Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Sunday he will begin polling his members to determine their support for parts of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “turnaround agenda.” However, the Chicago Democrat made it clear he will not support measures he feels will hurt the middle class. […]
Still, Madigan said he will hold a caucus “to survey our members” about what the working groups on Rauner’s agenda have accomplished.
“Here again, I would say my designees to the working groups are very desirous of a compromise, but they are not going to sacrifice the interests of the middle class,” he said.
* Well, he isn’t holding a caucus, where members might actually press him about his furtive march toward all-out war. But he is offering them some “informational meetings”…
To: House Democratic Caucus Members
From: Michael J. Madigan
Date: May 29, 2016
Re: Working Groups
In the last few days, a great deal of misinformation has circulated about the status of the working groups proposed by Governor Rauner, particularly the involvement of House Democrats. Members of the House Democratic caucus, and House Democratic staff, have attended each of the working groups and have been working in good faith to find compromise, and will continue to do so.
Democratic members of these working groups have consistently sought areas of compromise with legislative Republicans and the governor’s office on the working group topics whenever possible, without sacrificing the security of middle-class families and the vulnerable.
To give you the latest information and status of the working groups, I invite you attend any of or all the following meetings. These informational meetings will be held in the Conference Room of the Speaker’s 300 Suite.
Meeting topics and times are:
Budget: Monday, May 30, 2 p.m.
Collective Bargaining & School Mandates: Monday, May 30, 3 p.m.
Workers’ Compensation: Monday, May 30, 4 p.m.
Please RSVP your attendance to [redacted] at [redacted] to ensure adequate space.
*** UPDATE *** Some Republicans attempted to tell HDems their own version about what’s going on, but they couldn’t get in, of course…
House meeting to discuss budget working groups. GOP waiting outside, say they want to make sure info is accurate pic.twitter.com/7riKJuw01q
* We’ll save the weekend stories not yet posted for tomorrow, I think. No need to rush into the non-session stuff, and, besides, some of the session stories are already out of date. We’ll just focus on today’s legislative action, which you can track on our live session coverage post.
* The Question: Do you see any chance whatsoever that a deal is reached before the end of the fiscal year on July 1st? Don’t forget to explain your answer in comments, please.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday lashed out at Gov. Bruce Rauner for vetoing a measure aimed at providing city police and fire pension relief, accusing his onetime vacation pal of telling “every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike.” […]
Over the short term, the bill would have reduced how much taxpayers contribute to the retirement funds by hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But that delay would come at a cost of billions of dollars over the long haul. By paying less upfront, the city would see its pension debt continue to grow. […]
“This bill continues the irresponsible practice of deferring well into the future funding decisions necessary to ensure pension fund solvency,” Rauner wrote in his veto message to lawmakers. “The cost to Chicago taxpayers of kicking this can down the road is truly staggering.”
* More from Rauner’s office, which noted that the bill did not pass the House with a veto-proof majority…
“This legislation forces Chicago to borrow against police and fire fighters’ pensions to the tune of $18.6 billion. Absent reforms, this will simply balloon liabilities and ultimately crush taxpayers, which even the Retired Chicago Police Association opposes. This is the same reckless policy that led the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois to financial crisis. Chicago needs wholesale structural reform to solve its problems — borrowing billions against taxpayers is not the solution.”
Top mayoral aides were livid. They likened it to a “declaration of war” on Chicago and Emanuel, akin to President Gerald Ford flatly declaring in 1975 that he would veto any bill calling for “a federal bail-out of New York City” and instead proposing legislation that would make it easier for the city to go into bankruptcy.
Rauner had until Monday to sign or veto the bill. If he had done nothing, the legislation would have automatically taken effect and saved Chicago $220 million this year and $843 million over five years. […]
“You have a governor who said he was for a property tax freeze, who is now, through a veto, gonna force a property tax increase. You have a governor who put this in his own pension proposal and now, he’s vetoing it. You have a governor who said he’s for local control, and the first bill on his desk that reflects local control, he vetoes it. And you wonder why people don’t trust him,” Emanuel said.
“Part of being a leader is people being able to work with you and trust you . . . There’s a reason nobody trusts you. It’s because there’s constant inconsistency. And it’s not an accident that nothing’s getting done in Springfield under his tenure.” […]
“Chicago taxpayers are not a pawn in your failed agenda . . . So far, everything is about hostage-taking. Maybe to break the logjam, the governor should say, ‘I’ll make the first move of good will to anybody anywhere and the good will be to Chicago taxpayers, to Chicago Police and Fire.’ But he hasn’t decided to do that,” he said.
* The war of words continued on Twitter. The Prince of Snarkness was fully unleashed…
After what happened last week it’s more clear than ever that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has no fear of what Gov. Rauner could do to his members this fall. And Madigan has even less fear of what his members could do to him.
As you certainly know by now, Madigan lumped together a $40 billion appropriations plan with what the governor’s budget office says is a $7.5 billion hole in it. The budget office claims the bill would require a 5.5 percent personal income tax rate to sustain and the state comptroller estimates would create $15 billion in backlogged bills and an 8-9 month payment delay.
Madigan’s move was at least partially designed to put Republicans on the defense yet again this fall for voting against their local schools and colleges, facilities and various government programs.
Republican threats to tie Madigan’s “most unbalanced budget in Illinois history” around his members’ necks did not phase him. Madigan’s own polling reportedly shows Donald Trump doing pretty well everywhere except Cook County and that didn’t budge him. And just about all of Madigan’s most politically vulnerable members voted for the highly controversial legislation - another very clear signal that his political side doesn’t care a whit about Rauner’s threats to retaliate.
