Governor Rauner. Source: il.gov
Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- For the sake of the good people of Illinois, all Illinoisans, Governor Rauner must give in. I’m tired of the press release wars. I’m tired of the statements from this or that legislative leader. I’m tired of all of it, and it must end now.
Gov. Bruce Rauner must give in. He must negotiate. He must stop his intransigence. He must stop this now.
And, please, I am not saying at all that the Democrats are not to blame. They are. It takes two to tango, so to speak. But it also takes two or more to negotiate. And, without a budget, the state of Illinois is suffering, the people of Illinois are suffering.
The more time that passes without a budget, there may be no path back to sustainability.
There’s a word we haven’t heard often in this discussion: sustainability.
The state of Illinois cannot sustain, maintain its existence, without a budget. The credit rating for Illinois under Governor Rauner is unprecedented.
The credit rating slide began under Governor Quinn:
The three major credit-ratings agencies — Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service — had dropped Illinois’ rating a net 12 times since Quinn took the oath of office in 2009. More proof, Rauner said, that Quinn was a “failure.”
But the slide has continued under Rauner. When Moody’s and S&P both downgraded Illinois on Thursday, it marked the eighth such move during Rauner’s term.
Not just continued, but accelerated. Quinn served for just under six years, meaning he averaged one credit downgrade per 181 days in office. Rauner was sworn in a little more than 28 months ago is averaging one credit downgrade every 109 days in office.
Governor Rauner, for all the steam and hot air he generated during his campaign — and he was right about Governor Quinn — but Governor Rauner has done worse than Quinn, done worse than all the Democrats before him combined. Governor Rauner has managed to do what no one in the history of the state of Illinois has done: he has led our state’s credit rating, proudly, it appears, to one notch above junk. We have the lowest credit rating on record for a U.S. state.
Let’s call it what it is.
Yes, I remember when Alexi Giannoulias was running for the U.S. Senate. He was a good candidate. But he dragged his record as Illinois State Treasurer behind him. The state continued down into the bottomless abyss of debt under his leadership. Continued into the abyss under Governor Quinn.
Quinn in May 2010, holding up a bill he signed into law moments before (96th General Assembly, SB 3429), which requires state government to conduct an energy audit of buildings that will be used for future energy efficiency standards. (Chris Eaves on Flikr. Creative Commons license)
Pat Quinn was a great lieutenant governor.
With some notable exceptions — like when he signed marriage equality into law in November 2013 — Governor Quinn did not measure up. The state continued to slide into the debt abyss under Governor Quinn.
And took off like a demon into that abyss under Governor Rauner.
Even Pat Quinn could pass a budget.
Governor Rod Blagojevich at the Martin Luther King observance at Lincoln Mall in 2005. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)
Even Rod Blagojevich, who governed by press conferences, could pass a budget.
Rauner can’t seem to wrap his mind around the fact that he must govern with Democrats. As much as he might prefer like-minded legislators in Springfield, that is not the current reality.
The current reality is horrible. Governor Rauner is not governing. He must work with Democrats, for the good of the state.
I am no fan of House Speaker Michael Madigan. But Madigan is a political reality.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. (IllinoisLawmakers on YouTube)
This today from Speaker Madigan:
“President Cullerton and I met earlier this morning to discuss a way to end the Rauner budget crisis. We were scheduled to meet together with Leaders Radogno and Durkin. We were deeply disappointed that both Republican leaders chose to cancel their participation in our meeting, rather than sit down with us and work to advance a balanced budget. It is difficult to move forward on a bipartisan budget when both Republican leaders refuse to meet.”
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)
This on June 15 from House Republican Leader Durkin:
“With the fiscal year coming to a close and the House Democrats failure to produce a budget during session warrants the Governor’s action today. We can break this impasse if the House Democrats are willing to negotiate in good faith.”
And what did the governor do on June 15? As previously covered here, he called lawmakers back to Springfield:
One day after House and Senate Republicans unveiled a compromise balanced budget plan to end the budget impasse, Governor Bruce Rauner today called lawmakers back to Springfield for a 10-day special session from Wednesday, June 21st through the June 30th fiscal year deadline.
State Rep. Greg Harris on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives. (Photo: GregHarris.org)
Rep. Greg Harris, lead budget negotiator for the House Democratic Caucus, had this to say on June 21:
“Democrats are returning to Springfield in hopes that the governor is finally ready to compromise on a budget. But, even now, the governor is talking out of both sides of his mouth: As he holds a campaign speech ostensibly calling for unity, he’s also bankrolling negative attack ads and mailers against House Democrats and the very people he is calling on to work with.”
Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson. (ilga.gov)
Chanced to see State Senator Toi Hutchinson on June 11 at the Democratic Gubernatorial Forum at the Matteson Holiday Inn. By anyone’s estimation, or at least mine, Toi Hutchinson is a governing dynamo, a quick-minded thinker who would serve us well some day as governor.
As would Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
Asked Senator Hutchinson how she was doing that day. (My report from the forum is forthcoming, and overdue. Have the entire thing on video for you.) She hesitated an instant, and told me she was not entirely well. I thought it might be something personal, remembering Toi from when we served together on the Human Relations Commission in Park Forest.
She was referencing something else, though.
She was referencing the “political nonsense,” as she called it, in Springfield, over the budget.
Actually, she used a stronger word.
Permit me to say it again:
And she is right.
This must end.
The circus must end.
Our schools are suffering.
Our social services, much needed, critical social services, are suffering.
Our municipalities are suffering.
The circus must end.
And it must end today.
Enough of this unmitigated bullshit from Springfield.
Governor Rauner, get off your high horse. Like it or not, you’re working with a Democratic majority. They’re Democrats. Face it. And they’re in the majority. They have negotiated with you. This is where we are. For the love of the people of the great state of Illinois, pass a damn budget.
Your time to succeed and fail has long past, governor.
Do your damn job.