* Tom Kacich interviewed retiring state Rep. Reggie Phillips, a very conservative Republican who voted for the tax hike and the veto override…
Phillips came into the Legislature as a disciple of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s so-called turnaround agenda. He said he still believes in it, but it’s obvious in both his words and actions that Phillips didn’t buy into all of Rauner’s political strategies and methods. Phillips voted both for the income tax increase and the budget deal that Rauner outwardly opposed.
“The theme was to make Illinois better, shake up Springfield. I understood it. I’m in. I’m for it,” Phillips said. “But the direction it took, it took off on its own. It was like being on a whitewater raft with a professional helping you, and then all of sudden, you don’t have paddles. […]
Phillips, whose district includes Eastern Illinois University, community colleges, hospitals, prisons and other institutions affected by the two-year-long budget impasse, said he couldn’t watch it continue.
“And all it did was do more devastation at that point, in my opinion,” the two-term lawmaker and builder-developer said. “I was looking at my crystal ball, and my crystal ball said, wait a minute. You don’t want to see your university close on your watch. You don’t want to see the community colleges in your area devastated with less students going. You don’t want to see dentists leaving your district. You don’t want to see everything else that could happen.