive for the current fiscal year.

    “I’m not quite sure we can get anything else done on higher ed,” Durkin said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Durkin also said:

    “The only thing I’ve made a commitment with is to work with the Democrats on human services.”

The House minority leader’s comments confirmed my predictions about what legislative Republicans and Governor Rauner would do if Senate Bill 2059 moved forward and passed in the form it did. I shared with you in our caucus meeting, among other concerns, that I wanted to continue fighting for a bill that included greater funding for our universities, community colleges and MAP grant recipients to sustain our institutions of higher education for a longer period of time for the very reason the minority leader expressed: I believed the Republicans may consider Senate Bill 2059 a final action on higher education. However, a number of those involved in the negotiations on Senate Bill 2059 felt that was not the case and that the bill was only the first step in a larger agreement for higher education.

In a statement I released last Friday, I expressed hope that Governor Rauner would not see this funding as a final solution to higher education as I had feared, but would begin working with Democrats to craft a full-year budget that properly funded higher education and human services. While I will continue fighting to ensure a full budget is passed for higher education, the House minority leader’s comments just hours after the passage of Senate Bill 2059 do not leave me optimistic that will happen.

* Except Leader Durkin also said this today

An Illinois legislative leader is predicting the months-long state budget standoff could be nearing an end.

Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin (R) Western Springs, told “The Big John Howell Show” on WLS, ​”I’m hopeful we can have an FY (fiscal year) 16 and FY 17 budget that we can accomplish by the end of May. We have members that are now saying ‘Enough’s enough. Let’s get this done.’”

Let’s stop trying to knock the train off the tracks, shall we?


  1. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:45 pm:

    Both statements could be true.

  2. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    I understand the sentiment of not knocking it off the rails, but Durkin did in fact say those things, so it is relevant to point that out.

  3. - Ahoy! - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:49 pm:

    Is Madigan the only person who doesn’t want this fight to end? Or in words that Mr. Brown can understand, we can’t not prove it.

  4. - A guy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    The Tantrum….phase 2.

  5. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:57 pm:

    ===but Durkin did in fact say those things===

    Except we’re not completely sure of the full context. I’ve checked.

  6. - thunderspirit - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:57 pm:

    I suppose it’s better — marginally so — to do this via caucus memo rather than as a press conference, like Governor Rauner is wont to do.

    Still, it would be nice to not have it happen at all.

  7. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    Agree with Rich’s admonition not to derail progress, but it’s going to be a hard feat to attain by the end of the month.

    Regarding Higher Ed, the best thing they can hope for is that the powers-that-be agree to a combined FY 16-17 approp authority. This would give the uni’s some flexibility to deal with residual FY 16 problems.

  8. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:06 pm:

    Good Grief!

  9. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:10 pm:

    ==- Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:57 pm:==

    What’s the full context? Subscriber-only?

  10. - PublicServant - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:12 pm:

    ===Let’s stop trying to knock the train off the tracks, shall we?===

    Rich, Madigan is expressing his concerns over where the tracks lead. He doesn’t want the destination to be slow-death ville for Higher Ed. His concerns are legitimate, and to the point. We all want to see these crumbs as a legitimate start. That Durkin signaled that was going to be the end of the funding is disconcerting whatever the context of his remarks.

  11. - Wensicia - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:12 pm:

    He’s beginning to sound like Rauner.

  12. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:16 pm:

    It was evident to me when this passed that this was likely the first and last payment for higher education for FY16.

    I think it’s strange that people are celebrating a 70% cut to higher education in April, when, if Rauner had proposed and the GA passed the same amounts last June, all hell would have broken loose.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I think Madigan is correct. Every day Rauner can get without taxes being raised or bodies in the street, is a day he wins. Durkin and the rest will make nice noises, but until we get down to brass tacks on hiking the income tax, it’s just posturing. Last week’s vote buys Rauner more time. That’s exactly what he needs. They are stalling and the Democrats just did them a big favor.

  13. - Ottawa Phil - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    Many have said it quietly but it probably needs to be asked, with all due respect … has Madigan totally lost all perspective & is only interested in fighting a personal battle against Rauner?

  14. - cdog - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:18 pm:

    “We have members that are now saying ‘Enough’s enough”

    Let us hope that the ILGOP is tired of being used by Rauner as a tool for his premeditated destruction of higher ed and social services in IL.

  15. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:22 pm:

    Until there is an agreement to raise $4-6 billion per year in new revenue, there can be no balanced budget.

    So far, the Governor has held firm to the position that new revenue requires passage of some of his turnaround agenda. The stopgap bill that freed up stranded funds for higher education had no revenue increase, so it signals no change in positions.

    Sad fact is that I share many of the Governor’s objectives, just think his tactics have been counterproductive. Wish he would reframe and reset.

