The first step to fixing what ails Illinois is to dump House Speaker Mike Madigan. The governance and labor reforms proposed by Gov. Bruce Rauner won't do it until Madigan is removed from the speakership. Higher taxes won't do it either. The finger of blame for the Illinois in-the-toilet condition points directly at Madigan--for all his past shenanigans and for his disdain for the of good Illinois.
The only realistic (barely so) way to remove Madigan from the speakership is in the hands of Democrats in the Illinois House. Yeah, yeah, I know. He's got House Democrats so frightened of defying him the likelihood of them electing a different, more rational speaker is about nil. At least according to the given wisdom.
But are we at last seeing a crack in the blind, quivering support of Madigan? A few Democrats voted against Madigan's preposterous budget that had a $7 billion deficit. Enough Democrats refused to participate in this delusion that it didn't get Senate approval. Maybe enough Democrats, as this November's election approaches, are feeling the burn. Of angry voters who are sick of the suicidal financial management piloted by Madigan. Of angry parents who are looking at the possibility of their schools not opening and who can see past the wall of B.S. that Madigan has built to blame someone else for the mess. Of angry taxpayers who are looking at another tax increase without commensurate adjustments made on the spending side. Of fed up businesses that are depending on a flat-broke state for the construction and maintenance of the state's physical and fiscal structure.
Maybe enough Democrats finally will get sick of being told what to do by Monarch Madigan. Maybe enough Democrats will be urged by their consciences to install a House Speaker who wants to get things done, the right way. Maybe enough Democrats will recover their pride and recall that the Illinois constitution gives them a job to do, other than to genuflect to Madigan. Maybe enough Democrats will read the Illinois constitution and act like it means something when it requires that a budget can't spend money that the state doesn't have.
There are a lot of things you can say about how Republicans have contributed to this mess, including former governor and convicted felon George Ryan's collaboration with Democrats so that he could share in the spoils. But for now, in this immediate future, Illinois' redemption depends on a Democratic revolution.
- Another Madigan failure. ChicagoNow. Politics Now.
- How they voted on the unbalanced budget. Reboot Illinois.
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