Monday, April 18, 2016

Springfield update

A story in the Springfield State Journal-Register says the Rauner-Madigan rivalry is worsening and "leaving little hope that the state will have a spending plan any time soon".

Others however suggest what Rich Miller at Capitol Fax calls "green shoots". Despite the public sniping, there have been private meetings, both of the principals and their staffs. 

If private conversations don't produce anything productive, perhaps threats will. Miller notes the impact from a threat by Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, who has said he will hold back K-12 funding until the rest of state government gets a budget.

Finally, there's now a democratic proposal on the table for redistricting, a long-time desideratum of good government folks. That's also an item on Rauner's Turnaround Agenda. If passed, it could conceivably allow Rauner to declare victory and engage in real negotiations about the budget.

This all in addition to other pressures: the Comptroller's decision to put legislative salaries on the slow track, and the likely legal challenge from the Attorney General to question whether the state has the authority, absent a budget, to pay any employees. Not to mention angry and fearful constituents.

So after 10 months of chaos, the pressure starts to build. Those 10 months have already done great damage, and funding on the level the Governor has proposed--a 20% cut--would not turn things around: it would just slow our decline. We need a decent budget now. Every extra day means more students who go out of state or give up on college, and every dollar cut from the eventual budget undermines our potential to rebuild.

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