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Everybody needs to do their jobs

Friday, Apr 28, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My old buddy Greg Tejeda

But I have to admit that this situation Illinois is in (and could well remain in beyond the November 2018 election cycle if there is no change in the current political structure) is one of stubbornness all around.

I couldn’t help but be repulsed by the statement put out by Madigan on Thursday – the one about the meeting the two had to talk about the state budget predicament. It came across as being little more than Madigan trying to absolve himself of any blame for the current situation. It’s Rauner’s fault – just as pathetic as all the Madigan-bashing that GOPers engage in as they desperately want to think their political gamesmanship makes them appear heroic, instead of negligent toward the state’s responsibilities. […]

And while Madigan says, “I ask the governor to turn his focus to the budget,” I’m sure there are those who could legitimately think that the state’s long-running “Mr. Speaker” ought to do the same.


* The Tribune editorial board “fact checks” Madigan’s press release from yesterday

Sentence 2: “Throughout the governor’s time in office, we have agreed to seven compromise budget bills when negotiations are allowed to focus on the budget.”

Many of those compromises were temporary budget deals, emergency money and carve-outs that stood in place of full-year balanced budgets. In this sentence, Madigan suggests Rauner should focus on the budget, not his other agenda items.

Yet for decades, the budget process in Illinois has included all kinds of side deals to get spending plans passed, including issues that fall outside the narrow line items of the budget. There is no purity to the process. That’s why it’s called sausage-making.

Very, very true. Madigan has cut all sorts of side deals on past budgets.

* More Tribune

Schools have not been served by budgets that provided them only partial funding, which has been the state’s practice since 2012. Human service providers have not been served by budgets that threw them scraps after union workers and their pensions got priority. And rating agencies have asked for budgets that don’t rely on fairy dust.

All of those entities are asking for stable, balanced budgets, not the kind Democrats have advanced.

Also true. We need a real budget and we haven’t had one since even before Rauner took office.

I agree with the folks who call on Gov. Rauner to do his job. But so should the House Speaker.


  1. - Norseman - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    Understood, but Rauner killed the best chance we had to get a budget when he pulled the plug on the grand bargain. Passage of that effort by the Senate would have put Madigan in a trick bag forcing him to deal IMHO. That opinion is based on Rich’s reporting on grumbling House Dem members. I doubt they would have allowed their caucus to be blamed for the total failure of the GB.

  2. - Earnest - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    >The Tribune editorial board “fact checks” Madigan’s press release

    It would be nice it they would fact check Rauner when one day he says a Grand Bargain is near, the next he says he’s fighting to stop Democrats from raising our taxes, the next day he says he already has submitted balanced budgets, the next day his department heads can say they have no cuts to their budgets to recommend but they provided all that in some mythical past, the next day these are his conditions for a budget and the next some different ones, the next day there should be no relief for human services to keep the pressure on, the next day we need a continuing approp for state employee wages to keep the pressure off, the next day there can be no stopgaps, the next day he’ll sign K-12, …. He has many good ideas, mad skills, but he is such a liar. And I haven’t touched words versus actions.

    Madigan has not been an advocate for human services or higher education. He hasn’t made any public case for an alternate approach to Rauner’s. He hasn’t put out any messaging to pressure Rauner to make a deal. Even so, I’d rather deal with him every day of the week than someone who lies.

  3. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    Nice to see someone acknowledge that Rauner is not the only person to be “blamed” for the lack of a state budget, or the lack of a balanced state budget.

    “Do Your Job” includes the Speaker of the House, who has engaged in Rope-A-Dope tactics in the political ring these past two years.

    But that certainly will be an unpopular sentiment in the comments section. Illinois needs no structural changes. It only needs a budget and everything will return to “normal.”

    Just like all those Rich Miller postings that lead off with “Our Sorry State.”

  4. - JS Mill - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    =Nice to see someone acknowledge that Rauner is not the only person to be “blamed” for the lack of a state budget, or the lack of a balanced state budget.=

    Maybe you know why the governor has not proposed a balanced budget?

    I know, I know - Madigan.

  5. - Arock - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    I would call passing fairy tale budgets for the last 16 years before Rauner became governor lies as well. Passing pension reforms that you know will get ruled as unconstitutional are also dishonest(lies). Being dishonest in the way you do your job as Speaker is just as bad as lying.

  6. - Ron - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    The state needs massive reform, including reform of its public employees.

    Madigan won’t have it, so it won’t happen and Illinois will continue to lose ground to the rest of the nation.

  7. - Gooner - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    The problem with asking the Speaker to do his job is that the job cannot be done without raising taxes.

    As long as Mr. Rauner continues to say that he has a plan to balance the budget without raising taxes and that in contrast, the Speaker just wants to raise taxes, the Speaker cannot do his job. It would give Rauner a second term.

    When Rauner changes his tune, then the Speaker can negotiate for a deal.

    Until then? Nothing can be done.

    Right now, this is 100% on Rauner. Historically of course the Speaker had a major role in getting us here, but now, it is Rauner making it worse and making it impossible to improve.

