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Drury says Rauner and Madigan don’t want a budget

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* From Rep. Scott Drury…

From my vantage point in the House, it has become increasingly clear that neither Governor Rauner nor House Speaker Mike Madigan wants a budget. Each is more concerned with the upcoming election and preserving power than the best interests of the public. Had both sides been forced to simultaneously submit truly balanced budgets back in 2015 – as I publicly called for – all of this would have been avoided. That is type of honest change Illinois yearns for.

…Adding… Morty in comments

The first sentence is fairly true….the rest is Drury being Drury (insufferable, egotistical, and self-serving)

Drury can be correct on a small matter and ultimately lose on the message because…he wouldn’t be Drury otherwise.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Cullerton to Rauner: Don’t give up on a deal

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* From the Senate President’s office…

With time counting down to the end of the state’s budget year, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton urged the governor to use the coming days to reach an agreement. The following comment is in response to the governor already talking about ordering more Special Sessions beyond Friday, June 30 and can be attributed to John Patterson, spokesman for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton:

“It’s Wednesday. Now is not the time for the governor to give up. Now is the time to find agreement. People are counting on us. Jobs, schools, vital services all hang in the balance. The avenue to success is there. We would hope that the governor would finally show the willingness to end this impasse and end the chaos.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


Countdown to ultimate crisis begins

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Oy…


- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** Rauner threatens endless special session

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Press release…

Governor Bruce Rauner today released the following statement regarding the General Assembly’s budget negotiations:

“If the legislature fails to send a balanced budget package to my desk by Friday, we will have no choice but to keep them in session until they get the job done.”

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Tina Sfondeles got the Madigan response

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown called extra special session days “not surprising.”

“All he [Rauner] needs to do is understand that the Legislature has gone way past middle ground to compromise,” Brown said. “We’ve been working on his reforms.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…

Democratic candidate for governor Daniel Biss released the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s threat to extend special session if the legislature does not pass a balanced budget by Friday.

“The Senate did its job and passed a budget. Instead of holding the state hostage to costly stunts, demands, and political manipulation, he needs to sit down with Speaker Madigan, make hard decisions and find compromise, and end this madness.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   81 Comments      


Negative mailers land in House Democratic districts

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) just sent me a photo of a mail piece that landed in her district yesterday…

* She also sent me this text…

I just voted to freeze property taxes. Regardless if I liked the bill or not I took the vote in order to compromise with the Governor on his non budgetary demands. The 46th district and the entire state of Illinois desperately need a budget. It is time for the Governor to stop spending his money on mail and do his job.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* AP

Madigan demands of Rauner signal doom for budget deal

House Democrats are advancing legislation this week designed to get a budget deal by appeasing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on the tangential issues he’s demanded.

But a spending plan that has been absent in Illinois for two years appears doomed in advance of Saturday’s start of another fiscal year. That’s because House Speaker Michael Madigan is making his own non-budget demands.

The Chicago Democrat wants Rauner to sign an education funding overall, OK insurance-rate regulation in workers’ compensation and more.

That’s unlikely. Madigan says, “That’s his decision, not my decision.”

* The Question: Percentage chance that this will all be wrapped up by this Friday night at 11:59? And don’t forget to explain your answer.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Rumor patrol: Dumpster edition

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* I received this photo earlier today…

* Along with this text message…

The Senate janitors told me that they have to take the trash to the Stratton now because the dumpsters were just removed because state didn’t pay? Might want to check

I’ve since seen some tweets and Facebook posts about it.

* So, I checked with Secretary of State Jesse White’s spokesman Dave Druker. The SoS controls the Statehouse, so they’re in charge.

Dave told me that the contract is expiring with the current garbage collection provider, so it’s now removing its dumpsters. The new provider, which submitted a lower bid, is starting on Monday.

In the interim, janitors will have to take the trash to the Stratton Building.

* It would’ve been a great story, though.

*** UPDATE ***  I’ll bow to popular demand and make this a caption contest.

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      


The House Democratic perspective

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Rep. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) posted this to his Instagram account regarding today’s House floor votes on the Democrats’ “non-budget” bills. His frustration and anger is palpable

House Democrats have attempted time and time again to try to compromise with the Governor and House Republicans on their non-budgetary items yet they continue to say it’s not enough. We give them 70% of what they want on Workers Compensation, the reply? It’s NOT enough! We give them 80% of what they want on local government consolidation, the reply? It’s NOT enough! We give them 90% on pensions, the reply? It’s NOT enough. Compromise is not the same as ceding to ultimatums.

* Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) on Twitter

* From today’s floor debate…


- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      


Rep. Brady to Rauner and Madigan: Back the heck off

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) was interviewed by WJBC this morning.

Despite frequent prodding by the hosts to attack Speaker Madigan and the Democrats, Rep. Brady tried to remain as focused as he could on the actual progress being made behind the scenes.

Brady is right about that. Rank and file House Democrats and Republicans have been working together to try to resolve some issues, like property taxes, workers’ comp, pensions, etc.

The problem isn’t necessarily with the members, it’s the two guys at the top of the food chain who can’t resist trying to knock this off the rails. Gov. Rauner has done this time and time again, of course, and Speaker Madigan appears to be doing it today with House floor votes on “non-budget issues” despite the fact that rank and file negotiations are continuing. (Debates are happening on those bills as I write this, by the way, so click here for our live coverage post.)

* Rep. Brady had a message for both Rauner and Madigan

“I’d like to say to both of them ‘Just sit on the sidelines because there’s key people that can get it done.’ […]

“People will ask me, ‘What is it I can do?’ Everybody’s good at the negatives and the smart comments and that’s fine. If you want to do something positive, drop an e-mail or a call to the governor and/or the speaker today and let them know what you think.”

* Raw audio

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


We really are horrible at this governing thing

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* From NCSL

Illinois is currently the only state ever to go two years without passing a state budget

I probably knew that already, but, man. It just hit me how long states have existed and yet we’re still the first ever to (not) do this. Mind blowing.

* And, of course, there’s this

Neither S&P nor Moody’s has ever downgraded a U.S. state to “junk,” a rating that signals heightened risk of default.

No state. Ever.

Brace yourselves.

[Hat tip: Elizabeth Campbell and John McCormick.]

* Related…


* Also…

* As lawmakers spar over education funding reform, some local schools fear they lack cash to open in August: When State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, hosted a meeting Tuesday to discuss cash flow issues with 22 Southern Illinois superintendents from the 59th Senate District, he found that at least four school districts may not have enough working cash to open their doors in August.

* Budget impasse could have ‘accreditation consequences’ for Illinois colleges and universities

* Community Colleges Brace For Third Year With No State Budget

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Did Madigan really make a “demand”?

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Brian Mackey

House Republican Leader Rep. Jim Durkin says Madigan is insisting that Rauner sign off on a bill to let Chicago raise cell-phone fees.

“Three-and-a-half days out before the close of the fiscal year, and new demands from the speaker over-complicates closure to this process,” Durkin said.

If Chicago raises the fees, the money would be used to pay for 911 services. The bill would also extend funding for downstate 911 centers, and would let AT&T phase out traditional landline telephone service.

The legislation passed with bipartisan support, but Rauner prefers a so-called “clean” bill that would allow current 911 services to continue.

House Democratic spokesman Steve Brown said he’s not sure he’d call Madigan’s position on the legislation a “demand.” He says Republicans outlined Rauner’s objections to the Chicago mobile phone fee hikes that would be allowed by the legislation, and Madigan responded that the governor should just sign the bill.

Senate GOP Leader Radogno is a hyphenated co-sponsor of the bill.

…Adding… Relevant press release…

Paul Caprio, Director of Family-Pac, today urged Governor Rauner to veto S.B. 1839.

Caprio said, “We strongly oppose S.B. 1839 for two important reasons. First, we oppose the increase in the 911 telephone tax. Illinois does not need another tax increase on this essential service which hits hardest on those least able to afford it.”

Caprio continued, “Secondly, we strongly object to the provision in this bill that would effectively end telephone land lines and create a cell phone monopoly in the state. This is reckless intervention by government with the freedom to choose which Illinois consumers should have. S.B. 1839 is a classic example of state government promoting ‘crony capitalism’ as opposed to responsibly regulating public utilities.”

