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A look at the week ahead

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* Sen. Sullivan outlines the options legislators face this week…

[Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville)] said lawmakers could approve a temporary budget to keep the state operating until November, when Quinn said he wants to take another stab at raising taxes. Or, Sullivan said, lawmakers could draft a new budget plan that carries the state through 12 months.

The General Assembly could do nothing, he said, and allow government operations to grind to a halt, or it could vote to override Quinn’s veto of the budget that lawmakers approved previously.

“I don’t know if the votes are there to do that,” Sullivan said. “I’m convinced we’d have to have significant Republican support to do that.”

Everybody is all over the place. Things could wrap up this week, or not. We’ll all know soon, but this idea of a November solution isn’t going over well with many…

Lawmakers are signaling to the governor there might not be enough support to get a tax increase passed until January, when it will once again only take a simple majority in each chamber for approval.

The governor’s proposal to delay a solution until November is being derided as a way to allow legislators to wait and see who will be running against them, but that may not be the full story

“A cynic would say that’s what it’s all about, and I’m sure that doesn’t hurt,” said Christopher Mooney, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois’ Springfield campus. “But in some respects I think it’s a reflection of the natural human propensity to put off hard decisions until the last minute.”

Senate President John Cullerton sounded hopeful

“Everybody is on board, I think, with the idea of appropriating money to keep the operation of state government going,” Cullerton said. “That part, how we get there, is what we’re going to be (discussing) in the next couple of days.”

And after the governor signed the capital bill, Senate GOP Leader Radogno was almost effusive

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno now says it was a “pleasure” to work with Quinn, and didn’t seem fazed that he changed his position on the plan so many times.

She only says “I’m happy where we’ve landed.”

But the leaders’ meeting with the governor was canceled yesterday…

A planned meeting between Gov. Pat Quinn and legislative leaders aimed at compromising on a stop-gap state budget was abruptly cancelled this evening. The move could portend more trouble coming up with a spending plan for the fiscal year that began almost two weeks ago.

Quinn aides blamed logistics, including late arrivals to the Capitol by some of the governor’s staff who were in Chicago earlier in the day for Quinn’s signing of a huge public works construction program.

I’m not sure what it portends as of yet. The leaders are meeting with the governor at 10 o’clock this morning. Mike’s in town, so we’ll have video.

Good point here…

Now, in light of Radogno and other Republicans’ excitement about the capital bill being signed, let’s review the Republican position on the budget and an income tax increase - one that would pay for social services, which are experiencing a ton of pain; state workers, who are going to lose their jobs; and other state services

* No tax increases until there is reform!
* No tax increases until wasteful spending is cut!

But there’s an exception to this position. A big fat one. So big, in fact, that you could drive several trucks packed to the brim with bacon through it. That exception is the capital bill, whose signing is depicted in the photo above. The reasoning goes a little something like this:

Tax increases are OK if they fund construction projects in my district. They’re especially OK if they fund pork projects, many of which will go to private organizations in legislative districts. These are the kind of ribbon-cutting extravaganzas that can get me re-elected. So yes, I voted to increase taxes on liquor and beer and to up the fees on driver’s licenses and car registrations, not to mention legalizing the crack cocaine of gambling - video poker machines, thousands of which will be coming to a bar near you.

Nevermind there were few reforms in the capital bill. The only one was that, for a change, they actually listed the projects that were going to be funded instead of appropriating the cash in a lump sum. But you still didn’t know who requested them and why unless you started calling around.

* Related…

* State budget by the numbers

* Compromise budget not ideal, but it buys time

* Legislators give ear to nonprofit pleas

* Illinois workers picket in favor of tax increase

* College students fear losing state grants

* Aurora domestic violence shelter reopens with emergency funds

* Different governor, same nonsense

* Ready, set, shovel

* $31 billion for more jobs, better roads

* Gov. Pat Quinn signs $31 billion statewide public-works package

* Gov. signs $31 billion construction plan

* $31 Billon State Construction Bill Signed

* What you need to know …

* Community leaders welcome capital funds

* Local excitement high for plan

* Construction bill includes $250 million to replace Stratton Building

* Tech bill to fund research center, electric car infrastructure plan

posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 9:54 am


  1. One more related link, Rich:

    “At least one local bank has begun offering short-term, unsecured loans to state-employee customers who miss paychecks as a result of the state budget deadlock.”

    (no, I am not affiliated with them)

    Comment by Anonymous Coward Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:06 am

  2. Shock…legislators that know how to spend money that does not exist while the really tough decisions about a budget are put off yet again…Rich what will it take…everyone not sending in their taxes to make these “leaders” (a term I use loosely) to get the message?

