Rauner, Madigan talk ‘compromise’ while doing little of it
By asking for a special session costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day, with no result, Democrats and Republicans talk about the idea of commitment without public to get one.
Republican Governor Bruce Rauner overturned his social networking accounts with calls to lawmakers to send him the reasonable name “Capitol Commitment” from a proposal by Republican lawmakers, but without the participation of Democrats.
Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, on the other hand, conducted a series of votes Wednesday on some essential elements to Rauner, doubling the effort, “substantial compromise” that Republicans were challenged otherwise.
So the compromise seems to be in the eye of the viewer on the Capitol, a rhetorical tool to help sell the idea that the other party is to blame if a budget agreement is not reached within a Friday deadline.
Despite the benefits that will accompany such a ruling, there is little to say that a resolution will be reached by then. Rauner sent the strongest signal Wednesday when he said that if lawmakers did not send “a balanced budget package to my desk by Friday, we will have no choice but to keep them in session until ‘they do the job.’
The central premise of the two-year spread remains: Democrats and Republicans agree that higher taxes should be part of any solution, but Rauner said the state also needs regulatory changes to boost economic growth. Madigan has resisted such calls, saying they would hurt middle-class workers at the expense of the rich.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, went to a meeting in the office of President Michael Madigan to the Capitol on June 28, 2017. (Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register)
After months of no-voice, Madigan and the other three legislative leaders held a series of private meetings in recent days, which have also been supplemented by negotiations between base members responsible for the removal of details. The governor did not attend these meetings, but instead works with Republican leader Jim Durkin.
Little by little, as private conversations continue, the public side of things sees each side trying to place the other’s fault if nothing happens.
Wednesday, Madigan has called a vote on a handful of bills that Democrats said were designed to meet Rauner’s demands in the areas of insurance accidents, land tax cuts, government consolidation and employee pensions.
Before the articles were discussed on the floor, Durkin has issued a statement calling the exercise “political theater” designed to produce “votes cast.
“Republicans have argued that the talks were going on and that they made no sense for Democrats to vote on measures they considered incomplete. Gradually, as the votes continued, Durkin was Madigan’s office for another round of meetings.
They emphasized the story of Madigan taking vows in the laws know that Republicans can not bear the idea of covering their members on hot issues while using those votes as policy meat to attack their opponents.
Take the Democrat proposal to freeze property taxes, for example. While Rauner has long pressed for a freeze, Republicans say the plan presented Wednesday contained too many exceptions to provide relief to taxpayers.
The measure failed, but Democratic lawmakers who can cope with the Rauner-funded challenges in next year’s elections have been registered in the polls for political coverage. Madigan and now has equipment to attack the Republicans who voted against the freeze.