  8. - DeseDemDose - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    Another day, another weak hatchet job by Rauners flunky Tribune editorial board and his lap dog Kass. Consider the source. The governor stabbed Radogno in the back and nobody trusts him. Where is the Governors budget budget proposal? Keep it simple.

  9. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    Face folks both sides own this now. Madigan owns more of it due to his decades of playing games with “our” state budget but Rauner owns 2 years of it. There is nothing more needed in this state than a budget put together by responsible adults who are willing to accept their responsibility for the mess we’re in.

  10. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    Serious question: Acknowledging a budget is the most pressing need, is a BALANCED budget a need or a want at this point? I’m talking about a truly balanced budget; not one based on fictional revenue/savings.

  11. - My New Handle - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    What exactly should Madigan be doing, or have done, since 2015 to be doing his job? For someone who played a part in passing budgets with Edgar in the Governor’s office and Pate Philip as Senate President, why does the onus of a balanced budget, or any budget, fall on him. Governors in Illinois are tasked with presenting balanced budgets. Until that happens, what exactly should Madigan , or Durkin for that matter, be doing?

  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===Governors in Illinois are tasked with presenting balanced budgets===

    And General Assemblies are tasked with passing balanced budgets. Doesn’t matter if one is presented or not.

  13. - Steve Polite - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:06 pm:


    “Illinois needs no structural changes”

    I think most commenters would agree some structural changes need to be made. The disagreement is over the specific, albeit constantly changing, changes of the TurnAround agenda.

    Change is only good if it makes things better.

  14. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:14 pm:


  15. - Simple Simon - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    Rauner gained political advantage by lying and asserting that he could balance the budget without extending the tax increase, then he didn’t even try. The Dems cannot raise taxes without Rauner’s admission that increases are needed, or they will pay heavily at election time. However, they still must present a budget, even if the gov abdicated his responsibility. If it means heavy or even drastic cuts, then that would have been preferable than the current situation. I understand that anyone with a heart would not want the cuts we are talking about, but with split government, you cannot control the actions of the other. You can only do Your job.

  16. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    A useful analogy is the Cuban Missile crisis. The Soviets were amenable to withdrawing their from Cuba, but they wanted Us missiles out of Turkey. The US could agree to withdrawing the missilles from Turkey, but not if the two were specifically linked.

    The tax hike is hard enough to pass on its own. The only poll shows that only 17% of folks support Rauner’s tax hike when specifically linked to the Rauner Turnaround agenda.

    Whether Rauner is trying to kill the tax hike and any budget deal, that is the effect of linking the two together. The package it creates is just too darn unpopular.

    If he continues to insist the two be linked together explicitly, we will end up with a tax hike that is not significant enough to meet basic obligations and satisfy debtors AND “reforms” that are not meaningful enough to significantly impact economic growth.

    Horse trading is not the solution, and Rich’s post suggests leaders should continue to participate in traditional horse trading.

  17. - My New Handle - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    Since Madigan is the leader of 1/2 of 1/3 of state government, he cannot pass a budget bill out of the GA all by himself. The Governor, on the other hand, is alone tasked with presenting a balanced budget. There are 176 other state representatives and senators that need to be held as accountable with as much vigor as Rauner holds Madigan. Just because Madigan has been created as the face does not make him the entire body.

  18. - Simple Simon - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    Maybe it is better to think of this in terms of process, not party. If the Gov abandons his duty, the GA needs to step in and make a budget that is bipartisan. If no agreement on a budget with added revenue and some TA items is possible, then a bare bones operating budget should garner enough votes to pass. If not, a full shutdown should be the next step to force hands.

  19. - RetiredStateEmployee - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Tell me if I am wrong, one man, one veto. How does the GA do the right thing and pass a budget and tax increase that balances the budget? If they did, it would be political suicide. It would get vetoed and they would be left with the reputation that all they want is a tax increase.

    The irresponsible line in the sand that there need not be additional revenue is on the Governor alone. That may be popular with the public at large but the non-math impaired know it’s an impossibility.

    The problem now is much more difficult since we really need a budget with a surplus to pay what we owe. (Kind of like what we were doing before this governor)

  20. - Liberty - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    Since we have a Republican governor now where is all the savings from waste and fraud?

  21. - Ahoy! - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 3:34 pm:

    It would benefit both Rauner and Madigan to cut a deal (this might sound obvious since it benefits all of us) but hear me out. Rauner needs to cut a deal for obvious reasons with the upcoming election so I’m going to focus on why Madigan should want a deal and it’s not just because of his members and their house races.

    Rauner’s self funded campaign and all the money he has brought to the Republican’s have essentially made him CEO of the Illinois Republican party. Pritzker has the same ability to do this to the Democrats. If Pritzker wins by bringing his own money and doing his own fundraising and then spending his own money (and his friends money) to help Democrats, who’s going to be running the Democratic Party of Illinois? The guy who had to bail Madigan out or Madigan?

  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 28, 17 @ 3:37 pm:


    It wouldn’t be to Madigan’s benefit or Rauner’s benefit, more or even less, to pass a budget and get it signed.

    It’s to the benefit of Illinois. That’s what matters. Not the “two” but the “one” state, Illinois.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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