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* Is the governor trying to strong-arm not-for-profits that receive state funding to get in line behind his budget negotiating stance? Gatehouse media has the scoop, buried way down in its story about how the gaming bill died in a House committee…

On Tuesday, the governor’s people took their message directly to organizations reliant on state funding, arranging a conference call with social-service providers and other groups to discuss programs that will see funding cuts if the House budget ultimately is enacted.

The administration prepared nine pages of briefing papers that detailed spending reductions, including $42.3 million from the Home Services program, $2.2 million from Centers for Independent Living and $7 million from mental health grants, not to mention the elimination of 400 jobs at the Department of Human Services.

“I heard from some of our constituents. They were shocked the governor’s office would take this approach,” said Don Moss, a lobbyist who represents 50 not-for-profits for people with disabilities.

“They were shocked that his office would want them to become directly involved in the budget struggle.” Moss said. “We’re mostly not-for-profit agencies. We can’t take sides and get involved in these disputes. We don’t want any of the heavy hitters angry at us.”

The governor’s budget office denied there was any undue pressure to get involved in the legislative process, but House Speaker Madigan’s spokesman had this to say…

“It didn’t sound like it went over real well,” he said. “It’s another segment of the ‘defeat your allies’ program they tried in 2004. It’s the same strategy they tried then.”

It’s felt like 2004 for weeks. Remember that awful overtime session? If it hadn’t been for the Democratic National Convention, they might’ve stayed in Springfield all year.

* Meanwhile

House Speaker Michael Madigan urged Senate President Emil Jones on Wednesday to pass the state budget the House already approved, saying the state should avoid a government shutdown that would be “calamitous for all Illinois citizens.”

Using a formal letter to buttress his point, Madigan appealed to senators to join House Democrats and “pass the most realistic spending plan that is currently available to us.” […]

But the governor’s budget office immediately challenged Madigan’s plan, suggesting it would lead to cuts in education. A Jones aide said the proposal has “serious fiscal problems.” […]

Madigan acknowledged his budget plan is not balanced, but only in the “narrowest sense.” He said the state could correct any deficiencies by drawing down an anticipated $1.2 billion end-of-year balance and carefully managing other spending. He said the state still would have $900 million in the bank under his budget, an amount that is “more than sufficient.” Blagojevich aides said Madigan’s budget would be hundreds of millions of dollars short once bills are paid.

* And

State lawmakers soundly rejected a massive gambling plan Wednesday that would have dotted the Chicago area with four new casinos and let the existing fleet add more slot machines.

The proposal’s 20-2 drubbing by the Illinois House Gaming Committee effectively kills off yet another avenue for finding billions of additional dollars as lawmakers and Gov. Rod Blagojevich differ on how and how much state taxpayers’ money should be spent.

Having already blown a May 31 deadline for a deal, they’re now at risk of beginning the state’s next budget year on July 1 without one, which could threaten a government shutdown.

A top aide to Blagojevich said the governor wants lawmakers to work through Father’s Day weekend and come to the Capitol every day in hopes of striking a deal.

That’s such a phony proposal. The governor knew the idea of working on Father’s Day would be rejected, which is exactly why he proposed it.

* The State Journal-Register editorial board curses all sides today…

It’s time for the governor to take a one-way flight back to Springfield with a well-packed suitcase. It’s time for Madigan to stop playing his crafty games. It’s time for all the other supporting characters to take their jobs seriously and demand a resolution to this mess.

* More budget-related stuff, compiled by Paul…

* CTA and Blagojevich talk possible funding

* Sun-Times Editorial: Public transit needs reforms, not bailout

* City Council proposes downtown fee to fund CTA; more here

* Governor a hypocrite?

* Lots of complaints, but no progress on new budget

* Green Party poised to reap rewards of budget

posted by Rich Miller
Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 9:25 am


  1. The cuts discussed on the conf call were cuts to the proposed budget introduced by the Governor, not in the Madigan budget. Many human service providers didn’t even get any increases in the Gov’s budget.

    I believe the call ended with the charge “work for the budget you want to see, which we hope is the Gov’s”

    Comment by Cuts Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 9:40 am

  2. Did Blago himself offer to forego Father’s Day with his kids to be in Springfield? Or is that just for members of the House?