  16. - Mama - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    ==“I’m not quite sure we can get anything else done on higher ed,” Durkin said.==

    When he said not quite sure we can get anything else done on higher ed, he mean at that time only or in the future?

  17. - Mama - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:31 pm:

    … When he said not quite sure we can get anything else done on higher ed, did he mean at that time only or in the future?

  18. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:33 pm:

    The governor’s taken baby steps so far to clean up the mess he created with his “squeeze the beast” strategy.

    As we read here, every day, social service agencies are being put out of business because the state refuses to honor its contracts due to his nearly year-long political play.

    Just like when Rauner caved with the release of local funds, I suspect he was going to lose a lot of GOP votes if he didn’t get some money to university towns.

    It’s up to GOP legislators to keep the pressure on and end the “squeeze the beast” nonsense.

    What happened last week was a start, but it’s not an acceptable conclusion, by a long shot.

  19. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:35 pm:

    It’s over for sure. No way the Gov moves towards the 15 Higher Ed funding. He just got huge press and legislators are patting themselves on the back for a small deal. They’ll move on to something else.
    Higher Ed take your pittance and go home, the 1% is done with you, for now…..muahaaaa. Bring me the next one.

  20. - Earnest - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:36 pm:

    “The only thing I’ve made a commitment with is to work with the Democrats on human services.”

    This is the part of the statement that seems most important. He’s affirming he will follow through on a commitment he made. They’ve got to build some trust somewhere and this seems like pretty fertile ground.

  21. - Emily Miller - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:40 pm:

    Context is key. Let’s breath deeply.

  22. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:51 pm:

    –The Tantrum….phase 2.–

    –Good Grief!–

    Guy, Louis, you two seem confident that Madigan is incorrect.

    So the governor and the GOP GA won’t stop moving forward at a 70% cut to higher ed and a 100% cut to social services for FY16? That would be unacceptable?

    That’s good to know. Because that’s where we are today.

  23. - Juvenal - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 4:53 pm:

    The context is pretty clear.

    This is all the money that higher ed will see in the FY 16 budget.

    If you are a human services provider that hasn’t seen any money yet this year, that might not trouble you.

  24. - Hamlet's Ghost - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 5:22 pm:

    I believe Juvenal hits the nail on the head at 4:53 p.m.

    Looks like Durkin is calling for an FY16 budget without any additional funding for higher education.

    And if that’s the train Durkin is running, that train should be knocked off the tracks.

  25. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 5:26 pm:

    I doubt anything more will get done on higher education or human services until after the election.

    It’s May, everything is linked to K-12 and the FY 17 budget now.

  26. - Not It - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 5:44 pm:

    In other news, the Speaker yelled at some neighborhood kids to get off his lawn.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 6:12 pm:

    The reality?

    The HGOP has decided to “do the doable”.

    It may be piece-meal, but if 1 leads to 2 and then two leads to a budget, then Durkin finding 60 becomes more of a story than anything in the recent past.

    Durkin needs to “sit” on the Owl, as Sandack still believes short term pain is a-ok.

  28. - peon - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 7:29 pm:

    The recent increment for Higher Ed shows the basic folly of this whole TA hostage strategy - withholding a budget is not leverage.

    When the wolf is at the door (e.g. CSU shutdown) the money flows with no TA conditions attached - what else is the caucus going to do ? And not for the first time. The future is full of more chaos and pressure so prepare to see this pattern over and over.

    However, it looks ridiculous. What did the Governor get by waiting 11 months to pass this bill ? Other than make it clear that his party is sadly “unsafe at any speed” if elected ? Good luck future Republican candidates for Governor. The electorate won’t forget the current absurdity very quickly.

  29. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 11:12 pm:

    This marks the second time in two workdays he has tried derailing the green shoots of compromise and bipartisanship.

    After his last minute ==surprise== pulling the bill failed, this pessimism and negativity sound mostly like sour grapes.

  30. - anon - Tuesday, Apr 26, 16 @ 10:31 am:

    === “I’m not quite sure we can get anything else done on higher ed,” Durkin said. ===

    Has Leader Durkin clarified what he means regarding higher ed? Has he, for example, indicated that he in fact favors more funding this fiscal year?

  31. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Apr 26, 16 @ 11:43 am:

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you’re anti-Rauner, Madigan is right. I don’t think the GOP was doing incrementalism, I think they removed a middle-class pressure point (or delayed it). That’s not saying these things can’t create momentum of their own and that it was wrong for the Dems to support it, but it seems like the people shouting “do something!” the most are mostly Democrats - at some point that pressure gets turned on the supermajority party, Dunkin or no Dunkin.

  32. - Mama - Tuesday, Apr 26, 16 @ 6:17 pm:

    === “I’m not quite sure we can get anything else done on higher ed,” Durkin said. ===

    Rich, was Durkin referring to Fiscal Year 2016 or Fiscal Year 2017 or both fiscal years?

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