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Senate leaves town, will try again in two weeks

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* No surprise here

“There’s been a lot of anticipation this week about voting on a so-called grand bargain,” said Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. “Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re to the point of being able to take a vote. That is by no means a statement that we are backing off of this effort.”

Instead, Radogno said, the dozen bills that make up the package are continuing to undergo revisions that she said will make the package better in the long run.

“It is hard and none of us are going to like this in the end,” Radogno said. “A lot of ideas that have made this even more difficult, but will make this better in the end have come from members.”

Senate President John Cullerton said he was “encouraged by the progress we’ve made.”

“So if we need more time to pull this together, I’m going to consider that encouraging,” he said. “The problems we face are not going to disappear. In fact, they are going to get more difficult every day.”

* Tribune

But a series of public hearings and private meetings throughout the week revealed too many roadblocks. Some Republicans said the measure didn’t do enough to cut costs, and Democrats who control the Senate countered that they weren’t going to pass the legislation without GOP votes. […]

“It’s progress that might have seemed impossible just a few weeks ago,” Cullerton said. “So, if we need more time to pull this together, I am going to consider that encouraging. But then, it’s going to come time to make a decision. To reiterate, the problems we face are not going to disappear. In fact, they are going to get more difficult every day.”

* AP

“It’s incredibly complicated, and the more you try to refine it, the more things crop up,” Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said.

* Sun-Times

The pressure from some labor groups was enough for the leaders to remove one of the 13 bills, a minimum wage bill which would have raised the Illinois minimum wage to $9 an hour beginning on July 1. it would increase by 50 cents until 2021 when it would reach $11. Some labor groups wanted the hike to reach $15, which halted the bill.

And there’s also concern over elements in the workers’ compensation bill. […]

Radogno’s self-described “pep talk” also included a warning: “We’re going to have to come here and take some hard votes. …There’s going to be a lot of pressure on us when we go home, on you guys from certain elements, on us [the Senate leaders] from certain elements. Don’t succumb to that. We need to do this together for the good of the state.”

Cullerton told senators the problems the state face aren’t going to disappear. They’re only getting worse.

* Related…

* Human services agencies call for ‘common sense solutions’

* Chuck Sweeny: Bruce Rauner praises Senate compromise; Dave Syverson says it’s not ready for prime time: Syverson, who is taking heat from conservative groups for supporting a tax increase, insisted that the state’s financial condition is so dire that cuts alone won’t solve the problem. He wants any income tax increase to be temporary, perhaps four years. Democrats want a permanent increase. Syverson can’t support the Senate package as it is now. “It’s not good for Rockford. There’s a $750 million tax on new businesses. Any new business will have to pay $250, and it goes up depending on the number of people you hire. That makes no sense. We’re trying to encourage companies to invest here, and this doesn’t help,” Syverson said.

* Phil Kadner: Illinois in the universe of alternative facts

* Senators pitch tax on ‘privilege’ of doing business in Illinois, among other tax hike proposals

* Illinois Senate budget proposal weak on consolidation: This bill would probably result in only minimal change, as it is unlikely that township employees or board members would vote to eliminate their own jobs by dissolving their townships.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Rocky Rosi - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    One word for leadership pushing so-called grand bargain- Useless.


  2. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:24 pm:

    This about tells it all, “…there’s going to be a lot of pressure on us when we get home…..don’t succumb.”.

    Yup, us deplorables who elected you. Pay us no mind. Rather, stay in Springfield and listen to the special interest groups,lobbyists,party leaders,think tanks. Us dummies, we know nothing.

    Disgusting. Makes me sometimes understand why 50% of the population doesn’t vote.


  3. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:34 pm:

    Kadner right on the money, as always.

    As for the GOP, would Rauner protect those who voted for a tax hike?


  4. - tobias846 - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    Syverson wants another temporary tax increase? Does he seriously think the state can dig itself out of this mess in only four years?


  5. - Rod - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    President Cullerton and leader Radogno last week pushed ahead with the grand bargain for a vote this week even after the GOMB report showing it was far from balanced. They both played it publicly as if it were a small thing to fix, or maybe the GOMB was using bogus budget assumptions.

    This is what happens when you use boiler room tactics, of forcing the two leaders, their staff, and key people cook up a deal without giving reasonable input from the full caucuses. All of the possible tax and budget cut options should have been put before the Senators to forge a balanced deal. Needless to say Speaker Madigan’s team and leader Durkin should have been given some level of input, at least at the level of stating what in the package was not acceptable to them. I don’t know what role the Governor had in all of this, I assume leader Radogno was in contact with the Governor, but probably it was like talking with the Riddler from the Batman comic series.


  6. - RNUG - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    Lots of moving pieces and they are still fitting together. I’m still hopeful it will get done.


  7. - Earnest - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    >That is by no means a statement that we are backing off of this effort.

    I’m impressed by both Senate leaders. They’re not trying to take something unpopular and ram it through quickly or in a lame duck session. They’re open to input from the public and their members, and making revisions. It’s an ugly process, and probably no fun for anyone.

    I think the least effective input/criticism of them will be purely anti-revenue in any form. If there’s going to be a balanced budget there will have to be revenue. More effective would be to suggest the best places for the state to generate it.

    It will be important to address concerns of the Republican Senators in order for them to be able to vote in favor of the package, regardless of the Democratic super majority. Otherwise, the Democrats should just be putting up their own solution.


  8. - CornCob - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 4:20 pm:

    ** and Democrats who control the Senate countered that they weren’t going to pass the legislation without GOP votes. […] **

    Why not ? Display the courage of your convictions and pass the package…are all of those people “suffering” not more important than your political careers ?

    Didn’t think so…power is more important than people on both sides of the aisle.


  9. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 4:25 pm:

    To the extent that ordinary folks are paying attention at this point in time, given all the national theatrics, this would give legislators
    time to talk to their constituents.

    And constituents will have time to weigh in with their legislators. Not by e-mail, by phone. As a recent NYT article pointed out, phone is better.


  10. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    CornCob, why shouldn’t GOP votes be required? Considering they are partially responsible for the mess they are in they should take the tough votes.


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 6:03 pm:

    CornCob,
    I believe the idea is to come up with a budget Rauner — a Republican — might sign, hence the Republican votes goal.


  12. - Payback - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:02 pm:

    Linked article re. local government consolidation: “The Senate should instead introduce legislation that allows residents to dissolve units of local government by their own initiative.” I wholeheartedly agree times ten!

    For an example of waste, Union Grove Township highway commissioner Vegter bought a piece of road grading equipment recently for $270,000 instead of just renting one from the county.

    If you want to save the taxpayers big money, let the voters put up referendums to dissolve the townships, starting with the road districts. Nothing done by township highway commissioners could not be done cheaper and with less waste by the county highway departments.


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