* Eric Zorn…
Rauner is good at running for office. He’s good at staying on message. But he’s not good at his job.
By waving his bankroll around and threatening Democratic lawmakers with expensive re-election challenges, Rauner’s made them more beholden to Madigan and Cullerton, their protectors. By defaming Madigan nonstop in speeches, on TV and on the web, he’s driven Madigan’s job approval numbers down to just 26 percent in the most recent Simon Institute poll (10 points worse than Rauner’s), which is down from 40 percent in a 2009 poll, but also driven a wedge in a relationship that’s key to finding accord.
By ducking the truly tough decisions — for example, refusing to outline the specific program cuts and tax increases he would sign off on to balance the budget without billions of fantasy dollars — Rauner revealed his fundamental political cowardice.
Even if you think Speaker Madigan is evil personified, you have to admit Rauner’s been clueless about how to work with or around him. And even if you like Rauner’s ideas for improving the state’s business climate, you have to admit he’s proved remarkably inept when it comes to advancing them.
When he was running against incumbent Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014, Rauner blasted Quinn as “a massive failure” for not solving the very problems that have gotten measurably worse since January 2015. Rauner deserves a solid whack with his own yardstick.
* From IDES…
Unemployment rates were down over-the-year in all but one of Illinois’s metro areas. Six of the metro areas had increases in nonfarm jobs and eight reported declines, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
“This month’s report almost mirrors last month’s,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “The only difference is the overall increase in jobs is down when compared to last month. Even though the unemployment rate is lower, we still don’t have enough people working.” [Emphasis added.]
* Today’s bill backlog…
* Greg Hinz…
Meanwhile, over in neighboring Indiana, they actually got something done.
Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law a new budget and a 10-cent-a-gallon hike in the gasoline tax, declaring that the latter represents “the largest investment in the state’s infrastructure in history,” one that will connect Indiana to the world like never before.
Hmm. Let’s get this straight.
Conservative Indiana, the place Rauner often points to as an a guide to the pro-business place Illinois could be, raises the hated gas tax, having concluded that privatizing its tollway as it did a few years ago was not enough to make needed improvements.
But in progressive Illinois, they can’t even get to a capital budget and how to pay for it because of the continuing war over the state budget and whether to include Rauner’s turnaround agenda of term limits, workers compensation changes, spending cuts and property tax freezes as part of the mix.
Who’s laughing at who here, folks?
* Gov. Bruce Rauner…
“I’m a business guy. I’m not a politician. I don’t like to pay lip service. I don’t frankly like to talk about stuff. I like to do things that get results. Results are all that matters.”