Yes, the Republicans have their “Bad King Madigan” bogeyman, the Democrats concede, and the Republicans used it again last week in tens of thousands of robocalls targeted at seven House Democratic incumbents. The calls claimed that the members backed “Speaker Mike Madigan’s job-crushing, $1,000 tax hike on Illinois families,” which would also “increase Illinois’ debt by $7 billion and force record high income tax rates.”
The Republicans also released results of a statewide “flash poll” conducted last Thursday night which they claim validates their planned messaging against Madigan and the Democrats this fall. 74 percent of the 884 voters who responded to the Victory Phones poll said they opposed “a budget that would spend $7.2 billion more than what state takes in and force a 47 percent tax increase on all Illinoisans.” Another 57 percent said they opposed a “state budget that includes a half billion dollar Chicago Public School bailout.” 71 percent said “rank-and-file Democrats should break with the Speaker and work with the Governor to balance the budget even if it means compromising on issues favored by labor unions.” And 61 percent said they’d be less likely to vote for a legislator who “voted for a budget with a $7 billion deficit that would force income tax rates over 5.5 percent.”
To the Republicans, those are slam-dunk issues that will resonate strongly with voters. The Democrats, they say, simply don’t understand the public’s mood. They believe they have the Democrats exactly where they want them and that Madigan has ironically put them in that position by passing the unbalanced budget and refusing to negotiate on the governor’s economic reforms that Rauner claims will help revitalize the state’s economy.
But Madigan’s side points to Rauner’s ever-tanking poll ratings as proof they can use him against Republican candidates, and they’ll toss in Donald Trump wherever the presidential candidate is unpopular.
And while voters always say they want a balanced budget, they almost always recoil when told what that would actually entail. Details of the $7.5 billion in cuts which “the Trump/Rauner Republicans demanded” via the governor’s expected veto will make for some grisly campaign advertisements. The Senate Democrats did pretty much just that to the Republicans during the last presidential campaign cycle and picked up seats despite raising the income tax by 67 percent - which is a big reason why the governor has twice now refused to submit a truly balanced budget. Once the Republicans vote against overriding Rauner’s budget veto for the second year in a row, they’ll be on the record for huge cuts.
The governor has said for over a year that Madigan’s Democrats privately tell him they’re ready to work with him. But there’s little evidence that they’ll work with Rauner at the expense of crossing Madigan. Just the opposite, in fact. They could’ve killed that budget bill and changed the course of Illinois history by forcing Madigan to the bargaining table, but they stuck with their guy.
Madigan was in a good mood Thursday night as he dined with some of his members. Gov. Rauner was also said to be at peace. Now that an all-out political war is all but certain, they can come to terms with it and steel themselves for the future.
HRO Launches Digital Ads Targeting House Democrats for their Loyalty to Mike Madigan
Over the past week, House Democrats decided to put their allegiance to Mike Madigan over the financial health of Illinois, voting twice for a disastrous budget that would create a $7 billion deficit and necessitate a $1,000 tax hike on Illinois families. This is a clear signal that they would rather jump off the fiscal cliff than stand up to Mike Madigan. On Thursday, the House Republican Organization launched robo calls in seven competitive districts highlighting the reckless decision House Democrats have made. On Friday, HRO released social media ads to further point out their fiscal irresponsibility. Today, HRO launched digital ads to call attention to the unflinching loyalty of seven house democrats in competitive districts to Mike Madigan. The ads will be pushed with substantial resources online.
* Targets are Reps. Andy Skoog, Brandon Phelps, Dan Beiser, John Bradley, Kate Cloonen, Michelle Mussman and Sam Yingling. A sample ad…
* Sample script…
For State House Democrats, it was the ultimate loyalty test.
Given two hours to read Chicago Political Boss Mike Madigan’s phony, five- hundred- page budget, the choice was simple:
Protect Illinois? Or do Madigan’s bidding?
John Bradley chose Madigan.
Raising taxes on the average family by one thousand a year…
…$7 billion in new debt, the largest unbalanced budget ever…
…Even a bailout for Chicago schools…
We pay a dreadful price… for Bradley’s loyalty to Mike Madigan.
* Ms. Heil is a graduate student at UIUC’s Department of Geography and GIS…
Dear Mr. Miller,
I was given your information by [redacted], who suggested I contact you.
My name is Melissa Heil, and I wanted to share with you a website I’ve recently developed. It is called the Illinois Atlas of Austerity (www.illinoisausterityatlas.com), which chronicles the various impacts the state budget impasse has had on social service agencies, higher education, youth programs, and public health. I had two goals for putting together this project. First, I wanted to create a resource that shows the breadth of the consequences of the budget impasse in an accessible way for the general public. Secondly, I hope it can be a useful tool for advocacy groups and affected organizations to communicate with their own constituents.
The website itself is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of all of the budget impasse’s effects, but rather to provide an array of “snap shots” to raise public awareness of the wide variety of consequences the impasse has for Illinois residents and organizations. Since the impasse is evolving, I hope to continue updating the site, particularly as more information about the impacts become available. It currently features information and graphics to describe 15 topics impacted by the impasse (for example, reduced services at rape crisis centers and health departments).
Please let me know if any of the maps and graphics on the site can assist in your coverage of the budget impasse. They are available to use under a creative commons attribution license.