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Another side of the budget debate

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

* Without even seeing it, the Illinois News Network’s news director says this is a bad budget

This budget is nothing to celebrate.

In fact, this budget and the regular session that led to it aren’t any better than the now infamous 2017 extended summer session.

Yes, lawmakers last year passed the largest permanent tax hike in the state’s history, increasing personal income taxes by 32 percent, and corporate taxes by 33 percent. That was as bad for the state as it was for workers and job creators because of the long-term negative impacts it will have on the economy.

But at least there was a very public debate about it. And many lawmakers who defied their constituencies and voted for the tax increases were held accountable for it and decided to leave office.

This year, budget negotiations have been held mostly behind closed doors, with legislative leaders working on a spending plan with little public scrutiny.

* Wirepoints is also up in arms

Go-along-to-get-along politics over the last three decades has brought Illinois to the brink. Most of the mess has come when governors and the legislature agreed to compromise and work together. As Gov. Jim Edgar said of his own efforts at cooperation, he attempted to bring “civility, compromise, compassion.” Unfortunately, those three c’s have taken Illinois in the wrong direction.

It’s how Edgar got his failed and damaging pension ramp passed. It’s how Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn kicked-the-can with multi-billion dollar pension bonds. It’s also how, year after year, the Illinois legislature passes phony budgets that are always unbalanced. Quiet, maybe a little fuss, then agreement at the last minute. That’s how they like it.

Quiet negotiations today means that Rauner is no longer fighting back like he used to.

Maybe his political calculations tell him to go along to get along – that it might get him more votes. Or maybe, as cartoonist Eric Allie suggested in an older piece, Rauner is just the next Republican governor to capitulate.

This time last year, the opposing sides weren’t even talking to each other about the budget. Now, the secretive “budgeteer” meetings are reportedly going well. The rumor is the two groups are only off by less than $100 million.

If that’s all true – and we certainly haven’t heard much from the governor – then Rauner’s no longer fighting to partially roll back the tax hike as he recently promised. It seems, rather, that he’s now happy to use every penny and more of that $5 billion tax hike.

Nor is he fighting for major pension, labor or property tax reforms. At least none that he’s communicated openly.

* Also…



* While we’re on the general topic, the Illinois Policy Institute has released its annual report for 2017. From the chapter entitled “Spurring a Springfield Exodus

From the very beginning, our goal with the Illinois Policy Institute and Illinois Policy was to put mechanisms of accountability in place – those who seek to put Illinois on a path to prosperity should succeed, and those who threaten it should fail.

Following the summer’s tax hike fight, we saw the power of these mechanisms to bring historic change to Springfield.

Just one year into the current General Assembly, nine of the 15 Republicans who voted for the tax hike have announced they will not run for re-election. Another 25 lawmakers have either resigned their seats or will not be holding on to their seats in the next General Assembly.

This is an exodus unlike anything Springfield insiders have ever seen.

Curiously, no mention was made in the report of all those Policy Institute staffers who went to work for Gov. Rauner soon after that tax hike vote and then suffered their own mass “exodus” when the governor gave them the boot.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    I’m tired of the phony railing about the tax increase. Show your work as to how you’d actually pay the states’ bills without it. Otherwise stop talking.


  2. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    “Quiet negotiations today means that Rauner is no longer fighting back like he used to.”

    Rauner’s fighting caused massive damage to the state. What about that don’t certain people understand? There’s a time to fight and a time to make deals. Rauner clearly didn’t understand or care.


  3. - Perrid - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:47 pm:

    The line about lawmakers who “defied their constituencies” would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. Our state was on the verge of being downgraded to junk status. Providers were months if not years behind in payments. The state spent more than a billion dollars in interest. And yet this bozo really thinks passing a budget with a tax hike was the bad part, that was the negative? No sir, that was the (unpleasant) solution to the problem. Heck, it probably wasn’t a large enough tax hike to pay for the services that the taxpayers have said they want. To all these “budget hawks” I’d say make the cuts and propose it. Some of them have tried and they get shouted down because people don’t want to make the drastic cuts that would be necessary to live withing the current tax plan, let alone the old one. If you don’t want to make cuts, as the majority of people seem not too, that means raising taxes.
    Sorry for the diatribe but I can only listen to so much mindless shouting before I blow.


