In a speech covered by Capitol Fax yesterday, Speaker Madigan reminded everyone of the history of the last year: Democrats passed a budget. The Governor vetoed it, insisting that they first pass “his personal agenda, which is targeted at diminishing wages and the standard of living of the middle class and other struggling families.” The Governor has refused any compromise since then.
The Speaker also pointed out that the impasse was built into the Governor’s plan from before the beginning. See the March 2013 speech (video link below) in which Rauner tells the Tazewell County GOP, “I apologize. We may have to go through a little rough times. If we have to do what Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers… If we sorta have to do a do-over and shut things down for a little while, that’s what we’re gonna do.”
So now Illinoisans across the state, universities and social service providers and many others, are paying the price for his single-mindedness. Here’s Tribune columnist Eric Zorn (quoted here):
Fifteen months after the wealthy Republican private equity investor was sworn in to his first elected office, the state he was elected to lead is in worse shape by nearly every measure than the state he inherited from his Democratic predecessor.
The backlog of unpaid bills is higher, as is the unemployment rate and the largest-in-the-nation unfunded public pension liability. We were one of just six states that showed a net loss in private sector jobs last year. Accordingly, our credit rating has continued to fall, meaning it will cost us even more than anticipated to dig out of a financial hole that’s growing at an estimated rate of $33 million every day.
Illinois still doesn’t have — and at this rate probably never will have — a budget for the fiscal year that began last July, which has put many human service providers and public colleges and universities into a financial crisis.
..here’s the Capitol Fax piece:
Wednesday, Apr 13, 2016
*** UPDATE *** Illinois Review has transcribed MJM’s speech. Click here.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]* Sun-Times political reporter Tina Sfondeles…
Just hours after a private meeting with the governor, House Speaker Michael Madigan widened the gap between them Tuesday afternoon, telling legislators the state budget mess is “completely avoidable” and the result of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner pursuing “a personal agenda.”
The Southwest Side Democrat’s relatively rare extended remarks on the floor came just before the Illinois House voted to pass a $3.89 billion appropriations bill to fund state universities and social service agencies. And it also came just two hours after Madigan wrapped up a meeting with Rauner and the other three top legislative leaders about the budget impasse that’s reached its tenth month.
“Never before has the state gone this long without a budget. Every other governor that I have worked with has negotiated with the General Assembly in good faith to help the people of Illinois and to ensure the people of our state did not needlessly suffer,” Madigan said. “The fact is the current budget crisis was completely avoidable. While this crisis was avoidable, Gov. Rauner has refused to put an end to the crisis.”
Madigan called Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda “his personal agenda, which is targeted at diminishing the wages and standard of living of the middle class and other struggling families.”
“The governor’s objections to House Democratic budget priorities are based on his insistence the General Assembly first pass his personal agenda, which is targeted at diminishing wages and the standard of living of the middle class and other struggling families,” Madigan said. “Progress will not be made by targeting the wages and standard of living of the middle class.”
Madigan said he’s had differences with all six governors with whom he has served.
“Every other governor I have worked with has negotiated with the General Assembly in good faith,” Madigan said.
“Differences with governors is not something that is new to me. Nor is it something that has prevented me from working with governors of both political parties for the good of the people of Illinois in passing state budgets,” Madigan said. “Over 30 years I have worked with six governors from both political parties. Twice as many Republicans as Democrats… I have had differences with all the governors I have worked with including governors of my own party… Many of you will recall the very strong differences I had with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. However, we found a way to compromise. My record over the years is one of compromise…”
[Madigan contended] it has been the Republican governor’s strategy all along to try to get rid of public unions and seek a state government shutdown.
The Democratic leader quoted from a speech then-candidate Rauner made a couple of years ago in Tazewell County in which he likened the need to act in state government the way President Ronald Reagan did in a 1981 decision to fire thousands of striking air traffic controllers.
“I apologize but we may have to go through a little rough times and we have to do what Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers,” Rauner said at that dinner.
“We sort of have to do a do-over and shut things down for a little while, that’s what we’re going to do,” Rauner said.
Rauner met with Madigan and other legislative leaders Tuesday. But the speaker’s remarks indicate they made no progress on a budget deal.
…Adding… The full video of Rauner speaking at that Tazewell County Lincoln Day Dinner referenced in Madigan’s speech is here…
“But even if they’ve got a major majority against us, you know what, they can’t stop us. They won’t stop me if I want to spend dramatically less. You need the legislature if you want to spend more. If you want to spend less, they can’t stop me. They can’t stop me.”
– Posted by Rich Miller