Caprio added, “Without land telephone lines in the state of Illinois, our 1st Amendment right to redress grievances through communication with our legislators will be greatly impeded. This is not a time when Illinois should be passing legislation that reduces communication between voters and their Representatives.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** State gets a brief reprieve

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* The plaintiffs are Medicaid managed care providers operating under a federal consent decree. They’re demanding the state pony up at least $500 million a month. The state simply doesn’t have the money…


*** UPDATE ***  AP

A lawyer has told a federal judge in a civil case surrounding billions of dollars in unpaid Medicaid bills that trying to squeeze money out of Illinois as it heads into a third year without a budget is like trying to squeeze “blood out of a stone.” […]

State attorney Brent Stratton said Illinois can’t come close to finding a spare $500 million. He said it could pay $150 million at best, half paid by federal funds.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Illinois still has unpaid bills from July of 2015

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* ICPR

Right now, the oldest bills held by the Illinois Comptroller’s office date back to July 1, 2015, when the budget impasse began. Bills being paid on a day-to-day basis still date back to October of 2016. The Comptroller estimates that there are over 188,000 bill requests from state agencies waiting for payment in her office.

Whew.

Just let that sink in for a bit. The oldest bills date back to 7/1/2015.

Unreal.

…Adding… From the Wall St. Journal

The state owes Illinois dentists $225 million, and some of those bills go back 23 months, according to the Illinois State Dental Society. Some dentists in college towns or other areas with lots of state workers are selling their receivables to keep their heads above water. Others are asking state employees to pay in cash, says Ronald Lynch, a dentist in Jacksonville.

“There are dentists who have to do this just to survive,” says Dr. Lynch. “It’s very stressful.” Dr. Lynch, who hasn’t asked for such cash payments, says he is owed about $250,000, forcing him to forgo a salary so he can continue to pay bills and his employees.

Health care is the capital’s biggest employer apart from the state itself. Springfield’s two hospital systems — Memorial Health and HSHS St. John’s — say they together are owed more than $200 million by the state. Edgar Curtis, Memorial Health’s chief executive, says he has put off a $100 million capital-expansion project because of the uncertainty. “We hate to see projects being shelved because of what is going on at the state level,” he says.

* Onward

When payments to vendors are not completed on time, there are financial consequences for the state. The Illinois Prompt Payment Act is a state law that sets mandatory penalty interest payments for most bills over 90-days past due. For most expenses, the interest penalty is 12% per year.

Since the beginning of the year, Illinois has paid $181 million in interest on late payments alone from debts created in previous years. An estimate from the Illinois Comptroller’s office says the state will have accrued $800 million in penalty interest this year that must be made in future fiscal years. The state must pay interest on every bill from the backlog, leaving less revenue left over for other bills in the queue.

That’s $800 million that can’t be spent on social services, schools, universities, public safety, you name it.

* A look at other states

Habitually paying “late fees” through interest rates is not a practice used in other highly populated U.S. states. Other states have similar “prompt payment” laws that set late payment dates and penalties for debts in those states. These laws generally give states between 25 and 45 days to pay bills, and penalties range from 5% to 10% annually.

However, no current significant bill backlogs have been reported in California, Texas, New York, Florida, or Pennsylvania. While they each have their share of financial challenges, Illinois’ unprecedented lack of a budget has created a concept that simply does not exist in other states: $15 billion in unpaid bills.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      


A game of tax hike chicken

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Tribune

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced his long-awaited spending plan Tuesday, but didn’t offer specifics on how to pay for the $36.4 billion proposal that would direct money to schools, universities and social service programs.

That prompted Republicans backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner to accuse Democrats of refusing to “show their cards” on a tax increase, saying without details it’s impossible to tell if Madigan’s blueprint was balanced.

With a Friday deadline looming to strike an agreement before Illinois government enters a third-straight year without a budget, both political parties appear to be locked in a high-stakes game of chicken.

Rauner, his Republican allies in the legislature and the Democrats who control it agree that an income tax hike from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent is a starting point to dig the state out of a multibillion-dollar hole. In the House, neither party wants to blink first and face the blame from voters who don’t want to fork over more of their money.

“I have said from the beginning … a revenue bill will be a joint effort,” Madigan said Tuesday.

That’s a pretty good take, except that Gov. Rauner and the Republicans haven’t introduced their own tax hike bill, either.

