* Bob Reed on Donald Trump’s $1 trillion capital plan and the Illinois Safe Roads Amendment and what that all means…
There is even some cautious, if overly hopeful, talk that sometime next year Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan could put aside their differences and craft a multiyear capital spending bill.
Yes, that’s a pretty tall order since both men have failed to reach a budget deal for over two years. Still, others say a rapprochement is possible.
Jim Reilly, an experienced political hand who’s now a senior fellow at the Metropolitan Planning Council, envisions a capital bill emerging if and when a state budget accord is reached.
That’s particularly true if the budget deal calls for higher taxes and lawmakers are scrambling to explain a rate hike to their tax-averse constituents, he adds.
“Historically, the legislature has also done a capital bill so legislators can say they voted for an increase but, ‘look, I also got you a new highway or a bus route or whatever,’” said Reilly.
Unless there’s a truce, and a real honest to goodness truce at that, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Capital bills give governors enormous leverage. They can dangle projects over members’ heads to get them to vote the way they want. Anyone think that Speaker Madigan is ready to hand those powers over to Gov. Rauner? Yeah, maybe - maybe - he could somehow draft legislation to lock in spending, but Rauner would still have to sign it.
Also, too, the governor himself just said that Madigan is backing away from a tax hike for now.