The election of J.B. Pritzker as governor in November ushered in a sense of euphoria for Democrats after four years of Republican Bruce Rauner, resulting in an ambitious first-year legislative agenda.
But with the first spring session under Pritzker’s watch nearing its scheduled adjournment at the end of May, many rank-and-file Democrats are concerned that the new administration’s big ideas have largely remained just that, rather than passable legislation. Republicans also have noticed the Democratic discontent.
“I can’t say what’s going on in the second floor (governor’s office), but there’s a common theme among the rank-and-file members and people who work in the building, and that is how are we going to land this ship?” said House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.
To be certain, Republicans were unlikely to go along with many of the Democratic governor’s proposals, which include changing the state income tax system, legalizing marijuana, instituting sports betting and enacting a host of smaller-bore tax increases on such items as cigarettes, plastic bags and successful video-gaming businesses. There’s also the need for a tax-supported public works plan, which GOP leaders support — but not in its current form.
But it is the consternation among Democrats that is the chief challenge to Pritzker’s agenda. Midterm dissatisfaction with Republican leadership at the state, congressional and national levels resulted in Democratic supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate that were expected to easily carry the governor’s agenda.
Yet the political lift this spring is proving to be a heavy one, and the outcome could set the tone for Pritzker’s term.
It has sometimes been painful to watch. And a whole lot of work remains to be done in the next 15 days.
I often tell newbies in January that while May 31st seems like a long way away, one day before you know it you’re gonna wake up and it’s May 15th and you’d better be prepared to go into those last two weeks. May 15th was yesterday.
“There’s a lot of conversation that’s going on right now” about the issues, Gov. J.B. PRITZKER told reporters Wednesday when asked about the looming deadline.
“Actually, I feel quite good about our prospects for getting everything passed this month,” Pritzker said. “There’s some negotiation that needs to take place. … My door is open to those folks that want to come in and talk about a particular provision.” […]
State Sen. TERRY LINK, D-Vernon Hills, has been in the Senate for more than two decades, and thinks things are on track to be completed this month.
“I’ve been here long enough to realize that on May 31, we’ve passed things that people didn’t believe we could pass, that they thought were dead,” Link said. “And I learned that nothing dies in Springfield. Things are on life support, but nothing ever dies.
“We’re having a lot of meetings, a lot of discussions,” he said, and he thinks Pritzker’s agenda will get done. He said it’s helpful that for the budget year starting July 1, Pritzker doesn’t want a general tax increase — like on income or sales — and some potential money generators are “sin taxes” on things like gambling or cigarettes. He also said an infrastructure program can be passed, with talks about funding involving “a lot of other things” besides a gas tax increase. He said he’d be surprised if the gas tax increase ends up being as high as 25 cents a gallon.
The clock is running out, but there’s still enough time to pull it all together. I wouldn’t want to be the person responsible for doing all this heavy lifting right now, though.
Except for the $15 minimum wage bill, Pritzker and legislative Dems have wasted time trying to court buy-in from Republicans who won’t ever give it. Look at the GOP response to the estate tax repeal: they’ve been demonizing the “death” tax for years, but instead of embracing repeal they attacked Pritzker and said it would give him an unjust windfall (which happens to be true, although the argument was made in extreme bad faith).
Voters made the GOP a super-minority; they don’t want them involved in legislation. Yet about 30% of my *very* blue district state rep’s social media posts are about “working across the aisle.” Democrats just don’t understand that political capital is ephemeral and power has to be used or lost.
- Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 16, 19 @ 11:59 am:
I hope Pritzker is prepared to use the stick where he could, if certain Democrats act like Republicans on key issues. This is a great opportunity for the future election success of the DPI, to legalize marijuana and put a graduated income tax on the 2020 ballot. Democrats are at their best when they enact big, bold ideas.
Gov. Pritzker started off with Maroon 5 but now if “Makes me wonder” if there are “Maps” to success and if he has enough “Sugar” to go around because time is running out and before long he won’t have “One more night” so he’s gonna need “Moves like Jaggar” to pull it together and “I don’t wanna know” how that happens.
Bipartisanship is great, but by enacting bold legislation while the super-minority GOP just says no, you set the tone for the GOP coming to the table in the near future in order to have any influence. If they are allowed to sink Pritzker’s agenda, the Dems will end up resurrecting the spirit of Raunerism which just destroyed our state. 30-60-1 Get It Done!
Durkie’s tepid floor speech on the budget failed to get the usually standing O from GOPies….very sad.
- Boone's is Back - Thursday, May 16, 19 @ 3:08 pm:
===Midterm dissatisfaction with Republican leadership at the state, congressional and national levels resulted in Democratic supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate that were expected to easily carry the governor’s agenda.===
It makes sense why MJM prefers a majority to a super majority. Too many cats to herd.