* Mark Maxwell at WCIA

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) both agree the state should raise the flat income tax to nearly five percent and the corporate rate up to seven percent, but neither has presented their tax plan in bill form.

Durkin says that’s Madigan’s job.

“I don’t run the chamber,” Durkin says. “I am not running this process. I am not included in participating in the budget which we will see in the next two days. [House Democrats] control it, so they will own the introduction of the tax bill — the Democrat tax legislation.”

After you, sir. No, after you, sir. No, by all means, after you, sir. No, I must insist, after you, sir.

* Meanwhile

There’s still no concrete plan to pay back the bill backlog, as well. The state is currently paying 12 percent interest on those bills. With refinancing, the state can get that down to 4.5 or 5 percent, but they would need new revenue. In budget talks, Senate Democrats contemplated bumping the income tax to 5.25 percent to pay down the backlog, but other ideas are being discussed as well.

Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said on Tuesday that House Democrats “would be open to discussion of different revenue sources.”

“In talking to folks who are familiar with the bond market, you do need a dedicated revenue source to get the lowest possible rate,” said Harris, adding that Democrats want to pass a budget plan first, then tackle the revenue bill.

A 5.25 percent income tax rate, even if part of that rate is only in place for a few years for a specific purpose, would be a non-starter for a governor who repeatedly promised during the campaign to lower the rate to 3 percent by the end of his first term.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Durkin to Madigan: Have your fun, then get back to work

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Tribune

Rauner wants a statewide property tax freeze and a major overhaul of the workers’ compensation insurance program to cut costs on businesses, which he views as key to economic growth. Madigan, who long argued Rauner should not hold the budget process “hostage” to political demands, now says he has “reluctantly” given in on the need for some changes in order to end the impasse. Still, Madigan warned that Democrats will not simply give Rauner everything he wants, repeatedly calling on the governor to be “reasonable.”

To that end, Madigan said Democrats planned to vote on several pieces of legislation Wednesday designed to meet the governor part of the way, though Republicans said they feared the proposals would be “watered down” to the point they would achieve little in the way of change.

“I can’t determine whether they are sincere or not,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.

The GOP pointed to a Madigan pattern of offering up versions of legislation he knows they can’t support, then blaming them when a deal falls apart. Democrats countered that Republicans were unable to recognize a fair bargain when offered, saying Rauner was immovable.

* Leader Durkin on today’s votes…

“Only three days remain in this fiscal year, time is running out. So after today’s political theater and ‘gotcha’ votes have finished, I’m calling on the legislative leaders to resume meeting and continue negotiations to bring this to a conclusion,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

That’s a very good response. Nobody should allow somebody else to derail the train.

Also, it’s decent political cover in case this whole thing does crash and burn beyond repair.

…Adding… From Durkin’s spokesperson via text…

Leader Durkin has offered his office for leaders to meet at 2 pm today

…Adding More… From the House GOP…

Leaders are meeting at 12:30 pm in Speaker Madigan’s office

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


IMA says HDem workers’ comp bill could increase costs

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Tina Sfondeles

Madigan told reporters he plans to call four reforms for a vote on Wednesday: workers’ compensation reform, a property tax freeze, local government consolidation and pension reform.

“This is governmental negotiation, and I think you all know that in governmental negotiation, like negotiations in most other areas, nobody gets 100 percent,” Madigan said of the governor’s reform asks. “Everybody gets something less than 100 percent.” […]

Republicans also disagree with Democrats on workers’ compensation reform, including the medical fee schedule and on insurance reform.

* It’s not just legislative Republicans. Here’s the top lobbyist for the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association…


- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Radogno doesn’t anticipate a term limits vote today

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Sun-Times

Missing in action is Rauner’s much touted push for term limits. Wednesday marks the last day the Senate could clear a constitutional amendment to send it to the House.

“Leader Radogno has consistently pushed for term limits and a vote on the Senate floor,” Radogno spokeswoman Patty Schuh said. “Based on discussions today, she is not anticipating a vote tomorrow.”

Her constitutional amendment was moved directly to the floor without a hearing on May 19th and then placed on 3rd Reading way back on May 22nd.

The House has to use up three full days to read this into the record before they can vote on it, so today is the deadline.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Special session coverage

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

* Watch it happen in real time with ScribbleLive


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