* The DGA sent out a press release this afternoon with a partial transcript of Gov. Rauner’s chat today with the Crain’s Chicago Business editorial board. The DGA’s emphasis was on something else that we will get to eventually, but check out this exchange…
Question: “[inaudible] Is there a message there, though, that budget stalemates going two years without a budget is not a good idea?”
Rauner: “It’s a terrible idea.”
Question: “So you’re promising there will not be another stalemate like that?”
Rauner: “Haha, you know what? Speaker Madigan has already indicated, he’s already told members of his caucus that he would love to see another budget stalemate this year. The speaker thrives on that sort of disagreement. That sort of disruption. This is his goal. He views that as politically advantageous for him. That’s a fact. He would love to see that stalemate. I don’t want to see a stalemate. I want more economic growth and truly balanced budgets.”
Question: “Well are you willing to make the kinds of concessions that would be needed to avoid a stalemate. You say you want to repeal this tax, he doesn’t want to repeal this tax.”
Rauner: “So, I was overridden last summer in a massive tax increase with no reforms and a still out of balance budget. Still, even after a massive tax hike, there is still deficit spending, our unpaid bills are still climbing. As they have for years and years and years. This system is broken, Mike Madigan has rigged it to be this way. He’s been in power for 35 years. And he’s run the system for his political benefit rather than what’s good for the people of Illinois. And this is what we need to unite together to change. I believe a new speaker, someone who’s there for the right reasons, not to get rich from high property taxes, which is what Mike Madigan does. Someone who’s there for the right reasons, we can work on a bipartisan basis to get balanced budgets. I know there are Democrats in the General Assembly who’ve I’ve met with who’ve said, “Governor, you’re right. We’d like to work with you but we’re scared….”
Question: “Alright, but if you don’t get a new speaker, are you willing to make the kinds of concessions on repealing the tax, whatever, to avoid another one of these budget stalemates?”
Rauner: “I will negotiate in good faith, make compromise, find common ground in every way that I possibly can. And I’ve done that so far.” [Emphasis added.]
Um, he’s “done that so far”? That might be news to former Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno and the House Republicans who voted to override his budget and tax vetoes, but whatever. Then again, he did say “in every way that I possibly can,” so maybe that’s his out.
* Anyway, I sent a quick text message to 15 House Democrats asking them if they’d heard Madigan say he’d love to see another budget stalemate this year. I’ve heard back from 13 so far and they all said a version of “No.”
Here’s a few of the texted replies I’ve received so far. I talked to one on the phone because she was driving. Some texts, as you will see, are ever so slightly edited…
F— no. What a liar… You guys have to call him out on that s—.
Nope! We haven’t even discussed the budget yet. We have had two caucus meetings and they have focused on the hospital assessment and sb444. He’s making s— up again
No. Nothing like it
Uh no!! And all the members are wanting a budget as far as I know. What a weirdo.
No - we just talked about the Hospital Assessment in Caucus. I’ll check around. The consensus we have is he wouldn’t do that in an election year. [And then several minutes later] Called a few folks I trust and it’s a negative on that statement that I could find. I’ve never heard the speaker say that. Honestly, a budget impasse makes the rank and file look bad as well
He has not said that to me or in caucus. That would not be well received and I do not believe he would say that.
…Adding… Steve Brown says Madigan hasn’t said what the governor claimed. Also, too…