Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Broken Record

There are records you want to break, and those you don't. Tomorrow will bring the longest overtime session in the modern-day history of the state. The previous record was set a whopping 3 years ago. Read into that what you will.

Truth be told, it is essentially anybody's guess as to whether or not we will even have a budget deal by the end of this month. I had a discussion last night about the irony of what has to transpire to make a budget deal a reality.

Essentially our state government, which has understandably been accused of an inability to get things done, would have to reach consensus on most, if not all, of the following major issues in the next week:
Electric rate relief - essentially done

Property tax relief - who the heck knows after yesterday's aldermanic press conference. It will be interesting to see their reaction if the end result is no extension of the 7% bill.

Mass transit funding - likely through a .25 regional sales tax, with enabling legislation to allow Chicago to levy a transfer tax.

Education funding - is a 1% income tax hike in the works to do this? I'm not sure that the votes are there for it.

Gaming expansion - there are probably Republican votes for this if it's to fund capital projects, but these bills tend to die under their own weight, so it's still 50/50

Health care expansion - this is the make-or-break issue for the Governor, but his 'scaled back' plan is still a billion dollar plus program with a lot of skeptics. An interesting question is if the House and Senate can reach agreement on all of the issues but the last one, does that get the job done?

Ethics - Incredibly, the administration is still ducking this one. Passing HB1, which would end 'pay-to-play' politics, passed the House unanimously, and has 45 Senate sponsors, should be a no-brainer. Instead, the Governor, who promised to 'rock the system' years ago, and then didn't lift a finger to pass anything, still says that he doesn't want to pass this bill because 'it doesn't do enough'. And he said it with a straight face.
An interesting question if a deal can't be reached, then what? A one-month budget seems highly unlikely, leaving wide open the 's' word.

A shutdown.

I think that it would be a travesty if there was to be a shutdown. It's wrong to have state employees, their families, and the people of our state, suffer because of political gamesmanship and posturing over issues that should have been dealt with in the Spring.

At a time when the public deserves to have their confidence in state government restored, a shutdown would do just the opposite. It would tarnish the process, hurt the Democratic party, and set the stage for nothing but more problems in the years ahead.

Buckle up, there's a lot of work to do ahead.


At July 24, 2007 at 12:38 PM, Anonymous PL said...

John you politicians are something else when it comes to collecting taxes. 3 things stand out for me as a cook county tax payer. 1 there are millions more being collected in residential property every single year because of gentrification and huge plots of untaxed or vacant land that has been developed. Where is that additional money? 2. You guys act like a 7% cap is a tax freeze. Its a 7% increrase! who even gets 7 % raises except for politicians. 3. What the hell ever happened to fiscal responsibility... stop increasing spending.

Patrick La Salle

At July 24, 2007 at 5:52 PM, Anonymous DuPage Saint said...

Let's see what is the same as three years ago. Oh yeah dems are still in total control. What a joke do you need another branch of government to get things done. Sorry I forgot you have Supreme Court too. Can't wait for redistricting.

At July 26, 2007 at 2:42 PM, Anonymous Ravenswood Right Winger said...

Please explain your "present" vote on Senate Bill 1167 re: predatory lenders.

At July 26, 2007 at 3:05 PM, Anonymous silentk said...

"Property tax relief - who the heck knows after yesterday's aldermanic press conference. It will be interesting to see their reaction if the end result is no extension of the 7% bill."

Isn't this more of an aldermanic duck and cover? Knowing of the bill that is about to be passed* - when people realize how many it does not help, the Aldermen will have political cover with "but I was against it!"?

*SB101 as I see it.

At July 27, 2007 at 6:14 AM, Anonymous just like Blago said...

"“This is such a lovely place to work. Packs of sweating and desperate Republican Congressmen coming in and out, trying to talk to Bush and get him to at least make some kind of promise (of course never to be kept) about withdrawing or at least to stop snarling at people. Pointless. Bush is constantly in a rage here and yesterday, I had to deliver something to the West Wing. After I had dropped of my files and was heading back to my office, someone opened a door and I could hear, very clearly, Our Beloved President screaming with rage. He said, and I quote: “Goddamit! I said to quit bugging me about Iraq! I will never withdraw a single man from there and when I leave here for good, my successor can handle it.”"I also don't care about my poll numbers as long as Cuban Americans support me by 90%".

My associates say he has been shouting at everyone here about this and it is interesting to watch him. His eyes squinch shut, his mouth turns down and he shakes all over. And his face gets white as flour and all kinds of blotches can be seen on it. Not a nice sight and rather frightening considering who he is (and who he thinks he is) and what he can do, even with his nuts chopped off. The Democrats are pussy-futting around, enraging the electorate who elected them to stop the crazy Bush from further manic bloodshed. Recruitment has tanked, the Surge is a total flop, Republicans are hysterical with fear and about 30% of the staff has quit the Monkey Palace with more desertions planned. I still think the only thing to do is to impeach both Bush and Cheney but the Democrats are too frightened and too busy looking for more lobbyist money to be worth more than a pinch of sour owl shit.”"

At July 27, 2007 at 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shut the state down. This will just add to the list of failures of leadership in this country. You all pass a veterans health care coverage that vets don't use or need (and then did one of the most shameful things of hiding behind death benefits for these fallen heroes in order to raise your own salary), they're firing 'the nurse of the year' and doctors are fleeing Stroger hospital (and it sounds like prosecutors about to follow), those alderman continue to push through TIF districts while pointing figures at the fiscal irresponsibility of the state and distracting everyone arguing about goose liver, and our congress hasn't passed one appropriations bill. The whole thing has become a joke.

And a couple of young men will loose their lives over in Iraq every day. What fine leadership at all levels of government. You all should be so proud of the leadership you are offering.

Good luck in your committeeman run - your a huge improvement from Gabinski or what ever Rosti's guy's name is. But why you would want to be part of that gaggle, I have no idea.

At July 29, 2007 at 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention SB 733, which would give equal ballot access to anyone who wants to run. Why is it still sitting in the House when it was unanimously passed by the Senate? I'm thinking of starting a "boycott" of Lisa Madigan (I promise not to ever vote for her until SB 733 is passed). You think Mike Madigan would like that?

At August 17, 2007 at 12:13 AM, Anonymous westside said...

Hon. Fritchey,
some time has passed but it doesnt seem like much has changed on any of these issues you talked about a few weeks ago. any update from the inside on progress like the play-to pay bill?


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