Better than Chris Wallace w/Barack Obama: Berkowitz w/ Gov. Jim Edgar and Gov wannabees Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner

Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs features the contrast of the Republican Governor of Illinois in the 1990s, Jim Edgar with Bruce Rauner, the Republican nominee for Governor this year and Senator Dillard, the man who came within three points of blocking Rauner from being the nominee of their Party.

You can also watch Edgar, Rauner and Dillard 24/7 by going here.

The show with Edgar, Rauner and Dillard airs throughout the City of Chicago tonight at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].

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--End of Spring Session in Springfield: Madigan-Cullerton duet

The State of Illinois is mired in its usual end of legislative spring session mess. Illinois Democratic party chieftains Speaker Madigan (Chicago) and Senate President Cullerton (Chicago) seem to like to structure decision making on the budget, spending and taxes to occur in the last scheduled week of the session as the way to maximize their power as insiders.  A lot happens in a short amount of time—so there is little chance for the media to act as watchdogs and throw sunlight on the situation.

The latest IL Democratic Party idea seems to be to pass an operating budget that spends about 36 billion dollars and yet only has revenue for the coming fiscal year of about 33 billion dollars. The shortfall, Democrats would say, is caused by the individual income tax increase that was passed in 2011 to be 5% (from the original 3%, with a corresponding increase in the corporate income tax) scheduled to fall back to 3.75% in calender year 2015, unless the General Assembly acts to modify the 2011 tax legislation.

--Democrats dodge a tax increase or spending cut vote until the post election,  December, 2014 time period?

Apparently, the Democratic state legislators think this way they can avoid either voting for a tax increase—or voting to cut state spending. This approach would put the onus on Democratic Gov. Quinn to make the requisite state spending cuts to balance the budget. An alternative would be to wait until after the November election and then have Democrats return to Springfield in the veto session in early December to vote for a tax increase.  The latter is probably the Democrats’ preferred alternative.  Apparently, they think you can, contrary to W. C. Fields’ thinking, fool most of the people most of the time.

--State GOP strategy: Oppose a tax increase and duck as to the rest

The Republican Party strategy is to continue to oppose a tax increase, that is, do not support legislation to prevent the tax rate from returning to 3.75%.  On the other hand, the Republicans will try to stay quiet on the issue of how they would cut spending to stay within the reduced state revenue—coming from the lower income tax rate.

--Jim Edgar defends Dillard’s pandering to the state employee and teachers’ unions

In tonight’s show, you can see, sadly, how Governor Edgar defended Senator Dillard’s pandering to the teachers and state employee unions by voting against state employee pension reform. This was the only way Dillard could get the union money and influence to try to prevent Rauner from wresting the Republican Party nomination from Dillard.  "Desperate times call for desperate actions," would perhaps be Dillard’s only defense.

--Dillard beats up on Rauner

You can also see Dillard try to beat up on Rauner as the "Ultimate insider"—for getting pension asset management business  by, according to Dillard, putting Stu Levine on Rauner’s payroll.  It is likely Governor Pat Quinn will put this argument and perhaps corresponding film footage to good use in the general election.  You can also see Dillard accuse Rauner of having “A callous disregard for human life,” for the way in which Rauner’s company oversaw the provision of medicare related services.

--Rauner fights back

Finally, you can see Rauner respond by calling Dillard’s arguments, “Baloney.”  Some of this, again, is likely to provide grist for Pat Quinn’s Fall election Governor’s race campaign commercials. Dillard, at some point, might ask himself if his actions were ethical and Rauner might wonder if Dillard has a place in his new IL Republican Party. The answer to both questions, I am sure, will be yes.  Most pols, even those who are new to the game, get along with the pols in their own party. That is just the way it is.

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