* A bit too dramatic for my tastes, but they’re not wrong, except for the fact that the governor has yet to propose a truly balanced budget. From a Daily Herald editorial entitled “Enough! Time for leaders, lawmakers to quit the politics and produce a budget”…
For two years in a row, rather than produce a balanced budget that will require real, practical spending restraints and let his party members stand accountable for them, House Speaker Michael Madigan has delivered a budget calling for billions of dollars more in spending than revenues will support. This year the deficit is $7 billion.
And as heinous as such a brazen political act is, remember this: His members have let him do it. No suburban Democrats — nor downstate nor Chicago Democrats, for that matter — have stood at the speaker’s doorstep and demanded, “Mr. Speaker, this is an irresponsible act you are committing in our name. I protest.” Only five in the House — Scott Drury, of Highwood; Jack Franks, of Marengo; Stephanie Kifowit, of Aurora; Elaine Nekritz, of Northbrook; and Carol Sente, of Vernon Hills — and four in the Senate — Melinda Bush, of Grayslake; Julie Morrison, of Deerfield; Laura Murphy, of Des Plaines; and Mike Noland, of Elgin — showed enough backbone to refuse to sign on to the sham of the speaker’s unbalanced budget. […]
Our Republican governor campaigned on a promise of economic competency, relationship building and compromise “to focus like a laser” — as he repeatedly vowed — to repair Illinois’ fractured financial condition. Yet today we find ourselves in even worse shape than when he took office 18 months ago.
He has offered budget proposals as required by the constitution, but for far too long, he has tied his support for a spending plan to his controversial Turnaround Agenda, a collection of many important reforms, but none vital to the immediate financial operation and well-being of the state.
Where were the Republican voices — suburban or otherwise — demanding a more productive strategy? There have been plenty of complaints against the other party. There has been all too little soul searching within.
The “We are worse off now than 18 months ago” theme, pushed hard by Crain’s Chicago Business (“By nearly every measure, the state is worse off since Rauner took office”) and now with the Daily Herald, is something the governor is going to have to deal with. Because no way in heck can you call the Daily Herald editorial board a bunch of collectivists.