  4. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:49 pm:

    “Go-along-to-get-along politics over the last three decades has brought Illinois to the brink.”

    Bruce Rauner made it worse in his three-plus years than any time period mentioned in the quote, so fighting Rauner-style is just dumb and much more harmful. But what do the privileged care?


  5. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:53 pm:

    == It’s how Edgar got his failed and damaging pension ramp passed. … ==

    So now they are arguing that Edgar should have raised taxes back in 1995 instead of avoiding a tax hike for years?

    I thought tax advisors to the wealthy always urge deferring taxes until later?


  6. - Can - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    Thoughts Matter @ 12:42 is right on. The prattle from the Magic Beans and Pixie Dust Caucus is tiresome.


  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    There are more IPI staffers in this admin than ever.


  8. - From the 'Dale to HP - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    Counterpoint: A no to the budget is a yes to deficits and racking up huge interest payments.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 12:59 pm:

    The other side…

    Rauner vetoes the budget and will face a probable override, bipartisan, and Rauner will enter the summer and fall as a governor never signing a full fiscal year budget over his entire term, win or lose.

    It will be Rauner admitting defeat, while claiming victory with a veto he will say was forced upon him, but a veto is something only a governor can do.

    Conservatives should think twice about Rauner. Republicans should too.

    Raunerism promotes this destruction. A veto as these groups want only propagates Raunerism and hurts Illinois… and would in its own way cripple Rauner’s campaign in a looking glass way to a signature.


  10. - City Zen - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 1:00 pm:

    ==Bruce Rauner made it worse in his three-plus years than any time period mentioned in the quote==

    That’s a feature of the Edgar Ramp, not a bug.


  11. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    Fairytale entries from just a few members of the corrupt, bought and paid for Illinois media. Math doesn’t matter, only what their wealthy funders prefer matters. Like to call themselves conservatives, but (like GovJunk) refuse to suggest program cuts/elimination and no worries about Rauner’s massive debt increase. “Too much civility and compromise and compassion” they shout, but deny that their preferred path gave us $12 Billion in new debt.


  12. - Pundent - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 1:36 pm:

    =Without even seeing it…=

    And this is why I can’t take any of these groups or McSweeney seriously. They continue to push a narrative that isn’t based in reality, facts, or math. They don’t have to see the budget because they are pre-disposed to reject it regardless of what it contains. Yet they offer absolutely no plan of their own to solve any of the problems facing the state.


  13. - City Zen - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    ==So now they are arguing that Edgar should have raised taxes back in 1995 instead of avoiding a tax hike for years?==

    Didn’t Edgar also boost pension payouts in 1995? Non-university employees upped their pension multiplier from 1.0-1.5 to 1.6 and university employees from 1.6 to 2.2 plus their maximum benefits went from 75% to 80%.

    It would’ve been a shame if Edgar had to raise taxes and not offer those increased benefits. But we all would’ve been better off, no doubt.


  14. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    Maximum benefits for SERS is 75%


  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 1:58 pm:

    –Quiet negotiations today means that Rauner is no longer fighting back like he used to.–

    Yeah, because it was so brave and noble to run up more than $12B in unpaid bills in 2.5 years.

    So conservative, so fiscally responsible.


  16. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    ==I’m a hell no on this terrible budget!==

    That’s pretty much your M.O. isn’t it? I’ve not seen a whole lot of constructive things from you.

    Rep. McSweeney, please show us what your budget would look like if you took the revenues from the tax increase out. I’d love to see that document. I’m sure it would be a riot.


  17. - City Zen - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    ==Maximum benefits for SERS is 75%==

    I would assume university employees are SURS.

    I also recall the AFSCME pension pick-up that began in Edgar’s first term. Not sure how long it continued. But that would’ve been thrown into the cut mix too if not for those meager initial Edgar Ramp payments.


  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 2:41 pm:

    Sers. 75% and the employee would have to work for 45 years to get get max


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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