    Comment by Bluefish Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 9:51 am

  3. It really must have been a SLOW news day yesterday. To ask in a headline if Gov. Sleazy is a hypocrite is like asking “Did the sun rise this morning?”

    Comment by fedup dem Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 9:53 am

  4. When I worked for a social services provider in the 90s, I was regularly asked to support the Governor’s budget “or else” - both Edgar and Ryan. I can’t imagine why anyone would be shocked by this.

    Comment by Anonymous Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 9:59 am

  5. After this spectacle, the ability to play well with others may become an important quality for Illinois candidates.

    Comment by Squideshi Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 10:08 am

  6. Isn’t the whole concept of being a non-profit that you raise funds on your own and don’t become disproportioantely dependent on government funding.

    Sounds like we have some non-profits which have become a little too comfy feeding from the public trough. Time to get up and do a little fund raising, guys and gals. A list of administrative and executive staff salaries of employees of various non-profits around the state and particularly in Chicagoland would be quite an eye-opener to many. And fund raising is part of what they are supposed to be doing for those well-into-six-figure salaries.

    As to the CTA, they have over 10,000 employees
    and they can only find 27 administrators to fire
    Or maybe 27 jobs with nobody in them to move off the org chart temporarily….the old personnel office game.

    Meanwhile, we know Carole is a Dem pol, but wasn’t the youthful Ron supposed to be the new broom at the CTA. Where are the creative ideas?
    Why can’t we have Mayor Bloomberg’s transportion manager? In New York, they have a serious proposal for congestion fees which would throw off hundreds of milions a year. Nothing like that from our Ron, though. He’s turning into a hack Chicago pol as fast as you can say da Mare.

    Comment by Cassandra Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 10:16 am

  7. As 501c3 organizations, the commnity based social service groups cannot get directly involved with the budget issues without jeapordizing their tax status. These are the same groups who often get 85%-90% of their funding from the state to do the state’s business for people with disabilites, at costs far less then the state can do it, with funds that do not meet the actual costs of services. They have to basically beg for 3% dollars every year while state programs get regular increases. They did not get any increases last year and so far this year the budgets being discussed to not have funding increases for them. However that does not stop minimun wage, utilities, health insurance, work comp, gas, and all other costs from going up 10%-50%. Want to talk real functional, structural deficits? What services do these programs stop after July 1 and tell the people they serve: “Sorry, but we cannot pay the bills because the state does not consider us important”? But use these groups as pawns,…yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Comment by zatoichi Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 10:46 am

  8. zatoichi,

    You’re completely wrong. This isn’t a political campaign. non profits get involved in advocating for their policies all the time. Their status is not placed in jeopardy in any way by advocating for budget priorities one way or the other.

    Comment by not so Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 1:28 pm

  9. Illinois is a grant making state - meaning the state gives funding to human service organizations to provide public services. Those organizations should get state money - they do the job the state refuses to do and most of the time without any yearly increases.

    Just look at how many state employees Rod terminated during his first term. Whose going to help the mentally ill, disabled, etc?

    Comment by BLAH Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 1:34 pm

  10. Actually, I don’t think very many employees were terminated at all during Blago’s first term, certainly not frontline employees. Some high level Rutan-exempt and “term” positions turned over but that is to be expected when a new party takes over.

    Many have been confused by the early retirements arranged by the Ryan administration which took place through December, 2002 and, in a few cases, through April or May of 2003. That is where most of the departures were. Those folks, mostly lifers, left voluntarily because of pension sweeteners offered to speed their departure. Like at GM, they had to be paid (by us taxpayers) to leave. Otherwise they’d still be there.

    Blago claims not to have filled a lot of those positions–which was the whole idea. He was right not to fill them. But there were few real layoffs after Blago took over.

    AFSCME likes to foster the notion that their ranks have been decimanted by layoffs. It’s a bargaining tool. The more line employees, the more dues for AFSCME.

    Believe me, there are still thousands of state employees dozing away in low-work, high-compenation jobs—Blago barely made a dent.

    Comment by Anonymous Thursday, Jun 14, 07 @ 5:59 pm

  11. Not So,
    Yeah you are right. Budget stuff is not campaigning. I must have got lost on some train of thought there. Not the last stupid comment I come up with.

    Comment by zatoichi Friday, Jun 15, 07 @ 10:00 am

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