    Comment by Double Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:07 am

  3. Radogno should be happy. It’s a huge win for the GOP to get the capitol bill without going out on a limb on a state budget. They’ve never even been forced to present an alternative.

    Comment by wordslinger Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:07 am

  4. I like the idea of postponing an income tax increase (if we have to have one…I’m not conceding that we do) until January. This has been a terrible year economically for members of the middle class and the federal stimulus rebate has provided only the tiniest bit of relief. Yet our Illinois Dems want to take even that.

    Give us a break and hold off.

    Comment by Cassandra Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:39 am

  5. Addendum to the good point: The House Dems who won’t vote for the tax increase warrant the same “eye roll” as the Republicans who are prominently criticized here. Hypocrisy sits on both sides of the aisle.

    Comment by Sewanee Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:55 am

  6. The only good thing Quinn did in this whole mess was to say he wouldn’t sign the capital bill until there was a real budget, because THAT would be irresponsible… ooops!!

    Comment by Marty Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:58 am

  7. We can’t afford to keep people in prison, to take take of abused and neglected children or to even pay our workers but gosh darn our roads are going to be nice!

    Comment by ahoy Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:11 am

  8. How do we start a movement to get the current legislative leadership out of office? Seriously, is there a law under which we can sue? There must be some way to remove them.

    Comment by inthemiddle Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:15 am

  9. Amen to inthemiddle…it is going to take some grass roots action in order for these people to get the message and quit politicking and do some real work for the people…you remember us…the people they are supposed to represent?

    Comment by Double Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:17 am

  10. If anyone is a lawyer or legislative language expert who understand the JCAR Administrative Code, or any other rules and regs of which the legislature may have violated, please speak!

    Comment by inthemiddle Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:23 am

  11. @inthemiddle
    I know it’s in the IL constituion to pass a full year budget by 5/31, and also to fund the pension every year. Neither has been done for many of the past recent years and this year seems to be the worst. Is there anythign we can do?? They’re breaking our constitution.
    My union AFSCME filed suit yesterday so that we may be paid for work performed on 7/29.

    Comment by state employee Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 12:14 pm

  12. @ in the middle, With the power of my vote… I am not voting for any of them on November.. I do not know what else could we do… seriously, our vote should make them think about what are they doing, right??

    Comment by Martha Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 12:48 pm

  13. From the Boiler Room blog cited above, another quote by Chris Wetterich in the comments (you should read them):

    “Oh, and there is no statewide cap or ceiling on the number of gambling machines to be authorized by the legislation — just a limit of five per establishment. This law is going to mean a big expansion of gambling in our state, plain and simple. If you’re fine with that, OK, but don’t swallow the baloney.”

    About time someone knocked a hole in the conventional wisdom on these machines.

    Give it to the Republicans to keep reinforcing these family values.

    Comment by vole Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 1:14 pm

  14. @Marth and @inthemiddle
    Because of this, I will not ever vote for a Republican nor Democrat ever again. I will only vote for 3rd party and independents.

    Current IL politicians (cross, rodogno, speaker madigan, quinn, house gop) are not doing their jobs and in my opinion, lack the decent humanity and humility to operate this state and ensure care for our citizens, instead showing their true colors as they passed RAISING TAXES (I thought they were so against that?!) through (immoral) gambling TO FUND THEIR PRIORITIES - PORK FOR THEIR FRIENDS’ CONSTRUCTION CO’S - THE CAPITAL BILL which just passed.

    Comment by state employee Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 1:26 pm

  15. @state employee - So it’s wrong to pass a capital bill because it benefits legislator’s “friends” in the construction industry, but it’d be ok to refuse all compromises that may harm their “friends” in organized labor?

    Comment by Sewanee Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 1:38 pm

  16. ahoy- the capital bill comes too late in the construction season to make any more roads “nice” this year. Its signing is a largely symbolic event as far as immediate results. There *will* be a budget to address everything else, far ahead of the 2010 construction season.

    Comment by Six Degrees of Separation Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 5:05 pm

  17. @ ahoy–AMEN!!

    @ six–I wouldn’t count out any “shovel-ready” projects yet; and in the capitol bill a local charity got $9900 that the charity director told our local paper they “didn’t even ask for”. So nice to see my tax dollars supporting one favored charity in this town, and I am waiting for the charity to advertise the employee position this money is supposed to help fund. >:-

    Comment by Lynn S Wednesday, Jul 15, 09 @ 11:30 pm

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