* From way back in late May of 2015…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he wants to see how the frenzied final days of the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session play out before asking the new City Council to begin the search for new revenue to solve the $30 billion pension crisis that has dropped Chicago’s bond rating to junk status.
“We’re in active discussions on a casino as a funding source to shore up” police and fire pensions, the mayor told reporters after a City Council meeting. […]
Emanuel said he remains hopeful on what he once described as a “mega, mega-deal” that may include a sales tax on services, partial restoration of the expired increase in the state income tax, a Chicago casino and pension relief for police and fire and Chicago teachers.
“We’re now in the final two weeks before the end of the session. And as you know, this is usually the time — not just in Springfield, but with legislative bodies [everywhere] — when days are weeks and weeks are like months,” he said.
“There will be a lot of activity. I’m gonna be out there pressing the issues that are related to Chicago and its future [to make certain] Springfield does not make decisions at the expense of Chicago because there’s not a healthy Illinois without a healthy Chicago,” Emanuel said.
And since then? Almost nothing but destruction. And now we have a Senate plan that looks a whole lot like what was floating around a couple of years ago.
It all seems so pointless.
* From today’s NY Times…
At a meeting with the leaders of several construction and building trade unions, President Trump reiterated on Monday his interest in directing hundreds of billions of dollars to infrastructure investments, some of it from the federal government, union officials said.
“That was the impression I was taken away with,” said Sean McGarvey, the president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, an umbrella group, on a call with reporters after the meeting. “That the American citizenry and the American Treasury will be invested in building public infrastructure.” […]
Mr. McGarvey and Terry O’Sullivan, the general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, stressed to reporters their satisfaction at meeting with the president so soon after the inauguration. They said they went the entire Obama administration without being invited to a similar meeting. […]
At the meeting, Mr. McGarvey raised one point of possible discord between the labor leaders and the Trump administration: the so-called Davis-Bacon Act, which requires the federal government to pay contractors and subcontractors “locally prevailing wages,” as determined by the Labor Department, on most construction or renovation projects.
Many conservatives contend that the act inflates the cost of infrastructure projects, and on Tuesday, Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, is proposing a bill to suspend it for federal highway construction contracts.
President Trump was apparently non-committal about the proposed GOP changes.
But just imagine how much things could’ve been different in Illinois if our Republican governor had reached out to the building trades right away like Trump just did.
* From Illinois Public Radio…
The [Senate’s proposal] shows there are many areas in which Democrats and Republicans can come to an agreement. But it still leaves one big philosophical question unanswered.
That question is whether a governor can say: “Pass my agenda, and only then will I negotiate on a budget.” […]
“It’s a very dangerous precedent to set,” [Sen. Kwame Raoul] says. “You don’t know who’s going to be elected governor in the future, and if we start to do these types of thing now, every governor is going to want to do that.”
One can imagine a future governor holding out on the budget in exchange something she wants around guns or abortion or some other contentious issue.
And here we are.