In the end, Senate Democrats may try to advance the short-term budget Cullerton backs, a salve to his members who feel too much of the budget is being dictated by Madigan. But the speaker already has deemed it to be a nonstarter in the House.
That leaves Madigan’s ultimate dare — the bet that despite their distaste, Senate Democrats will realize they are left with no other choice but to pass the House Democratic budget plan as the last viable option, even with the Rauner administration’s veto threat.
Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Evanston was one of a few House Democrats who voted against Madigan’s budget plan, saying she thought there was still time to develop a comprehensive balanced budget. But, she said, “If that bill came up May 31st, I might feel differently about it.”
That was written a couple of days ago, but I think it’s probably the best look forward out there.
* Meanwhile, the Illinois Policy Institute agrees with the governor’s vow to veto the entire Madigan budget if it reaches his desk…
Not only does the bill present Rauner with a record deficit, Madigan’s budget only appropriates – or directly allocates – $14 billion of the total $40 billion it’s estimated to spend.
The remaining $26 billion, which includes items such as pension payments and debt service, will instead be on autopilot, determined by court orders, consent decrees and continuing appropriations. That’s how Illinois was able to function in fiscal year 2016 without a budget.
Rauner is unable to veto a large majority of that spending. In other words, much of the budget is untouchable.
Plus, a line item veto would give too much opportunity for House and Senate Republicans to break ranks and vote to override line items that directly benefit their districts.
* And I’m sure we’ll be seeing more Rauner statements like this one pretty soon…
[Gov. Rauner] also asked Democrats to break from longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan.
“The speaker is perfectly fine having deficit spending and borrowing. He’s perfectly fine crushing the economy, crushing our taxpayers. He’s been fine with it, and we need his members to say: ‘No, Mr. Speaker, no more,’” Rauner said.
…Adding… This is something I told subscribers about yesterday morning…
There is another important deadline on Tuesday. That’s when lawmakers will find out whether local party organizations will field candidates to oppose them in the fall if no challenger filed for nomination in the March 15 primary election. Lawmakers may feel freed up to take controversial votes if they know they don’t have an opponent.