* Apparently, this situation calls for a futile gesture on somebody’s part. In this case, a front-page editorial…
A year ago we declared “Enough.” The day after, the governor and lawmakers passed a six-month stopgap spending plan that did not provide lasting stability. That’s not good enough.
It’s time to demand that Governor Rauner and our lawmakers do what is right. It’s time for the budget to come first. To not do so will cement their legacy with one word that encapsulates the sorry condition of our state.
* Except here’s how the SJ-R described the Senate’s fairly reasonable balanced budget proposal…
Every sign of progress has been marred by partisan politics. A budget was approved Tuesday by the Senate — with no Republican support. Even if the House concurs, Rauner likely will veto a measure only supported by Democrats. A bipartisan compromise is needed for Illinois to persevere.
A bipartisan compromise is required, but sometimes you gotta force the issue. So instead of saying the Senate’s bills should be put on Rauner’s desk and he should sign them, or at the very least the Senate’s proposal should be used as a template for a final deal, they punted.
* From the Sun-Times editorial…
That Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois House and Senate would allow Illinois to stumble through yet a third year without a budget, as bills and debt pile up and businesses and residents leave, is beyond irresponsible.
And spare us the lecture about the need for structural reform first. If Illinois keeps going like this, there won’t be much to structure or reform.
Meanwhile, Rauner and the Legislature — most specifically House Speaker Mike Madigan — have shown zero political courage. At least Senate President John Cullerton has stuck his neck out, pushing a spending plan through the Senate on Tuesday, without a single Republican vote, that includes tax increases and spending cuts.
Rauner is running political ads, the goofy ones with the duct tape, laying the groundwork for his re-election next year. But he is not governing. As we said in a previous editorial, the first and most basic job of a CEO — and a governor is a CEO — is to produce a budget. The buck stops there.
And Madigan? Mike is being Mike, as inscrutable as ever. Nobody’s can be sure if he has any interest in passing a state budget at this point, or if he’s biding time until he can run Rauner out of Springfield.
And yet no endorsement of the Senate’s plan.
The budget can’t be balanced without actual legislation. The Senate Democrats are the only people in the Statehouse who have passed just such a package of bills. If you really want to drive the argument, then endorse a specific proposal. Maybe even back the plan devised by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. Or the Illinois Policy Institute’s plan. Or Sen. McCarter’s plan. Something. Anything. Just pick a freaking lane, already.
Encouraging people to angrily vent over the phone without any direction is irresponsible and plays right into the hands of both Rauner and Madigan.